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View Full Version : Sleeping Bag Liner vs Pair of Tights



Sidetrail
03-03-2017, 17:41
I have a S2S sleeping bag liner for use with my ZPacks 30 degree bag. I have it for two reasons. First to add warmth, maybe 5 degrees? And second, to keep my bag a little cleaner so that I don't have to wash it on my thru hike (or as often). It weighs 8.5 oz. So the question is should I skip the liner and just add a 4 oz pair of long underwear? The long underwear coupled with a light top layer would probably be warmer than the liner. I could also wear them on those days when its a little too cold for shorts but to warm for my convertible pants. If the above is true, then is the idea of keeping the inside of my bag cleaner really an issue? I am leaving on my thru hike on April 5th so it shouldn't be cold at night for very long. What do you think?

Deadeye
03-03-2017, 18:20
well... you can't wear the bag liner while doing laundry

Deadeye
03-03-2017, 18:22
but for a more helpful response, the bag liner isn't as versatile as 8.5 ounces of other choices

Slo-go'en
03-03-2017, 18:22
I like my bag liner and my tights, I carry both.

egilbe
03-03-2017, 19:14
I wear tights and/or a baselayer, but no silly sleeping bag liners. Never really saw the point in them when bag ratings are posted assuming one is wearing base layers. Just buy a warmer bag.

B.j. Clark
03-03-2017, 20:28
The thermal baselayer is definitely more versatile, and for me more comfortable. I sleep cold so the 30 degree bag without multiple layers would be an issue. Last year most nights in April and May were in the 35-45 degree range. Low was 22 degrees with a heavy wind in the Smokies in mid May.

Hikingjim
03-03-2017, 22:45
You can keep your bag clean by wearing your sleeping clothes in it instead of your filth from the day. You don't need a liner, imo
Depending on your hike timing, at some point you might need base layers + down jacket or something to extend that bag comfort rating

hyperhiker
03-03-2017, 23:12
I hate bag liners. They twist and make it difficult to reach/use your zipper. Sleep clothes will typically be lighter and more versatile.

Miner
03-03-2017, 23:26
When people talk about using a sleeping bag liner, I automatically assume they are already using thermals and the liner is for extra warmth above that. You can't wear a sleeping bag liner when it's a cold morning.

Dogwood
03-04-2017, 00:53
It's my assertion based on my own experience you'll get greater warmth from a S2S 4.8 oz ripstop silk mummy liner w/ hood - with the hood tied somewhat loosely closed around the head and shoulders to prevent escaping already body warmed air inside from escaping and losing thermal loss through the head area(wearing a beanie/sherpa type hat/balaclava, etc also helps but the liner hood adds to the warmth with a very marginal hood wt hit) - than any 4 oz thermal bottoms. This S2S model has stretchable polyester/lycra side panels that move when I turn and toss as a rotisserie side to side all night sleeper. PLUS, ripstop silk has less friction with the inside of taffeta or nylon lined sleeping bags/quilts so has less inclination to bind one up as they toss and turn then some other liner materials like cotton that liners are made from.

I find a Ul silk liner a useful UL tool extending the comfortable sleep system temp range. This doesn't not mean I don't also use sleeping layers! It's a layered sleep system to which I adhere. It sounds like you are doing the same. I believe with the heavier liners there are more varietal and lighter wt approaches to achieving the warmth in amended core sleep systems. But for adding 5-7 degrees a 4.8 oz wt hit is a wt penalty I'm willing to occasionally take to extend those several degrees to the sleep system while addressing other things like drafts in a quilt, keeping the UL quilt/bag clean, and increasing durability of the lightest wt inner bag/quilt interior liner fabrics. I also don't relegate a liner to just sleeping.

ZP's wispy .7 Ventum interior liner can benefit IMO from some added protection and durability that a liner could serve. If your ZP 30* bag doesn't have a draft tube, zip?, and your accustomed to extending this bag well below its temp rating a liner can also help. Plus, the hooded silk mummy liner is part of the hood/headwear warming system in your hoodless sleeping bag. This is an option.

