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Some may think that sleeping bag liners are just added weight to camping gear. But bringing a liner during camping has its benefits too. Even budget hotel travelers rely on the best sleeping bag liner to protect them from possible bedbug infestations. Cleanliness, extra warmth, and hygiene are advantages of using a liner for your sleeping bag.
Whether car camping, tent camping, or even staying in hotels, the comfort of an additional sleeping pad lends you additional protection. Thus, you should not exclude this essential gear from your list of what to bring the next time you pack your sleeping bags.
What Are Sleeping Bag Liners?
A sleeping bag liner is a cloth sack fitted inside a sleeping bag. Hotel travelers also use it to protect themselves from contaminated sheets. A liner gives you an additional cushion for a more comforting and relaxing sleep.
Many use liners not only for protection and warmth but also to keep their sleeping bags clean and odor-free. Sleeping bag liners are often machine washable. Taking out and cleaning the liner rather than washing an entire sleeping bag is easier.
Different brands manufacture liners of various designs, materials, and features. When purchasing a liner, you must check its construction, durability, and features to guarantee it is exactly what you need.
Benefits of Sleeping Bag Liners
The best sleeping bag liners are comfortable to sleep in. They should also offer the following benefits:
Using a sleeping bag liner adds a layer of insulation for extra warmth. Different materials affect the level of warmth given by a liner. A thick fleece liner, for example, is said to increase the warmth from 10 to 15⁰F. Insulated liners can increase the warmth by as much as 25⁰F, and some specially made liners may add warmth to more than 32⁰F.
Camping in an area with many insects or staying in a hotel with sheets you know nothing about isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.
Sleeping liners provide an extra layer of protection against bed bugs and insects that may come into your tent or sleeping bags. A silk sleeping bag liner is the best protection against insect attacks.
Protects the Sleeping Bag
Sweat, body oils, and dirt may stick to the sleeping bag whenever you use it without a liner. While you can wash your sleeping bag, doing so frequently can lessen its life expectancy.
On the other hand, a sleeping bag liner protects the bag because all the dirt and grime will stick to the liner instead. Liners are easily washable compared to sleeping bags.
Let’s face it; sleeping bags are not cleaned as often as they should be. The dirt, sweat, body oils, and grime stick to it and stay there until your next camping trip.
But, with the help of sleeping liners, you can practice good hygiene by changing the liner or washing it before or after every trip you have.
Standalone Travel Sheets
You don’t need a sleeping bag all the time. In warm weather conditions, you can bring a sleeping bag liner to sleep in. It saves you a lot in space as well as weight in your backpack or luggage.
5 Best Sleeping Bag Liners
Premium Choice: Sea to Summit Reactor Extreme Liner
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- 110g/m² THERMOLITE® fabric
- Traps insulating air to increase the warmth of sleeping bag up to 25°F / 15°C
- Technical mummy shape with drawstring hood
- Packs into its own Ultra-Sil stuff sack
- Stand-alone summer bag
- Easy Care
We trust Sea to Summit with most of our camping needs. The brand has many functional, durable, high-quality products, from tents to backpacks, and dry bags.
It even carries some watersport accessories too! Thus, when it comes to a trusted sleeping bag liner, there is no question that the brand is also one of our top choices.
Sea to Summit offers many sleeping bag liners; our favorite is the Reactor Extreme. It can be used for backpacking, camping, and on every travel you have.
We like how packable it is with its compressed 6.5 x 4.5-inch size and 14oz in weight. You can easily stash it inside your carry-on bag or backpack without difficulty. Although, weight-focused backpackers may opt to use a Spark or Flame as a sleeping bag liner. Make sure to click the liner box, they also have sleeping bags on this same listing.
It also provides added warmth with a temperature rating of up to 25°F / 14°C. Most importantly, the shell and liner are made from THERMOLITE® ensuring its durability, longevity, and the coziest warmth that no other sleeping liner can provide.
This mummy bag comes with a stuff sack. The compression bag is made from Ultra-Sil™ material. This is a lightweight material that barely adds to the total weight of this best sleeping bag liner.
- Warmest Liner
- Soft and Stretchy fabric is incredibly comfortable
- Compressible and Lightweight
- No Zipper
Best for Backpacking: Cocoon Silk Mummy Liner
- Silk liner
- Usable for both summer and winter
Many people choose fleece liners for added warmth, but we find more versatility in using silk liners such as this Cocoon Silk Mummy Liner.
A silk sleeping bag liner has many benefits for your skin. It improves sleep and keeps the skin moisturized. People with skin allergies also benefit from using silk sleeping bag liners.
The Cocoon Silk Mummy not only acts as an insect shield but also adds up to 8.4⁰F (5.3⁰C) warmth to the temperature rating of your sleeping bag.
And since silk is adaptable to any weather, you can use it any season. A wonderful all-season sleeping bag liner, silk feels cool and smooth on your skin during the summer but provides an extra layer of insulation during cold weather too.
The Cocoon Silk Mummy only weighs 4.7 oz, making it a good option for backpacking where the heaviness of all camping gear is taken into consideration. Silk liners are more packable than fleece liners, albeit not as warm.
- Get the benefits of silk
- Versatile for all weather conditions
- Hand or machine wash
- Soft and comfortable on the skin
- Seams start to tear after several washes
Best for Camping: Trekmates Polycotton Hotelier Sleeping Bag Liner
- Polyester/Cotton Blend
- Designed with a pillow pocket
For casual camping trips, we recommend Trekmates Polycotton Hotelier. This sleeping bag liner can be used inside your sleeping bag or in any other bed. Cotton liners are breathable and comfortable, while the added polyester makes the fabric more durable and stronger.
