By Randy Johnson
Sea to Summit’s Comfort Light Insulated sleeping pad is in my opinion one of the best outdoor pads that I have ever had the opportunity to review. This pad features an innovative, very unique design, highlighted by two separate chambers that form the top and bottom of the pad. The Comfort Light is simply “comfortable and provides warm insulation!” Given an R-value of 4.2, this sleeping pad will provide you with enough insulation for cold weather use. Designed with Air Spring Cells™, the Comfort Light provides great support on hard, cold ground. I have slept very comfortably on this pad out in the field in some extreme conditions. Exhibiting great compressibility the Comfort Light takes up little room in your backpack and is a perfect sleeping pad for mountain hunters and backpackers like myself who spend multiple days at a time out on the mountain each year.
For those unfamiliar with sleeping pad terminology, a simple definition of R-value is “that it is a measure used in the construction business to rate the thermal resistance of insulation under specified testing conditions.” Of course, the higher the R-value the more effective the insulation is although higher R-value can translate into more weight. It should be noted that R-value testing is done in a 70 degree F environment with the absence of air movement so it doesn’t always reflect the conditions we experience while sleeping on our sleeping pads out on the mountain. Based on my field testing conditions, with an R-value of 4.2, Sea to Summit’s Comfort Light sleeping pad got the job done with an insulating value that is perfect for early spring or late fall hunting/backpack adventures. In extremely cold temperatures, depending on how you sleep, I might consider the utilization of a light foam pad underneath the Comfort Light to increase the insulating value.
Just the Facts:
This lightweight sleeping pad has one of the very best insulation to weight ratios of any sleeping pad that I’ve used. When compressed and rolled up the Comfort Light is almost as small as one of my Nalgene bottles, weighing only 20.5 oz and that is remarkable for a cold weather mat. Sea to Summit’s innovative 40D rip-stop nylon fabric is not only tough but it is lightweight and this material does not sound like a “crinkly space blanket” when you are laying on it like some of the other sleeping pads on the outdoor market today. I have no problem with the fabric in my Comfort Light, and although it can squeak when you turn over in your sleeping bag, the sound has never bothered or hampered my sleeping at all.
The Comfort Light sleeping mat has been designed with what is referred to as “hybrid layer Air Sprung Cell™ technology,” which translates into a double layer of high resolution cells in the torso for maximum comfort and insulation. A single layer of medium resolution cells in the head and legs are designed for reduced weight. Sea to Summit uses Exkin® Platinum, a quiet, non-woven fabric, to reflect radiant heat loss back to the user and Thermolite® insulation to prevent convective heat loss between your body and the ground.
The Comfort Light comes in a pleasant light green color. Believe me, when you spend days of hardcore backpacking time out on the mountain in cold weather conditions and need to save critical storage space in your backpack, as well as reduce the overall weight carried, choosing a sleeping mat that is comfortable and has insulating features such as those exhibited by Sea to Summit’s Comfort Light technology, is extremely important.
Sea to Summit’s Comfort Light Air Spring cells feel very supportive and stable for users. Unlike smooth surfaced or baffled sleeping pads the Comfort Light, with its unique 331 cells provides what many users such as myself might consider a “massage” like surface unlike those of smooth surfaced designed horizontal or baffled pads that just don’t seem as supportive.
Sleeping pads are not all alike and those of us who spend a lot of time out in the mountains have to find what works best for them. I personally love the Comfort Light’s Air Spring cell technology as it is “therapeutic” in nature for me and I have used and reviewed many of the top sleeping pads on the outdoor market today.
The Comfort Light Sleeping Pad is designed with a unique multi-function one-way valve for easy inflation and deflation. This design is simple to initiate as users can deflate the volume of air in the pad at the touch of a finger by tapping on the valve to eliminate and fine-tune the amount of air pressure desired.
Sea to Summit’s 40D rip-stop nylon fabric provides the perfect balance between backpack weight and tough durability. Utilizing a TPU lamination process, the same one used in the medical and aeronautical industries, Sea to Summit has transferred this unique process to the outdoor industry. This process is by far superior to the “old” roll-to-roll lamination processes commonly used by many other outdoor products/vendors presently. The TPU has superior bonding capabilities and eliminates delamination issues.
Inflating the Comfort Light is simple, but does take slightly more effort than inflation of one of the self-inflating mattress’ I own. I personally have never found this to be an issue as I can have my Comfort Light fully inflated by blowing into the valve within several minutes. However, to make this process even simpler I prefer to use Sea to Summit’s INNOVATIVE Air Stream Dry Sack Pump, based on their 20L Ultra-Sil® Nano Dry Sack, with added valve plug and foot loop. Two to three cycles from the Air Stream is enough to have my mat inflated. The Air Stream comes in a pleasant orange color and weighs only 1.7 oz and can also be used as a dry sack or ultralight pack liner. Now, that is innovative! This great little pump/dry sack can be purchased for around $34.
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Sea to Summit's Air Stream Dry Sack Pump - Innovation[/caption]
To ensure my desired comfort level I like to deflate the pad slightly so it is not as rigid and hard. This is simply a personal preference. To de-inflate for storage in your backpack all you do is open the valve, lay on the mattress and squeeze out as much air as possible. I like to fold my mattress in thirds lengthwise before rolling it up from the end .
