Primus Express Spider Remote Stove
December 22, 2011
VERDICT: A brilliant stove which operates at temperatures low than any other gas stove can
PRO’s: Innovative pre-heater allows last few grams of fuel to burn even at low temperatures
CON’s: Fuel flow adjuster not easy to adjust when canister is inverted
TODAYS BEST PRICE: £57.00 from Snow and Rock
The main problem with connecting a gas burner directly to the top of a gas canister is that it becomes tall and unstable. Some manufacturers offer so called remote-cartridge type camping cookers such as the Go Systems Sirocco stove and the subject of this review, the Primus Express Spider Remote stove, as a way around this.
Rather than being perched on top of the gas cartridge the burner is connected by a 28 cm long flexible metal braided hose. This allows the burner to be located closer to the ground which aids stability whilst the gas cartridge can be positioned close by. For solo backpackers, perhaps rough camping where a level surface to place your stove can be hard to find, this can be a real plus point.
Although the burner is quite small it packs quite a punch managing to boil a litre of water in 4.5 minutes. There’s no piezo-ignition system built in but what you do get is a rather neat pre-heating device.
This takes the form of a sexily curved brass tube which curves above the burner and sits between the inlet from the gas cartridge and supply to the burner itself. Primus claim that it helps to maintain the performance of the stove and, in some cases, allows the stove to work in sub-zero temperatures when conventional canister mounted stoves such as the Campingaz Twister Plus stove might stop working.
How so ?
Camping cookers which use liquified gas as their fuel all use cartridges in which the gas is stored under pressure as a liquid. As the stove runs the pressure in the cartridge drops and the liquified fuel turns back into a gas which is then burnt in the burner.
The problem is that, as the canister empties, the pressure in the canister drops and the fuel is more reluctant to vapourise into a gas. If you’ve ever had a gas cartridge go flat yet when you shake it you can still hear fuel sloshing around inside you’ll know what we mean.
Temperature also plays a part in this – the colder it is then the more reluctant the liquid fuel is to vapourise. Depending on the fuel type (butane, propane or a butane/propane mix) then the stove may even stop working if the temperature drops too low.
The Primus Express Spider Remote stove pre-heater addresses both of these problems by allowing you to turn the gas cartridge upside down so that the liquid fuel runs down the metal pipe to the pre-heater where it vapourises due to the heat from the burner so that it can then burn as normal.
This is something that no canister mounted stove can do and it’s not something that the similar looking Go Systems Sirocco stove can do since it lacks the pre-heater.
And it certainly works ! In use we found that it works well at low temperatures even with a partly empty canister – considering it’s price we think this is a brilliant stove and is the best value lightweight stove on the market at the moment.
The Primus Express Spider Remote runs on Primus PowerGas LP cartridges (a mix of 25 % propane, 25 % isobutane and 50 % butane) which Primus claims works better at lower temperates and are self-sealing so they can be detached and stored separately from the burner after use.
The Primus Express Spider Remote comes with a small mesh stuff sack which is lined with smooth fabric on the inside so that the stove doesn’t snag on it as you take it in or out. You also get a foldable metal heat reflector to place under the stove to prevent it burning the ground but, disappointingly, no windshield so we recommend picking up a cheap one from Millets or Blacks – it’ll reduce the boil time and will improve the fuel efficiency no end !
Overall the design on the stove is decidedly minimalist – there’s no built-in ignition, just three feet which click into position and three serated pot supports which will easily take a 2 litre pot – but minimalist is good as far as we are concerned.
So are there any downsides to this stove ? The only one is that the fuel flow valve is on the top of the gas canister connector which makes it harder to adjust the flow when the cannister is inverted. If it was on the side then it wouldn’t be an issue but we really are quibbling.
Overall this is a fantastic little stove and the ability to work at lower temperatures than many of its rivals puts it firmly on our favourites list. This is an excellent three/four season camping stove. Highly recommended !
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