A review of the Kovea Spider gas stove, a light & compact 4 season remote canister stove.
The first stove I owned was the small Trangia 27 meths stove and this served me well for my initial camping and bivouacking forays (I still have it) but a some point I started to use gas canister stoves. These have been my mainstay for many years (except for brief dalliance with a Optimas Climber (satisfyingly loud but hard to light).
The main advantages of gas stoves is that they are simple, quick to use and reliable. I initially had a lovely little remote canister stove that got used consistently for a number of years on UK rock climbing trips, in Scottish winter snow holes and in the Alps. Eventually the rubber hose perished. I kept an eye out for a replacement but nothing really appealed until a fellow Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor recommended the Kovea Spider. He suggested it was the perfect Mountain Leader and wild camping stove, stable in a tent awning and very reliable.
The Kovea Spider weighs 168g folds up neatly and is supplied with an ignitor, a neat stuff bag and fits nicely into a small pot. I use a Alpkit Mytipot 900 but it will also fit into a MSR Titan Kettle and a Trangia 25 kettle. The three legs rotate out and clip into place very firmly providing a secure and solid support for pans or kettles. The gas canister screws into a solid looking valve at the end of the armoured hose and there is a swivel mechanism to rotate the canister for improved cold weather performance. Also the stove features a preheat tube for a liquid fuel feed in cold temperatures this tube vapourises the liquid fuel before it reaches the burner.
The Spider feels and looks very well made, rugged and reliable. In use it fires up immediately and has a lovely roar at full power, however it can be turned down to a gentle purring simmer. It boils water quickly, not as quick maybe as a Jetboil or a MSR Reactor, but that’s not really an issue with a stove like this. The problem with a stove that sits on top of a canister is instability and they do require careful attendance and attention. The advantage of the Spider is that you can set it in your tent porch, pop on some water to boil and relax, enjoy the view or potter about without worrying about it tipping over. The low profile is very stable and efficient. It’s simple, safe and relaxing.
If using the stove out in the open or on a bivi then a wind shield is fairly essential. A thick foil one works well and the Mercator Gear website has an excellent article on making a windshield out of drinks cans https://mercatorgear.com/kovea-spider-windshield/. Also Scramble Kit make a titanium wind shield designed especially for the Spider http://scramblekit.uk/review/index.php?id=outdoor&post=scramble-spider-ultralight-titanium-windshield-windscreen-kovea-remote-canister-stove.
One excellent money saving feature of the Kovea Spider are the additional canister adaptors. Most UK gas stoves use screw-fitting gas canisters which are a mixture of butane and propane, but Kovea offer an adaptor enabling the stove to be used with pure butane. Butane canisters are cheaper and can often be bought in hardware stores. Butane can less efficient at very cold temperature but that shouldn’t be a problem in the UK. Another adaptor allows the Spider to use Easy-Clic Plus Camping gaz canisters readily available in France and Switzerland.
In conclusion I really like this stove. It’s very well made and feels rugged and reliable. The ability to use cheaper canisters is a great money saver. This stove will now be my first choice on Mountain Leader Training and Assessment expeditions and on other wild camps.
The Kovea Spider is available direct from https://mercatorgear.com for £46.56. There is an option to buy the stove with the various adaptors included.