When I look at some of the things I packed when I went travelling around Europe back in 1999, I wonder what the hell I was thinking. I’d bought myself a standard YHA-issue cotton sleeping sheet to use in youth hostels, not even thinking twice about the fact that it took up about a fifth of the space in my backpack, and weighed as much as a couple of Lonely Planet books – the brick sized ones.

Before I took off on my current trip, I invested in a Kathmandu silk sleeping liner (large size). It barely weighs anything, is easily large enough to accomodate a 183cm length body such as mine, and compresses down to a tiny 250 cubic centimetres in its supplied carry bag. As an added bonus, the carry bag is attached to the sleeping sheet by a strap, so you don’t have to try to find it every time you pack the sheet away.

I haven’t actually had a chance to use it, until now, as all of the hostels I’ve stayed in have supplied their own sheets, so confronted with a long train journey and fierce air-conditioning, I figured I’d give it a go and hopefully avoid freezing.

Surprisingly, despite being very thin silk, it did help keep me warm. Not warm enough to avoid having to cover myself in various other items of thick clothing, but it was definitely warmer with the sheet than without.

It was reasonably easy to pack it back into its carry bag, although to make it as small as possible, it needs to be folded up tightly, and this isn’t really practical on a train. Still, randomly stuffing it into the bag worked well enough.

The one real downside to using a silk sheet over a cotton sheet seems to be the build-up of static-electricity on your skin when you use it. Annoying, but not too much of an issue.

The one thing to be wary of when buying it, is that there are two different types: the standard liner (which I purchased) doesn’t have a space for a pillow, whereas the same product with the YHA designation does have one. I’ve found it hard to find a silk pillowcase to use alongside it, so if you need it to hold a pillow too, make sure to get the right one.

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