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Factors to Consider When Choosing an RV Mattress

Updated: Jun 22, 2023

Summer is fast approaching, which means you may want to start taking some of the famous trips in your RV. Of course, this means you’ll want to ensure your RV is as comfortable and homey as possible. Replacing your RV mattress with something more comfortable and sturdy is a fantastic RV upgrade to accomplish this!

Rv bed

Nothing spoils a trip more like a subpar mattress. However, finding a mattress that suits your needs is much easier said than done. There is a lot to consider when choosing an RV mattress, so it is important to take several factors into consideration. The selection process can be overwhelming, and it can be difficult to figure out where to start.


Fortunately for you, we’ll be providing you with some direction to give you a jumpstart. Whether you are deciding which mattress material fits you best or if you are deciphering the correct mattress size for an Airstream, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we will be discussing factors you should most definitely consider when searching for the perfect mattress.


Mattress Size

mattress sizes

This may be surprising, but RV mattress sizes actually differ from the mattresses in your home. RV brands and manufacturers have variations in their mattress sizes that vary from traditional mattresses. These modifications generally make RV mattresses shorter or narrower to fit within the RV bedroom.


There still are a variety of different RV mattress sizes depending on the vendor, but the standard sizes include:


  • Twin: 28 x 75 inches to 40 x 80 inches

  • Bunk: 28 x 75 to 35 x 75 inches

  • Trunk Bed: 35 x 79 to 42 x 80 inches

  • Three-quarter: 48 x 75 inches

  • RV Full / Double: 53 x 75 inches

  • Queen Short or RV Queen: 60 x 75 inches

  • RV King: 72 x 75 to 72 x 80 inches


The most standard RV mattress size is the short queen size, also called the RV Short Queen. In most cases, a queen RV mattress is the same size or around the same size as a traditional queen-size mattress.


The RV short queen is the same width as a queen size but is sometimes shorter than a standard queen. The short queen is a popular RV mattress size because it’s easy to find sheets for and it’s easy to replace your RV queen mattress with a new one.


While the short queen is a common size, don’t assume your RV is equipped for that size. The best thing you can do to ensure you get the right size mattress is to measure the mattress frame in your RV. You should measure the mattress frame rather than your current mattress because your mattress may have expanded or contracted over time. You want to measure the area in which your new mattress will actually be placed.


Thickness

mattress thickness

RV mattresses also differ from standard mattresses in regard to how thick they are. RV mattresses need to be lighter to keep the total weight of the rig down.


You’ll want to look for mattresses that have a thickness below 10 inches for full-size trailers and even less for smaller rigs. This will keep the overall weight of your RV down. Additionally, depending on your layout, you may need a light and flexible mattress that can be easily moved around.


It is also important to consider how much room a thick mattress can take up in the tight space of an RV, as your floor-to-ceiling space may be compromised by a high-rising bed. We recommend you give the interior of your RV a quick measure. You want ample space to be able to sit up and move around on your bed without worrying about bumping into the ceiling. You may also want a thinner mattress so that you can have more space for overhead storage.


We’d also like to point out that on some mattresses the difference in thickness may be attributed to the height of the base foam. For example, a 9-inch memory foam mattress may have 3 inches of memory foam layer and a 13-inch mattress may also have a 3-inch layer of memory foam. But the difference is what is called the base foam. Of course, this sort of thickness is more so associated with memory foam mattresses, but this is a great segue into our next point - mattress types and materials.


Material

rv bed material

Like traditional mattresses, RV mattresses can be made from and are available in a variety of materials. The type of mattress is actually dependent on the material it's sourced from. If you’re searching for a mattress size that’s aligned more so with traditional sizes, you’ll likely have a full variety of mattress-type options available to you.


RV mattress types include:

  • Foam: Foam mattresses are typically the most common and affordable type of RV mattresses. They vary in thickness and can easily fit into smaller sleeping spaces. However, foam absorbs heat more readily, so it’s not recommended for those who might get hot at night.

  • Memory Foam: Similar to regular foam but a tad more advanced, memory foam is a lightweight, comfortable option with a soft, plush top and a sturdy base.

