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Old 02-21-2021, 12:21 PM   #21
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Brook,

Welcome! You will get many varied opinions on your cooking questions. I don't think its useful for anyone to try to convince you what to do... Everyone's needs/wants are different so it's better to just find out a lot of options along with their pros/cons and choose what will/should work for your situation. That's been our approach and it has worked... We are travelers rather than campers so don't tend to spend more than a couple of nights in any one place with rare exception.

One of the things that we had to overcome was a mindset that cooking in a camper would mirror that at home with unlimited power resources. We are lucky to have a 3-burner LP stove in our camper but I don't like using it when the temp is hot outside same with using our convection microwave as an oven so I searched for other options. My wife insisted she needed a toaster for breakfast so we bought one but found out it consumed too much power (not to mention storage space) and would trip the circuit breaker if the A/C was running at the same time.

Since inverters are inherently inefficient (i.e. about 15% of the energy from the batteries is lost due to heat), we don't use any. For that reason, I'm a big fan of native 12v appliances gadgets. Our TV is 12v and I have a 12v power cord for my little netbook computer and of course we can charge our phones off 12v with no problem.

In this journey of discovery we ultimately bought a 12v 1.5 quart RoadPro 350 crockpot a few years ago. It has a removable crock and a tight-fitting lid as well as an elastic band system for securing the lid.... so very little chance of spills. It is small but large enough for a few chicken breasts on vegetables, polish sausage on sauerkraut, or enough stew/chili/spaghetti for an ample meal for 2-4 people. It uses 96 watts max at full power and probably a lot less than that once the crock is warm. We tend to prep a meal in it before we get underway in the morning and place the crockpot in the sink wrapped by several towels to keep it from jostling around too much. When we arrive at our destination, the meal is ready. We also bought a 12v water heater pot but it is too inefficient to be useful unless the vehicle is running or we are connected to shore power.

Interestingly, there is a lot of discussion about solar on these forums but most people don't use the full term solar electrical power in their posts. We have no solar electrical power but we do have a passive solar oven. We don't use it often but in a situation with ample sun (such as at the beach, desert, or mountains) it can reach temps as high as 350F... enough to bake bread! It is easily enough to slow cook things in a couple of hours... The entire fold-able portable oven with it's trivet and collapsible silicone pot weigh only 1.3 pounds. We all know how warm the dash can get in our cars/vans so it's also possible to put this "oven" in the windshield and capture even more solar energy for heat. Here's a link to ours: https://www.amazon.com/Sunflair-Mini.../dp/B00U1Y6QQM

Good luck with the new vehicle and happy trails in 2021. During these COVID pandemic times, we've certainly found our camper useful for avoiding public facilities to limit our exposure.

Paul and Christine
NW FL, USA

1999 Winnebago Rialta HD (class B+)
2006 Winnebago View 23H (class C)
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Old 02-21-2021, 02:39 PM   #22
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I am fascinated by solar heating, both for cooking and for heating water. My hang up, though, is that if I have enough solar for solar cooking, I have enough solar on my panels for a more regulated temperature. One day last summer, I boiled eggs, then I boiled some potatoes, then I cooked a stew, all in the Instant Pot without drawing down the batteries.
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Old 02-21-2021, 03:32 PM   #23
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With an Instant Pot or any well insulated cooker, you can save a big chunk of the power use by getting food up to cooking temp before putting it in the post. Those with propane have it easy to do by heating on the stove first and then put it in for the longer term cooking with low power use. A campfire or charcoal grille can do the same. A 12v crock pot that is well insulated with no need for a running inverter parasitic and inefficiency use would be very nice with preheated food going in.
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