We love our 2019 Coachmen Apex 215RBK. If you’re curious why we picked it, check this post.

This post covers the mods we made to the outdoor kitchen.They were all pretty important to us since the kitchen was the main selling factor. The mods fall into three categories:

  1. Fixing some dumb things that Coachmen did
  2. Enhancing the utility of the kitchen
  3. Creating an alternate configuration for dry camping/boondocking
A closeup of the Outdoor Kitchen
Our LIst Of Things That Needed Fixing

There were several surprising things about the outdoor kitchen.

  1. There are 4 large holes in the back of the kitchen and a few small ones that are superhighways for critters. On nice days we tend to leave the door open so this had to be fixed.
  2. Coleman generally makes good products but the included grill had to go!
  3. I made the mistake of loading the fridge before a trip. The door came open and made a mess.
  4. The beer fridge is great but it needs shore power. I’ve seen some folks do a 12v cooler, but we opted for a traditional cooler approach.
Our LIst Of Enancements We Wanted To Do

The outdoor kitchen gave us a great start. But we wanted more.

  1. Where there’s fire, we needed a fire extinguisher.
  2. I’m always surprised just how many paper towels it takes to camp.
  3. The outdoor speakers are kind of bad. The kitchen gave us an easy way to upgrade.
  4. Having an outdoor cabinet is great, but it needed a shelf so it doesn’t just become another junk drawer.
  5. The beer fridge is great but it needs shore power. I’ve seen some folks do a 12v cooler, but we opted for a traditional cooler approach.
Plugging Up The Critter Doorways

If you go into the bathroom of a 215RBK you’ll see two plastic vents. These are to allow the fridge to operate when the outside door is closed. Hot air from the back of the fridge goes through these vents.

But if you look at them from the kitchen side you’ll see to big gaping 4″ holes on the kitchen walls. Really, truly, humongous critters can go through these holes. I bough a set of 4″ screen inserts and installed them using silicone adhesive on the kitchen side. I thought I was done.

Vent Holes With Covers
Vent Holes With Covers

But, if you pull out the grill slide and look underneath you’ll see a few more holes. Its even easier to see if you pull out the drawer.

  1. A big hole between the slide and the drawer on the back wall for the electrical run to the outlets behind and next to the fridge.
  2. A big hole for plumbing and electric (on the left side).
  3. A small hole on the bottom for the three wires from the holding tank sensors.
  4. Two holes in the back of the outdoor shower for running the first segment of the shower hose.

The first three are prime candidates for Great Stuff Foam. I still don’t have a solution for the shower other than keeping the door closed when not in use since the hose will get a lot of movement when being used.

Big Hole For Plumbing & Electric
Big Hole For Plumbing & Electric
Large Hole For Outlets
Large Hole For Outlets
Small Hole For Tank Sensors
Small Hole For Tank Sensors
Two Holes In Shower Box
Two Holes In Shower Box. Note the hose is not installed. You would normally see the hose looping up from the center hole and out on the side hole.
Child and Road Proofing The Fridge

Ok, I can be a bit of a dummy. I carefully loaded lots of beer and diet coke cans into the fridge since we were only going 15 miles from home. Sure enough the door opened and a few of the cans leaked.

I still wanted cold stuff when I got to the beach so we came up with these child proofing straps. They work really nicely.

Child Proofing Straps - Closed
Child Proofing Straps - Closed
Easy Open Child Proofing Straps
Easy Open Child Proofing Straps
Child Proofing Straps - Open
Child Proofing Straps - Open
Changing Up The Grilling Configuration

We tried grilling on the Coleman grill that came with the 215RBK with really bad results. Everything stuck to the sheet metal grate and it didn’t get hot enough to do a good job. We’ve been grilling on a Weber Q for years and really like the results.

We had bought a camping stove for our prior trailer and it fit where the Coleman was. It didn’t quite fit perfectly however, so we ended up putting two L-brackets underneath to hold it stable.

We had seen alternative designs where a tray was put on the slide out rails so an alternative grill like the Q could be placed there, but after a lot of thought we decided that we wanted both a stove and a grill.

We went all in and upgraded our Q with the wheeled stand so its easy to setup and tear down.

We also decided to stay with the small propane tanks and invested in a pair of refillable ones. We do have a hose adapter for 20 pound tanks and store it underneath the stove slide, but its only just in case.

Hoses Hidden Underneath The Stove
Hoses Hidden Underneath The Stove
Stove Ready For Storage
Stove Ready For Cooking

Here’s a Graphical Guide To The Enhancements We Made

Just rollover the arrows to see the descriptions.

Upgrading The Music

The outdoor speakers on the trailer are ok but barely. As long as the volume is low you don’t hear how tinny sounding they are. I have an Amazon Echo 2nd Generation in my entertainment unit so I’ve been using it on loud to cover indoors and outdoors. But that stops working once you turn the AC on and shut the door.

I happened to have a spare Dot with me on a trip and stuck it in the kitchen. I plugged it into the outlet next to the fridge. I was really surprised with how good it sounded – probably because the kitchen “box” gives it a good bass boost. It doesn’t sound great loud, but when I’m at a campground, loud seems like a jerk move anyway.

So, for the next trip I bought a wall mount and positioned it towards the top on the back wall above the fridge. It sounds pretty good – certainly a lot better than the factory speakers.

Vent Holes With Covers

Powering The Echo

You probably should just plug it in to the outlet. But I decided to go for the gusto and still have music when I’m dry camping. So I cut the cord and patched it in to the power line going to the overhead light. Works great plugged in (13.6v) but I’m not sure if that’s overstressing the on-board power supply. And I’m definitely not sure what will happen when the battery starts dropping below 12v. I was going to add a voltage regulator, but I’m going to run it like this for a bit and see what happens.

I ran the cord across the surface of the kitchen “box” using white duct tape. At some point I’ll fish it through the overhead space. There’s almost 2″ up there before you get to the bathroom closet.

Just in case you’re looking for them, here’s an amazon link for the lights in the 215RBK.