Rab Latok Summit Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Rab Latok Summit is hardly a do-anything four-season shelter. However, it provides top-tier storm-worthiness with exceptionally low weight and packed volume. Perfect for light-and-fast alpine climbing in the remote ranges of the world, it's the best bivy tent in high winds. If we knew we wanted the lowest weight shelter but might get pelted by gale-force winds, we'd choose this one. It does come with some trade-offs, with the biggest being a low peak height. This helps it stand up to strong winds but makes doing anything other than lying down pretty undesirable. For shorter trips consisting of a few nights, or cutting edge ascents where all comfort is stripped, the Latok Summit is a true "bivy" tent.
Ease of Set-Up
This tent pitches reasonably quickly from the inside with Velcro straps that wrap around the poles. We find that tents that pitch from the outside are preferable because they are faster to set up and are also arguably safer to set up in steep terrain. However, because the tent is so small, our testing team found the Latok easier to set up when compared to other similarly designed two pole single wall tents like the Black Diamond Eldorado o Firstlight. There just wasn't as much pole length and fabric to deal with, and each tester commented on this.
The Latok has very steep walls, and its peak height is so low to the ground we suspect that it could handle some gnarly storms anywhere in the world. The Latok Summit uses an exceptionally breathable eVent Waterproof fabric three-layer fabric (very similar to a hardshell jacket) with two high-quality poles forming an X. Due to the Latok's outer material and low peak height, it's the most bomber two-pole tent in our review. It only features four (nicely reflective) guyline points, but we don't think it gives much up in the way of wind resistance (not having additional and central guyline options).
Technically, this tent is a bivy. When General Electric bought eVent (the fabric that this tent is constructed with), they had originally decided, for liability reasons, not to allow eVent in "regular" tents but only in "bivy" tents (which they considered this tent and its predecessor the Latok Ultra). However, GE has recently started to allow eVent in tents, though due to CPAI-84 flame-resistant material regulations, tents featuring eVent fabric are still not available for sale in CA, NY, MI, MN, LA, MA, NJ or Canada. The Latok Summit remains an exception because it's considered a "bivy" and is the smallest tent that we've ever tested.
As far as actually living in this tent, the steep walls are great for storm-proofness and make it feel even smaller than its floor area might otherwise seem. It feels small, both lengthwise and heightwise. This is why the Latok almost feels like a bivy; if you're 5'9 or taller, you can't sit up inside with your head straight, and cooking inside it would be hazardous. If you're around six feet tall, your head and feet press firmly against both ends simultaneously, and two full-length pads will overlap some. Two people are most comfortable if they both face the same direction.
The Latok Summit offers no venting, but with its eVent shell, it does provide the most air permeable (read: more breathable than most ePTFE membranes) fabric of any of the single wall tents we tested. The model has one tubular vent in the rear that can be closed almost entirely with an elasticized drawcord. For kicks, we pitched the tent while car camping in Yosemite. Check out the photo below to see how small this contender is relative to standard backpacking tents.
Although it is small, it is built to expedition standards. We are confident that it would be considerably more durable over the long term than tents like the Black Diamond Firstlight, primarily because the three-layer eVent fabric used is simply more durable in regards to tear resistance. It also offers better resistance to UV degradation.
Without stakes or guylines, the tent weighs three lbs; with a stuff sack and guylines, most people will find a packed weight of around 3 lbs 5 oz. The Latok Summit offers superior weather resistance in the fiercest conditions.Here's a breakdown of what the individual components weigh:
- 34.6 oz. body
- 11.7 oz. poles
- 0.5 oz. pole sack
- 3.1 oz. stakes
- 0.3 oz. stake sack
- 1.1 oz. main stuff sack
This contender is so small that you can pitch it nearly anywhere that two people can lie down, making it suitable for just about any alpine route. This tent is not designed to be adaptable or versatile, as it doesn't even feature any bug mesh on the door or vent, and it would downright suck to take three-season camping on the coast, especially with two people crammed inside.
The only other feature to note is the three anchor tie-in points, which are basic loops of fabric. You can thread a sling or cordalette through the inside of the loop and tie it to your harness and clip a locking carabiner to the exterior and then to your anchor point. It is likely more durable, and it can also be used as an additional tie-out point when not used as an anchor (which for most people, is 99 percent of the time).
The Latok represents a good value and is average in price among similar two pole lightweight bivy tents. Like many of these tents, it's designed for one application, and it does a bang-up job of it. It is bomber and stormproof, complete with a small footprint.
The Rab Latok Summit is tiny, and you can hardly sit up in it (read: most people can't sit all the way up), meaning the only folks looking at it should plan to use it where they would otherwise consider using a bivy sack. The Latok is certainly an improvement in a storm (when compared to a bivy sack) and is lighter than the total weight of two bivy sacks. Its storm worthiness and ability can also stand up in strong winds and should not be underestimated.
Ad-free. Influence-free. Powered by Testing.
GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.Learn More