RV Mattress Types: What You Need to Know

Stack of foam RV mattresses

As an RV owner, it is important to recognize that you need to buy a specialized mattress for your sleeping setup, rather than simply using a mattress intended for a traditional bed (here’s why). RV mattresses often must be made in special shapes due to limited or unconventionally shaped space within a camper vehicle. Many regular mattresses are often too thick for RV space constraints, and typically cannot stand up to the difficult conditions sometimes experienced within an RV. Extreme cold, extreme heat and temperature fluctuations can damage mattresses that were not constructed to survive in such harsh conditions.

That being said, when deciding to buy a specialized RV mattress, there is the small matter of deciding which type of mattress to purchase. Here are a few common options, as well as a few advantages and disadvantages that accompany each alternative.

Coil Mattresses

Coil mattresses are very common and generally affordable, so they can be purchased almost anywhere even if your budget is restricted. However, coil mattresses suffer from being twisted and turned, so squeezing a king size coil mattress into an RV could actually lead to permanent damage before you’ve even slept on it. Coil mattresses also provide uneven lower back support and improper spine support for side sleepers, which can lead to serious back and neck injuries. The durability of coil mattresses has also been questioned, due to the springs losing their bounce. Also, if you net a cut-corner or radius corner camper mattress, coil mattresses can become very expensive (if you find a manufacturer who can offer the right dimension and shape in the first place).

Air Mattresses

While certainly an affordable option, air mattresses bring a host of problems when they are employed as camper mattresses. An RV only has so much space in it, which means that the probability of a clumsy family member poking a hole in the mattress is greatly increased. In addition, the road is a dangerous place to be if your air pump were to break — there are no guarantees that the next 100, or even 1000, miles will include a repair shop. Sleeping on an uninflated air mattress is no better than sleeping on the floor, so using one as a camper mattress is certainly a risk. Similar to the inn innerspring mattresses, air mattresses usually come in a rectangular shape and standard sizes, so depending on the RV bed platform, this might not be an option in the first place.

Foam RV Mattresses

Foam, on the other hand, is often considered the more durable when compared to coil and air mattresses. However, many people believe that it doesn’t offer the necessary support, which is not at all true for high density foam RV mattresses. Foam mattresses also allow the user a measure of control — monitoring the Indentation Force Deflection of the mattress allows purchasers to choose foam RV mattresses which are either firmer or softer. This personalized support system is better than anything a traditional spring mattress can offer. Plus, foam mattresses always return to their original shape, even after being twisted and turned for a solid amount of time. Even though foam mattresses require more maintenance, rotating your mattress every few months is a small price to pay for true comfort.

Memory Foam RV Mattresses

First of all keep in mind that memory foam RV mattresses usually have one layer of memory foam that is supported by a thicker layer of regular foam or coils (no mattress is made entirely out of memory foam). In the end, memory foam is a contouring foam, and the support offered by the support foam or coils is what determines the quality of the mattress.

Latex Mattresses

Latex models offer improved air circulation and even greater back support because they are constructed using a synthetic rubber compound. Unfortunately for buyers, this rubber compound is extremely expensive, thus the RV mattresses which are cataloged as “latex mattresses”, actually have only one layer of latex. Even one thin layer of latex increases the final price of the RV mattress considerably: around $700 for a twin camper mattress.

Make sure to do adequate research before buying an RV mattress. There are plenty of options out there, so make sure to properly inform yourself and snag a solid camper mattress!