Just In - Primus ETA Spider Stove
Newly arrived from Primus is the 2014 ETA Spider stove, a modular gas-fired cooking system that incudes pot, bowl, stove and windshield and also give the option of multi-fuel compatibility with an optional add-on kit.
What the ETA Spider isn't, is a super-lightweight backpacking stove - the whole caboodle in its case and without fuel weighs a chunky 889g on our digital scales - instead it's a super-neat, classy one or two-person, all-in-one cooking system that'll appeal to those who like, well, classy, well-designed kit, but aren't weight fixated.
Bear in mind too, Primus's claim that the ETA heat exchanger pot means the system is almost twice as fuel efficient as conventional stoves, so you'll be saving on gas canisters over longer trips too.
In The Box
So what do you get? Inside the robust, stiffened, zip top case - 211g you can lose instantly - there's a remote burner (194g), a hard-anodised windshield (125g) a one-litre ceramic-coated pot with translucent lid and fold-out handles (276g), a plastic bowl (50g) and last but not least, a piezo-electric lighter that's also a small box spanner that doesn't fit any part of the stove (32g).
It all nests together beautifully like a set of Russian dolls and it's tastefully machined and finished in a sort of gun-metal hard anodised finish. It is nice stuff and, with the addition of fuel and cutlery, all you need for one-pot meals on the go.
Nice touches include industrial strength magnets that locate the three feet of the burner securely inside the windshield unit, the artfully shaped perspex pot-lid with built in drainer, the way the plastic-coated fold-out pot handles stop the outside of the pot scratching the windshield when they're nested together for storage and the serious-looking all-metal burner unit with pre-heater pipe.
And then there's the Eta technology, basically a heat-exchanger on the base of the pot - not dissimilar to the one used by JetBoil in principle - that increases efficiency from a standard stove at 40% to something closer to 80% thanks to burner optimisation along with the exchanger design.
The stove runs on gas canisters, roars away throatily and seems to boil water respectably quickly. If you're headed off somewhere remote, you have the option of buying an Eta Spider Multi-Fuel Kit, which adds a fuel bottle and pump ensemble so you can burn white gas, unleaded petrol and even paraffin.
Incidentally, the Primus web site shows a price of 599 euros for the kit, the decimal point is actually in the wrong place… the correct figure is 59.9 euros.
Other options include additional 3.0L or 1.8L Eta cooking pots for greater versatility and bigger meals.
Stuff we're a little wary of includes the possible reduction in stability from using the all-enclosing windshield, though it does have three small knobs on the base for more tripod-like behaviour and the weight of the carry-case, which seems a little on the high side, though it's a nice, sturdy bit of kit.
We've always been fans of the Primus Eta range of stoves. Sure you can save weight over the Spider ensemble - put the case to one side and you're still looking at 677g though that includes the stove, windshield, pot and a bowl, still significantly more than, say, a comparable one-litre JetBoil Flash at around 400g.
But then it's a subtly different animal altogether and more capable when to comes to simmering and general 'real' cooking based on past experiences.
It has a proper air of sturdy quality about it and the Eta system has always worked well for us. It's all impeccably well-designed from the rock-solid fold-out pan handles to the industrial magnets that hold the burner firmly in position - strong enough to invert the stove if you like.
We'll let you know how we get on in due course, but the Primus ETA Spider retails for a suggested £100.