Cat's Meow


Page Type Gear Review
Object Title Cat's Meow
Manufacturer The North Face
Page By Martin Cash
Page Type Nov 19, 2002 / Nov 19, 2002
Object ID 507
Hits 9378
A classic, three-season, multiple-use synthetic bag, the Cat's Meow was recently updated with Polarguard® Delta fill, a new material with the same thermal performance of Polarguard® 3D but with 10% better loft and 12% less weight. Other than the new fill, the Cat's Meow remains nearly purrfect for any backcountry or high alpine adventure. It features an overlapping shingle construction to evenly distribute insulation while eliminating cold spots. An insulated chest-level heat trap baffle and forehead comfort tube reduces the heat lost through the head opening. The outer Firestorm™ shell has a lightweight, wind- and water-resistant design that holds up well against abrasion.

Polarguard® Delta fill

Wind and water resistant Firestorm™ iridescent cross-dye shell fabric

Overlapping shingle construction

Pertex® Silken™ lining

BottomLine Taffeta bottom shell for abrasion resistance

Insulated chest-level heat trap baffle

Forehead comfort tube

Oversized top draft tube

Redesigned pillow pocket

Pack cloth lined zipper columns prevent zipper snags

Easy grab zipper pull-tabs

Head level watch pocket for wristwatch alarms

One handed color-coded pull cords

Nylon mesh storage bag

Stuff sack size: 8 in. x 17 in. (20 cm. x 43 cm.)

Shoulder circumference: 64 in. (198 cm.)

Hip circumference: 60 in. (152 cm.)

Foot circumference: 40 in. (102 cm.)

Rated to 20 degrees F. (-7 C)

Max user height: 6 ft. 6 in. (198 cm.)

Weight: 3 lbs. (1,335 g.)


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Martin Cash - Nov 19, 2002 8:15 am - Voted 4/5

Untitled Review
This sleeping bag works very well in 3 seasons. It is lightweight, highly compressible, water resistant, and has some handy features like a storage sack, compression stuff sack, alarm clock storage next to your head, pillow pocket, and zipper tabs . It is also quite durable; the Polargard Delta insulation doesn't seem to bunch up over time.

I've used this bag on several summer climbs, and it works well for warmer conditions. I sleep on the cold side, so I find it very difficult to keep warm in this bag at less than 32 unless I wear all of my clothing.

Alan Ellis - Dec 2, 2002 8:17 am - Voted 2/5

Untitled Review
Although this bag is lighter and compresses better than my old bag, I just can't seem to stay warm in temps around 35 degrees. This is supposed to be a 20 degree bag, but I continue to be cold in temps above the rating. I like the glow-in-the-dark zipper pulls and the watch pocket. North Face zippers are notorious for catching and the Cat's Meow is no exception. You have to nurse the zipper up or down to keep it from catching.

Note:The Polarguard Delta version of this bag weighs 2 lb, 13 oz.

bbense - Jul 31, 2003 1:46 pm - Voted 5/5

Untitled Review
I'm on my 3rd Cat's meow and when new the bag is really nice. It has a really good range ( I've used it for late winter/

early spring camping). The only gotcha is that you need to be a bit careful with the zipper, but this is true of pretty much every lightweight bag I've ever used.The bag has only gotten better over the year's. For what it is ( a synthetic 3 season bag), it's hard to beat. Having said that, I think this will

be my last one. The bags, being synthetic don't keep their full warmth that

long ( mine have lasted about 4-5 years a piece )and the fabrics for down bags have improved enough that I am much less concerned about getting the bag wet (even in an open bivy). Also, I now live in California and not New England.

Matt K - Dec 4, 2003 7:43 pm - Voted 4/5

Untitled Review
I agree with other reviewers in that this is an overall great sleeping bag. I previously owned a mountain hardwear 2nd dimension but I was unhappy with it. I exchanged it for the cats meow I own today.

This bag is fairly lightweight (I have the long version and it weighs 3.16 lbs including the stuff sack), if you aren't into ultralight packing at least. It compresses well, FAR better than my MH bag did. I find the velcro pillow compartment to be very useful. The glow in the dark zipper pull is also helpful. There is a small pouch near your head where a watch could be placed, but I find it too small to be of any use.

