Which sleeping bag liner should I choose?

Which sleeping bag liner should I choose?

(why you should use a liner, and how to care for them)

Sea to Summit markets a wide range of liners: this updated blog post will show you which one you should use and why, and how to get the best from them.

Why use a liner? Basically, liners are used in two applications – one, inside a sleeping bag and two, as travel sheets.

Let’s start with inside your sleeping bag.

Protect your investment: Using a liner will keep your bag cleaner, which will mean washing it less often. It’s easy to come home from a backpacking trip and throw the liner into the washing machine (much easier than washing a sleeping bag). Your sleeping bag doesn’t have to smell like a student dorm room, and the oils from your skin don’t have to migrate into the insulation. There’s another often overlooked aspect of keeping the sleeping bag clean, though. Fine-grain sand (which is famous for sticking to your feet when you’re backpacking) can make its way through the sleeping bag fabric and act like sandpaper on the insulation. You pay good money for quality down or synthetic insulation – a liner is an inexpensive way of preventing this kind of damage.

Change your sleep environment: Using a liner in a sleeping bag will add warmth – even the silk, silk/cotton, Adaptor or Expander models trap an extra layer of air; the hollow-core Thermolite™ Reactors trap a lot more.

Outside of a sleeping bag.

Provide a hygienic sleeping environment: A liner guarantees you a clean, hygienic sleeping environment wherever you are (it’s a requirement in Hostels). We have even heard of positive results from people using the Adaptor with Insect Shield® in less than ideal sleep environments on (for instance) the Camino de Santiago. Silk, Silk blended or Coolmax® liners also wick moisture well and dry quickly – so they’re ideal for travel in hot, humid areas, where you may not need another cover to sleep comfortably.

A liner is a key component in a ‘sleep system’ – check out this blog post

Which liner is right for me? Here are some pointers:

  • Silk Liners are the lightest and most compact; they wick moisture well and dry quickly. Ideal (in mummy form) for backpacking or (as a Traveler) for hostel/budget hotel use. Sea to Summit’s Silk Liners are now equipped with an exclusive Comfort Stretch Panel – a stretch panel which runs the length of the side seam and provides a greater level of comfort than has previously been possible in a silk liner. Also available as a double-wide version.
  • Silk/Cotton Blend Liners are very light and compact and are great for the same uses as pure silk liners. Their less-shiny surface makes them more suitable for active sleepers who might get tangled in a pure silk liner.
  • Expander Liners are a good budget choice if you’re less concerned with packed volume and weight, but their Jersey Knit construction means that they will stretch to almost twice their normal width. Expanders are knitted as a tube, so they do not have side seams (with the exception of the Mummy shape). They also feature an anti-microbial treatment, which keeps them fresh and odor-free. Great for Boy Scouts, for groups, and for car camping – they’re also available as a double-wide version.
  • Coolmax® Liners wick moisture well and dry quickly – ideal for hot, humid environments. They’re also really stretchy – so if you’ve ever felt constricted in a liner, this is the liner to go for. Available in both a mummy shape and a rectangular Traveller version with a pillow slip, in both untreated and Insect Shield-treated versions.
  • Thermolite Liners add warmth – perfect if your sleeping bag doesn’t bring the promised performance, or if you’re trying to add a season to your existing bag. Check out the blog post, and if you are looking for the maximum warmth possible, make sure you read up on the Thermolite® Reactor Fleece Liner here: Warm, light, compact and versatile – the new Thermolite® Reactor Fleece Liner You can even use a Reactor as a stand-alone summer ‘sleeping bag’, although you’ll need a bag cover of some kind to prevent heat loss due to moving air.

How to care for your liner: This is the easy part. All of our liners are machine washable using standard laundry detergent. If you’re using a top-loader machine, it’s worth putting the liner in a pillowcase to stop the drawcord getting tangled in the impeller (the spiral plastic device at the center of the drum). Just make sure to keep fabric softeners away from your liner – the softener will reduce the wicking performance. Air-drying is best, there’s no need to put a liner in a dryer.

If you have a specific question about our liners which isn’t covered here, just shoot us an email at info@seatosummit.com




2 thoughts on “Which sleeping bag liner should I choose?

  1. avatar Barry says:

    G’Day Hélène. The fabric of a silk liner is very tightly woven, so bedbugs are generally unable to get through the fabric. The silk/cotton fabric has a very similar thread count, so should also afford you similar protection against bedbugs. Making sure that your arms are snugged down inside the liner is also important in avoiding bedbug bites. If you would like additional information, please email us at info@seatosummit.com


  2. avatar Hélène C says:

    What about bed bugs ? I’ve read that for avoid bed bugs we should buy a silk liner. I have bought silk and cotton liner, do you think I should change and buy a 100% silk to avoid problems with thoses insects ?
    Thanks in advance

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