Sleeping bag liners are quite possibly the most undervalued items in the camping world. Lightweight and extremely packable, they add valuable degrees of warmth to your bag and play an invaluable role in hygiene.
To put the value of sleeping bag liners into context, ask yourself this question: Would you sleep in a bed without sheets or a duvet-cover for several nights, even weeks in a row? Probably not. The majority of sleeping bag users sleep in their bag dozens of times before washing it, despite the obvious sources of contamination that you and your sleeping bag are exposed to when backpacking or travelling - mud, perspiration, condensation, spilt drinks, the odd squashed insect… the list goes on. When you think about sleeping bags in this light, the case for using a sleeping bag liner becomes clear. Providing an easily removable, easily washable barrier between you and your sleeping bag, sleeping bag liners solve the hygiene issue, and many more besides.
Once you've tried sleeping with a liner, you'll appreciate the additional comfort they provide, and the ease with which they can be removed and washed compared to an entire sleeping bag. Come the winter time, you'll also benefit from the 2°C of extra warmth that a good quality sleeping bag liner can deliver, on average. In the summer, sleeping bag liners can even be used as a standalone ultra-lightweight sleeping bag when it's just too hot to use a full-blown sleeping bag; perfect for hot summer nights and travelling in the tropical/sub-tropical regions.
When it comes to camping, it's not all about the sleeping bag; the smaller details matter too. It's a good idea to care for your valuable sleeping bag, and for yourself, with a practical and versatile sleeping bag liner!
To sum-up the uses of a sleeping bag liner:
- To use in warm climates instead of a sleeping bag or sheets
- To help protect against biting insects
- To increase the warmth of a sleeping bag
- To protect the inside of a sleeping bag from dirt: easily washable
- To use in overseas hotels or hostels, protecting against potentially contaminated sheets
- To increase next-to-skin comfort, aid relaxation, and a good night's sleep
Sleeping Bag Liner Materials
The undeniable king of sleeping bag liner materials, is silk. Luxuriously soft, incredibly lightweight, and ridiculously packable, it's one of the most weight and space effective sleeping solutions available! Typically, silk sleeping bag liners weigh a mere 100 to 200 grams, whilst packing down to a smaller size than the average apple. Silk liners are quick and easy to wash and dry.
Cotton & Poly Cotton
Highly cost-effective solutions which, though not as light or packable as silk, still offer impressive weight and pack size. Cotton is a natural fibre known which delivers warmth and excellent comfort against the skin. Poly Cotton is a Polyester/Cotton blend, which combines the comfort of cotton with the strength and light weight of polyester. Cotton liners weigh in at between 300 and 400 grams, whilst Poly Cotton liners come in at around the 300 gram mark. As with silk, both are quick and easy to wash and dry.
Latest Cotton & Poly Cotton Sleeping Bag Liners:
Sleeping Bag Liner Shapes
- Standard/Rectangular: Straight-sided liner designed to fit sleeping bags with a rectangular cut
- Long: As above, but cut to a longer length to fit taller individuals
- Mummy: Widest at the shoulders, this cut tapers towards the feet to give a more snug fit, and to fit inside technical mummy-shaped sleeping bags
- Hooded Mummy: The same as above, but with a hood to provide extra coverage for the head
- Traveller: Features a rectangular cut, but with extra length and a 'pillow-slip'; essentially a built-in pillowcase. Useful for staying in budget hotels or hostels, where the sheets may be of dubious cleanliness…
- Double: Double-width version of a rectangular sleeping bag liner for use by two people, in a double bed, or in two sleeping bags zipped together