Last Updated on January 4, 2022 by Douglas
If you plan to live a life on the road, you need to have a good kitchen. Many motorhomes come with amazing kitchens. You just need to select the right floor plan for this sort of thing. Having a top notch kitchen can make life easier for you in your 5th wheel. It facilitates the preparing of delicious and healthy meals. A common problem that you and your family are going to face while you are on the road would have to do with the food that you would be eating. Many people just stop at fast food restaurants in order to grab a bite whenever they are hungry. This is a problem for two reasons.
Firstly, this isn’t a very healthy way to go about things. Fast food is inherently unhealthy, though it is undoubtedly delicious. What’s more is that constantly eating at restaurants would be expensive so there is a cost saving benefit to buying a 5th wheel with a nice kitchen as well. Furthermore, having a motorhome with a kitchen frees you up to explore more areas. You wouldn’t need to stick to areas that are close to cities where you can buy readymade food.
Buying Guide For Front Kitchen Fifth Wheels
There are five or six things that you need to be aware of before buying any kind of motorhome as far as the kitchen is concerned. We will be discussing each of these six aspects in this buying guide. This will provide you with some much needed context about what kinds of fifth wheels are currently available as well. Try to find a motorhome that has all of the qualities that we are mentioning here. Now, here are the things you should look for in your motorhome:
What Kind of Fridge Are You Getting?
It is highly recommended that you opt for a full fridge in your RV’s front kitchen. Anything less simply won’t have the capacity required for this sort of thing. Families need a lot of food on a day to day basis. A fridge that is a bit on the smaller side would be a nuisance since it would not allow you to store as much food as you need to. Larger fridges do take up more space though, so that’s something that you might want to factor into your decision.
Fridges tend to undergo a lot of wear and tear while you are out on the road. Regular compressors won’t be able to last very long with such applications. This is because they can’t withstand the kind of jostling that occurs in any kind of vehicle. Opt for a regular at home use fridge instead. They are surprisingly durable and can help you avoid extra expenses on maintenance or repairs. Some fridges are able to run on propane gas. These are great if you want to stay off road for as long as possible. You can go for solar powered fridges as well if you want to remain environmentally conscious during your travels.
Get The Right Stove
There are a lot of options here that you can explore. Many of these options involve various kinds of stoves. The most common stove that you would get in a front end kitchen would be a three burner. These are sufficient for day to day usage. Making meals for large families can be a lot easier if you have a three burner at your disposal. Some people opt for two burners. These can work fine as well. However, they don’t give you enough burners to cook a large meal.
You might also want to get an oven. Such a thing would greatly expand your cooking options. You would be limited in what things you can cook if you just have a stove. An oven allows you to make more extravagant meals. It might make your meals healthier as well. Roasting and baking is always better than frying, and with a stovetop burner frying is usually the best option for you to look into. An oven might bring the price of your motorhome up, though. It’s generally considered a luxury by most manufacturers.
Dishwashing Machines: Are They Worth It?
Even if you are living life traveling from one place to another, it’s unlikely that you would be able to escape the responsibility of doing the dishes. This is a chore that needs to be taken care of. Otherwise dirty dishes would pile up and you would no longer have anything that you can cook in or eat from. Still, even though this chore is important the whole point of you getting a fifth wheel is so that you can have a bit of fun and get away from it all. This is why we recommend that you get a kitchen with a dishwasher.
Some fifth wheel manufacturers offer some amazing dishwashers that you can use. This is a heavy duty appliance. It has a lot of weight to it, so it might make smaller fifth wheels difficult to maneuver. You should only get a dishwasher if you are buying a fifth wheel. Otherwise it could just make life even more difficult for you. It also takes up a lot of space that could otherwise have been used for storage. Most people only go for a light meal every so often while they are in their fifth wheels.
Water Storage Solutions Are Important
This is a feature that is useful outside of the front kitchen as well. You need water pretty much everywhere. Especially in your bathroom. Having a large enough water tank is crucial to keep your life comfortable on the road. If you use water conservatively, you can get by on about 50 gallons per person per day. Try getting a five hundred gallon fresh water tank. This will leave you with water to spare after a week has passed. It will allow you to go longer without having to refill the tank.
