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The North Face Cat's Meow 20 - Women's Review

Best Buy Award

Sleeping Bags - Women's

  • Currently 4.0/5
Overall avg rating 4.0 of 5 based on 1 review. Most recent review: November 1, 2013
Street Price:   $169 | Compare prices at 1 resellers
Pros:  Warm, inexpensive, durable
Cons:  Bulky, heavy, tiny stow pocket
Best Uses:  Car camping, short backpacks, big wall climbing
User Rating:       (0.0 of 5) based on 0 reviews
Manufacturer:   The North Face
Review by: Jessica Haist ⋅ Review Editor, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ November 1, 2013  
The Catís Meow has been made by The North Face for years Ė itís the classic introductory sleeping bag for outdoor recreation - and for good reason. Itís 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 Catís 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 Catís 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.

Performance Comparison
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We had the Cats Meow with us when we were hit by an intense, windy thunderstorm in our floorless shelter, where driving rain came in under the tarp. We were comforted knowing the synthetic insulation would keep us somewhat warm even if it got wet.
Credit: Jessica Haist

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 30ís. We think the key to the Catís Meowís warmth is in large part due to the fit of the bag. Our 5í5, 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 womenís 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 Catís 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.

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The Cats Meow is the warmest synthetic sleeping bag we tested. Jessica Haist, our 55, tester found it fit her perfectly and it kept the heat trapped inside with its large neck baffle and draft tubes.
Credit: Ian McEleney
As we said before, this bag fits our tester like a glove, and there is enough wiggle room in the shoulders to wear an extra layer if things get really chilly. We like the material against our skin, and the additional insulation placed in key spots makes for a cozy sleep. The large baffles around the neck sometimes feels a bit restrictive, but the extra warmth provided by this baffle makes it worth it.

Packed Size
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The Cats Meow comes with a mesh storage sack and a compression sack. We found the compression sack to be cumbersome and heavy.
Credit: Jessica Haist
The Catís Meow was one of the bulkier bags in this review, and its material does not compress as well as the Ultralamininaís or any of the down sleeping bags. This could be due in part to the design of the compression sack that comes with the bag. It is poorly designed and seemed overly heavy for what it was. We suggest shopping for a separate stuff sack that is lighter and easier to use.

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The Cats Meow has a small interior stash pocket that we found to be a little too small to be useful. It could barely fit a small headlamp.
Credit: Ian McEleney
We love the extra insulation packed into the foot box and hood where we women need it most, as well as the soft, lightweight bag material. The stow pocket in the interior of the bag is slightly too small Ė it barely fits a small headlamp - and we think it could have used another inch or two of fabric to make it a bit larger. We also wish that the draw cords on the hood and neck baffles had different strings, like on the 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 Ė but the zipper catches more than other bags.

Because of its bulkiness and weight, the Catís 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 Catís Meow is a great introductory bag for a beginner backpacker as it is inexpensive for its quality.

Best Application
The Catís Meow Womenís 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 Catís 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
The Catís Meow comes in His and Her versions and can be zipped together for added spooning warmth in the tent.

Jessica Haist

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews

Most recent review: November 1, 2013
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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Average Customer Rating:     (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 100%  (1)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)

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The North Face Cat's Meow 20 - Women's
Credit: The North Face
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