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.
Sea to Summit Ultralight Insulated - Women's Review
Compare prices at 4 resellers Pros: Lightweight, small packed size, included pump sack
Cons: Not as comfortable as Ether Light and same weight, thin
Manufacturer: Sea to Summit
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Our Analysis and Test Results
This sleeping pad is somewhat warm, somewhat light and somewhat packable, but not the best at any of these.
We struggled to find a place for this Jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none sleeping mat in the new Sea to Summit line.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here is where we discover the significant positive of the UltraLight versus the Ether. The Ultralight retails for $130, whereas the Ether will cost you $190. 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.
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