Benefits & Features of Sleeping Bag Liners
Why Use A Sleeping Bag Liner?
The primary reason to use a liner is to prevent sweat, body oils, and dirt from accumulating in your sleeping bag. Not only does this keep your expensive sleeping bag far more sanitary while you’re sleeping, it significantly increases your sleeping bag’s lifespan. You’ll also have a much easier time cleaning out your sleeping bag at the end of your trip.
Another nice feature sleeping bag liners offer is that they are easy to air out after you wake up. This will save you precious moments in the morning so you could enjoy more time camping.
One obvious reason for including a liner in your travel pack is to keep you warm when camping in snow. The added insulation of a travel liner can dramatically cut your risks of developing hypothermia. Plus, since you’ll feel all warm and toasty in your sleeping bag, you’ll have a far easier time falling asleep.
The last reason you should use a sleeping bag liner is to take advantage of antimicrobial properties that some manufacturers add. Think of these liners as a natural form of bug repellant. With the added layer of your sleeping bag liner, you’ll dramatically reduce your risk of getting bitten by dangerous ticks and mosquitos. Indeed, many savvy budget travelers buy sleeping bag liners to protect themselves from bedbugs in hostels. Bugs should be a concern for all outdoor campers, and using a sleeping bag liner is an easy way to protect yourself.
Set Your Priorities Before Shopping For Liners
Before we get into the advantages and disadvantages of different fabrics, it’s important to come up with your own priorities list. Do you travel exclusively to humid areas and want a fabric that offers enhanced breathability? Or perhaps you’re going to a cold forest and want your sleeping bag liner to provide a lot of heat? Maybe you want a product that can handle both extremes? Knowing your personal needs will help you decide on the ideal fabric.
What’s The Best Fabric?
Firstly, here’s a simple rule all new campers must heed: never buy a cotton liner or wear cotton clothing in the wild. We can’t stress this enough. While cotton liners are usually the most affordable, don’t be tempted. Cotton products aren’t worth the hassles you’ll have to put up with.
The main reasons campers don’t like cotton are that they are difficult to compress and very heavy. Also, cotton takes a very long time to dry. If you’re wearing cotton clothes in a rainy environment, you’ll dramatically increase your risk of hypothermia.
In contrast to cotton, silk liners are the most lauded in the industry. Silk products are far easier to compress into stuff sacks, very lightweight, and pleasant to touch. Liners made out of silk also have the best anti-microbial and anti-parasitic properties. You can use silk liners in hot or cool regions with great results. While they might not offer the same degree of heat as an insulated product, silk products remain the most durable and reliable in the industry.
A step up from silk in the heat department is fleece. Most liners made out of this fabric can add at least 10°F to your sleeping bag. In contrast to silk, however, these fleece sleeping bag liners tend to be heavier and more difficult to pack. They are also nowhere as near as breathable as silk. If you love the texture of fleece but don’t want to buy a liner, expert campers recommend bringing fleece clothing with you to keep warm rather than investing in a fleece liner.
For the ultimate warmth at night, you have to look into insulated liners. Many of the companies that make these liners say they can increase your sleeping bag temperature by as much as 25°F. Insulated liners are also able to dry off quickly thanks to their fiber insulation system. Because of all the additional padding, however, these liners can be a bit tricky to pack and weigh more than silk liners.
Lastly, people traveling to hot and humid areas should look into synthetic products. These liners were designed to repel moisture and keep you cool with enhanced breathability. Since most synthetic liners focus on reducing moisture retention rather than insulation, they obviously aren’t the best option for hikers going into colder regions.
Sleeping Bag Liner Design
Sleeping bag liners are thin sheets of fabric that can either be placed inside your sleeping bag or used on their own. Almost every sleeping bag liner today is machine washable.
The most common of sleeping bag liner shapes is the mummy design with a hood on top. Mummy designs are common because they best fit into most sleeping bags and provide extra cushioning for your head. Most of these liners also have strings attached to them so you could tie the hood around your head for extra heating.
After mummy designs, the most common camping bag liners are in a rectangular shape without a hood. It’s possible to place these rectangular liners in your sleeping bags as well, but most people like using these designs on their own. Rectangular liners are especially good to use by themselves in humid weather.
