This is Sea to Summit's flagship sleeping pad suited for use in all seasons and wins our Top Pick award for Comfort. The air-sprung cells support evenly along the pad's width and length and reduce the bouncy sensations caused by horizontal and vertical baffles used in other mats. Two independent top and bottom air chambers provide redundancy against puncture and let you tailor the pad's comfort to the terrain and your sleep style, and thanks to the included Air Stream Dry Sack Pump, inflation only takes a few, breathless minutes.
Sea to Summit Comfort Plus Insulated Review
Cons: Heavy and expensive
Manufacturer: Sea to Summit
#4 of 27
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Comfort Plus Insulated is one of the most comfortable and supportive pads ever. The dual air chambers add quite a bit of stability and allow a fine tuning not possible with other pads. It's a great choice for folks who want a different, more comfortable feel than the popular Therm-a-rest Neoair series but don't mind carrying a few extra ounces in the name of comfort.
Usually, we find marketing hype to be just that. But this time, the Summit Comfort Plus Insulated deserves recognition for a truly unique and forward-thinking design. Unlike horizontal or vertical baffles, the Sea to Summit pads use a type of baffling called "Air Sprung Cells." Hundreds of individual pockets trap air longitudinally and laterally yielding a high level of support and reduced bounciness.
But that's just the start! Independent top and bottom air chambers allow for a firm inflation near the ground and a soft sleep surface on top. Side sleepers will especially appreciate this feature because it guarantees that your hips won't hit the ground while still affording you a plush sleeping experience. Your tent-mate will appreciate that this pad is much quieter than the crinkly Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm.
The biggest comfort related complaint voiced by our testers concerns the pad's lack of a smooth surface. As noted in our How to Choose the Best Sleeping Pad article, most people prefer smooth surfaces to ones that leave depressions like those found on the Sea to Summit pads. However, this downside was greatly pitted against the benefits of the design. Deflating the top section significantly solved the smooth surface issue by reducing pressure points and distributing weight more evenly across the pad. This resulted in an overwhelmingly comfortable sleeping experience. In the end, the dual air chambers and air sprung cells combine to earn this pad a top comfort score.
The Sea to Summit Comfort Plus is also available in a larger rectangular shape in the Sea to Summit Comfort Plus Mat for those looking for a bigger pad. With only a 3oz weight difference from its tapered counterpart, its a great option for those looking for a little more room on their sleeping surface.
Weight and Packed Size
Sometimes innovation and build construction come at a price, and in the case of the Comfort Plus Insulated, that price is a high weight penalty. For as much love as we lavish on this pad, it's hard not to acknowledge the 25.5-ounce Achilles heel. If you're trying to parse down your kit for the maximum performance to weight ratio, this pad is a far less attractive option when compared with other pads like the Editors' Choice Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm that is 10 ounces lighter and a tad warmer. While that may not sound like a lot, the weight savings could afford you an ultralight shelter or a warmer backpacking sleeping bag. Additionally, you could shave an ounce by choosing a stuff sack other than the included pump sack if you don't mind blowing your pad up every night.
Some will value the Comfort Plus Insulated's dual chamber redundancy enough to justify the weight penalty, but supplementing a lightweight pad with a foam one like the Therm-a-Rest Z Lite SOL will net you around 26 ounces with the advantage of being more versatile and more durable overall. If you're sold on the killer features of the Comfort Plus Insulated and don't plan on camping in the snow, consider the uninsulated version that weighs a more manageable 21 ounces.
The greatest thermal inefficiency of air construction sleeping pads is the convection of moving air within the pad itself. Any movement (even breathing) causes warm air near your body to mix with cold air near the ground. The dual air chambers of the Comfort Plus Insulated along with synthetic insulation reduce this convective heat loss by keeping the warmer air trapped next to you. A reflective barrier prevents radiative heat loss.
An R-value of 5 makes this pad a top contender for warmth. When sleeping on snow, we didn't feel the cold and slept soundly through the night. When used side by side during a ski trip to a Colorado 14er, the Comfort Plus Insulated was noticeably warmer than the Exped Synmat Hyperlite (R-value of 3.3).
Ease of Inflation
The Sea to Summit pads have some our favorite valves. The one-way valve fitted atop a large deflation valve makes inflation, fine adjustments, and deflation super easy. The valves work so well that inflation or deflation is easy even when you're laying on the pad. Ten breaths on the bottom section and five on top gave us the perfect balance of rigidity and plushness. All things considered, 15 breathes is minimal compared to the lung power required to inflate the Therm-a-rest Neo air and the Big Agnes Insulated Air Core, but throw in the Air pump/ dry sack and you've got one of the more easily inflatable pads we've tested.
Made with 40 denier nylon, this pad was up for use directly on the ground. Throughout our testing, we intentionally slept on the ground and used the pad as a chair/couch around camp. Our far from gentle treatment revealed this pad's excellent durability. The outer fabric feels burly and ready for years of use and abuse.
While the outer construction is the same of that of the Sea to Summit Comfort Light Insulated, we gave the Comfort Plus Insulated two more durability points because of the dual chamber design. Those who pursue mountaineering, prickly desert environments, or extended trips in the backcountry will have peace of mind thanks to the redundant air chamber that'll get you through the night before using the included patch kit in the morning.
The Comfort Plus Insulated could be the last sleeping pad you ever need. Use it for winter mountaineering, comfy car camping, traveling, or luxurious backpacking. It is not suited to ultralight adventures.
The hefty price tag of the Comfort Plus Insulated is balanced against an excellent set of features and progressive design. It is comfortable enough that it works well for car camping but can be thrown in your back on your next tour. For the same price, you could buy the Editors' Choice Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm.
The Sea to Summit Comfort Plus Insulated is an excellent pad if you value comfort and support over low weight and a small packed size. Across the board, innovative features make for excellent backcountry sleeping experiences on this pad. The supportive air sprung cells are nice, but many testers still prefer smooth surfaces provided by horizontal baffling. In many ways, this pad is the Mercedes Benz of backcountry sleeping pads. You get a lot of great features and the build quality is high, but it costs a lot and isn't streamlined. Buy this pad if you value comfort, convenience, and novel features over maximum performance per ounce.
OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: May 7, 2018
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