FWIW I don't recognize a sleeping liner as a piece just for sleeping warmth. Many times I've used, had to, a silk liner as a Arab Shemagh Keffiyeh type shawl as a torso layer. It's also what I typically wear at the laundromat as a toga when everything else being carried is being washed. This is multi use UL backpacking philosophy.

http://alexnld.com/product/unisex-women-men-army-military-tactical-arab-shemagh-keffiyeh-tassel-shawl-wrap-stole-scarf/?gclid=CPmsmMf8u9ICFdgDgQoddP0E7A

This is one approach that has worked for me in my experiences extending warmth to sleep systems. It is not the only approach.

KDogg
03-04-2017, 02:25
I carried a bag liner after VA to keep my bag clean. It did add a bit of warmth but nothing to plan for. Every time I washed clothes, I washed the liner too. Kept my bag from getting so filthy. My particular liner was permethrin treated. Not sure if it really made a difference but I didn't hurt.

TX Aggie
03-04-2017, 10:03
I've never liked tight thermals for sleeping, I've always preferred using a woobie (poncho liner, with in this case is essentially a liner) or loose fitting polypropylene (yes, I know: I'm behind the times)

The point is: thermals always left me with cold spots in my bag. When using looser clothes or a liner, the warmth from my torso would help warm up my feet better than if I wore typical snug fitting base layers and socks.

Just what works for me.


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-Rush-
03-05-2017, 12:50
UA ColdGear Compression Leggings are what I prefer. Far better than a liner and more useful.

Dogwood
03-05-2017, 13:48
UA ColdGear Compression Leggings are what I prefer. Far better than a liner and more useful.

Explain better Rush? R U saying those compression leggings are going to offer as much warmth as a 4.8 oz silk liner w' hood that is cinched up that encloses the whole body and helps warm the entire air space inside a sleeping bag or quilt?

I'm not against compression tights. I have Drskin and 2XU versions for running and possibly day(summiting, etc) or weekend backpacking jaunts in colder weather but they weigh about or more than the specific silk liner I stated and does not offer as much warmth in a sleeping bag than the liner.

TX Aggie
03-05-2017, 18:14
Explain better Rush? R U saying those compression leggings are going to offer as much warmth as a 4.8 oz silk liner w' hood that is cinched up that encloses the whole body and helps warm the entire air space inside a sleeping bag or quilt?

I'm not against compression tights. I have Drskin and 2XU versions for running and possibly day(summiting, etc) or weekend backpacking jaunts in colder weather but they weigh about or more than the specific silk liner I stated and does not offer as much warmth in a sleeping bag than the liner.

I agree. I love UA Cold Gear when I'm active, but compression leggings while I'm sleeping just means less blood getting down to my feet. I put off decent heat, but my feet always seem to be cold, especially in socks which is why I like loose fitting sleep clothes or a liner. I have used silk thermals, and I still think they are highly underrated.

But if it works him then it works.

Dogwood
03-05-2017, 19:16
I would think keeping more blood in your core with compression bottoms that are 3/4 or 1/2 length while addressing the foot warmth with some warm socks or down UL booties might work very well for warmth. I was more asking Rush about his conclusions because I've experienced something different. I want to know what works for others but I need to know under what circumstances, within what context.

TX Aggie
03-05-2017, 19:39
I would think keeping more blood in your core with compression bottoms that are 3/4 or 1/2 length while addressing the foot warmth with some warm socks or down UL booties might work very well for warmth. I was more asking Rush about his conclusions because I've experienced something different. I want to know what works for others but I need to know under what circumstances, within what context.

In theory this makes sense, but in practical use I've found this doesn't work (for me).

