Home / Product Reviews / Kovea Spider Remote Canister Backpacking Stove Review

Kovea Spider Remote Canister Backpacking Stove Review

Camping Stove:
Philip Werner
Version:
1
Price:
69.00

Reviewed by:
Rating:
5
On February 19, 2015
Last modified:February 26, 2015

Summary:

Weighing just 6.0 ounces, the Kovea Spider is an excellent four season stove for group camping and solo backpacking, down to about 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

Melting snow for drinking water with the Kovea Spider Remote Canister Stove - note inverted gas canister to right
Melting snow for drinking water with the Kovea Spider Remote Canister Stove – note inverted gas canister to right

The Kovea Spider Remote Canister Stove is a four season backpacking and camping stove that has many advantages over fully integrated and component canister stove systems.

First and foremost, the Kovea Spider can be used with different pots of all shapes and sizes, making it convenient for group camping as well as solo backpacking trips. The stove has an integrated locking pot stand, set very low to the ground, which provides excellent stability for tall skinny pots and squat wide ones. I’ve cooked everything from multi-person meals to one-pot ramen dinners using this stove and if you only want to buy one canister stove for car camping and backpacking, it’s a best buy.

It is safe to use a wind screen with the Kovea Spider Remote Canister Stove because the burner s physically separate from the canister, preventing it from overheating or exploding.
It is safe to use a wind screen with the Kovea Spider Remote Canister Stove because the burner is physically separate from the canister, preventing it from overheating or exploding.

Second, the Kovea Spider, like other remote canister stoves, can used with a wind screen to improve stove efficiency. This is unsafe when using a stove burner that screws directly into the threaded connector on top of an isobutane canister, because the canister can overheat and explode like a grenade. Using a stove screen is particularly important in winter when melting snow for drinking water, because you want all the heat to hit the bottom of pot and not be lost up the pot’s sides.

By inverting the canister, the Kovea Spider can burn canister fuel in its liquid form enabling operation in much colder temperatures.
By inverting the canister, the Kovea Spider can burn canister fuel in its liquid form enabling operation in colder temperatures. (Normally, you would wrap the wind screen flush with the sides of the pot for efficiency – I’ve just opened them up here so you can see  what’s going on behind the screen.)

Finally, the Kovea Spider can operate at colder temperatures than regular canister stoves because the canister can be turned update down or inverted when outside temperatures drop below 15 degrees Fahrenheit and the pressure inside an isobutane canister drops too low to vaporize.

By inverting the canister, the Kovea Spider can burn the fuel inside the canister in its liquid form down to about 0 degrees Fahrenheit, giving you a 10-15 degree advantage over regular canister stoves that can only burn isobutane in its vapor form.

When the cabnister is inverted, liquid fuel flows through the brass colored loop (to the left of the burner head above) where's to preheated to vaporize. This lets the stove operate in much colder temperatures than a regular canister stove.
When the canister is inverted, liquid fuel flows through the brass colored loop (to the left of the burner head above) where’s to preheated to vaporize. This lets the stove operate in colder temperatures than a regular canister stove.

When you turn a gas canister upside down, the canister fuel flows down the Spider’s fuel hose to the burner where it’s preheated before reaching the burner head. The Spider has a bronze colored tube, which you can see in the photo above, which raises the temperature of the fuel so it can vaporize just like it would if the air temperature was warmer and canister was positioned right side up.

Some flareup is inevitable in winter when lighting the stove with an inverted canister, because the fuel is in liquid not gas form.
Some flare-up is inevitable in winter when lighting the stove with an inverted canister, because the fuel is in liquid not gas form.

If there’s a down side to running the Kovea Spider in inverted canister mode, it’s that the flow of fuel becomes a little harder to control and more like a regular liquid fuel (white gas) stove. For example, when you turn off the fuel valve, the fuel in the line has to burn off completely before the flame goes out. The same holds during ignition, when you can experience a bit of a fireball when lighting the stove.

