Sleeping Bag Liners – Are They Worth It?

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Written By Jay Clatworthy

Off Grid Camping contributor.

Sleeping bag liners

Sleeping Bag Liners – Are They Worth It?

One of the most underappreciated pieces of equipment is a sleeping bag liner. Most campers don’t think about adding a liner to their sleeping bag, but they provide many benefits.

A sleeping bag liner adds insulation and warmth to your bag while also acting as a barrier between your body and your bag’s interior. Sleeping bag liners keep dirt and oils out of your sleeping bag, preventing the need to wash them frequently. They are, indeed, worth the purchase. 

What makes sleeping bag liner effective

Covering your sleeping bags with a liner yields many advantages. If you’re out camping in the woods, you are exposed to all kinds of dirt and grime from that action-packed adventure. As a result, you’ll be filled with sweat and dirt, not to mention bad odors. If you want to protect your sleeping bag from all these factors, a liner is effective. Here are other advantages of having a sleeping bag liner:

Insulation / Warmth

There’s only so much a sleeping bag liner can do. Depending on how thick it is, it can add a few degrees of warmth to your sleeping bag. Learn about the various sleeping bag liner fabrics so you can select one that is suitable for you. 

Cleanliness

 A sleeping bag liner is used for the same reason that sheets are used on a bed: hygiene purposes. You don’t lie directly on your bed’s mattress, but you cover them with sheets first. This same concept applies to sleeping bags as well. It keeps you, as well as your sleeping bag, clean and dry.

For all seasons (Double-duty)

May it is summer or winter, you can never go wrong with sleeping bag liners. They can even be used as a stand-alone sleeping bag. Regardless of the weather, there is no reason why you shouldn’t consider using a sleeping bag liner. They are great for all seasons and weather conditions.

Easy to wash

Without a doubt, sleeping bag liners are easier to wash than sleeping bags. They are small and lightweight. Thus, they can easily be tossed in the washing machine or hand washed. They won’t cost you much time to wash as compared to the actual sleeping bag.  

Your sleeping bag will last longer

Using a sleeping bag liner can help extend the life of your sleeping bag by preventing your sweat and oils from settling into its material.

Comfortability

When it comes to sleeping, you should put a lot of emphasis on comfort because that’s what helps you fall asleep. A sleeping bag liner is ideal for those who don’t want to directly lie on their bare sleeping bags or prefer the liner’s fabric feel. Comfortability is subjective, so choose whatever makes you feel relaxed and prioritize that.  

Types of sleeping bag liner fabric

Sleeping bag liners, like any other, are available in different materials. It is important to learn about the different fabrics of sleeping liners to know what suits your preferences best. These are the types of sleeping bag liner fabrics available in the market:

Silk

Silk is a very comfortable material used for high-end blanket covers. Since the Roman Empire used it for thousands of years, it has become the material of choice for clothing items. They are one of the lightest and coziest materials ever. 

Cotton

Ideally, cotton is the same material as what’s used in hotel rooms and your bed at home. It’s one of the most comfortable sleeping materials and is also the cheapest.

Fleece

Fleece fabrics are very delicate, soft, and have a pleasant touch. It doesn’t feel “slippery” like other fabrics, and it doesn’t irritate the skin.

Synthetics

Synthetic fibers are durable and are cheaper as compared to other materials. They don’t shrink when washed, and they also have great elasticity. This fabric is moisture-wicking and breathable, making them a great option as a sleeping bag liner.

Insulated

If you want to maximize warmth, use an insulated sleeping bag liner such as Thermolite, which claims to add 25°F of heat. It is made with hollow-core fiber insulation, which dries faster than cotton.

Merino wool

Merino wool is the best material for warmth and comfort. It is anti-static and insulates well. It is incredibly lightweight and does not itch, smell, or crease easily.

Sleeping bag liner shape

Sleeping bag liners are either Rectangular or Mummy shaped. One is more ideal than the other, depending on when you use it. For instance, Mummy bag shapes are best for camping and hiking, while Rectangular shapes are best for hostel travel.

Mummy sleeping bags are tapered at the bottom and have a tighter fit than ordinary sleeping bags, so they should be warmer in the winter. Rectangular sleeping bag liners are made to fit inside sleeping bags that aren’t in the shape of a mummy. This form is also ideal as a stand-alone sheet on hot summer nights or as an extra layer of comfort when traveling.

Choosing between sleeping bag liners and a blanket

The decision between choosing a sleeping bag liner or a blanket comes down to personal preference. Some people prefer blankets or quilts over sleeping bags with liners, while others prefer the latter. The main difference is that quilts are a more compact, lighter mattress option with more ventilation and legroom.

On the other hand, sleeping bags are generally warmer and cozier, and there are no mat attachment devices with them. Other campers use sleeping bags and liners mostly for hygiene reasons, to keep their sweat away from touching the sleeping bags. They also use an extra blanket to keep them warm.

How to use sleeping bag liners

Sleeping bag liners can be used as a stand-alone item, or you can choose to use them together with your sleeping bag for additional warmth. Using a liner is a simple procedure. They just go inside your sleeping bag, similar to how you place sheets on your mattress. Make sure to put it properly to avoid the liners coming off. 

Choosing the right sleeping bag liner

Sleeping bag liners aren’t all created equal. Each of them has distinct characteristics. It is critical to understand these differences to make well-informed decisions. Consider your alternatives and choose the suitable one for you. Here are some things to consider before purchasing a sleeping bag liner:

Weight

When you’re out camping, the weight of your gear matters, especially when you’re backpacking; you wouldn’t want to carry heavy things with you. This should be put into consideration before you purchase a sleeping bag liner. A 30-degree thermal liner will obviously weigh more than a 5-degree one. Think about how important thermal qualities are to you. Even the thickest liners, however, should not be too heavy.

Material used

There are different kinds of fabrics used for sleeping bag liners. The ideal type relies on your own preference, so make sure you understand your options and weigh them carefully. 

Heat

Companies will provide a temperature rating in their specifications if you opt for the insulated ones. This figure just represents the additional warmth it can deliver. The recommended warmth range lies between 15 and 25 degrees.

Breathability

Sleeping bags tend to get hot easily. Instead of trapping sweat, the liner should help wick it away from your body. Warmth-retaining fabrics should be breathable to prevent you from becoming stuffy or sweating excessively.