Friday, May 29, 2015

Gear Review: Sea to Summit UL and Comfort Mats

 

    Last November, I took both the Sea to Summit UltraLight Sleeping Mat and the Sea to Summit ComfortLight Sleeping Mat on a trip to the Smoky Mountains for five days and four nights.

    Both mattresses are great technical pieces that take up very little space when packed and offer a great night's sleep, but their differences are worth noting.

    Weighing in at 12.5 oz this 2” air mattress is a great go-to piece for the weight conscious user more than someone who is concerned about ultimate comfort on the trail. Unlike most air mats that have channels of air the Sea to Summit mats look more like inflated egg crates with “air sprung cells”. With 181 of these cells in the UL Mat body weight is distributed more evenly than with standard baffled sleep systems.



 
    Only 3.5 oz heavier than the UL, the Comfort Light boasts nearly twice the air sprung cells giving you a sleep experience much like being in your own bed. Its extra half an inch in thickness really contributed to my overall comfort. Only taking 35 breaths to fully inflate it did not leave light headed even after 10+ mile hikes day after day.


    Both mats use a 40D (referring to the Denier, or thickness of the individual fibers that make up the fabric) ripstop nylon which seems durable enough to deal with most rocks and roots without having to worry too much about where you left your (included) repair kit.

    Additionally, the multi-function valve worked flawlessly to retain air overnight on both mats, and allowed me to deflate the mats quickly to minimize time spent packing them away. The insulated versions would have probably made my late season hike more comfortable, and using I'm certain the optional hand pump or stuff sack inflation devices would have saved me from having to huff cold air over and over to fill them up.

    Overall, the way the air cells distributed my body weight and the springy feel under my body regardless of how I moved was amazingly comfortable. Bedding down for the night on these air mattresses with a cozy pillow and a cup of hot tea felt like finding myself in a 5 star hotel in the middle of the woods.


~David L. - Men's Technical Apparel, Footwear

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