Just like you, I really love being in the backcountry. Hiking, pedaling, paddling: I love it all, but it started with hiking. I had been backpacking (the traditional, “heavy” backpacking) for more than a decade before I decided that I really like to be comfortable, too. That’s about when I started transitioning to lightweight and ultralight backpacking. It’s also when I designed my first quilt.
I thought quilts were a great idea to reduce weight, but at the time, I couldn’t find a single one that kept the cold drafts out and my body heat in. I mean, there’s a big gaping hole in the back, so that’s not easy to do! Add to the mix that I’m a pretty active sleeper, and quilts just were not working well for me. I had some ideas on how to design a quilt that would keep me warm, so I sewed up my own version of a quilt, and took it on a thru-hike of the Colorado Trail.
After testing it on the CT, I spent over a year making numerous revisions; perfecting all the details to make sure it would even keep quilt-skeptics (like me) warm. I spent nearly 200 nights testing my prototypes in realistic conditions, from my thru-hike of the Hayduke Trail to paddling the Yukon River; from our home in Colorado to the Wonderland Trail in Washington; from the canyons of Utah to the wilderness of Alaska.
Once I had a design I loved, I convinced friends and family to try them out, too. In 2009, the most skeptical of skeptics (her words were something like, “Why would I use a sleeping bag with a giant hole in it? That’s insane.”) my partner, Kris, used it on her second backpacking trip, ever. She’s been a quilt convert ever since, and even joined the Katabatic crew in 2013.
So, that’s how it started. The main focus has always been to ensure that carrying ultralight gear does not mean you have to sacrifice comfort or function. Quality is the priority, whether it’s our design, the raw materials, or the amazing individuals on our team. We test our designs personally, and extensively before we produce them for you. This way we know we are sending you gear that will exceed your expectations, and let you focus on the adventure at-hand. Enjoy!
Founder – Katabatic Gear