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Comfort Light's innovative inflation valve & repair kit[/caption]
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SEA TO SUMMIT’S COMFORT LIGHT NEXT TO MY THEMAREST NEOAIR XLITE : NOTE THE AIR SPRING CELLS COMPARED TO BAFFLES Sea to Summit's Comfort Light next to my Thermarest NeoAir Xlite: Note the air spring cells compared to baffles[/caption]
• Length 72 in/184 cm
• Width 21.5 in/55cm
• Weight 20.5 oz/580 g
• Packed Size 4.5 x 9 in/11 x 23cm
• R Value 4.2
• 331 Air Spring Cells
• Color Green
Like all of my field tests on outdoor gear I have used Sea to Summit’s Comfort Light’s Sleeping Pad in some very difficult and tough backpacking conditions for the past two months. In the cold, wet conditions of high Alpine basins and rugged, rocky terrain of Utah’s high deserts, I have found this sleeping pad to perform like a true champion. A quality-sleeping pad is one of the most important items of gear that I have in my backpack. If I don’t get a comfortable, quality nights sleep when I’m out on the mountain for multiple days then I know that I won’t have the strength and energy to ensure peak performance in extremely physical demanding conditions. I have enjoyed Sea to Summit’s Comfort Light. It is not only comfortable but I’ve found that its insulation features keep me warm. I’m what I refer to as a “cold sleeper” when I’m out in a tent on cold, frozen ground, but with the Comfort Light I’ve had many nights of warm comfort. I own half a dozen quality-sleeping pads and I can attest that the Comfort Light performs as well as any mat that I have.
For me personally, I appreciate Sea to Summit’s 331 Air Sprung cells designed specifically for this sleeping pad. It’s different than the smooth, surfaced mats as the unique cells provides great support and act like a massage for my body. To me, many of the other sleeping pads sound like you are sleeping on a crinkly space blanket while the sound of this pad, although it is not noiseless, doesn’t bother me near as much.
I’ve always inflated my sleeping pads by simply breathing into the valve for inflation. Some sleeping mats, however, suffer from internal mold caused by the condensation from the user’s breath. Sea to Summit’s mats are different in that they feature an anti-microbial component in the laminate that will prevent mold from occurring. I personally don’t have a problem with the inflation of a sleeping pad out on mountain by blowing into the valve. However, it should be noted that Sea to Summit has designed their simple AIRSTREAM “dry sack” pump that is incredibly effective and will inflate the Comfort Light within a very short time! I was skeptical at first but after using the 1.7 oz Air Stream Dry Sack I’m completely sold on its simplicity and use. Not only can I use this dry sack as a stuff sack to store various items of gear in my backpack I can then use it to inflate my Comfort Light. I highly recommend the purchase of Sea to Summit’s AIRSTREAM DRY SACK/PUMP.
Sleeping comfortably out on the mountain is very important to me when I’m out in the wilderness on my hunting adventures or scouting trips. With the Comfort Light, Sea to Summit’s Air Spring technology/ padding I have found that it helps me sleep comfortably because of its high insulating R-Value. I don’t feel the hard surface of rough terrain beneath me and I can adjust the pad by releasing the desired amount of air for individual comfort. I prefer to “hollow” out a small bed in the ground beneath my tent or ground sheet to place the Comfort Light pad into so that it’s design/form fits into a “curved cocoon around my body.” Because the individual spring cells are so supportive, I believe the Comfort Light functions perfectly for hunters and backpackers who don’t like the instability or bouncy feeling of other air pads.
I simply can’t afford to have a sleeping pad that isn’t durable and tough because of the rugged terrain I spend my nights in. It should be noted that the Comfort Light sleeping pad has been designed with 40 denier ripstop nylon that makes it very durable, especially if you use a ground cloth or tent to sleep in. For those who spend their time sleeping out under the stars on rugged terrain I would always suggest using a ground sheet underneath you to prevent punctures in your sleeping pad!
Weighing in at slightly over 20 ounces the Comfort Light is a perfect pick for backpack hunting and use in colder weather because of its support, insulation and “packability” features. The Comfort Light’s design helps in the retention of heat with its synthetic insulation that fills each of its 331 Air Sprung cells to trap air in the reduction of what is referred to as “convective heat transfer.” A layer of reflective material bonded to the underside of the pad also reflects heat back to the sleeper.
At a list price of $170 you might find this sleeping pad a little expensive. However, if you do your homework on the internet you can purchase it as low as $130 which is an excellent buy. At the present time the Comfort Light is featured in a light green, attractive color, and comes with four patches that utilize a 3M adhesive. If repair is necessary and these patches are not available and you should need to repair a puncture in your sleeping mat, the best product to use comes from a company called McNett, and is called Seam Grip.
The repair kit also contains a silicone insert for the valve for the unlikely event this should go missing.
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My Air Stream Pump To Use – Comfort Light Out on the Mt.[/caption]
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Comfort Light's air spring cells[/caption]
When I store my sleeping pads such as the Comfort Light I always push all the air out and leave the valve open so that any moisture trapped inside the pad can escape. It is always best to leave your sleeping pads “unfolded” so that they can proper ventilation can occur.
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Comfort Light Pad deflated and ready to pack![/caption]
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Comfort Light compressed in stuff sack - note size next to my Nalgene bottle[/caption]
COMFORT LIGHT DEINFLATED & READY FOR PACKING
WHAT THEY COULD DO BETTER
Sea to Summit is one of the most innovative outdoor companies out there today. I love the thought and research behind each one of their products. They have done an incredible job with their Comfort Light sleeping pad. It is a great piece of gear that I highly recommend. Check out Sea to Summit’s website at www.seatosummit.com
for additional information and other outstanding gear.
By Randy Johnson
Ireview Gear Lead Field Editor
HIGH DESERT WILD SHEEP GUIDES
Worldwide Trophy Adventures Consultant
Altitude Outdoors Pro Staff