Showing posts with label Sun Oven. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sun Oven. Show all posts

Monday, March 18, 2013

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

I swapped some .357 magnum ammo we no longer need for 125 rounds of 9mm. We restocked a bunch of household stuff that had been used. Also picked up some more laundry soap, sponges and a few other things to build up some extra. Sold some stuff I had purchased semi speculatively to free up cash. Put some time into the garden and did some sun oven cooking also.

That's about all I can think of.

What did you do to prepare this week?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Solar Cooking, Remington 870 vs Mossberg 500 and Other Stuff

Getting used to cooking on the Sun Oven is definitely a priority of mine. The weather here is very cooperative and not a lot was going on earlier today so I gave it another go. Cooked up some pinto beans with the usual spices and a bit of bacon. Used canned beans and normal bacon but you could easily do the same thing with canned dried pinto beans and canned bacon. Got the Sun Oven set up and it started heating up like crazy. In a couple minutes it was over 200 and in 20 minutes or so it was over 300. In 2 hours I figured the beans were probably done. They turned out really good.

The sun oven cooks sort of like a combination of a normal oven and a crock pot. The time is a bit closer to an oven because the temp is higher bit it retains moisture like a crock pot. The combination is pretty awesome actually. Getting it positioned so the sun is hitting as much of the inside as possible and slightly ahead of the sun (so it's going to be in the sun for awhile) takes a little bit of practice. Checking it every 30 minutes or so and adjusting about every other time seems to do the trick. I have heard of folks setting up an oven aimed to catch the mid day- afternoon heat then leaving for work to come home to a hot dinner. That seems like a pretty cool thing to be able to do. I am going to work on doing that  over the coming weeks. Cooking for free and building skills is pretty cool.

As we have been asking shotgun related questions and specifically talking Project 870 the other logical option the Mossberg 500 series has come up. Folks have mentioned them and it's time to discuss the Mossberg as well as some compare and contrast between the two. (Note I'm not going to talk the Mossberg 590 separately. They are really more of a nicer M500 variant than a new gun IMO. A fine gun but if we talked every variant of both guns this would be a 10k word post.)

Bottom line up front: Both are good guns so get whichever you prefer.

Remington 870 Positives:
-Probably the most common pump shotgun in circulation. Basically the same gun has been made since the 1950's. 
-Pretty much the standard shotgun for police and firearms professionals. This might be a marketing/ sales success thing, I don't know. In any case when the vast majority of serious users choose one option it is  worth paying attention to.
-Very adaptable with all manner of parts options including those by duty grade type makers.
-Excellent fit and smooth action.

Remington 870 Downsides:
Controls in less than ideal locations.
On the basic Express Model some issues can come up with the finish. (I will talk 870 variants another time)

Mossberg 500 Positves:
-Excellent controls with the safety and pump release (probablyy not the right technical term) in the right locations.
-Excellent value. Typically a Mossberg 500 will be $50-75 cheaper than a comparably set up Remington 870.

Mossberg 500 Downsides:
-Rougher fitting of parts.
-Limited availability of duty grade type accessories. Lots of folks make junk that can be bolted onto the Mossberg 500. Good stuff is harder to get than for an 870.

Conclusion: It is worth mentioning I did not discuss reliability or durability intentionally. That is because both of these guns are about as reliable and bomb proof as a gun can get. The damn things just last forever and don't break. They both have positives and negatives so folks have to think about what matters the most to them. Right now we only own the 870 series but that is more about parts/ accessories commonality than anything else. If a good deal on a Mossberg 500 came up I would snap it up. Hopefully this gives you some insight into how I look at these two shotguns. At the end of the day I believe either gun will serve you well.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Sun Oven In Progress Review

Since we are in Arizona, the land of the eternal sun there are a lot of opportunities to play with the Sun Oven.The picture is not mine I shamelessly stole it from this gal who uses her Sun Oven to make bread.

First it is worthwhile to talk a little bit about the Sun Oven. Here are some basic stats. The SUN OVEN is 19” x 19” with an average depth of 11”. The total weight is only 21 pounds. The back of the outside outer box is 14″ high and the front of the outer box is 9″ high. The back of the oven chamber is 11″ high and the front is 7″ high, with an average depth of 9″. The door opening for the oven chamber is 14″ in diameter. When opened the reflectors are 32″ in diameter.

The following materials used to make a SUN OVEN®:
Reflectors Anodized aluminum (which will never oxidize, rust or corrode)
Outer shell ABS plastic
Bezel Poplar wood (kiln dried)
Inner shell Anodized aluminum
Door Tempered glass
Between the aluminum inner shell and the plastic outer shell there is a thick batt of food grade fiberglass insulation.

The fit and finish are very nice.

Using the Sun Oven is fairly easy if you read the instructions and watch the videos. However if you do not do those things it is much harder. Don't ask how I know this. It is really important to position the Sun Oven properly. It needs to be facing the sun or slightly ahead of it and the elevation needs to be adjusted so as much sun is hitting the inside of the oven as possible.

