So it’s time to hit the open road. You’ve made all your plans, you know where you’re going, you know what routes you’ll be taking, you’ve checked out your RVs mechanical systems, you’ve packed all the clothes and gear you’ll need and have even stocked the refrigerator and pantry.
You’re ready to play BIG and have a great time; it’s going to be a trip to remember…
But, did you remember to check the RV MATTRESS(ES)?
“Great nights lead to great days”, so a good night’s rest is a key ingredient for enjoying your RVing adventure. And a great supportive camper mattress is the key to getting a great night’s sleep. So if your mattress isn’t as comfortable as it used to be, or has any of these 10 signs, it is time to change your mattress! We know that shopping for a new mattress (whether it’s an RV mattress or sofa bed mattress) can be a daunting task, so we’re here to help. We’ve developed this RV mattress buying guide to help you in choosing the “dream machine” (a.k.a. mattress) that’s right for you.
In this guide you’ll learn:
1. Why a regular mattress isn’t the best choice for your RV
2. Where to buy an RV mattress?
3. About trailer mattress shapes and sizes
4. RV mattress types
5. Why the cover is so important
6. The advantages of an RV mattress being made in the US
7. Other details you should consider: warrantee, return policy, reviews
8. What kind of mattress you should buy as a sofa bed replacement mattress for your RV
9. We also added some post-purchase advice you might find helpful
A regular bed mattress cannot be doubled as an RV mattress, due to two main reasons: mattress thickness and shape. Let’s look at the thickness of the mattress; a 12”-14” thick mattress won’t be appropriate for use on floating platforms, cab over beds, bunk beds and so on. Thick mattresses are heavier as well (depending on the type of the mattress), which might pose a problem as well. Furthermore, it’s highly likely that the shape of your RV bed is not a regular one or even if a rectangular mattress does fit, odds are that a standard size one won’t be the perfect match.
Brick and mortar furniture stores, mattress stores and stores that sell RV parts are all good options, however, specialized RV mattress online stores might be the safest bet to find something of quality and that fits perfectly in your camper.
Traditionally, you’d go to into a store to purchase a new camper mattress. You can see it in person, and, most importantly, lay on it to tell if it’s comfortable. However, with almost everything being available for purchase online now, it may be time to try out buying a replacement RV mattress from an online store. The first step in purchasing any product is to decide whether you want to shop online or offline. While shopping online has clear advantages in general, for RV mattresses in particular there are some additional benefits you can take advantage of.
While there are tons of brick and mortar furniture stores out there, finding one that sells RV mattresses can be tricky, and even if you find one, they might be lacking when it comes to shapes and sizes. Not to mention, they may not have them on display so you won’t be able to lay on them anyway. This is also true for general mattress stores. Sure it’s easy to find a mattress store around you, but you may run into the same problems.
There are stores that sell RV parts, and those might be a good place to go for a new RV mattress. While they’re not as easy to find as mattress or furniture stores, it may be worth the search. They generally have camper mattresses, and since their market is tailored to RVs, they’ll probably have more sizes and variety than the aforementioned furniture and general mattress stores. However, it’s still very rare to find an RV parts shop that has camper mattresses on display for you to lay on.
The last option, and one we strongly recommend trying, is simply buying an RV mattress online. While it’s true that you won’t be able to test out the mattress beforehand (but most probably you can’t in the majority of brick and mortar stores that have trailer mattresses on offer), there are many advantages to ordering an RV replacement mattress RV online. The main benefit in the case of buying a motorhome mattress online is the fact that you can order a custom mattress and you can have it in about 2 weeks time; brick and mortar stores rarely (if ever) are prepared to offer custom shape and size trailer mattresses. While not all online stores that sell RV mattresses will have a large selection of shapes and sizes, there are specialized replacement mattress stores (like replacement-mattress.com), which offers you the opportunity to find an array of shapes and sizes, and even have one custom made to fit your RV bed (whether it’s a bunk bed or an overhead cab one).
