December 2013 Issue
Table of Contents
Chandlery- December 2013
Solar Kettle Calls for Patience
We know there are PS readers who strive to get live off ďThe Grid,Ē and thatís the aim of the SunRocket, a solar-powered kettle from Australia-based Sun Cooking.
The SunRocket is a thermos-style kettle that solar heats water in a glass vacuum tube in a method thatís similar to rooftop solar water heaters. You fill the canister with water (or snow), screw the lid on securely, open the reflective side panels, lay the SunRocket in sunlight, and then wait . . . and wait.
We recorded the time to heat 16 ounces of 75-degree water in partly sunny skies and got these results: one hour, 110 degrees; two hours, 130 degrees; three hours, 154 degrees; five hours, 170 degrees. Average air temperature was 80 degrees, and we conducted the test from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.
The SunRocketís thermal glass tube is covered by a weather-resistant, BPA-free plastic casing that opens to reveal aluminum reflective panels. It weighs 2.6 pounds, measures 17.7 by 4.2 by 4.2 inches, and holds 16.9 ounces of water. It retails for $60.
The maker claims the SunRocket can kill giardia and other bacteria in water. However, the Centers for Disease Control recommends boiling water for this, and we could not get the SunRocket to boil water. For back country germ-killing, either the Steripen (PS, September 2008) or CamelBak All Clear (PS, June 2013) are better options. Good coffee needs to steep in about 180-degree water, and we think the SunRocket can hit that temp on a full-sun day.
Bottom line: The SunRocket is not rocket fast. Most will find it too slow for practical use, but the forager on your holiday list should like it.