Today I did a test to see how the Sun Oven does at getting up to real cooking temperatures. After setting it up I started a timer. After 15 minutes the temp in the Sun Oven was a bit above 300 degrees. At the half hour mark it was sitting at about 340. At the hour mark it reached a peak at 360. The temp would slip down a little bit when the sun moved away before time to adjust it. Someplace on the website I read that they recommend checking it every half hour and making a minor adjustment to keep it in the suns path. Also some folks will position their ovens so they will get the prime afternoon sun and go to work leaving the oven to do it's thing.

It is a bit early for a review but we will use the same format to discuss initial experiences and impressions.

The Good: A well made product. Some folks use theirs regularly for years. There isn't really anything on it that could break through normal use (obviously if you run it over with a truck or something that is an issue) which would not be easy to fix.

Capable of cooking using the power of the sun so it will not run out of fuel. Being able to bake and do the kind of long duration cooking that will just suck fuel on a Coleman stove is really nice. Like a lot of folks right now we do not have a wood stove, let alone one with an oven. We will not necessarily have one all the time (we are semi nomadic due to my job) until we settle down. A solar oven goes a long way towards filling that niche.

The Bad:

The Sun Oven does have some downsides. It is fairly large at 19"x19"x12"ish. You could fill the inside space with anything light like clothes or bedding but the thing is still pretty big.

Weather is a consideration. I am not exactly sure how much sun these ovens need to work but they do need some. Folks in perpetually overcast places might want to do some research before making a purchase.

Also Sun Ovens are not cheap. I think for the right person in the right climate they could definitely pay for themselves in normal times and be priceless in an emergency situation. On the other hand it would be a pretty expensive item to purchase and have just sit around.

There is a learning curve with solar cooking. You really do not want to try it for the first time when normal options are not available and wasting or ruining food is a serious problem. This is something that pretty much needs to get figured out before you need it.

The Ugly: No ugly at this time.


I see a couple real roles for the Sun Oven.  The first is as a way to save some money on the old gas/ electric bill. Along these lines it is just fun to fiddle around with. The second is as a way to cook in a set location be it a retreat or home or whatever. Being able to bake without an oven would be really nice in such a scenario. This oven could be the difference between having mediocre flat bread as your staple and real genuine bread. It is not really so good for a bug out type situation but in a basecamp or home type situation it has real potential to be an important part of ones cooking plans.

It is true that there are other solar cooking methods including DIY projects based on cardboard boxes and aluminum foil. The Sun Oven folks put a lot of time and energy into making that thing gather and hold as much heat as it can. They are really efficient which means you get more cooking out of the available sun than a less efficient solar cooker.

I think deciding if a sun oven is for you or if you should go another way depends a lot on what you want a solar cooker to do. If it is going to be a novelty you want to play with once or twice then a Sun Oven would be a hard sell. On the other hand if you are looking at a solar cooker being a key part of your overall cooking plans do you really want to be relying on a cardboard box and some aluminum foil?

As I start cooking with the Sun Oven we will talk about it more. Hopefully some of that will happen this coming week.

Monday, November 12, 2012

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

It was a pretty solid week here. Exercise was solidly on pace with 3 runs, 2 lifts and 1 body weight/  lame Army PT session before getting sick. I fiddled with some gear which was good. Did some dry fire drills which are always a positive thing. Did some testing of the solar charger which turned out pretty good. Oh yeah and I purchased 2 BBQ sized propane bottles.

Between getting sick and recovering we pretty much lost the whole weekend which kinda hurt some efforts. However we are pretty much back to normal so that is good.

In terms of material stuff it was a great week. Ordered a year's worth (x1 pax or 4 mos x3) of grains and lentils, 40 pounds of rice and sugar as well as some oatmeal. Project AR Upgrade got some love too with a VTAC Surefire light and mount combo and a VTAC sling to go along with it.

Survivalist Charlie got me now I'm broke so next weeks plans include the usual dry fire and PT (3 lifts, 3 runs, 2 rucks and at least 2 APFT oriented body weight sessions) as well as a contest brought to you by our new but good friends at Camping Survival. If things work out I will look over our kits again and go through the 'go food' as well as testing out some cooking options. We *should* have the right connectors to run our Coleman propane stuff off the big BBQ bottles from the stuff we got from the in laws but well that is why we test things. Also I am still fiddling with the Sun Oven and Solo Stove.

Some good stuff if I do say coming up  so myself. What did you do to prepare this week?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Elections, Life and Family

The presidential election is over. I am almost entirely ambivalent about it. In many ways except party catch phrases the 'solutions' being offered were very comparable.

I considered doing some panic buying but things are pretty solid on most fronts. A few more magazines for the .22's will be ordered shortly. After that things will be pretty good here. Also we have other areas where that money would be better spent.

The last couple days have been pretty crazy here. We've got some medical stuff going on. I will probably say more down the road when things are clearer. Something can be nothing or it can be something so I'll be intentionally vague for a bit.

I have been talking with some of our advertisers and there is good stuff coming up. Expect lots of product reviews as well as give away's and contests. This stuff should be fun and interesting for everybody.

Right now I am cooking up some brownies for Wifey and Walker in the Sun Oven. Will post the results and an in progress review later today or tomorrow.

So that is what's going on here.

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