Rating: 3 / 5
First thoughts on the new cocoon vest:
1)The pertex quantum used has a finer rip stop grid pattern than the original cocoon pull-over, which translates, very subtly, to a stiffer hand and less silky feel, but it's still a very nice feeling fabric.
2)The armpit and waist elastic are snug enough to minimize heat loss, but not so tight as to be at all uncomfortable. (This is for a size medium, going over a 34 waist). General fit on me is comfortably snug in the shoulders, and generous in the torso without being too big.
3)For some reason, contact warmth is great--put this on, and you immediately start to feel warmer.
4)Length on me is perfect. I'm 5'9", but have a longish torso. If I reach up or bend over, the bottom of the vest stays put, both front and back. Others have said they wished the new cocoon pull-over had a longer tail, but I think one could be 3" or 4" taller and still find the vest OK in this regard.
5)The windblock channel behind the very smooth zipper is twice as wide (about 5/8") as on the original cocoon pullover, which seems like a good thing.
6)The collar is nice and high, and, because of Quantum's wonderful hand, quite comfortable. But this leads me to the vest's one, not insignificant, shortcoming--
7)The opening of the neck is unnecessarily large. For some reason, measured folded together flat, and compared to a first generation Large cocoon pullover, the neck for a Medium cocoon vest is 1" longer than for the pull-over. (equivalent to a 2" larger circumference.) I'm a bit afraid this is going to leak a lot of heat, and render the top 4" of the generously deep half-zipper redundant.
So, all in all, this vest is definitely a 5 until one comes to the collar diameter. If one consistently wears it with a hood, this probably won't be a problem, but without a hood,
a real opportunity for a very snug garment has been lost, unless I'm missing something--hence the 3 star rating. With a hood, 6 stars.
James--that's exactly the combination I have, a large (original) pull-over and a (current) medium vest, and they work brilliantly together. Despite the fact that the (current) vest neck is larger than the (original)pull-over neck, I can zip both pieces all the way up without, I think, squashing the insulation noticeably. The extra vest neck material just seems to fold or accordion out of the way. If I wear the hood with the vest and the pull-over, I'm not able to zip the pull-over all the way up, just as I'm not using the pull-over alone, though the vest zips nicely over the hood. Together, these pieces seem warmer than some sleeping bags I own, though I haven't tried them yet on a cold night.