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I have always been under the impression that cotton is the enemy of a hiker - it absorbs moisture and just becomes a horrible wet casing around you, transferring away all the heat.

I was therefore quite surprised to find that a new sleeping bag I had purchased actually has cotton lining. Is this not counterproductive? Or does it not matter so much, assuming I do not get into the sleeping bag all sweaty and wet? Should I take any special precautions with this bag?

  • cotton is also very heavy compared to modern synthetic fabrics. – njzk2 Dec 15 '15 at 4:11
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Cotton is the dominant bedding material choice worldwide for several reasons and as long as you aren't getting into the bag drenched and have adequate water control for your environment, I can't see the lining choice being a make or break factor in warmth. I can see it making the bag much more comfortable for casual use.

Furthermore, for winter camping in Minnesota, one thing I often pack is cotton or flannel liner for my synthetic lined down bags. You may be a step ahead with your bag should you end up making similar choices.

  • Real life experience has proven this to be true, so I will mark it as the answer. On the few trips I have now taken with this bag, I have not felt any discomfort due to the bag's lining material. – Sander Jan 23 '14 at 13:29
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Some of us, when adventuring, go to far off remote places, in very cold or wet areas, and carry everything with us on our backs.

But not everyone does that. Some people only car camp, in the summer, where bathrooms and showers are 200 feet away. For those sorts of camping situations, people's needs in a sleeping bag are essentially nothing more than 'portable bed linen'. For those situations, cotton lined sleeping bags are cheap and comfortable.

So, without any specific details about the make/model of sleeping bag you got, all I can speculate is that you purchased a car-camping, coleman type sleeping bag that is unfit for winter camping.

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