The North Face Cat's Meow - Women's Review
Cons: Bulkier packed size, heavier, small fit
Manufacturer: The North Face
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The North Face Cat's Meow - Women's
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|Pros||Light and compressible synthetic, keeps you warm when wet||Comfortable, lightweight, excellent materials, not constricting||Comfortable and warm||Comfortable, inexpensive, recycled materials||Good price for a down sleeping bag, warm, comfortable|
|Cons||Bulkier packed size, heavier, small fit||Comforter sometimes does not stay tucked in||Not light, hood draw cords hard to use, large for a women's sleeping bag||Heavy, bulky||Low quality down fill, heavy, packed size, no storage sack|
|Bottom Line||An inexpensive and versatile synthetic bag, this is an excellent choice for breaking into backpacking||A great, high-quality choice at a relatively low price for those looking for a lightweight bag that doesn't sacrifice comfort||A favorite of many trail ladies out there, the Angel Fire earns high marks across the board and would be an excellent addition to any backpacker's kit||This well priced synthetic bag is a great choice for your car camping needs||This competitively priced down sleeping bag is a good entry-level bag for backpackers looking to hit the trail on a budget|
|Rating Categories||The North Face Cat'...||Sierra Designs Clou...||Marmot Angel Fire||Marmot Trestles Eli...||Kelty Cosmic 20 - W...|
|Packed Size (15%)|
|Specs||The North Face Cat'...||Sierra Designs Clou...||Marmot Angel Fire||Marmot Trestles Eli...||Kelty Cosmic 20 - W...|
|ISO/EN Comfort Rating||22 F||26 F||30.4 F||20 F||25 F|
|Fill Type||Heatseeker™ Guide synthetic insulation||PFC-Free DriDown||Duck down||HL-ElixR synthetic fibers||550-fill duck down|
|Measured Weight||2.5 lbs.||1.7 lbs.||2.5 lbs.||2.8 lbs.||3.4 lbs.|
|Total Weight||40.2 oz.||27.4 oz.||39.8 oz.||44.0 oz.||54.0 oz.|
|Women specific features||Women's specific cut||More insulation per square inch than men's version||Women's Specific Fit - more Insulation in key areas||Women's specific fit||Increased foot room|
|Fill Weight||Unspecified||14.8 oz.||23.5 oz.||Unspecified||20.7 oz.|
|Material||20D Nylon Ripstop/taffeta||15d nylon risptop||30d 100% Nylon DWR 1.18 oz/yd | 30d 100% Nylon Ripstop DWR 1.5 oz/yd||20-denier recycled ripstop polyester||20D 400T nylon, PFC-free C0 DWR finish|
|No||No||Yes - Internal Stash Pocket and Heater Pocket in Footbox||Yes||Yes|
|Sleeping Pad Sleeve||No||Yes||No||No||No|
|Zipper Length||59 in||N/A||63 in & 13 in||53/15 in||59 in|
|Shoulder Girth||58 in||59 in||57 in||58 in||58 in|
|Hip Girth||58 in||58 in||58 in||58 in||52 in|
|Foot Girth||40 in||39 in||46 in||45 in||40 in|
|Stuff Sack included?||Compression sack and storage bag included||Stuff sack and storage bag included||Stuff sack and storage bag included||Stuff sack and storage bag included||Stuff sack only|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Women's Cat's Meow has slimmed down on unnecessary features included in previous versions. It's added warmth by putting insulation in all the right places, piling more on top and less on the bottom, making it more effective. Its shell and insulation materials make it super compressible as well, despite being a synthetic model. This is a great value bag for a tight budget, and a good option for wet or humid weather.
The Cat's Meow is rated at an EN comfort rating of 22-degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature rating is slightly warmer than average, and we would agree that the Cat's Meow performs similarly. This bag is warm and cozy, keeping us warm on cold nights, be it dry or wet. Much of its ample warmth is attributed to its new design.
