There was a lot of interest in my Croissants in the Solar Oven post so here is some information about the oven itself. Some photos are at the end of this post.
Model: GoSun Sport
As of July 2023 the plain Sport model appears to be sold out, but you can still find them on eBay. I paid about $US 150 with shipping in 2023. At the time of writing GoSun still has the newer Sport-E in stock which is basically this same model with a 12-volt electric cooking option and it includes a carrying case and silicone tray inserts. Still very reasonable at $US 279.
From the manufacturer’s website: The GoSun Sport® is our fastest and best selling solar oven. It can bake, roast, and steam a meal for two people in just 20 minutes under direct sun. It’s light and compact so you can take it anywhere. The Sport quickly reaches temperatures up to 550°F and is portable and lightweight for cooking on the move. It’s durability and collapsible design makes for easy setup and storage.
From my (limited) experience:
- Plan for 40-50 minutes cook time in direct sun.
- It is indeed light and compact. You won’t be backpacking with it, but it would be good for car camping.
- It folds up and doesn’t require any major assembly/disassembly to use.
- It’s pretty easy to prop up for different sun angles, including changing to a vertical orientation instead of the default horizontal arrangement.
- The cooking tray does not hold a lot, so you are cooking for 1-2 people.
This is basically two concave reflectors which focus the sun on a dark-tinted glass vacuum tube, with an aluminum cooking tray inside the tube. The cooking tray fits snugly inside the tube and provides a semi-sealed environment for cooking. There is a small gap in the silicone seal to release steam and pressure. There is also something attached to the other end of the vacuum tube which I believe is a pressure release valve. I assume it has both in case the food expands and creates a seal in the middle of the tube.
It stays pretty steamy during cooking. There’s a safety vent at the far end of the glass tube, and a small slit at the handle end. It actively vents a small amount of steam from the handle end during cooking. You can cook with the tray open slightly to provide more airflow if you don’t want it to be so steamy.
There is a nice wooden handle for working with the cooking tray. The quality of the materials seems good. It feels well designed and well made. It’s mostly metal and glass and rubber and wood. There is very little (if any) plastic.
So far I have only used this in the summer, but apparently the surrounding temperature doesn’t matter much. Whether you are cooking in the summer or winter, as long as you have good sun you will have good, fast cooking. I assume cook time is slightly longer in cold temperatures, but because the tube is mostly sealed it probably makes very little difference. I also understand it will cook in partly cloudy or cloudy weather, but will take longer. I haven’t tried this.
Various cooking adventures in this oven:
Here are a few photos of the oven.