Today on the blog we’ve finally got our hands on something we’ve been eyeing up for a while: The GoSun Go Solar Cooker. We’re planning to do a field test and review (when the sun finally comes out here!) but we thought we’d go over the specs and our first impressions today. So join us as we prepare to say goodbye to the cost – and weight – of camping stove fuel.
Overview / Specs
GoSun have really caught our eye in the last few years with their line of solar tube style cookers. While initially focused on larger, backyard models, they’ve recently expanded their line and have some viable portable options – among them the ‘Go’ and its larger cousin the ‘Sport’. While the Sport is aimed at those who want to sling a solar cooker in the back of their car for a picnic, the Go is small and portable enough to take with you in a rucksack for some rough rambling. After far too many hours pining over pictures of it on the internet, we decided to take the plunge!
Size And Weight
The GoSun Go weighs in at 900g. While that’s a little heavy for a cooker, if you factor in that there’s no fuel needed for it, it brings the weightt closer to what you’d expect for a multi-day camp cooking setup. The Go measures 36 x 18 x 8.5 cm, making it small enough not only for a larger rucksack but also to take inside a day pack.
In The Box
Inside the box we have the GoSun Go module itself, as well as 4 silicone cooking trays. There’s also an ‘action stand’ included, which can help to stabilise the unit depending on where and how you’re trying to position it. Lastly, you also get a brush for cleaning the unit and an instruction manual with some cooking times included.
How It Does Its Thing
The Go is designed around a clamshell, made of EVA foam designed to protect the innards from droppage. Unzippping the shell, you have the actual solar module itself – a vacuum tube with two solar reflectors either side of it. A small prop stick beside the tube can be switched sideways to keep the shell open.
The idea is to stick some food in the silicone moulds (max. 2 per cook), place them in the removable cooking tray and whack the tray inside the vacuum tube. Making sure to line the unit up with the sun (using the inbuilt solar dial) the solar reflectors should then start cooking whatever is inside the tube. While it’s built for cooking in the sun, the unit should work in cloudy conditions as well – at least according to GoSun. But obviously a sunny day will cook your meal faster than an overcast one. You can also boil water (up to 400ml) directly inside the unit, making it perfect for coffee or MRE-style rations.
Once your food is done, you remove the cooking tray and chow down. GoSun claim that the outside of the unit will never be hot (or even warm) to the touch, although you still have to watch your fingers around the inside of the cooking tray, which will be scorching.
The vacuum tube and solar reflectors inside the unit seem very solidly made, however there were some minor imperfections we found when examining the outer case. There were loose threads here and there – nothing serious enough to compromise the case, but noticeable enough that it didn’t make a great first impression. Still, given the relative lack of moving parts on the unit itself, it seems as though it should last for years without issue. GoSun seem to agree, as they offer a 2-year guarantee on the unit in case of any defect.
One of the things that made us think twice about taking a chance on the GoSun Go was the price – after all, we’re all about keeping it Thrifty, so was it going to be worth the money? To answer that question, it’s key to understand the central premise of the Go: the fact that you don’t need to carry any fuel with you. If you’re a frequent summer camper, and spend a decent amount of money on fuel, there’s every chance the unit will pay for itself within a few years. Of course, those are big ifs. And that’s also assuming that the Go will last that long, though on first inspection it seems like it should.
Another benefit the GoSun offers is simply being a more eco-friendly camp cooking option. Burning fuel is generally not kind to the environment, and our personal take is that the cost of buying a GoSun is nothing compared to the cost of inaction on climate change. Indulging in our favourite hobby + cutting out the fuel emissions = happy campers.
Lastly, one of the things that really appeals to us about this stove is the (lack of) hassle factor. With a traditional stove you need to account for the weight of your fuel, calculate how much you’ll need, remember to pack it, set up the stove, make adjustments for wind, on and on. With the GoSun, 99% of that bother is eliminated. You grab your food, set up the stove, and you can go have a walk while it cooks. No fuss.
Well, there you have it folks – our first look at the GoSun Go. We’ll be firing it up as soon as the weather allows, so stay tuned to see how it performs in the field. And in the meantime, check out the rest of our blog for more tips, tricks and gear reviews from the trail. Until next time.