How to Make Your Own Sleeping Bag Liner for Cheap
The first weekend in November 2017 was the first bitterly cold weekend. An arctic front came through and the temperatures dropped to a crisp 25 degrees F for the overnight low. We planned a camping trip to Pumpkin Patch Homestead that weekend not knowing of this weather change. But of course we try not to let the weather derail us so we prepped our camping appropriately with the packing of extra blankets and warmer clothes. Even with two little girls, we were extremely comfortable and very toasty in our sleeping bags; the girls that is not necessarily me.
My sleeping bag is rated for 30 degrees and of course I bundled up with extra layers of sleeping clothes but I just couldn’t get truly warm. I still felt a slight chill that made it hard to fall asleep. After about 15 minutes of annoyance, I wrapped up in a small flannel blanket inside my mummy sleeping bag. That was the ticket. I was finally comfortable and I could drift off to slumber land.
In the morning, the husband and I realized that I needed a sleeping bag liner. Just that added protection would allow me to use my sleeping bag in cold weather without having to spend lots of money on a brand new bag that is rated for lower temperatures.
When we got home, I went online to look up sleeping bag liners and was immediately slapped in the face with reality. I was finding these liners to cost anywhere from $65 to over $100. Ouch!!! The extra punch was that these expensive bags only gave an extra five degrees of comfort. No way, buddy! Not gonna happen, friend! I needed to make my own for much cheaper than that. Zero dollars to be more exact.
I went through my linen closet and found the bundle of old sheets I have been repurposing for other things. A flat pink flannel sheet was my top choice for this project. I love my flannel sheets. They are so warm and cozy and the perfect sleeping bag liner for colder weather.
More about sleeping bag liners.
Now a few things about my sleeping bag liner. Being that it is a flannel sheet, it is heavy. I weighed my finished product and it is about 1 pound 7 ounces. For a car camping trip, that weight is probably not a large problem but it is when you are backpacking. My husband said that he would not bring such a heavy piece of equipment when he section hikes the Appalachian Trail. It is also pretty bulky and takes up a lot of room in a backpack. So when it comes to the expensive liners that can be bought, it might actually be worth it for backpackers.
The liner doesn’t have to be a warmer sheet. You can make a variety of liners like a summertime one that is thinner. It is also easier to throw into the washing machine than the actual sleeping bag. The bag liner will help to extend the life of your sleeping bag so long as you take proper care of your sleeping bag like not rolling it up when it has any moisture on it. That will grow mold.
These liners can also be used in lieu of a sleeping bag. Like I stated above, you can make any thickness of liner and in the summertime a warm sleeping bag is not what you want to sleep in. Sleeping in a cozy liner of bed sheets might be just the ticket to perfect warm weather camping.
How to make your own for cheap.
First thing to do is to lay out the sleeping bag you wish to template from. All bags are different from single, mummy bags, to double, or even extra long. Lay out the bag flat on the floor and zip it up. Next, bring out the bed sheet and fold it in half longways. The fold needs to be placed on top of the sleeping bag fold.
The bed sheet opening needs to be placed on top of the sleeping bag opening. Remember, both the sleeping bag and the liner have to open up on the same side. It will be easier to get in and out of both pieces.
Also make sure the top of the bedsheet reaches the top of the sleeping bag. I use a mummy bag but didn’t want the liner to go to the very top of the bag. That is why you see in the picture to the left that the head portion does not have the bedsheet.
There should be a large overhang of extra bedsheet at the bottom of the sleeping bag. I had nearly two feet of excess bedsheet. You can cut off the excess and throw it away but I did the opposite.
My feet always get cold when sleeping in my bag during cold weather. I thought it would be great to have an extra layer at the bottom of the liner for those cold sleeping feet. Don’t throw it away, just use what you got.
First, cut the fold of the sheet until you get to the bottom of the sleeping bag. Don’t cut more than that otherwise you will ruin the rest of the liner. Now you will have two openings on either side. Fold the top sheet over the sleeping bag and the fold the bottom excess sheet under. Now when you sew the the bottom of the liner you will have an extra layer of bedsheet on the top of the liner and also the bottom of the liner.
The next step will be to double check your seams and line up the sheet properly. Using sewing pins, pin the the opening starting from the bottom and moving along the side. There is no need to pin the folded side.
Make sure to give ample room when pinning your sewing seam. Remember you will be crawling into this sleeping bag liner and it would probably be uncomfortable to get into a bedsheet that is tighter than the sleeping bag. You want to have room to move. If you have a stretchy sleeping bag is room is even more important. I used a flannel sheet and this fabric already gives a great stretch.
Also, do not pin the entire side. You want to make sure you have room to open up the top to easily get in and out of the liner. I left about a foot and half open at the top. Cutting the excess sheet around the pins can leave the edge unsightly so I also pinned the opening hem. Fold the sheet on top and the bottom underneath to pin the hem. Remember, you are creating the liner inside out so when it is done everything will look clean and neat.
Now sew on the outside of your pins. I used a basic stitch on my sewing machine. You don’t need anything fancy but if you feel like you need it then go for it. I am not a sewing goddess by any means.
Remove the pins and double check your sewn seam. Make sure there are no holes or broken seams. Trim any extra fabric that is leftover and turn the liner inside out. Push the bottom of the liner down into the sleeping bag and crawl on in. BOOM! DONE! It is as easy as that.