Camping Kitchen Box

The best way to organize and carry your camping cooking gear.

Coleman 502 - 700 Instructions from 1966

Kurt Huber

I just picked up a Coleman 502 stove at a church rummage sale, in a box with the instructions and other bits of ephemera still in there. I figured the citizens of the internet would appreciate a scan of the instructions, for not only there usefulness but the great old graphics. To see a high resolution scan version, just click on the image.

Coleman 502 Instructions front

Coleman 502 Instructions front

Coleman 502 Instructions back

Coleman 502 Instructions back

Coleman 502 Guarantee and List of Service stations

Coleman 502 Guarantee and List of Service stations

I would say I was pleasantly surprised that after I added a little fuel it fired right up, but with these old Coleman stoves you almost expect that, even if it is over 50 years old (the font is dated June 1966). So I guess I can say I was not disappointed.

Colored Webbing

Kurt Huber
The New Webbing Color Choices are  Black, Blue, Green, Orange and Red

The New Webbing Color Choices are Black, Blue, Green, Orange and Red

We added a new option for the Camping Kitchen Box... colored webbing for the buckles and the drawer handles. This will be very useful for those who need multiple boxes and want to be able to easily tell them apart. Of course it is also nice if you just want a little splash of color. If your favorite color i not here contact us and we can probably order it for you.

Beating up the Camping Kitchen Box.

Kurt Huber

Some people can’t believe a chuck box made out of plastic can be very tough. I made a video to correct that misconception I dropped the Camping Kitchen Box loaded with gear repeatedly from 10 feet onto concrete. How did it do? Well watch the video.

I can’t wait for some else to repeat this experiment with their wooden or aluminium chuck box.

D.I.Y. Pour Over Coffee Maker

Kurt Huber

I made a pour over coffee maker out of a plastic cutting sheet and zip ties. It weighs next to nothing and can be folded down, which makes it great for the backpacker (as well as anyone else) who can’t live without freshly brewed coffee in the morning.  I purchased both the cutting sheets and the zip ties at a the dollar store, so cost for this project is just 2 bucks! The tools required for this project are very basic , just a ruler, a straight edge, a utility knife or scissors and an awl.

To start cut two pieces from the 14 X 11 cutting sheet that are 6 X 11 as pictured.

Cutting Diagram

Cutting Diagram

Fold the two pieces as pictured below.  First fold the straight line down middle, and then fold the angles which are done in the opposite direction of the first fold. 

Folding Diagram

Folding Diagram

When both pieces are folded, place them back to back and note the cone that is created. Use the awl to punch the holes for the zip ties that hold the pieces together. For each zip tie, punch two holes about ½ inch apart. Make one hole from one side and one from the  other, to make it easier to feed the zip ties through. Put two or three zip ties on each mating surface, close to seam.

The Two halves held together with zip ties, before the zip ties are trimmed.

The Two halves held together with zip ties, before the zip ties are trimmed.

Lastly trim the bottom to change the profile so that it forms a slight cone,which will help the device to sit firmly in the cup and makes sure the your coffee drips into your cup and not over the side of your cup.

Before and After trimming the buttom

Before and After trimming the buttom

The D.I.Y. pour over coffee maker in use.

The D.I.Y. pour over coffee maker in use.

A Smaller Chuck Box

Kurt Huber

It looks cool, but can you make it smaller?

One of the more common comments about the Camping Kitchen Box is "It looks cool, but can you make it smaller?" Well after some noodling, some head scratching  and some prototypes that went straight into the recycling bin,  the answer is "Yes!"

I am  proud to present the "Camping kitchen Box 650" the little brother to our classic chuck box, which is now know as the "Camping Kitchen Box 1000". 


The new Camping Kitchen Box 650 on the left, and our traditional chuck box on the right.

The new Camping Kitchen Box 650 on the left, and our traditional chuck box on the right.

So what are the differences between the two boxes?

Well first of course is the size. The new box is about 2/3 the size or the original.  They are both 22 1/2 inches tall, and both about 16 inches deep, But the new box is only about 17 inches wide (not counting the handles)  as compared to the original which is 24 1/2 inches wide (once again not counting the handles). For some folks this is the difference between unwieldy and easy to handle.

