This is a review prepared by one of my sons on the Solarvore Sport Solar Oven. This will be the last post that I put up for a few days , but you will hear from me in the future.
When my life depends on something it had better work, and had better work for a long time. So when I look for survival gear I look for quality, durability and effectiveness. Unfortunately most items sold as survival tools are built very cheaply and lack any quality or durability and are not something I would trust in a survival situation.
The Solavore Sport Oven body is made mostly of black plastic with an aluminum liner. It is very simple and appears relatively durable. The lid is a clear plastic with a thin plastic film taped to a cavity in the lid to create an air pocket for insulation. The film had a yellow piece of paper taped to it directing the user to not remove the film. It appears the film could be easily damaged or removed. In addition, the directions warn about over-heating the lid as it may warp or become clouded.
The Solavore came with 2 black metal pans that are functional and durable in appearance as well as an oven thermometer. It also came with an optional aluminum Reflector that can be used in less than ideal light in order to reach cooking temperatures. The reflectors appear to be much higher quality than the lid. Another nice item it came with is a WAPI to help pasteurize water for safe drinking. This is a small wax filled tube. The wax melts when the water has reached a temperature that renders it safe to drink. The WAPI is reusable. The Solavore included a small direction manual with excellent guidelines for its use as well as cooking tips.
I used the Solavore on a hot afternoon, about a 90° day. After 15 minutes in the sun the Solavore was 160°. After 40 minutes it was 190° and after 70 minutes it was 210° and held there. It cooked my meal very well. As I am a fan of low and slow cooking I was very pleased with the Solavore’s ability to hold low cooking temps for as long as light is available. I did not need to use the optional reflectors to do this. I would expect they would be of significant use during cooler months or when cloud cover is present. I am not going to discuss cooking times because that will be dependent on the food you are cooking as with any oven.
After the cook I noticed the thin plastic film taped to the lid had warped slightly as a reaction to the heat. I do not know how well the Solavore will cook if that film is removed. I am also concerned about the clear plastic lid and its potential for warping or clouding up. I doubt it would cook as well after clouding or warping due to heat.
In conclusion, the Solarvore Sport Solar Oven does an excellent job cooking and I believe has great potential to be an excellent survival tool. The body seems to be good quality and appears durable. The aluminum reflectors are a plus. They seem to be good quality and could potentially have several other uses. I would love to see Solavore make the lid out of more durable materials that will not warp or cloud. The thin taped on film needs to be rethought completely. Overall it is a nice product that could be excellent with some improvements to the lid.
UPDATE FROM NOAH: I gave the Solavore people a chance to respond to this review, and here is what I learned about the plastic cover and film:
“The film is a mylar plastic developed by 3M Corporation. It is in fact very durable, unless punctured by a sharp object (which would almost have to be deliberate). Condensation can build in the layer between the lid and the film but will dry out when left for a while in the sun. Solavore sells repair kits for people who need to replace the film or tape (this happens to be less than 0.1% of all ovens sold!). You can read more about the lid materials here.”
I believe every household should have a solar oven of some sort, even DIY, since it requires no fuel to cook and sterilize water.