Are RV Mattresses Any Different from Regular Mattresses?
This may be a question you are asking yourself as you search through the thousands of mattress options available to order. While some claim that RV owners have the luxury of choosing between traditional mattresses and specialty RV mattresses, an RV sleeping space that will fit a regular mattress comfortably is a rarity. RV sleeping areas are usually smaller than standard beds and also sit rather low. The average RV mattress measures roughly 5” to 9” thick, although some RV mattresses measure up to 10” or 11” thick.
Beyond size, RV mattresses and traditional mattresses vary in a number of ways. RV mattresses are notably lighter than their standard counterparts. This is an essential consideration if your gross trailer weight is relatively low, for example. Most RV bed frames also measure differently than standard mattresses. A twin or queen-size RV mattress, for example, may measure several inches shorter and narrower than a traditional twin or queen mattress. In general, RV mattresses are thinner, more flexible, and more lightweight than standard household mattresses.
RV Mattress Buying Guide Buying Guide
Designed for adventures and long road trips, midsize and large RVs feature sleeping accommodations for travelers that range from traditional bed frames to bunk beds, convertible sofas, and other alternative sleeping surfaces. To find the best RV mattress for your vehicle, you’ll need to take size, preferences, budget, and more factors into consideration.
In this buyer’s guide for RV mattresses, we inform you about the types of RV mattresses available, share important shopping considerations, and guide you on how to choose the right RV mattress for your vehicle.
While the vast majority of RV mattresses on the market are constructed with memory foam layers and a higher-density support core, other types are available.
Foam—Foam RV mattresses are the most common and among the least expensive. They usually have a thin profile and are lightweight, two pros when it comes to RV mattresses. However, depending on the type of foam (i.e. polyurethane foam) used, they may feel too firm and uncomfortable for some. Foam RV mattresses also tend to have a short lifespan.
Memory Foam—The ‘king’ of foam, memory foam has a signature feel that allows you to sink into the mattress and feel cradled. While among the most comfortable RV mattresses, memory foam options are expensive. These models can also sleep warmer than others as memory foam tends to trap heat. (Related: Best Memory Foam Mattresses)
Latex Foam—Latex is made from the rubber tree. Both Dunlop and Talalay latex are ‘natural,’ but their characteristics differ. Talalay latex RV mattresses have more airflow and feel slightly more springy and soft to the touch. Synthetic latex RV mattresses are also available, but these combine latex with other materials and chemicals, meaning they off-gas harmful chemicals and may break down quickly. Generally, latex offers more comfort than foam while providing the added benefits of antimicrobial and dust mite resistant properties. RV owners may also have a difficult time finding a latex mattress that fits their space as most latex mattresses on the market are made for traditional bed frames.
Innerspring—Innerspring RV mattresses are constructed with a core of coils and may have comfort layers of foam on top. Innerspring options are affordable and have a thin profile, but they tend to be heavy. The metal components inside also wear out quickly and are prone to rust if exposed to water. See: Best Affordable Mattresses
Gel—Some RV mattresses are infused with gel. The purpose of the gel is to improve temperature neutrality and provide a pleasant sleeping experience. Look for phrases like “gel-infused” or “copper-infused” in the product description if you’re interested in this feature.
Air—Air mattresses are available in RV-designed sizes and, to the surprise of many with memories of deflating air mattresses from childhood sleepovers, these mattresses are now made to be relatively comfortable and durable. The benefit of an air mattress is obvious: space. If your RV is cramped or doesn’t have a dedicated bed, an air mattress could work for you.
Material and Construction
Material composition is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing an RV mattress. While RV mattresses are available in a variety of styles, from memory foam to latex, innerspring, and hybrid, durability, cost, and profile thickness varies widely among these models. In general, most RV owners gravitate toward foam RV mattresses and toppers due to the fact that they are almost always thin, lightweight, and low cost. However, RV owners who tend to use their RVs more frequently and desire a better night’s sleep may be interested in latex or hybrid options, which, while higher in price, are more durable, supportive, and comfortable.
Of the options available, foam mattresses will have the shortest lifespans. Latex and hybrid options have longer lifespans, and innerspring RV mattress falls somewhere in-between. How heavily you should consider a mattress lifespan depends on how you plan to use your RV. For example, if you plan to use an RV for camping in a rugged environment, foam mattresses may last longer than innerspring mattresses, which wear out when exposed to water. Further, if you plan to use your RV often, a more durable mattress may be worth investing in.
When it comes to RV mattresses, portability is almost synonymous with weight. In other words, the lighter weight a mattress, the more easily it can be carried, moved, or stored. Air mattresses are the exception to this rule—although they may be heavier when rolled, their foldable nature makes them easy to transport.
