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Camping with the SolSource

by James
(Shelbyville, Ky. USA)

Trying the SolSource by the lake

Trying the SolSource by the lake

This is our fall break, and camping is generally how I unwind!

I thought this would be an excellent opportunity to test the SolSource in a different location and learn more about its capabilities. I learned a few things, but I don't feel like anyone left the camping trip with an appreciation for solar.

I traveled with two Louisville friends to Land Between the Lakes state park to visit a friend that lives in Murray, Ky (close to LBL).

The first day, we had hamburgers on the grill, but clouds rolled through that made the heating inconsistent...increasing cooking time. The hamburgers were cooked well and they were tasty!

That night, we rigged the solar cooker up behind the campfire as a shield to redirect heat towards the campers :) It is certainly not what the reflector was meant for...and we couldn't position it exactly how we wanted, but it planted a seed for something to look into at a later date. The heat difference in front of the reflector was noticeable.

For anyone attempting to play with reflectors and campfires, I would advise caution. (It should be a no-brainer that campfires require a certain degree of safety, but I wanted to remind creative types to put safety first!) You could ruin an expensive piece of equipment if not careful!

The next morning, we tried to have breakfast on "the beach" of Nickell Branch campground, but after several attempts at repositioning, we had to scrap that idea and move forward with cooking breakfast on the campfire. It left me with one question, one realization, and one suggestion. If there are any out there who have experienced similar situations, I would love to hear from you in regards to the question:

1.) Do solar reflectors only work best in the mid-day sun? If the sun is not directly overhead, is there THAT much of a difference in power? I wasn't able to get nearly the power out of the unit that I thought I would have. We attempted bacon, but after some initial sizzle, we had to move on to the campfire. At 10:30, the sun was high enough to illuminate the beach, I feel like that should provide power to cook.

I acquired an evacuated tube (like many use to heat water) and I have been playing with it as an idea for an oven, much like the GoSun Stove sold here on Cantina West!) -- I should have brought it on our camping trip, since they tend to hold heat (and thus deal with clouds MUCH better) better than the SolSource.

The SolSource Solar Cooker is AWESOME. I don't want anyone to think that I am hating on it, but I would offer some feedback to the SolSource team: Increase the *adjustability* of the unit. I often have to prop the legs on other objects to get it level. Adjustable legs would have been really helpful on the rocks. The rod on the current unit that adjusts to modify the mirror's rotation along the Y-axis (up/down) is weak. It tends to slip. For an expensive unit, this is the Achilles heel. On such an expensive unit, this should be an embarrassing oversight. I think consumers might frown on adding a ring of duct tape to hold elevation as I have been doing.

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