After years of sending my kids to camp and listening to their complaints like, "the sleeping bag is too hot " or " the pillow smells" I have discovered the perfect solution, a travel sack or travel sheet.
This nifty little item is like a sleeping bag but made of a much lighter cotton or silk. The better ones have a pocket or sleeve to put the pillow in so your offspring will not have to touch the pillow as well as a fold over top sheet to shield their sensitive skin from the itchy blankets.
I am kidding a bit, but in all seriousness, this is a great product for a myriad of reasons. One, if your child uses a sleeping bag every night, a travel sheet or sleeping bag liner will protect the bag itself. Instead of washing the whole sleeping bag, just the liner gets washed. Two, a travel sheet will protect your child too, camp bedding, if you remember that far back, is notoriously gross,. Old mattresses are perfect breeding grounds for dust mites and molds and even the camp laundry may use too much bleach, causing skin rashes. The pillows can't be any better and probably are much worse. To protect your child from allergens, like dust mites, and strong cleaning agents, silk or higher quality cotton will do the job. Synthetics and cheap cottons will not perform well or may even add to their discomfort.
Travel sheets or sacks, come in many different shapes, sizes and materials. Obviously, the most important aspect of a travel sheet is it's ability to be washed. Most travel sheets are made of silk which is easily hand washed or machine washed on gentle cycle in cool water, but silk cannot be put in a dryer, and although it hang dries quickly, only older campers should probably use silk.One other problem with silk is it tends to be warm, not great in the heat of the summer. Some of the more popular brands are:
http://www.designsalt.com, http://www.seatosummit.com/, and http://www.dreamsack.com/store/
Sleeping bag liners are usually made of a thin cotton and most don't have a pillow pocket. These liners are not washable in hot water and will shrink up to nothing if put in a dryer. I don't recommend the cheapest liners because they will not last the summer let alone be usable for the next year. Beware of travel sheets that only have a top opening, these are difficult to enter and exit. A side opening is easiest.
There are a few manufacturers making synthetic fleece or poly/cotton blends. Polyester fleece is not recommended as it will be too hot and not breath well but a poly/cotton blend is a good choice for affordability and low maintenance, just make sure the ratio of polyester to cotton is around 50/50 so the sheet will breathe well.
Prices for travel sheets, sacks or liners range from $20.00 to $200.00 with most single sizes ( they also come in two person sizes ) in the 20-60 dollar range. As with all things in life, you usually get what you pay for, so avoid the low end if you want to use this product more than a few times.
There are a few companies who produce 100% cotton travel sheets which are designed to be washed in hot water. One product out of the U.K., the Dreambag available at http://www.allergybuyersclubshopping.com/cf-be-dreambag-sleepsack.html is high quality but is expensive and can't be dried on a high heat setting. The other company,
http://allersac.com/ which makes a 100% cotton travel sheet, is able to be washed in hot water and dried in a drier on high heat. At around 50 bucks, the http://allersac.com/ is probably the best bet as it is made to withstand repeat washings and is made of 400 thread count material just like a high quality set of sheets you would use at home.
Which ever brand you decide on, remember , pillow pocket, easy to wash and dry, comfortable, affordable. The other benefit of a travel sheet is it can be used as just that, a travel sheet. A good quality travel sheet can be used by your son or daughter for years to come, for those times when the hotel bedding might not seem that clean, like a school trip or sleepover. When traveling to europe or even on family vacations, a travel sheet is a versatile and economical way to protect and provide comfort and peace of mind.