There’s no standardized way of entering a sleeping bag liner. Some have openings on the side with Velcro or zippers, but most have an opening on the top which you have to crawl or jump into. Because the side and bottom seams are sowed on liners with only a head opening, these products tend to provide better insulation.
SLEEPING BAG LINER REVIEWS
The Dimples Excel Liner measures a respectable 86 inches in length by 41 inches in width, which makes them a great option for taller campers or people who roll around a lot at night. When it’s compressed into its stuff sack, the Dimples Excel measures 6.3 inches by 2.7 inches and weighs 8.35 ounces.
The liner is very thin and made out of recycled polyester satin. More experienced campers might be able to tell the difference between this synthetic fabric and silk, but the texture is quite similar. You can use your Dimples Excel with great success in both hot and cool areas.
To get into the liner, you’ll have to open up a few Velcro straps along the side of the product. As you open them up, you can enter the 23-inch opening and simply close the Velcro straps when you’re inside. The advantage of this design is that it’s easier to get in and out of this liner. The downside is that you might lose a bit of insulation you would have otherwise had with a liner that’s tied together on the bottom and sides.
There is a hood on this liner that fits nicely in any mummy sleeping bag. You could also easily place a pillow in this top layer. As for color design, the Dimples Excel is available in either blue or grey.
- Very roomy size is great for restless sleepers.
- Made out of eco-friendly recycled materials.
- Side entrance makes it easy to get in and out of the liner.
- Polyester material not as durable as silk.
- Velcro straps on the side could weaken insulation.Bottom-Line: People who are willing to sacrifice the quality of a fine silk product for the affordability of this polyester liner won’t be disappointed with the Dimples Excel.
Sea to Summit Premium SilkSea to Summit Premium Silk Travel Liner (Pacific Blue, Mummy (82 x 36in))
- Increases the thermal performance of sleeping bags
- Premium AA Grade, ripstop silk
- Machine washable & colorfast
- Traveler model is Hostel Approved
- Lightweight, super compact and extends the life of sleeping bags by keeping…
Let’s begin with the number one selling point of this luxury item: it’s made out of AA Grade ripstop silk. In case you didn’t know, ripstop refers to a special kind of weaving technique that reinforces numerous threads to make fabrics more durable. This ripstop pattern makes it virtually impossible for tear Sea to Summit’s liner.
Although it’s strong, this silk fabric feels very soft against the skin. If you want to, feel free to roll this product up and use it as a pillow on long car or plane voyages. Plenty of campers have already done so with great success!
In addition to high-quality silk, manufacturers have included a few layers of polyester and lycra (aka spandex) seams on the sides of this liner. These fabrics help the liner stretch even further so you can toss and turn all night without worrying about tearing this sheet.
This product is available in several different styles. Whether you want a longer rectangular liner, one with pillow inserts, or just a plain mummy liner, so you should find an ideal choice for your needs.
The regular rectangular liner measures 73 inches high by 36 inches wide and weighs 4.6 ounces. You’ll only add 4.6 ounces to your travel pack with Sea to Silk’s regular liner.
Not only do Sea to Summit liners come in a wide variety of sizes, they are also available in different colors. The four subdued colors you can choose from include two shades of blue, green, and dark pink.
Due to its premium status, the Sea to Silk liner is intended for people who do a lot of camping in different environments. Casual campers looking for a value play could find better options on this list.
- Fine AA grade ripstop silk is very durable.
- Stretch panels on seams to help restless sleepers.
- Wide variety of colors and designs to choose from.
- Designed with intermediate and advanced hikers in mind.
- One of the shortest heights on our listBottom-Line: Serious campers looking for a higher-quality silk liner should check out the Sea to Silk Premium Silk.
ALPS Mountaineering Microfiber MummyALPS Mountaineering Brushed Polyester Mummy Sleeping Bag Liner
- Cozy sleeping bag liner for mummy style sleeping bags
- Made of high quality Brushed Polyester fabric that will keep you warm all…
- Conveniently includes a standard stuff sack for easy travel
- If you’re tired of trying to clean the inside of your sleeping bag and it’s…
- Dimensions: 32″ x 86″, Weight: 11 oz.