Hotelier has a rectangular shape (13.1 oz) and a mummy shape (12.3 oz). It is designed with a pillow pocket so that your pillow can also be protected from insects and other bugs.
The insect shield isn’t the only advantage, though, since the design is meant to maintain the cleanliness of sleeping bags. It further protects the sleeping bag from unwanted odors that may stick to it.
- Comes in 2 shapes
- Designed with a pillow pocket
- Stuff sack included
- Enhances warmth of the sleeping bag
- Heavy for backpacking
Best for Added Warmth: Sea to Summit Thermolite Reactor Fleece Liner
- Thermolite® fleece
- Machine washable fleece liner
- Standalone summer bag
As said earlier, Sea to Summit has some of the best liners on the market. That said, we included another product from the brand in this list. During winter and cold weather, we like to pack up the Reactor Fleece liner.
It is one of the warmest sleeping bag liners from Sea to Summit, with an impressive 32⁰F (18⁰C) extra warmth. The fleece lining traps insulating air so you can sleep and rest comfortably even during chilly nights.
The mummy shape of the Summit Reactor Thermolite is a good accompaniment to most mummy sleeping bags in the market. It weighs 13.4 with a packed volume of 2.75 L.
It might not be the best choice if you want to go light on your load. However, you may ditch your sleeping bag since it can be used as a standalone bag during warm weather, especially in summer.
- Ultra-Sil stuff sack
- Great for additional warmth
- Machine washable
- Works well in sandy environments
- Drawstring hood
- Easy to use
- Better than standard fleece
- Heavy for backpacking
Budget Choice: Cocoon Organic Cotton MummyLiner
- 95 x 35/22 inches
- Organic Cotton
- Double Stitched
- Drawstring Hood
- Stuff Sack Included
Cotton sleeping bag liners are soft, lightweight, and comfortable. A camping sheet made from cotton is also moderately priced. It is the most affordable choice if you are on a tight budget.
This cotton travel sheet helps protect the sleeping bag from the moisture from your sweat and body oils. Managing the moisture inside the bag prevents bad odors from developing and sticking.
The cotton liner is made with organically grown fibers. Furthermore, it is thick enough to increase the warmth of your sleeping bag by about 5 degrees F.
It only weighs 13.4 oz and is a good option for camping and short-distance backpacking trips. Moreover, it has an open-access cover that makes it more accessible and convenient to get in and out of.
- Perfect for tall people
- Fits snugly
- Cotton fabric
- Provides additional insulation
- Not ideal for wet or cold environments
What to Look for When Choosing the Best Sleeping Bag Liner
Fleece / Microfiber Fleece
Fleece dries quickly and has moisture-wicking properties. The softness of fleece is comfortable on the skin and lends more warmth than other materials. Conversely, mid and heavy weight fleece can be bulky and unsuitable if you want to pack light.
Compact and lightweight, silk is one of the top choices for the best sleeping bag liner. Silk maintains its thermal insulation even when it is wet. It is also soft on the skin and a great option to protect against insect bites.
Cotton is a durable and breathable option for a sleeping bag liner. If absorption is your concern, then cotton also works well in absorbing moisture. However, this is not always lightweight or compact when packed. It is also not recommended to use in cold or wet conditions.
If you want to invest in a liner with impressive insulation properties, go for a wool liner. Wool, specifically Merino wool, has superior insulating properties not affected by cold or wet conditions. It also works well during summer since it keeps you cool.
An example of an insulated sleep liner is Thermolite®. It adds 25⁰F and up warmth to the liner, keeping you warm throughout. Insulated liners have hollow-core fiber insulation, allowing them to dry 50% faster than cotton.
Coolmax® liner is an example of a synthetic polyester product. It has excellent moisture-wicking and breathable properties that work perfectly well in humid weather. Most synthetic materials are stretchable too. Hence, you can move freely around them without feeling uncomfortable.
There are three shapes to choose from for sleeping bag liners. The mummy shape is specifically made for mummy sleeping bags that taper from the shoulder area to the feet area.
The rectangular shape is a regular shape that offers more versatility since it fits many rectangular sleeping bags and is used as a standalone sheet to be placed on top of hotel/hostel bedding.
There is also a double-wide shape sleeping bag liner designed for a two-person sleeping bag.
The materials used mainly contribute to the durability of the sleeping bag liner. But you should also consider the craftsmanship and reliability of the brand you purchase from.
Going for a brand you trust always results in longer use of products. Also, check reviews before purchasing one. Many of the customer’s reviews talk about the functionality and durability of the items being sold. So you will have a better idea of what to expect for wear and tear.
Are you going on a backpacking trip or simply camping out? The weight of the liner affects your total load. For backpacking trips, you should get liners that are not heavy. They should also be compact and packable for easy storage.
As said earlier, different materials provide different levels of warmth. Winter camping may warrant more insulation compared to summer camping. Consider the weather or season before getting the sleeping liner you want.
Liners are handy and functional. You can use them during camping, backpacking trips, and even when staying in hotels/hostels. The best sleeping bag liner is an excellent investment. It gives you comfort and peace of mind to sleep in a clean layer with added warmth.
Add one of these best sleeping bag liner pieces to your backpacking sleep system. You will be happy you did when you get a comfortable, warm, and cozy night’s sleep on your next outdoor adventure!