Sea To Summit's New Ultimate Sleeping Mat
One of the more impressive things we saw at the recent OTS show last week was Australian brand Sea To Summit's new range of innovative sleeping mats using what they call Air Sprung Cells rather than the more common tubular or foam design.
Like A Pocket Spring Mattress
The cells are created using a dot-welding process and, says the brand, work like individual, but inter-connected pocketed springs for maximum comfort. The idea is that easy spring can operate semi-independently and conform to the contours of your body for maximum comfort. The cells also stop air moving around inside the mat creating cooling convection currents.
The end result says Seat To Summit isn't necessarily the lightest mat out there, but the 'most comfortable' at a reasonable weight. Speaking of which, there are three levels of mat in the range. The basic Ultra Light uses a single layer of cells to give a good balance of weight and comfort.
Then there's Comfort Light, which is zoned so there's a single layer of cells in less crucial areas, but a double layer of offset air cells in more crucial zones like the torso to give improved insulation where it's needed. Finally the Comfort Plus mat uses two layers of cells throughout for ultimate comfort and insulation.
The idea, as with Nemo's excellent Tuo mats, is that each layer has its own air valve, so you can inflate the lower layer firmly to stop you contacting the ground, then adjust the upper layer for ultimate comfort. It works brilliantly in the Nemo mats and a quick lie down on the mat suggests it should be every bit as good if you're after the ultimate in comfort.
So that's the three basic mats, but there's also an insulated version of each of the mats called, logically enough, 'Insulated', which incorporates Thermolite synthetic fibres to reduce air movement further and also a layer of reflective Exkin Platinum reflective film designed to radiate heat back towards the body.
Inflation is by a big, easy-to-use air valve complete with a button-operated dump valve for east pressure adjustment and, in a really neat touch, you can use a Sea To Summit dry-bag as a handy pump for easy inflation.
The mats pack down small and while we don't have full specs, some high high-precision hefting of mats suggest that they're not the lightest out there, but don't seem particularly heavy either. So yes, you'll pay a small weight penalty for extra comfort, but you may well decide it's worth it.
The mats landed an award at the recent OutDoor show in Friedrichshafen and look genuinely different and interesting. Nice to see a company innovating with a mix of different ideas which haven't, as far as we know, been used together in the past.
The Seat To Summit mats launch in the UK early in 2015. You can find full details of the brand's current range at www.seatosummit.com.au.