We have some pretty awesome sponsors in the folks over at First Ascent, who have been supporting our Chicks with Picks AND Chicks Rock! programs since pretty much the brand’s inception back in 2009. We are shouting out a huge and heartfelt thanks from the Chicks community for seeing the need for our climbing programs for women, and helping us reach more and more amazing gals each year!
Chicks Girly Guide Caroline George is on the First Ascent team of guides, and it’s really neat to see just how much their gear & clothing is REALLY “Guide Tested, Guide Trusted” – because, their products are in fact built by input given by the guides! Caroline and other First Ascent team members make regular trips to the First Ascent HQ for product development meetings, and you will see her in photos out in the Alps or on an expedition in Antarctica, Jordan, Thailand (you know, exotic locales where rad Chicks like her go climbing) testing new First Ascent gear in real-life conditions before it ever hits the shelves. The feedback from the guides is actually implemented in the design, so you know when you buy from First Ascent, you are truly getting the REAL DEAL!
About a year or so ago, I heard rumblings that First Ascent was going to be coming out with tents, and they since have – just recently! Now I openly admit that I love to “lust” after tents, since I don’t technically have a need for a new one, but love the idea of a more “spacious” space to spend time outdoors in. [OK, so maybe “technically” I do have a need for a four-season tent since mine only a three…hmmm] Anyways, in late May, I saw a photo of the Katabatic tent with two people in it who were stuck waiting on a weather window to fly out of the Yukon that left my jaw hanging open. Here is the photo by Christie-Images.com. Can you see why? Is it just me, or does this tent look wonderfully spacious!
Remember what I said about First Ascent building and testing gear with input from guides? Well, this tent came to market after three years of development! Here’s what National Geographic said in its review of the Katabatic as a winner of Gear of the Year 2012: “This first four-season expedition tent from EB went through seven iterations over three years before the company and the all-star guides (like Ed Viesturs) who develop its products felt it was right to bring to market. What they finally approved is a bombproof, wind-shedding dome with 49 square feet of floor space and near-vertical walls to make long stretches of stormbound solitaire bearable. Vestibule space adds 18 feet, and the weight for this two- to three-person shelter is a tick over ten pounds—typical for a four-season expedition tent.”
So considering it’s already won a Gear of the Year award from National Geographic, I’m definitely thinking this is a pretty solid four-season tent – with some awesome headroom. The steep side walls are the trick to making the most of the livable space with the ability to maintain a small footprint. Being an expedition tent, there is a double-wall construction which is a godsend for condensation control. The tent has not one, but two vestibules (!!!) and weighs in at 10 lbs., 5 oz. So, while it may not be your summertime “go-to” for a weekend backpacking trip, the Katabatic with its 49.5 square feet of interior space is what you will definitely want to come along with you on longer expeditions. I know I do! The Katabatic checks in with a retail price of $599.
You can check out all the details here on the First Ascent page. And if you’re so inclined, it would be a lovely gesture to say thank you to our friends on their Facebook page for supporting our Chicks Climbing programs. We could not offer our climbing clinics for women WITHOUT the support we get from the outdoor industry. So thank you again, First Ascent! And be sure to let us know when you have a Katabatic tent contest and/or giveaway so I can be sure to enter 😉 until then, I’ll be saving my pennies!