Thursday, July 8, 2010

Stuff sack or Concertina bag REVIEW

On the strength of a youtube video, I recently ordered a concertina bag from Parasupply. It's called a Cocoon II G.

A week or so earlier, I had purchased a different concertina bag from an ebay store, but didn't like it much, so I can give you a personal, side-by-side review of two different bags.

The ebay seller shows two videos on his listings, one by Cross Country, The Xertina, and the Cocoon by Parasupply, neither of which are the product(s) he sells. The bag he makes appears closer to the Xertina in design, and Parasupply now makes this newer bag, a purported advancement on the one shown in the video.

The color of the ebay concertina bag can be pre-specified, which is nice, as I wanted red to match my glider's colors, but my first impression of the product, was that the product
seemed a bit expensive for a simple, closed tube of nylon with a zipper running down the center. As for overall quality, if you or your girlfriend had knocked the thing out on the home Singer machine, you might think it wasn't too bad a job, but it's clearly not made in any factory.

It also has a single ¾" webbing-strap with which to grab the bundled Mylars, when you start folding your glider, and it really needs two. The first time out, I had so much trouble trying to secure the accordion folded Mylar on my wing, that I abandoned the attempt until I could get hold of another strap, and ended up just storing the wing back in the old stuff sack.

Back home, I reviewed the online how-to videos for using the bag, and watched the video of the Parasupply model with more attention. I could instantly discern that here, was obviously a superior, better engineered product.

The Cocoon bag has two strips of mesh running down both sides of the bag's length to vent air when packing, and the newest model, the Cocoon II, has a wide (12") mesh and velcro band, which makes bundling the mylar a breeze. First time out, the wing was packed up tight and small in a matter of minutes.

I'm not too crazy about the color, (predominantly lime green with a grey base, black accents, and the `Parasupply' and `Cocoon II' logos printed in white and pink) but it's made substantially better. It's heavier, (589 grams) robust in appearance, and the afore-mentioned side-vent mesh, and the broad, 12" wrap/band to keep the Mylars neat and flat are total deal closers. There are also draw-string closures on each end, instead of sewn ends, presumably to better void trapped air.

A final positive is the availability of an extra-large capacity Cocoon for bigger wings.

The manufacturer/designer has obviously worked with wings in the bags they make, and has put some thought into ways to improve the packing process with this second generation Cocoon II.

Oddly, the Cocoon II, is cheaper, at only $45.00 (Currently on sale for $39.00 and $14 shipping)
compared to ebay guy at $57.00.

Shipping for both was fast, each having arrived in under a week.

UPDATE: Just got an email from Parasupply notifying clients that the 4th generation Cocoon (4G) is now in production and available in three colour options as of July 10, 2010

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