For keen campers and newbies, a sleeping bag liner could be the piece of kit you didn’t realise you needed. Here’s our guide to how to choose the best sleeping bag liner.
A sleeping bag liner does what it says on the tin. It’s a thin sheet that typically lines your sleeping bag. You can also use it on its own. They’re normally made of cotton or silk.
We definitely think so! They’re versatile and they’ve got three main benefits: comfort, cleanliness and warmth. You can use them on hut-to-hut trips or in hostels where sheets aren’t the most hygienic. Or you can use them in combination with your own sleeping bag to keep warmer on wintry nights.
Choosing a natural fibre sleeping bag liner can feel softer and comfier next to your skin. No more feeling like you’re boiling in a bag! Sleeping bag liners made from materials like cotton are more breathable for a more comfortable night’s sleep.
One way to keep your sleeping bag clean is to use a liner. It’ll prolong the time in between washes by taking on the brunt of the dirty work. It traps the sweat and oils from your body before they reach the sleeping bag.
Sleeping bags can be cumbersome and tricky to wash. The oils from your body can dirty your down, causing it to perform less effectively. That’s where liners come in. And by washing your sleeping bag less often, you reduce wear and tear, giving it as looooong a life as possible. Yay - geriatric sleeping bags!
And when it’s time to wash your liner, it’s easy peasy. Especially if it’s cotton. They’re smaller and easier to wash and dry than sleeping bags.
Absolutely! You can use a sleeping bag liner to extend the use of your sleeping bag, bringing it out a bit earlier and putting it away a bit later every year. It’s like adding a blanket to your bed on chilly nights. But how warm it keeps you depends on you.
If you’re a “borderline genius”, like our Photographer Joe, you can ditch the sleeping bag on hot nights. He sometimes sleeps in just his sleeping bag liner. You still feel wrapped up, but without overheating.
Another tip from the AlpTeam is to wet your sleeping bag liner to cool you down and use alone on the hottest of nights.
Depending on what you need to use a sleeping bag liner for, you’ll have to prioritise different features.
Cotton sleeping bag liners are breathable, easy to wash and dry, and a bit more wallet-friendly than silk. They’re robust too.
Silk sleeping bag liners are less odour catching than cotton, meaning they feel cleaner and less smelly on multi-day trips. Silk is super strong for its weight, meaning it’s really light and packable. And it still packs a punch! They’re great for protection against insect bites in midge-prone areas.
Rectangular shape liners fits easily into sleeping bags and gives you plenty of space to stretch out if you’re using the liner by itself. This makes it handy for hostels and Alpine huts too, where sheets aren’t always the most hygienic!
Mummy shaped sleeping bag liners are lighter and more thermally efficient. They might work better in combination with your lighter, racier sleeping bag. But you have to pay the small sacrifice of less wriggle room!