Don’t forget about grey water, by the way. Fresh water storage is important but you also need some way to store your grey and black water too. Generally, grey water and black water is stored in separate tanks. These tanks need to have a relatively high capacity as well. You can’t dispose of this kind of water just anywhere. Not only would this cause a lot of health problems and environmental concerns, it might even open you up to certain kinds of legal actions so you should be wary of the kind of water disposal methods you are taking part in.
Add Ons And Extras
These are things that don’t form core components of your kitchen but are nice to have. The most important extra appliance would be a microwave. You can warm up food without it too, of course. It would just be a lot more difficult than it needs to be. Stovetop food warming is also really difficult to manage. A microwave can make food warming as easy as pushing a button. Try looking for a coffee a machine, too. It’s nice to be able to wake up to a nice cup of coffee. This would refresh you and help you get some much needed energy.
Some fifth wheels even come with things like Panini presses and the like. These are somewhat more luxurious so you don’t necessarily need to look for them. Only go for these appliances if you can afford them. It might be a good idea to try and spend money somewhat conservatively. Learn how to survive on a tight budget. This would increase the sense of adventure you would get to enjoy during your travels. It’s perfectly fine to have these extra appliances as long as you remember that they are in no way necessary.
The 6 Top Front Kitchen Fifth Wheel Floor Plans
1. 2020 Forest River RV Cedar Creek Champagne Edition 38EFK
The front kitchen in this Forest River fifth wheel offers a lot of great features. Starting with the four burner stove. A three burner is all well and good, but four burners are what you should really be going for. They offer a great deal more versatility. One advantage of four burners is that they can allow multiple people to cook at once. Everyone is not going to end up eating at the exact same time. They might have different schedules that would need to be taken into account. A four burner stove can help facilitate people having more control over their eating options.
You need multiple cooking options with this Forest River fifth wheel because it sleeps up to 6 people. Three burners are fine for four people or fewer, but when the number gets higher than that you might need to start looking into four burners to get the job done. The fridge is appropriately sized for this many people as well. You would get a nice, full sized fridge that can fit large quantities of food in it. The fridge is made of stainless steel which is a nice touch. This makes the fridge more durable and it look a lot nicer as a result as well.
The bathroom in this Forest River fifth wheel is similarly impressive. It comes with both a toilet and a shower. Indoor showers are rare luxuries in the world of fifth wheels. Most fifth wheels only offer an outdoor shower to save space indoors. A fifth wheel that’s this big can easily facilitate an indoor shower, though. We would go so far as to say that the lack of an indoor shower might have been a major red flag for this fifth wheel.
The Forest River RV also comes with a nice fresh water tank. It offers a peak capacity of about 57 gallons. This means that everyone in this Forest River fifth wheel can use as much water as they like without having to worry too much about it running out. The grey water tank is even larger, with a capacity of 80 gallons. This might seem odd since fresh water is more important. However, you will be limited when it comes to disposing of this water. So a larger tank is definitely worth it if you look at it like this.
You’re going to love the living room of this Forest River fifth wheel. It comes with a fantastic 55 inch LED TV. Entertaining yourself is important, especially if you are going to travel for extended periods of time with few breaks in the middle. The living room has two comfortable sofas too. The sofas can be turned into makeshift beds which makes it easier for 6 people to sleep comfortably. These sofas also make for a more comfortable and cozy relaxation time for everyone in the fifth wheel. When you share a fifth wheel living room with so many people, you essentially turn into something like a family. Spending time together is important, so it’s nice that the sofas and living room make this sort of thing possible.
2. Keystone Alpine 3701FL Fifth Wheel Camper With A Front Kitchen
The Keystone Alpine is a bit different. It’s not a vehicle that you can drive on its own. Rather, it is a fifth wheel that you can tow. You would need to attach it to your car and drag it behind you. This can create a separation between your living room and driving space. An important distinction will be made here which can help you focus on driving when the need arises.
