Why We Chose The Sea to Summit UL Insulated: Excellent warmth-to-weight, very comfy, quick to inflate and deflate
The fact that this mat still remains one of the most innovative out there even though its a few years old now says quite a lot. After all, the world of sleeping mat tech is surprisingly fast moving.
You just need to look at the images here to see how it’s different. Rather than your standard sleeping mat which has horizontal or lilo-like vertical baffles, this uses air sprung cells which, as we’ve found through testing, create as close to a bed mattress feel as we’ve seen, and all at just the meagre weight of 480g (regular size).
Who Is The Sea To Summit Ultralight Insulated For?
With its R-Value (basically the temperature rating) of 3.3 combined with its light weight and packability this is the kind of mat that should particularly suit any backpackers who are happy to venture out from the early stages of spring right through to the later stages of autumn. It would even suit some of the milder nights we get in winter here in the UK.
Materials and Construction
A 40D ripstop nylon is used throughout. This has a very lightweight and slightly fragile feel to it so you will want to take a bit of care to ensure you don’t puncture it on any rough ground or, say, if you’re bushwacking while it’s strapped to the outside of your pack. Still, with the protection of a groundmat or bivy bag, you shouldn’t have any trouble.
“I’d give this 9/10 for comfort.”
The benefits of the air sprung cells are instantly noticeable when you lie on the mat; they essentially deform individually and in turn conform to your exact body shape, elevating even your hips and shoulders off the ground when you’re lying on your side. The overall height is 5cm, which is fairly generous. For comparison, Therm-a-rest’s NeoAir Xtherm offers 4cm while Nemo’s Tensor provides a whopping 7cm.
As for the insulation, that comes from the combination of two of Sea to Summit’s technologies. The first, Thermolite, involves specially-designed lofting fibres that are located within the 200 cells throughout the mat. The second is something called Exkin Platinum, which is essentially a super thin metalised layer that reflects radiant heat loss back to the user. More on this in the Tester’s Verdict below.
We tested the regular version which measures 183 x 55cm when inflated. You can also find this in XS, S and L sizes as well. Something for everyone then.