Sea To Summit Sleeping Bag and Mat Review

In this post we’re going to share our thoughts on the latest Sea To Summit Sleeping Bags and Mats. Specically, we’re taking a look at Sea To Summit’s Altitude AtII Sleeping Bag, Ascent AcII Sleeping Bag, and the Comfort Light S.I. Self Inflating Mat. Up until now we’ve been using Kelty’s Double Wide Sleeping Bag and two homemade DIY foam pads for our camper van bed. And while we’ve slept pretty good with that system, we jumped at the chance to test out other gear. Keep reading to learn about our Sea To Summit Sleeping Bag and Mat Review.

a photo of the inside of a van. there are two wooden boxes in the van and on top of them rest two teal sleeping mats. On top of the mats is, on the left, a Sea To Summit black bag containing a sleeping bag. To the right of that is a teal blue sleeping bag that is ready to be laid in.
Our camper van bed setup took 3 minutes to get the mats out and opened up and the sleeping bags pulled out of their storage bags.

Sea To Summit Altitude AtII Sleeping Bag

For starters, the Sea To Summit Altitude AtII Sleeping Bag comes in its own stuff sack and larger mesh bag. The stuff sack has a handle and a label on the outside. The mesh bag is fairly loose and easy to get the sleeping bag into. Both are great for transporting the sleeping bag though we wouldn’t recommend storing the bag in either for prolonged periods of time because like all down products, it’ll negatively impact the loft and therefore ability to keep you warm.

Sizing and Weight

The Altitude AtII bag itself is a bag specifically designed for women. It comes in two sizes, Women’s Regular and Women’s Long. We tested the Women’s Long. The Regular sized bag is suitable for people 5’7″ or 170cm or under. The Women’s Long is suitable for people who are 6″ or 183cm or under. The Long bag also has a few more inches in width. This bag weighs in at 3 pounds, 1 ounce which means it’d be great for backpacking, car camping, or even just for delivering extra warmth as you watch the sun set on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Note: If you don’t need the extra length you can cut down on weight as the Regular bag weighs 2 pounds, 13.2 ounces.

Temperature Rating

Now when it comes to sleeping bags one of the first things we take note of is the temperature rating. This one is rated down to 15°F meaning you’ll be comfortable in temps down to 15°F. I have never camped in 15°F and unless someone invites us on a winter expedition, I may never put myself in that scenario. Still, if I was, this bag would do the job as it’s lower limit is 2°F and it’s extreme limit (survival) is -37°F. As far as our purposes go, it worked great in the mid 40°F degree temperatures that we tested it in. For our three-season camper van travel pursuits, this bag will more than do the job. To be clear, though this bag is rated with some pretty extreme temperature ranges, we do not and Sea To Summit does not recommend using these bags in such extreme temperatures such as those well below freezing.

Materials and Construction

Sea To Summit Makes synthetic sleeping bags and ULTRA-DRY Down Sleeping Bags. Both of the ones we tested fall into the latter category. The ULTRA-DRY Down is not only RDS certified but it also undergoes a water-repellent treatment which helps protect the down from the elements and also condensation which is a legit challenge in a camper van. This treatment helps keep the down from taking on water, weight, and a bad smell. THERMOLITE panels can be found at your feet for additional warmth on this bag which helps keep your toes warm. One of my favorite things about this bag though is the feel of the 20D Nylon shell. It’s soft to the touch and when you’re inside, it feels super cozy and warm.

Sea To Summit Ascent AcII Sleeping Bag

Just like the Altitude AtII mentioned above, Sea To Summit has also given the Ascent AcII Sleeping bag a stuff sack and mesh bag. Similar storage guidelines apply. Side by side the Ascent AcII is smaller in size compared to the Altitude AtII.

Sizing and Weight

This bag doesn’t have a gender specification. There are, however, two options when it comes to this bag: Regular and Long. The Regular bag has a max user height of 6″ or 183cm or under while the Long bag can accommodate people who are 6’6″ or 198cm tall. We tested the Regular bag. The Ascent AcII weighs 2 pounds 10.2 ounces. It’d be perfect for both backpacking trips and camper van adventures.