With a dry weight of about 13,500 pounds, the Keystone Alpine is in no way light. You’d need a heavy duty car if you want to be able to use it properly. You do get a lot of advantages that make up for this somewhat excessive weight, though. For example, the fresh water tank has a capacity of 66 gallons. The extra gallons you’d be getting can prove to be enormously useful. It also helps divide the water up evenly among all the people living in the fifth wheel. This fifth wheel can sleep up to 6 people, which means that each person in the fifth wheel would be able to use up to 11 gallons of water if they get an even and fair share.
The fridge in the Keystone Alpine is quite notable. It can run on electricity, but you can also power it using propane. This is convenient for a lot of situations. An off the grid lifestyle means that access to electricity won’t be consistent. You might have an unlimited supply on one day but would then need to wait a few days before you can get electricity access again. Hence, it’s a good thing that you can switch your fridge to propane if you expect to be away from civilization for an extended period of time.
An excellent feature that we really loved about the Keystone Alpine was the fact that it comes with two bathrooms. Six people sharing one bathroom is never convenient. At some point or another, someone might just have to wait and hold it while somebody else gets done with their bathroom time. The Keystone Alpine doesn’t even try to take the cheaper way out by offering one and a half baths. Quite on the contrary, both of the bathrooms you get here would be fully decked out and functional.
As for the kitchen, this fifth wheel offers you one with a three burner stove. However, the star of the show in our opinion would definitely be the oven. Though it’s a little small, it’s quite well maintained and effective. The fact that it’s small is a good thing when you consider how much space it saves. Overall, the kitchen has been made with a lot of expertise, and many space saving features have been added to make it more convenient. The stove and oven can run on propane so you can keep a canister handy for whenever the need to use it arises.
3. Jayco – North Point 383FKWS
The kind of insulation you get in your fifth wheel matters a lot. Proper insulation means that your fifth wheel would stay warm even if you don’t turn a heater on. This happens because the human body generates heat. If you and your family or friends stay inside the fifth wheel for long enough, eventually the heat would accumulate thanks to the insulation. This would lead to a warm and toasty environment. If the insulation is not top notch, this heat would just end up escaping and you’d struggle to find a heating solution that would keep your fifth wheel warm.
The North Point from Jayco has a really massive fresh water tank. Offering up to 75 gallons of water, this water tank can keep you fully supplied for days on end. This frees you up to explore more and more parts of the world. Making do with a few gallons a day for drinking, bathing and flushing can extend this even more. You can simply fill the tank up and then head to a remote area where you wouldn’t be able to access any fresh water yet this would not matter since you have such a large supply at your disposal in the tank.
Some of the floor plans for the Jayco North Point fifth wheel have rear kitchen. We feel like the front kitchen options are far superior, though. They provide superior ventilation. A front kitchen would be separated from your bedroom. It would also be more easily accessible from the living room. This is something that needs to be taken into account. Front kitchens are just a lot more conveniently placed than back kitchens. The smells and smoke that come with cooking will be blown outside and would not get the chance to fill up your fifth wheel.
The kitchen in the Jayco North Point fifth wheel is truly impressive. In fact, we feel like it looks almost indistinguishable from a kitchen you’d have in a regular house. The wood that’s used is really durable and looks amazing as well. The best thing about this kitchen is how much space you have. It can be impossible to cook in an overly cramped space. You need room to move around and handle different things at once. We feel like the kitchen in this fifth wheel represents the best of the best in the industry.
This North Point 383FKWS model also facilitates outdoor cooking. There is a cooking station that you can pull out of the exterior of this fifth wheel. It slides in quite well too, so much so that you wouldn’t even know it’s there while it’s been folded up. Outdoor cooking is a lot of fun. Many people feel like it’s an essential aspect of living in any kind of fifth wheel. The outdoor cooking setup comes with a grill. This can be connected to a propane gas tank and you can then host barbeques for all of your friends.
4. Keystone Montana 3820FK Front Kitchen Fifth Wheel
If you intend to travel in a fairly large group, you’re going to need a fairly large fifth wheel. Preferably one with a front kitchen that can facilitate the cooking of meals for large groups. This fifth wheel is meant for up to eight people. That puts it firmly on the larger side of things. With these kinds of vehicles, you attain a level of comfort that you simply won’t be able to get with other kinds of models.
