cats meow or snowshoe?
Hey guys, I am trying to decide between these two bags for spring and fall use (mainly backpacking/hiking and hunting). I have done some cold weather camping, but never with weight restrictions. I have not been exposed to the cold weather that you experience for extended periods of time.
Do the comfort temp ratings hold true for each of these bags? Do those fleece liners add any warmth?
Can anyone suggest why I should choose one bag over the other for my intended use.
I bought a cats meow last summer after much research and at the advice of many a sheep hunter around here. I used it sheep hunting but it wasn't that cold, maybe low 40's at night. I used it in september moose hunting and it was colder. I sleep cold but I was warm. The bag is light, less than 3 lbs. So far so good for me. Search the archives and you can find lots of guys who have used the cat's meow for years. I don't think you can go wrong with it for a 20 degree bag.
How warm is too warm??
Thanks Snyd! I have searched the archives over and found all the info I need on the Cat's Meow and I have also looked at it personally. I have not found anything on the Snowshoe though (other than being mentioned a few times) and have not been able to see it in person. It appears to be the same Polarguard Delta filled bag, but rated at zero degrees. I am thinking that the cat's meow would be a better all around bag for spring through summer and fall, but not sure if it would be adaquet for early spring and late fall.
I guess my ultimate question is, will the Snowshoe be too warm in the early fall and late spring??
I love the cats meow. I'm surprised they are still available. I thought northface quit making them, apparently not! It is a great bag. I haven't been cold in mine. For mid-September moose hunts I sleep in poly pro with a hat on. There was one time I remember that I put on fleece pants and a pull-over because it was chilly out.If you have your doubts on a late season hunt then a fleece liner may be the way to go. I believe they add 10 degrees to the rating.
When I was in the market for bags I stayed away from the 0 bags; they seemed too hot and a lot of the lighter ones were down, which we know can't get wet. I don't know what a Snowshoe is, haven't seen that bag.
Go with the cats meow or maybe the orion and buy the tundra or dark star.That should cover most of your needs.Check out Campmor they have great prices.
After considering how I hate to sweat while I sleep, I think I will keep with the Cats Meow and try to find an overbag for cold weather camping...until I can afford a seperate bag!
Thanks for the input!
an overbag and a fleece liner for the cooler temps and hunts.
Men's or Women's bag?
Not trying to be a smart-alek here, but I looked at the measurements of the Cat's Meow and it looks like the women's bag is 2" smaller in circumference around the shoulders and hips (56" and 60" respectfully, I am 48" and 30" respectfully). It is also 77" in length, opposed to 84" in the men's bag. I am 5'10" (that's 70" for the non-mathematically inclined readers) and weigh in under 150 pounds. I have read reviews stating that the men's bag was too big and therefore it didn't do an adequette job of insulating/heat retention. On the other hand, I like to sleep with my next morning's clothes inside my bag. I'd love to gain 30 pounds of muscle and grow a few inches, I'm figurin on staying about the size I am now!
I hadn't heard of or thought of a bag being too big, but it does make sense. What are your thoughts on this? Anybody have any comments?
I'm 5'10 175lbs and the cats meow regular fits great. I wouldn't worry about some extra room, infact it may come in handy for putting clothes in thier with you to dry them out, or if you are full clothed and wet/damp you can crawl in and with that bag your body heat will push out moisture and you will be surpised how dry you will be when you wake up. The outside of the bag will be damp with condensation but the inside will be toasty and dry.
Cat's Meow vs. Snowshoe
I own both the Cat's Meow and the Snowshoe, and have been happy with both of them thus far. The North Face sleeping bags seem to be a good balance of price, weight, features, etc. My Cat's Meow is my go-to bag for Alaska activities. I added a fleece liner for a mid-Sept moose hunt and was still cold, thus I picked up the Snowshoe when it went on sale at REI. I am a cold sleeper, so anytime the overnight lows are 25 degrees Fahrenheit or below, I reach for the Snowshoe. I've only logged a few nights in the Snowshoe thus far, to include an October Chugach backpacking trip.
As for sizing, I am not a fan of sleeping with stuff in my bag overnight; I will drag clothes into the bag for a minute or two to warm them in the morning. That being said, I think having a bag that is correctly sized for your body is important. I am 71" and 165# so the regular size of both of these bags fit me well, and I have just enough room for my homemade thin fleece liner for cool, non-backpacking excursions. If possible go to a store and try the women's size, though I think we are close enough in size that you would be happy with the men's regular.