We found the best comparison tests of The North Face Cat's Meow mummy bag Backpacker Magazine, which tests more sleeping bags than any other publication. Outside Magazine also tests the Cat's Meow, and we found almost two dozen owner-written reviews at two retailer sites: Moosejaw.com and REI.com. The handful of reviews at BackpackGearTest.org are even more detailed, and the recommendations at BigSkyFishing.com carry credibility because of the reviewer's long experience as an outdoor guide.
The award-winning three-season mummy-style Cat's Meow is recommended in more reviews than any other sleeping bag that uses synthetic insulation (which keeps its warmth even when wet). The newest version uses Climashield insulation – which is lighter, softer and holds its loft over long use. Rated for temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit, the bag's mummy shape conserves body heat and lightens the weight to under three pounds. Tall and women's versions are also available, all with a one-year warranty. If you prefer the extra softness and loft of a down sleeping bag, consider the Western Mountaineering UltraLite (*est. $360), which weighs about a pound less and carries a lifetime warranty.
The North Face Cat's Meow mummy bag earns the Editor's Choice Gold Award for 13 years of proven worth – though the insulation has been improved even since this award. This sleeping bag won its first Editor's Choice award from Backpacker Magazine back in 1993, based on comparison field tests in rugged conditions.
Review: 2006 Editor's Choice Awards, Editors of Backpacker, Apr. 2006
2. Outside Magazine
This review covers the 2007 version of The North Face Cat's Meow that uses Polarguard Delta insulation rather than the improved Climashield, but still selects the mummy bag as a "killer value" because of its durability and comfortable "face-friendly" design. The only drawback is that the zipper sometimes snags.
Review: The North Face Cat's Meow, Sam Moulton, 2007
Over a dozen owners rate and review The North Face Cat's Meow sleeping bag here. Most are very satisfied, praising it as roomy, well ventilated and easy to pack -- but a few don't find it as warm as they expected. This is not surprising, since some people "sleep colder" than others.
Review: The North Face Cat's Meow Sleeping Bag Reviews, Contributors to Moosejaw.com
Over half a dozen owners review The North Face Cat's Meow sleeping bag here, giving it a near-perfect average rating. Owners praise it as a good value, but two note that the zipper sometimes snags.
Review: The North Face Cat's Meow +20 Sleeping Bag – Regular, Contributors to REI.com
The handful of owner-written reviews at this backpacking gear-review site are extremely detailed and thorough, confirming that the Cat's Meow mummy bag dries fast. Warmth and roominess get mixed reviews, and some testers find that the bag loses a lot of its loft during a trip – though these reviews cover the earlier version that used Polarguard Delta insulation.
Review: The North Face Cat's Meow, Contributors to BackPackGearTest.org
6. Big Sky Fishing
This experienced guide recommends The North Face Cat's Meow as his favorite sleeping bag, praising the way the synthetic fill dries fast and keeps its warmth even when wet. He also finds this brand's construction quality excellent.
Review: Recommended 3-Season Sleeping Bags, Editor of BigSkyFishing.com