Whether it’s an overnight hike to the farthest corner of the national park, or pitching a tent on a friend’s property just out of town; camping is how Kate loves to spend her weekends. It’s her recipe for balance, and finding the best sleep system is the secret ingredient.


We acknowledge that these adventures are located on the traditional Country of the Ngarigo people who have occupied and cared for the lands, waters, and their inhabitants for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them as the Traditional Custodians and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.

Just like choosing the perfect outfit for an occasion, your sleep system should be tailored to suit the specific needs of your camping trip. Sea to Summit has created sleeping gear for absolutely every adventure; from lavish camping mats to ultralight sleeping bags. Taking to the Snowy Mountains of NSW, I had the chance to test out just two of the endless options of Sea to Summit sleep systems; a car camping and a thru-hiking set up.

Who is Sea to Summit?

Enter Sea to Summit, a brand born from an epic mission; outfitting a journey from sea level to the summit of Mount Everest. Sewing outdoor gear in his bedroom as a teenager, Roland Tyson realized he had a knack for creating innovative yet reliable equipment.

Joined by fellow explorer Penny Sanderson, the duo embarked on numerous adventures to personally test their products and draw inspiration from genuine outdoor experiences. What started as a small, home-grown Australian brand quickly evolved into a globally recognised company celebrated for its durable and lightweight designs.  

What is a sleep system?

Regardless of whether you’re car camping or hiking, a sleep system typically consists of a sleeping bag (or quilt), sleeping mat, liner, and a pillow.

The sleeping bag is the core of every overnight trip, a cozy cocoon to protect you from the night’s chill. A sleeping pad or mat is what transforms your night into a restful slumber, preventing heat loss to the ground and enhancing overall comfort. The sleeping bag liner acts as a protective layer for your other gear, whilst adding extra warmth. Finally, the humble pillow – not always a ‘must’ but once you’ve experienced it, you’ll wonder how you ever camped without one.

Camping Sleep System – Luxury in the Outdoors

Every year, my partner and I celebrate the end of social hibernation (AKA winter), by loading up the car and heading to ‘Big Yard Escapes’. Situated just outside of Jindabyne, NSW, our friend Craig has a property that would make even the slickest of city-slickers jealous.

We spent the day wandering through the open gum forest searching for dropped deer antlers, took a dip in his private lagoon on the Mowamba River, then kicked off the evening with a massive bonfire, with the mouthwatering smell of a spit roast in the air.

With the convenience of a car as our mobile base, and no constraints on packed weight or size, we had the liberty to bring the most luxurious Sea to Summit sleeping gear imaginable.


Sleeping Bag – Trek TKI (-1°C) Down Sleeping Bag

Length: 183cm (regular)
Compressed volume: 4.6L
Weight: 760g
Cost: $449

The Trek Down Sleeping Bag comes in a range of temperature ratings to suit any time of the year; -1°C, -8°C, and -12°C. Given the spring temperatures in the Snowy Mountains during this trip, I opted for the TK1, with a comfort rating of 5°C.

Its generous mummy-style fit has a full-length side zipper and secondary foot box zipper, ideal for extra airflow in warmer months, or if you’re someone who enjoys the cool air on their feet while sleeping (maybe that’s just me?).

The best feature of this sleeping bag is its compatibility with Sea to Summit’s women-specific fit sleeping bags including the Journey and Venture. This means you can zip them together to create a dreamy double sleeping bag with your number one adventure buddy.


Sleeping Mat – Comfort Plus Self-Inflating Sleeping Mat

Dimensions: 183cm x 64cm (Rectangular wide)
Packed size: 22cm x 34cm
Weight: 1380g
Cost: $279.99

The Comfort Plus Self-Inflating Mat delivers the utmost in outdoor extravagance, without too much bulk. With a stretch knit fabric top, I’ve never slept on a comfier (or quieter) sleeping mat. The mat features a non-slip grip print on the base to keep the mat securely in place during restless nights.

With an R-value of 4.1 and 8cm of luxurious foam, this four-season mat is your insulation powerhouse. When weight isn’t a concern, go all-in with the wide, rectangular version for maximum wiggle room. With an additional almost 10cm of width, the rectangular wide version was a game changer for me as a side sleeper.


Snooze to Summit: What You Actually Need for a Quality Night’s Sleep in The Bush, photo by @expedimage, Sea to Summit, sleep system, camping, tent, sleeping mat, sleeping bag, pillow

Pillow – Foam Core Pillow

Dimensions: 34cm x 24cm x 13cm (Regular)
Packed size: 27 x 10cm
Weight: 220g
Cost: $44.99

The Foam Core Pillow added a touch of home to my camping experience, without the bulk. The 50D polyester stretch knit outer is super soft and is combined with a layer of polyester fill material to promote airflow underhead. The foam core used in these pillows is upcycled from self-inflating mats during production, making them a sustainable addition to your sleep system. Compatible with Sea to Summit mats, it features the pillow lock system to avoid pillow chasing through the night.