Smaller size of course means less weight. The traditional CKB weighted only 10 pounds empty, but the new box weighs an even more incredibly svelte 7 1/2 pounds.

So with the smaller size what are you giving up? Mostly the ability to carry a two burner stove in your chuck box. If you don't count the upper stove compartment both boxes actually have similar storage space.

As you can immediately tell from the pictures the new box has three drawers. When I first started tinkering, it was kind of obvious that a smaller box would have fewer drawers... until of course it became obvious that having the three drawers solved a lot of design issues.

You may have also noticed the doors are different. The original box has folding doors with "living hinges". Unfortunately theses living hinge doors did not scale down. When made shorter, the folding doors just did not fold enough. To solved this problem I had to come up with a new scheme., which turned out to be separate doors that slide in tracks in the front of the box. After you open the box by sliding the doors out, they can be quickly clipped to the side of the box, where they are out of the way but not running loose, trying to get lost. 

So which Camping Kitchen Box is for Me?

If you want to keep your camp stove together with all your other camp kitchen gear, and don't mind carrying a two foot wide box (or you have some one to help you) the CKB 1000 is for you. If you find the size of the original a bit intimidating, and don't mind making a second trip to get the stove, then the CKB 650 is your solution.

Camping Kitchen Box vs Cabela's Deluxe Camper's Kitchen

Kurt Huber

I just had someone email me and ask me how the Camping Kitchen Box stacks up against the  Cabela's Deluxe Camper's Kitchen. I guess I should mention that I have never actually seen this particular item in real life, so my opinions are based on what facts I can get from the web site and experience with similar products. I am sure that the Cabela's kitchen is a fine product, I am just making a comparison of functionality and features. My response follows:

I don't know all the reasons folks purchase one or the other, but when comparing the Camping Kitchen Box to the Cabela's camp kitchen  (or similar) , ease and speed of use, as well as the light weight are what I think of as the main advantages. 

With the Cabela's camp kitchen  (or similar) there is a lot of setup involved. When you arrive at the campsite and first you have to unpack and set up the camp kitchen (5 Minutes with practice?) . After it is setup you then take your camping cooking gear out of whatever it is packed in then put it into its place in the Camp Kitchen (5 Minutes? 10 Minutes?)  You are now ready to start cooking.  At the end of the trip you have to unpack all your equipment from the kitchen and put it back in the containers you bought it in (5 -10 Minutes) and then take down and pack the kitchen itself (Longer then the  5 minutes setup time because you have to stick everything back in its travel case.)

With the Camping Kitchen Box you arrive at the campsite and put it on the picnic table and open it up and secure the doors  and all your cooking gear is right at hand in 30 seconds.  If you are camping at a site that does not have a table, this typical folding table  (which has about the same work surface as the camp kitchen) sets up in less then a minute and comes down as quickly.  All you have to do with the Camping Kitchen Box is close it back up and it is ready to go.

Weight is certainly advantage of the Camping Kitchen Box.  The Cabala's kitchen is  57 lbs according to the web site.  The CKB weighs around 10 pounds if you add in the weight of the table I linked to(25 pounds) the total is 35 pounds.

The Cabela's Kitchen does have a couple other features that are noteworthy. First would be the sink, but I replicate similar functionality with a  Plastic Dishpan,  The lantern hangers are a nice feature that the Camping Kitchen Box does not have, but  placing a lantern on top of the box sitting on top of a table does offer similar functionality. :) 

Connecting Corrugated Plastic Sheets with Pop Rivets

Kurt Huber

Since I have been making the Camping Kitchen Box I have been using plastic ratchet rivets to hold the box together, and they have worked well, except for two of issues. First, if you really pull on them they can come apart, which was not an issues except for a couple of boxes where I used them to hold the straps for the buckles.. When I replaced rivets that held the straps with some pop rivets and fender washers and that worked great.  The other issue is that occasionally the plastic rivets would break when I assembled them. This was not an issue when I caught them and replaced them, but it seemed that more and more were breaking and I was not catching them all, which caused a quality issue.  I have decided that even though I liked the appearance of the plastic rivets and they were working for the most part, using pop rivets and fendor washers for all the connections made for an even more well constructed box.  