It’s also usually cheaper purchasing online instead of in store. This is because they don’t have the costs associated with running a storefront, and are able to keep their products at factory level. Plus, shopping online is simply more convenient for you. Also, browsing for mattresses online is much more convenient than hiking through malls and navigating parking lots, especially if you live in a rural area (in which case gas money savings are an additional benefit. There’ll be no need to fit a trip to the mattress store into your busy schedule or arrange transportation for the trailer mattress. You’ll be able to just browse the web on your leisure time and find the perfect new camper mattress for your RV, which will be delivered to your door directly. Not a big fan of online shopping? You shouldn’t despair, we will provide all the information you need to make the most informed decision when shopping for a camper mattress online. Keep reading!
What if your RV mattress shape isn’t a rectangle? RV mattresses come in cut corner(s), angle sides, large radius corner(s), rounded end and so much more. While in the past ordering a irregular shape mattress might have been quite cumbersome, nowadays custom RV mattresses are more easily available (and on our website at the same price as ordering a regular size mattress).
There are no standard sized for RV beds because it all depends on the RV type, brand and floorplan. However, the three most common sizes arethe RV Short Queen (60″ x 75″/74″), Three Quarter Size (48″ x 75″) and the RV King (72″ x 75″/80″). Other usual camper mattress dimensions include:
RV Twin : 38″ x 75″/80”
RV Full: 53″ x 75″
RV Queen : 60″ x 80″
Olympic Queen : 66″ x 80″
Cal King: 72″ x 84″
Regular King: 76″ x 80”
RV Bunk: 28”-35” x 75”-80”
When buying a replacement mattress or a recreational vehicle or camper, it is essential to get the size right. To find out what RV mattress size you need, it’s best to measure the platform that the RV mattress rests on, instead of measuring the old mattress itself. Keep in mind how snug you want the mattress to fit. Allow some space for putting on sheets and how thick the comforter or blanket will be. Many customers allow for 2” to 3” of RV bedding, reducing the size of the mattress where it fits in either a partially or totally enclosed space.
While a thicker trailer mattress will provide better support, when determining the right thickness, take into consideration if there are any height restrictions. A cab over or bunk may only accommodate a 5”thick mattress while in some cases an 8” mattress can be used as well. The thickness of the motorhome mattress will impact the type of mattress you can choose as well, but more on this below.
While innerspring mattresses might be the most widely known, there are more (and better) choices out there for trailer mattresses.
Such mattresses don’t really come in a lot of variations. Customizing an innerspring motorhome mattress is highly expensive, and certain customizations could be close to impossible. For example, cut corner innerspring mattresses are very difficult to produce, while the RV manufacturing company might have made something especially for your type of RV, such mattresses aren’t readily available for customers.
Even if your RV mattress specifications are available in an RV coil mattress, there are some additional aspects you should keep in mind. First of all, a 4” thick innerspring mattress won’t have room for enough coil turns to offer adequate support, meaning that due to thickness limitations there isn’t enough room for innersprings to “float” before they fully compress, thus making the mattress truly uncomfortable.
Apart from this aspect, a coil mattress can be cumbersome to bring into the RV, especially if we’re talking about a queen or king size mattress.
While air mattresses represent a big advantage through the fact that you can easily adjust their firmness depending on the sleeper’s preferences (and they’re very easy to bring into an RV), when intending to use it in a camper, the disadvantages of the air mattress are important to bear in mind. Before purchasing such an RV mattress, consider the fact that the pump can break at any time, and an unfunctional pump means an unfunctional mattress, which is a big problem even if you’re using it in your home, not to mention if you’re on the road, with no nearby options to repair or replace the pump. Also, air mattresses are notorious for leaking, which again poses a problem while RVing.
Foam mattresses represent several advantages when intending for use in an RV. First of all, the process of customizing them is simple and cost-effective. No matter what shape, size or thickness you need, a foam mattress can be manufactured to fit your RV. In addition, it’s shipped compressed and rolled, which means that it can be easily brought into your camper.
