Sea to Summit Comfort Plus Insulated Mat Overview
The idea of sleeping in a tent, far removed from society, is a romantic notion. Tucked away behind a mountain range, no distant sounds of congested freeways, or ability to check the Insta, life is quiet and good. In the quest to disconnect to reconnect, it is inevitable that one will have to make sacrifices and compromises, succumbing to the amount of weight that can be carried. Meaning, forget the egyptian cotton sheets and the memory foam mattress. Backcountry life is not designed for those who crave fluffy bedding while being fed grapes by Fabio — it’s meant for those who revel in minimalism.
That said, there are companies who create products that are the backcountry equivalent of a five-star resort bed.
Sea to Summit has targeted those who crave both comfort and ruggedness with the Comfort Plus Insulated Mat. Designed with patented Air Sprung Cell technology, the Comfort Plus looks like the love child of an egg crate and your standard inflatable backpacking pad. The individually inflated cells allow bed-like comfort and even weight distribution. Constructed with rip stop 40-Denier nylon, it’s thick and far from flimsy.
The unique valve, double-sided inflata-bility, and overall design make the Sea to Summit Comfort Plus Insulated Sleeping Mat our Premium Pick for the Wilderness Backpacker. Specifically for a Backpacker who is less concerned with weight than comfort in the backcountry (still no Fabio, though).
Read the full review of the Sea to Summit Comfort Plus Insulated Sleeping Mat below. And, if sleeping pads perplex you, read our comprehensive Sleeping Pad Guide. You’re guaranteed to learn something new.
Comfort Plus Insulated Mat Specifications
|Feature Type||Feature Specs||What This Means|
|Weight||27.7 oz (785g)||A high weight for a sleeping pad today. It makes up for it with comfort, insulation, and two valve chambers, but let’s be realistic about the weight. It’s heavy. This is for the mummy, the rectangle pad is heavier.|
|Type||Air Pad||This pad inflates entirely with air. More on the types of sleeping pads in our Guide.|
|R-Value/ Temperature Rating||5||This is an insulated mat, and it’s good for use in all four seasons. More explanation of R-Values and temperature rating in our Guide.|
|Shape||Rectangle or Mummy||The model tested here is a mummy shape, but it’s offered in both mummy or rectangle. For those who really want comfort, Rectangle is the way to go. Explain this and link to Guide.|
|Sizes||Regular, Large, Small||We tested a Regular Mummy. It also comes in a Small or Large.|
|Thickness||2.5 in (6.3 cm)||This is now the standard thickness for very comfortable air pads. Enough to be fully off the ground, yet not high enough to be bouncy.|
|Length||72 in (184 cm)||This is the standard length for sleeping pads. Fits a person roughly six feet tall. Also offered in Large and Small sizes.|
|Width||21.5 in (55 cm)||This width is 1.5 inches wider than average. This gives a bit more room for elbows, and makes the pad feel more deluxe. The tapered mummy version is narrower at the feet, while the rectangle version is 21.5-inches throughout.|
|Packed Size||5 x 9 in (12 x 23 cm)||Not tiny, not huge. Definitely larger than a Nalgene, but still a respectable size to fit in your pack, and way smaller than pads of yore. More on sleeping pad packed size in our Guide.|
|Baffle Type||Quilted Air Sprung Cells||Unique to Sea to Summit, the Air Sprung Cells create a quilted-like mattress. Each cell is separate, and inflates to form an egg crate shape. It’s very stable. More on baffle types in our Guide.|
|Valve Type||Flat Valve||This pad uses a multifunctional flat valve. This allows you to inflate by mouth or attached bag. It stops airflow when not inflating, and can be deflated quickly. More on valve types in our Guide.|
|Material Type/ Thickness||40D rip-stop nylon face fabric||A fairly thick material for a sleeping pad. This assures it won’t rip easily. More on Denier and fabric thickness in our Guide.|
|Manufacturer Warranty||Lifetime Warranty||Lifeitme warranty for manufacturer defects and workmanship. Does not include normal wear and tear, which is usually how sleeping pads get holes. You also have to be the original purchaser and have proof of purchase.|
|Retail Price||$199.95||A high price for an incredibly comfy pad with two separate air chambers.|
Gear Review of the Sea to Summit Comfort Plus Insulated Mat
Origins: Easing You In
I received the Sea to Summit Comfort Plus at the perfect moment. Over the years I have purchased pads, returned pads, borrowed pads, and even have forgone the use of pads. None have been very comfortable, good at retaining heat, or been very packable (can we say “awkward egg crate?”). It has been a frustrating cycle because after a long hike carrying upwards of 30 pounds on my back I want (heck, deserve!) a mat that will allow my body to recuperate.
Before I could finish inviting my friend out for a quick overnight backpack, he accepted and insisted that we go to this cool spot in the Sespe Wilderness. I agreed, seeing that I only was interested in reading books under trees, and he was interested in scrambling around rocks.