Cooking for 8 people is not the only thing that might be difficult in certain fifth wheels. The way the dining area has been set up matters quite a bit as well. Square dining tables are decent, but they can waste a lot of space. This fifth wheel offers a U-shaped dinette. This makes much more efficient use of space. Instead wasting corners, this dining setup fully embraces them. A small u-shaped dinette can host a lot more people than an angular table. People can sit around in a semi-circle, and this would boost the communal vibe of the fifth wheel as well. This sort of thing is especially convenient if you are embarking on a college road trip or something of this sort.
The seats around the dinette are really more like sofas. They are plush and so comfortable that you might even be able to sleep on them. They provide enough room for everyone to spread around and eat in comfort. The easy access from the dinette to the kitchen is also a nice touch. The further away your dinette is, the more likely it would be that you might make a mess while bringing food from the kitchen space to the dining area. Close proximity as is the case with this fifth wheel can make the process of cooking meals for people and feeding them a lot easier.
One thing that we didn’t really like was the size of the black water tank. Whereas the fresh water tank offers 66 gallons and the gray water 78 gallons, with the black water tank you only get 39 gallons. This would fill up pretty quickly, especially if you are traveling in a group of eight people. You might need to boost wastewater storage capacity on your own which is an added expense that could have been avoided if this fifth wheel just had a better sized black water tank that was more proportional to the fresh water and gray water ones.
That said, we want to move on to the fridge that you would get in this fifth wheel. The fridge is extremely solid, and it has been built with shock absorbers. These would dampen the shocks that come with driving into a pothole or other occurrences that might jolt your fridge. This shock absorber also helps to keep the gas inside of the fridge stable. This ensures that the cooling in your fridge would remain top notch and that all of the food you have stored therein would be preserved for an extended period.
5. 2020 Palomino Columbus 387FK
You don’t need to have a huge fifth wheel in order to travel comfortably. The Columbus fifth wheel by Palomino is a good example of why this is the case. The kitchen in this fifth wheel is phenomenal. It has been made with some really high quality materials. All of the wood is polished to perfection. You won’t find any chip wood here either. Instead, you get planks and boards of pure wood that’s been manufactured in a really efficient and effective way.
The oven in this kitchen is quite spacious. It’s not a half oven like what you get in many other kinds of fifth wheels. Instead, it has enough room even for a whole turkey! This makes this fifth wheel one of the few out there that can allow you to cook an entire Thanksgiving dinner. This is a rather unusual metric to judge fifth wheels against, but it’s useful if you want to contextualize the advantages of this kind of oven. The oven can also help you bake things like bread. Being able to bake your own bread is great because you might not have many other options that would allow you to eat fresh bread on a regular basis while you are out on the road.
A major contributing factor to the Palomino Columbus success is its price range. Most fifth wheels are just not feasible for the average person to buy. Palomino Columbus, on the other hand, seems rather determined to change this kind of dynamic. It’s offered at a price that is quite accessible, even for regular people who don’t have a lot of disposable income. The low price also means that you can invest more money into the fifth wheel itself. You can pay for extra accessories and other luxuries that would help make your fifth wheel a more enjoyable place to live in.
Once again a lot of emphasis has been placed on the fresh water tank here. With a capacity of up to 75 gallons, this is another example of a fifth wheel that can give you access to constant fresh water. Exploring different areas is a lot of fun, but you won’t be able to get very far until and unless you have enough water at your disposal.
The bathroom has a very convenient shower stall. It makes taking a shower more enjoyable since you can have some privacy. Multiple people can use the bathroom as well since the person on the commode would be separated from whoever is showering through the stall wall. If you’re comfortable enough with the other person, multiple people using the bathroom will be a breeze. The high capacity fresh water tank helps you actually use this bathroom to its full potential. A lack of adequate water supply would have ruined any benefits that this bathroom could have otherwise provided. There are a number of other things that come together to make Palomino Columbus a great fifth wheel to purchase as well.
