Cocoon Pants - To buy or not to buy
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Pamela Wyant
(RiverRunner) - F - M
Cocoon Pants - To buy or not to buy on 07/09/2007 22:14:43 MDT Print View

I've been sitting on the fence about buying a pair of cocoon pants, and would like to hear from a few of you on what I perceive are the pro's and con's.

Pro: Light weight for the insulation. Nice warmth for sitting around camp.
Undoubtedly high quality given the materials.
Extend the usability of a summer weight bag into fall

Cons: Cost
I doubt I would want to wear them alone as a base layer (both for comfort and due to not wanting to wash the insulation after each trip), so I would still need at least a silk weight pair of long john pants. Since I'm now favoring wool, that would mean a few more ounces for light wool. Perhaps it would save a few ounces just to go with a heavier weight base layer to start with.
It might be lighter to bring a sleeping bag with a couple of extra ounces of down than the Cocoon pants for colder weather, since I usually retire earlier in the dark cold months anyway.

Anyone's thoughts on the above?

Pam

John Kays
(johnk) - M

Locale: SoCal
Cocoon Pants on 07/09/2007 22:30:12 MDT Print View

Pamela,

I just weighed this decision in the following thread:

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/xdpy/forum_thread/8398/index.html

I ended up getting the Cocoon Pants and am happy with the decision. I already have a Montbell Down Inner Jacket and for the reasons stated in the above responses believe the Hoody or Pull-over would work best for a sleeping system. As far as wool, I wouldn’t change. It will keep you warmer when damp. Hope this helps in providing some direction.

Randy Brissey
(rbrissey) - M

Locale: Redondo Beach, CA
Cocoon Pants, Si, Da, Yes! on 07/09/2007 22:40:12 MDT Print View

Pam,

I finally got my pair of coccon pants in the last shipment. I have used the cocoon pullover and it allows your load to be lighter.

This is my style. I do not wear pants so I use this combination. I have shorts, wind/rain pants and lightweight long underwear. I always wear the long underwear to bed or under the wind pants (Houdini that is). The cocoon pants will allow me to use (read that BUY) a much lighter sleeping bag. They are only for around camp or used with the sleeping bag to lower the comfort range in conjunction with the new Cocoon balaclava 90 and pullover.

If you have the extra money they are VERY warm!

Randy

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: Cocoon Pants - To buy or not to buy on 07/10/2007 00:04:45 MDT Print View

They are great Pam. Here's what I typically do on a 3-season trip:

running shorts
Montbell UL windpants
Cocoon pants

If it's cold, the windpants go on first, then the cocoon pants (when resting). If it's really cold or wet around camp, I'll switch the outer two layers.

For sleeping (I use the lightest Cocoon quilt so I need the extra warmth), I'll layer with the Cocoon pants outside of the windpants. This keeps them clean and a little drier if I sweat.

I find that the base layer is not needed with this setup. And the Cocoon pants weigh just a tad more than my Smartwools but are MUCH warmer, allowing a lighter quilt.

I do a similar deal with my Cocoon jacket...and I use a Cocoon balaclava as well. You can see I'm a Cocoon junkie but I really like this stuff (and I'm not paid to say that!!!)

Doug

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Cocoon Pants - To buy or not to buy on 07/10/2007 07:55:00 MDT Print View

I wear long pants hiking so have no need for insulated pants for three season hiking. On my three trips snowshoeing I still have not needed insulated pants.

In my five years of backpacking, I've never seen anyone use insulated pants (in camp or otherwise) for three season hiking. Admittedly, with using a short pad and a RAB top bag, the legs get chilly below 40 degrees. Maybe that is where they come in handy? In those cases I have used the sit pad for foot warmth and raise the legs off the ground with my pack, but it's not the best solution if you are SUL and your pack is not bulky enough.

Just saw Kevin's response while I was editing. I can see how it would be used in the sleep system. Since every single post on this thread is a user of them, I thought I'd give the other side.

