I am not generally someone who embraces luxury when it is heavy or in any way unnecessary. I don’t pack a french press into the backcountry or a full towel for any kind of travel. The wonderful thing about the Sea to Summit Silk Liner is that it doesn’t break my rule. It serves a myriad of purposes without adding an unreasonable amount of bulk or weight. Technically, I don’t need it. Here is why I bring it:
- A sleeping bag liner increases the temperature rating on any sleeping bag. Liners made of Polarmax fabric can increase a bags temperature rating by at least 10-15 degrees. Silk liners are closer to 5-10 degrees, in my experience. This can make the difference between a cold night’s sleep and a comfortable night’s sleep.
- On hot nights, when you definitely don’t need that added 5-10 degrees of warmth in your bag, you can use your sleep sack as a standalone sleeping bag. On countless occasions, in a variety of temperatures, I have been too exhausted to take out my tightly packed sleeping bag and have comfortably slept on the ground with my sleep sack. You can also do the same thing in hostels. Hostel bedding is not necessarily known for its supreme comfort, while silk is. Why sleep on rough cotton when you can enjoy a silky smooth night’s sleep?
- Versatility. I am generally a very hot sleeper, which is why I sleep with a quilt instead of a mummy bag. I initially discovered sleep sacks when I still used a mummy bag, but have found them way more useful when paired with a quilt. With either style of sleeping bag, you can vent heat by unzipping the top of your bag and only covering yourself with your sleep sack. With a quilt, I like to leave the bottom open and use it as a blanket over me while I am wrapped up in my sleep sack. It makes it very easy to regulate your temperature.
- Silk feels glorious. Anyone who would choose to sleep in a bare sleeping bag having spent time in a silk liner is clinically insane. Realistically, plenty of people are totally OK with sleeping with their skin in direct contact with the interior of their sleeping bag. Personally, I have nothing against it, but slipping into a silk-lined sleeping bag at the end of a long day is simply divine.
- Potentially one of the most important benefits for me on extended trips is the ability of silk to avoid the dreaded stank. The silk acts as an anti-microbial barrier between you and your synthetic bag interior. As we all know, synthetics can smell real bad after a few good sweats. Imagine how bad a sleeping bag can smell after a week or two in the backcountry? Gnarly. I have spent a month sleeping in my sleep sack without washing it, or myself, and haven’t been able to smell my sleeping bag afterwards. The liner absorbs and mitigates all that trail stench. Another added bonus is that it protects the feathers in your down bag from your sweat. To me, these benefits alone are enough to warrant adding this sleep sack to any packing list.
The Sea to Summit sleep sack is not cheap, retailing for close to $75.00, but I will never travel without mine. Weighing in at 4.6 ounces, I’ve made peace with the extra ounces because I know how the ounce to comfort ratio is off the charts.
The Bare Bones
Product Name: Sea to Summit Silk 100% Silk Sleeping Bag Liner
Company: Sea to Summit
Materials: 100% ripstop silk, polyester/lycra stitching
Weight: 4.6 oz
Recommended Uses: Backpacking, car camping, travel