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

TEST SERIES By Theresa Lawrence

INITIAL REPORT - May 07, 2012
FIELD REPORT - July 25, 2012
LONG TERM REPORT - September 27, 2012


NAME: Theresa Lawrence
EMAIL: theresa_newell AT yahoo DOT com
AGE: 34
LOCATION: Sparwood, British Columbia, Canada
HEIGHT: 5' 8" (1.73 m)
WEIGHT: 125 lb (56.70 kg)

I have more than 15 years of backpacking experience. Day hikes and 2-3 day backpacking trips take place on most weekends throughout the year while longer trips are only occasional. I backpack predominantly in mountain terrain (Coast Range, Cascades and Canadian Rockies) with the goal of summiting peaks. Activities I use my gear with include mountaineering, ski touring, rock climbing, kayaking, biking, trail running, Search and Rescue and overseas travel. I like my gear to be reasonably light, convenient and simple to use though I would not claim to be a lightweight hiker.



Images courtesy of Design Salt

Manufacturer: Design Salt
Year of Manufacture: 2012
Made in: China
Manufacturer's Website:
MSRP: US$ not given
Listed Weight: 4.2 oz (120 g)
Measured Weight: 4.2 oz (119 g)
Color: black
Size Tested: 85 x 33/19 in (215 x 85/48 cm)
Other Available Sizes: 79 x 32/19 in (200 x 80/48 cm) and 88 x 35/20 in (225 x 88/52 cm)



The Cocoon Expedition Liner is shaped to fit inside a mummy sleeping bag. Three different sizes are available to reduce extra fabric. It is made of 100% ripstop silk and the accompanying stuff sack is made of waterproof siliconized ripstop nylon. The stuff sack is sewn into the liner at chest height where there is a reinforced triangle of fabric. The manufacturer suggests the stuff sack can be used to store handy items such as a flashlight or watch during the night. The stuff sack has an elastic drawstring with a plastic toggle to keep it closed, as does the hood. There are also two elastic hook loops attached to both the foot and hood ends, which can be used to secure it inside a sleeping bag or to hang it up to dry. The silk liner claims to add 5.3 C (9.5 F) to the temperature rating of a sleeping bag. Other advantages listed on the packaging include: keeps sleeping bags clean and extends their life, provides maximum increased warmth for minimal weight and space, and lastly it is quick to dry. A small tag sewn into the inner seam reveals cleaning instructions: hand wash in cool water with mild soap or dry clean, drip dry or tumble dry, no wringing.


The Cocoon Expedition Liner arrived as a tiny package in its wee stuff sack. I was very impressed with its feather weight and compactness. The stuff sack looked well made and sturdy. Taking it out of the stuff sack it felt light, soft and silky. With closer inspection the seams appear clean and well crafted. It is one large sack that looks as if it will fit into any one of my mummy sleeping bags. My first thought was that there were no other openings except for the top. I've never had a liner before and am used to poking my foot out the bottom of my sleeping bag for air or opening the zipper of my sleeping bag down the side to get in and out easily as well as letting in air. It will be interesting to see if being confined to a liner will pose any discomforts or inconveniences for me and if so, would these concerns be outweighed by all the advantages mentioned above.


Stepping into the liner I find it is very roomy and I don't feel confined, nor do I feel it is too big. I like the way it feels, soft, light and silky. When inspecting one of my sleeping bags, I don't find there is anything that the provided hook loops at the head and foot of the liner can attach to, perhaps other bags have these. Putting the liner on first before getting into the bag made it easier to set up the liner in the bag. Once inside I found it was quite confining compared to what I'm used to, as said before I like to unzip the bottom of my bag to let my foot hang out for some fresh air, this can't be done in a liner. It is also less convenient getting in and out of my sleeping bag, as before, I could just unzip the side and be free of my sleeping bag easily. Now I will have to shimmy out the top, I suppose just like a butterfly in a cocoon, hmm, COCOON, I've heard that word somewhere before. Otherwise, it fits me and the bag well. I am eager to see how this item plays out in the field. The idea of keeping my bag clean and adding warmth is very appealing. It stuffs back into its sack easily to make a small package the size of soup can. Certainly not as heavy as one.


Overall, the bag seems well crafted, light and comfortable with a few reservations as mentioned above. I'm looking forward to the real test, where only time can tell. Thanks to Design Salt and for allowing me to test this interesting piece of gear. Check back in a couple of months to see what new insights I may reveal.



IMAGE 3 Since the Cocoon Expedition Liner has arrived it has accompanied me on 3 overnight backpacking excursions including trips into Glacier National Park, Montana, Height of the Rockies Provincial Park, British Columbia and Bugaboo Provincial Park, British Columbia. It was also used on a car camping trip in Crowsnest Past, Alberta for a weekend river kayaking event. All of these trips used the same 4 season tent, Thermarest mat and - 7 C (19 F) rated down sleeping bag. Temperatures ranged from 0 - 30 C (32 - 86 F) and camping elevations reached to 2500 m (8200 ft). We were fortunate on these trips to have great weather, dry for the most part, but also high force winds were encountered as well as one night of thunder showers.


