I had debated a liner for my sleeping bag for a while. After doing some research I had decided that I wanted to get one, maybe not so much for warmth (at first), but rather to keep my sleeping bag clean. (I do bring designated sleep clothes also to help with keeping the bag clean also.) So now I just had to figure out where I was going to get it from. I was leaning towards the Sea To Summit liners, but then a respected forum member had suggested the Jag Bag silk liner. After looking onto them I thought it would be a good option, and it was also less expensive than the other liners I had looked at.
So I ordered one. There are quite a few different options as for what shape you can get it in, and even still if you don’t see what you want you can get in touch with them and they will custom make your liner just the way you want it! Also, there are 2 different grades of silk that you can get your liners in: Fine silk, and Endura silk. The Endura silk is a heavier silk, so it will weigh more than the fine silk, but it will also stand up to more abuse than the fine silk, plus it will add more warmth than the fine silk. Also, the liners are available as either undyed (white) or dyed (blue / violet or multicolored). Dyed does add to the price, but only slightly. All the liners come with matching stuff sacks, and all orders include free 1st class air mail freight worldwide. (This is a good thing because Jag bag is located in New Zealand and all products are shipped from the same place.) Also, from reading the FAQ section on the Jag Bag site, according to previous customers, the Endura silk liners can add an additional 10 F to the bag rating. It does not state an amount for the fine silk liners. (This should probably not be relied on though – just a good to know kind of thing.)
I purchased the Hi Tech Mummy in the fine silk, and dyed multicolored. (I did not want the white because I am afraid that it would begin to look really dirty really fast.) I was thinking it would take a good two weeks to get to me since it was coming from New Zealand, but it was actually here in 1 week exactly. It came in a simple tyvek mail bag via USPS. Opening the mail bag up, the liner was in a blue multicolored stuff sack (as seen in the picture at top of page) and uses a simple draw cord to cinch it closed (it does not have a cord lock or anything to secure it closed).
Since it was in its stuff sack I went ahead and threw it on my scales and it weighed in at 3.6 oz. (I figure the 3 oz listed weight is for the undyed liner.) I pulled the liner out and at first it felt grimey, but I figured that was from a mixture of the silk and the dye used to color it. The liner is exactly as it looks in the diagram (as seen above). It is sewn along both sides and has a hood at the top. At first I thought this may be a problem to get in and out, but after doing so a few times, I came to the conclusion that it was not so bad. The liner is cut wide, and since the silk is so thin, I can pull it over my legs then hold it bunched up in my hands, lift my butt and pull the liner up over my back. Done. Easy enough. Of course to get out I just go right the opposite.
Next I wondered if I would get tangled up inside the liner, inside a bag. So, I tried it. The silk liner slid smoothly inside my sleeping bag, and even with the extra fabric from the generously cut liner, I never did get tangled up, granted it did take some getting used to. Overall, I am much happier with both the liner and the function of the liner than I had originally anticipated when ordering it.
I have slept in the liner about 9 nights so far (mostly inside my home). I have used the liner inside both of my sleeping bags, as well as under my quilt, and even by itself. Like I said, it works well inside the sleeping bags. I have come to think of the liners as sheets on a bed, except here they are sheets inside a sleeping bag, which actually makes the whole sleep system more comfy feeling. The liner is nice inside a quilt because it is actually a barrier that completely surrounds me, but it also keeps me from having to lay directly on the pad.
I have used the liner twice in the outdoors. Both times I carried the liner to use by itself, but had my sleeping bag or quilt as back up, just in case. It was a good thing to, cause I needed them. The temperatures dropped towards the low 60’s to high 50’s during the nights out and my shorts and shirt was not enough inside the liner to keep me comfy. The wind blew right through the liner. Now, this is not a bad thing because the liner is not necessarily meant to serve as a stand-alone option, it’s nice because it is an option though.
I am happy with the liner. It is a high quality crafted liner made out of high quality products at a good price and functions well. After using a few times the initial grimey feeling wore off, not that it was a real problem anyway, but now it is better. And, like I said, it reminds me of the sheets on my bed, so this silk liner paired with my Marmot Helium down filled sleeping bag is like laying on a cloud, silky liner and all. 🙂
Update: Since I did this write-up and posted it here on my site, the owner of the Jag Bag company contacted me and thanked me for the review and offered me the opposite silk liner from which I have now for a comparison. So, a very few days later I received the Endura silk liner in the same cut as the fine silk liner I had previously purchased.
