This is a review of the Sea to Summit Ether Light XT insulated camping air mattress. We’ve tested numerous air mattresses throughout our cycling and backpacking adventures and decided to give this mattress a try on a camping trip to Switzerland.
After sleeping on the air mattress for three consecutive weeks, we can honestly say it was one of the best ones we’ve ever slept on! We find the Sea to Summit Ether Light XT Insulated extremely comfortable and could recommend this product to anyone who’s looking for a durable camping air mattress. In this article, we’ll give you the low-down on everything you want to know about this air mattress, including the pros, cons, product specs, and if it’s worth the investment!
So, what made us fall in love with the Sea to Summit Ether Light XT Insulated mattress? First and foremost, it’s incredibly comfortable. While it obviously won’t beat sleeping on your bed at home, it does offer a nice 10cm (4 in) padded thickness that’s supportive enough for side sleepers. The unique air chamber pockets evenly distribute the weight of your body, and the smart design edges guarantee that you don’t touch the ground or roll off in the middle of the night.
We also like how small and compact it gets, especially for a mattress this thick and insulated. Although it is a tad heavier than other types of air mattresses on the market, it still packs down small and can easily squeeze into your backpack without taking up too much space, which is ideal for campers, backpackers, or anyone who can’t haul a thick sleeping pad with them while traveling.
Another big selling point is the ease of inflation and deflation. The double valve is a lifesaver and prevents you from losing air while you refill the air sack because when the top one is open, air can go in, but it can’t go out. This also helps with comfort level, as you can open the valve to let the air out in order to find the perfect hardness that you feel comfortable sleeping on (this is actually one of our favorite features of this sleeping pad).
The Sea to Summit Ether Light XT insulated mattress has an R-value of 3.2. While it’s not the most insulated mattress pad we’ve seen (some can have a rating as high as 5 or 6), it did surprisingly keep us nice and warm on the mountains. It’s a pretty good year-round mattress but might need some extra insulation if you’re traveling somewhere really cold.
However, we noticed a few other disadvantages while testing the Sea to Summit Ether Light XT Inflated air mattress. First of all, we weren’t huge fans of the included pump sack. It comes attached to the stuff sack, which is a little inconvenient, and it wasn’t as efficient as the Exped pump sack we already had. In addition, the mattress was a tad noisy, although you can expect some level of noise with any air mattress. However, if it makes a difference, it was actually one of the quieter ones we tested!
It’s also worth mentioning the high-price point, but in the end, you do get what you pay for. So overall, we can recommend this air mattress to most travelers!
- Thick Air Sprung Cell™ air pockets
- Double lock valve for inflation and deflation
- Lightweight 30/40D Nylon fabric
- R-value of 3.2
- Integrated PillowLock™ system
- Traditional mummy body shape
- 100% polyester insulation and 100% nylon mat with anti-microbial lamination
- Included stuff sack and self-adhesive patches
- Dimensions: 168 x 55 cm (66 x 21.5 in)
- Weight: 470 g (16.6 oz)
- Rolled Size: 12 x 24 cm (4.7 x 9.4 in)
- Dimensions: 183 x 55 cm (72 x 21.5 in)
- Weight: 490 g (17.3 oz)
- Rolled Size: 12 x 24 cm (4.7 x 9.4 in)
- Dimensions: 198 x 64 cm (78 x 25 in)
- Weight: 625 g (22 oz)
- Rolled Size: 13 x 28 cm (5.1 x 11 in)
Rectangular Regular Wide
- Dimensions: 183 x 64 cm (72 x 25 in)
- Weight: 630 g (22.2 oz)
- Rolled Size: 12 x 28 cm (4.7 x 11 in)
Rectangular Regular Large
- Dimensions: 201 x 64 cm (79 x 25 in)
- Weight: 690 g (24.3 oz)
- Rolled Size: 13 x 28 cm (5.1 x 11 in)
What to Expect
Finding the right air mattress comes down to comfort. The Sea to Summit Ether Light XT Inflated air mattress is constructed with Air Sprung Cell chambers, instead of the typical vertical or horizontal lanes other air mattresses have. This distributes your body weight and provides support that’s similar to a spring mattress.
It’s also very thick and insulated, so you won’t sag towards the ground even if you sleep on your side. And because the edges are raised a little bit, you also won’t have to worry about rolling off in the middle of the night.
Inflating and deflating the mattress is relatively easy. It has a one-way valve system that allows you to attach and detach the pump sack without losing any air in the process. The mattress does come with an included pump sack (which is attached to the stuff sack), although we prefer using a larger, more efficient one to save time.
The value also has a fine-tuning button, so you can slowly release air after the mattress is fully inflated to find your ideal comfort hardness. And when it’s time to pack up, there’s a rapid deflating button that you can press.
One of the coolest features of the Sea to Summit Ether Light XT Inflated air mattress is its built-in pillow lock system. All you have to do is hook and loop the pillow on the mat and it’ll stay secure on the mat all night.
Although it’s a light-weight sleeping mat, the Sea to Summit Ether Light XT Inflated air mattress is surprisingly durable and long-lasting. The pad itself is made with 30/40D Nylon fabric with a layer of Exkin Platinum® on the outside for extra warmth and support. In the rare instance that something does snag or rip, Sea to Summit has provided self-adhesive patches to help out in a pinch.
Packed Weight and Size
The weight and dimensions of your mattress depends mostly on what size you ordered. But generally speaking, the Ether Light XT tends to be on the heavier end of the spectrum for lightweight mattresses. Don’t get us wrong – it’s still very compact and packable, and the added weight is worth the extra insulation and thickness.
You can see the exact size and weight for each mattress pad in the product specifications below.
When analyzing how warm a mattress pad is, you’ll want to take a look at the R-value. This number measures the insulated level and determines how warm you’ll stay at night. The Sea to Summit Ether Light XT Inflated air mattress has an R-value of 3.2, which is great for spring, summer, and autumn trips.
It was warm enough for us when we went to Switzerland, but it might not be the best option if you’re camping in colder climates. That’s not to say you can’t use the Either Light XT – you’ll just need to be prepared with a warm sleeping bag or extra blankets.
- Super comfortable (especially for side sleepers)
- Packable weight and small size
- Quick and easy inflation and deflation
- Long-lasting and durable
- Relatively warm (R-value of 3.2)
- High price point
- A bit noisy (but really, all mattresses make some noise)
- Not the most intuitive pump sack (but compatible with other pump sacks as well)
Why Trust This Review
As we mentioned, we thoroughly tested the Sea to Summit Ether Light XT Insulated air mattress on a recent 3-week camping trip in Switzerland. We were pleasantly surprised at how comfortable it was and slept like babies practically every night of our trip!
On some nights, we even slept in the mountains (where it was very cold). At first, we didn’t know if we’d be warm enough, but thankfully, the air mattress had an R-value of 3.2 and was well insulated so we didn’t have to worry too much. If you’re planning on camping in super freezing temperatures, you might want to bring an emergency blanket or even an extra liner in your sleeping bag in addition.
We hope you found this review of the Sea to Summit Ether Light XT Insulated air mattress helpful in your search for a new camping pad. While it’s a great option for side sleepers (the extra padding and comfort are definitely worth the little extra weight), we understand that the high price point might be too much for some campers.
If you’re still looking for the perfect mattress, then check out our air mattress buying guide for more options for all types of body shapes, sleeping styles, and budgets.
Otherwise, enjoy your new Sea to Summit Ether Light XT and be prepared to have one of the most well-rested nights of your life!