This post may contain affiliate links or mention our own products, please check out our disclosure policy.

5 Things To Consider When Shopping For A Camper Mattress

Published on September 24th, 2021 by Jennifer Jennings

Camper mattress in RV
Looking for a new camper mattress? Keep these five things in mind.

5 Things To Consider When Shopping For A Camper Mattress

Campers understand the importance of having a durable mattress to take with them on RV trips. Something comfortable enough to get you through the night is essential to every trip.

The sad part is RV mattresses are known for being uncomfortable. They are made out of cheap material or thin foam, and replacing that just isn’t enough. Are you letting a bad mattress ruin a fantastic trip?

If you’re looking to purchase your first camping mattress, or possibly upgrade your existing RV mattress, keep reading. We outline 5 things you should consider when you’re on the hunt for comfortable sleeping situations while camping. These are the factors you may have forgotten about, but are crucial!

Sign up for the newsletter today!

Please enter a valid email address.

An error occurred. Please try again later.

× logo

Thank you for subscribing to the Camper Report newsletter, keep your eye on your inbox for updates.

Here are 5 things to consider before you purchase a camping mattress.

1. RV mattress sizes

RV mattresses may have similar names to regular beds, but they differ in size. Many of the measures are shorter than others to accommodate RV spaces. This can be deceiving when you’re expecting all queen mattresses to be the same.

RV mattresses are usually smaller and lighter. Made for more versatile movement, they are designed to be easily moved into new spaces. For example, an RV short queen is shorter but identical in width to a typical queen mattress (as the name suggests).

Before deciding on a mattress, measure your RV space to find one that will fit. Confirm the length to be sure about whether you need a short bed or not to save yourself the trouble.

Once you know the dimensions of the bed you’re looking for, move onto research. Do some light reading to see which size will suit your space.

Check out the typical RV mattress sizes here to find which will best suit your camper.

2. Mattress thickness

The second thing to consider is the thickness of your mattress. In the tight space of an RV, can you afford to have a thick mattress taking up room? Your floor-to-ceiling space might be compromised if you pick a bed that is too high-rising.

Before purchasing, give your interior RV height a quick measure. We all want ample space between us and the ceiling to avoid that morning head-banger. Make sure that the height of your bed still gives you enough space to move around in the darkness of the night.

You might also find that a thinner mattress gives you more space for storage up high. In a small spot like a camper, we can use all the storage we can get, so check out if this is an option for you. Compromise having a thinner bed to keep more space free.

3. RV mattress material

Thirdly, the material of your mattress is crucial to understand before purchasing. Some materials can be prone to problems – so do your research to know what to avoid.

Some of the best RV mattresses are made out of memory foam or something else supportive. Similar to a typical mattress, these materials are supportive and comfy.

Alternatively, some RV bed materials might be prone to off-gassing. Off-gassing is the process in which volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are released from a product (like a mattress) into the air in your home (like your RV).

If you’re thorough, you can select a material that will give you a great night’s sleep. If you’re not, you might face allergies from the off-gassing or be stuck with a smell after a few months. Luckily for you, we’re here to give you the heads up that material is essential.

You could also buy an RV mattress topper. If your camper has a thin mattress, you can lay an extra on top for better comfort and a more supportive feel (without investing in a whole new mattress).

4. Airflow underneath the mattress

Many RVers aren’t aware of this because it isn’t overly spoken about. If your mattress sits directly on top of your camper bed platform, you might find some bad news hidden below. The wood making up your RV bed base is not the best material for supporting airflow. This mixed with a mattress usually means it’s the perfect spot for moisture to turn into mold of all kinds (yuck!).

To help avoid this unnecessary mess (and cost), you need to ensure airflow gets underneath your mattress. This way, fresh air gets in and out, and there’s no space for any moisture growth underneath.

Some options for increasing airflow under your mattress can be:

A ventilation product underneath your mattress or holes drilled through your bed base can keep the air moving and limit condensation. Dehumidifiers help keep the air dry to prevent mold growth. These options will keep the mattress breathing and prevent any condensation. This is especially important for the extra wet days when moisture does get inside your camper.

Air circulation inside the cramped space is a must.

5. Fitting the camper mattress inside your RV

The last and final step of buying any RV mattress is actually moving it in. For RVs, this step might be one that is commonly overlooked. Similar to finding a mattress that will fit the space, you need to find one that can be moved inside easily.

Some mattresses are too bulky to fit inside the RV doors, even if the actual dimensions will fit inside. Or you risk ruining your brand new bed by bending and twisting it just to fit it through. Lucky for you, we know a way around this.

An easy go-to option to try is boxed (or bagged) mattresses. Rather than shuffle around with an awkward bed and try to shimmy it in, toss the box in and unpack it inside. This makes the move in way more manageable and saves you the trouble (and the workout).

Buy the perfect mattress to make your RV experience comfortable and easy, even while you’re asleep. The small space doesn’t mean you have to compromise on a good night’s rest.

Focus on these 5 crucial aspects – size, thickness, material, airflow, and moveability – to make your camper mattress shopping experience fun. If you do your research ahead of time, you can make sure the mattress you buy is perfect in size while avoiding unnecessary problems in the future.

One of the best parts about RVing is engaging with the community of traveling enthusiasts. iRV2 forums allow folks to chat with other RVers online, and get other perspectives on everything RVing, including products, destinations, RV mods, and much more.

Related articles:

6 thoughts on “5 Things To Consider When Shopping For A Camper Mattress”

  1. The man n thing that has stopped us from getting a new mattress is the fact that our bedroom slide makes the end of the mattress git very firmly against the dresser drawers. A lot of regular mattresses have a type of frame around the corners and I’m afraid this wouldn’t work fir our situation. I don’t believe we would like a memory foam.

  2. I have a mattress that fits in a space like the one in the first photo. My problem is making the bed, getting the sheets under the mattress where it fits against the walls. We went with a regular, non-RV mattress, so it does not bend or shift at all. Any suggestions?

    • Or even a queen.
      The places that advertise these, at least the ones I’ve contacted, don’t even bother to answer my request.
      Must be nice not having to interact with pesky customers.

  3. I use a queen size air mattress. It can be as hard or soft as I please and super light weight. Plus many other benefits! If it punctures, it’s only about $15.


Leave a Comment

Welcome! Please follow these guidelines:

  • Be kind and respectful.
  • Keep comments relevant to the article.
  • Avoid insults, threats, profanity, and offensive remarks.
  • Refrain from discussing gun rights, politics, or religion.
  • Do not post misleading information, personal details, or spam.

We may hide or remove comments at our discretion.