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outback oven diy clone

Posted: Tue Mar 31, 2015 11:16 pm
by churro
I have an Outback Oven that I have used lovingly and often for many years. I lived in a house for a couple of years that had no range or oven. I bought a cheap 2 burner electric job for the counter and did all my baking on it with my outback oven. I have also used it camping quite a bit over the decade and a half that I have had it. I have lost the original pan, but kept the knob that has a rudimentary thermometer built in, and now I use it with an MSR blacklight cookset over a packafeather alcohol stove. I also still have the diffuser plate that came with the outback oven.

Since my outback oven has been scorched, mildewed and left out in the sun, it's getting ragged, so I thought I'd make a new one.

A while back I found this video:

It got me thinking about what kinds of origamy you could do with this material (aluminum foil faced on one side with aluminum tape). It's very strong, but develops pinhole leaks after being folded a few times- not good for pots and such, but perfect as a reflector for a solar oven, or for:
This is a picture of it fully deployed. I'll unpack it next and show you how it all fits together, but first, here's a pic of the original outback oven, also deployed:
Here are both, upside down, and the cookpot I use for baking on the stove:
Here's the diffuser plat under the pot:

Re: outback oven diy clone

Posted: Tue Mar 31, 2015 11:25 pm
by churro
Here's the stove under the diffuser plate:
The homemade outback oven hood folds down like this, and seems really durable:
And it's more compact than the original:
The original weighs 110 grams, mine weighs 40 grams.
Here's the whole kit, including some turkey roasting bags and twist ties for baking with a solar reflector, all packed up for transport:
This one is just a prototype. I hope to make a cleaner version soon. I'll also try to figure out how to link to my post about a ground pad that can double as a solar cooker (a work in progress). Thanks for looking.

Re: outback oven diy clone

Posted: Tue Mar 31, 2015 11:28 pm
by churro
I should probably mention that I am perfectly happy carrying a little extra weight and doing a little more fiddling in order to have a truly satisfying meal. I know this rig is way overblown for a lot of folks, but I like it.

I haven't actually tried my home made oven. Maybe tomorrow, since it'll be too windy to burn my ditches anyway...

Re: outback oven diy clone

Posted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 9:21 am
by zelph
The foil really did a weight reduction very nicely. Good idea doing the "origami fold" ....there should be a song out there appropriate for folding :mrgreen:

Will you be doing the stove full throttle? What will be your first baked dish?

Re: outback oven diy clone

Posted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 10:03 am
by churro
zelph wrote:Will you be doing the stove full throttle? What will be your first baked dish?
Actually this works best at a low to medium simmer. Takes a little time to warm up, then start a timer. Usually the smell tells you when it's done or if you need to turn down the heat.

As for the first dish, I was just contemplating that. Cornbread has been sort of my go-to with this setup, so maybe that's where to start, though I am tempted to go all out with a calzone or something.

BTW, here's a link to the accessories page at backpackers pantry, the folks that make the outback oven. They sell pot knobs with a thermometer on them, or an ultralight version that just sits on the pot. You can see it through the hole in the top of the hood. Not totally necessary, but it helps keep me from peeking too often :shock: ... ml?cat=633

To make this, I just taped out a good- sized piece of foil on flat on the countertop, then added a layer of tape, overlapping each strip slightly. Then I traced out the shape of a large caldera cone, rolled it and joined the edges with more tape. Then I folded it in half, then thirds, then in half the other way. To set it up, just unfold, then pinch the pleats at the hole and around the base.

Re: outback oven diy clone

Posted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 12:02 pm
by churro
Success! :D :D :D Here's cornbread from my outback oven clone:
The bottom is perfectly browned!
I didn't notice any variation from the way the original oven performed. I used my msr whisperlite stove, because that way i could shut it down if any problems occurred. They didn't.

It slid right out of the pan and a quick wipe with a paper towel was all the cleanup necessary. The best part about this rig is that you can easily make enough of something to feed 4 people. Total cooking time from the time the batter hit the pan was about 30 minutes- 10 to warm up and 20 to bake.

Re: outback oven diy clone

Posted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 3:52 pm
by zelph
Your batting average is way up success after another :D Makes me hungry for corn bread. :dinner: or even a calzone :D

did the foil fold up well after all the heating?

Thermometer in a Knob sounds like a clever idea.

Where did you get the heat difusser? I found a few at the thrift store. One of them I cut down to a 3" diameter for my small stoves.

I bet you left the oven set-up close by to do another bake session :D What's next on the menu???

Re: outback oven diy clone

Posted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 4:33 pm
by churro
The heat diffuser came with my old outback oven, but they sell them a separately, too. And the foil folded up fine after heating. No scorching or smell, though it got a little to hot to hold on to for long.

I was going to leave it set up, but it's so windy I was afraid I'd lose some parts. The wind didn't slow the cooking, though.

Re: outback oven diy clone

Posted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 4:44 pm
by churro
I feel kinda bad saying this, but since Backpacker's Pantry sells their stuff al carte you could spend $5.90 for the ultralight thermometer and $13.90 for the diffuser plate (or make one), make you own hood and use a cheap or free pot to have a kit every bit as good as (and maybe better than) the one they sell for $89. I can't remember what I spent on mine, but I've had it for 10 or 15 years, LOTS of use and no problems. Great product, respect to the company, but all the real cost is in the hood, which is both heavier and bulkier than the one I made. I think mine will hold up reasonably well, but not as long as the original. That said, it seems to be a lot easier to scorch the commercial version than my version, and mine can be replaced cheaply and easily. Also, it can be sized to fit the pot you like best.

Oh, yeah, and next on the menu is probably some sort of calzone. I've done it in the past, on the trail, by making up a batch of mountain house stroganoff, then wrapping it in bread dough with some cheese and baking. Takes a 1-person freeze dried meal and makes it into a 2-person meal, 2 to 4, etc. The trick with yeast breads is that they don't taste all that good without some browning, and this rig does that well. By leaving off the lid off the pot you can brown it on top, too.

Re: outback oven diy clone

Posted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 10:53 pm
by churro
Another success. Chocolate cake this time. Slightly burned on the bottom, but that's my fault. I did this one on my packafeather stove, and despite smelling a light burning odor, I upped the heat because the thermometer said it was cool. I had seen that happen before, but it's been so long I forgot. The thermometer seems to be calibrated to pressurized white gas stoves, and reads low on alcohol stoves.

Nevertheless, the cake is delicious. The very slight burned flavor would disappear in frosting, and your camping buddy who's birthday it is wouldn't care anyway.
I cooked both the cornbread and the cake on the porch. It's somewhat sheltered against the wind, but it's so windy today that I am taking this as a reasonable field test. This thing works!