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The North Face Cat's Meow

28 reviews
5-star:   6
4-star:   10
3-star:   3
2-star:   7
1-star:   2
1

This is a very popular yet overpriced and underperforming…

Rating: rated 2 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $160 -20% coupon $130

Summary

This is a very popular yet overpriced and underperforming sleeping bag best used during warm weather. The foot box is very small, while the torso area is extra roomy. The small zippered breast pocket is very useful for keeping earplugs or hearing aids, until the material gives out after a few months of use. The small flap of material that covers the soft nylon zipper is at the worst length possible, guaranteeing that the zipper will snag on almost every use.

Pros

  • Synthetic will stay lighter and warmer when wet
  • Lightweight
  • The breast pocket

Cons

  • Poor material used for the zippers
  • Poor design of the zipper
  • Not as warm as advertized

I am not a North Face fan after using this product for the last couple of years (about 40 nights). I'm a warm sleeper and was very disappointed at how this sleeping bag actually pulls warmth away from my body in even mild temperatures.

I always have to keep a sleeping bag liner with me, even though I am hot sleeper and the temperatures are 10+ degrees warmer than the bag rating. I actually felt warmer one night when I used just a silk liner and a poly tarp as a blanket. The coldness I feel is in the upper body and not in the foot area.

I'm 6'0" 220lbs with an athletic build. I have the long version which I believe I needed. With the long version there is enough length that I don't feel restricted stretching out in the bag. The design and cut of the bag is not efficient for most body types. The foot box area is very small, while the torso area is very large. I can barely cross my ankles without the material binding up and restricting my movements. But in the torso area there is enough room that I could read a book inside of the bag if I was short enough to pull my head inside.

The hood of  the bag is big enough to fit a small pillow inside and the drawstrings allow you to tighten the face hole down to your eyebrows. The velcro on the flap that covers the zipper pull rubs under my jaw and is scratchy. I'm not sure if its benefit out weights its drawbacks.

The zipper runs down the bag to your knees which is generous and is appreciated on those stiff mornings. But the material around the zipper, the inner flaps next to the zipper and the air baffle are very thin and are at just the wrong length and position to where it causes the zipper to snag on almost every use. Unless you use both hands and a foot to keep the zipper path straight while closing, expect to have snags. All bags will snag, but this design and materials seem to be one of the worse offenders.

The breast pocket was one of the biggest features I wanted when I purchased this bag. This is a great spot to keep ear plugs. But I was disappointed when the glue gave out and the pocket started pulling away from the bag after a few months of use. I re-glued the pocket which has held up longer than from the factory. But now the zipper has gotten so bad that it binds up in the middle both opening and closing the pocket.

The included stuff sack is one of the best features of this bag. It is over sized enough to where you don't have to stuff the material in to close the sack before cinching the sack down. This is where a lot of bag manufacturers like to try to cut some corners and give you a small sack that will just barely contain the bag. Once you close the sack there is very little area saved when you cinch it down. I can easily keep my silk liner in the bag and stuff it in the sack.

Summary:

The North Face Cat's Meow sleeping bag is overpriced for the warmness and durability of the materials you get. There are lighter warmer and lower priced bags from other reputable companies that will last longer than this bag.

0

Used this bag for 20 years from snow backpacking to…

Rating: rated 4.5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: North Face outlet in Berkley 100 bucks

Summary

Used this bag for 20 years from snow backpacking to motorcycle tours, hunting fall through winter. Polarguard insulation has been great, after 20 years of abuse, has to be replaced.

Pros

  • Good for everything

Cons

  • I like more room than a mummy bag provides

Bag was great. Just replaced with Wiggy's rectangle. More room. I noticed Wiggy's does not stuff as readily. And Wiggy's is heavier.

Cat's Meow was a 0 bag and was too warm in the summer, but all around I could not ask for more from this bag. They do break down if stored compressed.

0

Awesome sleeping bag, but a little too warm for Texas…

Rating: rated 4 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $130

Summary

Awesome sleeping bag, but a little too warm for Texas weather.

