Backpacking anywhere in the world is a great way to escape the everyday life on your travels. But these days there are parts of everyday life I don’t want to leave behind – like a little sleeping comfort with as little carrying weight as possible. The Sea to Summit UltraLight Insulated Mat is a superior solution that manages that fine balance between ultralight and comfort when you are traveling, by foot, by car, by plane, or however (P.S. Don’t forget the Air Stream Dry Sack Pump to inflate it, but more on that later).

The Sea to Summit UltraLight Insulated Mat (regular, $129.95) is part of an air mattress line introduced about two years by the company (The line also includes heavier mats for different preferences and body types, including the Comfort Light Mat and the Comfort Plus Mat, both available in regular or insulated versions.) With a pretty small body type and frame, I can’t carry a lot of weight on my back (or neck) comfortably and don’t need as much padding, length or width in a mat. That means the Ultralight Insulated Mat was my perfect answer for a warmer late winter backpacking trip on the California Coast – my smaller female body still needs a little more insulation than others. This insulated mat has also transitioned well into spring and summer – in tents, on floors and many other travel situations when grams count. The R value is only 3.3 so you likely wouldn’t want this mat for colder campouts or winter travel use. But that depends on your cold sensitivity and lodging.

Air Sprung Cells let you rest undisturbed

The regular size (72 inches long, 21.5 wide) has 2 inches height when inflated with 181 “Air Sprung Cells” – think of them as lots of little air pillows separated by dimples. That means you don’t have that feeling of the air moving around under you when you move in the night, nor do you get sorta “tossed off” the mattress when the air moves a little too much. There are no annoying potato-chip-bag scrunchies under your body to disturb your sleep either (or the slumber of a partner in the tent or bunkmates in a hostel or hut).

Sea To Summit Ultralight Insulated Mat crossection.

One of the best parts of the Sea to Summit Ultralight Mat was its light travel weight (16.5 ounces) and its pack size of 4 inches by 9 inches. (If you don’t need the insulation, there is also an Ultralight Mat without it that shaves off about 3 ounces and packs up to a mere 3 inches by 6.5 inches. For me, choosing the insulation is part of that trade-off between comfort and weight on travel adventures.)

Valve and Air Stream Dry Sack Pump make life easy

Now let’s get to another good part: The multi-function valve makes inflation, deflation and even a little fine-tuning child’s play. And the Air Stream Dry Sack Pump is a brilliant must-have accessory too (sold separately, $34.95). This is a dry sack that weighs only 1.7 ounces. Use the 20L Air Stream Dry Sack to pack some of your travel gear, and then once at camp or other travel destination, empty it to use it as a pump.

This amazing little gizmo (fully seam sealed) inflates your mat with just a few wispy breaths – we saw one consumer review that called it “insanely well thought out” and we couldn’t agree more. No more huffing and puffing until your head is pounding. Just connect the valves, puff lightly into the sack to inflate it, roll the top down to secure it and push the air in the sac out into the mat. Do that two or three times and you’re done. Leaving plenty of time to enjoy your travels more, from the sunset to an evening cocktail!

UltraLight Mats for all!

Both the UltraLight and Comfort mats in both insulated and non-insulated travel versions come in three sizes – small, regular and large. The Comfort Plus mats are also available in a rectangular version instead of the slightly rounded and tapered type too, which may be pretty nice choices for even more travel comfort.

HITT Tip: Don’t forget your other comfy item to make your outdoors or backpacking experience a dreamy one: the Sea to Summit Aeros Pillow UltraLight, which we reviewed in February 2016. Click here to read that.

Yes, with lighter items that make getting to those outdoor adventures more comfortable, I’m now ready to head out more again too. That means the UltraLight Insulated Mat of course has earned the HI Travel Tales Seal of Approval for Travel Product Excellence.

HITT Approved Award for the Sea To Summit Ultralight Insulated Mat

More travel accessory reviews:

spAIRtray scores window seat flyers extra space, comfort

Let’s face it, airlines continue to nibble away at personal space and comfort for airline passengers. But if you are window seat flyer, you can regain some of that coveted space with the spAIRtray travel shelf.

