Sea to Summit Ether Light XT
My Ether Light XT is not the insulated version, so it’s actually lighter weight yet lower R-value—though it’s used for hammock camping so it provides good insulation even during cold weather.
- Large size is wide too
- Very comfortable
- Low noise
- Pump sack really works
- Great valve
- Quick to inflate/deflate
- Comes with patch kit
- Low R-value
- Large size not too compact
- Not exactly fragile, but demands care and attention as any other lightweight pad
I really like S2S stuff. Yes, their top-of-line offerings are usually pricey, but good/lightweight/performance gear usually is.
Build is top-notch: good materials, great design, and consistent manufacturing through and through. I also have another S2S sleeping pad, the Ultralight one which is more compact and 100g lighter than the Ether XT (mine is not the Ether XT Insulated).
The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite (regular wide) is lighter, has a much higher R-value and packs more compact. But somehow the construction and design of the Ether XT works better as a hammock pad. It is also tougher and the valve design is better than the NeoAir in my experience, but if weight and R-value are important for you, the Therm-a-Rest (as well as the Nemo Tensor Ultralight) may be worth checking.
In use, the Ether XT is great. It’s 4” and the cell system does yield greater comfort. It also works great with the awesome S2S Air Chair, but so does the NeoAir, the Tensor, and especially the S2S Ultralight.
I thought the clear color would get dirty easily, but so far (a few months in use), so good. Maybe it’s because I’m using it on a hammock, though I have used it to relax on the ground a few times. When I do so I use an ultralight Tyvek tarp to protect it not only from dirt but also from potential sharp pieces of dirt.
It’s just as fragile as any other ultralight sleeping pad, though I’ve never had an issue or a single leakage with S2S pads (unlike with others). I hate to wake up in the middle of the night sleeping cold on a flat pad, so reliability is important for me. The repair kit is straightforward to use though, in case of an accident (I also make sure to avoid sharp or pointy objects in the tent or hammock while sleeping).
Inflating the long/wide model takes a while. The included S2S pump sack does work quite well for that. On the first times I used the the Ultralight right after buying it I would blow it full. It’s “regular” sized and quite thin so it’s OK. The Ether has a much larger volume and I did the same in the first couple of times, until I finally decided to try the pump sack. I should’ve tried it sooner—it’s easier and faster (unless you want the breathing exercise of course).
The pillow locking system is genius, it is simple yet works really well with S2S pillows, though it works with one other pillow I have here that also stays locked into the hook-and-loop pieces. I like how S2S integrates some of their gear, especially when it works this well.
I wish it had a higher R-value. I know the Ether Light XT Insulated does, but it’s also heavier and I prefer lightweight (especially since I don’t use it for tent sleeping, only for hammock and it doesn’t really make much difference as the air provides good insulation against cold air even when there’s a draft).
But it would make it more versatile. Sometimes I lay on a grass field to watch the stars in the open before going to bed and it gets colder than with the NeoAir, though warmer than the Ultralight.
Currently the Ether Light XT is my go-to sleeping pad. Maybe because it’s the newest, but I really appreciate how it works well with my hammock, how comfortable and silent it is compared to some other sleeping pads I have. The valve system makes it super easy to adjust and fine-tune the feeling while resting on it. I also appreciate the touch of the S2S nylon, and it’s relatively quiet too. All things considered, it’s not the lightest, not the warmest, but it’s the most comfortable and reliable in my experience, and since I use it for hammock camping it’s a good compromise overall.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: As always, local full price (import taxes, etc.).
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Current Retail: $179.00-$179.99
Historic Range: $126.82-$199.95
Summer backpacking, bike touring, paddle touring, camping
|12.3 oz / 370 g
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|66 x 21.5 in / 168 x 55 cm
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4 in / 10 cm
30D / 40D nylon with anti-microbial liquid-extruded TPU lamination
Stuff sack with integrated Airstream Pump, Repair Kit, PillowLock