Pros

  • Very warm
  • Cost
  • Light

This was my first sleeping bag and I am very glad I bought it. It taught me a lot about what to look for when buying a sleeping bag. This bag is one of the best bangs for your bucks. It is light, warm, comfortable and cost effective.

The only issue I ran into was on warm nights I slept on top of the bag and it is so good, that it became too hot me! Like I said I learned a lot from this bag.

0

This bag rocks. Notice all the complainers seem to…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars

Summary

This bag rocks. Notice all the complainers seem to not know the correct use of a 3-season sleeping bag.

Pros

  • Quality materials
  • Low weight/super compressible
  • Comfy

Cons

  • Zipper tends to catch if not eased up or down

All the Coleman campers need to stop their whining and use this product correctly. You shouldn't have a lot of room in your bag, it should feel a little claustrophobic. You are supposed to use an insulated sleeping pad to accurately gauge any sleeping bag rating around the 20s. 

Also, that hood, it cinches really tight and locks in heat very well...once again if used properly this bag is one of the best in its price range. May not be as comfy and roomy as you're used to but it does insulate very well. The zippers do suck, but quality interior materials seem to catch a lot easier than thicker heavier material.

You can get away with dropping a 13 lb sleeping bag on the ground and staying warm but we're working with 2+ lbs.  It's not gonna protect you from alpine conditions without some help. With a smart layer of clothes, this can easily become a 0-10 degree bag.

0

I just spent 2 nights in the Black River State Forest,…

Rating: rated 4 of 5 stars
Price Paid: $120

I just spent 2 nights in the Black River State Forest, Wisconsin. I took the Cat's Meow out for the first time, expecting to be disappointed with all the complaints about temperature rating.

Most of the night was around 32F, but around 3am it dropped to 26F. The humidity was 100% most of the night (didn't find this out until I got home). I was comfortable all night, only felt slightly cold when I woke around 4am.

Of course with the cooler temps and high humidity, I woke up with the outside of the sleeping bag drenched (around where I had been breathing). I have the single wall Nemo Meta 2P, which also had a lot of moisture just above my head. Thankfully this bag did well at repelling outside water, and knowing it was synthetic vs. down gave purpose to my purchase for use on wet outings.

For $100-130 this is a great deal for anyone. It's comfortable and kept me warm when I expected it to. They only downfall I noticed was how it was more restrictive with movement. I like to stretch a little more then it allowed. That may be another synthetic vs. down issue.

Overall, it was money worth spent.

0

Great piece of gear!  I am delighted with this purchase.

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Price Paid: $165

Great piece of gear!  I am delighted with this purchase.

I used this bag on a month long bicycle tour in the Sierras and was very pleased. It exceeded all expectations. It will definitely be going along on many future bicycle and backpacking trips. It is now my primary sleeping bag.

It packs reasonable small, is very light, and is warm enough. I think it only got down to 32F on this trip, but I was never even chilly and I was wearing only running shorts and a very thin tech tee shirt.  I am sure I would be fine down to the rated temperature. 

Most of the trip I zipped it open and used it like a quilt because it would have been too warm most of the time. I think I only actually got in the bag and zipper it when the temperature dropped to 40F or below.

Workmanship and design appears to be top notch and choice of materials excellent.

Some of the reviews puzzle me. I don't get how anyone could possibly be cold in this bag at 40F.

0

I'm not sure this bag needs yet another "it's not…

Rating: rated 2 of 5 stars
Price Paid: $130

I'm not sure this bag needs yet another "it's not a 20 degree bag" review, but I'm going to add one. 

I recently purchased a Cat's Meow because it seemed like a good bag and I figured that it should at least be comfortable to 30 degrees (and it was on sale). 

The first night I used it it got down to around 40 and I was slightly chilled.  I wore socks, light silk long underwear tops and bottoms, and a light fleece cap.  Hmmmmm, how could I have started to get cold at that temperature?  

I continued my trip and we had several more nights in the 40's and I was fine. Then heading back though Colorado we stopped several nights in the mountains at various parks and forests and experienced lows in the high 20's - low 30's ... now I was cold. Adding a heavier pair of socks, a heavier silk top, and a fleece vest helped a lot, but it was still far from ideal.  I would rate the bag at 35 - 40 degrees.