Cons:
1. cost
2. not needed for sleep system if sleeping bag has down on bottom
3. not needed for camp if you usually retire early

Edited by jshann on 07/10/2007 08:47:17 MDT.

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
Cocoon Pants---part of the UL sleeping system. on 07/10/2007 08:30:59 MDT Print View

For most of us, the reason to have the Cocoon Pants is as part of the sleeping system. It supplements my quilt (along with a Cocoon top). Only secondarily is it used around camp on a frosting morning, preparing breakfast, breaking down camp and then back into the pack it goes, until bedtime.

So---sleeping pants, warm-up pants, but not for use as active wear---even in Winter backcountry pursuits, generally...

Matthew Swierkowski
(Berserker) - F

Locale: Southeast
Re: Cocoon Pants - To buy or not to buy on 07/10/2007 10:36:04 MDT Print View

I bought a pair, and have not yet used them so I cannot comment on their performance. I bought them for use around camp and with my sleep system so I can carry a lighter sleeping bag. I sleep very cold, so the pants should help out significantly. I was carrying a pair of silk weight capielene thermal "long johns", and the weight difference between them and the Cocoon UL 60 pants is about 0.5 oz. The Cocoon pants will definitely be much warmer with a minimal weight increase.

As for the cost, the only hobby I have right now that costs me anything is hiking, so cost is not a big concern with me.

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
Just got mine too on 07/10/2007 11:03:48 MDT Print View

I too just got mine, I've so far taken them on one trip where I wore them in my hammock when it got down to a windy 40 degrees out.

I like them fine so far. Based on the (previous?) sizing chart I was suprised to see that I fit into the "small" category; my legs are relatively short (size 30 inseam), and they do fit, but I think that I'll generally wear them *under* my hiking pants in camp and at night --- they're on the snug side when I wear them outside the pants. I like this approach actually; a little more hassle putting them on and off, but this way the relatively delicate material is protected by less expensive and more durable hiking pants around camp.

I do like having more of the warmth of my sleep system in my clothes --- it makes it a lot easier to get out of bed in the middle of the night or the morning. It can be a hassle, however, when the night starts out warm but turns cold.

Mine seem to be of excellent quality, and my size smalls weigh 185 grams, or 6.5 oz. But I notice that the sizing chart and size options have changed (if I recall correctly) since I ordered mine, FWIW (?).

One other issue is bulk; akin to a sleeping bag, I can squish these down small if I want to, but I'm inclined to not squish 'em too much, and certainly not when storing them. Something to factor in, anyway.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
considered down? on 07/10/2007 13:44:00 MDT Print View

I have the Cocoon mitts and the Montbell UL inner down jacket and pants. The Montbell gear is far FAR loftier and warmer than the Cocoon UL 60 filling, and the Montbell pants are cheaper for the same weight as the Cocoon. I would go with down everytime if you're just thinking about boosting your sleep system or lounging around camp, but I'm really just a fan of down in general. I am pretty disappointed with my Cocoon mitts and wish I had spent the money on Sierra Design down mitts for $25 :(

However, there are clearly a lot of folks who love their cocoon stuff. It comes down to preference.

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
Down rules, except... on 07/10/2007 13:59:05 MDT Print View

I love down as an insulation, too. Nothing is as efficient on a loft/weight basis and it has a far longer service life than synthetic insulation. BUT---In a sleeping environment, I find that down pants (which in the lightest versions, typically don't have a lot of fill anyway) loses a lot of their loft quickly from moisture generated by one's body.

Ever sit on a wet log in your down pants inadvertantly around camp? I have. Voila! instant cold butt. I will say that, also because of there not being a lot of insulation by weight, they can dry out quickly with proper management.

I like having a synthetic set of insulation as a back up to my down bag in wetter climes and seasons. I find the combo, for all reasons to be a match for all seasons.

Edited by kdesign on 07/10/2007 14:00:16 MDT.

