Sea to Summit has introduced for the first time their own line of sleeping pads. Instead of traditional baffles, these mats have “air sprung cells” which are essentially quilted bubbles of padding and insulation. Real innovation in the sleeping pad department is rare, but does an innovative design make for a quality nights rest?
The Comfort Light Mat (tested) is a hybrid design that dances around a happy medium of comfort and weight. The pad is built from 40D rip-stop nylon, and has a single layer of air sprung cells throughout the pad, except for the area that would support the hips, back, and shoulders. This reduces weight, but still provides extra cushion where you really need it. A multi-function valve allows for one way inflation (no deflating when you remove your mouth) via the top tab, with a second tab underneath for rapid deflation. There is also a small button inside that allows for fine tuning, and slowly releasing air from the pad. The pad tested weighs 16 oz, and retails for $139.95. Small and long variations are also available, along with the more cushy (and heavier) “comfort plus” variation, and the light weight “ultralight mat”.
What I liked
The Comfort light provides a feel that’s unlike any other pad I’ve tested. The air sprung cells really create a soft, cushion like sleeping surface. Instead of feeling like a solid platform, the pad feels like an accumulation of soft, squishy bubbles. Surprisingly, the weight distributes across these very well, compressing the cells and absorbing any pressure points that might have otherwise arisen. Initially, when I first snuggled up on the pad, I had some trouble adapting to how the pad felt, with those tiny bubbles underneath me, but it quickly became a comfort that I will not soon take for granted. The pad simulates a true mattress much better than anything else on the market. Laying on my stomach or back was especially satisfying, while side sleeping was also comfortable. Snuggling up on the mattress feels comforting, certainly promoting a great nights sleep. It’s one of the most comfortable pads on the market.
The comfort light has two layers of padding in the high pressure areas, the torso, hips and shoulders, which further helps to alleviate any pressure points. This double layer sits on top of each other is a complimenting matter that creates a layered bubble wrap of sorts, and adds a little more protection from the hard earth.
Inflation is very quick, using a one way inflation valve. The cells minimize the volume of air required to inflate the pad, resulting in a mattress that inflates in half the time of others of similar size. The rapid deflate valve dumps the air in seconds, effortless deflating it. I found myself with a perfectly al dente noodle in 10-12 breaths. Deflation is basically instant, with no waiting or compressing the pad needed.
Build quality is very good. Weeks on the pad have had no impact on the materials at all. The materials are of high quality, with the baffling and seams feeling of especially high quality. I have no problems expecting this pad to last for years.
The pad packs up very small, at round 3.5″ x 6.5″. Packing up is very easy, thanks again to the quick deflate valve. There’s no squeezing the air out to make it fit inside the stuff sack. A first for me.
What I didn’t like
For a non-insulated pad, I’d like to see it a tad bit lighter. 16 ounces for a non-insulated pad isn’t bad at all, but leaves some room for improvement. The extra couple ounces never had me leaving it behind.
The valve is located in a position just under the pillow. While stomach sleeping I ended up having to work around the wide plastic apparatus in an attempt to keep my arms off of it. I found myself inflating the pad, and flipping it over to get the valve out of the way. This is a great workaround, but eliminates much of the usefulness of the fine tuning valve as it’s now against the ground as you sleep and you can’t simply pop it open to deflate some air. It’s more of a problem when using quilts, as full sleeping bags cover up and pad the relatively flat valve.
The Comfort Light Mat from Sea to Summit is innovation at its finest. The air sprung cells create and inviting, comfortable experience that one must experience to appreciate. Hours normally spent tossing and turning instead melted away into productive rest and relaxation. Durability and ease of use only add to my long lists of “likes”. Aside from a small weight penalty, the Comfort Light Mattress is certainly a solid pad to consider adding to your quiver.
For more information and to buy online, check out www.seatosummit.com
Thanks to Sea To Summit for letting me check out one of their pads!