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Any Size. Any Shape.

Can You Put a Regular Mattress in An RV?

Motorhome Bed
The answer is “it depends”. There are some important factors that you need to consider besides the obvious question of “does it fit?”  We’ll cover those in this article.
 
Let’s face it.  Sometimes, you just don’t want to buy a new RV mattress.  

Maybe you’ve got a mattress you’ve been sleeping on at home that you love and you want to buy the same model for your RV. 

Maybe you’re on a tight budget and you want to use something you’ve already got at the house. Maybe you’re leaving for a camping trip this weekend and you don’t have the luxury of time to wait for a delivery.
Whatever the case may be, here are the things you need to consider:
Can You Put a Regular Mattress in Your RV?
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    Will the mattress fit in my space?

    Most RVs take mattresses that are smaller than what you’ll find in your house.  There are some fifth wheels, motorhomes, and even travel trailers which can accomodate the length and width of traditional mattress size.
     
    For your reference, here is a list of residential US mattress sizes:
     
    • Twin 38″ x 75″
    • Twin XL 38″ x 80″
    • Full 54″ x 75″
    • Full XL 54″ x 80″
    • Queen 60″ x 80″
    • King 76″ x 80″
    • Cal King 72″ x 84″ 

    Compare that to some of the common sizes in RVs like 60″ x 75″ and 72″ x 80″.

    Make sure to read our Ultimate Guide to Buying an RV Mattress if you don’t know how to measure your RV Mattress Size.
    Camper Van Bedroom

    When It's Not Going to Fit

    Low Clearance RV

    Height Limitations

    RV Bunk
    While many RVs have no issues with the width and the length, some can’t handle the depth of a standard mattress. Example scenarios would be RV bunk mattress sleeping areas, Pop-up campers mattresses, RV sofa beds, and truck camper mattresses. Many of those will take standard width/length but almost always require a mattress around 4″-6″. More than likely, you won’t find a decent quality mattress in the depth at a mattress store.
     
    Another consideration is where the mattress sits in relation to your window. If you get something too think, you won’t be able to take in that gorgeous view.

    Length Restrictions

    Slide Out:
    If you’ve got a slide out in the main bedroom, often times that will require a shorter mattress (ex: RV Short Queen) to prevent the slide from crushing the bed. If you’ve got a slide out and wish for a longer mattress, one way around that would be to get a hinged mattress towards the foot end of the bed. When closing the slide out, you’ll just need to fold the mattress up at the hinge.
     
    Supporting Surface Length:
    Another scenario is when the surface the mattress is going on, often times plywood, isn’t long enough to accomodate a regular size bed. If you’ve got adequate space in the room, you can fix that issue by putting down a longer sheet of plywood.
     
    Small Bedroom:
    Many RV bedrooms have barely enough room to walk around the mattress and you’ve just got no other choice but to put a shorter mattress in your RV.

    Width Restrictions

    Often times there are two side table/dressers flanking both sides of your mattress and the width is smaller than a traditional size. Some RVs, like a few Airstream mattresses, have the mattress surrounded on 3 sides and the dimensions are odd. RV bunks often take mattresses that aren’t as wide (28″-34″ is common vs 38″ with a standard twin).

    Custom Shapes

    These are scenarios where 9 times out of 10, you just won’t have any choice but to get something special made.

    RVs with Weird Shapes

    Bedroom Interior of Mobile Home

    Airstreams, Winnebago Revel and Winnebago View, are just a few examples of RVs which have bizzare mattress shapes. You’ll get laughed out of the mattress store if you ask for one of those.

    RV Dinette Cushions

    Dinette Cushions

    These are usually composed of between 2-4 separate cushions that act as a seating area during the day but sleeping area at night.

    RV Sofa beds

    RV Sofa Bed

    These usually require a sofa bed air mattress specifically made for RVs or a foam based sofa mattress in a weird size.

    RV Mattress Replacement Cut Corner

    Cut Corner RV Mattress

    Often times the mattress in your RV bedroom requires a cut corner or a radius corner so you have enough clearance to walk around the mattress.

    Overhead bunks in Class C RVs

    Class C RV

    Almost always odd shapes, overhead bunk mattresses usually require a cut out so you can easily access the driver and passenger seats which are directly below this sleeping area.

    Other Odd Shapes

    Murphy bed RV mattresses:
    Often found in smaller RVs like in van mattresses.
     
    RV Futon:
    Mattresses that act as seating during the day like an RV futon mattress. Many of those beds require a hinge so they can fold.

    Other size related considerations:

    Narrow walkways with tight turns around corners. One of the benefits of buying a mattress made for an RV is that they’re often times compressed and rolled up which makes maneuvering those tights spaces much easier.

    Potential Issues

    Extreme temperatures

    Residential mattresses are not designed for the extreme temperature swings while on the road or while in storage during the off season. Traditional memory foam mattresses can become hard like a brick in the winter and they can make you melt when you’re camping in the summertime. You’d be much better suited buying a phase changed gel infused memory foam rv mattress which is designed to stay cooler.
     
    Many standard mattresses use foam which is treated with a chemical so they pass federal flammability guidelines. When exposed to high temperatures, those chemical compounds can breakdown and cause toxic fumes in your bedroom. Make sure the mattress you buy uses either a laminated, quilted, or sock FR barrier and is not treated with chemicals.
     
    Make sure your mattress uses Certipurus certified foams that don’t off gas. Those are low VOC and they don’t contain heavy metals.

    Rodents and Insects

    This is actually an issue regardless of the mattress type you put in your RV. While you can order beds with rip/tear/bite proof fabric (vinyl/nylon), they can be uncomfortable to sleep on. You’re better off buying an RV mattress cover. Specifically an RV mattress encasement designed to protect all six sides of your bed. These not only protect your mattress from spills and stains, but they also protect your mattress from bugs when your RV is in storage.

    Gross Weight Considerations

    If you’re seeking ways to cut down on your RVs gross weight, a regular mattress can hinder your efforts. Often times they tend to use denser foams, steel innersprings, and border rods which can be heavy. In contrast, mattresses designed for campers tend to be thinner, making them lighter weight. They also tend to use lower density foams and they usually don’t have a border rod (metal wire around the perimeter of the mattress.

    Moisture Build Up

    Unlike the mattress in your bedroom which likely sits on a boxspring or slats, your RV bed is usually on plywood. Which means the mattress can’t breath. This is actually an issue with all mattress types. Even those designed for RVs. We recommend using an RV moisture absorber like Aire-flow Hypervent under your mattress.

    Standard Mattress Types that can cause issues:

    We’ve already mentioned memory foam mattresses which can’t stand temperature swings. Another mattress type to be cautious of would be air mattresses. Most residential air beds don’t have mechanisms preventing them from popping when you change altitude. Sleep number RV mattresses have a feature build specifically to get around this issue and they’re also made in RV sizes.

    Conclusion

    After reading this article, you might be thinking to yourself, maybe it’s not a good idea to put a regular mattress in an RV.  While you might be right, people do it all the time.  A quick search of forums like IRV2 will show that.  Hopefully, this article made you aware of some of the potential issues and why you might want to buy a mattress from a company that specializes in making beds for RVs.

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