Compared to being cold, the fact that the zipper snagged on the lining pretty much every time I opened or closed it was a minor inconvenience.

The bag is well made, the compression sack is nice as is the mesh storage bag, I found it comfortable (a long version - I'm 6' 2" and 185 lbs), and it packs down nicely for motorcycle travel, so I would recommend this bag on quality as a 35 - 40 degree bag.   

0

I bought the (Polarguard fill at that time) bag a…

Rating: rated 3 of 5 stars
Price Paid: $125

I bought the (Polarguard fill at that time) bag a few years ago for use in the Cascades and Olympics in the iffy early and late seasons.

First time I used it was on a 6-day trip through the Bailey range in ONP in early fall. Weather was fairly good so I slept under the stars each night. I never even unpacked the tent. Temps were down to frosty in the morning, and one night the wind just howled- blowing loose items away. I slept in capilene top and bottoms, cinched up the hood and was always toasty.

The bag was a little bulky in the stuff sack that came with the bag, so I got a compression stuff sack, which helped save a little space in the pack.

All in all, I've been satisfied.  Will be interested to see how it performs over time.


Update: As is often fairly common for synthetic bags, repeated stuffing lead to loss of loft. I replaced this bag with a First Ascent/Eddie Bauer Ignitor (see review).

0

How many stars should you give a bag that only keeps…

Rating: rated 2 of 5 stars
Price Paid: $120?

How many stars should you give a bag that only keeps you warm at room temperature?  I'd give it fewer but at least the bag is lightweight.

This bag is very, very cold.  I am always the last person to get cold.  I have spent a lot of nights in the Cascades and Sierras and never been cold, until I got this bag. 

The first time I slept in this bag I was in a wooden shelter in the Berkeley hills.  I was on a thick pad, wearing all my clothing and it barely got down below 40 deg F.  That was the coldest I'd ever been in a sleeping bag up 'til then.  I shivered and chattered my teeth the entire sleepless night.

The last straw came when I spent a week in the summer at about 6000 ft in the Sierras.  I had to put on two pairs of pants, shirts, etc. every night.  In the summer!  I tried a Reactor thermal blanket and that helped some but I did not like it clinging to me and I was still cold.

After more than 30 nights in it I finally gave up on it and got a Marmot Trestles 15F long extra wide.  The extra weight is more than compensated for by the quality of sleep I now get.  I am comfortable in just boxers and a tee even at 35 deg F.  Not ultralight, but it definitely is ultraplush.  I love my Marmot Trestles 15F.

0

This bag is not as warm as other 20-25 degree bags.

Rating: rated 2 of 5 stars

This bag is not as warm as other 20-25 degree bags. Over the years, I've found that a new 20-25 degree synthetic bag will keep me warm when temperatures are in the low 40s. This bag did not. 

I'm wondering if some of TNF's recent modifications to reduce weight removed necessary insulation. I think temps would need to be over 45 for me to be sufficiently warm in this bag.

I did find the glow-in-the dark zipper pull annoying, but it is easily removed. The compression sack that comes with the bag looks highly water resistant.

0

My gal and I just bought the Cat's Meow (she got the…

Rating: rated 3.5 of 5 stars
Design: Mummy
Fill: Polarguard
Temperature Rating: 20+
Price Paid: $110

My gal and I just bought the Cat's Meow (she got the women's version) and we took them on a overnight camping trip to try them out. We thought it would be a good test since the forecast was clear with a low of 35 degrees.

To sum it up... I was toasty and she got a little cold. I was surprised to hear her say it so thought I would check the weather when I got home. To my surprise the actual low was 29 with a 4 hr avg of 30. So my review is... very good bag.

I think if it's going to be warm at 20 degrees you will need a good underpad with strong R-rating and a silk liner. We only camp below 40 degrees twice a year so this is going to be a great bag for us.

Enjoy!

Update: October 18, 2011

I agree that a bags temp and comfort level can change from person to person.

I use a Sea to Summit Thermo Reactor liner with a Therm-a-Rest Base Camp pad (if on the ground).