Old Plastic Rivet

Old Plastic Rivet

Pop Rivets and Fender Washers

Pop Rivets and Fender Washers

Pop rivets with fender washers, outside view

Pop rivets with fender washers, outside view

Inside View

Inside View

For those interested in the technical details, I am using 3/16 inch pop rivets. The rivets are backed up on both sides by 3/16" ID , 3/4" OD fender washers. When I am attaching 2 pieces of 6MM corrugated plastic together, I use a pop rivet with a depth is 5/8 of an inch.  When attaching a piece of strapping to to a single piece of 6MM corrugate, I use 1/2" depth rivets.

DIY Rope Cutter

Kurt Huber

I have posted a quick video on my very simple rope cutter made with nichrome wire, a PC Power Supply a some bits laying around the shop. Please use common sense when playing with electricity and hot wires.

Camping Headlamp Lampshade Take 2

Kurt Huber

If you follow this blog you may notice I that some  posts are experimental projects . This was the case with the Head Lamp lampshade made from thin plastic cutting sheets (link). I thought it was sort of an interesting idea, and I actually continued to play with the concept event after the blog post, until I stumbled across the Monte Bell Crushable Lantern Shade, which is basically a small stuff sack that you slip over your headlamp and it diffuses the light. Once I saw that I realized that the cutting sheet derived lampshade was kind of silly, and was able to move on to some other things. 

Recently one of those other things to trying to teach myself sewing. Looking for some practice projects, I remembered the stuff sack lampshade. After a couple prototypes here is the result.  Like I said it is just a basically a small stuff sack, but it really is successful on two fronts. It does a great job diffusing the light and a very easy project to practice sewing on .

Headlamp Diffuser.jpg
Headlamp Light Shade.jpg

The next two pictures try and illustrate the difference the lampshade makes. The first shot is the naked headlamp pointed at the greatest book ever , “The Golden Book of Camping”. The second shot has the lampshade on. Note the much more pleasant and evenly diffused light.

Without Lampshade.jpg
With Lampshade.jpg


Making it

As I mentioned, I am just learning sewing and this is not a sewing tutorial. In addition to what I have described below you might want to search youtube for tutorials on basic sewing (if you are a beginner like me) and making a stuff sack

It looks like the Monte Bell is made from polyester tent fabric (30 Denier according to the description) . My version is made with something called non woven polypropylene. If you are not familiar with this material, it’s most common use is in the making of reusable shopping bags.  If you happened to have a white reusable shopping bag , you are all set, just start cutting. If you need to track some material down , it is sold under the the Oly Fun brand name. One of the nice things about this material (besides that it does a very nice job of diffusing light)  is that since it is not woven, it does not unravel and there is no need to hem. 

Besides the non woven polypropylene and the usual sewing supplies, the only other thing you will need is a something for the draw string. I am using paracord.

The only thing slightly unusual from making a typical stuff sack (besides the diminutive size)  is that I have doubled over the material to increase the diffusing effect.

On with the instrutions

First start with a piece of 7 X 9 inch material


Fold it in half horizontally. Pin the material to keep it from moving and mark a line ¾ of an inch down from the fold to mark the sew line for the drawstring channel . Cut out some 45 degree cuts on each side of the drawstring channel which will make the openings neater.


Sew the drawstring channel (Just a straight line ¾ inch from the fold.) and then remove the pins..


Fold vertically and pin in place


Sew along the open side and bottom, then remove the pins.


Thread the drawstring, turn the sack rightside out, and you are done!


Patriotic Coleman Stove

Art ProjectKurt Huber

A while ago the Mrs. bought me home a grungy, rusty Coleman Stove (a 413).  I thanked her and put it in a pile of things I might get to one day, but recently inspiration hit. After some elbow grease and a wire brush removed most of the rust and dirt, I busted out the masking tape and the spray paint. The result is what you see here.

 First I did the top, just trying to do I pretty accurate American flag...



On the rest of the case I just went a little more artsy,  but tried to keep with the theme...