The Sea to Summit Comfort Plus packed easily inside of my 70L backpack along with my other gear. It was nice to not have to strap down an accordion to the top of my bag! The hike was warm, indicating that Southern California is going to have a hot, hot summer. We melted as we climbed hills and hopped across rivers.
Once at a site that accommodated both of our agendas (big rocks for him and a place to kick up my feet), we set up the tent. My friend disappeared into the wilderness and I eagerly set up the Sea to Summit Comfort Plus — it was time for action! Or rather, inaction.
Revelation: The Moment I Knew
I grabbed the Sea to Summit Comfort Plus, a Ken Kesey novel, and my stash of rapidly melting chocolate. Knowing full well the consequences of spiky leaves and inflated devices, I threw the pad under the only shady spot, flopped (yes, flopped) onto it, and went to work on decluttering my mind.
The 40D ripstop nylon took on the challenge like a champ and stayed fully inflated under my body weight. The pad was also flexible with the terrain and provided comfort in the only nearby shady spot. When I went to grab more snacks (do not judge, I was on vacation), I came back to find my nap spot had been nabbed by my friend. Well played.
I live with a mildly irrational fear of flats (probably from riding bicycles), and sleeping pads have a nasty habit of flattening out! The Sea to Summit Comfort Plus’ nylon construction transcended the laws of sharp objects on soft material. Despite putting it through the poky wringer, it did not burst.
That said, Sea to Summit understands this concern and designed the Comfort Plus Insulated pad to have two inflatable sides. Yes, two! There are two valves and two fully separate air chambers. Inflate the bottom half of the pad fully for firm, fully insulated sleeping. Inflate the top as much as you can, then adjust to the firmness level that suits you best. Not only does this provide unparalleled comfort, but if you do manage to pop one of the sides, you can use the other till you’ve fixed the hole!
The Sea to Summit Comfort Plus is designed for backpacking, but makes no claims at being lightweight. It weighs 27.7 ounces, which is a lot less than the sleeping pads of yore, but a solid 5-10 ounces heavier than necessary. You get luxurious materials and essentially two pads for the extra weight, which I found totally worth it. Fully inflated the mattress is 2.5 inches deep, and held my body (hips included!) well-above ground.
The Sea to Summit Comfort Plus is 72 inches long and 21.5 inches wide; this fit fairly well with my Big Agnes, women-specifc sleeping bag, which has a sleeping pad sleeve to keep me from rolling around in the night. The Comfort Plus is much longer than my sleeping bag, probably because the bag is women’s specific (i.e., short), but the pad is standard length. This actually provided extra head room, and it fit nice and snug width-wise.
Since the Sea to Summit Comfort Plus is constructed from egg-carton-like cells, its weight is distributed evenly, which held my bag to the ground. It was nice to be able to roll around and shift during my sleep without feeling like I was on a raft. Bonus: I slept comfortably without a pillow due to the springiness of the mattress!
I was impressed with the overall function of the Sea to Summit Comfort Plus, especially when it came time to inflate it. After a long, weighted trek, the last thing that anyone should be doing (unless their cardio is boss status) is inflating their sleeping pads by mouth. Yes, there are those pads that are self-inflating (that you still have to blow up on your end a little bit). Yes, there are little hand pumps and other devices that get pads full of air. Sea to Summit included a nifty, simple, and efficacious device that blew my mind: the Air Stream Dry Sack Pump.
I am a huge believer in owning multipurpose gear and Sea to Summit seems to have the same values. The Air Stream Dry Sack Pump is a 20L dry sack and a big mattress pump all-in-one! The Air Stream Dry Sack is lightweight, made from a patented 15D Ultra-Sil fabric, and weighs 1.7 ounces. It is fully sealed and has a roll top with a clip. The sack features a valve-plug that attaches directly to the Comfort Plus. With only a breath the Air Stream Dry Sack can be filled and, after attaching the nozzles from the sack to the valve on the pad, air can be rolled and compressed into the sleeping pad. I recommend attaching the valves before inflating the pump sack. It takes 2-3 “pumps” to inflate each side.
With that said, the Sea to Summit Comfort Plus can be inflated by mouth. It takes longer, leaves you a bit winded (especially due to the two separate sides to inflate), but is pretty straightforward. The lovely Air Stream Dry Sack is sold separately, but I really do recommend it.
Since all humans prefer different variances in softness and support from a mattress, Sea to Summit makes it easy to adjust the pad’s firmness. You do this by inflating the pad 100%, then pressing a small valve to release a bit of air at a time. With both sides fully inflated you can have a very customized firmness.
One major concern with sleeping pads is the level of noise it creates. Sitting perfectly still, any sleeping pad is quiet and obedient. However, when the time for bed comes, sleeping pads have a tendency to be loud, rambunctious, and slightly embarrassing. The crunchy nylon screams under bodyweight, air is awkwardly displaced, and everytime I roll everyone at my site (and down the road) can hear me moving. And I move a lot. I can’t help it. I have always tried to be a tame back-sleeper, but I am happy in my side-sleeping, rolling-around, ungraceful ways.
