Kitchen Drawer Nirvana: TrekPak Inserts
We often find ourselves pulling into camp late at night, or pulling to the side of the road, needing to make dinner. We built our drawer system specifically for this task, providing storage for our stove and cooking equipment. While the setup has worked well over the years, it was disorganized and we often found ourselves pulling multiple items out to find the item we needed. Our cooking arrangement was chaos and we needed to make a change.
Seeing our lack of organization, TrekPak offered to step in and help get our kitchen drawer organized. After starting in 2012, the Denver-based company has developed a line of customizable inserts for hard-sided cases, photography backpacks, and is now branching into the world of overland travel by providing custom drawer inserts. Their design utilizes a foam padded insert that can be cut and pinned into a limitless number or organization solutions.
We made the trip to Denver three weeks ahead of the 2013 Overland Expo to meet with the TrekPak team and begin work on our custom drawer inserts. We started by removing all of our cooking equipment from the drawer and measured its length, width, and depth. These dimensions are used to cut the inserts later on in the build. To help reduce vibration, and the noise it creates, we placed a layer of foam in the bottom of the drawer.
The next step was to lay out the equipment as we wanted it to be organized. We chose to keep key items we use most often toward the front of the drawer. This meant placing our plates, bowls, cookset, and utensils where we can easily gain access to them to make a quick lunch on the trail. We were constantly thinking about how the dividers might be used as we laid the equipment out. We also looked at items that could be nested to save space and grouped similarly shaped items together. Our camp frying pan, pots, bowls, plates, mugs and spices all nested in a single column, leaving plenty of room for utensils and other tools. Because of their length, we chose to place our kitchen knives running across the width of the drawer and chose to place our bottles of cooking oil and vinegar in the back.
We then cut the divider sheet to form a perimeter around the inside of the drawer. Cutting the divider slightly shorter than the remaining drawer sidewall height created a gap between the top of the divider and the top of the drawer, allowing room for the dividers to be pinned together. We worked from one end of the drawer to the other, cutting and pinning dividers, until we had all of our cooking equipment secure. It took us roughly 2 hrs, from start to finish, to put the drawer organizer together, including cutting the dividers to the custom height.
We have been running the system for two months how and absolutely love it. I really cannot say enough about the versatility and quality of this product. The increased organization was a blessing during the cooking classes we taught at Overland Expo, allowing us to easily transition from one recipe to another. We can now quickly find all of our cooking equipment and there is a place for everything. As of writing this article, TrekPak has not priced these systems for retail.
This article was originally published in the Spring 2013 issue of FJC Magazine.