The North Face Hightail 15 ReviewJune 22, 2013
- Lightweight—at just over 2 lbs
- DWR finish on shell
- Narrow hip/leg section
- Snug hood can feel constricting for some
If you’re looking for the lightest and most compressible bag in this class, you’ve found it. The North Face Hightail 15 is a minimalist bag that de-emphasizes in-camp comfort for on-the-trail efficiency, but makes no sacrifices on warmth. It has a very snug, even constrictive, fit.
The North Face Hightail 15 is a narrow, 850-fill down bag geared toward alpine adventurers and ultralight enthusiasts. It has a verified EN comfort rating of 25-degrees F, and a lower limit of 15F.
The Hightail was the lightest and smallest in the class (although the Sea To Summit Talus TsII comes very close). But all our testers felt it was the most constrictive fit of any bag in the class. One hidden feature that we loved, however, is the inclusion of a bit of synthetic Climashield insulation in the bottom of the bag to bolster the down insulation. Since down compresses easily under weight, it’s next to useless underneath you. The Climashield panels under key contact points, however, provided added warmth on the coldest nights.
This bag packs small—it had the smallest packed size in this class—and it lofts up nicely when pulled out in camp. The premium 850-fill down and thin Pertex Endurance shell aided in that compressibility.
As with the compressibility rating, the Hightail had an excellent warmth-to-weight ratio due in large part to its use of premium down and the addition of that body-mapped Climashield panels in the bottom of the bag.
Another factor boosting this rating was the overall cut and design of the bag. The narrow taper eliminates any excessive air pockets or ‘cold sinks’ within the bag.
However, that extreme taper affects comfort as well as warmth. While the narrow bag provides incredible warmth, it also limited movement and most testers agreed it felt overly confining—only the sleepers who generally spend the entire night on their backs didn’t feel limited in their movements.