Push Button Piezo  Wand
Push Button Piezo Wand

The Kovea Spider does not have an integrated piezo lighter, unlike many regular canister stoves, where the burner is mated with the canister. Instead, the stove comes with an easy to lose, push-button piezo wand. While the peizo works great in warmer temperatures when burning your fuel as vapor, it stops working in cold temperatures (which piezos are known to do) when you’re likely to use the stove in inverted canister mode. For colder weather, you’ll want to bring an ignition source that will throw a bigger spark or flame, like a firesteel or matches.

The Kovea Spider is compact enough to fit inside a 1.1 liter pot with a large gas canister and a wind screen.
The Kovea Spider is compact enough to fit inside many 1 liter pots with a large gas canister and a wind screen, shown here with a GSI 1.1 Anodized Aluminum Pot with locking handle.

One of the nice features of the Kovea Spider, beyond its utility in hot and cold temperatures, is the packability of the stove, which can fit in a one liter cooking pot with a large fuel canister. If you’ve ever tried to pack a conventional white gas stove that requires a separate liquid fuel bottle, you can appreciate the smaller footprint of the Kovea Spider for cold weather use.

Weighing just 6.0 ounces, the Kovea Spider is an excellent four season stove for group camping and solo backpacking, down to about 0 degrees Fahrenheit. If you plan on camping or backpacking in colder temperatures, then that you probably want to consider getting a liquid fuel (white gas stove) or a multi-fuel stove like the new Kovea Hydra which can burn canister gas and white gas.

If you’ve never heard of the Kovea brand, they’re quite well-known in the backpacking community for the quality of their stove design and construction. They also manufacture many of the stoves sold today in the United States under other brand names.

Disclosure: Kovea provided Philip Werner (SectionHiker.com) with a free sample stove for this review. 

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21 comments

  1. I see a couple of fuel canisters so just to make sure what I am seeing is what you have not said is that the Fuel Canisters are not a Propritary(sp?) item, meaning I can other companies fuel canisters? Phil, could you elaborate on the for us..Thanks…So far it looks like something I might buy, if fuel canisters from different companies can be used.

    • Isobutane fuel canisters sold in the US (and certainly at REI) are interchangeable since they all share a standardized screw-on connection. I’ve used snowpeak, jetboil, primus and msr isbutanne canisters with this stove. It’s only in Europe, where some fuel canisters have a different attachment system that’s fashioned more like a bayonet.

      Kovea also sells a propane (LPG) adapter that would let you use this stove with a big green propane canister, althought that’s more information than you asked for. Propane can burn down to 40 below, so it might be a good option for your ice fishing adventures.

  2. Hi Philip,I’d appreciate tips about of windscreens and how to carry them. Also, I don’t deal with “real cold” so I may not know. Why don’t you light your stove and warm the generator/preheat tube before flipping the canister? Is it just that the fireball is just not that big a deal when lighting the stove outside? And one more: I never see a mention of using a squirt of alcohol fuel to pre-heat a stove before turning on the fuel canister, nor preheating with something else (the stove’s own fuel, alcohol, or Firepaste, or whatever) as is SOP for Whisperlite or XGk or other liquid fuel stoves
    Thanks for the tips.

  3. A couple of answers for a couple of questions:

    How to carry a windscreen. I like an accordion style folding screen in winter (shown) because it’s easy to fold up. I stow it inside the Reflectix stove base that I wrote about yesterday. I also show a thin titanium screen in use with this stove in warmer weather. That fits right inside my cook put for transport. Technically you don’t need a metal wind screen, you just need a wind break. So you could surround your stove with a foam sleeping pad and it would be fairly effective, provided you kept a good distance between the two.

    Preheating with vaporized fuel: You could do that if you could warm up the canister enough so that the fuel would vaporize. That may not be possible in winter because you may have already run out of the gas that can vaporize in the canister. Isobutane is a combination of fuels including butane, propane, and other gas types. Its quite possible to burn off the butane and the fuels which are easily vaporized, first, leaving only the propane which is in liquid form in cold temps – which is what creates the fire ball. It’s actually not such a big deal if you expect it and not dis-similar from a liquid gas stove.

    I wouldn’t preheat a canister stove with other fuel in winter (or ever), because personally I think that’d be too dangerous. What people do is to put the canister in a dish of “warm water” to raise its temperature for a sustained period of time.I’d also be very cautious about spilling any kind of fuel on your hands or mitten as it is likely to cause instant frostbite. While one does preheat the Whisperlite, it’s done all within the stove using the stove primer pan which is attached to the fuel line so you never have to pour white gas out of a fuel bottle.

