Pneugear Cocoon 4
Pneugear is no longer in business, and the Cocoon 4 has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best cold weather down sleeping bags for 2023.
I was in the outdoors industry and in '94 they were in the Outdoor Retailers show. I saw this and spoke at length with the guys. They talked me into doing a review for a discount. I got mine for 580$ with all the extras. Being a designer and tester I took it, inflated it, and rode it down the Russian River in Sonoma, California. Took it almost a mile and yep it's very waterproof.
- Adjustable temp control, through inflating the bag top
- Incredible support from a tick over 4" of goose down 700 powerfill base
- The tent/ bivy top worked flawless in the never-ending Seattle rain
- Being designed for NASA, weight wasn't quite as big a deal as it is backpack travel.
- It's fairly bulky and at close to 12# not for speed packing.
- I did love the design. Unfortunately mine got destroyed in a fire.
This truly was a revolution. It was designed for space sleep where they have to fight the cold and it was actually designed as a vapor barrier so that you don't perspire and lose your hydration through atmospheric absorption. That being said it takes a little bit of getting used to for temperature control.
In '95 they were definitely at the limits of what materials were available to build these out of. It was all ultrasonically sealed with 700 power fill down, beautiful down and multiple baffles built into the four plus inch bottom that you could sleep on a rock 3 inches around and not really feel it.
I paddled down the Russian River in Sonoma, California, for almost a mile in it just to test it out as its waterproofing and you know emergency evacuation might need.
Again it performed flawlessly. It takes a little bit to get used to setting it up. It's not quick, probably 10 minutes to get it all done, but you're talking about a tent and sleeping bag system that's adjustable. At Mount Rainier 10,000 ft it was what minus 22° with a 30 mph sustained wind and I was toasty warm, in fact had to deflate the top a little bit.
Some of the features that were designed after the NASA program they were given a $10 million dollar grant to design this, and the little tent that fits over your head was an after design for the outdoor industry. They did not require that for the NASA project. They basically supply you with a very comfortable very very warm down hood that you just put over your head and it velcroed around to keep your noggin warm.
For backpacking it was kind of a large product coming in at just a tick over 12 lbs, but again you're talking about a tent and sleeping bag that while I had it out at and I think 72° with the top completely deflated and basically just slept in a silk bag liner and was fine, and then had it again at minus 22° and 30 mph sustained winds and it was perfectly toasty.
Sadly Pneugear folded in 2002 and now I've seen three of these for sale in the last two and a half years—one for 1400$ and one for 1800$.
I rode it down the Russian River in Sonoma, California, as part of testing. It was flawless. I suffered through two weeks of endless rain in Seattle forests. It's exceptionally waterproof. I had no leaks anywhere, and then camping in the Sierra when it was 72° out just deflated the top and used the silk bag liner and was very comfortable at 72°.
Source: tested or reviewed it for the manufacturer (I would have it to this day had it not been burned up in a warehouse fire)
The bag is basically a substitute for a tent. The top of the bag inflates separately from the bottom. So the bottom is essentially a down filled air mattress. Unlike an air mattress there is some sort of special batting that prevents the down from shifting around.
The top of the bag is also inflatable—and this is what you use to regulate the comfort range of the bag. When it is fully compressed, the bag is fairly comfortable up to warm temperatures (of course if it is that warm you can just sleep on top...).
There are dual zippers that seal the bag very well from the wind. The bag uses Boston valves and has a small nylon bag at the end of each valve that is used for inflating the sleeping bag.
The bag is oversized so you can change clothes while you are in the bag. This is a real advantage when it is ice cold out and you don't want to get out of the bag until you are well protected. Because these bags don't breathe, you can't duck you head inside when it is cold. Instead, Pneugear supplied a separate hood that you wear to keep your head warm.
I got my bag with all the bells and whistles and it includes a liner that can be used in extreme cold plus there is a small tent feature that you put on the top of the bag in rain along with a mosquito net that fits over the length of the bag if you are in an infested area and want to sleep on top.
The bag is VERY comfortable.
The only problems with the bag are: It is bulky. I backpack with it, but you have to use an external frame pack because you can't stuff the bag inside the pack itself. It has to be rolled and stowed externally. It is heavy—about 12 lbs for the bag and another pound if you bring the tent and mosquito net attachment. Also, you have to be careful when you are inflating in the rain so no moisture gets into the down.
It takes about 10 minutes to inflate with the hand inflation bags and another 3-4 minutes for the tent attachment. Figure about 10 minutes to break it down and roll it up in the morning.
The biggest problem: Pneugear went out of business back in 2002, so the only place you're likely to see one of these is on E-bay.
Design: Oversize mummy
Temperature Rating: -45F
Price Paid: $1800
Great cold weather bag. First night I overdressed and overheated. Next night I wore only my first layer and slept as good as it gets with your neck in a collar.
- You don’t get cold.
- Comfortable air inflation
- Material is loud.