OK I did not do the little stars on the flag with masking tape.. Found the almost appropriatly sized stars at the craft store and laid them out on the proper grid. ( )



And I made it so that it "flew" correctly when the stove is open.



Happy Memorial Day!

Custom Camp Box

Kurt Huber

Recently a customer who bought a Camping Kitchen Box contacted me with a request. Could I make a companion storage box? After some hemming and hawing on my part, I agreed to come back with some ideas. The final result is displayed below.

I do get a lot of requests asking about customizing the Camping Kitchen Box. The writer loves the idea of the Camping Kitchen Box, but they want to know if I can change some of the dimensions If they want to make it taller or shorter that is easy, but if they want to change the width or depth , that is more difficult. For the top and bottom, I use some special tooling that is not easy to change, so to change width or depth I would have to recreate it. I don't usually say no to special requests, but when it comes to width and depth the price I will quote is usually more than folks are willing to pay.

Note that on this box, the standard top and bottom pieces are used (the top having a hole of course), so I got to use most of my usual tooling, and the customer got a reasonably priced solution.

If you are Interested in something custom I am always willing to listen.



Headlamp Lamp Shade

Kurt Huber

When I switched plastic colors (to neutral) I took a picture with it lit up from the inside (inspired by this). I started thinking about making a lantern / lampshade for my headlamp out of some of the corrugated plastic.  After a couple of unsuccessful attempts. I came to the conclusion that it was the wrong material for the job, but I was not ready to give up on the idea.  It turns out that I had the perfect material just sitting in my Camping Kitchen Box... plastic chopping mats. After trying some more complicated designs,  I ended up with a dead simple cuboid design.  



I am not planning on selling these, as they are very easy to make. The cutting diagram is below and the video shows how easy it is.

Everything you need to make your own Headlamp Lamp Shade

Everything you need to make your own Headlamp Lamp Shade


  • Dollar Tree 11 X 14 Flexible Chopping Mat You get 2 for a dollar. These are thinner than your typical cutting sheet but just right for our purposes.
  • 5/8 inch velcro dots


  • Pencil
  • Box Cutter
  • Straight Edge
The Cutting Diagram

The Cutting Diagram

New Color for the Camping Kitchen Box

Kurt Huber

The Camping Kitchen Box is now being made in white...or is white the absence of color?  If you want to get really technicall, it is not even white, it is "Opaque". Why the change? Well no one has ever said "Gee I really love that blue".. since it was time to order a new batch of plastic so I decided to mix it up. 



While I am showing off the new box I figured it would be a good time to take a look back at the previous versions of the box, which are pictured below.  The first version of the Camping Kitchen Box was made out of yellow (or maybe beige?) plastic. It was very innovative, but there is always room for improvement. The big changes between the yellow box and blue box pictured below were to the top and bottom which now feature one piece construction and and are essentially mounted upside down from their previous orientation. Both of these changes made the box more structurally sound.


During the time I was using blue plastic, the design has evolved some more. The big changes were using one piece of plastic to form the back sides and doors, and a new drawer design makes them more functional and  aesthetically pleasing. The current white box is being built the same as the last blue one made, but rest assured the improvements will continue.  


Buy Plans for the CKB Chuck Box

Kurt Huber

You have seen the Movie! Now read the book! Some folks have suggested that maybe I should write up plans and instructions on making Camping Kitchen Boxes and sell the plans , so I have, and they are available here.  

What you get for your money (nine dollars and ninety five cents of your money) is a 25 page downloadable Adobe PDF document full of photos and illustrations on how the Camping Kitchen Box Chuck Box is made, cutting diagrams for parts and information on where to get unusual parts and supplies. 

Below is a sample page in Adobe Reader.


How Light is the Camping Kitchen Box?

Kurt Huber

The most unique feature of the Camping Kitchen Box, compared to other chuck boxes, is its weight, which is only 12 lbs. How much lighter is the Camping Kitchen Box compared to other boxes? Below I compare the CKB to a home built chuck box, and then some popular commercial  chuck boxes.


