We tested this inflatable mattress in a tent, in early spring weather conditions. First observation: Ether light XT is ultra-light and compact, very convenient for slipping into your backpack.
It comes with an ingenious inflating system built into the storage bag. In fact the storage bag serves as an inflation system! Surprising at first, it is difficult to understand how it works, but once we sussed it out it is very effective. In two minutes, and without being out of breath, the mattress was fully inflated. A little trick: don’t try to blow up the inflation bag with your mouth, you will exhaust yourself, and it’s practically impossible anyway.
Just blow into it to allow it to gain volume and “passively” fill with air. Then when you roll the bag that is connected by a valve to the mattress, the compression does the rest and pushes the compressed air into the mattress. Perfect! The dual valve has a check valve for inflation and a large opening for fast deflation.
The mattress is 10cm thick with an Air Sprung Cell technology construction base, in other words, meshed partitions, which means when they are inflated they are independent of each other. This results in your body weight being equally distributed and perfectly stabilized, and so the Sea to Summit Ether light XT Insulated is ultra-comfortable.
You can move, twist and turn, and you don’t slip on the mattress, the system keeps you in position. A special nylon treatment prevents the unpleasant squeaky plastic noise when moving, and perfectly insulates you away from the cold ground: an important point for this type of product as you can use it in difficult conditions, camping at high altitude for example.
A built-in system makes it possible to use the brand’s compatible pillow that is easily attached, nice so you don’t keep looking for it in the night. The mattress, with its built-in storage bag and pump, plus a repair kit with six self-adhesive patches and a spare non-return valve, is on sale for €179. A very high price, but it can be justified by its undeniable qualities.
This is a surprisingly comfortable mattress, with a very clever inflation system. But you need to have the use for it at such a high investment. Especially as like all inflatable mattresses, they have a certain fragility (it should be seen with a long-term test). It should be used in tents rather than bivouac where the ground could increase the risk of puncturing it. And, if you tear the inflating bag you end up having to inflate the mattress in the old fashioned way, with your the mouth, and that is long, very long …
Apart from the price, which makes it a high-tech luxury product, the Sea to Summit Ether XT Insulated light is a top-quality mattress, ultra-light, with really exceptional comfort. It is very difficult after using it, to camp on a “vulgar” standard camping mat.
We used this equipment over a long period of time
These are our thoughts after intensive use:
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