|Rating:||9.2 / 10|
|Value for Money||2.2 / 2.5|
|Weight||2.2 / 2.5|
|Comfort||2.5 / 2.5|
|Warmth||2.3 / 2.5|
By nature I am a side sleeper but given I have had a number of shoulder injuries over the years, I regularly shift positions during the night from my back to one side and then the other. In fact my wife accuses me of flipping like a pancake as opposed to just rolling over. This annoys my wife no end as she is a light sleeper so the more I toss and turn, the more I disturb her.
When it came to testing out the Sea to Summit Ether Light XT Insulated sleeping mat, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I used a foam pad for a number of years and appreciated the Therm-a-rest Prolite series when it came out but found it still didn’t provide enough support when I slept on my side. Early in 2016, I bit the bullet and purchased the Therm-a-rest NeoAir XLite mainly because I had a major shoulder injury caused by a rock climbing accident that forced the issue.
So my commitment to Therm-a-rest is strong and I wondered whether the Sea to Summit Ether Light XT Insulated mat could challenge my biases.
This mat is great for side sleeping, and in fact I’ll go as far as saying this is one of the most comfortable mats I have used. It also provides excellent cushioning for back sleepers that only comes from a mat that is 10 cm deep – yes 10! The mat incorporates Air Sprung Cell™ comfort coupled with what Sea to Summit refers to as a ‘dot weld pattern’ that disperses pressure across the mat for a more comfortable night’s sleep.
Despite the size and depth of this mat, when packed it isn’t that much bigger than a one litre water bottle and for the cushioning, the weight is very good at a reasonably small 425 grams. There are a huge number of inflatable mats available on the market and this one will appeal to most with the exception of the most hard core ultralight hikers.
The heat retention of this mat is great which is achieved by combining an Exkin Platinum® layer and a thicker THERMOLITE® insulative layer into a single layer. The result is a warm mat (the R-value is 3.8), lightweight and compact when packed. I do appreciate the additional insulation, and despite being a hot sleeper, this mat works well for me.
The mat size of 183 cm (regular size) is fine for my 188 cm frame and there was no need for me to seek out the longer ‘large’ version. This mat is also available in a small size and a women’s version. The colour of the mat is grey which is just fine by me.
This mat is a little noisy but not to the extent of other sleeping mats. If the noise bothers you (or your hiking buddies), just slip the mat inside a sleeping bag liner!
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 in the process! Its a very appreciated feature when you consider the need to inflate a 10 cm mat at the end of the day!
And the verdict? The Sea to Summit Ether Light XT Insulated is one of the the most comfortable sleeping mats I have used; Ever. I’m not usually so over the top with my reviews but then, I will always give credit where credit is due. This is a great mat for those of you who appreciate their comfort but also want a relatively lightweight mat.
Sea to summit Ether Light XT Insulated mat
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$259 AUD. A great investment but keep an eye out for the regular sales that occur and you may get a great deal
Sea to Summit produces a large range of sleeping mats and pads to suit all needs including a women’s version of the Ether Light XT Insulated and the Ultra Light Insulated for women (suits males also)
Sea to Summit sleeping mat comparison. 1 litre water bottle versus the Sea to Summit Ultra Light Women’s Insulated sleeping mat versus the Sea to Summit Ether Light XT Insulated sleeping mat
Sea to Summit Ether Light mat with Pump Sack
Sea to Summit Pillow Lock markers
Pillow Lock with micro hook patches
Sea to Summit Pillow Lock in action using the Aeros Pillow
Airstream Pump Sack instructions
Multi function valve
This review was done with product provided on loan from Sea to Summit