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Reviews > Sleep Gear > Summer Bags and Liners > Design Salt COCOON Expedition Liner > Test Report by Edwin Morse

COCOON EXPEDITION LINER
TEST SERIES BY EDWIN MORSE
LONG-TERM REPORT
September 11, 2012

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG-TERM REPORT

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Edwin Morse
EMAIL: ed dot morse at charter dot net
AGE: 74
LOCATION: Grand Traverse County, Michigan, USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 8" (1.73 m)
WEIGHT: 145 lb (65.80 kg)
TORSO 18 in (46 cm)
CHEST 35 in (89 cm)
WAIST 36 in (91 cm)

I started backpacking in 1979 with two weeks in northern Michigan along the Lake Superior shore. My gear was cheap, heavy and sometimes painful. My starting pack weight was 70 lb (32 kg) with food but no water. Since then I have made one- and two-week trips in Michigan, Maine, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Florida. Now my pack weighs between 22 and 32 lb (10 and 15 kg). I'm slowly learning what lighter gear works.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Design Salt
Year of Manufacture: 2012
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.cocoon.at/
MSRP: N/A
Listed Weight: 4.23 oz (120 g) size Large
Measured Weight: 4.2 oz (119 g)
Listed dimensions: 215 x 85/48 cm (85 x 33.5/18.9 in)
Measured dimensions: 215 x 81/50 cm (85 x 32/19.5 in)
The first measurement is from the bottom to the top of the hood (pillow pocket?). From bottom to top of the top is 72.5 in (184.cm)
Other details: The fabric feels to me like a very heavy silk. There is a red stuff sack sewn to the outside top at about my chest level.
There is a well shaped foot box. There are two loops at the top of the hood and two more on the bottom of the foot box. There is an elastic cord around the perimeter of the hood. I can comfortably pull the hood tight around my face. Here is a picture copied from the web site
Expedition Liner from website
Expetition liner from website

According to the website;
The COCOON Expedition Liner
- is made of lightweight, black ripstop silk and dries extremely fast.
- has a waterproof, siliconized ripstop nylon stuff sack sewn into the liner at chest height that can hold a flash light or watch during the night.
- has loops at the hood and foot end. It can be attached to the sleeping bag and hung up for drying.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The Cocoon Expedition Liner arrived just after I finished packing for a planned three-day hike. I opened my pack and stuffed the Liner in with my quilt.
My first thought was "What a little stuff sack." It came in a very small package with the Cocoon Travel Pillow. I did remember to get a picture of the two items still in stuff sacks. Here is a picture showing the two.
pillow and liner
pillow and liner

It is much smaller, and lighter, than a Nalgene water bottle. The two together are slightly heavier than a Nalgene bottle.

After I got home from the hike that we cut short I read all the tags and carefully looked over the Expedition Liner.
There was a heavy paper information sheet wrapped around the stuff sack when it was delivered. At the top on one side is a table showing the temperatures a liner will add to a sleeping bag for different materials. The increase for silk is shown as 9.5 F or 4.8 C.
Below the table, apparently in four different languages, is a listing of uses and features. In English I found the following.
Use:
Keeps your sleeping bag clean and extends the life of your bag.
Increases the temperature rating of your sleeping bag.
Maximum increased warmpth for minimal weight and space.

Features:
Fast drying black ripstop silk.
Elastic drawstring hood.
Waterproof siliconized Ripstop Nylon stuffsack sewn to the liner at chest height.
Three sizes cut precisely to reduce extra fabric.

On the other side there is a table giving the three different sizes with weights and dimensions for each size.

I carefully examined all the seams, inside and out. I found no missed stitches or any other problems. It appears to me to be a very well sewn piece of sleeping gear. On the other hand I know almost nothing about sewing and different stitches.

I have no concern about the durability of the Expedition Liner. I used a much thinner feeling silk liner for over six years that still looks like new.

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

While I was looking over the seams I found a small white tag on the right side seam inside the liner. On one side it states:
100% SILK
MADE IN CHINA
DESIGN SALT
Below are four symbols I assume to be washing instructions.

