The North Face Cat's Meow - Women's Review
Cons: Bulky packed size, heavy, small fit
Manufacturer: The North Face
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The North Face Cat's Meow - Women's
$209.95 at Backcountry
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|Pros||Warm and comfortable, keeps you warm when wet||Comfortable, lightweight, excellent materials, not constricting||Comfortable, warm, roomy||Comfortable and warm||Comfortable, inexpensive, recycled materials|
|Cons||Bulky packed size, heavy, small fit||Comforter sometimes does not stay tucked in||Heavy, bulky||Not light, hood draw cords hard to use, large for a women's sleeping bag||Heavy, bulky|
|Bottom Line||An inexpensive and versatile synthetic bag, this product is best suited for smaller people in car camping situations||A great, high-quality choice at a relatively low price for those looking for a lightweight bag that doesn't sacrifice comfort||This middle-of-the-pack sleeping bag is comfortable, warm, and fine or short backpacking trips and car camping excursions||This bag earns high marks for comfort and is a decent backpacking choice, but has added 4 ounces it the most recent iteration||This well priced synthetic bag is a great choice for your car camping needs|
|Rating Categories||The North Face Cat'...||Sierra Designs Clou...||Mountain Hardwear B...||Marmot Angel Fire||Marmot Trestles Eli...|
|Packed Size (15%)|
|Specs||The North Face Cat'...||Sierra Designs Clou...||Mountain Hardwear B...||Marmot Angel Fire||Marmot Trestles Eli...|
|ISO/EN Comfort Rating||20 F||26 F||15 F||27 F||20 F|
|Fill Type||Heatseeker™ Pro synthetic insulation||PFC-Free DriDown||650-fill-power down||Duck down||HL-ElixR synthetic fibers|
|Measured Weight||3.4 lbs||1.7 lbs||2.5 lbs||2.7 lbs||2.8 lbs|
|Total Weight||54.5 oz||27.4 oz||39.7 oz||43.6 oz||44.0 oz|
|Women specific features||Women's specific cut||More insulation per square inch than men's version||Additional insulation||Women's Specific Fit - more Insulation in Key Areas||Women's specific fit|
|Fill Weight||Unspecified||14.8 oz||Unspecified||Unspecified||Unspecified|
|Material||20D Nylon Ripstop/taffeta||15d nylon risptop||20D Ripstop Nylon||20D 100% nylon mini ripstop, 30D 100% nylon, DWR finish||20-denier recycled ripstop polyester|
|Yes||No||Yes||Yes - Internal Stash Pocket and Heater Pocket in Footbox||Yes|
|Sleeping Pad Sleeve||Yes||Yes||No||No||No|
|Zipper Length||59 in||N/A||66 in||63 in & 13 in||53/15 in|
|Shoulder Girth||62 in||59 in||60 in||56 in||58 in|
|Hip Girth||57 in||58 in||50 in||56 in||58 in|
|Foot Girth||42 in||39 in||40 in||46 in||45 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 and storage bag included|
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. This is a good 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.
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. It also has a hefty neck baffle and draft tube to help keep things snug and cozy.
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 3.4 pounds, the Cat's Meow has gained almost a pound from the last version and we're super disappointed in this bag's new weight. Because of this, we would no longer recommend it as a good choice for backpacking.
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. The one weight-saving strategy The North Face uses is a half-length zipper; unfortunately, this wasn't enough to save much weight.
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 very snug. Our 5-foot, 5-inch 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, and, could barely zip it up around her shoulders. We couldn't find any sizing materials on TNF's website, but Amazon says that the max height for size Regular would be 5 feet, 6 inches. We think it is closer to 5 feet, 4 inches, and for folks who are on the slimmer side.
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 have less weight. We can cinch the compression straps all the way down and it could still be cinched smaller. This recent version of the Cat's Meow has lost its competitive edge over other synthetic bags in this category - it is very bulky and its materials are not very compressible.
We like the large neck and draft tube baffle that keeps warm air in and cold air out. The white color of this bag is a bit disconcerting since it is pristine-looking in a world of dirt and could show stains very easily.
We were happy to see the addition of a small stow pocket. It is convenient for keeping a headlamp or phone warm, preserving batteries, and at hand should they be needed in the night. Almost every other product we tested now has an anti-snag zipper, but the Cat's Meow does not.
We think the current price makes the Cat's Meow a decent value product. Its insulation will keep you warm when wet, making it a great option for humid or wet weather. It is no longer under the $200 mark and since its changes have not been for the better we can't give it a best value award any longer.
The Cat's Meow is a bulky, heavy, and very snug-fitting synthetic sleeping bag. It would be a good choice for car camping trips in humid or wet climates since the synthetic materials will keep you warm even if they get wet. Be sure to try it out before purchasing as it is a tight fit for average height women.
— Jessica Haist
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