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Primus Express Spider Stove Review

A good remote canister stove, heading in the lightweight direction.


Overall Rating: Recommended

Smaller and lighter than its parents and easy to use. It does use brass for much of the construction, so it could be improved even further.

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by Roger Caffin |


Primus Express Spider Stove Review - 1
The Express Spider folded up, courtesy Primus.

First we had the Primus Eta Power stove, reviewed in our Stove Shootout series. A fine stove, but a heavy combination. One might suggest that the overall concept came from a traditional heavyweight backpacker. Then we got the Primus Eta Packlite stove: a reduced-weight version of the Eta Power, but the result was still a bit heavy for the fanatics, even though both of these stoves had good performance and low CO emission.

Now, what happens when you take the core of one of these stoves and strip away all the fancy frills? In short, you are left with the burner and a pot stand. In other words, the Primus Express Spider.

The burner is the same one used in the two parent stoves, and the CO emissions were very similar - around 10 ppm once the stove has passed through the normal warm-up spike in CO. This figure is gratifyingly low. This stove could well be used in the vestibule of a tent in mid-winter.

The efficiency of the stove is quite reasonable too, requiring between 11.7 (at low power) and 12.7 (at high power) grams of fuel to raise one litre of water through 80 C (our standard test conditions). The stove takes between 5.8 (high power) and 12+ (low power) minutes to heat that litre of water through 80 C. Of course, if you are melting snow you will need more fuel and more time than this.

Primus Express Spider Stove Review - 3
Starting and running canister positions.

The stove does need to be started on gas rather than liquid if you can manage it, and converted after maybe 15 seconds to a liquid feed as shown in the two photos here. If you have to start it with a liquid feed, warm the preheat tube up in your hand for a moment first, and then start with a very low flame. Once the flame is bathing the preheat tube, you can start increasing the power.

Primus Express Spider Stove Review - 4
Express Spider in the field.

Being a rather low stove means that you only need a low windshield for it, as shown here. It also means it is quite stable in the field. This is convenient, but given its fairly high power, you would definitely be well-advised to use a moderately wide pot to get the best efficiency from it. Me, I pack the stove inside the pot for protection - no kinks in the hose please!


With a weight of roughly 200 grams and the good all-round performance outlined above, this stove would be excellent for two people in the winter and still very suitable for a solo walker (skier, snow-shoer, ...)

Specifications and Features

Brand Primus
Manufacturer Primus
Country of origin unknown
Model Express Spider
Materials Brass, stainless steel, plastic
Size approx 120 x 85 x 55 mm (4.7 x 3.3 x 2.2 in)
Weight (claimed) 198 g (7 oz)
Weight (measured) 195 g (7 oz) (bag extra)
Boil time (claimed) 4.5 min
Power (claimed) 2.1 kW (7150 BTU/hr)

What’s Good

  • Robust and stable
  • Fairly light for a remote canister stove
  • Easy to use

Possible Improvements

  • Refine design of brass air inlet region to titanium/aluminium
  • Titanium legs?
Disclosure: The vendor provided this product to the author and/or Backpacking Light at no charge, and it is owned by the author/BPL. The author/Backpacking Light has no obligation to review this product to the vendor under the terms of this agreement.


"Primus Express Spider Stove Review," by Roger Caffin. (ISSN 1537-0364)., 2010-05-18 00:00:00-06.


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Primus Express Spider Stove Review
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Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: Edelrid Opilio on 05/26/2010 12:35:01 MDT Print View

Wow, you guys are taking the valve thing to a new level.
its not hard at all to turn the valve the way it is. I hadn't even noticed it until I read it here. Can't spare the extra second? How often are you adjusting the flame anyway? I get it going the way I want then set the canister down, only messing with it again to turn it off, or if fuel is a little low.

Andrew Dolman
Re: Re: Edelrid Opilio on 05/26/2010 12:44:36 MDT Print View

My main preference for the Opilio is of course that it's lighter!

As for the valve, it's not just adjusting it that is potentially awkward with the Spider, it's also that the canister sits somewhat on its side rather than fully inverted - maybe that's not a problem in practical terms, I don't know I haven't actually used either of these yet.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: Edelrid Opilio on 06/04/2010 17:00:46 MDT Print View

> it's also that the canister sits somewhat on its side rather than fully inverted
> - maybe that's not a problem in practical terms
No problem in my experience. I just lean the upside-down canister against one of my joggers. ;-)

It may be that the last teaspoon or two of liquid fuel does not reach the outlet every time and so comes out as gas. Tough. I can handle that.


Robert DeMoro
(DeMoro) - F - M
Pot size? on 08/11/2010 16:19:05 MDT Print View

Will this stove handle smaller pots well, such as the solo Snow Peak Ti-Mini, etc??

Neil Williams
canister inversion on 10/20/2010 04:10:32 MDT Print View

I assume from the photographs that this stove is safe to use with the canister inverted. What are the advantages/disadvantages of doing this? I assume that it produces more heat in cold conditions, but chews through fuel more quickly?

Stuart R
(Scunnered) - F

Locale: Scotland
Re: canister inversion on 11/06/2010 11:13:14 MDT Print View

The advantage is that the gas mixture in the canister does not change as it gets used. This means that the gas remains under pressure and the stove continues to work when it is cold until the canister is empty.

It does not use any extra fuel.

Take a look at a couple of articles: