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Make a DIY Solar Cooking Setup for Fire/Gas Free Camping

If you find yourself dry camping or boondocking then you probably have many different methods to conserve resources. Preparing food can be one of the difficult things to do while camping without using fuel or electricity. Of course there is always fire, but that isn’t always an option if you are unable to gather the supplies and/or monitor your food as it cooks. One way to do that is to harness the sun for your cooking needs using a DIY solar cooking setup. SmokerBill showed off his version of a solar cooker (originally championed by Steven E. Jones, University Professor of Physics at Brigham Young University) and we think it is remarkably simple and something that anyone can build. Possibly even a fun project for children to be involved in if you have them with you!

SmokerBill used sheets of heavy duty poster board and some reflective Mylar to form a funnel shaped cone DIY solar cooker. The idea is to use a sheet of cardboard that is covered with a reflective material and worked into a funnel shape. If it is pointed in the correct angle, the sun’s energy should be directed to the container in the middle which is painted black to absorb heat. Part of the design requires the actual cooking container being inside another see through container (ex. glass jar, canisters, oven roasting bag, etc.) The sun will slowly heat up the jar by focusing the suns energy into the center of the DIY solar cooking setup where the food is contained. It turns out some tweaking is necessary in order to get a evenly cooked jar. Having the funnel at the wrong angle can leave the top cooked and the bottom cold.


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DIY Solar Cooking Setup Photos


DIY Solar Cooking Setup Materials List:

Total Cost = $18.00


For $20 you can build a low cost,  safe, and effective solar cooker for use when camping. A great project for boondocker’s or for those with younger kids looking for a neat project that will provide them hours of entertainment. All in the name of science!

For more information on SmokerBill’s design including Photos, Detailed Instructions and Results, visit

For more information on a the methodology, science, and usability of the DIY Solar Cooking Setup, please see

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