Temperature Rating

The temperature rating for the Ascent AcII Sleeping Bag is similar to the Altitude AtII. Sea To Summit says you’ll be comfortable in this bag at 27°F. It has a lower limit of 15°F and an extreme rating at -19°F. What this means is that your average woman would be comfortable in this bag in air temps as low as 27°F. Your average man, however, would be comfortable in air temps as low as 15°F. This bag was perfect for our overnight camping trip in the mid-forties.

Materials and Construction

Just like the Altitude AtII, the Ascent AcII is also made with RDS Certified down that’s undergone ULTRA-DRY Down treatment. This means you’ll stay warm and also have protection against moisture. Though the Ascent AcII doesn’t have THERMOLITE panels at your feet, it is constructed with the 20D Nylon like the Altitude AtII and is just as soft against your skin.

Sea To Summit Comfort Light S.I. Sleeping Mat

a photo of a white camper van with the two back doors open wide. The sun is shining on the van. There are two wooden boxes in the photo that two teal sleeping pads rest on, side by side. Next to the wooden boxes, on the left, is a blue plastic water jug.
Unlike some of the other camper van beds we’ve tried, these pads are slim, inflatable, and easy to work with.

A sleeping bag is only part of the equation when it comes to sleeping comfortably in the outdoors. The idea goes that while you want to keep your body warm with a sleeping bag, you’ve also got to have a layer of insulation between you and the ground. Or, in our case, our bodies and the boards on the van bed. A mat or pad serves the dual purpose of keeping you warm but also offering a little extra padding.

Sea To Summit’s Comfort Light S.I Mat (Regular size) clocks in at 1 pound 5 ounces which makes it great for car camping and backpacking. The Large weights 1 pound, 9 ounces. It’s not the lightest on the market BUT it is super durable. The extra weight is well worth it and it’s due to the air proof barrier (laminate) behind it that makes this mat so durable and reliable. For us, camping in the van doesn’t mean we’re likely to puncture it on rocks or dirt, but there are some corners on the wooden boxes in our van that have snagged more than a few things. We don’t have to worry about that with this mat. Plus, if we do want to have a layer between us and then ground when eating or relaxing outdoors, we can do so on this mat.

Another great feature about this mat is that it’s self-inflating. This means you don’t have to carry a pump or make yourself dizzy blowing it up. When filled with air, the R-value is 3.7. The pad is shaped like a mummy which helps reduce weight and bulk but if you’re the kind of person who will be doing mostly car camping you might want some additional surface area and padding. But for the person who will do a combination of backpacking and car camping this is a great option.

The Comfort Light S.I. Mat has grippy silicon design on the bottom so that the mat stays in place. This is a great feature to have because it eliminates the annoying ‘walking’ mat that requires constant adjustments.

Two hands hold a teal blue sleeping pad. the hand on the left cradles the pad while the hand on the right holds open the valve.
The Sea To Summit Mat is self-inflating. It’s also easy to get the air out of the mat when it’s time to pack up.

The first time you use this self-inflating mat, you’ll need a few hours for it to expand and inflate. After that, it won’t take hours. It’ll be ready for use by the time you finish setting up the rest of your camp. And if not, the inflation valve is easy to blow into if you want to speed up the inflation process. When it’s time to head home, the air releases out of the mat fairly easily. Unlike other sleeping pads, this one didn’t fight too hard with us to go back into the bag.

Bonus: each mat comes with it’s own patch kit in case you snag it on a rock and create a small puncture. Also, the mats are available in a regular and long length. We have one of each to pair with the regular and long length sleeping bags.

Recap of the Sea To Summit Sleeping Bag and Mat Review

Aesthetically speaking, we really love the way the Sea To Summit Sleeping Bags and Mats look. They come in bright, vibrant colors that not only look stylish and modern but that helped make our photographs pop.

Though we love that these mummy-style sleeping bags keep us warm, our favorite feature was that the zippers coupled up meaning we could pair them up with one another and create a double-wide bag that we could both fit in. Yay cuddling!

Our second favorite feature, also found on both bags, is the large internal pocket. You can access it without having to unzip the bag. It’s great for storing your phone and for us, keeping our camera batteries warm.

