[lightweight expedition palace]
Stable. Light. Livable. “This is the best four-season tent I’ve ever used,” said one tester after his 2012 Everest expedition. Even at 26,000 feet, with winds routinely topping 50 mph, he proclaimed this six-pole dome (plus a pole for the fly) quick to pitch and solid as a rock.
“It’s so taut that I could set my 40-pound pack on top without any sagging,” said another tester after a weekend in Colorado’s Indian Peaks Wilderness. “And the pre-rigged guylines self-equalize, making it a breeze to guy out at nearly any angle.” Of course, there are other bomber tents out there. What sets the Katabatic apart is low weight paired with high marks for livability. The shelter is cavernous for two winter-equipped mountaineers and adequate for a trio; it fits three pads with no overlap, thanks to two side poles that draw out walls to near-vertical.
Two vestibules provide enough space for three expedition duffels, while 14 large interior pockets let testers organize gear; smart vertical panels help with drying layers. Other features are equally dialed: Two vents in the canopy limited condensation when nearby tents frosted up; door and vestibule zipper pulls glow in the dark for easy access; and both vestibule doors allow venting at the top so you can cook safely. Bonus: “In stormy weather, the green and white walls are downright cheery compared to darker flies.” $599; 10 lbs. 5 oz.; firstascent .com
The Bugout series is a new category of shelters. These simple shelters consist of a well designed tarp with mesh walls that can either be stowed or easily dropped to offer instant no-see-um protection. String
the tarp between two trees or trekking poles, or use NEMO's adjustable height poles to create an escape from rain, bugs, or sun whether you are in the front yard or backcountry. The Bugouts fit over campsite tables and provide a haven from the elements without cumbersome poles or tricky setup. A specially developed mesh with high water repellency protects against side blown rain and effortlessly sheds moisture when it's time to pack up. Adjustable height, multiple configurations, and Footprint option make this unique shelter a multifunctional tool for your quiver.