The Home Made Chuck Box

REI recently had a blog post  with plans on how to make a chuck box out of ½ inch plywood. There are hundreds of chuck plans out on the internet, but these particular plans are good for making a direct comparison to the CKB, because the final dimensions (28” X 21” X 16½” )  are  a  good match up with the Camping Kitchen Boxes Dimension (25" X 22½" X 17") and they both are designed not to have their own legs. The weight of half inch plywood depending on woods species, glue and other factors, so it  can weigh anywhere from 40 to 50 lbs for a standard 4’ X 8’ (32 square foot) sheet.  If you take the cut list for the REI box and add up all the dimensions it uses 26.5 square feet of plywood. Using the low end of 40 lbs per square foot that makes the weight of the box at 33 lbs before screwing and gluing it together and adding hardware. By the time all is said and done, this chuck box can easily weight almost 3 times the weight of the CKB!

Commercial Chuck Boxes

Below is a comparison on some other commercial  chuck boxes and the CKB. These are weights without legs. I have also added the outside dimensions and a rough calculation of interior space based on those dimensions, and for fun divided the weight by the interior space so you can directly compare each box. A higher volume / weight number is better.

Chuck Box Material W X H X D (Inches) Volume Sq In. Weight (LBS) Volume / Weight
CKB Corrugated Plastic 28 X 21 X 16.5 9702 12 808
Kanz Field Kitchen Aluminum & Plywood 25.4 X 19.4 X 15 7391 25 296
My Camp Kitchen Outdoorsman Birch Plywood 28.625 X 18.25 X 13.75 7183 35 205
Camping Box Classic Chuck Box Plywood 31 X 15 X 17 7905 28 282




Camping Hand Washing System

Kurt Huber

DIY Camping Hand Washing System

There are many solutions for washing your hands while camping. One solution that seems to work well is what I call the “Fuel Bulb Primer with Five Gallon Buckets Systems”, or FBPWFGBS. (OK I really dont call it FBPWFGBS, but I did spend a couple moments seeing if I could pronounce it) . This system uses 2  five gallon buckets, one as a water supply and one to catch the water, and a fuel pump primer is used to move the water.  The video below gives an overview of the system.


This system has several advantages over just using your drinking water jug to wash your hands. First it is more efficient with water. You pump what you need and no more, as opposed to opening the tap on your water jug, getting your hands wet, and then letting the tap run while you soap up. By the time you are done rinsing you have a nice puddle of wasted water by your feet.Second it is more sanitary, instead of opening the tap on your drinking water with your filthy, germy hands, your foot gets the water flowing safely.

Making Your Own

There are some commercial examples of this system out there,  like one from Tye Works ( or the Wishy Washy from Partner Steel ( These may seem a little pricey, but like most do it yourself projects, by the time you add up the cost supplies and the value of your time, the satisfaction is in the creating, not the saving.



Below is my parts list. Some of the materials I already had, so I just guessed at the cost. You can see that it adds up quickly.Most of the parts came from Lowes, with the exception of the fuel primer pump which was purchased at Walmart. I don’t actually have the fuel filter, but it seems to be a common part of the  commercial setups so I have included it for price comparisons.

Description Cost
Fuel Primer Pump (⅜ inch) $18
Flat Aluminum Stock ⅛ X 1” X 36” $7
¼ “ X 20 X ¾ SS Pan Phillips Head Machine Screw(2) $1
¼ “ X 20 SS Wing Nuts (2) $1
6’ X ⅜” Inside Diameter Vinyl Hose (2) $3
Zip Ties $1
Hose Clamps (2) $2
Misc $2
In Line Fuel Filter $10

Tools Required

Hacksaw - For cutting the aluminum stock.

File - for cleaning up the burrs on the aluminum stock

Power Drill - for drilling holes use a ¼ inch bit for the bolt holes and ⅛ inch or whatever is appropriate for your zip ties

Screw Driver- For the hose clamps

File - For cleaning up the cut and drilled aluminum stock

Create the Bracket from the Aluminum Stock

Below is the cutting diagram for the aluminum stock  The 36 inch inch bar is cut into 2 pieces, one 12 inches long and the second 24 inches. This can easily be done with a hacksaw



Drilling Holes

The diagonally placed holes are for the machine screws and wing nut that will eventually hold the two pieces together. If you are using ¼ inch hardware like I specced above then the holes should be ¼ inch. Note that you probably want to cut the bar first then stack the bars and drill the holes so that everything lines up later.

