Q:

What's the best sleeping bag liner on the market?

We plan to visit friends for a day or two at a time and would like to get sleeping bag liners to use instead of sheets. We also want something to use as a light sleeping bag when our 15 degree bags are too much. Can you compare the silk, cotton, fleece, and synthetic liners on the market? Diane Portland, Oregon

Sep 28, 2007
Outside
Outside Magazine
Cocoon Ripstop Silk Bag Liner

Cocoon Ripstop Silk Bag Liner

A:

Sure, I can do that. Silk sleeping bag liners are the nicest—they’re soft, compact, add a little warmth to a sleeping bag or bed, and can be used as a stand-alone sleep cover in very warm climates. They also wick moisture and dry quickly. A good example is the Cocoon Ripstop Silk Bag Liner/Travel Sheet, which sells for $65 (cocoon.at).

Cotton liners work pretty well for everyday use. They’re not as warm or slinky-feeling as silk, and in damp climates they’re more apt to stay damp because cotton can absorb a lot of water. The upside is that cotton liners are easily washable, and they’re inexpensive. Cocoon’s cotton version of its silk bag liner goes for $20.

Wool is popping up everywhere, and you now can purchase a Merino wool bag liner from REI for $65 (rei.com). This might be a really good choice—wool wicks moisture well, is very comfortable, breathes well, and it’s washable. Along with the silk liner, this would be one of the nicest ones to have.

There are, of course, several synthetics. Those such as CoolMax ($40 from Cocoon) would be comparable to silk in feel and utility. I like CoolMax a lot. Kelty’s fleece liners ($40; kelty.com) are the warmest of the bunch, adding 15 degrees or so to sleeping bag or bed warmth. They’re also the bulkiest. But fleece does wash well and feels nice against the skin.

As I said, I like silk. Wool would be a very close second choice, especially if a little more warmth is desired. The rest all work well, but just aren’t quite as luxe.

Hope that helps!

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