US Army Poncho Liner VS. Sleeping Bag Liner

5:59 p.m. on July 3, 2007 (EDT)
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A friend of mine uses a poncho liner with his sleeping bag and swears by it. Poncho liners are deffinatly cheaper than most sleeping bag liners I have looked at so I'm wondering if there as effective.
Just to clarify, I have a warm weather sleeping bag and want somthing to use with it when the temp drops down to 50 - 55.

Any opinions?

9:54 p.m. on July 3, 2007 (EDT)
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102 forum posts

About 30 years ago my late mother made me liner of light wool-blanket material for use mainly with summer down bag. I and friends have used it a fair amount. I now suspect that extra clothing is more efficient than this liner, in terms of weight, utility & the required extra pack volume. Cost, in this case, wasn't a factor.

Your mention of poncho liner suggests a VBL and through a wide range of conditions, I was fairly satisfied with the added warmth and performance and didn't find them particularly uncomfortable, or so I believe.

Specifically, I used a VBL four nights inside a down bag perhaps rated to 5-10F degrees, in a full tent with outside temps ranging from upper teens to zero.

Two times, I used them in down bag rated at 50 degrees, camping in low temps of 40F and 50 degrees. (Both bags are about 30 yrs old and current ratings are subjective.)

The notably better performance of VBLs in colder weather may be due to mechanics or physics of condensation. In cold weather the VBL's reduction of mosisture build-up in bag's insulation compared with normal, non VBL use was extremely obvious in morning stuffing of bag.

VBLS could be a major boon for more than one night in a down sleeping bag. But I don't believe this is a significant consideration in other than dead-of-winter weather or similar, and the vast majority of my winter camping is restricted to Saturday nights.

Synthetic bags remove some of the VBLs advantage.

In recent years I've relegated VBL back to hypothetical use for 2+ nights of winter camping, which I haven't done in many years. In colder weather I take more clothing and almost always a light bag cover.

11:50 p.m. on July 3, 2007 (EDT)
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Several of my VBLs, or vapor barrier liners, were made from two or three kitchen-zise garbage bags and some duct tape. These obviously are very light.

10:11 a.m. on July 4, 2007 (EDT)
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You said that you have a warm weather sleeping bag and are looking to sleep in 50-55 degee weather. A warm sleeping bag is rated for these temps? If you are still getting cold in your bag, you may be better served with putting a fleece on before going to bed. You can wear the fleece before bed if your chilled to conserve your body heat and keep it on while in your sleeping bag, where as a sleeping bag liner is extra bulk and weight and can be used for just while you are in your sleepign bag. Or you can buy a sleeping bag that is rated for a little cooler temps from what you have now. The rule of thumb is buy a sleeping bag that is rated 10 to 15 degrees lower than the temps you will be camping in. Also, look for a mummy bag. You can loose up to 50 percent of your body heat through your head.

The military actually does use the poncho liner for a sleeping liner. It is called a D liner or Delta liner. We had used these as sleeping bags and left our sleeping bags behind on three season weather to save on the bulk and weight. The D liners are heavier than that of a fleece liner or sock liner and they hold the heat in badly if used as a poncho liner and you were soaked by your own sweat. I wouldnt suggest using these.

6:46 p.m. on July 6, 2007 (EDT)
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Thanks for the help everyone

November 28, 2014
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