On the other side are washing instructions I can read and understand:
100% SILK
HAND WASH OR DRY CLEAN
COOL WATER, WASH SEPARATELY
USE MILD SOAP, NO BLEACH
DRIP DRY OR TUMBLE DRY LOW
DON'T WRING

TRYING IT OUT

I didn't even take the Liner out of the stuff sack until I had my tent set up in camp that night. Here is a picture when the Liner was partly spread before the quilt was in place or the pillow blown up.

in the tent
in the tent


The weather for this planned hike was predicted to be warm with scattered showers. When we found a place to camp I set up my tent then blew up the air mattress. After spreading the Expedition Liner, blowing up the pillow and fluffing up the quilt over the mattress my bed was ready.

I checked the weather report again on the cell phone. Now the prediction had changed to scattered thunder storms starting about midnight. I woke to rolling thunder about every two hours. Each time I woke I had to get up and hurry outside, whether I wanted to or not. I found that it can be a bit of a struggle getting in and out of the Liner in a very small tent. This gets even more difficult when I'm trying not to touch the sides of the tent. Once I did get inside the Liner I found it very comfortable. I could easily roll around either inside the Liner or by moving the liner with me.

We cut our hike short because of lightning and heavy rain which was predicted to continue. The next two days were planned to be all bushwhacking.

I always hang my quilt to air out when I get back home. This time I also hung the Expedition Liner to air out. Here is a picture of the liner hanging in the garage.
liner drying
liner drying


The weather for this planned hike was predicted to be warm with scattered showers. When we found a place to camp I set up my tent then blew up the air mattress. After spreading the Expedition Liner, blowing up the pillow and fluffing up the quilt over the mattress my bed was ready.

I checked the weather report again on the cell phone. Now the prediction had changed to scattered thunder storms starting about midnight. I woke to rolling thunder about every two hours. Each time I woke I had to get up and hurry outside, whether I wanted to or not. I found that it can be a bit of a struggle getting in and out of the Liner in a very small tent. This gets even more difficult when I'm trying not to touch the sides of the tent. Once I did get inside the Liner I found it very comfortable. . I could easily roll around either inside the Liner or by moving the liner with me.

We cut our hike short because of lightning and heavy rain which was predicted to continue. The next two days were planned to be all bushwhacking.

I always hang my quilt to air out when I get back home. This time I also hung the Expedition Liner to air out. Here is a picture of the liner hanging in the garage.

SUMMARY

There are adjustments and compromises that I make with every new piece of gear. The Liner eliminates (or alleviates) the problem of cool breezes sneaking in when using a quilt. At the same time the Liner eliminates the advantage of just pushing the quilt aside when getting out, rather than unzipping a sleeping bag. On the other hand my body is getting a little older and I need my nighttime comfort. The Liner will be even more comfort on a cold windy night than it was on this warm, windy and wet night.

What is good:
Light weight,
Easy to pack,
Night time comfort.

Not so good:
It can be hard to get inside the liner, especially in a small tent,
Almost as hard to get out of quickly.

This concludes my Initial Report.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Overnight hike May 16 & 17, 2012 Pere Marquette State Forest, near the village of Fife Lake, Michigan. This was a solo hike on which I planned to do what we failed to do on the previous hike. I decided to do the hard part first with the 11 miles (18 km) of bushwhacking. The weather was sunny with 42 F (6 C) to start with a late afternoon high of 54 F (12 C). The terrain was mostly level since I was hiking along the Manistee River and then along Fife Lake Creek.
During the night the sky stayed clear and the temperature dropped to 24 F (-4 C). The second day was an easy 10 mile (16 km) walk back to my Jeep on the existing North Country Trail. Again I had planned on a three day hike but I finished in two days. This time I accomplished my goal.

Overnight hike June 4 & 5, 2012 Pere Marquette State Forest, south of the village of Williamsburg, Michigan.
One of my projects with the Grand Traverse Hiking Club (GTHC) is to create a list of short overnight hikes to help people get started backpacking so this year I'm doing several short overnight hikes. This hike was on the North Country Trail from Highbanks Rollway, above the Manistee River, west 6.6 miles (10.6 km) to Anderson Creek. The terrain is relatively level with a few steep descents of about 100 feet (30 m) and slow easy climbs.
While I was hiking the high temperature was about 65 F (18 C). It continued to get warmer while I was setting up camp eventually up to 74 F (23 C). There was bright moonlight most of the night. With clear skies the temperature dropped to 40 F (4 C) just before sunrise.

