AllOutdoor Review – Sea to Summit, Ultralight Insulated Air Sleeping Mat

   12.29.22

AllOutdoor Review – Sea to Summit, Ultralight Insulated Air Sleeping Mat

Roland Tyson started making outdoor gear on an old industrial sewing machine in his childhood bedroom in 1983, at 17 years old. As a young outdoor enthusiast, Roland realized that he had a passion and a talent for creating cutting-edge outdoor equipment. Soon he was designing and manufacturing equipment for other Australian adventurers. By 1991, Sea to Summit was born after outfitting an unusual first ascent of Mt. Everest (a 1,126+ kilometer, 8,848 meters in elevation trek from sea level to a solo summit). 

Sea to Summit

Today Sea to Summit is a multimillion-dollar outdoor brand juggernaut that produces top-quality gear in everything from tents to camping towels. This past summer I was invited on a 10-day camping trip in Glacier National Park Montana and wanted to pack as light as possible to avoid paying for extra checked bags. In my search for a compact sleeping bag and mat I came across some of Sea to Summit’s offerings and settled on their Ultralight Insulated Air Sleeping Mat for my trip. 

The Ultralight Insulated Air Sleeping Mat or UIASM as I will be referring to it for the remainder of this review was independently purchased by myself, and Sea to Summit has had no input on this review. 

Sea to Summit

The UIASM was tested over the course of 5 months on several camping trips in the summer months of Montana to the cool autumn months of Maine. 

Sea to Summit, Ultralight Insulated Air Sleeping Mat (Regular) – Specs

  • Material – 30D / 40D nylon with anti-microbial liquid-extruded TPU lamination
  • Insulation – Exkin Platinum fabric and Thermolite
  • R-Value – 3.1 
  • Season Rating – 2.5 
  • Thickness – 2 in 
  • Dimensions – 72 in x 21.5 in 
  • Packed Size – 5 x 9.5 in
  • Weight  – 16.9 oz 

Sea to Summit

Sea to Summit, Ultralight Insulated Air Sleeping Mat – Comfort  

The UIASM offers a surprising amount of comfort given its size and weight ratio. Coming in at 2 inches thick, there is a surprising amount of cushion included with this mat. Sea to Summit packed is their Air Sprung Cell design that delivers stability and support to your back. The Air Sprung Design in conjunction with many dot welds creates small pockets of air throughout the mat giving it, its unique design. One small downside I notice with these dots is that they will collect dirt or sand over time if not shaken out. One advantage to the dot welds is that you won’t need to fill the mat with as much air meaning you won’t get as light-headed late at night when setting up camp. While on the subject of inflation, the Stuff sack that the mat comes in is also a pump sack meaning that you can collect air in the sack and simply roll it onto the pad. I found this to be a very useful feature and allowed me to fill the mat very quickly. Lastly, the is not a loud mat but is certainly not quite either. Personally, I’m a heavy sleeper so this did not bother me much but when I would wake up it was certainly the loudest person in my tent at times. 

Sea to Summit

Sea to Summit, Ultralight Insulated Air Sleeping Mat – Weight and Packability 

As mentioned before I chose the UIASM mainly for its size and packability as I did not have much space in my bag for anything other than an ultralight sleeping pad. This mat comes in at 16.9 oz for the regular size model and can be packed down to an incredibly small 5 x 9.5 in. This is by far the UIASM’s biggest draw and for good reason as its size is highly competitive in its market. Most other mats that I own while, not in the “ultralight” category are at least 30% – 40% larger making them much more difficult to pack up. This mat was certainly designed with weight and size in mind and it shows throughout. 

Sea to Summit

Sea to Summit, Ultralight Insulated Air Sleeping Mat – Warmth 

The UIASM mat is advertised as being a 2.5-season mat and coming with an R-Value of 3 from Sea to Summit. The R-value for insulation is a way to measure how much resistance the insulation has to heat flow. The higher the R-value, the more resistance and the better the material is at insulating you from the cold. Since most of the time when camping, you will be sleeping on something cold, it’s a good idea to have a mat with a decent R-Value. 

Sea to Summit

While summer days in Montana can be warm, the nights can get very cold, especially in the mountains. I found the R-value of the UIASM to be perfect for summer camping in the mountains but once I into the fall, not so much. I am a person who generates a lot of heat naturally and likes to sleep in less warm rooms and even I found this mat to be not warm enough for fall camping where the temps get below 40 degrees Farenheit. I think this is a great mat, I just also think it’s more of a 2 season mat and not a 2.5 as advertised. 

Sea to Summit, Ultralight Insulated Air Sleeping Mat – Durability 

Sea to Summit

Durability on the UIASM has been great in my testing. While I have not had this mat for a full year, I think it will last a very long time. The mat is constructed of 30D / 40D nylon with TPU lamination giving it a lightweight yet rugged feel. The only place I could see a potential durability issue is with the purge valve that you use to inflate the mat with. I recently had one of my Sea to Summit camping pillows with the same system fail on me after five years of use. This is not a knock on the mat but rather just something to keep in mind. 

Sea to Summit

Likes 

  • One of the smallest mats you can get on the market
  • Decent comfort is given its size and weight
  • High-tech materials and manufacturing processes lead to perceived long-term durability

Dislikes 

  • Not very wide for larger campers
  • Materials are noisy
  • Not as warm as its competition

Sea to Summit

Sea to Summit, Ultralight Insulated Air Sleeping Mat – Wrap up 

Overall I think Sea to Summit did exactly what set out to do with this product. The Ultralight Insulated Air Sleeping Mat is incredibly lightweight and packable giving you the freedom to bring it on more adventures. It’s not the warmest mat but that’s also not what it was designed for. I’d recommend using it for summer excursions or when size and weight are of the utmost importance. Coming in at $150 MSRP for the regular size, I think it also strikes a good balance of value and performance.

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Patrik Orcutt is currently a writer for AllOutdoor who has chosen not to write a short bio at this time.

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