The Cocoon Expedition Liner has performed very well to date in terms of comfort and keeping me warm. I don't usually wear anything when sleeping and the silk bag was much nicer to be swaddled in than the nylon sleeping bag. I also experienced the liner raising the temperature of my sleeping bag, overheating as I didn't encounter negative temperatures as I thought I might. And what was nice in this case was that I could just peel off the sleeping bag and be left with the liner and not feel too breezy. Most of the time I didn't zip up my sleeping bag and would just pull it over or off as I liked thoughout the night lending itself to great temperature control. It was also nice to have a liner to come back to after spending all day climbing and hiking - dirty and sweaty - and none of that sweat and grime encountering my sleeping bag, keeping it fresh and clean. At the end of each trip the liner got washed and hung to dry fresh for the next trip. The liner never got wet from the elements, but seemed to dry very quickly after washing. I did throw the liner twice in the washing machine in cold water ... I confess I rarely if ever hand wash anything, nor bring anything to the dry cleaners ... and so far, IMAGE 4 IMAGE 5all is well ... I was a bit nervous having done that against the manufacturers recommendations, guilty I am - sorry. But, I can say durability has been great so far, it still looks new.

Some not so fun things with the liner and I don't think it has anything to do with this particular liner, but liners in general. Very tricky to get into and once in tricky to get out and tossing and turning all night can be a tied up twisted mess. If I could make one suggestion it would be to have a side opening just like a sleeping bag, maybe secured with a swatch of velcro here and there. This would aid in getting in and out and also gives more options for sleeping positions instead of being confined to mummy conformations .... like bending one knee while the other is straight, for some reason that was the position I craved after a day of alpine climbing, but my only options were both knees bent or both knees straight.


I have so far enjoyed the benefits of having this liner with me on my trips this summer and I thank Design Salt and BackpackGearTest for this opportunity to get well acqauinted with this piece gear.
- Comfortable material
- Great temperature control (keeps me very warm or very cool)
- Lightweight and easy to pack
- Keeps my sleeping bag clean

- Difficult to get in and out
- No side opening to match my sleeping bag
- Twists up when tossing and turning



Since the conclusion of the field testing I have used the liner on the following trips: 4 nights sea-kayaking in the North Gulf Islands of Vancouver Island, 2 nights car camping on French Beach, Vancouver Island and 2 nights car camping in Rossland, British Columbia. All trips used the same 4-season tent and -7 C (19 F) down sleeping bag, except for 1 night on the road sleeping in an open truck bed. The weather was consistently warm and dry for the remainder of the test series.


I don't have much to add from the field testing phase. The liner continued to perform well and met my expectations. The warm and dry weather encountered meant that I slept mostly out of my sleeping bag with just the liner. I really enjoyed having the liner in this case as I preferred the comfort of some covering versus just having an open sleeping bag. It kept the breezes off me, so I didn't have to keep pulling my sleeping bag on and off. It fit me and my sleeping bag well and was light and easy to pack. In fact, it fit in my sleeping bag stuff sack so I never forgot to take it with me, so long as my sleeping bag was packed.

The liner continued to limit my ability to sprawl and stretch out, being that it is a cocoon shape with only one top opening. The same feature made it difficult to get in and out, and I maintain my suggestion to improve this product by adding a half slit opening that perhaps could be closed with a hook and loop fastener.

I have also since removed the bungy cord from the top of the liner, a feature which allowed me to cinch the head of the liner closed, which just made me feel claustrophobic and made it more difficult to get in and out. I found there was enough material in the hood/ head of the liner that I could easily wrap my head and face if needed and so, the bungy wasn't necessary. In fact, the reason why I finally removed it was because I kept whipping myself in the face with it and its toggle (ouch!).

The liner has proved durable so far. I have washed the liner twice in the test series and it still looks new. No rips, tears or holes.


I have really enjoyed using the Cocoon Expedition Liner. Its benefits of comfort, greater warmth and keeping my sleeping bag cleaner have won it a spot in my must bring backpacking gear. I have also considered adding it to my winter search and rescue ready-pack as it's light and doesn't add much weight.

- Comfortable
- Significantly adds warmth to my sleeping bag
- Keeps my sleeping bag cleaner
- Great as a cover on its own for warm nights

- Unnecessary bungy cord and toggle, which slapped me in the face all too often (until I removed it)
- Difficult to get in and out (suggest a side opening)
- Limited room to sprawl out and stretch legs (suggest a side opening)

I am very grateful to Design Salt and for allowing me to test this fabulous piece of gear.

This report was created with the Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.

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