I have used my Cat's Meow camping for a week in 15 degrees at the Grand Canyon and countless nights from 20-30 degrees in cool damp conditions both on my pad and in my Eagles Nest hammock.

In ALL of those situations — by hit and miss — I find myself wearing my Under Armour cold weather base, and a heavy REI fleece (tops and bottoms) along with my SmartWool socks and a beanie. I try to always know what the temp is going to be and can layer to control comfort and usually sleep very well.

I know I'm pushing the limits of this bag on some nights, but based of my sleeping temp, the conditions I camp, I would say this bag is not comfortable for me at 20-25 degrees in just a base layer on a pad. For 25 or below, I need my liner, a base layer, and the fleece.

That aside, this is a very nice bag, has held up very well and looks and feels as good as the day I got it. I would definitely recommend the bag but think my next bag is going to be a 0 degree bag that I can use for camping in 10-20 degree weather.

Call me cold!  Call me Sally!

Cheers!

0

I have no complaints beside the glow in the dark zipper.

Rating: rated 4 of 5 stars
Price Paid: $90

I have no complaints beside the glow in the dark zipper. I wake at night to this glow in my eyes. Maybe I'll tape it.

As for being cold I wonder what other people are using. The temp rating is based on the user wearing a base layer and sleeping on a pad. I have slept in this in late fall in Colorado at 11,500ft. It has been down to 20degrees with snow on the ground. A little chilly when I wake up but I tend to kick socks and sometimes longjohns off during the night. Once I put my socks back on in the early A.M. I am fine.

If you are cold in this thing in 50 degree or 40 degree temps you should probably consult a physician. Or wear socks, lj's, and use a Thermarest pad.

0

The North Face Cat's Meow has been one of the standard…

Rating: rated 4.5 of 5 stars
Design: mummy
Fill: Polarguard
Temperature Rating: 20

The North Face Cat's Meow has been one of the standard bags amongst the three-season sort for quite some time. It has been periodically updated, with alterations in things like zipper lining, draft tube, modifications to shell material, and so forth, but throughout it has remained a solid do-to sleeping bag for three-season use.

Rated at 20 deg, it's certainly not (in my experience) suitable for use below that mark, unless in concert with a significant liner, extra clothing, etc. I've used it in temps ranging from low 20s (I chilly, esp. feet) to fifties-plus (left unzipped to allow me to stay comfortable).

I've used two versions of the bag, and both have withstood lots of use without difficulty. It packs small, using the provided stuffsack, and maintains loft well. With care, it should provide many seasons of use.

As temps dip, it is imperative to have an insulated sleeping pad under the bag, or it will allow you o get cold in dependent areas. Without a pad, it's simply not suitable for temps below freezing, in my opinion.

All in all, though, a very good performer for most weather.

0

If temperatures were above 50F this is the bag I'd…

Rating: rated 2 of 5 stars
Design: Mummy
Fill: Polarguard Delta
Temperature Rating: 20F advertised 50F as tested
Weight: 2.14 lb

If temperatures were above 50F this is the bag I'd use, I slept in it last night for the first time at about 40 degrees and I was cold all night long, there was a cold spot running the along the side opposite the zipper, although I couldn't feel any deficient stuffing with my hand I could feel it with my entire body. I just exchanged a REI Mojave, that also failed to keep me warm, for this bag and figured it had to be a good bag, The North Face is one of the most respected brands. The 20F rating is a lie, I'd rate this bag at twice that.

Make no mistake I am not a novice backpacker. I removed all my clothes and changed into clean, dry long underwear before crawling into the bag. I wore a beanie cap and slept on a good quality ground pad inside a tent on a mild spring night at about 5000 ft. There's absolutely no reason I should have been cold. I guess for 3 season use I'll have to buy a bag rated to 0 deg if I actually expect to be warm. It's a shame when reputable companies have to rate their bags so far below their actual warmth.

0

Great bag. My first trip with it was a trip where…

Rating: rated 2 of 5 stars
Design: mummy
Fill: climashield
Temperature Rating: 20 f
Weight: 2 maybe
Price Paid: $49

Great bag. My first trip with it was a trip where it snowed and rained so it was super humid and I was fine, nice and dry. It got down to 15 at night and I was fine but I'm a warm sleeper, so if you sleep cold wear a fleece to bed.

