The Sea to Summit Ultralight Air Sleeping Mat is the second lightest sleeping pad made by Sea to Summit (the lightest being the Ether Light XT Air Sleeping Mat). It uses Sea to Summit’s Air Sprung Cell technology (basically an egg carton layout of air pockets) which I find to be quite comfortable.
The newer Ether Light XT Air Mat is both lighter and warmer (R-value 0.8 vs R-value 0.7) than the Ultralight Air Sleeping Mat, but pending a review of that pad the Ultralight Air could still be a good pad to grab while it’s on sale (or if the Ether Light XT turns out to be garbage).
Ease of Inflation
I used the Sea to Summit Ultralight Air Sleeping Mat for the entirety of my Continental Divide Trail thru-hike. This sleeping pad is available in four sizes (X-Small, Small, Regular, Large). This review is for the regular (sized) sleeping pad.
- Weight: 13.9 oz / 395 g
- R-Value: 0.7
- Number of Air Spring Cells: 181
- Dimensions: 72 x 21.5 in / 184 x 55 cm
- Packed Size: 3 x 6.5 in / 7.5 x 17 cm
- Thickness: 2 in / 5 cm
- Fabric: 40D Nylon Face Fabric
- Sizes: X-Small, Small, Regular, Large
- Color: Yellow
- MSRP: $89.95 – $119.95
- Multi-function valve for fast and easy inflation, deflation and fine tuning of air pressure
- Liquid extrusion TPU lamination bonds to the mat face fabric more consistently than a film, virtually eliminating delamination issues common in other mats
- An anti-microbial treatment is added to the TPU to prevent issues caused by warm, moist air trapped inside the mat.
- Comes with a stuff sack which doubles as a pump, a repair kit containing six self-adhesive patches for repairing punctures in the field, and a spare silicone one-way valve insert
THE VALVE | The valve on the Sea to Summit Ultralight Air Sleeping Mat is my favorite I’ve used thus far on a sleeping pad. It’s a two-way valve that allows for very easy inflation and deflation of the pad. You don’t need to hold the valve closed while taking breaths when blowing this ad up because air cannot escape while the inflation valve is open. Additionally, you don’t need to lay on top of the pad for a minute while the air escapes so that you can compact and store it – it deflates completely in seconds.
THE COMFORT | I go back and forth on how comfortable I find various sleeping pads, but overall (after months of sleeping on this), I am quite satisfied saying that I’m comfortable on this pad. I like the egg carton layout more than horizontal or vertical baffles, but I suppose everyone differs in this regard. Do what makes you happy, friend.
THE WEIGHT | The regular size of this sleeping pad weighs in at 13.9 oz / 394 g (the x-small is 10.4 oz / 295 g, the small is 12.1 oz / 345 g and the large is 17.4 oz / 493 g). Though not the lightest option on the market, the Sea to Summit Ultralight is one of the lightest options available. Since it’s not insulated, you can also pack it down quite small.
THE DURABILITY | The risk of punctures is a fact of life when using an air pad, but I’ve found that the Sea to Summit Ultralight Air Sleeping Mat has stood up to abuse rather well. I’ve never used it without a groundsheet and I’ve also never gotten a puncture in it. I even used it as a sled in the Wind River Range. 10/10, would use again.
THE FIRMNESS | This pad is not very firm, and if you’re a side sleeper, this might not be the pad for you. Stepping on the center of this pad (when inflated), my foot touches the ground. It is not very rigid and can easily be folded over on itself. If you sit up in the middle of it, the ends will lift off the ground. If you’re laying flat on it (on your back), it’s fine, but the floppiness of the mat is something to be noted.
THE WARRANTY | Sea to Summit’s warranty states that they “guarantee (their) products against defects in materials or workmanship for the lifetime of the product.” It also states that the warranty “excludes normal wear and tear and material breakdown due to age, use, or environmental conditions.” Some cases could go either way here (who is to say that something is a fault of wear and tear instead of a manufacturing defect?). I have yet to have any experience with Sea to Summit customer service (except for in Australia when a pair of gaiters fell apart after a week of hiking and Sea to Summit refused to replace them), so we’ll have to see how this goes.
THE NOISE | Unfortunately, this pad makes a lot of noise (when you move around while you’re laying on it, not just while it’s sitting on the ground – just to be clear). I’ve had two of these pads and each one started relatively not-crazy loud, but after a short while, the pad entered into the “no longer allowed to move around on pad when sleeping close to others” mode. I’ve used this sleeping pad with a variety of different groundsheets and sleeping bags so I can’t imagine that this issue is unique to me.
THE R-VALUE | With an R-value of 0.7, this is definitely a three-season (or even just a summer) sleeping pad. It might not be the best sleeping pad solution for you if you only want to have to buy one sleeping pad that’s going to work in all conditions (i.e. colder conditions as well). But if you’re a strictly summer/warm-weather campers, then this shouldn’t be an issue for you. If you’re looking for something a little warmer (and a little heavier), then check out the Sea to Summit Ultralight Insulated Air Sleeping Mat.
Who is it for?
BEGINNER & CASUAL BACKPACKERS | If you’re looking for a sleeping pad that’s easy to inflate/deflate on short summer trips then the Sea to Summit Ultralight Air Sleeping Mat isn’t a bad option. That said, it isn’t hugely versatile, so if you’re looking to buy just one pad and not have different pads for different conditions, then perhaps consider something like the Sea to Summit Ultralight Insulated Air Sleeping Mat instead.
WEEKEND WARRIORS | If most (if not all) of your backpacking is done in warmer climates (or you have a warm sleeping bag), then this pad could work for you.
THRU-HIKERS | I used this pad as a thru-hiker and I was happy with it, but since then a few new mats have come out including the Ether Light XT Air Sleeping Mat.
The Sea to Summit Ultralight Air Sleeping Mat is a comfortable and lightweight sleeping pad option for summer or warm weather backpacking. The introduction of the Ether Light XT Air Sleeping Mat (also from Sea to Summit) and the NeoAir UberLite from Therm-a-Rest may have made this pad a bit less relevant (as they are both lighter and warmer than the Ultralight Air), but if you’re on a budget and need something light and compact, the Ultralight Air may fit your needs.
Check out the Sea to Summit Ultralight Air Sleeping Mat here.
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