View Full Version : Northface Bags

06-16-2004, 16:31
Howdy all,
Anybody out there got any experiance with the Northface Cat's Meow bags? Saw one today, thinking about buying it, but I am curious if anyone on here has used one. Thanks for any information.
Also I am going to need a pad. I would think that the inflatable ones might develope problems, again any information will be usefull.

Two Speed
06-16-2004, 17:28
Provided that you want a synthetic fill bag as opposed to a down bag, the Cat's Meow is a good compromise in terms of weight and warmth, but have you considered the NF Squall? The Squall is only a couple of ounces heavier, is substantially cheaper and has the same temperature rating. Short version is if you're concerned about weight, the Cat's Meow is of course a better choice, but the Squall is easier on the pocket, and both are durable bags that will give good service. From where I stand, the difference in weight didn't justify the extra cost.

Oddly enough, I got the best price on my Squall from REI. Had to order it, but because I had it shipped to the store there were no shipping charges, and there was a member dividend to sweeten the deal.

I used the Squall for a late January trip from Newfound Gap to Davenport Gap in the Smokies this last winter; temperatures way below freezing at night. Had my warm winter woolies on in the bag, but I was nice and toasty. However, if you're going to camp extensively in the winter in Ohio, you may want to consider a warmer bag.

06-16-2004, 17:48
I have the Cat's Meow as do my two adult sons. I have used mine in a variety of conditions down to about 20 degrees and I was fine. I bought the long, even thought I am not becase I perfer extra foot room. The have an "Expander" versions if you perfer a few extra inches at the shoulders and hips. Be sure you get one with the latest PolarGuard. Mine is 3D, the newer version is Delta. It packs a little better. I bought a Granite Gear compression sack. I use this as my spring and fall bag. I have a Mountain Hardware Phantom 45 for summer, MUCH smaller and only 17 oz.

The down side is that Synthetic bags take a lot more room than a down bags. You need to make allowances.

As far as the NF Squall, it is heavier, fabrics are not quite as nice. A fellow advisor used one on a 12 day trek with me last year. He was satisfied but he was not able to pack it as small as my bag.

As far a a pad, you need one for insulation if not comfort. I have a Therm-a-rest that has not failed in many trail miles. One of my son's had to patch his the Therm-a-rest repair kit (less than an oz) which worked fine, but he knew ho he holed it. Pilot error for sure.

Good Luck

06-16-2004, 20:25
I've used a Cat's Meow for over 3 years in various conditions, down to around 0 degrees (that was a COLD night in this bag)...at right around 15-20 degrees this bag performs great for me. It does stuff a bit large, but that's synthetic for you. No complaints at all here, would buy again.

Ky Thru

max patch
06-16-2004, 20:53
I used a cats meow on my thru, it performed with no problems, but the first gear upgrade I made when I got home was to switch to a down bag.

My thermarest has just failed after about 20 years of use. It survived my thru with no problems.

Kozmic Zian
06-16-2004, 23:40
Yea..Northface...........If you're doing a summer hike, try the the NF 'Windstorm", 35degrees for 2lb....stuffs to nada, very comfy material. Zips work good. A 15-20 degree bag will stuff too big and weigh too much. But, lots of choices in this warmth/weight ratio. Some of the newer designs are just better than the older NF bags. Look at Western Mountaineering (more moolah), Feathered Friends, Marmot, Sierra Designs, some of the new Kelty bags aren't bad either.....new designs stuff smaller and weigh less, so check it out afore ya buys....KZ@

06-17-2004, 05:01
My Cat's Meow has paid for itself many times over. It's old and overused but still has it's loft and functions fine...yeah it is heavy and to get it to stuff small you need a compression sack. I love mine.
In 1996 I used a North Face Chrysalis (sp?) down bag...love it too.
Would I buy another North Face bag ? YUP.
Would I recommend a Cat's Meow..........Yup
Should you shop around a while and check out other bags first ? YUP
Are there better bags out there? Yes and cheaper than the North Face.

Tim Rich
06-17-2004, 07:17

I've had a Cat's Meow for about 10 years, using it on my section hikes and local hikes. I do use a compression bag to get it to a reasonable size. It's not the lightest option, but I think it's been a reasonable balance between cost and function.

I've used the same 3/4 length original Thermarest for almost 15 years, never had a problem. For me, the 3/4 length is another compromise on weight and function for me - in shelters my heels can get sore from having no padding other than the bag. I always throw a tarp or ground cloth under it in shelters. When we hiked through the Smokies, the wire bunks were still there and I was a little nervous about a puncture, but I had no problems there and none since.

Take Care,


06-19-2004, 22:19
Several of my daughter's Venture Scout troop purchased the Squall recently from Campmor for about $75.00 For the money it's a great bag, but it is discontinued so it may be hard to find soon (no longer appears on TNF web site- clearance priced at Campmor). The Squall is a chore to stuff even with it's "sort'of" compression stuff sack.

The Cat's Meow, on the other hand is easier to stuff and seems more durable as it's a ripstop fabric. Also the constructuon is a little better (example- the zipper is better taped to prevent snags), but overall the bag design is similar. For my own use I went with a 30 degree Marmot down bag, weighs under 2 LBs. My aging back appreciates it..... Last year's Cat's Meow was $109 at campmor recently, which was a great buy.

Tramper Al
06-20-2004, 08:42
Still on sale at Campmor (http://www.campmor.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?productId=10002823&memberId=12500226). I really like mine.