Ascent Spotlights: Meet Katabatic
In our new blog series, Ascent Spotlights, we shine a light on the entrepreneurs and mentors in our Ascent accelerator. Today, we’re excited to introduce you to Katabatic Gear which originated in 2009 out of founder Aaron Martray’s desire to create a warm, light, sleeping experience using quilt-style sleeping bags, known today as simply quilts. Katabatic’s intentional design approach began, and moves forward with, some key tenets in mind such as draft control, lightweight durable construction, and simplicity. Katabatic facilitates positive front and backcountry adventures by providing quilts and other backcountry gear that provide a peaceful and comfortable night’s rest. Katabatic is headquartered in Salida, Colorado where Aaron and his partner Kris create, manufacture, and test their beloved adventure gear. In addition to testing their products in our beautiful Chaffee County backyard, the Katabatic team are thru-hikers of the Colorado Trail, Continental Divide Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, the Hayduke, and others. Beyond backpacking, the gear has been designed and tested through bikepacking, paddling, climbing, and plenty of car camping trips. From the dry deserts in Utah, to the often unpredictable Yukon, Katabatic’s gear is built for challenging conditions.
We were so ecstatic to welcome this innovative Chaffee County company into our 2022 Central Mountain Ascent Accelerator. In this video, you’ll discover how Katabatic leveraged the mentor network to help refine and focus the vision for the growth of their company including marketing strategies as well as for expanding their product offerings.
ABOUT THE FOUNDER: AARON MARTRAY
Born and raised in Littleton, CO, I grew up backpacking and camping. 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 was also when I designed my first quilt. After testing it on the Colorado Trail, I spent over a year making numerous revisions; perfecting all the details to make sure it would even keep quilt-skeptics comfortable and 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. In 2009 I founded Katabatic Gear to share these innovations with other people who like to spend time in the outdoors and be comfortable doing it.