Sea to Summit Women’s Ether Light XT Insulated Review
September 2, 2019
GEAR INSTITUTE RATINGS
Ease of use
Easy to use
Sea to Summit Women’s Ether Light XT Insulated proved incredibly comfortable and easy to use. The women's-specific shape and styling proved to be effective and beneficial for females, making it a great choice for adventurous women.
The Sea to Summit Women’s Ether Light XT Insulated Mat is a three-season sleeping mat with a female-specific shape. It is narrower in the shoulders and wider at the hips than a unisex model, making it more comfortable for most ladies. This women’s model also includes more insulation than its unisex counterpart. It is available in Regular and Long lengths.
With an R-value of 4.2, this pad is on the lower end of the warmth scale in our insulated pad test. However, we found the pad to be plenty warm. We used it on a porta-a-ledge on the side of El Capitan in Yosemite, when there was nothing but cold air below us, and we slept warm and well.
Like our top choice Comfort Plus, the Sea to Summit Women’s Etherlight is designed with air-sprung cells that give a more mattress-like feel than other inflatable sleeping pads. We love the feel of this design and find it to be much more comfortable than the more balloon-like feel of the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir and others with similar designs. It inflates to 4 inches of cushion, which covers up bumps and prevents hip bones from digging into the ground.
This pad also comes with a PillowLock Feature, which is essentially a few tabs of strategically placed Velcro. These work in conjunction with Sea to Summit’s camp pillows. We tested this pad both with and without the pillow. First of all, using the pillow greatly increases sleep comfort. Keeping it in place with the hook-and-loop tabs makes it even more comfortable. However, if you do not have the pillow or something else over these patches, they snag and pull hair. We suggest either using it with the pillow most of the time, or covering these tabs with a Buff, scarf, or shirt to prevent hair pulls each time you roll over.
We tested the Long version of this women’s pad so that it is more comparable to the unisex Regular length pads in the rest of our lineup, so keep in mind that the Regular length Women’s Etherlight weighs less. When packed inside its stuff sack, the Etherlight weighed 1 pound 5.6 ounces. This is the middle of the pack in our test. It is roughly the same weight as the Therm-a-Rest ProLite Apex and the Klymit Static V. We think this is an adequate weight for carrying backpacking or on an overnight ski trip.
The Etherlight packs down to roughly 4.5 x 11 inches. It is not insignificant inside your backpack but is a commendable size for an insulated pad. It is right in the middle of our test field, being just a hair smaller than the Comfort Plus and just a hair larger than the Klymit Static V.
The Etherlight has 30 denier nylon on the top and 40-denier on the bottom. It is quiet when sleeping on it, and also feels tough and sturdy. We worried that bringing this potentially delicate pad on multi-day big wall climb (which involves a lot of sharp things being jammed into a haul bag, which is then pulled up the side of the wall) might be the end of this pad. Instead, it held up to this hard usage, even when we slept on it with our harness on. We think the Etherlight is plenty durable.
Ease of Use
Like with the Comfort Plus, the multi-function valve and the included pump sack make this pad incredibly easy to use. Open the valve midway, attach the nozzle of the stuff sack, blow a casual breath into it, roll it down and watch the air cells spring to life. It only takes 3-5 rolls to get the pad fully inflated. If the user wants to customize the firmness, press the small release button in the valve to let out just a little bit of air at a time. When it comes time to deflate, open the valve all the way to dump the air quickly. Our biggest complaint about pads like the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir is how long it takes to inflate. Sea to Summit has solved that problem well.