The Sea To Summit Comfort Light Sleeping Mat ditches traditional baffles for their new and unique “air sprung” cells, creating a quilted, spring like sleeping surface. Tossing in warm insulation and a clever valve system, the Comfort Light makes for an intriguing package that provides more than a simple twist on more traditional sleep systems.
This particular mat features a double layer of cells in the torso, providing additional cushioning at the hips and shoulders, and utilizes Thermolite synthetic insulation and Exkin Platinum, a thermally reflective fabric, to provide warmth at an R-value of 4.3. The mat minimizes weight by shifting to a single layer of cells at the head and feet were weight isn’t bearing down on the pad. The valve also stands out, consisting of two tabs with a one-way valve under the first and quick deflate port under the second. There is also a small button in the inflation tab that allows for making small adjustments to the air pressure. A quick press and a small stream of air is released to fine tune the softness of the pad. The second tab lifts up to dump all of the air out of the pad nearly instantly for a quick getaway. That mat is built from a rugged 40D nylon that’s been TPU laminated for added long-term durability. This model weighs 20.5 oz, is 21.5″ wide at the shoulder. It’s 72″ long, 2.5″ thick and retails for $169.95.
What I liked
I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the comfort provided by the mat. Typical baffles are thick and dominantly flat or round, offering very little in terms of actual compression or absorption. The air sprung cells however are small and act as tiny singular pillows, individually caving in and acting like springs, very similar to an actual mattress. The second layer of cells line up so that the gaps in the top layer are filled by the bottom, further adding cushioning in the hips, back and shoulder areas. This allows the mattress to mold to the shape of the sleeper while still providing support and cushioning. Thanks to this and the wonderfully roomy design, I’ve managed wonderfully uninterrupted sleep on the mattress with minimal tossing even on rocks and gravel. Sleeping on my stomach and back were especially pleasant with the individual cells gently supporting my body weight without feeling lumpy. At 2.5 inches, it’s thick enough for side sleepers too, although I did manage a slight soreness in my problematic shoulder by the time morning rolled around. The pad also does a great job of making obtrusions under the tent disappear beneath its generous baffling. It’s a wonderful sleeping surface that feels entirely natural, even in the worst of conditions.
Setting up the mat is wonderfully simplistic. The individual air chambers require less air as a whole than large open celled mattresses, making the pad inflate much faster and easier than most. 5 or 6 strong breaths through the one-way valve is all it takes for a nice firm inflation, thanks to the lack of air escaping between breaths. I’ve been using it paired with the Air Stream Inflator system that doubles as a stuff sack, and it inflates even quicker in just 5 pumps flat without filling the mat with moisture from my breath. It pops right into the pad’s valve and catches air in a large bag, pushing huge gusts of air in by squeezing the bag flat. Once inflated, a small button inside the main valve allows for a tiny bit of air to escape, perfect for fine tuning the pressure in the pad (although I like mine as firm as I can get it). The second tab dumps all the air from the pad in about 3 seconds, making packing it up the easiest and fastest I’ve found.
Durability has also been wonderful and even above average. The TPU lamination is stronger than many other manufacturing processes and results in less chance of the layers delaminating over time. Being constructed of a tough and fairly thick 40D nylon, the mat resists scuffs and punctures admirably. So far, zippers, buttons, boots, backpacks and even gravel have had no impact on the mat as I’ve drug them through my tent while working inside.
The Insulated Comfort Light is also very warm with technology designed to protect against both radiative and conductive heat loss. Testing down to 40 degrees F, I was quite warm and content without being overheated. The built in insulation did a fabulous job of protecting from the cold wet dirt underneath, leaving me oblivious to it’s existence. I’m estimating the pad to be warm to about 20 degrees F, and I’ll update as I get the chance.
The mat packs down to a small size, about the size of a Nalgene bottle, and the weight is manageable too at 20.5 ounces. It’s certainly not the lightest I’ve tested, but given the durability and comfort it brings along, it’s worth the trade.
What I didn’t like
While the double valve is very handy and does an amazing job of speeding up both inflation and deflation, it can cause some grief with non-attentive sleepers. While resting comfortably just before dozing off, I reached up to try to open up the top valve to release just a tad of air, but upon tugging on the upper tab the lower tab opened with it, dumping all of my air. I had to re-inflate from a completely flat pad (luckily it’s pretty quick to do so). Using two hands, one to secure the lower tab, works well but requires more effort and attention. In the end, I do love the valve, however.
The Comfort Light Insulated Sleeping Mat from Sea to Summit targets baffling in a new way, and it works. The air sprung Cells provide better cushioning and weight distribution than most pads on the market, and the clever valve system makes set up and take down much easier than traditional air chamber pads. It’s durable, light enough for any trip, and provides more than enough room on the sleeping surface for even the fussiest of sleepers. I’ve found many nights of immensely satisfying sleep on this mat, and for this I cannot recommend it enough. Just pay attention if you’re dealing with the valve when all winky eyed.
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For more information on Sea To Summit and their excellent line of gear, check out http://www.seatosummit.com/
I wanted to send a special thanks out to Sea To Summit for their support and for providing this excellent piece of equipment to review. We couldn’t do this without their help. Thank you so much! Our full disclosure can be found on the about me/contact page.