One of the many reasons that so many people are drawn to travel trailers and RV’s as a form of camping is the household amenities that you can have while still enjoying nature right outside your front door.
One of the items that many trailers come with is a working oven and RV stove so that campers are still able to cook their own meals without having to solely rely on an outside grill or campfire.
We love using the oven in our camper as it allows us to cook easy items such as lasagna or pizza so we don’t have to do lots of dishes when boondocking.
However, many people wonder if using an RV oven is just like using an oven that is found in a regular home.
While using a travel trailer oven essentially works the exact same as an oven that is found in a house, there are a few slight differences. This starts with how to light the oven and get it going, how to get it started heating properly and then how-to to clean it all up after you have cooked your food in it.
Many travel trailer models are different in how the oven works. It is important for a travel trailer owner to read the manual of your model before setting out on a camping trip so that you are aware of the items and steps needed to use the oven before you ever even want to use it.
There is nothing worse than wanting to cook up some food for dinner and not knowing how to do it or not having the right materials to do so! (such as a lighter)
How do RV Ovens Work?
RV Ovens work by using propane gas to provide heat to cook your meals. They typically need to be lit by a match or lighter and do not have a sparking mechanism. Once the pilot light is lit, just like a real oven, you just set the temperature and you are ready to cook.
Not all travel trailers will include a working oven, but for those models that do, it is a great way to cook a meal while you are camping if you don’t want to have to mess with grills and campfires. Unlike typical house ovens, the ovens that are located inside of a travel trailer run entirely off of the propane gas tank that is attached to the outside of your trailer.
Many of the trailers that are being used will require the owner to manually light the oven when wanting to use it. It is important to understand the steps required for lighting a trailer oven before you ever want to use it.
How to Light an RV Oven?
Most campers have ovens that will need to be properly lit before usage. There are a few steps that must be taken in order to do this properly. Before beginning, locate all of the parts on and off the trailer and practice these steps while you are still at home so that you know exactly what to do when the time comes for you to actually use the oven while you are camping.
When lighting a camper oven, these are the most common steps that the user will need to take in order to get the oven heated and ready for cooking.
- Make sure your oven is clean. Some travel trailer ovens may not work properly if there is a build-up of grime and residue inside, especially on the burner or pilot light.
- Next, locate the pilot light, and get a lighter or matches ready to go. You will need to make sure the pilot control is in the ON position. You can refer to your model’s manual if you have any questions on where to find these parts.
- Make sure that the propane tank that manages the oven is turned on. Depending on the model of the travel trailer that you have, you will need to make sure that you have your regulator switched to the correct full tank to provide propane.
- Push the pilot light’s control button down as you simultaneously hold a flame from the lighter or match near to it.
- Once it is lit, keep holding the pilot light down for about 30 seconds to make sure that the light will stay lit even after you let go of the control.
- When the pilot light is able to remain lit on its own, set the oven controls to your preferred temperature. You will then be able to start using it.
- Once you are done with the oven, make sure that you turn the pilot light control switch to the OFF position before leaving the oven behind.
Turning the oven pilot light to OFF ensures that the pilot light will no longer be lit and will not be using your propane any longer. You will want to ensure that the pilot light control is always in the off position because if it is in the ON position (even if there is no flame) it can still run down your propane tanks and potentially risk your family with the leaking gas.
Tips for Cooking in a Travel Trailer Oven
While having an oven in a travel trailer is a very easy and convenient way to cook food while you are camping, it is not always as simple as using a range in a house. There are some major differences and some techniques that will make your time using the oven much easier. Read through some of these tips before using the oven that is in your trailer.
- Travel Trailer Ovens are Small – While a typical kitchen oven is usually around 24 inches wide, a travel trailer oven may only be about 17 inches wide. Because of this, it will be more difficult to fit large amounts of food inside. You will need to plan accordingly when choosing which meals you are wanting to prepare inside the oven.
- You Will Need New Pans – Since the size of the oven is so much smaller than what is probably in your house, you will likely not be able to take the pans and trays that you usually use with you on a camping trip. Before heading out, purchase a set of baking trays that will fit your exact model oven. You can always keep them inside of the trailer for continual use so that you know that you always have a set that will be usable in your trailer’s oven.