Hiking Sleep System – The Art of Minimalism

With the snow melting away in Kosciuszko National Park, the following weekend marked our first overnight trip of the hiking season. Eager to inject a little excitement into our regular trails, we opted for a walk under the glow of the moon, starting at the Porcupine Rocks trailhead at 8pm.

With the night enveloping us, and no rush to outrun a setting sun, we took our time to wander; examining every minute aspect of the trail from the tiniest golden bug, to the newly placed rocks that line the path. When we finally strolled into camp, I instinctively began unpacking my trusty thru-hiking sleep system.

A combination of gear that had faithfully accompanied me on a 116-day journey along the Te Araroa Trail, now felt like a second skin as I crawled into bed in the darkness.

Sleeping Bag – Spark (5°C) Ultralight Sleeping Bag

Length: 183cm (Regular)
Compressed volume: 1.5L
Weight: 340g
Cost: $549

Just like the Trek sleeping bag, the Spark Ultralight Sleeping Bag range is designed to suit any season, with options for temperature ratings from 5°C to -15°C.

These bags are ultralight, ultra-compact, and ultra-dry, meaning they’re coated with water repellent to shed external moisture when tent condensation is around or for clumsy coffee spills in the morning… The Flame is the female-specific equivalent, and my go-to thru-hiking sleeping bag.

It offers a tailored shape and additional insulation where women need it most, so personally I find it better suited to my body. Unlike the Trek sleeping bag and its female counterpart, the Flame and Spark sadly cannot be zipped together.


Sleeping Mat – Ether Light XT Insulated Air Sleeping Mat

Dimensions: 183cm x 64cm (Rectangular Wide)
Packed size: 11cm x 28cm
Weight: 630g
Cost: $399.99

The Ether Light XT Insulated Air Sleeping Mat is the perfect blend of cushioning and convenience with a thickness of 10cm but weighing less than 500g (regular size).

Although thick, inflation is a breeze (pun intended) with the combined stuff sack/Airstream pump. It comes in a range of shapes and sizes including small, regular, large, rectangular wide, and women’s models, ensuring there’s an option to suit everyone.

Before this trip, I always used a women’s long Ether, but after experiencing the rectangular wide version, I’m converted. Much like the Comfort Plus S.I rectangular wide, the extra width at both ends of the mat provided a significantly more comfortable night’s sleep, especially for a side sleeper like myself.


Pillow – Aeros Premium

Dimensions: 34cm x 24cm x 11cm (regular)
Packed size: 7×8.5cm
Weight: 79g
Cost: $64.99

The Aeros pillow, whether the Ultralight or Premium version, is your gateway to unadulterated relaxation. These hiking pillows will transition your trip from ‘roughing it’ to ‘bougie backpacking’.

Weighing in at a mere 60g for the Aeros Ultralight Pillow, the minimal weight is a small price to pay for a great night’s sleep. For me, it was a no-brainer to upgrade to the Aeros Premium Pillow for a mere 19g extra (79g total). The stretch-knit polyester outer, and the additional layer of polyfil, gives the Aeros Premium a softer touch that I can’t resist.


But what about sleeping liners?

Liner – Premium Silk Travel Liner

Length: 185cm (regular)
Packed size: 12cm x 10cm x 7cm
Weight: 130g
Cost: $149.99

Lastly, let’s not forget about liners. They’re the unsung heroes extending the life of your sleeping bag and mat, whilst dialling up the warmth for in-between seasons. Just like the sleeping bags and mats, the Sea to Summit liners come in various fabrics, shapes, and sizes including square, mummy, and double.

I like to use the silk liner for summer hiking, then transition to the Reactor Extreme Liner for in-between seasons or snow camping, to add up to an extra 15°C to my sleeping bag.

Which sleep system is for me?

From a laid-back camp out with friends, to a moonlit overnight hike, Sea to Summit sleep systems ensured that I enjoyed a cozy night’s rest in the Snowy Mountains. In the lap of luxury at ‘Big Yard Escapes,’ the combination of the Trek sleeping bag, Comfort Plus S.I mat, and Foam Core Pillow, offered the pinnacle of comfort. While tackling the trails in Kosciuszko National Park, the Spark sleeping bag, Ether Light Insulated air mat, and Aeros Premium pillow provided an ultralight setup without compromising on comfort.



Ultimately the choice between sleep systems reflects on personal preference and the adventures you seek. These are the setups I use for camping and hiking, but you can mix and match depending on what’s important to you. The best sleep system is one that allows you to rest easy in the outdoors, providing the respite you need to wake up energised and ready to conquer the day.


Images thanks to @expedimage