Sleeping bag liners are a crucial part of any hiker or backpacker’s kit.
Packing down small and light, they are versatile across all seasons and can be used as a standalone sheet replacement in summer or a valuable extra layer in winter.
As well as additional warmth, they extend the life of your sleeping bag, provide protection against insect bites, and can be used in hostels or hotels on questionable sheets.
The main benefit of liners is that they keep body oils and perspiration out of your sleeping bag, which will meaningfully protect the loft of the insulation. As a result, your sleeping bag will last longer and work better.
Though they can provide a little extra warmth, no fabric liner is likely to give you more than a five-degree range of temperature, if that.
Washing your sleeping bag is not an easy task, whereas a liner can be washed and dried every week if needed. Campers often go to sleep muddy, dusty or grimey and just as you wouldn’t leave your sheets on your bed for years without cleaning, so consider a silk, cotton or poly liner to keep your sleeping bag hygienic.
With so many options available, finding the right liner can be a real chore. To help out, we’ve researched dozens of options to identify the best of the best right now. We looked at their material, weight and overall quality, and listed below are our top eight.
If you want to read up on what you should be looking for before purchasing, scroll down further for a buying guide.
Top 3 Best-Sellers
- FLEECE SLEEPING BAG LINER – This fleece sleeping bag liner...
- COMFORT AND WARMTH – Sleep peacefully while this soft...
- COMPACT AND PORTABLE – The sleeping bag liner comes in a...
- EASY CARE – It could not be easier to care for your...
- MILESTONE CAMPING – Milestone Camping is the leading...
- ★DIMENSION: 90*220cm, lightweight portable, easier storage...
- ★VERSATILE USAGE: Sleeping bag for camping trip train...
- ★STYLISH DESIGN: Exquisite compact workmanship, the sleep...
- ★PREMIUM QUALITY: The liner is made of 100% Polyester and...
- ★EASY CARE: Please wash the sleep bag liner with warm...
- High quality sleeping bag liner
- Packed in Trespass Stuff sac
- Polycotton sleeping bag liner
- Colour: Grey
- Adult size: 225 x 80 x 50 mm
- Material: Polyester
- Weight: 240 grams
Available in a variety of colours, the Friendly Swede Travel Liner retails at a fraction of the price of some of the other options on this list and provides a comfortable hygienic shield. The generous size (105 x 220cm) makes it a good option for tall people, or those that tend to feel claustrophobic in the narrower mummy designs.
The side opening with velcro closure makes it easy to get in and out and the roomy envelope shape provides maximum leg room. Even with the integrated pillow pocket, it still folds down as small as a wallet.
Perfect in warm weather as a sheet or blanket replacement, most people will find it less well-suited for camping. Due to its size and shape, there’s just too much material for most sleeping bags, meaning that it bunches up down the sides and in the footwell.
Made of durable, machine-washable Polyester, the liner is extremely soft and smooth but the downside of man-made fibres is the lack of breathability. Even at cooler temperatures it could be a sweaty night if you sleep warm. Most sheet sleeping bags of this type over 140g will feel a bit clammy, so weighing in at 240 grams this is perhaps not surprising.
Overall the Friendly Swede Travel Liner is a good option for those on a budget and who aren’t necessarily looking for natural materials. Although cheap, the Friendly Swede team are sure of its longevity, offering a Lifetime Warranty and replacement service.
- Material: MicroFibre
- Weight: 310 grams
The Alps Mountaineering sleeping bag liner is for mummy-style sleeping bags and available in one size only. Soft to the touch and perfect for cooler conditions, this is another budget-friendly option.
With a convenient standard stuff sack for easy travel, it is super easy to roll up and pack away.
The main downside is the weight. Constructed from MicroFibre rather than silk, the Alps Mountaineering Mummy weighs in at over 300 grams – making it a non-starter for those who want something compact and light.
Despite being made from polycotton (a largely synthetic makeup), this sleeping bag liner is much more breathable than the Friendly Swede model. A couple of bonuses of being synthetic (aside from the reduced cost) are the improved durability and warmth.
For anyone that sleeps warm, consider purchasing the pure cotton version of this product offered by Alps Mountaineering.
- Material: Polyester (CoolMax)
- Weight: 265 grams
The Sea to Summit Adaptor CoolMax is a great sleeping bag liner and reasonable in price when compared to a basic cotton or even more premium silk liner.
Constructed from Invista’s amazing CoolMax material, it is synthetic but without the aforementioned downsides. Made from stretchy, lightweight CoolMax fabric, the liner wicks moisture away from the body and is fast drying.
