Which sleeping bag liner should I choose?
To get the most out of your sleep system set-up, we’ve compiled the ultimate guide to sleeping liners—why to use one, how to pick one and how to care for it.
You use a sleeping bag liner for the same reasons you put sheets on your bed. You probably don’t sleep directly on your mattress or down quilt because they’re a whole lot harder to get clean than a set of sheets.
Out in the wild—this problem can be tenfold as you bring a day’s worth (who knows, maybe several weeks’ worth) of sweat, dirt and B.O. into your sleeping bag. A sleeping liner prevents this grime from contaminating the liner and shell of your bag - and it’s much easier to clean a liner than it is to wash a down sleeping bag or synthetic sleeping bag.
protect your insulation
Using a sleeping liner will increase the life of your sleeping bag. The build-up of oils from your skin can migrate into the down or synthetic fill of your sleeping bag—preventing it from fully lofting and keeping you warm. Why pay for a high-quality sleeping bag only to halve its performance?
The fine-grain sand that your feet may bring into a sleeping bag can also work its way through the inner fabric. Once these small grains make their way into the insulation, they can act like sandpaper and damage the down or synthetic fill.
Even lightweight hikers often make room in their packs for a sleeping liner simply because it improves their chances of getting comfy and cozy on the trail.
Comfort is relative, of course—it could be the smooth feel of a silk liner or the stretchy comfort of an Adaptor or Reactor. Consider what’s comfortable for you and make it a priority.
use in hostels, huts or couch surfing
Travel with a liner, and you always have hygienic sheets, wherever you go. Protect yourself from dodgy looking hostel bunk beds or generously offered (but slightly grubby) couches. In summer, a sleeping bag liner can even be used as a standalone sleeping bag.
choosing the right sleeping liner
weight and packed size
If pack space and weight is at a premium for your next trip, an ultralight and compact Silk Liner (5.1 oz for the mummy version) could fit the bill. Willing to take on a few more grams for a toasty warm sleep? Then 8.7 oz for a Reactor™ Liner is totally worth it.
Lightweight and small packed size are the reasons that none of our liners have zippers, by the way - a zipper would add significant weight and bulk.
A slight exception being the Thermolite Fleece Liner, which has a one-third side zipper.
fit and construction
Our travel liners come in a Standard or Long Rectangular fit, Double, Mummy with Hood and Traveller (with pillow insert). Our technical liners are a tapered mummy shape. Your liner doesn't have to exactly match the shape of your sleeping bag - and the stretch-knit liners (Adaptors and Reactors) move freely with you so you will never feel constricted. Our Premium Silk Liners also have Comfort Stretch Panels to provide a unique level of comfort.
how to wash your sleeping bag liner
Easily. All our sleeping liners are machine washable and require only your standard laundry detergent. If you’re using a top-loader washing machine, place the liner in a pillowcase or laundry bag first to stop any cords being caught up in the impeller.
Steer clear of fabric softeners when cleaning your liner as they can affect the wicking properties of the material.
To dry your liner, it’s best to hang it on a washing line to air dry. Using a dryer could expose a silk or silk/cotton liner to excessive heat, which can damage the fabric.
which liner is best for me?
Adding warmth to your sleeping bag with the reactor series
If your sleeping bag needs a thermal boost for a particular trip, check out our Reactor Series. You can even use a Reactor as a stand-alone summer ‘sleeping bag’.
ULTRALIGHT + COMPACT: SILK LINERS
Silk Liners wick moisture and are quick to dry. The Mummy shape is suited for backpacking and the Traveller is a great addition to hostel living. Our silk liners have Comfort Stretch Panels along the length of the seam, which helps the liner move with you as you turn.
LIGHT + COMPACT: SILK + COTTON LINERS
Silk and Cotton liners are great for the same uses as pure silk liners—but their less-shiny surface makes them more suitable for those who move a lot during sleep, who find a slippery liner can get tangled.
FOR HOT, HUMID ENVIRONMENTS: COOLMAX® LINERS
Coolmax liners wick moisture and dry quickly. They’re also really stretchy—so if you’ve ever felt constricted in a liner, this is the answer. Available in both a Mummy shape and a rectangular Traveller version with a pillow insert - the Insect Shield-treated version is regarded as the "go-to" liner on the Camino de Santiago.
VALUE FOR MONEY: EXPANDER LINERS
If packed volume and weight are less of a concern, the Expander liner is a luxurious addition to your sleep system. The jersey knit construction stretches to almost twice its normal width, and they don’t have side seams to contend with (with the exception of the Mummy shape). These premium liners also feature an anti-microbial treatment that won’t wash out of the liner, keeping it odor-free.