With all the expeditions our guides have tackled in the past five years, one of the most critical, and overlooked, parts of the journey is hauling all the gear to some of the most remote corners of the globe. But from our early First Ascent expeditions to Aconcagua and Antarctica to our Everest West Ridge expedition in 2012, the Maximus Duffel has hauled the gear and handled a heavy load. Everest, Denali, Kilimanjaro, Carstensz Pyramid, Alpamayo, Aconcagua. Haines, Las Lenas, Revelstoke, Bariloche, Portillo, Chamonix and Iceland, on multiple occaisions. Mt. Waddington. The full Freeride World Tour and the Skier’s Cup in Switzerland. The Heroes Project missions to all seven summits and the Nobody’s River journey through Siberia and Mongolia.
When we say our gear is guide-built, guide-trusted what do we mean? Well, in the specific instance of the Gear-of-the-Year award winning Katabatic tent, that statement is more than just a marketing slogan. It means that the design process included nine prototypes until full guide certification, testing on six continents and more than one thousand nights on the world’s tallest peaks. From Aconcagua to the South Col on Everest where it held strong in 121-mile-an-hour winds, the Katabatic first earned its respect from our guide and athlete team for its high altitude performance.
Ben Stookesberry and Chris Korbulic are currently on a two-month mission. The purpose is to travel deep into the Torngat Mountains of Canada’s Labrador region to descend the mighty Nachvak River—after ascending the mainline artery of the George—through a rarely visited 10,000-square-kilometer national park to the iceberg-choked waters of the Labrador Sea amidst a landscape of remnant glaciers, polar bears, caribou herds, native Inuit hunting grounds, and the highest peaks in Eastern Canada.
When our guide team set out to build the world’s best expedition shelter they had an idea for a radical new design but no idea of how much effort—or how may years of testing and development—it would take to realize their goal. Nine prototypes, expeditions to six continents, field-testing in winds that reached 121 miles per hour and a high mark of testing at 25,938 feet on the South Col of Everest. But all the work, all the miles and all the testing resulted in an expedition shelter that earned universal respect and validation with both a Gear of the Year and an Editor’s Choice award. In this Gear Report clip, Peter Whittaker breaks down the blow-by-blow on what the guide team went through to built the Katabatic.
A few months back, Rebecca Etchen Peters headed to Brays Island in South Carolina for a sporting clays weekend with a group from Garden & Gun magazine. Not only was Etchen Peters the force behind the development of our original Sport Shop line, she’s also no rookie when it comes to the shooting sports, with four generations of champion shooters in her family lineage.
As we dive into the heart of our Annual Gear Event, we’ve decided to honor the guide-built process and our award-winning gear with stunning expedition galleries from three of the best pieces of gear we’ve ever built. Today is the Alchemist Pack, which picked up a coveted Outside Magazine Gear of the Year award in 2012. It’s an expandable alpine utility pack that our guides tested in the thin air of towering peaks such as Makalu and Everest, towering spires in the Cirque of the Unclimbables and on trips to remote locations such as Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Cook.
We know selecting good gear makes a huge difference. From an expedition shelter and an alpine utility pack to a warm down sleeping bag or a lightweight, wicking shirt, picking the right piece to complete your kit can make the difference in transforming your average weekend trip into an epic adventure. This truth is the reason we focused our brand on building technical, performance-oriented gear more than five years ago.