The Sea-to-Summit Women’s Ultralight Insulated Air Sleeping Pad is a 66″ x 21.5″ inflatable sleeping pad that is 2 inches thick and has an R-value of 3.8. Weighing 13.8 oz, it is a very quiet and comfortable pad, with individual “air sprung cells” that conform to your body like a spring mattress. It also has a flat valve that can be inflated by mouth or with an included pump sack (weighing 2.5 oz more) and an optional pillow attachment system which adds even more value to a really great sleeping pad. If you’re looking for a quiet and durable sleeping pad that’s rated for three-season use, check this one out.
Specs at a Glance
- Sleeping pad weight: 13.8 oz (actual)
- Pump sack weight: 2.5 oz (actual)
- Sleeping pad + pump sack weight: 16.3 oz (actual) – mfg spec is 15.9 oz, so slightly heavier
- R-value: 3.8
- Dimensions: 66” x 21.5” for a regular size (a large 72” x 25” is also available)
- Thickness: 2”
- Insulation: Synthetic insulation (Thermolite) hollow-core crimped fibers, reflective Platinum
- Shell material: 30/40D ripstop nylon
Men’s and Women’s Sleeping Pads
Before I received this pad, I had no idea that there were separate men’s and women’s sleeping pads available. But it makes sense. Women tend to be shorter than men, so they can benefit from carrying smaller, lighter weight sleeping pads. They also sleep “colder” than men, in part because they weigh less, so they need more insulation from the cold ground and pads with higher R-values.
For example, while most regular-sized men’s (unisex) pads are 72″ long, Sea-to-Summit’s regular women’s sleeping pads are 66″ in length, although they also have longer sizes available. The R-value of the S2S Women’s UL Insulated Air Sleeping Pad is higher than its male (unisex) counterpart at R=3.8 instead of R=3.3 for the unisex pad. S2S’s women’s pads are also a little narrower in the shoulders and wider in the hips and knees than their (male) unisex counterparts to account for gender differences.
Comfort, Noise, and Durability
The Sea-to-Summit Women’s Ultralight Air Insulated Sleeping Pad is 2 inches thick which I found comfortable although I think I would have appreciated another 0.5 inch of depth. A significantly heavier person might need to inflate the pad to the point of being very firm so as not to bottom out on the ground or buy one of Sea-to-Summit’s thicker insulated air pads, like the 4″ thick Etherlight XT that Philip swears by.
The pad has 174 air cells that mold around your body when you lie on it, making it really luxurious to sleep on. It’s also a very quiet pad that doesn’t make the loud crinkling noises that have plagued the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir pads. That’s because it’s insulated with synthetic fibers and not the crinkly aluminized chambers inside NeoAir pads.
The pad’s valve is also very different than the stick value used on NeoAir pads. It’s a multi-way flat valve that can be opened wide for rapid and complete deflation, it has an inflation mode that won’t deflate between breaths, and a tiny button to release air if you’ve overinflated the pad and want to make it softer. Flat values are used by the majority of sleeping pad manufacturers, including Exped, NEMO, Big Agnes, and REI because they’re simpler and don’t break like stick valves since they’re flush with the surface of the pad. They’re also much easier to integrate with pump sacks, which I explain next.
Optional Pump Sack
The S2S Women’s Ultralight Insulated Air Pad comes with a stuff sack that can be used to inflate the sleeping pad. While this adds 2.5 oz to the weight of the pad system, it is SO worth it. The pump sack is seriously clever and really worth it to save you from huffing and puffing. Inflating a sleeping pad by mouth can also reduce a pad’s R-value by introducing moisture and mold growing spores which will eventually break down the pad fabric, making the use of a pump sack preferable.
You don’t blow directly into the pump sack to avoid introducing water vapor from your breath into the sleeping pad. You blow at it, and the drier surrounding air gets pulled into it. I’d never used a pump sack before but having one that is so tightly integrated with my sleeping pad is a huge win. Once you try it, you’ll wonder how you lived without it. It gets even better. If you turn the Pumpsack inside out, you will find a smaller valve connector that is compatible with Sea to Summit’s inflatable pillows! The whole set up is genius. Even my engineering husband was impressed.
Pillow Attachment System
Sea-to-Summit includes an optional pillow attachment system with their sleeping pads that I can also recommend. It includes four adhesive patches with a velcro-like surface that will hold a Sea-to-Summit Pillow on the pad so it doesn’t wander off at night. If you don’t own a Sea-to-Summit Pillow, they also sell a 1 oz Aeros Pillow Case that will work with a third party pillow or that you can simply stuff with extra clothing to make one. As I said, this is a totally optional add-on, but if you’re a pillow person like me, having one that stays on the pad all night is a huge win that adds a lot of comfort to your sleep system.
Comparable Women’s Sleeping Pads
|Make / Model||Gender||Price||R-Value||Weight||Dimensions|
|Sea to Summit Ultralight Insulated Air||Women's||$140||3.8||13.8 oz||66" x 21.5" x 2"|
|Sea to Summit Ultralight Insulated Air||Unisex||$140||3.3||14.4 oz||72" x 21.5" x 2"|
|Sea to Summit Etherlight Insulated Air||Women's||$200||4.2||14.8 oz||66" x 21.5" x 4"|
|Sea to Summit Etherlight Insulated Air||Unisex||$200||3.8||15 oz||72" x 21.5" x 4"|
|Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite||Women's||$160||3.9||12 oz||66" x 20" x 2.5"|
|Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite||Unisex||$170||3.2||12 oz||72" x 20" x 2.5"|
|REI Flash Insulated||Unisex||$100||3.7||15 oz||72" x 20" x 2"|
|Exped SynMat UL S||Unisex||$149||3.3||14.6 oz||64.2" x 20.5" x 2.8"|
|MassDrop x Klymit Ultralite V||Unisex||$60||4.4||17.7 oz||72" x 20" x 2.5"|
|Klymit Insulated V Ultralite||Unisex||$120||4.4||15.9 oz||72" x 20" x 2.5"|
There are only a few women’s sleeping pads available today, primarily from Sea-to-Summit (which has the best selection) and Therm-a-Rest. I’ve also listed several unisex pads for comparison, so you can see how they compare. In terms of value, the women’s pads generally trump those made for men in terms of their R-value. If you’re male, you can often get a warmer pad by buying one made for a woman, if the size fits you. This is a fairly common thru-hiker backpacking hack actually. Of course, it also begs the question of why manufacturers just don’t make their pads based around women’s needs and sell those to men, since there is a certain redundancy in selling a lower function pad when one would do.
The Sea-to-Summit Women’s Ultralight Insulated Air Sleeping Pad is a great sleeping pad that’s comfortable and quiet to sleep on, easy to inflate with an included pump sack, and available with an optional pillow attachment system that you will immediately improve the quality of your sleep. While you can discard the add-on pump sack and pillow attachment system and use the pad by itself, their combination makes for a very clever, comfortable, and compelling sleep system that may just transform your camping experience.
About the author
Disclosure: Sea-to-summit provided a sleeping pad for this review.Editor's note: Help support this site by making your next gear purchase through one of the links above. Click a link, buy what you need, and the seller will contribute a portion of the purchase price to support SectionHiker's unsponsored gear reviews, articles, and hiking guides.