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Sea to Summit Ultralight Insulated - Women's Review

This lightweight sleeping pad is relatively comfortable, but we think it's a Jack-of-all-trades and master-of-none.
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Price:  $140 List | $103.96 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Lightweight, small packed size, included pump sack
Cons:  Not as comfortable as Ether Light and same weight, thin
Manufacturer:   Sea to Summit
By Jessica Haist ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 23, 2019
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73
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 11
  • Warmth - 25% 6
  • Comfort - 25% 7
  • Durability - 10% 7
  • Weight - 25% 8
  • Packed Size - 15% 9

Our Verdict

As part of Sea to Summit's new women's specific line, we got our hands on the UltraLight Insulated women's pad this season. We're not exactly sure what to make of it as it's not as warm as our favorite, the Sea to Summit Ether Light XT, only weighs .4 ounces lighter, and not nearly as comfortable. We think the use of "UltraLight" in this products name is superfluous and inaccurate.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
Price $103.96 at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
$200 List$127.74 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$199.95 at REI$99.95 at REI
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Pros Lightweight, small packed size, included pump sackComfortable, quiet, lightweightVery light, super compact, comfortable, versatile, warmer than normal XLiteComfortable, warm, durableComfortable, good valve system, warm
Cons Not as comfortable as Ether Light and same weight, thinExpensive, heavier than the NeoAir XLiteEdges collapse when weighted, noisy, expensive, delicate materialsHeavy, expensiveHeavy and bulky
Bottom Line This lightweight sleeping pad is relatively comfortable, but we think it's a Jack-of-all-trades and master-of-none.This versatile sleeping mat is super comfortable and a great choice for all your backpacking needs.This super light and compact sleeping pad is a great choice for someone looking to got fast and light.This unique, comfortable sleeping pad is a great choice for 4-season camping and wins our Top Pick Award!This comfortable and warm sleeping pad with unique "rails" that will cradle you when you sleep is a great value.
Rating Categories Ultralight Insulated Ether Light XT Insulated NeoAir XLite Comfort Plus Insulated Short Co-op AirRail Plus
Warmth (25%)
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Comfort (25%)
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Durability (10%)
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Weight (25%)
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Packed Size (15%)
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Specs Ultralight Insulated Ether Light XT... NeoAir XLite Comfort Plus... Co-op AirRail Plus
Measured Weight 14.6 15 oz 11.8 oz 26.3 oz 25 oz
Thickness 2 in 4 in 2.5 in 2.5 in 1.5 in
Width 21.5 in 21.5 in 20 in 21.5-17 in 23 in
Type 2.5 season 3.5 season 3 season 4 season 3 season
R Value 3.3 4.2 3.9 5 5.2
Packed Size 4 x 9 in 11 x 4.5 in 8.27 x 3.94 in 11.81 x 5.12 in 9.84 x 5.51 in
Tested Length 72 in 66 in 66 in 66 in 66 in
Bottom Material 40D nylon 40D nylon 30D High Tenacity Nylon 40D Ripstop Nylon 75D Polyester

Our Analysis and Test Results

This sleeping pad is somewhat warm, somewhat light and somewhat packable, but not the best at any of these.

Performance Comparison


We struggled to find a place for this Jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none sleeping mat in the new Sea to Summit line.

Warmth


The UltraLight Insulated is not very warm when compared to the rest of the products in this review. It has an R rating of 3.3, the second lowest of the bunch after the ProLite. This pad is lightly insulated and will keep you protected from the ground for the full summer season (and stretch into spring and fall), but is not as warm as its big sister, the Ether Light, which has an R-value of 4.2.

The Sea to Summit Ultralight Insulated is relatively comfortable but not very thick so not great for side sleepers.
The Sea to Summit Ultralight Insulated is relatively comfortable but not very thick so not great for side sleepers.

Comfort


This pad is relatively comfortable. We like Sea to Summit's women's specific shape that is wider at the hips and tapers at the shoulders, as it's much more comfortable than a pad that is widest at the shoulders and tapers down to the feet. We also like that this mat has quieter materials than the NeoAir, which makes for a more comfortable, peaceful sleep for you and your tent mate.

We like the shape and width of the Ultralight. It helps make it more comfortable for female sleepers.
We like the shape and width of the Ultralight. It helps make it more comfortable for female sleepers.

We like the waffle-like texture of the Ultralight, and find it cushions well. However, this pad is one of the thinner models of the air mattresses without foam and you may find yourself bottoming out if the mat is not fully inflated. It is much thinner than the Ether and is not as comfortable.

Using the Ultralight's pump sack makes inflation very easy.
Using the Ultralight's pump sack makes inflation very easy.

Durability


As far as we can tell, the UltraLight is relatively durable. It has 40 denier materials, which are tougher than the NeoAir's 30D. We like its valve system, which seems relatively durable in comparison to the screw-closed ones that Therm-a-Rest uses. This pad comes with field repair patches and an extra valve piece for the one-way valve system, which can aid in an emergency.

Weight


This is the second lightest sleeping pad in this review, by a hair, weighing 14.6 ounces (the Ether Light weighs 15 ounces) - without its stuff sack. The name of this product is a bit misleading, as we would not describe this sleeping pad as "ultralight" in the slightest; to be fair, it is the lightest of Sea to Summit's women's models. The lightest mat we tested was the NeoAir XLite; it weighs 11.8 ounces. Leave the stuff sack at home to save 1.8 ounces.

We like the Ultralight Insulated's stuff sack that turns into a pump  but it does add 2 ounces of weight to your pack.
We like the Ultralight Insulated's stuff sack that turns into a pump, but it does add 2 ounces of weight to your pack.

Packed Size


The UltraLight Insulated from Sea to Summit packs down relatively small. It has about the third smallest packed size and is more compact than the warmer, more comfortable Ether Light.

Sea to Summit's Ether Light XT (left) and Ultralight Insulated (right). The Ultralight has a slightly smaller packed size.
Sea to Summit's Ether Light XT (left) and Ultralight Insulated (right). The Ultralight has a slightly smaller packed size.

Best Application


This is a good choice for backpacking. Its small packed size ensures it will fit into your pack nicely and should provide a good night's sleep.

The three Sea to Summit mats we tested. From bottom to top: Comfort Plus  Ether Light XT and Ultralight Insulated. For how much slimmer the Ultralight is  it only weighs .4 ounces less than the Ether.
The three Sea to Summit mats we tested. From bottom to top: Comfort Plus, Ether Light XT and Ultralight Insulated. For how much slimmer the Ultralight is, it only weighs .4 ounces less than the Ether.

Value


Here is where we discover the significant positive of the UltraLight versus the Ether. The Ultralight retails for $140, whereas the Ether will cost you $200. At first glance, the UltraLight is a much better value. However, we'd splurge and carry the extra .4 ounces of the Ether Light for more comfort and warmth. All in all, the best value product we've discovered is the REI AirRail Plus, and is the winner of our Best Buy Award.

Conclusion


Don't get us wrong; we like the Sea to Summit UltraLight Insulated, and it's a decent pad all around. It's relatively warm, comfortable, light, and packable. However, when compared to other products by the same manufacturer, better options exist. If Sea to Summit could make this significantly lighter than the Ether, it would be an excellent option, but right now the performance is too close to be up for debate.


Jessica Haist