Hands-on Gear Review

Rab Latok Summit Review

A tiny single wall tent for alpine climbing and high altitude mountaineers.
By: Ian Nicholson ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 9, 2018
Price:  $575 List  |  $495.69 at Amazon - 14% Off
Pros:  Epic high alpine wind protection, very light for its strength and durability, eVent fabric does a fantastic job of moving moisture, one of the easiest single wall tents to set up
Cons:  Small for one person, snugglefest for two people, 5'9" and taller folks can't sit up straight, two full sized pads don't really fit
Manufacturer:   Rab
68
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#16 of 19
  • Weight - 27% 10
  • Livability - 18% 2
  • Weather/Storm Resistance - 25% 9
  • Ease of Set-up - 10% 6
  • Durability - 10% 7
  • Versatility - 10% 2
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Our Verdict

The Rab Latok Summit is a tiny single wall tent for alpine climbing and high altitude mountaineers that demand the greatest possible strength and weather resistance for the lowest possible weight. This tent is on the small side for even one person and creates a snuggle fest when two people are inside. At 31", it has the lowest peak height of any tent in our review, and if you're 5'9" or taller, you can't even fully sit up. This tent is considerably stronger and more durable than anything else in its ~3 lb weight class. Opt for the Latok Summit if the added performance in high winds (due to the low roof and steep walls) and high durability surpass the desire for more comfort.


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Our Analysis and Test Results

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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.

Performance Comparison



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 to easier to set up when compared to other similarly designed two pole single wall tents. There just wasn't as much pole length and fabric to deal with, and each tester commented on this.

Weather Resistance


This has very steep walls, much steeper than the Black Diamond Firstlight, 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 eVentĀ® Waterproof fabric three-layer fabric (very similar to a hardshell jacket) with two high-quality poles forming an X similar to the Black Diamond Eldorado and Black Diamond Firstlight. Because of the Latok's outer material (which is far more durable than the Firstlight ) and low peak height, we think 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).

The Latok Summit feels small. The floor space is only slightly smaller than average but its 31" peak height means some folks won't even be able to sit up. If you're 6 feet tall  your head and feet will touch both ends.
The Latok Summit feels small. The floor space is only slightly smaller than average but its 31" peak height means some folks won't even be able to sit up. If you're 6 feet tall, your head and feet will touch both ends.

Livability


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 its 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 6 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 the out the photo below to see how small this contender is relative to standard backpacking tents.

The Flash 2  Latok Ultra  and Half Dome 2 car camping in Yosemite.
The Flash 2, Latok Ultra, and Half Dome 2 car camping in Yosemite.

Durability


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.

Weight/Packed Size


Without stakes or guylines the tent weighs 3 lbs; with a stuff sack and guylines, most people will find a packed weight of around 3 lbs 5 oz. That's a decently comparable weight to the Black Diamond Firstlight and HiLight; while either might offer more headroom, the Latok Summit offers superior weather resistance.

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

Versatility


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 Latok has a single vent on the opposite side of the tent as the door. This vent helps the already impressive eVent fabric pass moisture out of the tent. A nice feature of the vent is that it was easy to close from inside the tent. Like the door  there is no mesh option.
The Latok has a single vent on the opposite side of the tent as the door. This vent helps the already impressive eVent fabric pass moisture out of the tent. A nice feature of the vent is that it was easy to close from inside the tent. Like the door, there is no mesh option.

Features


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. Although this feature works well, we prefer the "Sleep Tight Anchor Transfer" feature on the Nemo Tenshi. 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).

Best Applications


This tent is great for high altitude mountaineering, alpine climbing, or multi-day ski touring. It also excels anytime you need bombproof storm protection or when low weight is paramount, and you're willing to sacrifice space and comfort to get it. It is small enough that it's an okay solo mountaineering tent, though we wouldn't recommend it for more general mountaineering use, at least with two people.

Value


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 the Latok does a bang-up job of it. It is bomber and stormproof, complete with a small footprint.

Conclusion


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.

Ian Nicholson

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