The North Face has gotten clever with constructing the Cats Meow. They have moved the majority of the insulation to the top layer and just left a thin layer on the bottom. We think this is super smart and way more efficient. Insulation keeps heat in by trapping air molecules in the loft. This air warms up, keeping you warm. Any insulation that is under your body is being compressed, and therefore not lofty, so it is ineffective at containing heat and keeping you warm. Your sleeping pad is what should be keeping you warm and insulating you from the ground, not the insulation on the bottom of your sleeping bag. The Cat's Meow does a great job keeping you warm with its smart design.
Not only that, but the loft is made of synthetic fibers that will retain their warmth, even when wet. This adds to its overall warmth in all types of conditions. Our verdict? This is a super warm synthetic option that will keep you cozy in all sorts of conditions, down to almost 20-degrees Fahrenheit.
Weighing in at 2.5 pounds, the Cat's Meow is a light synthetic bag. In comparison to most of its down competitors, it's not as lightweight, but it does beat out some budget down models and is our top option if you're in search of a synthetic bag that offers a lightweight design.
One way to lighten your load with this product is to choose a different compression sack. The Cat's Meow's included compression sack weighs 4.2 ounces, which is unnecessary weight. By purchasing a lighter sack, you can shave off the ounces, making it a more viable option for adventures that require lightweight gear. While 2.5 pounds is fairly lightweight for short backpacking trips, it is not our favorite for long adventures that will have you trudging for hours, day after day, on repeat. Avoid it for super long thru-hikes.
We love the Cat's Meow's soft shell and liner materials. They are very comfortable and feel soft on the skin. It is also nice that this bag still has a thin layer of synthetic on the bottom layer so you don't feel the more coarse materials that would otherwise cause discomfort. Sleeping in it is plush and comfortable, offering a nice sleep all night long.
The fit of this bag is on the snug side. Our 5'5" tester, who is usually exactly the right size for most women's sleeping bags (which often come in a single "women's" size) found that she could barely get her head into the hood, making it feel slightly claustrophobic. We couldn't find any sizing materials on TNF's website, but Amazon says that the max height for size Regular would be 5'6". We think it is closer to 5'4".
As with most synthetic bags, the Cat's Meow is not very compressible. As we mentioned, the compression sack is huge and bulky. We like the idea of a compression sack for synthetic bags, but it should be smaller and less weight. We can cinch the compression straps all the way down and it could still be cinched smaller.
While most synthetic bags aren't as compressible as down options, this model stands out above the rest. Other down bags that sport additional features are not as compressible as the Cat's Meow. Overall, this is a great packed size among synthetic sleeping bags.
We were pleasantly surprised when we received the Cat's Meow and discovered that The North Face had eliminated the "hand warmer pocket" that had been inside this bag's previous version.
We thought that this feature on the previous version of this bag was very unnecessary and added bulk and weight. The North Face has streamlined the features to create a much more versatile and higher performing product.
Our favorite sleeping bag feature is the small stow pockets many manufacturers include inside their bags. Unfortunately, this product does not have one and we wish it did. They are convenient for keeping a headlamp or phone warm, preserving batteries, and at hand should they be needed in the night.
The price has jumped around in the last several years, but we think the current price makes the Cat's Meow a great value product. It's a very light and compressible synthetic option. Its insulation will keep you warm when wet, making it a great option for humid or wet weather. All this wins it our recognition for anyone looking for a great sleeping bag without breaking the two hundred dollar price level. Its compressibility makes it decent for short backpacking trips while its warmth is sufficient for cold nights. Overall, it performs well for a lower price.
The upgrades in material, features, and weight to the Cat's Meow makes it our favorite synthetic bag and an unbeatable value. It is by far the lightest and most compressible synthetic bag we've tested and we are impressed. Its clever design of having most of its insulation on the top where it is most effective makes it a very warm bag as well. At a low price, we recommend it for car camping and short backpacking trips.
— Jessica Haist
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