Hands-on Gear Review
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Street Price: $189
Pros: Warm, inexpensive, durable
Cons: Bulky, heavy, tiny stow pocket
Best Uses: Car camping, short backpacks, big wall climbing
Manufacturer: The North Face
The Cat's Meow has been made by The North Face for years – it's the classic introductory sleeping bag for outdoor recreation - and for good reason. It's inexpensive and does the job well, which is why we give it our Best Buy award. It is relatively lightweight for a synthetic sleeping bag, and warmer than any other in this review. The Cat's Meow is much bulkier than the more expensive Mountain Hardwear Ultralaminina 32, and we are afraid the quality is lower as well since we have already found a hole in the stitching of the bag.
Luckily, we had the Cat's Meow with us when we were hit by an intense, windy thunderstorm in our floorless shelter, where driving rain came in under the tarp. It was a comfort to know this synthetic bag would retain its loft even if it got wet. This bag kept us warm in all kinds of weather this summer in the high alpine and while car camping.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
A tried and true, inexpensive, synthetic insulated sleeping bag, the Cat's Meow is an excellent introductory sleeping bag for short backpacking trips and car camping adventures.
This sleeping bag is the warmest of the synthetic bags we evaluated. It kept us warm in the alpine during the summer months, when temperatures can dip down into the 30's. We think the key to the Cat's Meow's warmth is in large part due to the fit of the bag. Our 5'5, tester found it fit her perfectly and kept the heat trapped inside with its large neck baffle and draft tubes. The North Face has also added more insulation to the hood and foot box of this women's specific sleeping bag to keep the extremities nice and toasty.
We were surprised to find that this bag weighed in only half an ounce heavier than our lightest synthetic bag, the Ultralaminina. We may have been deceived because the Cat's Meow seems much bulkier. This bag uses a lightweight exterior material and slimmed down features to keep it relatively light, though it doesn't pack down very small.
Slumberjack Latitude 20 - Women's so they could be tightened independently. The glow in the dark zipper pull is handy for late night bathroom trips – but the zipper catches more than other bags.
Because of its bulkiness and weight, the Cat's Meow is much less versatile than a down sleeping bag like the REI Joule, or even the Ultralaminina, that packs down much smaller. But for what its worth, this bag is a workhorse and is good for trips where you expect the weather to be wet and cold. The Cat's Meow is a great introductory bag for a beginner backpacker as it is inexpensive for its quality.
The Cat's Meow Women's is a great car camping sleeping bag. It will also work well for short backpacks, especially in wet climates like the Pacific Northwest or Alaska in the summer. This could also be a good choice for any big wall lady climbers.
This is a great value for a decent product that can get you started on your outdoor adventures.
The Cat's Meow is the Best Buy in this review, and is ideal for someone who is looking for an inexpensive summer backpacking sleeping bag that will keep her warm in all conditions. It is comfortable and surprisingly lightweight when compared to other synthetic bags in this review (it is almost as light as the Ultralaminina).
Other Versions and Accessories
North Face Cat's Meow 20, Men's, $170.
— Jessica Haist
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: July 25, 2014
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