[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
Proven protection from Oware since 1986 this is floorless tarp of traditional lines which is quick to set up, light and inexpensive and a favorite for winter campers, it can be set up over a snow pit for extra roominess. It includes a stuff sack. Use your ski probe poles, hang it from a tree limb or order the separate shock corded pole to set it up. Just clip the buckle at the bottom of the door, zip up the zipper, stake out the four corners evenly and put up the pole. Additional tie outs are on the center seams. The apex is reinforced with Cordura®, and the zipper flap is 3" wide and closes with hook and loop and a side release buckle. Why an OWARE pyramid? The taller steeper pitch sheds snow and rain much better than the competitors versions as well a providing more headroom. Just ask the outdoor schools that choose them over BD, GL etc. for use in the Cascades, Rockies, and Alaska for all season use. Includes 1 oz. pole connector (3 webbing straps) so you can use two trekking or ski poles to make a height adjustable pole. Item 28 oz. with stuffsack and cord.