Overall the best bag I've owned. It replaced my 20-year-old EMS bag that stopped keeping me warm in the 50s. I got it cheap at an REI sale.

Update: March 14, 2010

When i first got this i posted a great review on it. however after 2 years and 40-50 nights in the bag it has lost almost all of its warming ability, the lost has gone down to almost nothing and it has trouble keeping me warm into the low 40s and as a 20 degree sleeping bag that is unacceptable.

I have many North Face products and it seems clear to me that they now care more about fashion than usefulness and the quality of their products has suffered as a result.

0

Funny enough the ratings of this bag is either very…

Rating: rated 0.5 of 5 stars
Price Paid: $120

Funny enough the ratings of this bag is either very high or very low which makes you wonder how consistent the quality of the bag is.

For my part this must be the worst bag I've ever owned. It's nowhere near it's comfort rating and should be sold as a summer bag.

0

I understand different people sleep differently and…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars

I understand different people sleep differently and have different temperature thresholds--so I won't say that people are wrong in their opinions; however, I have had my bag for over seven years now and have never been cold in this bag.

After seven years, we went camping in the North Georgia Mountains two weeks ago--temps were in the teens overnight and there was 2-3 inches of snow on the ground when we woke up the next morning. I never got cold in the bag. If it is over 20-25, I have to leave the bag unzipped or else I am sweating. With the temps in the teens, I did have lightweight long underwear on, but again, I was very comfortable. It compresses easily and is very lightweight.

I am extremely pleased with this bag.

0

Up until two weekends ago all my experiences with…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Design: Mummy
Fill: Polarguard Delta
Temperature Rating: 20 F
Weight: 2 Lbs 13 oz
Price Paid: don't remember

Up until two weekends ago all my experiences with this bag were in warmer weather and I was too hot in the bag. Well since I have had this bag for awhile, I forgot and thought it was a zero degree bag. Friday night I was slightly cold, and at 5:40 a.m. when I looked at the thermometer outside it was 15 degrees F. Saturday night I was pleasantly warm in the bag and the morning low was 25 degrees F.

Now I read that it is a 20 degree F bag. So the rating is right on as I was cold at 15 and warm at 25. The bag is tighter than my old 35 degree bag, but it rolls with me so that is not a problem. I used to wear a stocking cap in my old bag, but with the construction of the hood on this bag I did not need to wear one on this last outing.

0

We purchased one for me and one for my wife. There…

Rating: rated 2 of 5 stars
Design: mummy
Fill: synthetic
Temperature Rating: 30
Weight: 2lb 10oz (advertised)
Price Paid: $150

We purchased one for me and one for my wife. There were no defects in workmanship in either bag.

Our first use was an overnighter in the Manassas Gap shelter on the AT at the end of October, 2007. It got into the 30's that night and we both froze in these "20 degree" bags. I mean we were flat out miserable.

We used them several times after that in temperatures that dipped into the 40's and did ok.

I'm not sure what the rationale for rating a bag for much lower temperatures than it's capable of withstanding is. I certainly would be leery of buying anything from North Face again and I'd never buy anything from them that I couldn't get from another source.

0

I have bought this sleeping bag 2 years ago and I…

Rating: rated 3.5 of 5 stars
Design: mummy
Fill: Polarguard
Price Paid: 200 C$

I have bought this sleeping bag 2 years ago and I am relatively satisfied.

It usually keeps me warm and it is really comfortable. I have slept in many different conditions and was warm most of the time.

My only concern with this sleeping bag is that it appears to have lost a significant amount of its warming potential after continuous use.

As a tree planter, I have slept in it everyday for 2 summers and now the bag does not appear to be as good as it was. I would not dare go below 36 degrees now.
So it is not everlasting...

