Synthetic Sleeping Bag Reviews

The North Face Cat’s Meow

Synthetic sleeping bag, North Face, Cat's MeowBest uses: 4 season camping in England but 3 season elsewhere

Likes: Warm

Dislikes: Very bulky and over-priced

Weight: 1390g

Comfort limit: -7C

Dimensions: Packed size 53 x 17 cm

                                                                  Price: £160

                                                                  Feistiness rating: 3

This is a mummy style sleeping bag rated for three season use and filled with synthetic fibres. I’ve used this bag in the depths of winter without a tent staying in a cave in Wales. I used it in conjunction with a Thermarest pro light plus and it kept me warm. In fact I’ve never had any issues using it in England but it wouldn’t be warm enough for Winter use in Scotland.

Weighing in at nearly 1.4kg it’s not the lightest sack on the market and it’s rather bulky compared to a down bag. It’s supplied with a compression sack to help minimise this issue but it’s still frustratingly large. It also comes with an enormous bag for you to store it in to maintain the sleeping bag’s loft when at home.

When using the bag you won’t be disappointed with its construction. It’s well made and can take a beating. It has a DWR water repellent finish which can be really useful when wild camping. I’ve been lying in a cave with water dripping from the roof onto my bag during some heavy rain and it never penetrated.

The bag is packed full of other features such as a glow in the dark loop on the side zipper which is a pretty good idea. It also boasts a small zippered pocket on the chest for you to store your watch in. I can’t help but think this is a bit pointless but some people want the security pocket.

However there are numerous drawbacks to this bag. For one I would say it’s a little on the snug side. If you’re over 6 feet you might find that the foot section is tight. On the flip side it makes it more thermally efficient but if you’re a big guy then you might want to consider something a bit roomier. Our sleeping bag comparison chart has some suggestions.

For all year round use in England this is a solid bag but it is not good value for money, you are paying a massive premium for that North Face logo. For the same money you could buy a down bag that will be as warm, but much lighter weight and lower bulk.

Karrimor X-Lite

synthetic sleeping bag, synthetic sleeping bags, best synthetic sleeping bag, down vs synthetic sleeping bag, Karrimor, X-lite

Best uses: Summer camping or crashing at a mate’s house

Likes: Great value and really light

Dislikes: Build quality isn’t fantastic

Weight: 726 g

Comfort limit: 11C                                                            Dimensions: 215 x 78 cm.

Packed size: 33 x 14 cm                                                  Price: £15

Feistiness rating: 3. Low on features but great summer bag

Really light weight low bulk summer sleeping bag. You will see these bags selling for very little money in places like Sports Direct and Blacks. Excellent for when you need a bag to crash at a friend’s place or camping in warm weather. There are no fancy features, no baffles around the zip or draw cords above the chest.

The bag is low bulk and fairly low weight. Filled with synthetic fibres it will be fine for reasonably warm climates but it is not for use at any other time.

Bearing in mind the fact you can pick this bag up extraordinarily cheaply it’s hard to fault it. Obviously there are better bags filled with lighter materials but this bag really is a bargain.

My only reservation is with build quality. I had one and the compression sack broke after about a years use. It was no big deal but I don’t expect this bag to last forever. If you have the money and want a super light weight bag for summer use have a look at the Rab Module – but be prepared to part with some cash!

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