The ALPS Mountaineering Microfiber Mummy Liner is made out of microfiber (a synthetic fabric). This product measures 86 inches in length and 32 inches in width and weighs 11 ounces. ALPS Mountaineering also makes one of these liners in polyester-cotton.
At 11 ounces, ALPS’s liner is one of the heavier products on this list. It’s also a bit more difficult to pack up due to its microfiber fabric.
There’s a Velcro strap on the top of this mummy liner that you can use to open and close this product. You’ll also find two drawstrings here which you could use to tighten the hood around your head at night.
A minor setback of this ALPS product is that it doesn’t have any special stretchable material. There is a good deal of room in this liner, but if you’re bigger and tend to roll around a lot at night you might have issues.
While it’s not as luxurious as silk, the ALPS Mountaineering Microfiber Mummy Liner is an affordable and well-designed product that has a great deal of insulation and moisture protection.
- Comfortable microfiber fabric provides good insulation.
- Very long product great for tall hikers.
- Limited lifetime warranty
- A bit heavier at 11 ounces.
- Not ideal for people who toss and turn at night.Bottom-Line: Tall, thin travellers who often travel to cool or wet forests will get the best use out of this liner.
Sea to Summit CoolMax Adaptor Insect ShieldSea to Summit Coolmax Adaptor Liner with Insect Shield
- Treated with Insect Shield treated to repel mosquitoes, ticks, fleas and…
- Adapts to varied temperatures and humidity. Wicks moisture for a more…
- Comfortable stretchy fabric. Mummy shape with a box foot
- Contrasting color along top edge makes it easier to find the opening….
- Packaged in its own 3” x 5” Sil nylon stuff sack. Liner color: Kiwi…
Anyone worried about insect infestations should take a look at Sea to Summit’s Coolmax Adaptor Insect Shield liner.
As you might’ve guessed from the name, this sleeping bag liner is ideal for campers voyaging to humid locales. The CoolMax Adaptor is made out of special polyester with Sea to Summit’s CoolMax technology. In addition to enhanced breathability, manufacturers say the CoolMax technology can wick off moisture quickly in humid areas.
The key feature of the CoolMax Adaptor is that its includes a layer of odorless insect repellant to ward off common bugs like mosquitoes and flies. The insect repellant used in this product has been recognized by the EPA and will last at least six months or 25 washing cycles.
As for this mummy liner’s dimensions, it measures 82 inches in height and 35 inches in width. Once this liner is in the stuff sack it weighs just less than 10 ounces. By the way, manufacturers did include a few stretchy layers of fabric in their design to help people who toss and turn at night.
You’ll enter this liner from the top and tie yourself in with the drawstrings provided. There are no Velcro straps or zippers, which is both a pro and con for this product. It’s a pro because you’ll most likely be using the CoolMax Adaptor only in warmer environments and expecting extra breathability. This is a con, however, because you’ll have to invest in another better insulated liner if you go to both cold and warm regions.
If you’re interested in this product, hopefully you like the color green. The only color the Coolmax Adaptor Insect Shield is made in today.
- Excellent for keeping travelers in humid regions cool and dry.
- Insect repellant included in fabric.
- 9.3 ounces in stuff sack.
- A few stretchable fabrics used to help restless sleepers.
- Only available in one color and one size.
- Not ideal for people who travel to both hot and cold regions.
- Insect repellant wears away over time.Bottom-Line: Sea to Summit’s CoolMax Adaptor is ideal for people traveling to hot, tropical regions that have a ton of bugs. While it keeps the pests away, the CoolMax Adaptor will keep you cool and dry thanks to its patented CoolMax technology.
Sea to Summit Reactor ThermoliteSea to Summit Reactor Thermolite Sleeping Bag Liner
- Lighter weight, more packable than fleece
- Adds up to 14 degrees of warmth to a sleeping bag
- Mummy shape with a box foot
- Draw cord hood with mini cord lock
- Weighs just 9 oz, packs into its own 3” x 5” sil nylon stuff sack
Another specialty Sea to Summit sleeping bag liner is the Reactor Thermolite. In contrast to the CoolMax Adaptor, the Reactor Thermolite lining is designed to keep your sleeping bag toasty. This feature makes the Reactor Thermolite an ideal pick for people who frequently travel to frigid areas.