You might be wondering if the specifications show that the foam mattress is going to be supportive or not? A high-quality foam mattress is what you should be looking for, such mattresses are very resilient, and will keep its shape and supportive features for a longer period of time. “Okay, but what does high-quality mean in a foam mattress?”, you might ask. Well, look for a minimum of 1.8 density foam (density and durability go hand in hand), anything under 1.8 will deteriorate faster and not be as supportive. Note that even if the foam mattress will be used by kids, it isn’t recommended to buy a lower density foam mattress, as it will mean a big shift in quality.
With regards to the feel of the foam mattress (softness/firmness), look at so-called Indentation Force Deflection (otherwise known as Indentation Load Deflection – IFD or ILD for short); this should have a value between 23-26; a higher IFD means a harder mattress, while a lower IFD is characteristic of a softer mattress, which will most probably bottom out in a short period of time. If you want a plusher feel, you should look for memory foam RV mattresses (more on this below).
While coil mattresses are more commonly used, it’s important to mention that compared to an innerspring mattress, the same thickness a good quality foam mattress will offer more support.
A memory foam mattress is the best option if you prefer a plusher feel. Of course, it’s essential to be aware of the fact that no memory foam mattress is made entirely out of memory foam; all “memory foam mattresses“, have a support layer (out of foam or coil), over which a layer of memory foam is laminated.
You might be wondering what’s the difference between memory foam and support foam? Memory foam is a topper foam which creates a plusher and/or contouring feel. Support foam is what you depend on to hold your body up and offer your back proper support. Thus, when “window shopping” for memory foam RV mattresses, you should consider the quality of both the memory foam layer and the support layer as well. In this regard, the aspects discussed above regarding foam or coil mattress apply to the support layer as well. However, it’s important to note that it’s not advisable to go for a 5” thick memory foam RV mattress, as the support layer should be at least 4” thick in the first place, in order to provide adequate support (leaving 1” thick memory foam, which won’t provide the plush feeling you would expect from a memory foam mattress).
Where the actual memory foam is concerned, you should look for a 2-4 pound one as these are rated as being of good quality. As memory foam works differently than support foam, it is not advisable to buy a higher density memory foam as it will have a harder feel to it.
Where layer thickness is concerned, look for RV mattresses which have at least 2” of memory foam, anything over 3” will provide a sinking feel to the sleeper (of course, some of you might actually like it that way). If the mattress has multiple comfort pads the total thickness of the pads should add up to 2” as well. You also might have heard of convoluted memory foam, which has an “egg crate” look. Convoluted memory foam is used to create a plusher feel, which is possible due to the air trapped between the domes/bumps.
How is the RV mattress cover made? Well, the outside of the RV mattress should be constructed to stand up. We recommend that an RV mattress be made using old fashioned, heavy duty manufacturing techniques, where the mattress is covered in a durable damask fabric and all the seams are sewn and reinforced with a tape edge. This method of manufacturing has stood the test of time and will stand up better than a simple zip on, zip off, cover.
Should the mattress be made in the USA? Apart from the fact that it’s easier and more cost-effective to buy a custom trailer mattress manufactured in the US, another important benefit of buying a camper mattress made in the US is quality control. Such mattresses meet standards on a more consistent basis than mattresses manufactured in another country. For example, foam RV mattress will meet CertiPur US standards, while mattresses from other countries are less likely to meet the necessary quality criteria.
Where shipping is concerned lead-time might be one of the more important aspects that you might be interested in, especially if you have an RV trip planned and need the mattress to arrive before your departure date. Please note that in the case of custom size mattresses can take 5-7 business days to ship, while lead time for customized mattresses can take up to 7-14 days, so plan accordingly.
How is the mattress packaged for shipment? Coil mattresses cannot be compressed (otherwise the coils will be damaged) which makes them more difficult to ship, thus they can be shipped only via LPL carriers which involves higher costs than delivery through courier services. Foam mattresses and memory foam mattresses, on the other hand, are put in a heavy plastic bag, are compressed, rolled and slipped in another plastic sleeve for shipping. Due to this method, it is possible to ship foam RV mattresses via FedEx and UPS, which comes with additional benefits: it’s more economical and it involves shorter transit times.
