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Sun Cooking Australia

If you're planning on going camping or 4wd touring, some good cooking gear will make a big difference to the experience. You can do a lot of coking over an open fire, but finding fuel can be tricky in some areas and you might not be allowed to light one in others. Living off burgers and pie floaters isn't a great solution, and if you're well away from a town it's not very practical either. It's best to have a decent cooker with you to keep your options open. Traditionally most people have gone for a gas stove, but as always technology is opening up new possibilities and now solar is a real option.

A solar cooker has a lot of advantages. It doesn't need any fuel; as long as the sun's shining – and there are large areas of Australia where you can rely on that for most of the year – you basically have a free source of energy to exploit. It's a completely green option because you're not burning any fuel or causing any pollution. A modern solar cooker is also extremely light and compact, so you can throw one in the back of your wagon as a backup or a way to save gas on sunny days. Sound good? It should do. We've found a great range of gear from Sun Cooking Australia, and it's impressive stuff.

Sun Cooking Australia's sola ovens are amazing gadgets. We stock two models – the Sunbeam is a lightweight device made of cardboard covered with a reflective film. It sounds flimsy but it's actually pretty robust as well as amazingly compact, and it's dead easy to use. All you have to do is unfold it, point it at the sun and place your pot in the middle. The reflective panels of the oven concentrate sunlight onto the pot and that's basically it. You can boil water, cook a stew, basically anything you can do in a pot or kettle. There's also the Sunlite model, which is pretty much the same idea but ideal for hiking trips – it folds away into a slim shoulder bag and is made from tough fabric with a reflective coating. This one also has a zip-up cover to trap even more heat inside. We recommend using a thin-walled black pot with both these ovens.

Another Sun Cooking gadget we really like is the Sunrocket. This is a solar kettle that looks like a thermos flask. In fact it also works like a thermos flask, with a central vacuum tube surrounded by an insulating jacket. When you want to boil some water, though, the jacket unclips and folds out in two sections. These have reflective inner panels that focus sunlight onto the tube. A built in stand lets you adjust it to the best angle for collecting the light, and it can boil half a litre of water in half an hour. That's not as fast as a gas stove of course, but it's not at all bad and it does it with no fuel. It's absolutely perfect for long trips or as an emergency water heater.

If you want some solar power in your pocket get a Sunspark solar lighter. This is a tiny parabolic mirror that folds away in a neat little case. Open it up and it focuses sunlight to an intense point. It'll get a fire started in five seconds, and your emergency kit really shouldn't be without one.

At Tough Toys we're always looking for high quality new products. Sun Cooking Australia have really impressed us with their high quality gear. It works extremely well, too. If you like to get out and do stuff while the sun is shining you're going to love this kit.

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