- RV Ovens have Inaccurate Temperatures – Always use a small oven thermometer as RV oven temperatures vary wildly. The knobs are usually never correct, so make sure to always have a thermometer in there. You may also want to use a baking stone to help control your oven’s varying temperatures. It always comes in handy for baking a pizza as well.
- Outside Temperature May Affect Your Oven – Because travel trailer ovens are usually situated along the outside wall of the trailer, the temperature outside of the trailer will largely play a role in what the temperature inside of the oven will do. If it is very cold outside, your trailer’s oven will take quite a bit longer to heat up, and it will take more energy to keep it warm over the length of cooking.
- Travel Trailer Ovens Use a lot of Propane – The propane tank that is attached to your travel trailer is what heats the inside of your trailer and also heats up the oven. When using the trailer oven often, this will cause you to burn through more propane which could get costly over time. Be prepared to budget for more propane fill-ups if you are planning to use the trailer oven often.
- Try It Out Before Camping – Don’t be afraid to test out your travel trailer oven at home before using it on the open road! It is always better to know how to work it and what you need while you still have the options to run out and get things for it!
- Travel Trailer Ovens May Cook Unevenly – Due to the sometimes weird rack placement and varying temperatures, food that goes into the trailer’s oven may not always cook evenly. Always adjust the racks prior to cooking to keep your food in the center of the oven.
- When we purchased our Traeger Grill for our house, the instructions said to rotate pizza every 4 minutes if it had a 12 minute cook time. I have taken this advice and applied it to our RV cooking and our items come out much better if they are rotated. You may want to consider this depending on what you are baking and see if you can come up with ways to even out the surface.
Best RV Ovens
Whether RV shopping, or you are finding a replacement RV oven stove combo, here are our top picks. We like the look and feel of the Furrion models as they are s step above the competition.
- Furrion has created one of the best looking and performing ovens with their Furrion 17″ RV Range Combo. It is better than the rest due to its sophisticated stainless steel look, glass cover, as well as glass door allowing you to see what you are actually cooking without opening the door releasing all of the heat. This model has slick LED’s that light up on the control knobs as well as a piezo ignition to provide trouble-free starts.
- Atwood/Dometic has teamed up on many products to provide the best possible consumer experience. The Atwood 17″ and Atwood 21″ range/oven combo come in as number two. We own the 17″ version and it has performed great. Atwood ovens have been around for many years and have cooked many meals for campers. This is pretty much the standard model that comes in all campers, travel trailers, and RV’s. They have three burners on the stove, a normal oven, and a broiler setting on the oven.
- Suburban is another brand that has been in the RV industry for many years. They have their 17″ 3206A model as well as their 22″ 3241A. Both models have broiling modes that can reach in excess of 500 degrees as well as sealed piezo start burners for the stove. The stove burner output is very similar to the other brands and the outer appearance looks similar to the Atwood model.
RV Oven FAQ’s
How do I know when my RV oven is preheated?
To determine if your oven is preheated, you may notice that your propane burner is no longer on. This can be detected by sight or by sound. Another way is to use an oven thermometer to provide the most accurate result if your oven is heated.
How to Broil in an RV Gas Oven?
Even though RV ovens have a broil feature, it does not really broil. There is no burner on the top of the oven to provide heat, however, the broil feature just maintains the hottest temperature possible to simulate broiling.
Are RV Ovens Accurate?
RV ovens are typically not very accurate. We recommend purchasing a range thermometer to monitor your temperatures.
How much propane does an RV oven use?
This depends on the temperature that you are cooking and how long you are cooking. RV ranges typically dont list oven btu usage, but once they are up to temperature, usage will drop. If you are boondocking, this may be something to keep an eye on, but if you are just baking cookies for 20 minutes, you may not notice too much usage.
How big is an RV oven?
RV ovens come in different sizes. Our Atwood oven in our travel trailer is 16.5″ wide and about 14.5″ high. The height is limited as the rack cannot go all the way down, so you may loose about 2-3″.
What to do if my RV Oven door wont close all the way?
RV ovens have springs for the door. Check to see if they are intact or in need of repair or replacement. They can be found near the hinge, but you may need to take off the faceplate.
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