Hot pies on the go … could this be the second best 4X4 mod, and a match made in heaven with the beer keg install?
Surely by now you’ve seen the ‘beer on tap’ install Pat did a couple of issues ago. Add to that some hot pies, lasagne, or roast that cooks while you drive, and we’ve quite possibly got the greatest two 4X4 mods ever dreamed up. For me, the Travel Buddy 12V Oven is nothing new; I bought it about four years ago, and it sat in the shed, still in its box, neglected for all that time. It was only after a new fit-out in my ‘Cruiser did I finally decide to get it out of the box and working, and I’m kicking myself for not jumping on it sooner.
The Travel Buddy is essentially a 12V oven, encased in insulation, and wrapped up in stainless steel, with temperature and timer dials. It comes with a rather heavy duty 12V cig plug, however it does suggest removing the plug and hardwiring it to make a firm connection and stop the plug falling out of your ciggy socket – corrugations are bad, right? At full tilt, it’ll draw 120W (or 10A) so you’ll need to make sure your socket and wiring are happy to take that sort of power draw. It’ll cook anything from pies and sausage rolls, to lasagnes, or the small roasts you can get at Woolies that come pre-packed in the tin foil dish. From there, it’s just a matter of dialling up the temperature, setting the timer, and heading on to the next campsite.
With the size of it, you can easily fit four full-sized meat pies, on each shelf, or a pair of lasagnes side by side with the shelf removed. The unit itself doesn’t get too hot, with the front door being the only surface that’s not insulated, however after cooking up the lasagne at 180°C for two hours, I could hold my hand to the front door without getting burnt. The Travel Buddy is also fully made in Australia (Bendigo North, to be exact), and has been around for a lot of years.
If you happen to have the room to throw one in your rig, you’ll have the most popular 4X4 on any trip … put it this way, lob some pies in the oven as you break camp, you’ve got lunch sorted a few hours later, then at lunch while you’re eating your pies, throw the roast and some vegies in, and it’s already cooked ready to be eaten once you get to camp. All I need to do now, is just work out where I can drill holes in this old Waeco of mine to put some beer kegs in … dinner of champions, right? Hot pies and beer on tap, anywhere you want them.
The proof in the pudding is more the proof in the lasagne … everything we’ve thrown into this thing, even after we took the photos for this article, has come out absolutely perfect. It takes a couple of goes to get the timings right against the ‘cooking instructions’, but it works out to add about 20% more time to cooking instruction against a conventional oven. A lot of that, is due to me not ‘pre-heating’ the oven (never knew that was a thing?) and being in way too much of a hurry to get my mitts on the food! Gotta remember, in a wagon, you can smell lunch about an hour before it’s cooked… You absolutely need to get your hands on one of these, if not for the ability to cook whatever you want as you’re driving to camp, but the money you’ll save from not buying pies from a servo.
Internal Dimensions (HxWxL): 190mm x 320mm x 280mm
Power Draw: 10A @12V / 120W
Price: $260 RRP
More Info: Travel Buddy