Problem: I want to go car camping but, don't have an organized way of dealing with cooking, eating and cleanup besides several cardboard boxes full of camp stuff that I don't know what it is. In other words, I'm starting from scratch. The last thing I want is to get the camp site and spend time digging through piles of stuff to cook a meal. I think you know where I'm coming from.
Solution: Create a portable storage container for camping related eating, cooking and cleanup tasks that:
1. fits in the bed of my pickup.
2. folds down for easy storage.
3. expands at the camp site to provide more work space.
4. contains all the basic eating, cooking and cleanup equipment.
5. built from common on-hand materials and keep costs to a minimum.
6. stores easily at home ready for the next adventure.
Too good to be true? well let's give it a shot. This is a prototype version and depending on how it performs out in the field, may go through some changes.
I've attached a working drawing with dimensions that work for me. You may need to alter them to fit your needs. Good luck!
Difficulty scale: Depending on your carpentry skills, I'm rating this a 6 out of 10.
Step 1: Design - the Box
I spent quite a bit of time thinking about the best design that works for me. I found many good designs on the net and borrowed features from some and added many of my own. You may not like this design so feel free to change anything you like.
1. must fit stove and all cook/clean gear
2. must maximize storage space for large and small items.
3. must maximize working counter space.
4. must hold fresh and wash water containers.
The 2 top panels fold out and are supported by the swing out doors. The doors double as storage space for cleaning and condiment items. I added bungees to the doors to keep things from rattling around. The large storage compartment has adjustable shelves as does the right compartment. Nesting cooking components saves space and the flip out door design allows easy access to all components.
Step 2: Design - the Stand
Given that the deign of the box would probably not allow it to collapse with equipment inside, the stand had to fold down.
1. I used door hinges with removable pins to allow the 2 halves of the stand to attach and detach to each other.
2. Sections that were removed from each side to make the stand lighter were reused for fold down shelves.
3. The back cut out had movable legs attached to rest across the horizontal supports.
4. Supports for a free standing beach umbrella were added for sun shading.
5. The inside dimensions of the stand fit the outside dimensions of the box so that the box nests inside the stand against the stops.
Step 3: Building - the Box
Top, sides, divider, and bottom: 3/4" Swedish plywood.
Back and internal adjustable shelving: 1/8" tempered Masonite board.
Doors: 3/4" plywood frame, 1/8" Luan mahogany skin, closet door hinges.
Handles: recessed road case hinges (1/2" of side had to be routed out so the handle fit flush)
Top fold out counter: 3/4" Swedish plywood, piano hinges recessed.
-Take care to measure everything carefully! Measure twice, cut once.
-The box has1-1/2" screws were driven through the top and bottom to hold the sides. I used bar clamps to hold everything during assembly. There was no glue used on this project.
-Prefit the doors before assembling the box. The doors should be made a little bit shorter than the opening so they will swing out easily. I used small pieces of scrap pine for the door latches and stop.
-I cut extra slots on the inside of the box to maximize adjustability of the shelves for the future should the contents change,
-The finish is natural pine with 2 coats of poly urethane.
Step 4: Building - the Stand
Sides: 3/4" Swedish plywood. Cutouts removed to reduce weight.
Hinges: Residential door hinges with removable pins. The original pins were replaced on 2 sets with large framing nails for easier assembly.
Fold Out Shelves: Cutouts were reused and mounted with dowel pins as hidden hinges. Fold out supports added.
Umbrella Stand: Scrap plywood with 1'1/2" pipe clamp. Top bracket is removable and attaches with small bolts and hidden crown nuts.
-Assemble 1 short and 1 long side together and leave them that way. Store them folded flat and secure the removable pins in the box for safe keeping.
-You can mark the pieces for easy assembly like top/front.
Step 5: Collapsed - Expanded
Here are the finished photos of the Chuck box collapsed for storage and expanded ready for use.
I hope that this project inspires you to build your own chuck box. Or if you like, email me and I can build one for you. firstname.lastname@example.org
Remember, measure carefully and prefit everything before assembly.
I'll be glad to answer any comments you have for me. Enjoy!
Step 6: Measured Drawing
Here's the measured drawing. You can alter any and all dimensions to suite your own taste. The measurements shown on this drawing are estimates and may differ slightly from the finished projects. I did not include all of the detail for the fold out shelves and support legs so I'm sure you can come up with your own measurements.
Let me know what you think in the comments and thanks to any of you who happen send me a badge.
Finalist in the
Fix & Improve It Contest