The best 12 volt stove/lunch box for truckers is this one by RoadPro.
If you are like me you will eventually get sick and tired of eating cold food or wasting money on food at restaurants and truck stops.
That stuff in not healthy and is way overpriced.
There is an alternative. You can make your own hot food in your truck without spending a lot of money.
Get a portable food warmer/stove like this one by RoadPro. They are often called “lunch box stoves” by truck drivers because they look like a lunch box.
This is what it looks like:
Let me back track a little. I spent several years driving OTR and all was good for the first year. I was trying out some really cool restaurants and eating at truck stops.
But after a while I noticed two things.
These two things started to happen:
1. I started to gain a lot of weight.
2. I calculated how much money I was wasting on bad food and was pissed.
I needed to do something different so that I could eat healthier and save more money. By the way, if you need some ideas for how to stay slim while truck driving you really need to read this article I wrote giving you 14 tips to avoid getting fat.
My wife did a little research and came across this 12 volt portable stove by RoadPro that had some really positive reviews.
The price wasn’t too high (usually around $30.00) so we decided to try one out.
Since then I have never looked back.
Fast forward to my current driving job. I’m now driving regionally across the Midwest (United States) and usually come home every weekend and even some week days.
Now my wife prepares a bunch of meals for me ahead of time so I can put them in my 12 volt cooler (this is the one I have) and cook/warm up the food in my stove as needed.
This stove works great! I use it everyday now. I am able to heat up or cook pasta, pizza, vegetables, soup, sandwiches, stews, rice and beans, steak, and just about anything else I can fit in it.
As much as I like using it there are some cons too. So in this article I’m going to highlight the pros and cons I have experienced while truck driving with mine and I’m going to share with you some tips to make your cooking experiences with one of these easier.
What I Like About The RoadPro 12 Volt Stove
1. Say Bye To Truck Stop Food…Forever!
I am addicted to my wife’s cooking. Now I never have to settle for anything less, even when I’m on the road.
She knows to make more of whatever she and our kids eat for dinner when I am out driving so that she can pack it up for me to take with me when I return.
Every night while I’m on the road I know that I’m going to have something that actually tastes good. No crappy truck stop food for me!
You will have to talk your wife into cooking more though. This could lead to tension 🙂
2. I’m Eating Healthier
With my portable stove I can eat healthier too.
Instead of heating up a cheap frozen pizza I can take with me the pizza slices my wife made.
She actually makes her own dough with organic flour, organic peppers, homemade sauce, and high quality cheese.
Since getting the stove I have managed to lose about 15 lbs by eating healthier and being more active!
You can too!
3. No Inverter Needed
My truck actually has an inverter in it but I don’t use for this. All you need is a 12 volt outlet in your truck for it to work.
This is what I do: If I know I am going to eat at 6pm I plug it into my 12 volt outlet and set it on my passenger seat to start warming about 30-40 minutes at 5:20pm.
Once 30-40 minutes has passed I pretty much know that my food is wither finished or close to being finished. Now I just unplug it and start eating.
Not all foods cook or heat alike, it will take you some time to figure out how long it takes to heat/cook certain foods.
During the first month or so I ended up overcooking foods a little and it would dry out a little. Eventually I figured out how to prevent the food from drying out. Scroll down to find out what that tip is.
4. I Saved Money!
Probably the second thing I like most about it was the price. See what it is on Amazon today by clicking here. It has paid for itself many times over.
I’m not wasting money on overpriced food and restaurants and truck stops. Those days are gone.
I’ve used it so many times and plan on getting another one when this one stops working.
My wife likes the fact that we are saving money too 🙂 I tell that as long as she keeps cooking I’ll keep using it 🙂
5. It’s Easy To Clean
There really isn’t much cleaning that you need to do as long as you use one of these aluminum pans for bread baking that I found on Amazon. You can also pick some up at a Walmart for cheap.
Put one of them inside of it as a liner and then place your food in it.
Turn it on and it does the rest. Just throw away the foil pan when it’s done and it’s ready to go for the next meal.
If you do spill something on the inside of it all you have to do is wipe it. The inside is easy to clean, it looks like some kind of aluminum that is coated to prevent food from sticking to it. More about cleaning in my “tips” section below.
6. Doesn’t Take Up A Lot Of Space
It’s not big and bulky and won’t take up a lot of space. I’m not sure if the dimensions of it are online but here are some of them:
Inside dimensions (the place where your food goes): about 9 inches by 5 inches.
Outside dimensions: about 10.5 inches by 6 inches
Like I said, it’s not big and bulky. Just enough space inside of it to heat up a meal for 1 person.
7. It Has A Cord Caddy
There is a compartment on the side of it to store the cord in so it’s not always hanging.
What I Don’t Like About The RoadPro 12 Volt Stove
1. No On/Off Switch
It is not a huge risk but sometimes it can be dangerous to have to plug and unplug it while driving.
