Setting Up the Sun Oven for the First Time

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This post is by Bernie Carr,

I mentioned a few days ago I have been waiting for sunny weather to set up my Sun Oven.  We’ve had several cool and cloudy days this spring, and now we’re finally getting some sun.  I also had to find space to do the set-up.  We don’t have a lot of space around our unit, so I opted to try the Sun Oven at my sister-in-law’s house, as they have a lot more room in their enclosed backyard than I do.

Here is the box the Sun Oven came in.

Setting Up a Sun Oven for the First Time_boxOpening the box, it came with:

  • Sun Oven
  • 2 dark colored stackable pots with 1 glass and 1 enamel lid
  • 1 multi-fuel WAPI *
  • 3 dehydrating racks
  • 1 roll of parchment paper
  • 2 loaf pans
  • Recipe disk

Setting Up a Sun Oven for the First Time_contents

I thought I would have to buy special pots or baking pans to cook in, so I was glad they came with it.

* What is a WAPI?  WAPI stands for “water pasteurization indicator”  It is a special thermometer, a transparent tube that contains wax.  It was designed to float in a pot of water.  The wax melts when the temperature of the water reaches 150º F (65ºC) for 6 minutes.  This is the time required to kill germs in water, enough to make it safe to drink.  The Sun Oven can be used to pasteurize water to conserve fuel.


The Sun Oven was easy to assemble.  There was not much to put together, other than placing the stand in the bottom to allow it to tilt toward the sun.  Removing the plastic film covering the reflectors was the most work involved, and that only took a few seconds.

Setting Up

Originally I thought I could start cooking food right away, but it turns out, there are a few steps required for set-up.   We went outside around 1 pm to get started, so the sun was still overhead.

1.  The instruction book indicates the Sun Oven needs to sit outside in full sun for 30 minutes.  So we took it outside in the yard, and set it on top of the original box.  I did not want it sitting directly on the grass, to avoid bugs and other critters.  You had to position it directly facing the sun, and the way you can tell is by checking the shadow around the opening – you have to adjust the oven until an even circle could be seen.  See below.

Setting Up a Sun Oven for the First Time_alignAfter 30 minutes, the temperature inside the oven had risen to 275 degrees.

2.  The next step is to leave a pan with three cups of vinegar inside the oven while out in the sun for two hours.  The oven needed to be re-aligned roughly every 30 minutes so it can face the sun.

The oven reached about 300 degrees by the time the two hours ended.

Setting Up a Sun Oven for the First Time_setup1Setting Up a Sun Oven for the First Time_setup23.  The final step was to clean the oven with the vinegar.  The oven had heated up quite well so I used an oven mitt to move it to a shady spot.  After the vinegar cooled I cleaned the oven thoroughly.

Setting Up a Sun Oven for the First Time_vinegarBy now it was too late in the day to get started with cooking something.

The weather forecast for the next couple of days showed cloudy days and an increasing chance for rain.  In the meantime, I’ve asked around for recipes from The Prepared Bloggers FB group and got the following:

I am waiting until the next clear day to do some cooking in the Sun Oven.  I will post the results then!


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  1. Just yesterday, I was on-line doing research for these. Like you, I live in an apartment and was concerned about the space. I found one that I will be able to use on the balcony. I wish there was someone to post a picture to show you. I love this site. I’m new at this and coming here really helps! I’ve even found the solar shower. LOL I love it. Thank you.

  2. If you put the sun oven on a lazy Susan, it is easy to turn it every thirty minutes. If you have to bug out, forget the lazy Susan idea.

    1. Hi Crazy Stevo, That is a great idea using a lazy Susan to move it instead of having to realign the sun oven. Thanks for the tip!

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