How do I care for my Sea to Summit Reactor, Adaptor, or Silk Liner?
Care of Sea to Summit liners is very simple: unlike some synthetic waterproof / soft shell fabrics which have to be washed in special non-detergent soaps, the liners can be washed in a home washing machine using normal detergent (referred to as laundry ‘soap’). If you are using a top-loader washing machine, we would strongly suggest putting the liner inside a pillow case to prevent the impeller (the spiral plastic rotating column in the drum of the machine) possibly snagging the draw cord. A front-loader is much gentler on your gear, and this step is unnecessary. In either case, use the delicates or gentle cycle. Fabric softener will decrease the wicking performance of the fabric, and should be avoided. Do not dry the liner in a dryer; excessive heat can damage the fabric – air-drying is the way to go.
If you are using the Reactor/Reactor Compact Plus/Reactor Extreme Liner as a stand-alone bag outdoors (rather than, say, in a hostel), the principal factor to be aware of is moving air. The knit fabric of the Reactors allows air to pass through quite easily, which in their normal use – inside a sleeping bag – helps ensure a comfortable sleeping environment. However, when used as a stand alone bag, cooler air passing through from the outside will rob you of the warm layer of air you have generated inside the bag.
If you are inside a tent, this is less of a factor; if not, you may need something to cover the bag (perhaps a poncho, or a lightweight bag cover). As far as temperature is concerned, a rough ‘rule of thumb’ would still put the minimum air temperature at which you would remain comfortable at around 60F / 15C. If you use a lightweight bag cover over the liner (which prevents heat loss due to moving air) a reasonable comfortable temperature rating would be 50F / 10C. The Reactor Extreme would probably be your best bet for this kind of use.
Sea to Summit has conducted extensive real-world testing on its thermal liners which have resulted in the temperature ‘ratings’ given for each product.
However, the thermal performance of a liner is affected by a number of factors, including the technical design of the sleeping bag it is being used with (remember, sleeping bag ‘ratings’ are not subject to regulation and are often unrealistic), your own metabolism, external air temperature and humidity, and the type of sleeping pad you’re sleeping on.
All liners add some additional thermal performance, simply because they provide an additional layer which traps air; plus they may wick away sweat which will cool you down. As stated above, there are a lot of factors which affect how much extra performance you can expect. Broadly speaking, a silk liner will add up to 6°F / 4°C, a Coolmax Adaptor up to 8°F / 5°C, a Thermolite Reactor up to 14°F / 8°C and a Reactor Extreme up to 25°F / 15°C