The Haines Solar Cooker is designed and manufactured by Roger Haines of San Diego California and was the result of a perceived need for inexpensive, easy to construct and effective solar cookers for use in Africa.
We had our first encounter with the Haines Solar Cooker during the Solar Cookers International (SCI) Convention in Sacramento, California July17-19, 2014, and I have to say that I was impressed by its simplicity, ease of set-up and use, and its effectiveness; not to mention how compact it is.
We brought one home with us and have been able to use it a couple of times out in our backyard and we look forward to many more opportunities to cook with it in the coming years.
The cooker (reflector panel) is made of IXPE (cross-linked polyester) foam insulation bonded with reflective metalized polyester film (MPET film / 3mm IXPE foam / white PET film). The reflective polyester will not oxidize, cannot be scratched off, and has a high melting point. Importantly, the new material is easy to recycle and is environmentally safe through the whole production and recycling process without pollution. In the U.S., this material is used to make high-end auto windshield sunshades.
When the sun is low, the reflector can be "rocked" down in front, and the back lifted up, to catch more sun.
The windscreen is made from a 30 cm. (2-foot) diameter circle of 0.5 mm (.020-inch) UV-resistant polycarbonate film. For increased rigidity, a radius cut is overlapped two inches to form a flat cone like a sun hat. The windscreen makes the cooker quite rigid in windy conditions, and creates an "oven-like" atmosphere around the cooking pot. The cooker itself can withstand strong winds if a stiff wire is inserted through the natural holes at the bottom, and held down with bricks or rocks.
The Cooking sleeve. Other panel cookers often require the cooking vessel to be enclosed in glass or a plastic oven roasting bag in order to retain heat. Instead, the Haines Solar Cooker relies on a "sleeve" of .020-inch (0.5 mm) UV-resistant polycarbonate film. The sleeve consists of a 15cm x 92cm (6" x 36") rectangle of polycarbonate film rolled into a cylinder slightly bigger than the cooking pot, and secured with ordinary paper clips. The top rim of the cooking pot rests on the top edge of the cooking sleeve thus insulating the cooking pot and elevating it off the surface of the reflector, allowing the sun to be reflected onto the bottom of the pot. The sleeve works best with a pot with a glass lid, which also acts as an insulator.
Like other solar panel cookers the Haines Solar Cooker is comprised of a simply constructed reflective surface that gathers, or concentrates the suns rays onto a dark colored cooking vessel. To retain heat, ordinarily the cooking vessel is enclosed in glass or plastic, such as oven roasting bag.
In the case of the Haines cooker rather than using an oven (turkey)roasting bag like many panel style cookers do, the manufacturer decided to use a material that would last longer than the standard oven roasting bag and would be easy to use while at the same time would be effective in retaining the accumulated heat energy in and around the cook pot.
The wide open and properly angled reflector panels capture a lot of sunlight, reflecting it onto the cooking vessel and the wind screen helps to reduce heat loss that is sometimes and issue with some panel style cookers. The cooking sleeve is designed so that it will fit around almost any of the small-large pot/pan sizes available (no handles) making the sleeve an effective glazing to hold the heat close to the cooking vessel.
If one wishes to use oven roasting bags with this cooker you can do so just as easily as using the included cooking sleeve. This would allow one to cook using a pot/pan that has a handle, if that were the only cooking vessel available.
....If taken care of this cooker should give many years of great solar cooking
This cooker is easy to set up, effective in its ability to cook and is definitely a nice cooker for the backpacker, outdoor enthusiast and for the person who wants to have an extra and viable means to cook in times of emergency or disaster.
But, don't put this solar cooker away until needed for an emergency, keep it out where you can use it every day the sun is shining, because it is that easy to use. And it will not only cook your food well, but it might save you a little on the electric bill and intrigue the neighbors at the same time.
The Haines cooker is more rigid than a lot of similar style panel cookers and is more able to withstand breezes which can be a challenge for other soft material panel cookers.
This cooker also has an advantage of more efficient cooking with the added protection and heat retaining feature of the wind screen that covers the cooking pot.
Included when you purchase:
The whole kit weighs 21 ounces
4-Qt. Black Teflon Pot with Glass Lid
Teflon Dutch Oven with glass lid (mid-size)
10 1/4" round, 3 3/4" high
The Haines Solar Cooker boiling water at a very steady boil
-A very compact and useful solar cooker for backpackers and outdoors enthusiasts. We wholeheartedly recommend the Haines Solar Cooker.