Does the mattress have a warrantee and what does the warrantee cover? Please note that warranties do not cover the sagging of the mattress, but they should cover manufacturer defects. While mattresses destined for the home environment have 6-8 years warrantee, trailer mattresses should have at least a 5-year non-prorated warrantee, which means that if there is any defect during the first five years, the RV mattress will be replaced at no cost. According to our research, most people trade class (upgrade or downgrade) or give up RVing altogether in 4-6 years, thus, any warranty over 5 years doesn’t have a lot of additional value.
It’s important to mention that usually the customer is responsible for returning the mattress and for any charges associated with the return shipment.
Before placing the order check if there is a return policy. If there is, make sure to read the fine print, because there might be disclaimers. Usually special sizes and custom orders are not returnable. All standard sizes can be returned within the first 30 days from the date it is delivered to your home. The customer is responsible for all the return shipping charges, and all returns must be stain free and in a sanitary condition.
Reading the opinions of other customers before placing the order is very important, but keep in mind that two people might not find the same mattress comfortable to the same degree – we all have different tastes and needs after all. Also, to make mistakes is only human, so things can go wrong with orders, the important thing is how issues and complaints are handled, thus, look at the overall trend.
When it comes to our own mattresses, some of our customers have been very kind to leave reviews for all types of RV mattresses, check out the reviews at the bottom of the page for the Princess, Countess and Empress motorhome mattresses.
Looking for a sleeper sofa mattress instead of an RV mattress in the traditional sense? While the majority of aspects outlined in our Sofa Bed Mattress Buying Guide are applicable to you as well, there are a couple of differences we would like to point out. While most sofa beds intended for use in the home have 4” mechanisms, in an RV the possibility for the sleeper sofa mechanism to be of 3”-3.5” increases considerably, thus you need to look for a custom mattress (with which we can help you with by the way). Also, you might need a shorter sofa bed mattress than the usual 68”-70” which are rather common for in-house sofas. Thus, if you have an RV with a slide out, you might find that the length of your sofa replacement mattress should be less than 68” (maybe 66”, but it’s best to measure), in order to have room for the sofa bed to open. For more details regarding the measurements of a replacement sofa mattress click here.
As previously mentioned, coil mattresses can be a little tricky to install in the RV. Where foam mattresses are concerned, we recommend that you bring the mattress into the RV before removing the packaging. Also, packaging should be removed within 15-30 days the latest. Due to the way its packaged it will take some time for foam RV mattresses to regain their original shape. Foam mattresses will take a couple of minutes while memory foam mattresses will take longer (approximately 1 hour’s time). Lower quality foams (below 1.8 density) might not regain their shape as fast or at all.
Where regular bed mattresses are concerned you might have heard that it’s advisable to flip (top to bottom) and rotate (head to toe) the mattress. Well, in the case of RV mattresses this is impossible if you have an irregularly shaped mattress. If you do have a rectangular camper mattress, you can rotate the mattress, however, please note that not all mattresses are “flipable”. For example, if you have a memory foam RV mattress, these don’t usually have a memory foam layer on both sides of the mattress, thus, you won’t get the same feel if you flip the mattress. On the other hand, if you have a rectangular foam RV mattress, you can flip and rotate it every three to six months or so, in order to prevent sagging in the areas you sleep the most.
In order to protect your mattress from stains, consider using a mattress pad or a mattress protector, these won’t actually increase the lifespan of your RV mattress, however, it will protect your mattress core from substances that might cause it harm.
When you’re not using the RV, temperatures can vary from very hot to very cold with changes in humidity as well. What effect does that have on the mattress? Most furniture, cabinetry, and bedding is affected by the environment, that is why quality is important. Our recommendation is to leave your trailer mattress uncovered so that air can circulate. If you live in a hot and humid area, running a dehumidifier would be a good idea.
If there is a question we haven’t answered or some more guidance you’d like to have, please contact us by email or phone. We would like to know and like our customers to know as well. Thanks for your help and thank you for allowing us the opportunity to help make dreams come true!