The Sea to Summit Comfort Plus is made with Exkin Platinum, a patented non-woven fabric, and claims to be quieter than other pads. The Comfort Plus is indeed quieter than a majority of sleeping pads I have met, but I would not say I felt less awkward when rolling around.
To protect body heat and preserve warmth after the sun is long gone, the Comfort Plus Insulated Mat (which is this model) is made with Thermolite insulation. It has an R-Value of 5 and, as temperatures dropped at our site, the Comfort Plus kept away the bite of the chill that happens right before sunrise.
On a more trivial note, Sea to Summit describes the pad as “red”, but in person, the pad screams more of an “insane in the membrane blood orange” color. Thank goodness sleeping pads are not fashion statements!
The Sea to Summit Comfort Plus reaffirms that not all backpacking is masochistic! It is comfortable and welcoming, ready to console achy bones and expended muscles. Even when sitting cross-legged, my ankles were not pressed into the ground. After the first night I knew that I could use the pad for many more.
After the backpacking trip, I reinflated the pad because I noticed a nice, sunny spot in my small, all-concrete yard and felt that the pad needed extra testing. While soaking up my daily dose of Vitamin D I pleasantly noted that no part of my body could feel the ground (unless I sat up on my tailbones). My cat noticed the same sun spot and took real estate at the top of the pad where it widens; he gives the pad two paws up. And no, the claws did not rip through.
The Sea to Summit Comfort Plus is constructed with soft, yet durable 40D nylon. If you’re not a gearhead, just know that 40-denier thickness for sleeping pads is more than enough to fend off cuts and scrapes. If the Comfort Plus Insulated were a person, I would probably date it because while being strong and sturdy, it is still comforting and respectful of my less-than graceful lifestyle.
Deflation and Inflation
The Sea to Summit Comfort Plus is constructed of two inflatable mattresses built into one. The valves caps were easy to remove and work with, designed so air does not leak out as it is being inflated.
For testing purposes I used the Air Stream Drysack that doubles as a pump. The bag fills with air and once attached to the Comfort Plus Insulated valve, you roll up the bag and compress the air into the pad. The system worked efficiently once I developed a technique.
While inflating the pad my friend, intrigued by the new technology, came over and quickly started to “mansplain” the process, implying that I had no clue what was going on. With his help, I do not know if I would have been able to inflate the pad! (Please note the sarcasm.)
When morning came the Sea to Summit Comfort Plus Insulated pad was still inflated (with a little normal air loss). I flipped open the “deflate” valve on both sides of the mat and it deflated like a quick exhale.
In order to test the product’s air-holding capabilities, I inflated the Comfort Plus Insulated and left it fully inflated in my garage. After one night I noticed very little air leakage (if any), and a week later the bag was still inflated, holding onto those last PSI’s. Of course, in nature, the temperature varies more dramatically, which causes air to expand and contract more rapidly. However, the overall experiment impressed me.
In all of my experiences in rolling up nylon tents, sleeping bags, and pads, I found the Sea to Summit Comfort Plus Insulated to be an easy roller. Once deflated and flattened, the fabric folded into the right width and rolled up with ease. The pad fit easily into the bag and my backpack with no problem.
While Sea to Summit does not make claims that this pad is lightweight, I found it to be a major upgrade to my backpacking gear. In the past, I have borrowed egg crate pads from friends and found them to be clunky. The Sea to Summit Comfort Plus fit into my backpack with ease. I was able to cross rivers, ascend hills, and blaze trails without worrying if my mat was going to grab onto a tree branch.
It was difficult to find a grievance, seeing as how this sleeping pad was the ultimate napping companion. If given the opportunity, I would take the pad into colder conditions and more thoroughly test the “insulated” aspect of this. I am hard pressed to find some snow to go lay around in.
That said, a personal concern was the dramaticized mummy-shape. The pad did not fit well into my Big Agnes sleeping bag (women’s specific), and the bottom portion was not wide enough for my feet to relax (or maybe I just have fat feet). If you plan to stuff your pad in your bag, make sure they fit really well.
The Comfort Plus Insulated may not be the lightest pad in town, but it is a weight worth bearing. Work harder, sleep better.
Where to Buy Sea to Summit Comfort Plus Insulated Mat
We tested the Regular mummy Sea to Summit Comfort Plus Insulated Mat for this review. The mummy shape is avaialbe in Small and Large sizes, and the pad can be bought in a Rectangle shape as well. There is also an “uninsulated” version of this pad, called the Sea to Summit Comfort Plus Mat. It is silver (instead of bright orange), has an R-Value of 2.5, and is the same in every other way.
You can find both the Comfort Plus Insulated and Comfort Plus Mats below. When buying, make sure to decide if you want a Rectangle or Mummy pad, and what size is best for you.