Sea to Summit UltraLight Mat
After trying a few air sleeping pads, I’ve found the S2S Ultralight to be the one that offers the best compromise between light weight, comfort, size, and durability. It has a low R-value though, not ideal for cold weather tent camping or backpacking. But I use it with a hammock and for that it’s great even in very cold season. It has a great valve, comes with a repair kit, and the pump sack works really well.
- Excellent valve
- Smooth 30/40D nylon
- Relatively silent
- Packs small
- Low R-value
- Not the lightest
I guess I said it all in the summary. So allow me to just draw some comparisons to my other pads and a few comments on my personal experience and specific use.
The Ultralight lives up to its name, though it’s not as light as some competitors such as Therm-a-Rest’s NeoAir XLite ultralight (8oz). The NeoAir XLite is also warmer at 4.2 R-value, and taller at 2.5 inches when inflated. It’s a great backpacking mat, in my opinion (and experience) especially when used in a tent.
The S2S Ultralight wins in toughness, and the valve is superior. It is much easier to adjust inflation level when when I’m laying on the hammock, and since it sits flat on the top of the pad, it also doesn’t get pushed nor forced by the hammock’s fabric.
It’s also more comfortable and adapts better for use with a hammock, thanks to its cell construction. S2S pulled this out very well, and even though it’s quite low at 2 inches it’s surprisingly comfortable when used on the ground as well.
My wife is 105lbs/5.30’ and she loves it. For someone like her, even side sleeping on the floor isn’t an issue. I prefer my Ether Light XT for that as it’s 4” high and much better for my 176 pounds and almost 6’. She’s always raving about the texture of the 30/40D nylon too. The pump sack really works well and inflates the UL in less than a minute once you get the hang of using it.
I also use the Ultralight with my S2S Air Chair (8oz). I love how the two integrate, and together they weight only 21oz., but the mat has double function when used this way, and this is a big bonus when I’m looking for some comfort without a lot of extra weight and bulk.
Another plus of the Ultralight over the NeoAir XLite is silence, though the Therm-a-Rest is not at all bad. As some other S2S pads it features the Pillow Lock, a simple yet effective hook-and-loop system that keeps the S2S pillows in place throughout the night. It works especially well with the hammock.
I purchased an Ether Light XT in large size for its larger width more than its length, but honestly I never had issues with cold spots when using the Ultralight. The XT is slightly heavier and packs slightly bigger. This doesn’t really bother me much either, but I really love the Ultralight so I keep using it in some trips.
I’ve switched to hammock long ago so I’ve been using the Ultralight mostly for that, and also with the Air Chair. Oftentimes I’ll rest on the floor outside the hammock/tarp setup to enjoy the sky view or just take a nap. If it’s too cold or the ground is wet/humid, or if the floor has too many rocks or pointy things, I’ll use a Tyvek underneath to protect it and increase insulation. Ultralight inflatable sleeping mats always require extra care. Overall I’m pretty satisfied with it and never had an issue.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: USD 80
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Current Retail: $118.99-$159.00
Historic Range: $71.99-$159.00
Reviewers Paid: $80.00
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