Gear Review, S2S UL Sleeping Pad

I have used a closed-cell sleeping pad from Ridgerest for camping and backpacking since around 1985.  It is comfortable, and fairly light.  The only issue I have had with it is that is bulky.  I usually have it tied to the outside of my pack somewhere.

So I have been upgrading parts of my backpacking gear for the past year, and a couple months ago looked at sleeping pads.  After some research, I found a sorta tradeoff curve of weight, bulk, and price that essentially drove how comfortable the pad was.

Last December, I tried several at REI, including a Sea to Summit pad.  There were four or five other S2S pads, and I asked if I could try a couple out.  The REI guy said that I could only try the several that were out.  I laid down on Thermarests and REI and other pads, and one S2S, with varying levels of comfort.  I thought most of the pads were pretty heavy compared to my 14oz Ridgerest.  The S2S Ultralight felt pretty light, and it was very small.

The next day, we went to Mountain Sports in Arlington, TX.  We found they had the S2S Ultralight, and the guy there said sure, take it out and lay on it a while.  I did, and I was amazed.  I’m 6’2″ and weigh about 205 lbs, and when I stretched out on that pad, and rolled over on to my side, my usual sleeping position, and stayed there for about 15 min, I was amazingly comfortable.  Ian is taller and slightly heavier, but he had the same experience.  We bought a pair of them.  A little expensive, but in the end, so comfortable.

The pads have a pretty darn cool stuff sack that has a fitting that connects to the S2S inflation valve.  You can blow into it, but the better way is to connect the stuff sack to it, roll the sack to close the top, and push down and pump that air into the pad.  Three pushes and that pad is full, and I’m not staggering about dizzy from blowing it up.

I’ve had the pad on a camp and a backpacking trip.  The inflation bag is a largish waterproof stuff sack, so it does double duty.  I put my cold weather after-hike stuff in it, and I have to get that stuff out anyway once we get into camp, so the inflation bag is available.  I slept very comfortably on the backpacking trip in particular.  One thing I liked was that as I rolled side to side, in my sleeping bag, on the S2S pad.  I didn’t slide off the pad, which was very nice.  Even better, the bag didn’t have a friction grip on the pad, so it stayed with me as I rolled in it.  Ian reports similarly.

The S2S pad weighs the same as my closed cell pad.  The S2S packs down to about 15% of the volume of the Ridgerest.  The S2S is compartmented in the event of a leak.  The only downside is a $100 price difference.  But the bottom line is, the S2S is awfully comfortable.

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