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Sea to Summit Comfort Plus Insulated Review

Top Pick Award
Price:   $200 List | $164.95 at Amazon
Compare prices at 5 resellers
Pros:  Outrageously comfortable, dual air chambers are redundant, quiet, warm, stable, and supportive
Cons:  Heavy and expensive
Bottom line:  Extreme comfort, great warmth, and stability combine in this bulky camping bed.
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   Sea to Summit
By Jeremy Bauman ⋅ Review Editor
Thursday

Our Verdict

This is Sea to Summit's flagship sleeping pad suited for use in all seasons and wins our Top Pick award for Comfort. The AirSprung 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 pad's comfort to the terrain and your sleep style. While the benefits of this design are superb, 25.5 hefty ounces and a bulky packed size prevent it from achieving top scores in our review. The NeoAir XTherm is nearly as comfortable and performs at a higher level for those demanding the most from their gear. Overall, the Comfort Plus Insulated is a high-quality sleeping pad that may be the best one for you if your sights aren't set on high alpine objectives. Continue reading to see how it compares with other top pads.

Looking for a Bigger Comfort Plus?
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.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Sleeping Pads of 2017

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.

The XTherm was one of the better mats for floating down the river. In fact  it was a top performer in almost all of our tests. We highly recommend our Editors' Choice winner!
The XTherm was one of the better mats for floating down the river. In fact, it was a top performer in almost all of our tests. We highly recommend our Editors' Choice winner!

Performance Comparison



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 new 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 one way valve makes for quick and easy inflation, adjustments, and deflation. Ten breaths on the bottom and 5 breaths on top was our favorite combo.

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..

When the top layer of air sprung cells are partially inflated  the pad is amazingly comfortable.
When the top layer of air sprung cells are partially inflated, the pad is amazingly comfortable.

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.


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.

As you can see  this pad is anything but small. Sometimes the price for comfort is a little bit of volume in your pack and a few more ounces on your back!
As you can see, this pad is anything but small. Sometimes the price for comfort is a little bit of volume in your pack and a few more ounces on your back!

Warmth


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).

Wet spring snow is one of the coldest surfaces you can sleep on! Thankfully this pad was up for the challenge and kept our tester warm throughout the night.
Wet spring snow is one of the coldest surfaces you can sleep on! Thankfully this pad was up for the challenge and kept our tester warm throughout the night.

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.


Durability


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 outer fabric feels quite durable. Through months of testing on bare ground  we are happy to report no leaks  tears  or rips. With proper care  this pad should last a long time.
The outer fabric feels quite durable. Through months of testing on bare ground, we are happy to report no leaks, tears, or rips. With proper care, this pad should last a long time.

Best Applications


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 one way valve is easy to inflate. Inflation adjustments are easy: just push on the orange button until the pad is the perfect plushness!
The one way valve is easy to inflate. Inflation adjustments are easy: just push on the orange button until the pad is the perfect plushness!

Value


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.

Conclusion


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.

As you can see in this photo  the bottom cells were aggressively inflated while the top layer barely has any air. This allows for a very comfortable and supportive sleep system that our testers loved.
As you can see in this photo, the bottom cells were aggressively inflated while the top layer barely has any air. This allows for a very comfortable and supportive sleep system that our testers loved.

Other Versions


Sea to Summit Comfort Light Insulated
  • Cost - $170
  • Warm - R value of 4.2
  • Excellent valve
  • Weight - 20 ounces

Sea to Summit Ultralight
  • Cost - $100
  • R value of 0.7
  • For ultralight purposes; summer use
  • Weight - 12.5 ounces

Sea to Summit Ultralight Insulated
Sea to Summit Ultralight Insulated
  • Cost - $130 for regular size
  • R value of 3.3
  • Weight - 15.5 ounces

Accessories


Sea to Summit Pump Bag
Sea to Summit Pump Bag
  • Cost - $35
  • Can be used as pack liner or dry bag
  • Inflates any Sea to Summit sleeping pad

Jeremy Bauman
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