Rating: ★★★★½

When I first put up the post announcing the availability of this new Cocoon backpack, I was impressed by the different innovations it sported.  While I may have wondered if it was worth the price (and at least one commenter wondered about the durability), they sent me one to test out and get my thoughts.  So how does this backpack hold up to the rigors of life, and is it really worth it?

It’s been over fifteen years since I’ve been in school; which puts it at right about fifteen years since I’ve actually used a backpack.  Oh I’ve bought them (for my son to use), but I’ve had no real reason for it.  Now that I have the Cocoon Central Park though, I find myself constantly finding reasons to bring it with me.  Whether it be to the gym, to the park, or just for a long drive – I’m constantly packing things in just so I can take it with me.  To be clear, I had enough data for my review a week ago today, but that didn’t stop me from using it.  It’s really that useful.

For starters, it has the stow-away water resistant hood located in the bottom.  It’s a really neat idea, as it’s basically a rain poncho for your backpack.  I got to try this out the first day using it, because I had just put my new Galaxy Tab (review forthcoming) in it when it began pouring outside.  A quick unzip and stretch, and everything I had in the Cocoon was covered from getting soaked.  I would imagine that after an extended time period things might start to get damp – however for a walk around the block everything stayed nice and dry.

Something else that’s pretty cool about the Cocoon Central Park Professional Backpack, is that it comes with the “Grid-It” system.  This neat little thing was actually just used in a NASA experiment.  Essentially it’s a rectangular rubberized tablet covered with woven elastic bands.  The spaces between the weaves (and the elastic bands themselves) are all different sizes – this means you can put a multitude of things in it.  From chargers to cell phones, pencils to mp3 players, and so much more – the Grid-It system is a great way to make sure things don’t get lost inside your backpack.

There are plenty of other pockets in the Cocoon Central Park to help with the making sure things don’t get lost too – just on the front alone are two small pockets (perfect for a 7″ tablet”).  On the top are the two main compartments, plus one more small one that’s specifically designed for an mp3 player.  They put this pocket closest to your body so that headphone cords don’t have far to go (and have less chance of tangling).  In the first main compartment, there is another mesh zippered pouch (it’s a perfect fit for a 10.1″ tablet), a holder for pencils and pens, a place for business cards, a small velcro pouch (for a calculator perhaps), and another non-zippered mesh pouch at the bottom.  Combine that with enough room for two 1000 page hard cover books (thanks A Game of Thrones) on top of each other.

The second main pouch has a cushioned sleeve for a laptop up to seventeen inches, two deep pouches for things such as documents and the like, and enough room again for two 1000 page hard cover books.  In actuality, just to mess around I found I could hold my laptop, and every book from A Song of Ice and Fire comfortably (it was uncomfortably heavy though – but that was the fault of the books).  One thing I really wish, was that the bottom of the Backpack had more padding.  If I’m carrying my laptop in it, I would like it to be a bit more secure – right now there’s only about a quarter inch of padding.  Raise that to an inch and I’ll be happy.  The cushioning on the interior laptop pouch is about the same, and I wish that would be bumped up to at least a half an inch.

Other than that though, the construction seems to be pretty solid – I purposefully drug it across the sidewalk a number of times with books inside just to see if the base would rip easily, and it easily held up to my challenges.  All of the stitching also seems to be astonishingly well done – nothing like the cheap $15 backpacks I get for my son every four months.  I’ll come back and update this whenever it finally does get a rip, so people know an average expected life; I don’t expect that to be anytime soon though.

While I wish for more cushioning and security, I definitely feel that the Cocoon Central Park Professional Backpack is just that – professional.  If you want to carry school (college) things around in style, this is for you.  With its myriad of pockets, you can be sure you have everything you need for any situation that arises.  I have no problem giving the Cocoon Central Park Professional Backpack a final review score of four and a half stars out of five – if those padding issues weren’t there, it would have easily been a five.

Pros:

  • Comes with the Gritd-It system for maximum organization
  • Lots of pouches, each with a different size ensuring you can take pretty much anything with you
  • Feels extremely well crafted, and the water resistant hood just adds to that feeling

Cons:

  • Not enough padding on the bottom- I felt nervous even with a few inch drop
  • Not enough padding on the laptop pouch in general – it may not be typical, but if you have something hard in the backpack, you don’t want to accidentally hurt your laptop
  • Water resistant hood only covers the back of the backpack – would be sweet if they made it able to go over your head as well

You can snag one of the Cocoon Central Park Professional backpacks from Amazon for $61.89



Staff