My usual principle with camping gear is the lighter, the better. Which is why no matter where I’m sleeping, whether it’s deep in the backcountry or in my backyard, I always sleep on a three-fourths-length Therm-a-Rest pad. It’s not very comfortable.
Since moving to the Southwest, I’ve been going on multi-day rafting and car-camping trips with friends who have luxurious sleep systems featuring plush Paco pads and rooftop tents. Feeling a little left out, I recently got a Sea to Summit Comfort Deluxe sleeping mat ($299). It’s changed the way I sleep outside.
The Comfort Deluxe comes in three sizes: Regular, large, and double. I got the double, which is a whopping four inches tall and 51 inches wide—basically the size of a full bed. It fits neatly into my REI Half Dome 2 Plus tent and is big enough for my girlfriend and me to sleep on comfortably together.
My favorite feature of the pad, although it takes a bit of practice to figure out, is the multifunction valve—a one-way valve that allows the mat to self-inflate in just a few minutes. The valve can be reversed during the deflation process so it will allow air out, but not in, which prevents any struggle when trying to roll up the pad.
To decrease weight and increase packability, Sea to Summit removes 40 percent of the foam from inside. It’s hard to determine how well this works but the pad has a very even surface and I haven’t been able to find any holes or divots. The entire thing packs into a three-by-five foot stuff sack and weighs nine pounds.