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John Burley
Reviewed: 29 June 2007

ALL THE FUN OF POLYPROPYLENE IN A SLEEPING BAG LINER

Warm (warmer than a polyester fleece liner of comparable weight), form fitting, easily washed, very fast drying for the weight (polypro holds very little water). Reasonably compressibly. Less expensive than silk and more easily cared for.
Polypropylene (aka Polypro/ Lifa / Meraklon depending on who makes it) prone to getting a bit whiffy. Bulkier and heavier than silk liners. Hard to find manufacturer.
I am reviewing a generic polypropylene/meraklon sleeping bag liner as it seems there are vanishingly few manufacturers actually doing them. This is a shame because I think they're pretty useful. Mine was made by Ottawear and bought in 1994. It still does the job intended as well today as it did then, but it looks a bit bobbly these days.

I like polypropylene for outdoor use. It just dries so fast and doesn't rely on coatings to keep it effective so washing it many times is fine. I don't think you'll ever get really great warmth-to-weight ratio from a sleeping bag liner (for the same weight it would be better to have more down or synthetic insulation in the bag itself...). But given the idea of a bag liner is to up the warmth and allow you to keep the sleeping bag clean, then I think polypropylene liners are ideal. They compress down quite well - into the size of a large tin can - and the weave used in polypro fabrics mean that they have intrinsic elasticity, hugging your body and reducing air flow in your bag. It also remains reasonably warm after getting damp. Mine comes up to my shoulders so a hat or balaclava is recommended. In warm weather I can sleep in this alone, so it's a useful item for travelling/hostelling too.

The main disadvantage is the added bulk and weight for increased warmth - but this is true of fleece/cotton/thermolite/silk liners too. I have a fleece liner of similar weight and the polypro one is warmer, dries faster and packs smaller - but doesn't feel so luxurious! (I only bought the fleece one when I had left this at home.. doh!).

One other danger is that polypro has a low melting point. Never put one near an open fire of even hot radiator as you could find a stinky pile of molten plastic on your return. Take care if you're cooking in your tent too...

If you can find one, it should be cheaper than silk and probably cheaper than fleece or Thermolite polyester too (you pay a lot for the brand name!).
Score breakdown



Performance:
3.0
Reliability:
4.0
Value:
4.0

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