Over the years, I’ve tried plenty of padding options for sleeping while truck camping. Thin sheets of memory foam worked pretty well, but were a pain to store and got dirty and gross quickly. Regular backpacking sleeping pads are fine but always feel insufficient considering there’s no reason to scrimp on size when you can pack a truck full of gear. I know plenty of people who use full-on air mattresses in their rigs, but they have power to run electric air pumps to inflate the things, and that’s overly complicated. For me anyway.
Sea to Summit’s products have always been impressive in terms of their quality, packability, and intelligent design, so when I saw their new Comfort Deluxe SI (self-inflating) mat at Outdoor Retailer this summer, I was immediately intrigued. Thick, soft, robust, and hopefully self-inflating, I was eager to try one out.
The mat is four inches thick and features a sort of honeycombed polyurethane foam core that Sea to Summit calls a “Delta Core” technology. Hollow sections in the foam core lighten the mat and keep it packable, but it has enough rigidity to not collapse under the weight of a sleeper. Or two, in the case of the double. Sea to Summit used a plush 30d stretch knit on the sleeping surface to keep it feeling nice and soft. As for inflation and deflation, the mat comes with two valves that you pop open to let air in and can be twisted closed to deflate the mat quickly. Intuitive and easy.
Sea to Summit claims the mat will self-inflate in 5-10 minutes, and at sea level that’s been true in my experience. The first time you use the mat, it needs hours to fully puff itself up, but once it’s been used it inflates much quicker. Typically I open the valves and go off to set up the rest of camp, then return to firm up the mat with a few breaths into each valve. That’s not totally necessary, but I like a firmer feel. That 10-minute claim is about right for the self-inflation time. It works and works simply. When rolling it up to store, the valves can be set to deflate mode, so air is pressed out as you roll. The valves can be knocked out of the mat if you get a bit rough with it, so keep that in mind.
The comfort blows away traditional backpacking air mats. This shouldn’t be surprising, but it’s worth mentioning just how much of a game changer a mat like this can be when it comes to camping. It simply feels like a mattress. There’s none of the bouncy pool toy feeling of most air mats, it’s silent, and doesn’t translate movement quite so much between sleeping partners. Combined, my wife and I weigh roughly 340 pounds, and it loses very little if any air after a night we’ve both slept on it. Nor do we crush the edges down when sleeping on it—the mat holds its shape to the corners very well.
With an R-value of 5.5, the mat should be warm enough for 4-season use, though I’ve only had the chance to use it in temps down to the low 40s.
And did I mention the size of the mat? It’s huge (when inflated at least). 51-inches wide by 6 feet, seven inches long. This means it’s too long for a longbed Toyota Tacoma, at least, it’s too long to use with a closed tailgate; also, you’d need to use it above the wheel wheels on most trucks, supported with a sleeping platform. That footprint also means you’d need a massive family-sized tent if you planned to use this luxurious beast on the ground. But with the tailgate dropped, this is a plush, soft, bed-like mat that makes coming back to camp after a day tromping around the backcountry feel even more rewarding.
The sleeping pad I use most often when camping for two is the Klymit Insulated Double V, which has a smaller footprint, is filled only with air, and requires the use of an included stuff sack/pump for inflation. There’s really no comparison between the two pads when it comes to comfort, though the Klymit does have the advantage of being far easier to store and carry around at only 3.5 pounds. If I was fearing bad weather and needed to close my tailgate and shell, was camping in a situation that required me to carry my gear for any distance, I’d use the Klymit. But the supreme mattress-like feel of the Sea to Summit wins out in every other application.
• Footprint: 6’7″ x 51″ x 4″
• Weight: 7 lb 13 oz
• Rolled size: 10″ x 27″
• R-value: 5.5
• Material: polyurethane, 30d nylon
Bottom Line: A thick, plush, and luxurious mat for two-person camping in a truck or a giant tent, the Comfort Deluxe SI is easy to use, self-inflates, and provides unparalleled sleep comfort in the backcountry. It’s not cheap at $300, but it feels robust enough to last for years.
BUY • $300
More zzzz-generating two-person sleeping mat options
Klymit Insulated Double V. Lightweight, comfy, inexpensive, and warm. $160
Exped MegaMat Duo 10. Roughly same dims as the Sea to Summit, but includes a small pump to help inflation. $369.
Kelty Tru Comfort. Nicely priced, nearly five inches thick, and stuff sack doubles as air pump. $180