The 3 sets of perpendicular holes are ⅛ inch and are for the zip ties that hold the vinyl tubing in place. Make sure you have zip ties that fit.

Finally use a file to clean up the burrs from the cut and the holes, and round the corners slightly to cut down on the jabbyness of the pieces.

Bending the Bracket

There is not an exact plan, just follow the picture above. The general goal is to create spring like tensions with the curves.

I bent the ¼ Inch aluminium stock using a combination of my hands, a vice, a pipe and a hammer. The bar was wrapped or hammered over and around the pipe to make the bends One thing that you should pay attention before you make the bends is the way that the holes that will hold the pieces together are lines up. Once you have the pieces bent , assemble them with the machine screws and wing nuts. Note that you can adjust the tension by disassembling the bracket. tweaking the bends and reassembling.

The Rest of the Assembly

Well at this point you are 75% there.

Cut the vinyl tubing into two 3 ft pieces and attach it to each end of the primer bulb, using your hose clamps. Paying attention to the flow of the primer bulb  pump.  Attach the tubing to the bracket using zip ties.

The end that goes into the supply water needs something to keep the end of the hose weighted down. I used a piece of ½ inch 90 degree PVC connector. The hand washing stations that you can purchase appear to use fuel filters that fit on the ⅜ inch hose. Anything that sinks in water and can be attached to the end of the hose works.

To increase the longevity of the primer bulb / pump you will want to keep it off the ground by attaching it to a board.  I went one step further and built a hinged housing with some 6mm corrugated plastic that I have plenty of.

Final Thoughts

That’s it you should be good to go. Note that the parts used to make this (specifically the primer bulb and the fuel filter if you used one) are NOT food safe, so this is not designed for dispensing drinking water or any other beverages.

Racoon vs Camping Kitchen Box

Kurt Huber

Johnathan Aulabaugh, who did the review for Living Over land, let me know via Facebook that a raccoon worked his way into the camping kitchen box. For Jonathan's picture of the perpetrator, follow the link below, and don't forget to like us!

Raccoon decided he wanted our food.

Posted by Johnathan Aulabaugh on Sunday, June 7, 2015

So yes, you can store food in the Camping Kitchen Box, but it won't keep the determined critter at bay!

For more of Jonathans pictures can be found at

CKB Review on Living Overland

Kurt Huber

Living Overland just did a nice review on the Camping Kitchen Box.  Like any good review they found some things they liked and some things they did not ... They were of course absolutely correct on the things they liked.. as far as things they did not like... they were also correct.

One issue they had is with the height of the box, and yes,  It is tall. The stove compartment in particular is sized to fit the tallest of camp stoves. If the box height is an issue and is what is keeping you from purchasing a CKB we can actually make you one that is shorter without too much difficulty. Contact Us if you want you box shorter (or even a little taller), it won't cost you anything extra, because it is actually pretty easy to do... changing the other dimensions is not as easy though, but I suppose given enough timeand money(especially money) we would make it happen.

Another issue they had is with the plastic rivets. They are right and I believe I have fixed the issues, and actually covered the details in a previous blog post .

So if you have not already read the review on Living Overland, do it now, and then check out the rest of what is a very interesting blog with other equipment reviews and some yummy recipes for the gourmet camper.

Constant Little Improvements

Kurt Huber

I am always striving to make improvements to the box… Each box I build is hopefully a little better than the one I made before. Sometimes it just comes out a little nicer because I have even more practice working with what is sometimes an unforgiving material. Other times I have an idea to do something differently  that make the box better.

In this second category my latest improvement is using pop rivets and washers to fasten the straps for the buckles to the box. Previously I have been using plastic rivets to attach these straps. The plastic rivets do a fantastic job of keeping the box together, but they were not always up to the lateral forces from the traps and buckles… After pondering the issue for a while and playing with several solutions, pop rivets, combined with some washers proved to be the answer I have been looking for. Below is a picture of the pop rivets in place on the side buckle. Hope you like the results!