Your core will always be warmer, period. The difference is whether you tend to have warmer or cooler extremities. I camped a lot as a kid, then as a job in the Army. I've spent many nights in sub-freezing temps in less than ideal tentage. Especially in the Army, they initially taught us to layer up and use polypropylene inside our bags. While that worked, my feet always seemed to be cold. Later I met up with some guys who had spent time in 10th Mountain and discovered many wear nothing but their boxers/briefs. They said the key is to crate space within your bag itself instead of gathering it in tight. It takes a few more minutes to warm up in your bag, but your core will warm up the space in the bag surrounding you torso. Your breathing will then naturally help circulate the warmth throughout the full bag, even down to your feet. As you warm up the full bag, this also helps to dilate your leg vessels, which further radiates heat into the bag.
Contrary, when you wear tight, restrictive clothing, your body heats up the clothing first, and only locally. You will eventually warm up the bag, but it will take much longer and the interior won't get as warm. The real problem is with reduced circulation from the compression which only amplifies the local cold spots due to decreased circulation.

Again, this is just my experience. I was skeptical at first as well, but it completely changed my sleeping experience outside.

HeartFire
03-05-2017, 20:57
The difference between using a liner and a base layer is the pockets of WARM air that get trapped inside the liner. It's these air pockets that aid in insulation and warmth. There is no air pocket between you and the base layer which is skin tight.

Odd Man Out
03-05-2017, 21:30
well... you can't wear the bag liner while doing laundry

Technically, you can. But maybe you don't want to?

JC13
03-05-2017, 22:25
I looked it up as I have always heard compression has the complete opposite effect. Hence diabetic compression socks and UA recovery compression gear.
http://www.fleetfeethartford.com/sports-medicine/sports-medicine-corner/compression

Dogwood
03-05-2017, 23:17
With some creativity one can use a silk liner for more than sleeping. I wrap one into a toga at the laundromat. Silky doesn't get as dirty as fast as hiking clothing so less need to wash it every laundromat trip.

-Rush-
03-06-2017, 18:21
Explain better Rush? R U saying those compression leggings are going to offer as much warmth as a 4.8 oz silk liner w' hood that is cinched up that encloses the whole body and helps warm the entire air space inside a sleeping bag or quilt?

I'm not against compression tights. I have Drskin and 2XU versions for running and possibly day(summiting, etc) or weekend backpacking jaunts in colder weather but they weigh about or more than the specific silk liner I stated and does not offer as much warmth in a sleeping bag than the liner.

This is just my opinion and my preference, and I'm not a fan of liners. I have used a sleeping bag liner as a bag replacement in warmer weather. Outside of that, I use a properly rated bag for the conditions, so there's no need for a liner to add extra warmth. I prefer the leggings because I like to carry something multipurpose that I use frequently, and if needed I'd wear them in the bag as well.

Drum Man
03-06-2017, 18:42
I've never tried a liner. I don't think I would like that set up. It would probably twist up a lot. I don't like to feel bound up. Especially my feet.

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evyck da fleet
03-06-2017, 19:22
I carried both at the start of my hike. Sent the tights home with winter gear and used the bag liner to keep my bag clean on the warmer nights. It also functioned as a light bag in the summer with my regular bag as more of a quilt for if and when it got cold in the wee hours. But I like to carry extra stuff

George
03-06-2017, 22:02
for a fashion statement I find the sleeping bag liner does better with my figure than tights - your results may vary

AlyontheAT2016
03-07-2017, 16:58
I started my thru last year on April 23, and I had plenty of cold nights. Especially in the Smokies. I used both a bag liner and leggings to sleep in. By the time I got to Virginia, I didn't wear my leggings anymore, but I still used the liner. Looking back, I probably could have done without a liner at all, just to save weight. Everything gets dirty eventually. There's no stopping that. I'd rather have to wash my sleeping bag at some point than carry extra weight. But starting out, the liner was kind of nice to have for cold nights.

handlebar
03-07-2017, 21:32
I use the S2S silk mummy liner as well. By providing a barrier for body oils and dirt, it tends to help my down bag maintain its loft. YMMV. For 3 season hiking (Apr-Oct in the East south of NY), I no longer carry my lightweight wool long underwear, only the tops. Never used the liner as a toga while doing laundry, but have used my tarp for that purpose when I left my rain wrap behind when I did the AZT.