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Re: Re: Cocoon Pants - To buy or not to buy on 07/10/2007 16:57:55 MDT Print View

I had the same sort of hesitation towards the Cocoon pants as Pam. If I use the pants only to keep warm inside the sleeping bag, might it make more sense to upgrade the sleeping bag instead of buying the pants? I finally decided to buy the Cocoon pants to provide myself with flexibility. If I go on an overnight trip where the weather is expected to be nice, I can go with my lightweight bag (I only own one down bag) and just leave the pants at home. If I expect colder weather (or go on a longer trip where anything can happen) I can bring the same bag and bring the pants. For a long trip, if the weather is nicer than expected, I figure the pants make a nice (although heavy) pillow.

Like Matthew, I'm replacing a pair of capilene underwear. As he said, the difference in weight is almost meaningless, but the difference in warmth is substantial. One approach I considered (and still might try) is so cut up a pair of capilene (or polypro) long underwear and turn them into leg warmers. I think this would weigh about half as much as pants and provide a fair amount of weight (I haven't done this, so I don't know the ratio). This might provide a nice lightweight (and cheap) middle ground between the Cocoon and nothing (for the legs).

Edited by rossbleakney on 07/10/2007 16:59:04 MDT.

Pamela Wyant
(RiverRunner) - F - M
Re: Cocoon Pants - To buy or not to buy on 07/11/2007 00:09:00 MDT Print View

Thanks for all the replies. It seems everyone is pretty happy with their Cocoon pants at least.

Like Kevin, I enjoy the warmth of down, but for insulated backpacking clothing I prefer synthetics since my bag is down. I'm reasonably sure I can keep my bag dry, but if I want to wear the pants around camp, I think it could be very difficult to keep them absolutely dry in some circumstances (damp rainy weather, dewy mornings, etc.)

I typically wear long pants and carry rain pants and insulated long johns appropriate for the anticipated temperatures, but not wind pants.

For those of you who already have the Cocoon pants, how do they feel against bare legs? Do they feel at all clammy or sticky?

Pam

Edited by RiverRunner on 07/11/2007 00:10:22 MDT.

Randy Brissey
(rbrissey) - M

Locale: Redondo Beach, CA
Cocoon Pants (to the touch) on 07/11/2007 00:34:08 MDT Print View

For me,

Pertex Quantum feels slightly damp like plastic. I wear long underwear underneath of both tops and bottoms and a silkweight balaclava under the Cocoon balaclava. It doesn't help that I am going bald!

Randy

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
cocoon against bare legs on 07/11/2007 10:12:10 MDT Print View

The one time I tried this I too wore thin (silk) longjohns underneath, so I can't say. I briefly tried them at home directly against bare legs, and in the brief attempt they felt okay, but they could be clammy over a longer time --- dunno. Factor in also that I have typically hairy male legs, which provides a little more buffer 'twixt skin and fabric.

Richard Matthews
(food) - F

Locale: Colorado Rockies
shave on 07/11/2007 10:29:10 MDT Print View

Brian,

A true lightweight hiker would shave that heavy hair off the legs.

We need emoticons.

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
Quantum comfort on 07/11/2007 10:36:06 MDT Print View

Like wool, people will have varying degrees of comfort issues with Quantum. When warm, as in very aerobically active in a windshirt, it can feel to me somewhat "unnatural" but not really like plastic. In usual circumstances (at rest, in the wind, etc.) it feels very silk-like. Some of the heavily calendered forms of Quantum I've seen might be more unpleasant---the Cocoon pants don't use this.

I have a couple of sleeping bags lined in Quantum in which I have often slept with a lot of exposed skin with no comfort issues.

My Cocoon pants are meant to replace my cap or wool baselayer bottoms for 3 season activities----so, lots of skin contact and no worries.

Edited by kdesign on 07/11/2007 10:37:35 MDT.

Pamela Wyant
(RiverRunner) - F - M
Decision: buy on 08/08/2007 20:12:32 MDT Print View

Well, after a month of indecision, I finally ordered the Cocoon pants tonight. (The free Klearwater coupon helped push me into going ahead and purchasing NOW). I'll try to report back later on how well they work for me.

Pam