- Can mold like anything.
- Takes getting used to.
I love this bag and was passed down this bag from my dad. I use it for deep woods hunting, to save miles of walking. I only own one so I do this alone.
I bought a second bag recently. Since this company has been out of business for 20 years some of these bags have been stored rolled up for decades. The bag is molded. visuable mold on outside and smells like the inside is as well.
Mine is stored In a cardboard box, opened a few times a year. Molded bag was stored in a non-breathable vinyl bag.
Update: I’ve been cleaning this bag, and have gotten it to a point of you can use it, but not a restful night sleep yet.
I washed the bag in dawn with a heavy brush and hosed it off. Dried throughly by line drying and fans. This cleared up the outside nicely. Two days of no fans on it mold started to reappear. The next thing I did was use a mold and mildew remover(CLR) on it. I was hesitant but after research and seeing that the product is 60-70% biodegradable, I used it.
The nylon fabric really sucks up this product and instructions say apply, wait ten mins, wipe off. Well, after ten mins there is nothing to wipe off, it’s in the fabric. I didn't do the collar that touches neck, but I did do the vertical wall that can touch your face. 30 days needed to 60-70% biodegradEd, I thought maybe some sun exposure would help.
10 days in I was airing it out and it got rained on. I went out to bring it in and it was a slimy mess as the clr was washing out. I left it out in the rain and hosed it down with heavy water pressure the next day. I wouldn’t use a product like that again. It also corroded some vinyl glue used for a patch, but no mold has come back.
I don’t dare wash the inside as it will be a drying nightmare. The downy areas on the outside by the feet and collar take two to three days to dry with a fan and squeezing them with a paper towel in hand. All drying of the inside will have to be done thru the filling port(s), some models have two while some one have one. This is the DL model and has two. I decided to run constant air thru the bag as I had an air in and air out port. I used an inline fan with funnel taped to the end and used a hose splitter and garden hose, worked pretty good. Did this for a week, didn’t help.
Did a small 2-hour test sleep, bag preforms as it should and much of the smell wasn’t present when air filled and capped. Although my mind was the problem thinking about the clr touching my face and didn’t really sleep. I even wore head covering. I’ll rewash.
This is a hard thing to clean. I’ll wash the inside sometime when I have more time, but this may end up being an experiment bag and may go as far as replacing the down and reheat sealing the seam for a knowledge gain.
8 times used. Used in temps cold enough to have snow.
Source: bought it used
Price Paid: 800
- Comfortable like no other
- Replaces pad, bivvy, sleeping bag(s)
- Setup time for me using inflator sack only 5 minutes
- Time and effort to deflate down to a more manageable packing size.
- Extra valves only helped this issue marginally..
- Considering today's technology, I am surprised that no company has tried to revive this design. In my research and experience, there is nothing that compares to it.
I bought a Cocoon 3 and 4 in '95. Both still work great. Best sleep ever.
Performs as described in every aspect of comfort, warmth and ease of set up. Plenty of room. Baffles are amazing and there is no chance of rolling off. No cold spots. Easy to enter or exit the bag. Moisture is not an issue regardless of climate. loft is always great even after 25 years.
My only complaint is the time and effort to deflate and reduce to smaller size for packing. Otherwise, there's nothing out there even comparable.
Lots and as mentioned, no comparisons
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $395 & $595
These bags take a quantum shift in thinking of sleep systems, but once you get used to it you will never want to part with it.
- Very comfortable
- Impervious to weather conditions
- Easy to clean and maintain
- The Bomb
- Adjusting the inflation to match the weather conditions takes a bit of getting used to
- Not avalable any more
I actually have two of these bags and have used them in some of the most god awful weather and will never go back to an ordinary sleeping bag again.
First, I think it is important for people to understand this sleeping bag was originally developed for NASA for a cost of $10 million dollars to resolve the cold and sleep problems encountered in space flight. Since they had the money and talent to think out of the box this bag is light years ahead of anthing out there, but to gain full advantage of the bag you have to learn how to use it.
The first thing people notice is that this bag is more comfortable than your bed at home. With a down filled mattress below you by adjusting the air pressure you can make the lower section as hard or as soft as you want. The top section controls your sleeping temperature but as the pressure builds up it domes over you not even touching your chest. The neck collar gets a little getting used to, but once you get used to it but once you do you're fine.
The next sensation you get is of the bag feeling like a steamy room, but that actually part of the design to minimize moisture loss to the human body. How you handle the issue is simply go to bed in thin long johns to remove the clammy feel and you're fine.
Where this bag really shows its stuff is if you ever do a long winter trip. If you have ever done one you will find out that the biggest problem you have is moisture from your sweat building up in your sleeping bag insulation and freezing. With this bag it's impossible to get the insulation wet, thus you stay warm regardless and with the insulated mattress below you sleeping on frozen or wet ground.