I have used a Ferrino Lightec 550 (summer weight bag) inside my cats meow and been comfortable around 10 degrees F. It definitely works best as a 3-season bag though. I enjoy it so much that I plan to purchase one for my wife in the near future.

It isn't perfect but for the price it can't be beat, especially if you can find one on sale.

nguy33 - Jan 10, 2004 11:59 am - Voted 4/5

Untitled Review
I agree with what has been said. I got this bag on sale for $100 dollars at REI. It is a terrific deal. I purchased it for a month long trip in the cascades. Unfortunately at the end of the month, it had lost a significant percentage of It's loft. I now use it as a summer bag, and can be comfortable in it to about 40 degrees. I am a warm sleeper. I would hesitate to reccomend it as a long term 3 season bag seeing as the polarguard insulation does not retain loft after periods of extended use, however as a summer bag, or an occasionaly used fall/ spring bag, it is excellent, especially for the price. Also, i reccomend using a liner as it will not only decrease the temp rating but prevent the it from retaining the smell of nasty feet.

scottfromcali - Mar 31, 2004 7:18 pm - Voted 5/5

Untitled Review
This bad does exactly what it needs to do. I've used it many times down to 30 and have been just a bit on the cool side for me but Iam probably a warmer sleeper. Its gotten wet before but still held its insulative properties well. Others have mentioned about it losing its loft, I'd like to know how theirs were stored. Wheather in the stuff sack or in the bigger sack. Any insulation will lose loft through time and especially if in long term storeage packed tightly in a stuff sack.

neoday - Aug 23, 2004 4:04 pm - Voted 4/5

Untitled Review
All around good bag. I do agree with the other reviews about it loosing its loft- I noticed it after about 2-3 years. It still keeps me warm down to 30 degrees and it is my 3 season bag. If you can find one for a good deal, you will not be dissapointed. Just do not expect too much.

martin020 - Jul 4, 2005 6:06 pm - Voted 4/5

Untitled Review
I got this bag for a good deal, and I am not at all dissapointed with its performance. It is a very well made bag, I am a fan of The North Face material, but it is a little heavier than the down bags being made today. The benifits of having a non down bag are great too though, as in moist, conditions, the bag stayed dry well, and it seems to be very durable. Also, it is cheaper than a down bag, but delivers almost equal preformance. It packs relatively small, and will keep you toasty to its temp.- rating. I have not had this bag for a long time, so I'm not sure about it losing its loft, but it is a very good buy for the price, and I would definately suggest it to anyone looking for a good, solid bag.

csmcgranahan - Nov 19, 2005 5:25 pm - Voted 4/5

Untitled Review
This bag is constructed very well. I am about 6'0" so am on the border between the regular and long length. I opted from the long length so there is a little extra room for me. I've found this makes the rating maybe 25 or 30 degrees.

My only negative experience with this bag is that the zipper is prone to snagging.

slowpoke - Jan 20, 2007 3:38 am - Hasn't voted

but both my wife and I have had trouble with cold feet while sleeping in this bag. Packs a little to big for my taste, but at its price point it's pretty hard to beat. Keep it around for car camping.

weeds19 - Feb 3, 2007 9:38 pm - Voted 5/5

Good Choice
I've used my Cats Meow for the past 10 years in temperatures down to 10 degrees F and I can't remember ever being cold in the bag. I'm 6'0" and I decided on the long version for a little extra space. It seems just about right, and I wouldn't recommend the regular version for anyone of a similar height. I recently stayed plenty warm sleeping under the stars in 30 degree weather even after the bag has gone through ten years of use and storage.

Alpinist - Jul 23, 2007 11:33 am - Voted 3/5

Loses loft
I bought my first Cats Meow in 1987. It was rated +15(F) back then. I returned it 10 years later because it really wasn't keeping me warm in temps below 32(F). Fortunately, REI and TNF gave me a brand new one because of TNF lifetime warranty. I noticed that they changed the temp rating to +20(F) on the new bag.

Here I am 10 years later, and once again the bag is not keeping me very warm in temps below 32(F). Keep in mind that I take impeccable care of my equipment. I clean the bag by hand and always store it loosely rolled in a large plastic garbage bag in my closet.

I'll probably return the bag again when I get around to it. It's too bad. I'm otherwise very happy with it.

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