|Rating:||8.8 / 10|
|Value for Money||1.6 / 2|
|Weight||1.5 / 2|
|Comfort||2.0 / 2|
|Durability||1.8 / 2|
|Warmth||1.9 / 2|
In July last year we had the opportunity to talk to a number of manufacturers and suppliers about new and exciting gear releases. The one piece of gear we were most keen to see hit Australia was the Sea to Summit Sea Ether Light XT Extreme Sleeping Mat. Its March 2021 and this mat has just arrived into retail stores and we jumped at the opportunity to have a play to see how it performed. Up front, it didn’t disappoint.
First up lets look at the negatives, and there really are only two. The first most obvious one is the bulk and when you compare it to a 1 litre water bottle it’s definitely bulky. The second downside is the weight given this mat weighs in at 720 grams which is on the heavier side for a hiking sleeping mat.
Now for the positives. With so many sleeping mats on the market why do we need any more? This mat sits in the ‘high warmth’ segment of the market that provides limited choice for hikers, in comparison to the mainstream market, so adding one more is actually a good thing. Given that’s the case let’s talk about the range of features.
Many hikers will spend up big on getting a decent sleeping bag but if you pair it with the wrong mat you won’t get the benefit. For the average hiker a mat that has an R-Value of around 3.8 or more is what you are looking for however if you plan on hiking in the colder part of the year in the southern areas of Australia then an R-Value of 5+ is needed to keep you warm. The Sea to Summit Sea Ether Light XT Extreme Sleeping Mat has an R-Value of 6.2 which is more than adequate even for the coldest sleepers so if you feel the cold then this mat will suit you well. While I didn’t get the chance to use this mat in the middle of winter, I did find this mat felt warm regardless.
The valve on this mat is a two part valve. You open both sections to let all the air out. To inflate you open the outer layer and being a one-way-valve, you can take your time blowing up the mat.
The mat size of 183 cm (regular size) is fine for my 185 cm frame and there was no need for me to seek out the longer ‘large’ version although the additional length is always welcome. This mat is also available in different versions (e.g. larger, smaller, women’s etc.) which will suit the needs of all hikers. The colour of the mat is black which has become the ‘in’ colour for many mats at the moment. The plasticised material of this mat is easy to wipe down to remove any dirt or dust unlike the cloth-style covered mats that hold onto the dirt really well.
This mat is like it’s sibling the Sea to Summit Ether Light XT Insulated mat is a ‘sprung’ (Air Sprung Cell™) inflated mat. While most other mats on the market opt for horizontal or vertical baffles this welded sprung construction disperses pressure across the mat for a more comfortable night’s sleep ensuring there are no ‘soft edges’. This mat is very comfortable to lay on in any position. In fact I’ll go as far as saying this is one of the most comfortable mats I have used which is something that Sea to Summit has done very well with this range. It also provides excellent cushioning for both back or side sleepers that only comes from a mat that is 10 cm deep. As someone who rotates (flips) onto my side during the night you are never going to hit the ground like you do with thinner mats. In many respects the comfort of this mat, which it shares with its sibling, is one of the biggest features that make this such a stand out.
While ultralight mats can weigh in at around half the weight of the Sea to Summit Sea Ether Light XT Extreme Sleeping Mat it more than makes up for this additional weight with the additional comfort. In addition while there is a bit of noise when you move around overall this mat is quieter than many others.
This mat comes with Sea to Summit’s Airstream™ Pump Sack which allows you to pump up the mat in no time and without passing out from lack of oxygen in the process! Its a very appreciated feature when you consider the need to inflate a 10 cm mat at the end of a hard day!
Another nifty feature is the Sea to Summit Pillow Lock™ which is a nifty way of describing ‘micro velcro’. In this case this micro hook system will stick to the Sea to Summit pillows really to prevent the pillow from moving during the night. While this may seem like a minor feature it really makes a difference to your comfort.
And the verdict? The Sea to Summit Ether Light XT Extreme Sleeping Mat, like its sibling, is one of the the most comfortable sleeping mats around in addition to being relatively quiet. This mat is a great mat for those of you who appreciate comfort and want to maintain a toasty nights sleep, particularly in cold conditions.
What it really comes down to is a trade off between the warmth and the bulk/weight. If warmth isn’t an issue for you then look to the cheaper, lighter and less bulky Sea to Summit Ether Light XT Insulated Sleeping Mat. If however you camp in cold conditions and need the extra warmth, or are looking for an amazing car camping mat, then you can’t go past the Sea to Summit Ether Light XT Extreme Sleeping Mat.
Sea to Summit Ether Light XT Extreme Sleeping Mat
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If you have used the Sea to Summit Ether Light XT Extreme Sleeping Mat or if you have questions, we’d like to hear from you. Post your comment or questions below
AUD $399.99 RRP
Sea to Summit produces a large range of sleeping mats and pads to suit all needs. The Ether Light range also includes:
Sea to Summit Ether Light Extreme Sleeping Mat in the box
Sea to Summit Ether Light Extreme Sleeping Mat out of the box
Sea to Summit Ether Light XT Extreme Sleeping Mat compared to a 1 litre water bottle
Sea to Summit Ether Light XT Extreme Sleeping Mat out of bag
Sea to Summit Ether Light XT Extreme Sleeping Mat with Pump Sack which is also the stuff sack for the mat
Inflating the Sea to Summit Ether Light XT Extreme Sleeping Mat with the pump sack
Sea to Summit Pillow Lock markers
Close up of valve 2nd layer which you open to let all the air out
Close up of valve system on the Sea to Summit Ether Light Extreme Sleeping Mat. You can take a break during inflation which is really handy
Sea to Summit Ether Light Extreme Sleeping Mat close up of the sprung cells
Lying down on the Sea to Summit Ether Light Extreme Sleeping Mat
This review was done with product provided for testing by Sea to Summit