    • Thanks Philip.

    • Hi Philip, i think you meant to write that you will would normally burn off propane first, because butane is liquid at low temperature and propane is more likely to stay as gas. When inverting the canister, what that is doing is allowing liquid fuel, mostly butane to be used preferentially. The preheat tube is therefore needed to vapourise the liquid fuel before the fuel reaches the burner, otherwise the sudden vapourisation of the fuel causes the fireball.

  4. I have had this stove for almost two years and its my go to stove when I am hiking in a group. I use it with a trail designs windscreen and an evernew titanium 1.3L pot. I have used it all over the southwest, Glacier NP and in RMNP, in every season. Its fantastic!

  5. Used the Spider for a couple of winters, a great little stove. Always started the stove up with canister upright & then flipped it after 20 – 30 secs, no flaring. I’ve had an issue with contaminants blocking the gas jet a couple of time & had to field ‘repair’, it’s worth being prepared for.

  6. That 1.1L GSI pot looks like it would be a nice size upgrade from my GSI Minimalist pot that I have. I like mine a lot so far. This just looks a bit bigger and with an integrated handle. Do you use yours just for boiling water or can you cook in it as well? I’m talking cooking like boiling rice or noodles, nothing crazy.

  7. Boil and cook. The locking handle is really sweet. I like this “POT” a lot.

  8. The Kovea web site lists the Hydra’s weight at 31 kg. I sure hope that isn’t accurate!

    • That’s UltraLead, not UltraLight… perhaps the stove packaging is constructed of depleted uranium… I priced the Hydra–the 31 kg might be the amount of coin needed for purchase… or maybe they weighed it along with a couple 5 gallon cans of white gas…

  9. Hello. I just got a spider and have been testing it at home before I take it out. It seems to flare up a bit when the canister is inverted and opened up wide. Very nice stove, but this is my first canister stove (I’ve used a Whisperlite for 20+ years) so it might take me a bit to get used to it. I also noticed that there is slight less control when the canister is inverted. Still, a nice stove that I hope to rely on for years.

    • Just to toss this out there, you need to make sure to allow the flame to burn for about 30 seconds with the canister in the upright position before you invert it. There’s a little heating coil on it that needs to warm up. I’m sure you’ve discovered that by now.
      Also, I think there is a little bit of initial flare when you flip the canister due to the fact that you’re burning gas which, I’m sure, is also why there’s a little bit less control with the valve.
      Hope the stove worked out for you.

  10. I was just gearheading out and ran across this review.
    I have this stove and I think you nailed it with your review.
    If my Spider ever breaks down, which I don’t see happening for quite a while, I won’t hesitate to get another. As a solo backpacker this fits my needs perfectly…especially at elevation and in the cold.
    Cool that you mentioned Kovea making stoves for U.S. retailers Unless I’m mistaken, I think MSR is one of those companies.

  11. Have had the chance to use this stove many times in the field now and love it even more than at first. I combo it with a Sno Peak 900 set, spoon and canister and it’s about a pound for it all. One of the most useable and value-laden stoves I’ve ever seen.

  12. This is my preferred ultralight, year-round backpacking stove…. of the +dozen I own of all types & makes over the last 20 years and the many I teach Scouts. Its always in my backpack.

    Made by the company that makes MSR’s stoves, its high quality. Fast, adjustable heat and both liquid & vapor mode for year-round use. Low, wide, stable platform for wide pots (and better, kettles). No fuel-bottle underneath so compatible with a wind shield / heat reflector.

    Low-cost too! <$50 on Amazon.

  13. Been using this stove for some of my winter trips. Able to melt about 1.5L worth of snow every 8-9 minutes on half blast. Able to get about 22-24L of snow water from one 8oz can so I’m pretty happy with it!

  14. Bought this a year or so ago and like all the features you mention plus it simmers nicely for some of my slower cooking trail feasts! Will still use my whisperlite for more economical fuel and no canister disposal, but this one is my favorite to use and carry.

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