A sleeping bag liner is an unglamorous piece of kit – but an essential one. It’ll protect your expensive sleeping bag from sweat, rips, scuffs and muddy camping stains, adding years to its life. And it’ll provide a bonus layer of warmth and comfort to your backcountry sleeping experience, whether you’re wild camping in the Lake District or bothying across Scotland.
In hot weather a liner can take the place of a sleeping bag altogether, providing a thin, airy cover that won’t be too stifling – particularly useful if you’re hostel-hopping across southeast Asia.
In colder climes, a liner will boost the warmth of your sleeping bag with an extra bit of snuggly cosiness – but take brands’ claims that it’ll “add a season” to your bag with a pinch of salt. The temperature uplift will be noticeable, but perhaps not that strong.
Another key selling point of the humble sleeping bag liner is that it’s easy to wash at home, meaning you won’t have to risk washing (and ruining) your down sleeping bag.
Silk liners are the lightest, most compact and (for some) the comfiest, but they are expensive. Cotton and polycotton liners are cheaper and slightly heavier and bulkier, yet still cosy – akin to your bedsheets at home – while fleece-lined liners are the warmest.
For wild camping and long-distance walking, silk is the best choice. For overseas backpacking, a simple cotton liner should suffice, or for wintry adventures, a fleece-lined liner will provide the maximum temperature boost.
Some liners are rectangular, others have a mummy shape – it’s best to choose one that’ll match the profile and measurements of your sleeping bag to avoid excess fabric bunching up.
Sadly, there were no mountains in our field tests. Due to coronavirus restrictions, we camped in the wilderness of the back garden. Yet several nights under canvas still enabled us to test a broad spectrum of sleeping bag liners to suit all needs, and we’ve graded them in terms of performance, functionality, design and price.
Here are the results – our top sleeping bag liners that’ll guarantee a good night’s sleep, whether you’re in a tent, campervan or far-flung backpacker hostel.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.