Sea to Summit UltraLight Sleeping Mat Review
April 27, 2015
Sleeping pads have always been one of those things I’m constantly rotating through my pack – never satisfied… Until now! Sea to Summit recently released two new sleeping mat product lines, insulated and uninsulated, that include three versions each – UltraLight, Comfort Light, and Comfort Plus. I picked up the non-insulated Sea to Summit UltraLight Sleeping Mat and have been putting it through its paces the last couple months.
Sleeping pads are a passion of mind because I 100% believe that if you don’t sleep well you can’t enjoy your adventure to the fullest. While there are many great sleeping pads out there I have had a hard time finding one that really satisfied my personal requirements. These include: no horizontal baffles (horizontal baffles like those used on Therm-a-rest pads make my lower back hurt), no vertical baffles (I end up sliding off the pad when vertical baffles are used – but they are more comfortable to me than horizontal baffles), weighs less than 1 lb., is compatible with an ultra lightweight air pump, and be durable enough that I don’t mind tossing the sleeping pad down on the ground by the campfire or using it as a raft for a lazy float in a high alpine lake.
So how does the Sea to Summit UltraLight Sleeping Mat hold up? Brilliantly that’s how. To start, Sea to Summit chose to use a “quilted” type design that uses neither vertical or horizontal air chambers – they call it their Air Sprung Cell technology and I can tell you firsthand that it is very comfortable. I compared it to the Big Agnes Q-Core SL and the Big Agnes Double Z – both quilted designs with thicknesses around 4 inches – and found it to be just as comfortable. I was able to sleep on my side without hitting the ground and no matter how I slept (back/side/stomach) I didn’t have any uncomfortable spots.
Weight wise Sea to Summit did it again with the uninsulated version weighing 12.5 oz and the insulated still coming in under my 1 lb. limit (15.5 oz.) while having an R-Value of 3.3. Finally there is a competitor for the 12 oz. Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Sleeping Pad when weight is your primary measuring stick.
Going hand and hand with weight is durability – a primary concern of any lightweight sleeping pad is how its going to hold up in the wilderness. This is an area I find issue with when looking at the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Sleeping Pad. The material used is VERY delicate – I would not under any circumstances use it outside my tent. The Sea to Summit UltraLight Sleeping Mat on the other hand feels rock solid. I’m not going to sleep in a blackberry patch but I won’t hesitate to toss it on the ground and kick my feet up when I’m relaxing in the evening. After a couple months of use I have yet to find any signs of significant wear and tear.
Finally, they offer an awesome ultra lightweight pump! When I reviewed the Exped SynMat UL 7 Air Pad my favorite feature about it was the Schnozzel Pumpbag. The combination of an efficient pump and a valve system specifically designed for use together made me overlook its other annoying features earning the Exped sleeping pad a spot in my pack. Big Agnes tried to provide a similar solution with the Pumphouse Drysack but because they were using a “universal” adapter the air loss while pumping made the system less than efficient (the Pumphouse Drysack also wasn’t an actual dry bag due to one end not sealing – lame). Sea to Summit copied the Exped concept nearly identically and produced a similarly brilliant solution – the Air Stream Dry Sack Pump . I know people will laugh at the need for a pump but personally I’d rather not feel like I’m going to pass out from inflating my sleeping pad by lung power. Not to mention using the Air Stream Dry Sack Pump actually lets me cut weight because I can ditch several stuff/compression sacks and put my sleeping pad, sleeping bag, pillow, extra clothes and insulation layers into the Air Stream. I treat it like a pack liner – it keeps everything dry that I care about (no need for a pack cover), organizes my gear, and inflates my sleeping pad while only weighing 1.7 oz. One other note about the valve Sea to Summit designed (its the same valve used on their line of pillows I reviewed previously – check out that review for a picture of the valve) – it acts as two valves integrated into one. Pop the top open and you have a one-way inflate valve. Open the “bottom” section and you have a two-way deflate valve. One-way inflate mode makes sure you can get your pad to the perfect level of firmness without losing little bits of air while adjusting it and the two-way deflate mode allows you to remove all air from the pad within about 3 seconds.
The Sea to Summit UltraLight Sleeping Mat is my new go to sleeping pad for any outdoor adventure. It hits the perfect balance between comfort, weight and durability.
Sea to Summit UltraLight Sleeping Mat
Sea to Summit Air Stream Dry Sack Pump