Dogwood
03-07-2017, 23:12
A matchbook sized hand towel would be big enough for you. But for us BIG guys we need manly man size fabrics to cover up. :D

Wyoming
03-08-2017, 09:55
First. Unless you are under doctors orders do NOT wear compression leggings when sleeping. This is not healthy as it can cause significant swelling. While walking they are a huge benefit for everyone (though there is no requirement). As I got older I reached the point after a long day that I would have very bad leg cramps while sitting in camp or around the house and especially when sleeping. After a knowledgeable friend (as in Div 1A athletic trainer) told me to try compression sleeves I was cured. I can hike 30+ miles in a day and have no cramps at all.

Re: the liner base layer thingy.

I have done this both ways and there is a argument for going either way so it is really personal preference.

On the AT I carried a 40deg bag and a liner silk wt. And a silk wt base layer. The OP's liner is hugely heavy at over 1/2 lb (my bag weighed a lb) and his base layer bottoms at 4 oz is a little heavy as well.

As it warmed up over the weeks I stopped using the base layer in the bag and just used the liner (I also carry a pair of sleeping socks which are not worn during the day). When it was warmer still I mailed the bag home and slept in the base layer in the liner. When I got to the White's I had the bag mailed back to me.

I never hike without a silk weight base layer in the pack.

I never wash the bag on a trip. If you wear a base layer or use a liner it is not necessary. In fact my 40deg bag has never been washed and it is 12 yrs old now (though it has been soaking wet a few times so that is sort of washed I guess). When I get home it gets hung in the garage for several weeks and set in the sun and turned inside out and back for a couple of days. Still nice and fluffy and does not stink.

If you are going to be on a colder trail like the PCT or CDT you will need a warmer bag than above obviously. When on those trails I do not carry a liner and just use a base layer and add my down jacket if I get chilly - and I carry a much warmer bag of course.

QiWiz
03-08-2017, 13:09
I prefer something like tights as I get tangled up in a bag liner.

Longboysfan
03-10-2017, 17:00
I like my bag liner and my tights, I carry both.

Yes. Both.

ldsailor
03-13-2017, 19:25
Last year starting from Springer, my 30 degree bag did not do the trick (keep me warm) even with my long underwear, and a couple of layers. I bought a bag liner at Neels Gap and it made all the difference. I was comfortable sleeping after that even when the temperature got into the mid 20's at night.

Tipi Walter
03-13-2017, 19:34
You can keep your bag clean by wearing your sleeping clothes in it instead of your filth from the day. You don't need a liner, imo
Depending on your hike timing, at some point you might need base layers + down jacket or something to extend that bag comfort rating

I agree. My sleeping clothes work as a liner and to keep my bag cleaner over time.


I hate bag liners. They twist and make it difficult to reach/use your zipper. Sleep clothes will typically be lighter and more versatile.

Everyone's different, but this is exactly true for me. Liners don't work for me cuz I toss and turn too much. In fact, I can't stand zipping up in mummy mode unless it's very cold. My -15F WM bag is purposely overkill so I won't have to zip up---but have this option when the temps hit 5F or 0F or -10F.

The worst is zipping up your mummy bag inside a zipped up bivy sack---and waking up at 3am in a suffocating panic because one zipper is behind your left ear and the other zipper is at the back of your neck.

Lyle
03-13-2017, 19:43
I prefer the bag liner.

- Keeps your dirty feet off the bag, as well as your torso, arms, neck, and possibly hair/face. Pair of long johns doesn't keep all the dirt from your sleeping bag.

- When using the sleeping bag as a quilt, it keeps cold drafts from entering and chilling you when you roll over.

- Can be used independently of the sleeping bag a very warm nights, when you just need a little something.