An overnight hike June 16 & 17, 2012 starting five miles (8 km) south of Williamsburg, Michigan, continued my long-standing tradition of a Father's Day hike and added to my list of easy overnight hikes. My son, his wife and daughter hiked with me on a four-mile (6 km) section of the North Country Trail. The terrain was slightly rolling with a mix of deciduous and evergreen forest, selected for my granddaughter's hiking fun. She likes to hike with Grandpa especially when we end the day where she can play in the water. The hike started bright, sunny and 75 F (24 C). It was up to 80 F (27 C) by the time we got to Dollar Lake. A storm moved through sometime during the night. It stayed fairly warm with a low of only 55 F (13 C).

This overnight hike June 18 & 19, 2012, starting ten miles south of Traverse City began at the Conservation Education building. One of my hiking buddies is on a committee to create a 45 mile (72 km) loop trail, starting and ending at the library in Traverse City. He had asked two of us GPS users to hike with him to help create a proposed trail map of an area that had not yet been trail mapped. We hiked nine miles (14 km) to Jaxon Creek where we camped for the night. The early evening storm became the hardest wind and rainstorm I've ever seen while backpacking in Michigan. The high temperature was 87 F (31 C) with an early morning low of 61 F (16 C). The terrain was generally level since we mostly followed the Boardman River.

I did another overnight hike on June 23 & 24, 2012 in the Manistee National Forest southwest of the village of Mesick, Michigan. I met a new friend at the trailhead. It was 55 F (13 C), partly cloudy and windy when we started hiking. The terrain was mostly flat, except the last 3 miles (5 km) were a little hilly.
It was 78 F (26 C) when we reached Sawdust Hole CG after hiking 12 miles (19 km). We discovered that the water pump had been removed so we walked down to the river for water. The low when I woke at 5 AM was 55 F (13 C). I got rained on for about an hour. I did the 12 mile walk back in four hours, a bit faster than I normally hike when backpacking. I paid with aching legs the next morning.

I started a planned seven-day hike on July 4. I carried the War Bonnet Black Bird hammock and Jacks R Better tarp for shelter. I had a light quilt, Cocoon Expedition Liner and Cocoon Ultra Lite Pillow for sleeping. The first day I started hiking at 9 AM and 75 F (24 C). I planned to camp at the Pine Grove CG but it was only 2:15 when I got there, after hiking 12 miles (19 km). I refilled my water containers from the spring pipe. Then I continued on hiking. The weather was clear with a high of 88 F at 3:00. I got to McLavey Lake campsite at 7 PM and a total of 22 miles (35 km). This was too far for me on the first day of a hike. I got the hammock set up and ready for night. I spread the Expedition Liner in the hammock, blew up the pillow and put my light quilt inside. Here is a picture of the Warbonnet Black Bird hammock at McLavey Lake.
hammock for comfort
McLavey Lake campsite

I tried to get a picture of the Liner and pillow inside the hammock but it was too dark. I set up both hammocks in the back yard. Here is a picture of the Pillow and Liner in the Warbonnet Black Bird hammock.
Liner and Pillow in WBBB hammock
Liner and pillow in my WBBB hammock

Here is a picture of the Liner and Pillow in my JacksRBetter Bear Mountain Bridge hammock.
Liner and Pillow in my JRB hammock
Liner and pillow in my JRB hammock

While it is easier to spread out the Liner in the JRB hammock, the WBBB is much more comfortable.

Late the second day I decided I had to cut the hike short. My right foot was too painful to consider bushwhacking or hiking non-maintained trails. I took a short cut and hiked eight miles to a state park. There I arranged for a ride back to my Jeep for the next day. My planned seven-day hike turned into just three nights and three days of hiking due to a sore foot.
While I was out the weather varied form a warm 92 F (33 C) and sunny to a cooler 52 F (11 C) and hard rain. I lost the trail four times in the first two days, using map, compass and GPS to eventually find the trail again. The terrain varied form high hardwood forest to swampy cedars and thick brush.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

I've used two different tents and two different hammocks while backpacking in the last two months. In the tents I used a Neoair mattress, Expedition liner, quilt and Cocoon Ultra Lite pillow for sleeping. The liner was easy to get into in either tent, as well as very comfortable.