Some of my greatest memories with these bags though invove back country skiing in the Sierras where my girlfriend and I on a crystal clear January night cut out a pad to sleep on and just climbed into them for the night. Right there at 10,000 feet. Mid winter, in the snow. We were toastie warm in sub-zero cold on a starry night.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $900
This bag requires an entire shift in your way of thinking. It is waterproof and does not breathe. You stay dry because you start sleeping with the top at its thinnest setting and increase it if you become cold. I have stayed warm to 10 degrees with the top but an inch thick. It adjusts to three inches or more.
Your head will get cold (this mummy has no hood) so you MUST take a thick fleece or quilted hat with you.
On the other hand, I have slept at 102 humid degrees in Baja by using the bottom only, bug screen in place, and slept in a silk bag liner. Weird huh?
I did fall off a ledge in this bag, dropping 6 feet onto some EXTREMELY sharp rocks. Down flew everywhere. It is really good down, I would say 700 fill or better. I stuffed all I could back inside...used the on-board patch kit to repair the two tears...shifted the down around a bit to insure there was no insulation "void" in the bottom and presto...I have been using it for another 8 months no problem.
I have no doubt that had the rocks been any less sharp, it would not have required patching.
I believe I could use this unit as a raft in case of a flash flood during slot canyon hiking.
Write if you want!
Design: oversize mummy
Temperature Rating: really cold to really warm
Weight: 8 pounds
Price Paid: gosh...expensive
I own a Cocoon 4 Extreme, made by Pneugear. The company's ads claim it is comfortable from 45 degrees below zero to 70 above, that it is TOTALLY WATERPROOF, and that it is comfortable on bumpy ground. So far I can vouch for two out of three of those claims.
It sure is waterproof—I got inside during a driving rain with my clothes really wet. I took off my jacket inside, and pushed it down into the toe area, and did the same with my pants. My shirt and long johns were also wet, but I kept them on anyway. A few minutes later, I couldn't feel the wet clothing, and in 20 minutes I was asleep.
I woke up next morning warm and dry, and my jacket and pants were only damp. Pneugear claims that moisture is absorbed by the skin, and since it can't get into the down insulation, the sleeping bag stays completely warm. It rained most of the night, but I was warm and dry, even though my head was only covered by the tent (they call it a canopy) they supply.
I've used the Cocoon 4 on pretty rough ground, and I've never felt any of it. The down filled mattress is over 4 inches thick, so it can absorb a pretty big rock without it sticking into you. I don't put anything under it, since you can clean it with a hose or a washcloth.
The Cocoon sleeping bag is inflatable. It comes with a really simple inflator sack which blows it up in about 5 minutes. This inflation controls the thickness of the down insulation. When it is warm out, you leave the blanket deflated, so it stays cool. If it gets cold out, you pump more air into the blanket, which makes the down thicker and warmer. I've slept out at temperatures as high as 65 degrees and as low as about zero. At that lower temperature, I only had to half inflate the blanket to keep really warm, and so my guess is that it probably could go to 45 below. You definitely need the neat hood that comes with it, though.
The cocoon is roomy inside. I am 6' and weigh 260, and I can change my clothes inside. When the Cocoon is rolled up, it is only 11 inches in diameter by 17 inches long, so it fits in the sleeping bag pocket of my Lowe pack. It weighs only 10 pounds, so that it is smaller and lighter than my regular sleeping bag, ground pad and tent.
The Cocoon 4 is definitely the most comfortable sleep I've ever had outdoors. In fact maybe even indoors. The company claims it is the world's best sleeping bag, and I can't argue with that.
Fill: 650 fill down
Temperature Rating: -45F to 70F
Price Paid: $1395
I concur with all of the positive comments. After wintering over in the High Sierra, I made the purchase. Unfortunately, our project did not require another such winter, so, I got one night in the bag.
- A truly, one-bag solution for all your outdoor expeditions.
- Expensive, but worth the cost
Adjust the loft to suit the environment. Wear polypro and you’ll not experience any discomfort. The down is of the highest quality.
When you combine a smaller bag with a Therm-a-Rest, you’ve got about the same cubes.
I’ve read all the reviews above and concur.
I still have a Moonstone, which is good to about zero. My trekking days are done and I'd like to see this bag find an appreciative home (for the right price),
Source: bought via a "pro deal"
Price Paid: $1000
This bag is really part of a sleeping system which includes an inflated matress, a canopy/tent, and a mesh cover for warm temps. I've spent several nights in the bag and I can't beleive how comfortable it is.
The matress and blanket are both inflatable and water tight down compartments. Keeping the down lofted and dry makes a tremendous difference! I've never slept in any bag/pad/tent combo that even comes close in terms of warmth and comfort.
Except for the fact that there's no room for my wife to join me in it, I'd say it is even more comfortable than my own bed.
Fill: 650 fill down
Temperature Rating: -45 to +70F
Weight: 9.5 lbs
Price Paid: $995
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Reviewers Paid: $900.00-$1,800.00