Yes, a sleeping bag liner can add warmth, specifically about 10 degrees, but it also does so much more! Let’s explore how a sleeping bag liner can add warmth to your sleeping bag as well as some other areas they are helpful. We could leave it there, but some more explanation is definitely needed.
All sleeping bag liners will add warmth, and that’s because someone specifically designed them to fulfill that purpose. However, just how much warmer you’ll be depending on several things. First, the sleeping bag you have, second, the material of the liner, and third, whether it’s even strictly necessary to use a liner depending on the situation you are in. But don’t worry, we’ll cover all that and more below!
What A Sleeping Bag Liner Does
The first thing to think of when you’re considering purchasing a sleeping bag liner is the sleeping bag you want to use it for. Manufacturer’s of sleeping bags are clever people, and they don’t want to miss out on a chance to impress their customers. They design many sleeping bags to keep warmth in nowadays, with no liner at all. Yes, adding a liner will still make you warmer, of course, but if your sleeping bag is working extra hard to keep the warmth in anyway (and you’ve probably paid extra to have that luxury) then you could probably get away with just the bag and forget the liner.
The likelihood is, however, you’ve already tried your sleeping bag on its own, and it isn’t warm enough – or else, why would you be here? Well, our next section will tell you everything you need to know about sleeping bag liners.
Not All Sleeping Bag Liners Are Created The Same
All liners are not made equal – or less philosophically put, how much warmth your liner is going to provide will depend almost entirely on the material that it is made of. Let’s take silk, for example. Silk liners are everywhere and are probably one of the more readily available liner options to campers considering how cheap and accessible they are. However, in terms of the actual level of warmth they provide, you’ll probably only benefit from an extra 5 degrees F.
Compare that to a thermal synthetic liner though, and you’re looking at an additional 25 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s quite the difference, but so to is the price. There are other liners available, but silk is generally seen as a liner that will provide the least amount of heat, and thermal synthetic liners generally give the most, everything else will fall somewhere in between. That might leave you wondering why they bother making silk liners at all then, if they don’t provide that much extra heat. Well, that’s where considering the situation you are in comes into play!
Do You Really Need One?
Answering this question largely depends on what you’re doing. If you’re camping on a lovely campsite that you can drive to and pack extra blankets and sweaters in your car, then you might just be better off leaving the liner at home. But, if you’re heading out into the wilderness with nothing but your camping gear and a backpack, then a liner isn’t just recommended, but potentially essential depending on how much the temperature drops at night where you’re exploring.
Also bear in mind that liners aren’t just about warmth. Silk liners continue to be popular simply because they add a little more comfort, are easier to wash than a sleeping bag, and keep your bag clean. The extra 5 degrees heat is just an added bonus to most. So ask yourself, do you really need one? If you’re unsure, think about the temperatures at night time, how susceptible you are to feeling the cold, and whether other benefits such as cleanliness and comfort might actually be worth bringing along a liner for anyway. If you’re still unsure, the next section might help make up your mind.
Why A Sleeping Bag Liner Might Be Beneficial
Obviously, there’s the warmth factor. We’ve already established that all liners will add some degree of warmth to your sleeping bag, but some simply add more than others. But there are other factors to consider too. How light do you need your liner to be? If you’re trekking, then bringing along thick, heavier cotton liners probably isn’t a great idea. A lighter, more compact option, like microfiber or thermal synthetic liner, might be best. REI has done a great job of helping you choose a good liner that works for you, check out their guide here.
Is cleanliness a concern? Keeping your sleeping bag cleaner will prolong its life, and the liner itself can always be taken out and washed. If you are more concerned about cleanliness than warmth, then a silk option is best. But don’t ignore the temperatures or you might find yourself feeling cold during the night with just a silk liner to keep you company!
Whatever you decide, deciding on the perfect sleeping bag liner depends on more than just how much warmth it can add. All of them will to varying degrees, so then ask yourself what other benefits you’d like it to have too. Answer that and you’ll have the perfect bag liner for warmth, and everything else besides!