How to Choose a Sleeping Bag Liner

After you’ve picked the best sleeping bag, you can expect that your sleeping bag will be protected and kept safe, clean, and fresh on the inside. We outline 4 tips to choose the most ideal sleeping bag liner that will add the necessary extra layer to a thinner sleeping bag purposefully to ensure you enjoy a warmer night when the weather gets cold and damp.

For many people, a sleeping bag seems like a boring and useless part of the sleeping system but that is not always the case.

Still, having one of them can make a difference in the quality of camp life. Having a suitable bedding even when camping goes a long way.

Camping in different climatic conditions will definitely require special gear suitable for each location. The same applies to sleeping bag liners. The liners you need for a desert camp won’t be similar to those you need for a camp somewhere, let’s Antarctica. I will try to outline some of the five most important tips to determine which best sleeping bag liner is for you. By the end of the article, you should be able to make up your mind on which liner to go for.

What is a Sleeping Bag Liner?

What is a sleeping bag liner

Sleeping bag liners are lightweight cloth sacks that line the sleeping bag. So, they do exactly what you imagined they would do.

Where do they fit? Well, these liners fit inside the sleeping bag to add extra insulation and keep the sleeping bag clean. Soft sleeping bag liners made of silk provide additional comfort to the sleeper.

Unlike the entire sleeping bag, the liner is detachable and is easy to wash after use. So, you’ve probably seen them or you even own one.

However, you might be missing out on a better night’s sleep if you don’t have the right liner that guarantees all these benefits.

How to Choose a Sleeping Bag Liner

1. Breathability, Texture, and Allergy

The other thing to look at is that a perfect sleeping bag liner should be a key part of your sleep system. It is not just all about adding warmth to your sleep.

Sometimes, breathability is more important.

Others want to have liners that are easy on the skin and so, texture would be critical. In the case of allergic individuals, the risk of potential reaction is also worth considering.

2. Material of the Liner

Liners can be made of cotton, nylon, silk, polyester among other types of material. Thin liners are softer to the skin and can add up to 5 °F warmth to your bag.

Meanwhile, thick, fleece-like liners can increase this twice or three times taking the warmth to 10-15 °F. Sometimes, this is not necessarily a good thing in the summer.

There are several options when choosing a sleeping bag liner.

Insulated sleeping bag liners

Insulated liners offer the most additional warmth. They are ideal for camping in high altitudes or cold weather conditions.

If you are planning a summer trip to the desert, these are not great options for you.

Besides, they insulated liners quite expensive and pack pretty large.

So, I consider these liners overkill. Their usefulness will not likely justify the pack size and weight it takes up.

Fleece sleeping bag liners

Fleece liners come in second. They follow insulated liners in terms of warmth by providing a good amount of warmth. Fleece is soft and comfortable but it is not a great option for summer trips unless you intend to use it as a standalone blanket.

If you want to save a few bucks and you tend to push late into fall with your camping, then this is a good option for getting some extra warmth from the sleeping bag when it gets cold. In the summer, you can just skip the sleeping bag entirely and take the liner alone.

Also, like silk, fleece possesses moisture-wicking properties. Fleece liners also dry quickly. These are two useful features of awesome camping gear.

Unfortunately, fleece is bulky and heavy. When going to stay in the wild for a couple of days, more is not always better.

Cotton sleeping bag liners

Cotton is an affordable option that is readily available but it doesn’t dry fast enough. So, cotton liners not as great as fleece or insulated.

Cotton liners are rugged and durable but they do not dry quickly. They pack fairly large and are also heavy. They are not necessarily a bad option for people who are not concerned about pack size and weight.

Synthetic sleeping bag liners  

Synthetics are better for cold weather or even warm conditions, but all that depends on the model and features.

These are usually breathable and also have wicking properties, meaning that they pull moisture away from the body then spreads it out in the fabric to allow faster evaporation.

On top of those features, synthetic liners tend to park small and are quite light compared to the others that we’ve covered so far. Some of them are even considered ultralight.

Silk sleeping bag liner

Synthetic sleeping bag liner

Silk liners are the favorites due to their versatility.

Liners made from this fabric tend to be light, softer and stronger compared to others. They retain more heat thereby providing extra thermal insulation even when it is extremely cold.

We do not say that silk is the best option for every outdoor experience.

If you’re winter camping, you might want to go with fleece or insulated liners.

For starters, silk is lightweight and packs small, which is a great feature.

However, this is the greatest strength that really stands out for us: silk liners work well in both hot and wet climates. It is insulating in cold weather and also breathable in the heat.

Silk absorbs moisture and so, for hot and humid camping, it is a great option. When the temperature drops and you need a little extra warmth, silk liner will provide that too.

Again, we are not saying you always choose silk, but if you’re looking for versatility, it is the clear winner in all these different types of sleeping bag liners.

Reasons You Need a Quality Sleeping Bag Line

Fleece sleeping bag liner

Why would someone even need your sleeping bag liner to be a quality item?

There are a ton of benefits of possessing a sleeping bag. These are some of the reasons you might need a quality sleeping bag liner.

(i) Extending the life of your sleeping bag

If you bought the bag at an expensive price, you probably don’t want to destroy it within a month.

Essentially, the work of a sleeper bag is like that of a bedsheet. It separates the skin from the sleeping bag. This means you can remove the liner and wash it separately to ensure that you do not wear down the sleeping bag with too much washing.

That way, you get to extend the useful life of your bag.

(ii) Keeping your sleeping bag clean, adding some warmth, and protection from some iffy bedding while traveling

You’re probably a serious camper and you want to maintain a fantastic night’s sleep just like you do at home. A great sleeping bag will usually do the job.

(iii) A sleeping bag will act as your bed while also serving you as a shield against dump weather

Making the right selection makes you sleep away from home much more enjoyable.

For now, let’s skip all that and jump straight into what are the best sleeping bag liners suitable for you.

3. Weight and Pack Size

Just the way we have seen in the description above, some campers may hate carrying heavy gear. If you’re conscious about the weight of what you carry, you need to know the following:

  • Insulated camping bag liners are heavy and pack pretty large.
  • Fleece camping bag liners are soft and comfortable but heavy and bulky.
  • Cotton liners pack fairly large and heavy too.
  • Synthetic liners tend to pack smaller and are quite light.
  • Silk camping bag liners are not only versatile but also pack small and do not weigh much compared to the other varieties.

4. Fair Pricing

Some people are concerned about the cost of camping. If you don’t have much money, some going for more affordable liners such as synthetic ones could be a great choice.

The only problem with cheaper varieties is that they may not serve you for a long time before having to consider replacing them.

How Much Do The Best Sleeping Bag Liners Cost?

The average price of most sleeping bags ranges from $15 to $60 depending on the type of material. On the higher end are natural silk liners while some synthetic liners cost as little as fifteen dollars.

Extra tip

Sleeping bags can get steamy. A good liner should help in wicking moisture away from your body. That is why if you sweat a lot, I would recommend you check liners with the ‘CoolMax’ trademarked feature.

Your sleeping bag probably costs over 500 dollars. Wouldn’t protecting something as pricey as that make a lot of sense?

The only mistake that we do not want you to make is to acquire a liner that few inches shorter than your height.