Sea to Summit designers claim the Reactor Thermolite can help you increase your sleeping bag’s temperature by as much as 25°F. The reason it’s able to get this hot is thanks to the manufacturers’ trademarked Thermolite synthetic insulator.
The Reactor Thermolite is the heaviest on our list at 14 ounces Of course, all of this added weight comes from insulated fabric. The dimensions of this mummy liner are 84 inches in length by 36 inches in width. You’ll enter into this product through the top and you can tie the hood around your head with the drawstrings. As you compress this stuff sack down into its container it will only measure 4 x 6 inches.
- 110g/m2 Thermolite fabric can add up to 25°F to a sleeping bag.
- Roomy design good for restless sleepers.
- Drawstrings and hood help increase impressive insulation.
- Not as breathable as other liners on this list.
- The heaviest liner on our list.Bottom-Line: People who are primarily concerned with maximizing the amount of heat in their sleeping bag and don’t mind packing a few extra ounces in their travel gear should check out the Reactor Thermolite, the warmest sleeping bag liner to make our final list.
Cocoon Silk MummyLinerSaleCocoon Silk MummyLiner (Natural, 95-Inch x 35/22-Inch)
- Silk is soft against your skin and responds well to changing temperatures -…
- Mummy Liners made of silk are easy to hand or machine wash and dry quickly.
- Woven with a grid-like structure of strong silk threads, Ripstop Silk is…
Cocoon’s sleeping bag liner is made of standard silk in the mummy design. Manufacturers have included one draw cord you can use to bring the hood over your face while sleeping.
This all-silk liner is 95 inches long by 35 inches wide and it only weighs about 4 ounces. This makes it both the tallest and one of the lightest on our list. In cooler areas, this liner could increase the temperature of your sleeping bag by as much as 9.5°F. If you’re traveling to warmer areas, the Cocoon will keep you cool thanks to its breathability.
One nice feature about the Cocoon Silk MummyLiner is that it’s available in many different colors. In fact, this is the only liner on our list that has vibrant color schemes to choose from. Whether you want a plain understated color of a more flamboyant design, you should find a Cocoon to suit your fancy.
- Fine silk fabric.
- Less than 5 ounces including stuff sack.
- Can increase sleeping bag temperature by 9.5°F.
- Tallest liner on our list.
- No added fabrics to increase the liner’s ability to stretch.Bottom-Line: People who aren’t restless sleepers looking for a quality all-silk product that offers protection in all weather conditions will most likely enjoy this ultralight sleeping bag liner.
Rab Silk Sleeping Bag Liner
There are four sizes of the Rab bag liner available for purchase, all of which have slightly different measurements. You can choose from the following designs: long, mummy, standard rectangular, and traveler.
As a reference point, the standard Rab liner measures 73 inches long and 36 inches wide. In the stuff sack, the Rab Silk Liner will only weigh 5.5 ounces. While it’s fairly light, you’ll also notice that the standard Rab liner is one of the shortest on our list.
Although the product we detailed above is the standard silk product, Rab also makes this same liner in either poly-cotton or cotton. Both of these products are significantly heavier than the silk liner.
Due to the standard Rab liner’s diminished height, it might not be a good option for taller campers. Of course, if the standard 73 inches doesn’t work for you and you’re still interested in this product, you could always take a peek at other Rab designs before deciding against purchasing one.
The smaller size could be a positive if you prefer your liner to be snug rather than roomy. However, you should know that Rab didn’t use any special fabrics to help this liner stretch out further than the silk already goes.
- Wide assortment of fabrics and sizes available.
- Fine silk is durable and versatile.
- Weighs 5.5 ounces in stuff sack.
- Standard size is one of the shortest on our list.
- No special materials to help restless sleepers.Bottom-Line: People looking for a decent lightweight, albeit short, silk product might enjoy the Rab sleeping bag liner.
Camp Bedding Reviews
If the sleeping bag liners below don’t fit your particular needs then check out our other reviews on: