The benefits of a sleeping bag liner are best appreciated by those who are faced with the frequent task of washing their sleeping bags, or better still by globetrotters yearning for clean bed linen on their travels. Apart from doubling as safe, clean and hygienic travel sheets, bag liners certainly help cosy-up, and also reduce the dust and grime that settle on inside of the sleeping bags. This, as a result, makes them comfortable, hygienic, and fit for use. In fact, select youth hostels require visitors to carry sleeping bag liners.
Why use a sleeping bag liner?
There are several reasons why using a sleeping bag liner would be beneficial. Some of them are:
• It prevents dirt, fine sand and other debris from settling down on the insulation within the bag.
• Absorbs sweat, oil, odours from the body before they reach the surface of the bag.
• Serves as thermal insulation to trap heat within the sleeping bag, useful in extremely cold environments.
• Multiple liners will help adjust the warmth without having to lug a heavily-stuffed or even a couple of sleeping bags on arduous hikes or treks to meet the challenges of changing weather.
Types of Sleeping Bag Liner
Sleeping bag liners are available in several types, made from different material to suit the personal preference, travel types and the climatic requirements. Each type of liner has its own benefits and drawbacks, apart from being priced differently.
Comfortable and costly, yet worth the price. Liners made from silk are light to pack, soft on the skin, free from allergens, quick to absorb moisture and fast to dry, and also have good thermal insulation properties.
Silk-Cotton Blended Liners
Equally comfortable as silk liners, they are slightly less expensive, light and less shiny; and drape well on the sleeper, making the nap enjoyable.
Cost-effective yet comfortable, cotton is the most preferred liner, especially when in high temperatures. Cool and crisp, easy to clean and dry, but cotton in no way competes with silk in terms of insulation or weight.
A basically thin liner made of natural fibres from sheep and yak, it offers exceptional warmth even in extremely cold conditions. Compact and available in different colours, fleece liners can either be hand-washed or machine-washed. The material is quite light and quicker to dry than cotton. However, it may not be suitable for all weather conditions.
Other popular sleeping bag liners include Coolmax, which is suitable for hot and humid climates; and the Thermolite liners, well-known for their insulation effects.
Quality sleeping bag liners not only help to extend the life of a sleeping bag, and with cutting down on the internal damage due to rough debris and sand particles, but they also do away with the need to frequently wash the bag to get rid of dirt and odour. This in turn maintains the loft of the bag, which is fractionally lost with every wash. Sleeping bag liners enhance the value of almost any conditioned sleeping bag.
Caring for a Sleeping Bag Liner
It is important to regularly wash sleeping bag liners in order to keep them fresh and clean. Most of the liners can be washed on the machine, but it is important to again check the label. Hand-washing the bags is more practical while on a trip. However, it is better for the liners to dry out in natural air.
Common detergents are permitted but fabric softeners are taboo, as they interfere with the ability of the liner to absorb moisture.
Draw cords of liners usually tend to get entangled in the washing machine. Wrapping them in a cotton bag or even a pillow case while washing, will help retrieve the liners in good shape.
To enjoy the maximum benefits from a sleeping bag liner, the shape of the liner as far as possible should fit the bag to ensure comfort and good insulation.
Do you use a sleeping bag liner when you camp?