Ready to buy? Want to learn more? Click on each link below on Sea To Summit’s website:

Seat To Summit Altitude AtII Sleeping Bag
Sea To Summit Ascent Ascent AcII Sleeping Bag
Sea To Summit Comfort Light S.I. Sleeping Mat

Best Things To Do in Marshall, NC

Marshall, North Carolina is about a 25 – 30 minute drive (a little over 20 miles) from downtown Asheville. In other words, it’s a great spot for a day trip from Asheville! The downtown area of Marshall is fairly small. A quick drive down Main Street will only take a few minutes but it’ll give you a good overview of the town. Find a place to park and get out and walk to explore some of the shops, restaurants and cafe’s. After that, consider hopping back in the car and checking out some of the other places on our list, all of which have a Marshall address but that aren’t in downtown. Keep reading to see our list of the best things to do in Marshall, NC.

French Broad Adventures | 9800 US Highway 25

Rafting, ziplines, canyoneering, and climbing…what more could you want in an adventure center? The best part about French Broad Adventures is that you just have to show up. You don’t have to own any of the gear. They’ll get you outfitted and paired up with a guide so that you can have a fun and safe adventure. They flung open their doors in 2002 and are now the largest outfitter on the French Broad River. Want to do more than just one adventure? If you book a whitewater rafting and ziplining tour during the same week you can save 10%. Visit their website for more details.

French Broad Exchange | 63 South Main Street

a glass window has several items taped to the window. the largest, at the top of the window is a white sign that says "French Broad Exchange: Used Books and Other Stuff." Below that are comic strips that have been taped to the window as well as hand-written quotes. A tiny bit of the brick building shows at the right hand side of the photo.
Long live independent bookstores like this one in downtown Marshall, NC.

The French Broad Exchange is formerly known as the Marshall Junk Shop. It’s a fun and interesting collection of odds and ends, paintings, books, magazines, cast iron skillets, trinkets and more. The French Broad Exchange is a great place to stop by when you’re in Marshall simply because you never know what you might find.

Madison County Arts Council | 90 South Main Street

The Madison County Arts Council is a place of information as well a place of gathering. They host events such as A Tribute to the Madison County, NC Fiddlers and offer youth classes such as ballet and theater. In addition to these events and classes, they also work hard to promote local artists through shows. One of the coolest things they help out with is wART FM, a local radio station that is actually currently seeking volunteer DJ’s. Click here to learn more and visit their events calendar to see what they’ve got coming up.

The following places are some of the best things to do in Marshall, NC but they’re not downtown. You’re going to need to drive to get to them. We think they’re worth the effort, though.

Mad Co. Brew House | 45 North Main Street

Small craft batch beers and pizza, what more could you ask for? Going to Mad Co. Brew House is one of the best things to do in Marshall. It’s a great spot for a post-hike beer or bite. It also lays claim to being the first brewery in Madison County, having opened it’s doors in 2016. There’s often live music, karaoke, and trivia so check out their calendar online before you go. And if you don’t feel like drinking there you can get a growler or two to go.

Marshall High Studios | 115 Blannahassett Island Road

a photo of the exterior of Marshall High Studios. The building is two stories tall and made of brick. A yellow handrail goes up to the building and a white sign with yellow letters says Marshall High Studios.
This old high school in Marshall, NC has been converted into art studios and is one of the best places to visit in Marshall.

One of the best things to do in Marshall, NC is to visit the Marshall High Studios. They’re located on the 10 acre Blannahassett Island inside the old Marshall High School. The building itself is a 27,000 square foot school that has been turned into a lovely light-filled space for artists and makers. Each studio and artist maintains it’s own hours so be sure to call or e-mail before you visit to make sure they are open. Also, consider visiting the Marshall High Studios Facebook page to see if there are any upcoming events such as the Potters of Madison County, the Marshall Handmade Market and more.

Mossy Mountain Bikeworks | 133 South Main Street

A photo of the inside of Mossy Mountain Bikeworks. There are two bikes hanging from the ceiling in the right hand corner of the photo. On the ground are many bikes lined up neatly. There are tires in a row hanging from the ceiling at the back of the shop. Brown ceiling fans also hang from the ceiling. Some t-shirts that are bright green and blue are on a rack and lots of small bike parts are on the wall.
Put this bike shop in downtown Marshall, NC on your list of things to do!

Your one stop shop for all things cycling in Marshall is located on main street. They sell bikes both new and used, perform repairs, and lead guided tours. They also have information on self-guided tours. If you decide to ride bikes in Marshall, definitely wear a helmet and use lights. There aren’t many bike lanes in this part of North Carolina and the shoulders of the roads are often non-existent. Still, if you’re up for it, the scenery is gorgeous and the hills will get your heart rate up!