6. 2020 Heartland Big Country BC 3895 FK Fifth Wheel
Heartland is a company that’s well known for making really large fifth wheels and RVs. Their focus is almost always on giving you a roomy environment to live in. You can see that in this fifth wheel with the master suite. It has a king sized bed, a luxury even if you were living in a regular home. Such a bed is large enough that up to three people can sleep in it. If you have pets, this kind of bed size is perfect because it would allow your pets to sleep close to you which is something that they would definitely want to do.
This fifth wheel is meant for up to six people. Three people can sleep on the king sized bed, and there’s an additional queen bed in the living room as well. This bed can be folded up when it’s not being used. Hence, you would have full control over the amount of space that’s at your disposal. The queen sized bed also helps make the living room a good place for people to come together at the end of the day. Most fifth wheels offer at most a single king sized bed or perhaps two queen sized beds. So the fact that you are getting a king sized bed plus a queen sized bed is definitely an enormous advantage.
The freshwater tank in this fifth wheel has a capacity of 65 gallons. This means that it can be suitable for use at trailer parks and the like. Such areas generally have pumps that you can use to refill your water supply. With these pumps you can take advantage of a consistent water supply by refilling your water tank at regular intervals. The gray water and black water tanks both have impressive capacity 90 gallons each. This can reduce the number of pit stops that you need to make for waste disposal. Such things can take up a lot of time, and prevent you from enjoying your adventure to its fullest extent.
However, the capacity of the fresh water tank is somewhat lacking if you were hoping to go truly off grid. For this kind of usage you might need to bring some extra tanks along with you. Off the grid living requires a substantial water supply. This water demand increases with each new person that you bring along for the ride. You will be shocked at just how much of a difference this sort of thing can make. 65 gallons sure does sound like a lot, but if you have five or six people showering and using the bathroom not to mention washing dishes and the like, 65 gallons would be used up in no time.
Problems with the fresh water tank aside, this is a solid fifth wheel. Affordable yet well designed, it offers the best sleeping space that you can hope for. Its various features come together brilliantly to make the whole far greater than the sum of its parts.
What kinds of fridges work best in RVs?
The technology that most modern fridges use is quite simple. Basically, a compressor generates pressure to move a gas known as Freon through the cooling coils of the fridge. This absorbs heat from the interior of this fridge. Hence, in a way fridges don’t really create a cold environment. Rather, they take heat away from said environment. A fan then blows the air that has had all of the heat removed into the interior of the fridge. This keeps the interior cold with some help from the insulation and prevents food from going bad.
However, while these fridges work well enough in a stable home, they’re not suited to being moved around frequently. This shakes up the Freon in the fridge and prevents cooling from taking place. What you need an absorption refrigerator. These fridges aren’t quite as delicate as traditional models. They don’t have any of the sensitive moving parts. This makes them more capable of dealing with the rough use that comes with RV living. Opting for an absorption fridge can save you from a lot of trouble. You need a cooling option that won’t break down at the first sign of movement.
Are smaller fresh water tanks useful?
Everyone knows how important fresh water is. You need enough of it to keep yourself going. In spite of this, some RVs come with very small fresh water tanks. They might only have enough capacity for a single day’s use. This is generally because they are meant to be used at RV parks where you can get a steady supply of water. In RV parks, you only need enough capacity to last the day since you can refill the tank whenever it runs out.
There is a benefit that comes with small water tanks as well. They make the towing weight of your travel trailer a bit less. Lower towing weight means less pressure being placed on your car. Hence, small fresh water tanks are actually advantageous if you take this into consideration. Besides, if you need a larger capacity you can always just add more fresh water tanks. They are not an expensive add-on, which is why manufacturers don’t worry about them too much. They know that buyers can optimize their water storage space based on their own needs without too much of a significant cost.
Front kitchens are really useful for a lot of reasons. They can provide some much needed separation of your living spaces. You can also get more privacy if you have a front kitchen since the living space would be similarly placed. There are a lot of other considerations that need to be made as well. But front kitchens are generally a decent option that you can explore.