Kovea Slim Twin Lite ReviewMay 17, 2018
- Flame control
- Fuel Versatility
- Wind Protection
- Removable Lid
- Loose adaptors
- Windscreen closure
- Height of stance
- Grill grate attachment
Kovea’s Slim Twin is a solid cooker with dependable all-around flame control, and plenty of power when you need dinner in a hurry. The two 12,000 BTU-burners make the rather diminutive Slim Twin the second most powerful stove within the test, and the large windscreens and tall lid provide best-in-test wind protection. A wide variety of meals were prepared on the Slim Twin, from basic pan-fried ground meats and chili to omelets and quesadillas. The wide grill grates practically invite ingredient detritus to collect on the drip pan, so expect to be frequently reminded of meals passed if you’re not prone to regular gear cleaning.
The Slim Twin comes ready for use with isobutane canisters but includes adaptors for propane bottles. Both fuels were tested and performance differences were imperceptible. It handled a delicate Bialetti espresso maker, gradually warmed soup, and in essence, did everything it needed to do to keep testers fed.
The Kovea Slim Twin showed only one definitive sign of weakness throughout use. The push-button lid lock loosened slightly, allowing the lid about an ⅛’’ inch of play when shut.
The stove was was stored and transported often in a packed gear bin with heavy pans and propane bottles, and left to float around in the back of an SUV bouncing down the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument’s Hole-in-the-Rock road. While it rattles noticeably when off pavement, its lid hinges and folding stainless steel legs remained intact.
The Slim Twin’s folding supports clip snugly into a plastic housing under the handle, which also never widened or otherwise lost its grip. Underside-mounted fuel valve threads, especially susceptible to additional wear given their intended use with adapters, never stripped or impacted bottle attachment.
While this stove is aptly named, its buttoned-up construction and engineering decisions help it punch above its weight class in this rating category.
The Kovea Slim Twin is a surprising 10 pounds, only two fewer than the much meatier Camp Chef Everest. It’s much heavier than it looks. That said, it’s under 2.5’’ high when collapsed, making it suitable to slip under a truck seat and into almost any moderately-sized gear bin. The stove was packed all winter long in a 66-quart Hefty plastic storage bin for snowboarding tailgates along with everything else we needed for parking lot après.
The front mounted carry handle is comfortable and ergonomic, and the lid locks shut and opens with the push of a button. The legs fold inward and secure firmly over one another in a plastic tab. The lack of an external fuel line eliminates a commonly annoying aspect of packing stoves in this category, and the inset fuel valves aid in the Slim Twin’s ability to lay completely flush with whatever it’s resting upon.
The Slim Twin’s lid can be removed to accommodate larger cooking vessels or when the weather would allow for it. The large, side windscreens fold against the lid during portage and rest in two vertical tabs when deployed, mounting an excellent all-around defense against stiff campground breezes. The stainless steel grill grate isn’t locked or secured, it merely rests in a gutter that surrounds the drip pan. Moving pots and pans around sometimes pushed the grate out of place, but it’s just as easily nudged back home. Yet, it makes cleaning a snap.
The highlight of the Slim Twin is its fuel versatility. The stove ships with two valve adaptors; so like the Primus Tupike, it can run on standard propane or isobutane canisters more common to backpacking stoves. It also uses aerosol-type butane cans. The Slim Twin valve mounts are on its underside, and fuel bottles hang out of the way between the legs. While some could argue that this design choice eliminates valuable utensil and cookware storage space, we believe there’s more value in having your fuel source nicely compartmentalized. The fuel attachment design does mean the stove sits quite high when on a table. A few slight pushes, general knocks and accidental shoves during testing proved that the stove can maintain stability when in use, and the height helps keep the cook closer to the stove. Still, given some tip risk, users should be cautious of placement during setup.
There’s a piezo ignitor for each burner, and each held up throughout testing. The flame control knobs could stand to be slightly larger given the stove’s winter capabilities; otherwise, they adjust easily and help maintain a long-term simmer. The right side knob is close to the carry handle, making it a slight adjustment challenge with gloves.
Setup & Use
Fuel bottles and canisters are more easily attached when the Slim Twin is resting on its lid, and the adaptors take a minute to ensure threading is accurate. Outside of that, getting this stove lit and cooking is pretty intuitive. Unfold the legs, unlock the lid, and deploy the windscreens.
The windscreens can be a little wonky when it comes time to packing away the stove. They need to be lifted up and out of their notches to swing back against the lid, which we found required more finesse than expected. Removing and replacing the lid requires no mechanics because it relies on thin, s-shaped tabs that fit smoothly with inserts on the stove body. The ignition process is not unique: turn on the fuel, push the piezo.
Lastly, I wish Kovea included some form of storage for the adaptors. A nitpick, sure, but they’re essential to the stove’s appeal, and to let a couple of ping-pong ball-sized accessories roam free within the confines of a road-tripper’s truck bed or the corner of a family’s garage demands shoppers pay special attention to their whereabouts at all times after unboxing.
Guide, writer, Truckee local, pub trivia host, and inventor of TripTarp®, Craig Rowe is the Gear Institute's chief stove and insulated jacket tester.