0

This is a very comfy bag with great loft. I bought…

Rating: rated 4 of 5 stars
Design: Mummy
Fill: Polarguard Delta
Temperature Rating: 20
Weight: 2lb something oz
Price Paid: $140

This is a very comfy bag with great loft. I bought it to replace my TNF Aleutian to save a pound. It is a lighter tent and noticeably more comfortable but it isn't smaller. When I packed the bag down into its stuff sack it took me a good 3 minutes so I bought a larger compression sack that works fine but like I said it doesn't pack smaller. This isn't an issue for me but if I were shopping for a smaller bag I'd look somewhere else.

0

Unlike people who log on just to trash a product they…

Rating: rated 4 of 5 stars
Design: mummy
Fill: polarguard Delta
Temperature Rating: 20+
Weight: 2 lbs 12 oz
Price Paid: $119

Unlike people who log on just to trash a product they don't really own, I've used both the new and the old NF Cat's Meow and they are well-thought out products that perform pretty close to their temperature claims. Construction quality is good for an import and the zipper works well. As for the whining about temperature rating, far too many variables go into what makes someone sleep warm and comfortable at a given temperature--body fat percentage, metabolism rate, time since last meal, barometric pressure, humidity, wind velocity, and general mental health. Give it a rest.

0

The quality of materials used in this bag is quite…

Rating: rated 4 of 5 stars
Design: Mummy
Fill: Polarguard Delta
Temperature Rating: 20 Degrees
Price Paid: $159

The quality of materials used in this bag is quite impressive for the price you pay for it. The fill holds its loft very well after having been packed several times. As for temperature, I sleep very warm. Even at 15 degrees I've got the thing unzipped. The warmth is very consistent with no cold spots. It keeps me warm camping in Utah's winter. For me, it may be a bit warm for summer nights. I would buy it again though, I think it's a great value.

0

OK, I got this bag Christmas 2007. I have used it…

Rating: rated 4.5 of 5 stars

OK, I got this bag Christmas 2007. I have used it at 0 degree weather and I was fine with my Adidas shorts and a white T on. I slept in this bag indoors a couple of times and it was super hot. I know it is a 20 degree bag but I'm just saying. It packs really small and it fits me well. I'm 16 yrs old and I'm 5'6". Great bag so far.

0

The coldest I've slept in with this bag is about 35F,…

Rating: rated 4 of 5 stars
Design: mummy
Fill: synthetic
Temperature Rating: 20F
Weight: 3 lbs

The coldest I've slept in with this bag is about 35F, which was comfortable. But I don't think I would go much colder than that, certainly not the 20 it is rated for. Definitely a 3-season bag (I split time between mid-Atlantic and upper-NW). Other than that, it is light and compresses well. It does feel a little tight, but I am new to mummy bags. It is still new, so I can't comment on losing loft.

0

I used a North Face Cat's Meow sleeping bag for many…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Price Paid: $80 back in the early 80s.

I used a North Face Cat's Meow sleeping bag for many year back in the 80s and 90s. It is an excellent bag!

0

Conscious that several factors influences the system…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Design: Mummy
Fill: Polarguard
Temperature Rating: 20 F / - 7 Celsius
Price Paid: $200

Conscious that several factors influences the system body of each person. I nevertheless confirm that at my own opinion, after five years of using it (30-40 times yearly) under very different conditions, I am fully satisfied by my CAT'S MEOW.

0

Wost bag I ever owned. Freezing cold at 50 degrees.

Rating: rated 1 of 5 stars
Price Paid: $150

Wost bag I ever owned. Freezing cold at 50 degrees. Zipper constantly jams. A real piece of junk.

rated 3.50 of 5 stars All Cat's Meow versions

In addition to the 28 men's reviews above, there are 39 reviews for other versions of the Cat's Meow. Read all reviews »

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The North Face Men's Cat's Meow

currently retails for:
$159.00 - $199.00
MSRP: $169.00

where to buy:

Specs

Regular Long
Stuffsack Size 6.5 in x 21 in / 16.5 cm x 53 cm 6.5 in x 21 in / 16.5 cm x 53 cm
Temp Rating 20° F 20° F
Total Weight 2 lb 12 oz / 1258 g 2 lb 15 oz / 1340 g
Price $169.00 USD $179.00 USD