Sleep is an important part of our home life, which makes it an important part of our RV life. Some of the questions renters ask most often about the RVs on our site include, “How many people does it sleep?” and “Are RV mattresses comfortable?”
Everyone wants a good night’s sleep on vacation, so we’ve put together this big guide to help steer potential RV owners and renters toward the best possible night’s sleep. We’ll cover four main topics:
- RV Mattress and Bed Types
- How to Create More RV Sleeping Space
- How to Add Comfort
- Replacing and Protecting Your RV Mattress
Whether you’ll be catching some zzz’s on a traditional mattress or in an RV bunk bed, here are our best sleep tips.
1. RV Mattresses and Bed Types
Traditional Mattresses vs. RV Mattresses
Motorhomes and travel trailers usually include at least one traditional bed. A traditional bed refers to a bed that does not stow away nor convert into another piece of furniture but instead remains a bed. It is also separate from bunk beds, which are elevated off the floor.
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 example, RV mattresses may be shorter in length or have rounded corners to compensate for the lack of space in a rig. Some RV mattresses may not be as wide as a bed you would find in a home. Even though there is such a thing as an RV short queen (which typically refers to a 60 x 74 or 75 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. You’ll also want to measure the thickness of the mattress. Bear in mind that the majority of installed RV mattresses are thinner than their house mattress counterparts, but that doesn’t mean you need to compromise on comfort.
Stow or fold-away sofa beds are very common in motorhomes and travel trailers. RV sofa bed 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. Other sofa beds are similar to 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 materials including, memory foam, latex, coil, and air. Common sofa bed mattress sizes are usually 60 x 72 and 52 x 72.
A convertible dinette is a table that turns into another sleeping space. Many RVs have convertible dinettes. These are wonderful for space-saving purposes but can be difficult to set up, and often the stock mattresses are not very comfortable.
To set up a dinette bed, the table collapses down and is 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.
Convertible dinette RV beds are commonly seen in bumper-pull trailers, 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.
Several of the bigger RVs will include a bunkhouse or an area with two to four small bunks meant for use by children or smaller adults. These RV bunk bed mattresses are quite narrow, measuring only about 28 inches to 34 inches from one side to the other.
Families with kids often appreciate having these camper bunk beds, 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, RV bed ends are canvas-covered expandable spaces that often contain hinged mattresses measuring 60 x 80 and are usually around five inches thick.
These types of beds are fabulous for those looking for a lightweight trailer option because the canvas-covered beds require no extra floor space. If you are considering this type of trailer for extended stays, you may want 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 motorhomes and truck campers have overhead bunks. These beds are great for providing sleeping space without using up valuable floor space. Overhead or over-the-cab bunks bump out over the cab of the vehicle to make use of space that is often otherwise wasted.
These beds, usually designed with RV-bunk mattresses, are great for those going on relatively short excursions. 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 over-cab sleeping space.
Another space-saving bed option is the RV Murphy bed. 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.
2. How to Create More Sleeping Space
Sometimes people find the perfect RV to rent, but there is too little sleeping space. In these cases, some things can be done to make the camper or trailer work for your group. To create more sleeping space, try one or more of the following suggestions.
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. Cots are a great option for weekend trips and even week-long vacations. Common cot sizes run around 30 x 75 inches.
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 their design to be pretty exciting. Collapsible bunks can also be used for adults too.
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 you bring an electric pump along), and they require very little storage space during the day. Just make sure you have electrical hookups if you are planning to use an electric pump!
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 that it can provide additional sleeping space for one person.
3. 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 motorhome mattresses don’t provide much in the way of support or cushiness; therefore, it is a good idea for RV campers to bring along some items to give a little extra comfort.
Add Bed Slats
A mattress on a sheet of plywood can not only be uncomfortable, but it can trap heat and moisture in the mattress, leading to some pretty uncomfortable conditions. In the YouTube video below by The Fit RV, you can see the benefits of adding some slatted bed supports to your RV bed.
By providing the softness and support that 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 come in a variety of thicknesses that can be added onto most pop-up and hybrid mattresses without interrupting the ability to fold in. Of course, foldability depends on the pop-up space, as well as the thickness of the topper.
Some people complain of being able to feel the hard surface beneath their RV mattress. This is especially true for those sleeping on bed ends and convertible-dinette beds. Placing interlocking anti-fatigue mats can sometimes take away that hard feeling underneath, 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 RV 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, which makes laundry day less stressful.
4. Replacing and Protecting Your 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 an RV mattress to use during your trip. Replacing your RV mattress is a great solution.
Just be sure to measure the exact dimensions of your RV mattress or the space where you want the mattress to sit before purchasing anything since every RV bed is different. Even sofa beds and bed-end mattresses can be replaced.
However, 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 don’t want to purchase an RV mattress, another option is to search for a motorhome rental unit with high-quality replacement mattresses already installed. While this is not always possible, it’s a factor worth looking at, especially when you’re thinking of renting an RV.
Regardless of if you own or rent a rig, it always helps to upgrade to a better RV mattress. Below we have compiled a list of highly-rated manufacturers of RV mattresses, sheets, and mattress protectors.
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.
US RV Mattress Suppliers
- Mattress Insider — Mattresses for RVs in unique sizes and shapes, which have to be specially made, with discounts up to 30% off. Examples include mattresses for overhead bunks, sleeper sofas, bunks, and convertible dinettes. You might even need a mattress requiring hinges, cut corners, rounded and beveled edges, etc. If you need a custom mattress, Mattress Insider is the leader in the U.S. for both standard (60 x 75) and custom RV mattresses, sheets, and toppers
- Artisans Mattresses — standard and custom-sized Tempur-Pedic® mattresses
US Standard-RV Mattress Sizes
- Select Luxury (RV full, short queen, and RV king)
- Denver Mattress (traditional RV bed sizes)
- Sleep Number (short queen and RV king)
- Parklane (bunk, RV full, and short queen)
RV Sheets and Protectors
Imported RV Mattresses
- DynastyMattress (RV full, short queen, and RV king)
- Zinus (short queen)
- Resort Sleep (short queen)
- Lucid (short queen)
Equipped with this guide to RV beds and mattresses, you are prepared 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.