The North Face Hypercat

Best Synthetic
Price $239.00


Temperature Rating 20


Weight 1 lb, 14 oz

Our take Stormy weather or high humidity on the itinerary? Synthetic fill still beats the natural stuff in prolonged wet conditions, as down, even the water-resistant stuff, will eventually wet out. The tradeoff, of course, is that most synthetic bags are bulkier and heavier than their down counterparts. Not this one from The North Face. It uses less fill and stitching by vertically wrapping sheets of synthetic insulation around the bag, which saves weight and reduces cold spots. The new construction sandwiches a thick layer of cut-staple fill (lighter and more compressible) between two thin layers of continuous filament (more durable and retains loft). Result: “It compresses to 8 by 12 inches with an aftermarket compression sack, which is similar or even smaller than many three-season down bags,” says one tester. “And it’s just as light, too.” 

The details The bag has plenty of elbowroom up top, but narrows quickly to a snug footbox. Some testers reported feeling constricted down low.

Trail cred “I’m a cold sleeper, but I was warm in the 20s,” says one tester. “And I didn’t overheat in the 50s, even though the bag only unzips halfway.”