The North Face 2011 Cat’s Meow Sleeping Bag
The North Face has redesigned the Cat’s Meow 20 degree synthetic sleeping bag, which is one of their core bags. Working in a local gear shop, I have to say it’s hard to beat this bag for price, weight, and temperature rating.
Last year, The North Face adopted the EN rating system (European Norm) for sleeping bags; Marmot and REI had already adopted this standard. This makes it easier to compare different brands of bags, it is no longer like comparing apples to oranges. Using the EN system means women tested the women’s bags with only a base-layer and hat on, while men tested the men’s bags wearing the same. Since women and men tend to differ in core temperatures, it is a more accurate way of measuring. The temperature TNF gives the bag is the lower comfort limit rating, meaning in this bag, a woman was most comfortable at 34 degrees Fahrenheit, but could withstand 23 degrees. Men could withstand 19 degrees Fahrenheit.
The regular Cat’s Meow weighs 2 lbs 10 oz, the long 2 lbs 13 oz . They come with a compression sack, instead of only a stuff sack, which is a great benefit.
The bags are mummy style and filled with Climashield. The women’s bag has more fill in the hood area and at the feet, because women tend to be colder in these areas. The women’s are cut to be more generous through the hips, while the men’s bags are wider through the shoulders. They also have a glow-in-the-dark zipper pull with a loop to put your finger through.
The nylon taffeta is Firestorm which is wind and water resistant, which also feels softer and cozier than previous year’s. However, TNF did away with the fleece hand warmer and fleece lining at the foot of the women’s bag, so I guess it is a trade-off. They are available exclusively at REI until Spring 2011 and will then be sold by other retailers. The North Face Cat’s Meow retails for $169-$179.