Day 5-6: Time to Cook! (30 Day Car Living Challenge)

After Day 4, it is time to utilize our new table and cook our first mean in the car. This is where the living experience really begins!

9/12/2018: Day 5: My first passenger

Today was the first day I’ve ever had someone ride in my car. They rode in the back right passenger seat where I have one working seat-belt. It was a relief to see the passenger seatbelt worked. Although, the person felt a little uneasy whether it was safe or not. However, I assured him that it was perfectly safe because the seat-belt is attached to the metal frame of the car. The only difference is that the passenger does not sit on the conventional foam cushion seating. They are instead supported by plywood (and a comfortable memory foam mattress). Despite the car moving, the foundation stays strong because the wood fits in the car like a glove. Therefore, there is nowhere for the plywood to go. 

Bug net

Tonight is also the first night that I am trying my bug net and magnets on my window. Because I am at the apartment complex, I think this is a very safe place to do this and I would not do this everywhere. I want to see how this ventilation effects the temperature of the car at night.  It is currently 76° outside at midnight, and is even hotter inside my car. It is truly difficult to live in a car during the summer, so therefore it is better to live out of your car instead and only sleeping there at night and chill there in the mornings. Fall, winter, and spring are the best times to use your car.


Overall during this 30 day car camper challenge, I feel much more comfortable about being in my car, less conscious about my image in about what people think about me, and just feeling at home and feeling normal inside of my car, which is a huge bonus for me. 🙂

9/12/2018: Day 6: My first cooking experience

Today is finally Thursday.  I looked forward to this day all week! Just like the ice cream truck coming in once a month, this was when I received an Amazon package. What is my package you may ask? It is a dual propane and butane stove. This is what it looks like:

Gas One Butane or Propane Stove

The reason I invested in this particular stove is because although propane is the most reliable source of cooking fuel, it has the shape of a butane stove which is far more compact and portable. 

Before I begin cooking, I need to grab a few supplies at Walmart and the dollar store:

  • $1 metal tiny strainer
  • A small pan with a lid for $7.50
  • A bottle of propane for $3.50

Cooking ware in car

Addressing the limitation of space in my car, it is important to make my “arsenal” of cooking utensils compact and efficient. The best part about this cookware is that it stacks together. This is small enough to store it in my cloth shelf as shown below:

The whole day was preparation for my first meal. After grabbing the supplies and groceries, I went to the corner of the Walmart parking lot where I would have plenty of breathing room. There is a storm drain in case I mess up and there is no one who has to be weirded out while I get the hang of it!

Now it is time to cook!

First, I boiled water in my pot just to clean it out. After fully cleaning it, I boil my first bit of water for the pasta. One thing I did not consider was that the fact that it’s 90° outside, so it is bound to be hot in in the car as well. It does not help when you’re using a propane stove inside your car as the stove was on. (ventilated of course with the windows and doors open!)  Because I could smell a decent amount of propane, I turned it to the lowest heat amount and then put the lid over the pot to maximize the heat efficiency. After the water started boiling, I poured the pasta in. Because it is such a small pot, the pasta cooks quicker than my own stove back at home! Lastly, I strained the hot water outside with my little strainer. Wala! My first meal ever with pasta sauce and seasoning.

cooking in car

cooking pasta in car

Although cooking was easy, cleaning up is the real challenge:

With only a gallon jug of water, the real challenge is making the best use of it while also thoroughly cleaning your dishes. I will never take a sink for granted ever gain! The first time cleaning the dishes, I used at least six nap napkins to clean out one pan, the strainer, and specially the bowl with the sauce in it. It took way more water than expected. I used about half a gallon worth of water to do boil water three times and then wash the dishes (I guess that’s not too much water now thinking about it, but I could’ve done much better than what I did). Ranging from my research to personal experience, the best way to wash dishes is to rinse the cleanest ones first. Then, save that water and dump it in the dirtiest pans or bowls. That’s the best way to save water and clean efficiently and faster.

Other mistakes and how to prepare better next time:

The one thing I need for the future is an oven mitten cloth. The sauce pot’s handle is hotter than what I expected. However, here became to the big mistake: as I was on screwing my propane, for some reason and I don’t know why, it started losing pressure in spraying everywhere in my car. From freaking out, I opened all my doors and then ran out. It only did it for a moment, But I hypothesize that it was because I had leftover propane in the stove and I needed to burn out the rest of it before hand. I don’t know how I’m going to be able to do that or whether I unscrewed it wrong, I’m going to have to do some more research on that so I can safely do this.


I predict that it will be easier to cook out of the back of my trunk than it is inside of my car. Since I will not have to worry as much about ventilation and controlling the temperature in it’ll be all in one place. The only reason I could not cook out of the trunk today is because I have so much construction materials in the trunk at the moment.

Click here to continue to Day 7.

Join the discussion:

  • Do you have any food recipe ideas for living in a car?
  • How do you feel about the whole car cooking experience?
  • Have any objections or concerns about the car living challenge that I can address in future articles?

Share your insights with us! – Justin 

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