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Time-Tested Gear: Sleeping Bags and Pads

Many starry nights–and a handful of miserable ones–revealed the best bags and pads over the years.
november 2011 sleeping pads 445x260Marmot Col MemBrain (Courtesy Photo)

The North Face Cat’s Meow (Courtesy Photo)

Veteran Pick
The North Face Cat’s Meow

“In the mid-90s, when I first tested this 20°F synthetic bag in New York’s Catskills, I was impressed by its warmth (the temperature rating is conservative), its durability (I carelessly bivied among rocks and roots), and its killer price ($159). Since then, several aspects of the Cat’s Meow have been elevated: It’s now insulated with Climashield Prism, which is warmer, lighter (by two ounces), and less bulky than the old fill, and the hood has been retooled for a better fit. But the price on this inflation-buster has miraculously stayed the same (since 1993!). $159; 2 lbs. 10 oz. (reg.);
—Jonathan Dorn, Editor-in-Chief (and tester since 1995) 

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