The best sleeping bag liner
When you're camping, getting comfortable enough for a good night's sleep in your sleeping bag can be tough. Often, it's just too cold or too warm to fall and stay asleep. If you camp in multiple seasons, it can also get pricey to buy a sleeping bag for every temperature. With a sleeping bag liner, you can instantly make your sleeping bag warmer in cold weather, so chattering teeth don't keep you up at night. In warmer weather, the liner may be all you need to stay cool and comfortable on a hot night.
Our buying guide can help you find the best sleeping bag liner for your next camping trip. At the end, we've included several specific product recommendations, such as our top choice from Outry, which features a comfy, lightweight material that holds up well to regular use.
Considerations when choosing sleeping bag liners
When you're shopping for a sleeping bag liner, you can choose from two main types: rectangular and mummy. Most sleeping bags are rectangular, so a standard rectangular liner fits correctly. A rectangular liner also works well for use on its own in warm weather.
Some sleeping bags feature a mummy design which is narrower at the bottom than at the top to help trap heat. A rectangular liner won't fit inside a mummy sleeping bag, so you need a specially designed mummy liner. However, mummy sleeping bag liners fit in most rectangular sleeping bags.
Sleeping bag liners are typically made of one of the following materials:
Cotton liners feel a lot like regular sheets and are pretty durable. They're breathable, so they can keep you cool in warmer weather. They work well for use on top of a sleeping bag or on their own.
Polyester liners are incredibly thin but still keep you warm because polyester doesn't breathe as well as cotton. They're also extremely lightweight for easy packing.
Microfiber fleece liners are usually the warmest liners, so they work well for cold weather. They're incredibly soft, but they're heavier and bulkier than other liner materials.
Silk liners are extremely lightweight and easy to pack. They can keep you warm in cold weather but still breathe enough to keep you cool in hot weather.
Sleeping bag liners come in various sizes. Take your height into consideration when you're choosing a size. Liners are usually measured in inches, so divide the length by 12 to see how many feet it can cover. For example, if you're under 6 feet, a liner that's 72 inches long is probably large enough for you.
The weight of a sleeping bag liner matters, because it determines how easy the liner is to pack and carry. Most liners weigh less than 1 1/2 pounds, and the heaviest liners are typically under 2 pounds. You want the lightest liner possible for hiking and backpacking, which generally means a polyester option.
Some sleeping bag liners have a pocket to hold your pillow. This not only prevents your pillow from getting dirty, it also keeps your pillow from shifting around during the night.
A sleeping bag liner's closures determine how much it can open. Those with Velcro closures usually open just halfway down one side, but those with zippers can unzip fully to lay flat. Liners with zippers can sometimes be zipped together to accommodate two people.
You can find sleeping bag liners in a wide variety of colors, making it easy to find an option that matches your sleeping bag and other camping gear.
Sleeping bag liners cost between $17 and $23. This includes most cotton and polyester liners, but if you're willing to spend more than $23, you can find options made of microfleece or silk and specially designed mummy liners.
Q. What are the benefits of a sleeping bag liner?
A. A sleeping bag liner can help boost the warmth of your sleeping bag for camping in colder weather. It also prevents your sleeping bag from getting dirty by keeping dirt and body oils contained in the liner. You only need to wash the liner afterward, which is easier to clean than a sleeping bag.
Q. Can I use a sleeping bag liner on its own?
A. Yes, you can. It may actually be a better option than your sleeping bag in warmer weather if you tend to get hot at night. Unzip the liner and use it like a sheet while laying on top of your sleeping bag.
Sleeping bag liners we recommend
Best of the best: Outry's Travel and Camping Sheet
Our take: A liner made with 100% extra-soft cotton and perfectly sized to fit even on a couch.
What we like: Includes a carrying bag. Features a pocket for a full-size pillow. Material is lightweight but holds up well to regular camping.
What we dislike: Doesn't include any instructions for use or care.
Best bang for your buck: Osage River's Microfiber Fleece Sleeping Bag Liner
Our take: A budget-friendly microfiber liner that provides plenty of warmth for camping in cooler weather.
What we like: Can also be used as a blanket when unzipped. Microfiber fleece is very soft. Works well for camping in the fall but isn't too hot for spring.
What we dislike: Material sometimes causes static electricity.
Our take: A thin, lightweight liner that doubles as a sleeping bag for summer camping.
What we like: Made with a soft fleece material that's extremely comfortable. Unzips fully to lay flat. Can be used on its own.
What we dislike: Can cause clothing to get twisted when you're sleeping.
Jennifer Blair is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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