Three Points of the Compass has been looking at the Kovea Spider stove recently, wondering how to improve on it’s windscreen. Here are a couple of ideas.
Flat Cat Gear Ocelot stainless steel windscreen for the Kovea Spider:
As I was ordering something from Flat Cat Gear recently, I slipped an extra item into my basket. This was their cleverly thought out Ocelot windscreen. There isn’t a great deal to this product- a thin flexible sheet of 304 Stainless Steel with some carefully placed holes. That’s it. Three Points of the Compass did a review of the terrific Kovea Spider stove here and purchased the Flat Cat windscreen specifically designed for this stove, which is also the simplest and lightest screen that Flat Cat Gear make. The Spider tends to only find its way into my pack in colder weather as it is one of the lightest stoves that will handle a liquid feed via inverted gas canisters. I usually carry a ridiculously thin sheet of titanium foil for use with this stove but when rolled it will not fit into many narrower taller pots alongside a stowed stove. The Ocelot windscreen is suspended at such a height when fitted that it protects the burner head from wind, while still allowing a breeze to pass below, so when coiled, it fits easily into a pot. The Ocelot windscreen measures 517mm x 45mm. Images are self-explanatory.
There isn’t anything else to the windscreen at all. There is no need for clips or magnets as it uncoils into the legs/pot stands on to which it is inserted. These legs support it at the correct height. Flat Cat Gear made a short film showing it being assembled. It is just the sort of gear I like- something simple, unfussy, that works. I suppose I could have very easily purchased a sheet of stainless steel off eBay and fashioned something myself, I confess I never even thought of doing so. Feel free to do so yourself. All it would take is to make a paper pattern.
Titanium foil clone of Ocelot windscreen:
I purchased my titanium foil windscreen off eBay for around eight quid. When purchased it weighed 12g plus another 1g piece of velcro that keeps it rolled. As purchased it measures 580mm x 150mm. I cut it down in height so that it fitted below the handles of my 900ml Evernew pan. This wafer thin windscreen is a really good lightweight product, in fact it can be a little too lightweight as it has blown away in a breeze, or at least drifted around the vestibule.
The design of the Ocelot windcreen is good, sitting inside the pot supports / arms of the Kovea stove rather than round the outside as is normally the case. So I decided to clone the Ocelot with the Ti foil and see what resulted. Laying one on top of the other and using the Ocelot as a pattern, edges were traced with a sharpie. It is then a few seconds to cut with a pair of scissors. Then mark some holes where the Spider legs pass through (again, traced sharpie dots from the Ocelot screen beneath) then clip them out with a paper hole punch. I am not a great one for modding gear, so this is my sort of task- simple, less than five minutes, done.
I did leave four or five millimetres extra along the edges of the titanium in order to fold it over and avoid subsequent skin cuts from the thin foil edge. The cut down piece of titanium foil that I normally carry with the Kovea Spider weighs 10g. The Flat Cat Ocelot weighs 14g. My titanium foil windscreen clone weighs 4g.
Both Ocelot windscreen and Ti clone are a doddle to fit and use. Both are short enough to coil and unfurl inside even the smallest of pots. The stainless steel Ocelot is light yet durable, bends easily but does not distort and is quiet to fit. The titanium foil windscreen is ‘fairly’ durable but can crumple if handled carelessly as it is very thin, it crackles alarmingly loud when being rolled, unfurled and fitted to the legs of the Kovea Spider, but is silent when in use. When fitted to the support legs of the Spider both windscreens are at a perfect height to stop a breeze affecting the burner head, yet still allow air around the burner while also preventing pressure build up. Neither windscreen will blow away in a breeze when used as they are fixed in place.
You may have spotted the design flaw however. My favoured Evernew pan is too wide to use either Ocelot or Ti clone. Both of these windscreens that sit inside the stove rather than outside have to be used with narrow pots, rather than wide bottomed pans. Flat Cat Gear say that the screen is suitable for ‘mugs up to 750ml’ but I used my old 850ml MSR Titan Kettle and it was perfect with that. Use an even narrow pot and the windscreen could be cut tighter still.