This is an awesome winter stove for 1-2 people, and…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $50
This is an awesome winter stove for 1-2 people, and is light and compact enough that you may end up carrying it year round.
- Great winter stove
- Great for 2 people
- Lighter options for summer
- Better options for groups of 3+
Kovea Spider (KB-1109) Stove Review
Backpackers need a stove that is compact, lightweight, and can be packed and set up easily—and of course, it has to function well. Kovea, a Korean company with a solid reputation in stove design, has addressed all of these issues and created what could be one of the best remote canister stoves on the market. If you need better cold weather performance than an upright canister stove can offer, and don’t want to fuss with white gas or other liquid fuels, then this may be the stove for you.
As of this review (January 2013), Kovea is working with a distributor, but the Spider is not yet available in stores in the US. I ordered mine from eBay, and it was shipped from Korea in about two weeks with no problems. In the box are the stove, directions and warning labels (in Korean), a tiny stuff sack to hold it, and a piezo igniter. I discarded the igniter since I always carry a little lighter anyway, but some people may prefer to use it. It does spark just fine with the push of a button.
When I was shopping around, the two main competitors for this stove seemed to be the MSR Windpro II and the Primus Express Spider. All are remote canister stoves with a preheat tube (vital if you want to be able to invert the canister for better cold-weather performance), all weigh from 6-7oz. and have favorable reviews. However, the Kovea Spider is the lightest of the bunch at 6oz. and by far the most compact, allowing it to fit inside my Open Country 2 Quart Pot along with a larger 220g fuel canister. That coupled with a competitive price tag of around $50 made it the clear winner for me.
In my testing so far this stove has performed quite well, meaning everything has operated smoothly and without hiccups. The coldest I’ve used it so far was a measured 10 degrees Fahrenheit, and while the hose was stiff at those temperatures, it still performed well in inverted mode. (Just make sure you keep the canister warm enough to light it using gas before inverting, otherwise it will be a challenge to start safely.) The hose is sufficiently long and usually quite flexible, which makes positioning the canister an easy task. It also has a swivel connector so you can easily invert the canister, which some stoves like the original MSR Windpro lack.
Though the legs are thin, they click into place reassuringly and are quite stable. I haven’t had any issues with pots that I’ve tried up to two liters in capacity, though the very smallest mugs and pots are too small to sit in a stable position on the pot supports. The pot supports grip well, and I haven’t had any issues with pots slipping.
The flame pattern seems to get the job done, and I’ve been told that the CO emissions are reasonable (around 10ppm after the initial spike when lighting), such that cooking in a well-ventilated tent vestibule isn’t out of the question. (For more on the subject of CO emissions, the hazards of cooking in vestibules, and everything else you ever wanted to know about stoves, check out backpackinglight.com.)
I use a tiny half-ounce Esbit stove when I’m trying to shave grams from my pack weight, and a Jetboil Sol Ti for three-season trips where I want fuel sipping performance and fast boil times, but when I need better cold weather performance than an upright canister can provide, I choose the Kovea Spider.