It seemed opportune that Sun Flair Solar Ovens offered us a few testers for UintasHike16, as those of us flying couldn’t carry cooking gas and there was no guarantee we’d have time to pick some up before heading into the backcountry. At just over a pound for the Minis we were provided, these ovens are easily carried and, folding down to about the size of a magazine (though much thicker), fit easily into a backpack, beach bag, or just into the included storage bag.
I’m a huge fan of solar energy and the possibilities for cooking have me really excited. What are some the benefits? No wood, propane, charcoal, gas or electricity are needed . With the Sun Flair, you can leave food unattended – food will never burn. These solar ovens can be used in areas where open flames are banned. They allow you to cook during a power outage. In an emergency (or in the backcountry), you can pasteurize water. The drawbacks to using a Sun Flair Solar Oven? Only 2 that I could find: you need sunlight (the higher the UV Index the better) and time (it does take longer to cook meals). I think the benefits far outweigh the negatives.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t use the Sun Flair Solar Ovens due to weather conditions during our hike. I have used the oven several times to see what it could do and, I’m impressed. The first time I set out water to heat and then promptly forgot I had done so. Later, driving my car into the garage, I noticed the oven still sitting on our picnic table – after at least a few hours in the shade, the water in the oven was still 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Another test, heating a Mountain House meal directly in the oven, resulted in a temp of 200+ degrees Fahrenheit and a fully warmed meal (though it did take almost an hour). Every time I’ve used it, I’m amazed that such a simple contraption can do what it does.
At this time, Sun Flair Solar Ovens come in 2 sizes: Standard (MSRP $130) and Mini (MSRP $80) and can be expanded via available accessories. With a 30 day money-back guarantee, 1 year warranty, limitless shelf life, and easy storage, there’s no good reason not to get one for your family.
*This product was provided for review purposes – all opinions are my own.