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Old 13-10-2015, 14:14   #1
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Solar cooking anyone?

GoSun Grill Solar Oven - GoSun Stove - Fuel-Free, Portable Solar Oven

anyone with any feedback on this?
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Old 13-10-2015, 14:33   #2
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Re: Solar cooking anyone?

I've looked into them before, never used one. On the plus side you could cook things in the tropics without heating up the interior anymore than it's already sweltering, on the down side it looks big and you'd need to keep it somewhere on the boat and you already have a stove/oven I'm guessing. Thing looks pretty big.

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Old 13-10-2015, 14:39   #3
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Re: Solar cooking anyone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rebel heart View Post
I've looked into them before, never used one. On the plus side you could cook things in the tropics without heating up the interior anymore than it's already sweltering, on the down side it looks big and you'd need to keep it somewhere on the boat and you already have a stove/oven I'm guessing. Thing looks pretty big.

seen a backpack size listed somewhere on the ad. thanx
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Old 13-10-2015, 15:55   #4
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Re: Solar cooking anyone?

Yeah I find the Sport model to be pretty interesting. It's funny I almost posted the same thread earlier this morning. The Sport seems like the best "compact" option I've seen. I'm very tempted to try it but would really like to see one in person first.

http://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/078...g?v=1439654035
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Old 18-10-2015, 21:05   #5
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Re: Solar cooking anyone?

I am looking into getting a solar oven, the concept is great especially since we will be in the Caribbean. The best one I have found is the Solar Oven Society sport model, except it seems to be out of production �� I don't love the tube style as it limits the size and shape, and other models are wind catchers and flimsy or have wood which may be another challenge. This model your looking at is bigger than I would like. Curious to see what any one else finds
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Old 19-10-2015, 02:53   #6
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Re: Solar cooking anyone?

SV Totem wrote abour cruising with theirs:

Cooking with a Solar Oven aboard | Sailing Totem
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Old 29-10-2015, 19:09   #7
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Re: Solar cooking anyone?

I've never used a solar cooker on a boat but I have used a few on land and they work pretty darn amazingly once you realize they are not a "set and forget" proposition.

I must confess that I have never tried to bake with them, all my efforts have been using them as a sort of solar crock pot and for that they do work quite well.

They don't have to be elaborate but there does need to be provision for keeping the food insulated while it is cooking (duh...) which sounds simple but if it is not sealed up well you can have a lot of heat escape through a slit or gap.

The design I've used the most was made from some cheap windshield sun shades that were basically aluminized bubble wrap type stuff. The food was put in a 1 qt mason jar and the jar was put in one of those thin clear plastic produce bags that are on those rolls in the grocery store. That's it. Blow enough air into the bag to inflate it so you have an inch or two of airspace around the jar and bend the sun screen into a V pointing at the sun. you need to move it during use, I'd fiddle with it every 15-30 minutes. But that's it. It does a great job of cooking rice or beans, and it makes awesome stews. I bet it would make a terrific fish chowder when it is sunny out. Other designs may be different but when it gets cloudy the food may not cook completely even if left out all day, which is something to think about. However, on a sunny day when the boat is not swinging at anchor or rolling much at all it is worth researching to see if it fits your personal patience level. One of these days I would like to experiment with building one of the designs you can bake bread in but that won't be for a while.
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Old 29-10-2015, 21:38   #8
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Re: Solar cooking anyone?

I have a GoSun sport model (smaller than the one pictured) and use it regularly on land. We like it overall, but it has it's plusses and minuses, and some of the disadvantages might be larger on a boat.

The GoSun products are based on evacuated glass tubes, clear on the outside and coated black and copper on the inside (for absorbtion and radiation of the light as heat). So they are by definition highly insulated, with just a tiny vent in the cooking tray to avoid steam pressure. This means they heat up fast in good sunshine and retain the heat, even after the sun goes away. Because of this design, they are likely the fastest and hottest solar cookers on the market (I researched a few and read some of the DIY books). We have heated veggies in 20 minutes and cooked them in 45 minutes. But glass tubes are more fragile, especially on a boat, even if the reflectors fold up and protect the tube for storage (in both the sport and grill models).

The built-in curved reflectors are easy to unfold and position correctly but a bit undersized, so they only have optimum heat in a narrow range of exposure. To get the speed and heat benefits from it, you really have to adjust it to the sun every 15 minutes. If you don't, it still cooks, just not as fast. The sport model has folding legs that are fine on land, but might need to be strapped down on a boat (or maybe wapped with some non-skid tape). It tilts in one direction, but it should be sitting on something flat in the other direction, which may be hard on a smaller boat. Maybe you would be able to create a mount for it, like a BBQ on a rail. However, they say not to leave it out without food cooking, so you'd need to make it removable.

In my opinion, the biggest limitation is the size. The Sport model cooks enough food for 2-3 platefuls, depending on how liquid it is. The food sits in a stainless steel "trough" that slides into the tube. The trough isn't very deep, so soupy foods are probably out on a boat. Everything needs to be chopped or diced in the sport model, but the grill model looks big enough for some cuts of meat (maybe a 1/2 chicken). You can bake breads and cakes, because the dough will firm up as it rises in the trough, but they won't be very large in the sport model. Loading the food into the trough and serving from it, not to mention cleaning the long metal piece in a small sink is not as practical as a regular pot.

The link to the sailingtotem website shows the more traditional box cooker where you can cook in a regular black pot. That has the advantage of transferring to the stovetop if you don't get enough sun to finish cooking. With the box-type, you can also put the food in almost sealed jars, so you could do soups even at anchor. On the other hand, the box-type have larger reflectors that might be a problem even in light breezes. I wish that blog article had shown the reflectors as well. Another difference is that the box-type is slower cooking, so you prep the food and sit it out for several hours (2-6). The GoSport type cooks faster (30-120 minutes) so you probably wouldn't want to leave it unattended (you can overcook things).

All in all, we enjoy using the GoSun sport, and it does make great tasting food. Even though it is not a slow cooker, it does heat the food from all sides through heat radiation, so I guess it cooks the food in its own juices. We like it enough that my wife is ready to buy their "Grill" model to cook larger meals. Although from the link, I now see it is out of stock, so my wife won't get hers for Christmas.
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