Sleep is an important part of our home life, which makes it an important part of our home-on-wheels and RV life. Some of the questions renters ask most often about the RVs on our site include: “How many people does it sleep? Are the beds comfortable?”
Everyone’s committed to getting a good night’s sleep, even when on vacation. Even so, RV renters often feel like they’re going in blind when it comes to sleeping on an RV mattress. This is why we’ve put together this big guide to help steer potential RV owners and renters toward the best possible RV sleep.
RV Mattresses Come in Many Shapes and Sizes
Traditional Mattresses vs RV Mattresses
Motorhomes and travel trailers (including A-frames and hybrids) usually include at least one “traditional” style bed. In this case, traditional refers to a bed that does not stow away or convert to another type of furniture but remains sitting in the position it’s in. The “traditional” term is also separate from bunks, which are up off of the floor.
Traditional bed in a Class A.
Traditional RV mattress beds come in a variety of shapes and sizes but rarely match the regular mattress sizes you might have in your home. For instance, RV mattresses may be shorter in length or have rounded corners to compensate for lack of space. Some RV mattresses may not be as wide as a bed you would find in a home, for the same reason. Even though there is such a thing as an “RV Short Queen,” (which typically refers to a 60” wide by 74” or 75” long mattress), there is no standard size for traditional RV mattress beds. As a result, you often need to measure your bed to get the right size of sheets. As an RVer, you’ll want to measure the thickness (lining the measuring tape up vertically and measuring upward from underside of the mattress to top sleeping surface, the same way you would measure your own height from feet to head, if you were standing up next to the mattress).
Bear in mind that the majority of installed RV stock mattresses are thinner than their house mattress counterparts. Although, you can still get a comfortable mattress that will fit.
Image credit: SofaBedMattress.com
Stow or fold-away sofa beds are very common in motorhomes and travel trailers. RV mattresses can also be found in camper vans and hybrid campers, but are less common in truck campers, A-frame trailers, and pop-ups.
RV sofa beds are often “jackknife” sofas, meaning they fold out as a futon would. Others are more like traditional hide-a-beds, meaning that there is a mattress tucked away inside of the couch. Hide-a-bed mattresses usually come in a variety of styles, including memory foam, latex, coil, and air.
Common sofa bed mattress sizes include 60×72 and 52×72.
Convertible Dinette is when your table turns into another sleeping space.
A great many RVs have convertible dinettes. These are wonderful for space-saving purposes but are difficult to set up and often, the stock mattresses are not very comfortable. In order to set up a dinette bed, the table is collapsed down and used in conjunction with the seat bottoms to create a platform for the “mattress” which is often made up of the four dinette seat cushions.
These beds are commonly seen in bumper-pulls, fifth-wheels, motorhomes, campervans, hybrids, pop-ups, and A-frames. Occasionally, if an RV is very small, the dinette bed will take the place of the traditional stationary bed. Mattress toppers and hinged mattresses can be made to accommodate the non-standard sized spaces and make them more comfortable to sleep on.
An overhead bunk in a Class C.
Several of the bigger RVs will include a bunk room or area with 2-4 small bunks meant for use by children and smaller individuals. These bunks with RV mattresses are quite narrow, measuring only about 28-34 inches from one side to the other. Families with kids often appreciate having these bunks, as they can remain beds throughout the trip and require no setup or take-down each day.
Found only in hybrid and pop-up trailers, bed ends are canvas-covered expandable spaces which often contain hinged mattresses measuring 60×80, and they’re around 5” thick. These are fabulous for those looking for a lightweight trailer option because the canvas-covered beds require no extra floor space.
Therefore, those considering this type of trailer should know that extended stays may require extra comfort measures, and may require some kind of custom-built mattress or mattress topper, in order for the mattress to fit the space and still be comfortable.
Almost all Class-C and truck-bed campers have overhead bunks. These beds are great for providing sleeping space without using up valuable floor space. Overhead or overcab bunks jut out over the cab of the vehicle, making use of space that is often otherwise wasted. They are great for those going on relatively short excursions, and some people live in them full-time for a year or more. However, those looking to stay on the road for months at a time, or on a more permanent basis may not appreciate the small amount of headroom that often exists in an overcab sleeping space.
Some newer RVs come with fold-away RV Murphy beds. These beds fold into the wall –bedding and all– in one simple motion. Often, when folded up, a Murphy bed will reveal a couch on the underside. When the RV Murphy bed is needed again, it can be quickly and easily pulled out, ideally (and most often) with very little effort. These beds are ideal for saving space in RVs of many different sizes.
How to Create More Sleeping Space
Sometimes, people find the perfect RV to rent with the exception of too little sleeping space. In these cases, there are some things that can be done in order to make the camper work for your group.
