I am starting to look towards equipment for the coming late autumn/winter period. Most of my backpack trips so far have been outside of this period and I have said that I will look to do more trips during this period. It is clear to me that I will need to look at some new gear. One area is stoves, I currently have a MSR Pocket Rocket. This is a good stove, light and powerful , but there are 3 issues with it to my mind.
1 When the gas is low or it is cold or both the performance is poor. (I know this is not the case with some bloggers).
2 Because of the above I end up making sure I take a full cartridge on most trips, so I end up with part empty cartridges.
3 I always have a bit of a concern about the stability of a cartridge top stove inside a tent.
This has led me to look for an autumn/winter replacement and to use the Pocket Rocket in the milder months.
The Express Spider has been out since the spring, but I have only seen a couple of reviews. The Man himself – Chris Townsend gave it 4/5 in TGO, but I have seen few user reviews.
The stove is a remote cartridge type (one of the lightest on the market) with 3 folding legs which are also the pan supports and comes with a preheat tube. The stove comes with a foldable metal heat reflector and a small stuff sack comprising a nylon inner and a mesh outer.
There is no windshield with the stove , but no matter, I will use my aluminum one. The heat reflector once unfolded does not sit very level, which is a bit pointless,as one of the main points of the stove is the stability! The aluminum has already started to tear along the crease lines. I will probably use a piece of foil instead.
Looking at the stove it looks well constructed and what you would expect from a company such as Primus.
The specifications being:
Weight by digital scales – stove on its own 193g
Nylon stuff sac – 12g
Manufacturer’s stated burn time 119 mins per 230g gas cartridge
Size 105mm x 85mm x 55mm
Minimum pot size diameter – I measured as 110mm
One of the main benefits of this type of stove arrangement over cartridge top models is the preheat and the ability to invert cartridges to turn it from vapour feed to liquid feed. With this design, power can be maintained while feeding the preheat tube. I am expecting significantly better performance in cold weather because of this.
One thing I will have to change is the pot I will take, in fact I don’t normally take a pot as I just boil water for tea and freeze-dried meals. I take a double walled constructed Ti Mug,but the diameter is too small to sit on the stove. I could look at an expensive Ti pot but what I found rummaging around in my kit box is a small aluminum pan from a Camping Gaz Globetrotter stove which is some 27 years old. The pan weighing 78g and holds 550 mls of water.
The stove in the stuff sack, a lighter and pot grab all fit snug in the pan. I will see how this works out before I consider shelling out for a new one.
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