The stove doesn’t have an on/off switch so you do have to be close to it in order to unplug it.
It would be convenient if there was a simple on/off switch on it so that I didn’t have to reach over to unplug it when 30-40 minutes has passed.
2. Not A Quick Way To Cook
Don’t expect to put your food in it and have a nice hot meal in a few minutes.
This is not a microwave.
One of the most common complaints I have heard from other drivers is that it takes too long to cook/heat food.
For real? What did you expect? If you need a microwave then go get yourself a microwave.
3. Cooks From The Bottom Up
These stoves cook from the bottom up so some foods tend to burn if you don’t raise them from the bottom of the inside.
Go down to my “Tips” section below to find out how I avoid burning, it’s really neat!
Let me repeat, this is not a microwave. You can expect to take at least 30 minutes to heat up a substantial meal that has vegetables, rice, or meat in it.
There are really not a lot of cons. This portable stove has been a great investment.
Tips For Using Your 12 Volt RoadPro Portable Stove
1. Avoid Burning By Doing This One Thing: A common problem that I started to have when I started cooking with it was burning some foods.
The bottom of the stove gets pretty hot and some foods would burn on the bottom. It wasn’t horrible but it did become annoying, especially when I was making oatmeal in the morning.
Here is what you can do if this happens to you too: Get some hose clamps. Yes, hose clamps that you would use on a radiator hose. Place them inside the stove so that the foil pan is elevated when you put it in the oven.
Just getting the bottom of the pan half an inch off of the bottom makes a huge difference in minimizing the burning.
2. Buy A Lot Of Bread Loaf Aluminum Pans: The manual says you have to buy specific ones (made by RoadPro) for the stove buy you really don’t have to.
You can get ones like these on Amazon for cheap.
Use it and throw it away. Using one of these makes cooking easier and cleanup even easier.
3. Wrap Some Foods: There are are some foods that I don’t even use a pan for. For example, let’s say you want to make a baked potato.
Just wrap it in regular aluminum foil, put it in the oven, and after about 40-50 minutes you’ll have a hot baked potato ready to enjoy.
4. Let It Cool Down Before Storing It: Common sense I’m sure but I just want to remind you to let it cool down before storing it.
5. Add Water: If you are worried about drying out your food (it does happen) then make a small boat out of aluminum foil and put some water in it.
Next, place the aluminum foil with water in it next to or under the food you are cooking.
This will ensure that the food doesn’t come out dry and I have found that it cooks faster too.
6. Cover Your Food: Something else that I have learned is that covering your food with a sheet of aluminum foil prevents spills or splashes onto the inside of the stove.
I do this with practically every meal that I cook now unless the food is already completely wrapped.
7. It’s Great For Heating Soups: Probably the one food that I like to eat the most often is soups or stews. Just get a can of soup or stew from the store and pour it into an aluminum pan to heat it up.
Don’t forget to cover it up too!
Nothing better than some nice hot soup or stew in the dead of winter here in Chicago. The best part is I don’t even have to leave my truck and it’s healthier than using a microwave!
How To Prepare A meal for the RoadPro Portable Stove?
Not sure how to prepare a meal? Neither do I, that’s why my wife does it for me.
This is what my wife does:
1. My wife prepares a meal and wraps it in parchment paper or freezer paper and aluminum foil.
2. She puts the wrapped food in the freezer at home until I get back for the weekend to pick it up.
3. I store the food in my 12 volt cooler (this is the best one by far) that is in my truck.
4. When I’m ready to eat I just take it our of the cooler and put it into the 12 volt stove.
RoadPro 12 Volt Oven Recipes
Once you get your 12 volt oven I figured you would need some recipe ideas to get you started.
Below are some of the places I have gone to get recipe ideas. There are some easy to make meals like oatmeal and some pretty extensive meals like Thanksgiving dinner..
It’s amazing what people can do with one of these 12 volt portable stoves.
1. RoadPro Cookbook: This cookbook is made by RoadPro and has some good recipes in it. The one meal that I still make to this day is the chili. Delicious!
2. 12 Volt Cooking: A great list of meals you can cook. Each one also comes with a video so you can see what to expect.
I like this site and have gotten a ton of ideas from them but they haven’t been adding any new meals since 2016. Regardless, the videos are well done and the meal ideas are phenomenal.
Here is one of their videos on how to make cook a whole chicken using the RoadPro 12 volt stove:
Cleaning Your RoadPro 12 Volt Stove
A few helpful tips for you in case you do spill some of it onto the bottom of the stove. You do want to avoid scrubbing so that you don’t damage the stove.
1. Put a little bit of water in the bottom and plug it in so that the hot water removes it. After this you can just wipe it down with a dry paper towel.
That’s it! You now have a clean stove to use next time!