Cots are the most obvious option when it comes to creating more sleeping space in your RV. They are lightweight and can fold down to be quite small. These are a great option for weekend trips and even week-long vacations. Common cot sizes run around 30”x75.”
A fun spin on collapsible cots, collapsible bunks take full advantage of the vertical space in a tiny vacation home. These are ideal for kids who often find the design of them to be pretty exciting. Collapsible bunks can also be used for adults, depending on the size of course.
The Endura Ease Sleep System Air Mattress saves weight.
With enough extra floor space, an air mattress can be a good solution to add more sleeping space. Air mattresses are quick and easy to set up (provided an electric pump is brought along), and they require very little storage space during the day.
Some RVs have a corner available for a chair. By finding the right floor plan, travelers can take advantage of that corner by adding a fold-out chair. These chairs function in much the same way as a sofa bed. A fold-out chair is a chair that folds out into a single bed, so it can provide additional sleeping space for one person.
How to Add Comfort
When renting an RV, it is often difficult to determine how comfortable the beds will be until using them. Unfortunately, stock RV mattresses don’t provide much in the way of support or cushiness. Therefore, it is a good idea for campers to bring along some items for providing extra comfort, should the beds in their rental unit be less than heavenly, and for renters who are renting long term, there are companies (see the list at the bottom of the article) who can get you a custom topper for the length of your rental, provided they have a few days’ notice.
Memory Foam Topper
By providing the softness and support we have come to expect from our beds, a mattress topper can easily make a so-so sleeping space more comfortable and enjoyable. As an added bonus, foam toppers in a variety of thicknesses can be added into most pop-up and hybrid campers without interrupting their ability to fold in (depending on the pop-up, as well as the thickness of the topper.
Great tip! Use this cushioned mat under your mattress!
Some people complain of being able to feel the hard surface beneath their RV mattress. This is especially true for those using bed ends and dinette beds. Placing interlocking anti-fatigue mats can sometimes take away that hard feeling, which can provide a better night’s sleep.
In addition to foam toppers and anti-fatigue mats, mattress pads are great for adding just a bit more of a cushy feel to any mattress. They are also wonderful for camping because they protect the actual mattress from dust and dirt. Mattress pads can be removed and washed fairly easily.
Want to Replace and/or Protect Your RV Mattress?
If you are headed out on a months-long adventure and comfortable sleep is high on your list of must-haves, you may want to consider purchasing a mattress to use during your trip. This is a great solution. Just be sure to measure the exact dimensions of your mattress, and/or the space where you want the mattress to sit, before purchasing anything. Even sofa beds, and bed end mattresses can be replaced, but you’ll want to have the measurements of the space you want to fill so that you can talk with someone knowledgeable about how to get a good mattress replacement for that space.
If you aren’t looking to own an RV mattress of your own, another option is to search for a rental unit with high-quality replacement mattresses already installed. While this is not always possible, it’s a factor worth looking at, when you’re thinking to rent an RV.
Regardless of if you are renting or owning, it always helps to start with a great mattress. Below we have compiled a list of highly-rated manufacturers of mattresses, sheets, and mattress protectors for RVs. We’ve also included some mainstream manufacturers who make RV-sized or custom-sized mattresses. While standard sized RV mattresses can often be bought at Camping World, Walmart.com, Amazon, or directly from the manufacturer, you’ll often find that speaking with someone who really knows what they’re talking about can help you to find the perfect sleeping surface for your next RV adventure.
You can look at the fun online advertising while you’re browsing, too.
US RV Mattress Suppliers
- MattressInsider.com: Around 30% of mattresses in RVs are unique sizes and shapes which have to be specially made. Examples include mattresses for overhead bunks, sleeper sofas, bunks, dinettes, mattresses requiring hinged, cut corners, rounded, beveled edges, etc. If you need a custom mattress, Mattress Insider is the leader in the US for both standard (ex: 60×75) and custom mattresses for RVs, as well as sheets, and toppers
- Artisans Mattresses (USA: Standard & Customized Tempurpedic mattresses)
USA Standard RV Sizes
- Select Luxury (RV Full, Short Queen, RV King)
- Denver Mattress (traditional RV bed sizes)
- Sleep Number (Short Queen & RV King)
- Parklane (Bunk, RV Full, Short Queen)
RV sheets and protectors
Imported RV Mattresses
- DynastyMattress (RV Full, Short Queen, RV King)
- Sleep Revolution (short queen only)
- Resort Sleep (short queen)
- Lucid (Short Queen)
Equipped with this Big Guide, RVers should be able to find the ideal sleeping configuration and comfort level for your next RV journey. And remember: there’s nothing like stepping in from viewing a sky full of stars to help a person get a great night of sleep.
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