- Can be used in the hostels as a sleep sack when the sleeping bag would be too warm. You get to sleep in your own dirt, not that of everyone who slept on that mattress before you.

- A silk liner is only about 5 oz and packs down MUCH smaller than long johns.

rafe
03-13-2017, 19:47
Tights here, no liner. I've got a silk top/bottom for summer that weighs maybe 4 oz. total. In colder seasons, a second base layer.

Whatever base layer you sleep in can't be the one you wear hiking. That won't work. It has to be clean and in the "always-dry" part of your pack. Reserved for lounging at camp and for sleeping. (Ditto for socks you wear while sleeping.)

Dogwood
03-13-2017, 20:29
Ready for it? ANNND, the consensus is there is no consensus...just some shart to mull over.

PennyPincher
03-13-2017, 21:32
sounds like a heavy bag liner. Mine weighs 4oz. I also have very light weight silk long johns. haven't really weighed them. But that's what I sleep in and I wear shorts over them if I have to. I have only brought my bag liner once on a trip. It is actually huge for me so I was thinking about taking it to a tailor shop and have them shorten it for me.

ScareBear
03-13-2017, 21:49
Don't shart in your sleeping bag. With or without tights on. Just sayin...

TX Aggie
03-13-2017, 23:05
Don't shart in your sleeping bag. With or without tights on. Just sayin...

Especially if it's from Mexican food.

ShelterLeopard
03-14-2017, 00:39
I almost always wear suuuuper thin long johns (thicker in winter) because I tend to sweat if there's nothing between my skin and my bag. And it keeps my bag cleaner. But I can't stand liners, they always bunch up.

Tangor
03-14-2017, 02:56
I find the bag liner to be a very versatile piece of gear. You can wear it like a kilt in camp or laundromat. I hammock camp and use a Borah gear tarp as a rain fly. On warm nights my tarp, pad and liner will make a nice alternative when I want to sleep out. All being said, I also have a pair of REI Co-Op merino wool tights that aren't as versatile....I mean they are just base layer leg coverings....but they are comfy and can be slept in, hiked in, whatever.

TL;DR Just take both on a shakedown hike. Or take them both to Springer. From what I gather people are dropping all kinds of gear in the first few days anyway. Its normal.

Dogwood
03-14-2017, 10:33
Tangor finely got around to saying it. It doesn't have to be a polarizing bad vs good, duality of only two opposing options, or a dichotomy. Everything in life does NOT have to be perceived in that limiting way. Take both, a liner and thermal bottoms/tights, or take none at all or find some other solution. Options. No right way. Differences approaches work for different folks. :)

TX Aggie
03-14-2017, 14:34
Tangor finely got around to saying it. It doesn't have to be a polarizing bad vs good, duality of only two opposing options, or a dichotomy. Everything in life does NOT have to be perceived in that limiting way. Take both, a liner and thermal bottoms/tights, or take none at all or find some other solution. Options. No right way. Differences approaches work for different folks. :)

Yup. Find what works for you, main thing is you've seen that both are viable options.

Mugthumper
03-16-2017, 13:28
I am not a fan of sleeping bag liners.

I am however a huge fan of Terramar Thermasilk thermals. It has been a couple years since I weighed mine but if i recall correctly my set of top and bottoms weigh somewhere between 6-7 ounces. They are thin so you are not going to gain a substantial amount of warmth but they do reduce the nip in the air on chilly mornings. They also allow me to slide and squirm around easier while I try to get comfortable without getting all twisted up like a bag liner would. This works whether in my hammock or tent. But most importantly they keep my quilts and sleeping bags clean. Usually accompanying them is a thin pair of loose fitting sock liners which I use to reduce the transfer of foot crud. On short strips with no other clothing included I use a tiny stuff sack and everything weighs less than 8oz. Also in unexpected cold weather or some sort of emergency I wouldn't think twice about wearing them under my hiking pants while I hike. You can't do that with a bag liner.