This helps it to rank more highly than the previous two, as it won’t leave you feeling clammy – even in warmer temperatures.
The mummy shape is a good fit for technical sleeping bags without being restricting. The box foot provides enough space for your feet to point upwards but there’s not so much material that it bunches up.
Soft and stretchy, the hood has a long drawstring cord so you can have it open or synch it in so only your face is exposed. This is also useful for securing your pillow in the right place at night. There is even a contrasting color strip along the liner’s top edge to help you find the opening easily in low light.
Although not the lightest on the market right now, once rolled and returned to its stuffsack, the liner is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand.
In warmer climates you can use this liner without a sleeping bag and the material’s design provides a slight cooling effect.
For anyone who will be climbing or camping in colder conditions, the Adaptor Coolmax is notably cooler than other options on our lineup and you might want to buy a thermal liner instead.
If you are travelling abroad, consider splashing out on the slightly more superior version of this item that has built in insect repellant.
- Material: Brushed polyester
- Weight: 310 grams
Possibly our favourite mid-range sleeping bag liner on the market right now is Therm-a-Rest’s sleeping bag liner.
The mummy style retains body heat with an adjustable hood, side zip with thermal strip and anti-jamming and three-dimensionally sewn foot section for extra room.
Anyone in search of a quality sleeping bag liner suited to moderate and cool climates should consider this option.
Built with brushed polyester, the liner is super soft, guaranteeing cosy comfort but possibly running a little bit warm for summer camping. Therm-a-rest indicate that it can add 3°C to the warmth of a decent sleeping bag.
A set of sewn-in loops allows you to secure the liner to the inside of any Therm-A-Rest sleeping bag or tech blankets, preventing it getting tangled around your legs as you toss and turn.
The material is lightweight but sturdy polyester fabric, and coming from a brand as reputable as Therm-a-Rest, you can sleep easy knowing it won’t be tearing, fraying or shrinking in the wash.
Suitable for backpacking, camping and travel, this liner adds warmth but also bulk. At 310 grams it’s minimal heavy but won’t exactly weigh you down.
- Material: Thermolite
- Weight: 400 grams
Sea to Summit’s Reactor Extreme edition is your go-to sleeping bag liner if you’re headed out on a cold expedition.
Although we struggle to believe it truly does what is claims (up to 15°C increase in temperature), it certainly adds a lot of warmth. Mummy shaped with a box foot, this liner fits snugly inside all technical sleeping bags.
The bright orange Thermolite fabric has incredible insulating properties and its slight stretch stops you feeling too confined. Another way that it keeps the heat in is a draw cord hood with mini cord lock.
Packing down into its own Ultra-Sil Cordura stuffsack, it is heavy but still portable. Although the weight is not ideal for those who are travelling significant distances, you’ll struggle to find anything as warm that comes in lighter.
The stuff sack is also water-resistant, so even if you get caught in a downpour you can still bank on a dry night’s sleep.
The downside of it being so insulating, is that is far less versatile than competitors – best suited to cold autumn or winter outings.
That said, you could combine it with a light summer sleeping bag to make it useable in shoulder months.
If you tend to wake up with the shivers and are looking for an extra layer of warmth, the Reactor Extreme is for you.
- Material: Silk
- Weight: 159 grams
Known for their incredible protective gear and insulating jackets, Rab has produced a high-quality, ultra-light sleeping bag liner.
Silk sleeping bag liners are amazingly lightweight and compact, making them a favourite with travellers. In hot climates, they can also be used on their own and are quick to dry when washed.
Similar to the Cocoon Silk Mummy, but much cheaper, this Rab liner is made of 100% silk and is well-packable, breathable, moisture-wicking and fast drying.
The mummy-shaped design has a hood, internal collar and hood draw cord for additional warmth when desired.
Despite being so light, the liner itself does seem to add appreciably to overall warmth – we’d say a couple of degrees at least.
If you’re a real tosser and turner, silk liners tend to be faster wearing that synthetic or cotton options, prone to fraying at the seams.
However, as far as we could tell, this Rab model seems to be robust and well-made.
The liner comes with a stuff sack for easy storage and Rab also offers a cotton version of this product, which is significantly heavier at 340 grams.
For anyone that can splash out, this natural-fibre liner is soft, light and good-quality.
- Material: Silk and cotton blend
- Weight: 172 grams
Sea to Summit’s Silk Stretch Travel Liner is a premium option for anyone who wants a natural-feel liner that is as soft as it is light.
Made from AA grade, ripstop silk, this is a worthwhile investment if you want a sleeping bag liner that will last a long time. With double folded and reinforced seams, you can afford to thrash around without compromising the liner’s lifespan.