When I used the hammocks I used windshield reflectors as bottom insulation part of the time and mostly it was so warm I wanted nothing but the hammock under me. One hammock lies flat so it is easy to spread the Liner but still a little difficult to squirm into the liner while in the hammock. The other hammock is the more traditional gathered end style. I can lie nearly flat when my head is way to my left and my feet toward the right side of the hammock. The only way I've found to get in the Liner is work my feet to the bottom, then gradually pull and work the Liner up to cover my shoulders.
The Liner is very comfortable in either a tent or a hammock once I get into it. Since it has been so warm this summer I have often just worn shorts inside the liner. Before I had the Liner I always wore long pants or long underwear and a long sleeve shirt to sleep in to keep my bare skin from the mattress or hammock fabric.

I much prefer to sleep in a hammock but the Liner is easier to use in a tent.

SUMMARY

The Cocoon Expedition Liner is the most comfortable addition to my sleep gear I've found, other than my hammocks. The Liner has been washed twice so far. I am impressed with how quickly it dries after washing.

WHAT IS GOOD;
Light weight
Comfortable - after I get in
Dries very quickly
Easy to use in a tent

WHAT IS NOT SO GOOD;
Difficult to get in the Liner while using a hammock, almost need to be a contortionist

COMMENT:
In some ways I would like a half zipper on the Liner. On the other hand, a zipper would add volume and weight.

I would like to thank Design Salt and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to use and test the Cocoon Expedition Liner.
This concludes my Field Report.


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

The only backpacking I did during the long term period was 12 days and 105 miles (169 km) of backpacking on Isle Royale National Park which is located in western Lake Superior but still in the state of Michigan. I used the Expedition Liner every night of this hike, about half the time in my small tent and about half the time in different trail shelters The weather varied from bright and sunny to heavy clouds and hard driving rain. The temperature ranged from a low one morning of 44 F (7 C) to a warm 76 F (24 C) the sunny morning I boarded the Ranger III ferry for the ride back to Houghton, Michigan. I hiked in steady rain for over two hours on three different days. In between were a few nice sunsets. Here is a view from my tent at Todd Harbor.
view from my tent
Todd Harbor sunset

The trails were never the same for any great distance. Some areas of the trails were fist size rocks and bare roots, some areas were climbs up and over large bare rock, with a few areas of open footpath through the forest. Several areas of trail were overgrown with brush or ferns so it was difficult to even see the trail. All wet areas were crossed on narrow boardwalks.
trail in wet areas
narrow boardwalk

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

I've used the Liner in my Gossamer Gear "The One" tent during six nights and the other five nights I was in different trail shelters while hiking on Isle Royale. Here is a picture I took at the West Chickenbone Lake campground.
in the tent at S Lake Desor
Pillow in tent

Here is another picture I took five days later at Todd Harbor.
in the tent at Todd Harbor
set for night

I even took a picture of the Expedition Liner in the shelter at Siskiwit Bay.
Liner in roomy shelter
in shelter at Siskiwit Bay

The Cocoon Expedition Liner is a bit of a struggle to use in my little tent (though easier than in a hammock) but it is much easier in a roomy trail shelter. My procedure is the same whether I'm in the tent or a trail shelter. I blow up my air mattress, spread the sleeping bag liner then blow up the pillow. The Liner also restricts how much I can sprawl out when I sleep. Several nights on Isle Royale the Liner was all I covered up with for most of the night. When the temperature falls below about 60 F I pull the quilt over me too. Some of the pictures I've taken show the green side of the pillow, which is silky and slippery. I always sleep on the soft grey side.
Where ever I have used the Liner it has added to my night-time comfort. The added comfort more than makes up for the small extra weight. It has been my practice for several years to wear long silk underwear and wool socks rather than lie directly on the NeoAir mattress. With the liner I am more comfortable to sleep without the underwear.

SUMMARY

It is a keeper! The Cocoon Expedition Liner has a permanent place in the backpack with my sleeping gear. It has added too much to my sleeping comfort to leave it home when I use a tent. On the other hand, when I use a hammock I'm not so sure about using the liner. I may eventually decide that it is just too much trouble to struggle into the Liner in a hammock.

I can see just two negatives with the Cocoon Expedition Liner. I hike with a hammock about half the time and it is acrobatic exercise to get in the Liner while in a hammock. The other problem is getting in the Liner in a small tent. I also feel the need to sprawl out when I sleep but the liner restricts this movement I would like to have the Liner open at least half way down on one side. A few short strips of hook-and-loop material could hold the sides closed when needed. I will probably make this change in the liner I have before next spring.

This concludes my Long Term Report.
I would like to thank Cocoon and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to use and test the Expedition Liner.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.

Read more reviews of Design Salt gear
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