Prama Institute & Wellness Center | 182 Ananda Girisuta Drive

a blue and white sign on a wooden pole points the way towards the Prama Institute. The blue arrow points to the left towards a dome shaped building made of wood. A slate gray path made of stones winds its way towards the building.
A quite place for reflection awaits you at the Prama Institute

If you’ve been looking for a place to deepen your yoga practice, you might have already heard of the Prama Institute. It’s one of the premier wellness retreat and conference center’s in the southeast. The retreats combine yoga, meditation, and juicing. They also hold silent meditation retreats. Both the Institute and the Wellness Center are located on 120 acres of really beautiful property with trails and many places to walk, sit, meditate and gather one’s thoughts. To sign up or learn more about their classes, visit their website.

Sandy Bottom Trail Rides | 1459 Caney Fork Road

One of the best things to do in Marshall, NC is to get out of town and go for a horseback ride through some of the most beautiful country in Madison County. Sandy Bottom Trail Rides will get you set up with a guide and a horse or even an ATV if you are unable or do not want to ride on their Polaris. On rides that last 2, 3 or 4 hours, you will be treated to a stop at the Little Pine Garnet Mine which is a historic 200 year old mine. While there you’ll have time to dig for garnets and explore the mine. We think it’s one of the most unique and interesting things to do in Marshall.

Star Diner | 115 North Main Street

An old-fashioned metal sign stands on a metal pedestal and reads "Sorry NO GAS". Behind the sign is an old truck with wooden rails and a wooden truck bed. Star Diner is on the truck. Behind that is a two-toned old car with a yellow hood and green paint. Behind the cars is a brick building painted white. Red signs point the way into a restaurant advertising Steaks, Seafood, Bar.
Visiting this old gas station turned restaurant, Star Diner, is one of the best things to do in Marshall, NC.

While there aren’t a ton of dining options in downtown Marshall, the ones that exist are awesome. Headed north and west along Main Street, keep your eyes peeled for the old gas station that’s been converted into a restaurant. You’re looking for the Star Diner, one of the best places to eat in Marshall, NC. If you’re walking or your windows are down, you’re likely to smell it before you spot it! Sunday brunch is a solid option for kicking off your weekend. You can also visit the Star Diner Wednesday through Saturday for lunch or dinner and order anything from the lobster fettuccine to the spice crusted sea bass to the buttermilk cheese pie. This is the place to go if you want delicious food owned by locals.

Van Life Conversions | 216 B South Main Street

a photo of the exterior of the building housing Van Life Conversions. The building is slate gray with some horizontal wood paneling. There is a blue dolly with red wheels propped up against the building. A yellow and brown banner hangs about two navy blue doors. The foreground is gravel.
Camper van conversions are happening in Marshall, NC!

Being that this is a van life blog we love going to Marshall to check out what Van Life Conversions has on their lot! Every single time we’ve visited they’ve had a number of rad looking vans in various stages of progress. And in addition to custom camper van builds and they even work on skoolies. Check ’em out and make an appointment with ’em if you’d like to discuss a build.

Walnut Island River Park | 3042 Old Marshall Highway

Technically this river park is located in Alexander, NC but we put it on our list of the best things to do in Marshall, NC because it’s only 7.3 miles south of Marshall. It’s a great spot for a picnic, grilling out, accessing the river with your kayak, and even fishing. It’s open during daylight hours, seven days a week.

Zuma Coffee and Provisions | 7 North Main Street

Great drink and comfort foods await at the cute corner coffee shop in Marshall. Zuma recently celebrated 20 years in business! Plus, they’re one of the best places to eat in Marshall. They’re open Monday – Saturday and you can get everything from coffee, smoothies, breakfast sandwiches, soup, and more. They’ve also got take-home and bake options. Be sure to check out their daily specials and if you’re in a rush, order online and it’ll be ready when you arrive.

Best Things to Do in Marshall, NC Recap

Please like, pin or share this post about the best things to do in Marshall, NC and leave a comment if you have a recommendation for us. We’re constantly working to update our posts and keep them current.

Looking for other fun day trips near Asheville? Check out our posts on Weaverville and Black Mountain!

Erin McGrady and Caroline Whatley are travel writers, photographers and the authors of Authentic Asheville.

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