The bag is roomy, without being excessive and the fabric inserts are a good idea. The polyester/Lycra stretch gussets improve the life of the liner and allow you to move a bit more freely than those with rigid builds.
Our main gripe (other than the cost) is that the pillow cover is far too small so you only have silk under the top half of your head – a design flaw that we couldn’t get our head around.
On hot nights you could happily use the liner by itself or unzip your sleeping bag and lay it over you. So light that you’ll hardly notice it in your backpack, it is easy to stuff back into the zipper bag and the perfect companion for your next camping trip.
S2S’s Silk Stretch Travel Liner can be purchased in different shapes/sizes, including standard, traveller, mummy, long or even double.
- Material: Silk
- Weight: 135 grams
The Cocoon Silk Mummy Liner is a top of the range sleeping bag liner.
Though more expensive than other options, pure silk liners are incredibly lightweight, pack away to almost nothing and feel incredible against the skin.
Silk also responds well to changing temperatures – feeling cool in the summer and warm in the winter. If you don’t need it for extra warmth in your sleeping bag (as it will only provide a couple of degrees), this is a great year-round liner.
Similar to the Sea to Summit silk liner, Cocoon has used ripstop silk to boost the durability of this model. Woven with a grid-like structure of strong silk threads, the design is more resistant to tearing than regular silk.
Weighing in at second-lightest on our list, this liner is popular among mountaineers and hikers alike. Breathable, moisture-wicking and quick drying, the drawstring hood can be tightened to keep you warm or simply used as a pillow holder.
The liner is zip-free, which takes a bit of getting used to as you have to slide in and out of it. However, this is actually a bonus in terms of keeping weight to an absolute minimum and stops anything digging in to you or your sleeping mat at night.
Available in a range of different colours, Cocoon also manufacture a standard rectangular shaped sleeping bag liner.
What should you consider when buying a sleeping bag liner?
There are quite literally hundreds of sleeping bag liners on the market, ranging in material, warmth, price and quality.
What works for some, others may find uncomfortable.
Personal preference will go a long way in dictating your purchase, but below we have listed some key things to consider.
Like sleeping bags, liners come in a range of materials – some natural and others synthetic, some are better suited to winter and others for summer.
Silk liners are all natural and are both compact and breathable, and can be used year-round if paired with the right sleeping bag, or used on their own when hot.
Silk dries fast, doesn’t feel clammy if it gets moist and is naturally antimicrobial.
However, they are generally the most expensive and many people can’t justify that cost.
Cotton or polycotton liners are generally cheaper options, and though less breathable, they are far more durable.
Fleece, synthetic and thermal liners are designed for warmth and are typically the cheapest.
A quick overview of the pros of each type of material are as follows:
- Soft against the skin
- Excellent insulating properties
- Can help to protect against insect bites
- Soft to the touch
- Generally light to mid-weight
- Breathable (a higher cotton percentage will make it even moreso)
- Durable and easy to wash
- Provides extra warmth
- Cost effective
One of the main reasons for buying a liner is so that you don’t need to go through the hassle of washing your sleeping bag.
As such, make sure you’re investing in a liner that can be machine or hand-washed to minimise faff.
Shape and size
Sleeping bag liners are usually available in two different shapes – mummy and rectangular/envelope.
Mummy sleeping bags and liners are tapered towards the bottom, providing a closer fit and extra warmth, though some people might find them too constricting.
If you are planning to primarily use the liner with a technical sleeping bag, opt for mummy-shaped so that you don’t end up with bunching material.
Standard sleeping bag liners are rectangular in shape and designed to fit inside regular sleeping bags.
They are better suited to using as a standalone sheet on warm nights or as protection when travelling in hostels and bunkhouses.
Some sleeping bag liners are available in several sizes which differ by length but rarely in width – so choose the size according to your height.
A sleeping bag liner can add warmth to your sleeping bag, but it will be limited.
If you’re heading up a mountain or to do winter camping, you must ensure your sleeping bag and mat/pad have a high R-value and proper insulation.
Because liners must be thin enough to fit inside your bag, they are limited in terms of the heat they can add.
Typically, any liner that is over 180 grams will be noticeably warmer, and polyester is quick to warm up but doesn’t breathe.
It is therefore not a good option if you’re heading for warm or humid climates.
Some manufacturers claim that their liners will boost a sleeping bag’s warmth by up to 14 degrees but this should be taken with a pinch of salt.
The effectiveness of the liner depends on both the sleeping bag and the person in it.
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Last update on 2020-11-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API