High-Altitude Home


Take a bomber four-season tent and make it comfortably livable, and there you have the First Ascent Katabatic ($599; firstascent.com). Our seasoned tester and guide put this tent at the top of his all-time-favorites list after taking it to 26,000 feet on Everest and braving 40 mph winds in it. He then rounded out his testing with another high-altitude stint in wind-whipped Peru. “Super storage inside, space-adding steep sidewalls, and good ventilation make this shelter feel like a mansion, not a cell like some four-season tents,” he said. Its six-pole (plus a seventh for the fly) dome design adds space without adding significant weight; it weighs in at 10 lbs., 5 oz., which is about six ounces less than other standard winter mountaineering tents. (That weight savings is equivalent to a half-dozen ultralight carabiners.) Oh, and did we mention it costs about $100 less than a similar (but heavier) tent? Almost 50 square feet of interior space plus 18 square feet in two vestibules make this tent extremely roomy and cozy for two geared-out alpinists, or a perfect fit for three light-and-fast types. One Colorado tester put it simply: “It’s quick to pitch and solid as a rock." For a cozy bag to put in your mountain palace, see our sleeping bag review from Climbing 308 (climbing.com/gear/sound-sleepers).