Is a pressure cooker a good vanlife option?

Hi everyone! Thank for looking at this and for any helpful insights.

I am considering getting an instapot since it’s small, relatively easy to clean and capable of doing so many kinds of cooking. Seems like a good option for van life so long as it’s not going to totally kill my house batteries. I have two 225ah deep cycle batteries and 200W of solar on the roof. I also use an isolator so that when I drive my house batteries are charged up after the vehicle battery is going strong.

So this is what I am wondering. Does anyone know if pressure cookers are energry efficient for vanlife? I haven’t been able to figure out what the electric consumption is of the instapot, and how to convert that into watt hours.

Greetings & Welcome!

Both heating and cooking are best provided by a fuel source other than electrical power. Some people do use pressure cookers on top of their fuel powered stoves.

Let’s look at your electrical power and figure out what’s practical…

225ah / 2 (shouldn’t discharge more than 50%) = 112ah usable. 112ah / 20 hour rate (standard rate to figure discharge amount) = 5.6 amps per hour = 67.2 watts maximum at any given time. You can go higher for a few moments, but any more than that will damage your batteries.

Also for 225ah of batteries you should have an absolute minimum of 450 watts of solar, and 600+ would be preferable. Winter days are short and often cloudy, and the sun is low in the sky. Charging while driving, and a backup generator are highly recommended.

Many people like to post what is possible, but that doesn’t make it practical or long term sustainable. Power is a precious luxury, and should be treated as such. You should also be prepared to go totally without power. Power outages happen even in full hookup campgrounds.


"Proper Planning is preferable to premature failure" ~ DreamLife

Well, as far as I know in terms of electricity consumption (in case you’re running it off an inverter), pressure cookers use less electricity in total than a slow cooker to cook the same dish. Though I’ve not been able to find any definitive proof of that, and for your setup, I won’t recommend you to use one - as Van_Dweller already explained why it’s not a great idea. It won’t work unless you decide to get a backup generator.

Still almost all of the people I know that live/camp out of a van prefer to cook outside and their equipment tend to be outdoor stoves that are either propane or white gas. I believe it’d be a better solution in your case.

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