Read More

Lander Cascade Powerbank charger review – Plenty of power on the go

Being mobile as a traveler these days mostly demands you carry a little juice to keep your devices functioning – camera, smartphone, tablet, you name it. The new 2016 Lander Cascade Powerbank charger line is sleek, durable and reliable for a traveler’s needs.

Read More

Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Z poles are lightweight travel buddies

Hiking poles are a nice accessory on hikes or longer treks in the mountains. But your friendly TSA agents may not take kindly to long pointy sticks. Thus, the necessity for lightweight, foldable travel companions, which is exactly what the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Z poles are.

Read More

Katadyn BeFree a compact travel water filter system

Unless you are planning to buy bottled water every time you travel (not always practical, cost-effective or environmentally sound) packing along a compact water filter may be an alternative. Enter the lightweight Katadyn BeFree water filter in a soft flask (approximately 2.4 ounces total) as the perfect solution to maintaining your gastrointestinal health.

Read More

Sea to Summit UltraLight Insulated Mat a comfy travel solution

The Sea to Summit UltraLight Insulated Mat is a superior solution that manages that fine balance between ultralight and comfort when you are traveling, by foot, by car, by plane, or however (P.S. Don’t forget the Air Stream Dry Sack Pump to inflate it, but more on that later).

Read More

GSI Commuter Javapress travel coffee mug

All-in-one press travel coffee mugs can sometimes be awkward with that press rod handle that sticks out of the top – or, after pressing, sits in the middle of the mug. “Intrusive,” as GSI calls it, and that is so right. Thanks to GSI for “perfecting” this press concept, making the Javapress Mug a great travel companion.

Read More

Nite Ize 3-in-1 LED Mini Travel Flashlight

A do-it-all mini travel flashlight is our kind of light! Especially a versatile travel flashlight that weighs only 2.7 ounces by Nite Ize called the 3-in-1 LED Mini Flashlight.

Read More

GSI Ultralight Java Drip & Infinity Mug Review

Admittedly, I am a lover of a good cuppa which is why I fell in love with the GSI Ultralight Java Drip and quite like its companion Infinity Backpacker Mug. Don’t be misled by the “backpacker” in the mug’s name. You can take it on any kind of travel where lightweight and versatile are king.

Read More

Sea to Summit Aeros Pillow Ultralight

Whether you are in transit on a plane or train, traveling with a tent as your abode, or just hate hotel pillows, the Sea to Summit Aeros Pillow Ultralight will be your best friend on travel.

Read More

Soto WindMaster: Light and efficient

Soto has come up with a true winner of a stove in the WindMaster, a cooking powerhouse ideal for adventure travelers needing a compact, efficient and easy-to-operate stove for backpacking, remote travel, and backcountry use.

Read More

Kodak Pixpro SP360: fun travel camera

After playing with the Kodak Pixpro SP360 for six months, I can state it is a very cool, compact tool for the travel photographer. Not perfect but quite good.

Read More

RAD Helix roller releases travel-tight muscles

Discovering the RAD Helix roller was a beautiful moment. Packing along workout or therapy gear when you are on the road isn’t the easiest. In fact, it is often impossible with size, bulk or weight. But because it is so compact, the RAD Helix has become my own portable physical therapy kit whenever traveling.

Read More

World Nomads Travel Insurance Advertising Banner

Follow Me

Therese Iknoian

Traveler at HI Travel Tales
Little did her parents know that a short trip to Europe in high school would launch a lifetime love of travel, languages and cultures. Trained as a news journalist, Therese Iknoian spent a decade as a daily newspaper journalist before launching a freelance writing career specializing in outdoor, fitness and training. All the while trotting the globe, her focus finally turned to travel. Fluent in German, Therese runs a translation business (www.ThereseTranslates.com) working primarily with companies in the outdoor/sports/retail industry. Also a French speaker, she loves to learn a bit of the language wherever she goes -- gdje je kupaonica? Мне нужна помощь! -- often embarrassing herself in the quest for cross-cultural communication and the search for great travel discoveries.
Follow Me