Gear Review: Sleeping bag liner
Company: Sea to Summit
Product: THERMOLITE® Reactor™ liner
A piece of gear you may not know that you want need. The Reactor is essentially a sleeping bag liner, but it’s more than just a sleeping bag liner, it’s a money saver, a time saver, a gear saver, and if you’re as dramatic as me, you would call it a life saver!
A quick side note on sleeping bags, just because a sleeping bag is rated to zero, ten, twenty, or thirty degrees, it doesn’t mean you will be comfortable at those temps. What that rating amounts to is the notion that you’ll survive in those temperatures. What this means is that if you have a sleeping bag rated to twenty degrees, and temps fall below twenty-five, that may make for an uncomfortable evening. You’ll be alive, but uncomfortable.
I have a pretty good sleeping bag rated for pretty low temps, but survival and comfort are two different things! All this ignores that fact that a sleeping bag rated for such low temps becomes useless when the temps reach scalding heights in the summer months. It also ignores the wear, tear, and overall nastiness of months long expeditions which lack access to showers, baths, and other hygienic amenities. The classic sleeping bag is an absolute life safer, but it’s not the ideal multi-tool that some hope for or claim it to be.
The Reactor fixes all that! Depending on which Reactor model you look at, these little beasts can add up to thirty-two degrees of warmth to your sleeping bag. I settled on the classic Reactor which adds up to fourteen degrees of warmth. Gone are the days where I shiver every time temps drop into the twenties! This thing weighs ½ a pound and is smaller than ½ a loaf of bread (when stowed). I’m pretty sure it’s made of whatever magical threads were used to make the elven cloak of invisibility from Load of the Rings. The Sea to Summit website says it’s made of hollow core fibers which trap heat and offer extraordinary insulating properties, but that still sounds like elven magic to me!
Okay so the magic threads offer fourteen to thirty-two degrees of warmth to your bag, what else can they do? Well in the summer when evening temps maintain in the mid-nineties, no one wants to be inside a sleeping bag dripping sweat from parts they didn’t realize could drip. But no one wants to miss out on the snuggle feel of being wrapped up either. The Reactor is the perfect solution. The Reactor is so soft that you’ll feel as is mama and papa elf are holding you in the palm of their snuggly magic bliss (I don’t really know elf lore, but I imagine elves offer snuggly magic bliss). In other words, The Reactor allows you to drop the sleeping bag, and keep the snugs!
So, The Reactor keeps you warm on the cold days and comfy on the hot nights, it’s as soft as an edelweiss, and the kicker is that you will never have to go through the pains of washing or dry-cleaning your sleeping bag ever again! The Reactor is machine safe using standard laundry detergent! This means the next time you get off a LOOOOOOOOONG trip covered in dirt and sweat, smelling like rotten pork doused in vinegar, you just toss The Reactor into that wash machine and call it a day!
A clean, warm, cool, hygienic addition to your sleeping system. A piece of gear you didn’t know you needed, but you do! The Reactor!
Recommendation: All campers, all levels.
Specs: 8.7oz, +14 Degrees, Liner 6’10” x 36” (Stuff Sack 5.7” x 4”)