  • Gel Memory Foam: This is a cooler version of memory foam. This is a perfect option for traveling during the summer season as the gel RV mattress will help keep you cool.

  • Coiled: Innerspring or coil mattresses are popular options for the home but they’re heavier than foam mattresses which makes them less ideal for RVs.

  • Hybrid: These types of mattresses are a combination of different mattress types.

  • Latex: These mattresses are made from rubber trees. They are often long-lasting and hypoallergenic for those with dust mite allergies.

  • Air: An air mattress may make more sense if you only use your RV occasionally. This may be a better investment than a more expensive, higher-quality mattress. You’ll still be able to find a variety of air mattress sizes.


In addition to these mattress types, there are also proprietary mattresses from emerging mattress brands and online retailers that may offer special features such as gel grids or combination designs.


Moreover, you definitely want to have an understanding of the mattress’s material before you invest in it. Not only should you know what to look for but what to watch out for and avoid, as some materials can be prone to problems.


Some RV bed materials have been known to fall victim to “off-gassing”. Off-gassing occurs when volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are released from your mattress and into the air of your home or RV. This can lead to an increase in allergies or even an unpleasant odor you’ll be stuck with for months. It’s important you look for manufacturers that use little to no VOCs.


Also, be sure to check if they have CertiPUR-US certifications. This means the mattresses meet certain criteria such as:

  • Made without ozone depleters

  • Made without PBDEs, TDCPP or TCEP (”Tris”) flame retardants

  • Made without mercury, lead, and other heavy metals

  • Made without formaldehyde

  • Made without phthalates regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission

  • Low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) emissions for indoor air quality (less than 0.5 parts per million)


Cover vs. No Cover

rv bed cover

Some manufacturers will wrap your mattress in an organic cotton cover that can be removed and washed in the washing machine. This is extremely convenient as it offers a layer of protection to your mattress. If you have a spill, you can simply remove the cover and machine wash it. This is a lot easier and definitely preferable over having to try removing a stain from your mattress.


Outside of protection, there are covers that can also improve the comfort of your mattress. In fact, you may be thinking about whether you should invest in a mattress topper or pad. Some RVers view them as an easy way to make their mattress more comfortable. This is definitely a simpler solution than buying a whole new mattress. If your mattress is still in good condition but is a little too firm, a softer mattress topper can do the trick.


Unfortunately, mattress toppers don’t always solve the problem. Some mattresses are past the point of good condition and in these cases, it is advisable to buy a new mattress. You’ll probably even find that prices for top-of-the-line mattress pads are the same as budget-friendly memory foam mattresses.


Cost

bedroom in rv

Just like traditional mattresses, RV mattress prices depend on the materials and qualities of the mattress. Prices will also differ depending on the size of the RV mattress. Still, despite this fluctuation of prices, we’ll break down the price range you can expect.


The cheapest RV mattresses will cost around $200 to $400. However, these mattresses are usually of lower quality and won’t hold up long. They are typically made from polyurethane foam which is what couch cushions are made with.


For “medium quality” mattresses you can expect to pay somewhere from $500 to $1200. These comfortable mattresses will stand the test of time longer than lower-quality mattresses. The material of these mattresses includes memory foam, gel memory foam, synthetic latex, and innerspring mattresses.


The most expensive RV mattresses will cost you anywhere between $1200 to $3000, or perhaps even more. These mattresses are not made with cheap material. These mattresses are made with luxury materials such as natural latex, gel memory foam, and innerspring mixed with good foam (hybrid). While the materials are of great quality and the mattress might incorporate more features than others, the most expensive mattresses tend to have the same life span as medium-priced mattresses, and in some cases will not last as long.


Finding the Right RV Mattress for You


Now that you have a more comprehensive picture of the different factors you should consider when trying to find the right RV mattress, we are confident you will have everything you need to find that perfect mattress.


As we pointed out before, trying to find the perfect RV mattress isn’t a walk in the park, but now you know where to start. You now have plenty of information to guide you in your search and remember, the right RV mattress really comes down to what mattress is going to suit your needs best. Your preferences and needs have the final say in what’s going to work in your rig.


Happy sleeping!


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