When it comes to overnight or multi day adventures there’s a minimum of essential outdoor gear items that you’ll need, with your stove sitting pretty high on the list. Whether you’re a coffee fanatic or you can’t start your day without a warm bowl of porridge, your choice of stove could make or break the success of your adventure – or your sanity. The argument of canister stoves vs multifuel stoves will outlast us all, so Primus have come up with the answer to meet in the middle ground; the Express Spider II. Flynn, one our our expert team members from our Hobart store, tested the stove out while trekking along the stunning Overland Track in Tasmania for an outdoor gear review. It’s safe to say he liked the stove as he is now “A born-again canister believer!”

Cooking dinner on the Overland Track in Tasmania

The Express Spider II is a canister stove, although it is hose mounted rather than top mounted. This means that instead of the stove sitting directly on top of your gas bottle causing your stove and pots to sit higher off the ground, the stove itself sits on the ground making it more stable to cook on and has a hose on the side which runs to the gas canister. The burner sits between three low and stable folding legs, with a preheating tube above that connects to the flexible hose which fixes to the canister. This is where this stove acts like a multifuel stove; the fuel goes through the preheating tube first, instead of going straight to the burner. The heated gas allows for a more consistent pressure to go to the stove, resulting in higher efficiency from each canister and it allows you to use up almost all of the gas inside.

Express Spider 2 stove connected to gas canister
The valve for the stove is also conveniently located on the fitting that attaches to the canister, so there’s no chance of water boiling over onto it which can be dangerous to turn off. The short legs provide a low and stable base, meaning that the stove is suitable for using wide and shallow pots/pans. Not only is that more suitable for melting snow in winter conditions, but you can also cook group meals comfortably. Not to mention the ability to fry morning pancakes. Having a stove that sits so close to the ground is also beneficial in situations where you may be forced to cook inside your tent’s vestibule (although please be advised of the associated risks of cooking in confined spaces and near flammable materials).

Primus Express Spider 2 stove with water ontop in the Tasmanian Wilderness next to an image of the stove packed up and on top of its carry case.
If you’re very weight conscious, don’t be put off by the extra components of this stove. With some of the lightest canister stoves on the market weighing less than 100g, this one isn’t too far behind weighing in at just 200g. It also pumps out over 7000 BTU/hr which is considerably higher than most canister stoves. For the added size and weight, this stove’s performance and user friendly capabilities make it a realistic choice for your mountain adventure or the everyday hiking and camping trip.

Primus Express Spider II's flame when ignited

The preheat tube that flows over the flame allows the liquid gas to be efficiently converted into a vapourised gas, resulting in maximum use of each gas canister.

Specs:

Weight: 200g (stove only – not including bag and wind shield provided)
Height: 82mm
Depth: 105mm (folded)
Width: 50mm folded, 150mm unfolded (diameter)
Output: 7150 BTU/2000W
Ignition: Manual
Persons: 1-4

 

Thumbs Up:

– Hose mounted canister results in stable cooking platform
– Wide diameter provides option of using shallow and wide pots for actual cooking (not just heating water like a lot of top mounted stoves)
– Preheat tube efficiently burns gas, getting the most out of each canister
– Preheat tube excels performance in cold climates – perfect for winter and/or alpine
– Valve is situated away from burner, which is safer than directly below for cooking/boiling food/water
– Valve allows for a very low simmer (great for cooking rice)
– Comes with roll top sack, and windshield
– BONUS POINT – Although it’s not available in Australia yet, there is an adaptor kit which will allow this stove to connect to a pump which will make it compatible as a multifuel stove!

Thumbs Down:

– If not stowed correctly, there’s a slim chance of kinking the hose
– The windshield provided isn’t a wrap around shield, it’s a baseplate that can be folded in half which allows a semi circular shield to be placed in the direction of wind.
– Compared to the diameter of the legs, the burner is still 50mm wide so watch for food sticking to the middle of the pot.
– This point is in relation to it being somewhere between multifuel and a typical canister stove…. This stove cannot be pulled apart for servicing in the field like other multifuel stoves. This means it may not be suitable for long expeditions.

Overall score = 90/100

Overall this stove impressed me, it really has a place as a quality piece of outdoor gear in Australia. It’s ability to use gas canisters yet perform like a multifuel stove was better than had I expected. If you dabble in hiking and camping, but also go car camping and go for the occasional epic mountain adventure, this stove has got you covered from quickly boiling water for your freeze dried meal to cooking a culinary delight under the stars. Oh, and of course you can count on it when it comes to brewing your morning fix of coffee.

Sunrise over the Tasmanian wilderness on The Overland Track

The spectacular sunrise on day 2 of the Overland Track. Time to brew that java!

Let us know if you are a canister or multifuel lover in the comments below!

#ExperienceIsEverything | #PaddyPallin

About The Author

Flynn

When Flynn isn't working in the Hobart Paddy Pallin store he works as a guide on some of Tasmania's most iconic and wild walks. As well as multi-day hiking he's also an avid rock climber and mountaineer. When he's not outdoors playing or in the store, he's probably thinking about gear and what he can get his hands on next!

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