In the FAQ section on the Jag Bag site some of the customers have stated that with “the addition of an endura silk sleeping bag liner increases the warmth of their sleeping bag to the warmth of close to 10 degrees Fahrenheit (5-6 C).” The advantages of the Endura silk over the fine silk is that the Endura is stronger, warmer, and has better wicking abilities. This is what Jag Bag has to say about each:
“Endura silk” is stronger than the fine silk and is best for heavy use over long periods. It can be used as a stand-alone summer sleeping bag. It has better wick ability and also inside a sleeping bag it adds more warmth than the fine silk liner. It will last for many years. “The Lightweight Fine silk” is best used when every ounce or gram is important as during expeditions or mountaineering. The silk is very fragile and will not stand prolonged use without becoming bruised. It is fine for brief trips.
When I received the liner I immediately pulled the liner out of its stuff sack to feel the material. I was curious as to how much thicker it may feel than the fine silk liner. To my surprise, I did not feel as much of a difference as I thought I might, however there was a difference. Also, I did feel the slightly “grimy” feeling that I first noticed on my fine silk liner when it arrived. (I hate to describe it this way, but it’s the word that comes to mind. It is not a dirty feeling though. I believe that it is a result of the silk being dyed. After a few uses it no longer feels this way and is very soft against my skin.)
The next thing I did was lay inside the liner to see if it was as generously cut as the fine silk, and it was the same. I also checked the stitching and it appeared to be well sewn. I have noticed that where the liner opens up to crawl in, there is some reinforced stitching since this is probably the first place to become stressed when entering or exiting the liner, which is a good thing. Of course the fine silk is also reinforced in the same way.
Next I weighed the liners. The fine silk weighed exactly 1 oz less than the Endura silk. Both of these liners were weighed inside the stuff sacks which came with the liners. (After seeing this I kicked myself for not going with the Endura to begin with ~ however, light-weight is all about counting each ounce…) The exact weights can be seen in the picture above.
So, now I am just waiting to take the liner out in the field. My wife and I are planning a 9-day trip to thru-hike the Great Smoky Mountains in October so this will be a great time to put them both to a good test! (And one is pink which she loves!) I will be sure to report back here with my thoughts on both the liners once I return from this trip.
At this time I would like to thank Jag Bag for both their fine products as well as their excellent services that they have provided me with thus far. (Also for the extra liner that they sent me. :))
Update: (10/2/10) Since receiving the Fine Silk Liner, I have used it on a few trips and outings. So far I have been very impressed with the liner. It is light-weight and packs small, as well as feels nice when next to skin. Also, the Jag Bags are cut generously, so they are nice and roomy, especially when used on their own. The two biggest reasons I bought this liner is to (1.) keep the sleeping bag clean and (2.) maybe add a little extra warmth to the sleeping bag. As far as using a liner to keep my sleeping bag cleaner, it is a no-brainer, it will work. The dirt and oils from my skin will be ground into the liner well before they reach my sleeping bag. As far as adding extra warmth, based on last nights backyard camp out experience using my GoLite quilt, the Fine Silk liner did actually bump the comfort level by 3 – 4 degrees. In my opinion, the liner did this by (1.) blocking any wind or draft that may have snuck in under the quilt, and (2.) by creating an extra barrier or pocket around me which actually helped to hold heat in closer to my body.
I have really come to like using the liner, and more particularly with my quilt. If the temperature is warm I can simply lay on top of the liner and only under the quilt, and when the temps drop, I simply slip into the liner. By doing this I can take advantage of the generous cut of both the liner and the quilt rather than being bound inside a tight sleeping bag. The hood on the liner does a fair job at holding my pillow in place as well. This liner does not use a zipper, and with its wide cut that has been fine, but last night I found myself kind of wanting one. However, the advantage of not having one is less weight… So, I am still impressed with my liner and plan on carrying it with me on my hike in the Smokies next week.
Disclaimer: After purchasing the first Jag Bag (blue one) and then producing a review here on my blog, Jag Bags offered me another complementary Jag Bag(pink one) in exchange for a review.