We won’t mince words: The Comfort Plus Insulated Pad from Sea To Summit is among the best “backcountry beds” we’ve ever tested.
The Gear: Sea To Summit Comfort Plus Insulated Sleeping Pad ($200)
Testing: Over six months, three GearJunkie editors (and some of their friends) have tested the pad from Rocky Mountain elk hunting to spring mountaineering on Mount Rainier, to backpacking and car camping. It exceeded all expectations.
What Makes It Special: The Comfort Plus has a unique design, with two separate chambers forming the top and bottom of the pad. This builds in a level of redundancy and adjustability not seen in any other sleeping pad we’ve used. The technology, called Air Sprung Cells, is unique to Sea to Summit. For this innovation, we gave the pad a “Best In Show” award at 2015 Outdoor Retailer.
Insulation: This model has an R-value of 5, sufficient for winter camping. We’ve used it on snow in temps down to the teens (F) and were comfortable and warm.
Size & Weight: At 25.5 ounces and a packed size of 5×9 inches, it’s on par with other brands. Want less weight and more packability? The uninsulated model (2.5 R Value) weighs 21 ounces and packs to 6×4.5 inches.
Redundancy: Noted one of our testers: “For snow trips, I almost always bring two pads: A 3/4 air pad for comfort, and a full-length foam pad to keep me off the ground (and for use as a backup). Because the Comfort Plus comes with two chambers, it provides its own insurance.” — Steve Graepel, contributing editor.
“I’ve slept with one chamber deflated, and the pad is still comfortable and insulating.” — Sean McCoy, managing editor.
Inflation/Deflation: This pad inflates FAST! Just 6 big breaths in each chamber will blow it up tight. And you can inflate one side less to adjust it to a pillow-top comfort. The one-way/inflation aspect of the multi-functional valves even hold in the air while blowing so there’s not rush to snap them closed.
It takes just 2 breaths if you use Sea To Summit’s Dry Sack Pump ($25 at REI). This 20L stuff sack is waterproof and certainly ups the efficiency and fun factor of inflating the sleeping pad.
Deflation is nearly instant. Just pop open the large dump valve and the pad lays flat in a matter of seconds.
Rolling: Another positive attribute is that the Comfort Plus maintains its original folds, flapping back to the right place to roll and fit in the included stuff sack. It takes very little effort to get it back in the sack and packed for the trail.
The stuff sack opens wide to swallow a less-than-perfect roll. This is great when you are wrestling a pad with gloves on snow and ice.
Shape: The comfort plus comes in two shapes, a rectangle and a silhouette. On the snow, we preferred the rectangular shape; the extra space was appreciated. The silhouette is sufficient though, and we were pleased with both models.
Durability: We’ve had no problems yet, but have tested the pads for less than a year. The pad does ship with a repair kit.
Flaws: The material is crinkly, and if you roll around a lot it may bother your tent mate. It’s also slick, but we’ve found few instances of falling off the pad. It’s among the priciest pads on the market.
Verdict: Sleeping on the Comfort Plus Insulated Pad has resulted in some of the best nights we’ve ever spent in the hills, forests, and canyons. The R5 insulation, thoughtful two-chamber construction, and modest weight make this pad a no-brainer for all but ultra-light trips. The Comfort Plus Insulated is part of a comprehensive range of Sleeping Mat options by Sea to Summit.