Review: The Cocoon Coolmax Travel Sheet

coolmaxsheet01Cheap guesthouses are de rigueur for budget-conscious vagabonds. Unfortunately cheap often means suffering lumpy, rock-hard mattresses, grungy sheets and suspect bedding.

While there’s not much you can do about mattresses that feel like plywood, when it comes to sheets and bedding, many vagabonds opt for some sort of travel sheet — a layer between you and whatever might be lurking on the “clean” sheets.

Cocoon recently sent us one of its Coolmax Travel Sheet to test out and I’m happy to report that — provided you’re the sort of traveler who worries about these things — it’s a very nice, affordable option.

The Coolmax material has two chief advantages over traditional cotton: it’s much lighter (ans stuff smaller) and it’s breathable — a godsend if you’re headed to equatorial regions.

One thing I really liked is how stretchable this sheet is — if you’re restless sleeper the Cocoon Coolmax sheet allows a pretty decent range of movement. That said, it is essentially a mummy bag (though not tapered toward the feet). You slip into the sheet and all three sides are sealed — there’s no kicking your leg out in the middle of the night, and getting up to use the bathroom involves a bit more effort.

Having traveled with a couple of people that used roughly the same sheet I can also say that it dries much faster than cotton — especially in relatively humid climes — so washing it shouldn’t be a problem.

My only gripe with the Coolmax is that it’s awfully thin. Because Coolmax is porous, it’s questionable how much dirt and grime this sheet will actually keep at bay. Still, unless you’re in a particularly sketchy hostel, it should be sufficient to put your mind at ease.


If you’re looking for a travel sheet that’s lightweight, doesn’t take up much room and will make you feel better in those less-than-stellar accommodations you managed to score for $1 a night, the Cocoon fits the bill.

The list price for the Cocoon is $40, though a quick Internet search turned up several on sale for well under that price.

As with all our gear testing, we’re giving away our sample copy. Just post a comment below telling us about your worst dirty hostel experience and we’ll randomly select a winner.

Finally, if you’d like to creep yourself out, check out this video, which takes an ultraviolet light to some hotel sheets with discouraging results. It’s worth pointing out that, while travel sheets like the Coolmax offer some psychological comfort and it will keep you from sleeping in anyone else’s, ahem, bodily fluids, it isn’t going to stop bedbugs or any other creepy crawlies from getting to you.

Posted by | Comments (6)  | July 27, 2010
Category: Backpacking, Travel Gear

6 Responses to “Review: The Cocoon Coolmax Travel Sheet”

  1. Peter K Says:

    About 6 years ago when I was on the first of several “European Vision Quests” I found myself in Amsterdam at the only hostel available that weekend (according to the tourist information desk which was probably my first mistake). What surprised me was the fact that this place prided itself on being “The WORST Hotel in Europe” Something I wouldn’t discover until completing my check-in as I saw the post cards for sale showing before-and-after shots of a clean-cut youth in a dress shirt & tie on the left and the same lad but dishevelled, matted, and black-eyed on the right with tie dangling loosely around his neck and collar nearly torn off the shirt. The caption read “It can’t get any worse. But we’ll try.” Another postcard showed a highly magnified image of some bacteria with the heading “Improve your immune system”.

    This should’ve been a sign… but alas, I was tired.

    Walking into the room (which didn’t actually have a working door), I immediately felt my feet start to stick to the floor. I almost had to play the ol’ “The-Floor-Is-Made-Of-Lava” game, jumping from chair, to table, to bed but opted, instead, to just keep my shoes on. I also opted to sleep fully clothed.

    Two of my roommates came home 4 sheets to the wind about 2am singing and my other two roommates got up at 3am and started packing up and moving furniture in the process. Nothing like the sound of pulling a metal locker across a tile floor to get you up in the morning…

    It almost ruined Amsterdam for me but I was determined to enjoy myself so I got a bike and rode around until I found a better hostel (the Flying PIg) and had a great 4 days in one of the world’s great cities.

    In retrospect, it wasn’t the worst experience, but clearly, a cocoon and some ear plugs would’ve been a wise investment…

    I hope I’m your lucky winner,


  2. Shannon OD Says:

    While staying at a hostel that traditionally has a highly daily turnover I was the only one left in the hostel when the lady came in to clean…and by clean I mean I watched her straighten all of the bed sheets, refold the top sheet and fluff the pillow. All of this in a hostel with no fans and near the equator so you know everyone was sweating all night!

    Weeks later I would find out I got scabies somewhere along the way…only way to get it is sharing bed sheets with someone else and takes about a month to show.

    I was not happy and could have used a CoolMax sheet!

  3. Christopher Says:

    I really need to look into this I am headed on a 5 year (or more) trip to circumnavigate the globe. I leave October 28th of this year. I have read several books from this site and many other publications. I have been researching some seriously CHEAP hostels, and this is the item I am currently into making. Can you answer if a higher thread count is desirable. I am going fairly equatorial or at least between the tropics. I know cotton dries faster but this synthetic sounds much nicer and more giving. I was curious as to the make up of this fabric is it poly blend or something along those lines. I have some old parachute silk that I was going to use as a secondary liner for warmth and some of the shall we say dingier places where an extra barrier might not be such a bad idea. Thanks for the post and I will keep ya’ll updated on the progress of my trip.

  4. Joyce Says:

    Staying in cheap guesthouses in Southeast Asia, I can confirm that they do not change sheets inbetween customers! In one guesthouse I stayed at in Siam Reap, Cambodia, before I took the room, I checked that that the toilet flushed properly and the overhead fan worked. But coming back late at night to my room, turning up the sheets, I could see long hair from the previous guest (who do not have the same haircolour as me) left behind in the bed. Then I wished I had brought a sleepsheet on my travels.

  5. Cocoon Outlast and Coolmax Mummy Liner Review | Says:

    […] Cocoon Coolmax Mummy Liner Reviews – Google Blog Search Snow Peak Personal Cooker 3; North Face Cat’s Meow; Cocoon CoolMax mummy bag liner; Therm-A-Rest Prolite Plus; REI Half Dome 2 HC tent; Primus OmniFuel stove, and ~18 oz (0,6 L) fuel bottle; REI Ti long handle spoon; Random fork from my … […]

  6. Study Abroad: Cocoon Silk TravelSheet Review | Study Abroad Product Reviews dot Com Says:

    […] me? Check out this Youtube video if you want to creep yourself out (thanks to the people over at for bringing that video to my attention) […]