Type of RV
The type of RV mattress you select is highly dependent on the type of vehicle you’re purchasing it for. For example, some small RVs contain bunk beds that are too small for even an RV Queen size mattress. For other RVs, a topper, rather than an RV mattress, is a better fit. A topper is simply an individual layer that provides thin padding for a sleep surface. While not very comfortable, toppers are all that some RVs are designed to accommodate. Keep reading to learn how the type of RV you own will impact your mattress purchase decision.
- Motorhome—Any RV that can be driven is a motorhome. Motorhomes are typically the largest RVs available and are divided into three classes:
- Class A—The largest motorhomes available. They have an ample amount of space inside and can measure up to 50 feet long. Most sleeping surfaces in these RVs can fit mattresses of any size.
- Class B—Class B RVs typically measure 40 feet in length. The interiors are smaller, so most have either built-in beds that work well with a topper or bunk beds. However, some models can accommodate larger RV mattresses.
- Class C—The smallest type of motorhome available, Class C models are built onto the chassis of a truck with doors to provide access between the cab and motorhome. Measuring up to 30 feet in length, most Class C motorhomes don’t have enough room for full beds, so toppers that can be placed on a sofa or the floor work best.
- Pop-Up Trailers—The smallest towable trailers with sleeping areas, pop-up trailers don’t have many added features. These short trailers typically aren’t meant to house RV mattresses, so toppers are usually the best option.
- Travel Trailers—Travel trailers are relatively long and have built-in convenience features. However, these are more narrow than others. Most only have fold-out beds that can only fit toppers.
RV mattresses cost less than traditional mattresses, with most priced at less than $500. Depending on your financial situation, you may want to invest more or less. Some models are available for less than $200.
Does your RV have built-in beds, pull-out sofas, bunk beds, or another type of sleeping surface? Keep in mind that some sofas aren’t large enough to accommodate an RV mattress. RV Twin or RV Bunk mattress sizes can work well in RV bunk beds. Measure twice and order once when selecting your RV mattress, as many RV mattress models don’t come with a warranty or sleep trial.
In general, RV mattresses have thinner profiles (ranging from 6 to 8 inches thick) than their traditional counterparts. If the thought of sleeping on a thin, 6” mattress doesn’t sound pleasant, consider a mattress with a thicker profile option (up to 10” is available in some sizes).
RV Mattress Sizing
Today, standard mattresses range in size from Twin to California King. The sizes for a standard mattress used in a traditional bedroom or hotel setting are the following:
- Twin: 38” W x 75” L
- Twin XL (Twin Extra Long): 38” W x 80” L
- Full (Double): 54” W x 75” L
- Queen: 60” W x 80” L
- King: 76” W x 80” L
- California King: 72” W x 84” L
Unfortunately, RV mattress sizing is less standardized, which presents a challenge for RV mattress shoppers. For example, some RV mattress sizes correspond with the dimensions of their traditional mattress counterparts, whereas other RV mattress sizes are shorter, thinner, or longer than their corresponding sizes for standard mattresses. Regardless of length and width, all RV mattresses tend to be thinner and lighter than standard bedroom mattresses. The average height of an RV mattress is roughly 10” thick, and most RV mattresses weigh less than 75 pounds.
Here’s a list of the most common sizes you’ll see offered online for RV mattresses:
- Bunk: 28-34” W x 75” L
- Twin: 38-40” W x 75-80” L
- Full: 53-55” W x 75” L
- Three-Quarter: 48” W x 75” L
- Short Queen: 60” W x75” L
- Queen: 60” W x 80” L
- Olympic Queen: 66” W x 80” L
- King: 72” W x 75-80” L
- Eastern King: 76” W x 80” L
- California King: 72” W x 80-84” L
How to Pick the Right One
When shopping for an RV mattress and comparing different styles, sizes, and models, you’ll first want to make sure that an RV mattress, rather than a topper, is what will work best in your space. Use the sizing guidelines above to determine this.
Once you’re sure an RV mattress will work, we recommend setting a budget for your mattress, which should narrow down your choices significantly when it comes to material, size, and special features. From there, consider your priorities and your sleeping style. Do you sleep hot? Is comfort important to you? How frequently do you plan to sleep on the RV mattress? Your unique situation should inform the mattress you purchase.
We hope this list of the best RV mattresses available in 2020 and our buyer’s guide to RV mattresses was helpful in your search! Having confidence in your final purchase is made possible with a bit of education and know-how, and we hope this guide has you well on your way to a mattress for your RV that you’ll feel satisfied with for years to come.
Recap: Best RV Mattresses of 2020