I picked up the Girl Camper r-pod after the Hershey RV Show and immediately hit the road for my four month adventure to see what this baby could do. As happens often, I packed way too many kitchen items to cover every eventuality. But, after a couple of weeks I began to whittle things down to a more manageable level.

rpod 196 kitchen
The 2020 RPod 196 has a very “cookable” kitchen.

The first thing you notice in the kitchen of the 196 is the huge pantry…the largest of any camper in its class. There is ample storage to equip a fully functional kitchen. I purchased several canvas storage baskets to hold linens, a small four-cup coffee maker, a tea kettle, and a variety of plastic food storage containers. I placed the heavier items on the bottom shelf to relieve any stress on the shelf clips. I like to cook with cast iron skillets and carry two with me…a generous ten inch and a smaller six inch, perfect for eggs.

The r-pod 196

With the redesign of the 196 model, the rear wall of the camper was flattened allowing for roomy overhead storage for dishes and food items. I love the window over the kitchen counter allowing for air flow and a view of the vista beyond. The oversized sink is a full eight inches deep…plenty big to set a large cooking pot in. And, it’s stainless steel so there’s no worry about a hot pot melting through like most campers with plastic sinks. The counter surface is high quality and cleans easily.

Sweet Rolls in the r-pod!

My first big camping trip in the 196 was at an annual gathering of Girl Campers at Beaver Creek State Park in Lisbon, Ohio. Saturdays are soup days at “What a Hoot” and I decided to make a large slow cooker of beef and noodles. The cutting board cover over the sink adds extra counter space and is adjacent to the electric outlet. After searing the beef and sautéing mushrooms, onions, celery, and carrots, I placed all the ingredients in an eight-quart slow cooker, turned it on low, and went out to join my friends for an afternoon of fun conversation around the campfire. Eight hours later, I added a bag of frozen noodles, turned the temp to high and cooked for another hour. There’s nothing like comfort food on a crisp fall camping trip!

My next cooking adventure in the 196 was conquering the convection microwave. I’ve never used a convection oven and it was against everything I’d ever learned about microwaves to put a metal pan in one. I read the directions carefully and watched a couple of YouTube videos for good measure. Once I was comfortable with the operating procedure, I heated the oven up to 325° and took the famous “r-pod cinnamon roll challenge”. Twenty minutes later, I pulled a pan of yummy pastries from this powerful little appliance and I was sold!

convection microwave
The convection microwave does double duty as a baking oven…you can even use metal pans!

The refrigerator and separate freezer are roomy and hold plenty of food for a full week of camping. The ice cream stayed frozen and the perishables were adequately chilled. The stainless steel exterior gives the kitchen a clean, modern appearance. After cooking and cleaning up, I think one of my favorite features of this little camper is the central vacuum. Just sweep up any dust and crumbs over in front of the unit, lift the door with your toe, and bring the broom to the opening. No more struggling to get bits of dirt and dust over the threshold and out the door!

As a former competitive baker and experienced camper, I’ve worked in my share of gourmet kitchens as well as those in the typical travel trailer. The r-pod 196 by Forest River packs a big punch in a small space and allows you to enjoy healthy and hearty meals on the go with everything literally at your fingertips.

camper kitchen
The kitchen is compact and workable in the RPod 196.

And, don’t forget, this camper is the Grand Prize in the Annual Girl Camper Charity Trailer Raffle benefiting the HoldYou Foundation. Your purchase of raffle tickets helps the families of critically ill children. Read more about the raffle & purchase tickets on GirlCamper.com through February 13, 2020 with the drawing on Valentine’s Day 2020.

We are Girl Campers…we Go Places and Do Things!

Ginny McKinney – Marshmallow Ranch

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