“Pack lightly.” This is something you’ll read in almost every article talking about travel tips. It sounds easy, but leaving behind a lot of personal stuff behind is like stepping beyond one’s comfort zone “bare” and vulnerable. It takes wisdom and sensibility to decide what to pack in your limited luggage and what to leave. You are advised to give priority to essentials and those things that can serve dual or triple purposes.
If you don’t plan to go camping, “ditch the sleeping bag, just pack a silk liner instead,” says David Dean in the article What Travelers Need to Look for in a Sleeping Bag Liner posted in About Travel – Travel Tech and Gear Section. If you are planning to stay outdoors, you can just rent camping gear including a sleeping bag; that will certainly be more convenient than go lugging the gear all the way from home, to the plane and to the campsite. If you are not sleeping outdoors, there is no need for a sleeping bag since hotel beds are more comfortable anyway. If there is anything worth traveling with, it is a sleeping bag liner.
David Dean says…
“A sleeping bag liner, on the other hand, has accompanied me on every trip. It packs up into a tiny ball, and is so light I don’t even notice it’s in my bag. It’s more than enough bedding for warm climates, and adds extra insulation if you do happen to get cold at night. It also serves as protection against bed bugs, mosquitoes and other insects while I sleep, which more than justifies its inclusion by itself.
If you don’t have one and buying is something you’re planning to do, here are a few pointers from Dean:
- Silk Is Best: Cotton liners are inexpensive and easier to wash, but they are warm, and easily become damp and smelly. They also dry longer, which is a con if you are constantly moving. The best would be silk liners. While more costly, they are less bulky, lighter, dry fast, breathable and wash easily.
- Insecticide Is Better Than Bug Bites: There are Permethrin-treated liners that can last for at least 10 washes; the treatment intends to keep bugs and mosquitoes away. Make sure that you are not allergic to this insecticide before a sleeping bad liner treated with Permethrin. This is useful if you are traveling to exotic destinations where malaria and dengue are concerns.
- Rectangles Are Where It’s At: If you are interested to use your liner sans the sleeping bag, go for the type that is rectangular. This offers more “leg room” in the bottom part. The other type is “mummy” type” where the space at the bottom is narrower and tighter than the top.
Dean recommends two manufacturers and models of silk sleeping bag and these are:
- Sea to Summit Premium Silk Travel Liner: It is light, with an inbuilt pillow liner and has stretch panels along the seams making it move when you stretch and move about while asleep.
- Cocoon Insect Shield Travel Sheet: This is a rectangle type that is also light and with inbuilt insect protection. It is available in silk and cotton.
Do you really need a sleeping bag liner? If you are not convinced, check out what Knowledge Ninja has to say in this article Why You Need A Sleeping Bag Liner – Silk, Fleece, Cotton and More published in HubPages. Here are a few reasons why it is good to have one when you have the itch for travel:
- More Than Just A Fitted Sheet: The liner works like a fitted sheet. It is versatile and it easily fits in your backpack being lightweight.
- Extra Warmth: A good liner can easily add warmth to your sleeping bag. It provides an extra layer of warmth and comfort under a chilly weather.
- Get More From Your Gear: It protects your sleeping bag extending its life. Being lighter it is easier to wash than the sleeping bag so keeping it clean doesn’t pose any problem even when collecting dirt and sweat when you are in a destination where the weather is warm.
- Lighten the Load: It makes up for a lighter load. Instead of packing a heavier sleeping bag, a sleeping liner is lighter and won’t take up much space in your bag. You can put it on top of a bed or surface to give you a fresh and clean sleeping surface outdoors or on top of a hotel bed.
For travelers who would like to get off the beaten tracks from time to time, it is practical to keep a sleeping bag liner stashed in your backpack. Grab one; pick something that meets your needs and have a great night sleeping under the stars or on a couch on a train with more comfort.