How to Upgrade Your RV Mattress

This post may contain affiliate links and ads. Read our disclosure policy here.

How to Upgrade Your RV Mattress

Upgrading the mattress in your RV is a lot easier than you might think!  Here are some tips on how upgrade the mattress in your home away from home without breaking the bank!

RV Bed

Comfort Compromised

One of the biggest takeaways from our first camper (a pop up camper) was how uncomfortable the mattress was.  The standard factory issue short queen rv mattress in that camper was extremely thin and, as with a typical pop up, laid on a piece of plywood.  I remember being so dissatisfied after one night’s sleep in that camper, that we used to bring an air mattress with us and place it on top of the regular mattress.  That made sleeping a little more comfortable but was very far from great.

When we upgraded from the pop up to a travel trailer and brought our Coachman Apex home, we were hopeful that the mattress would be a little comfier to sleep on than the pop up’s bed.  NOPE.  Sadly, it was not.  It was super uncomfortable and we found ourselves waking up with sore backs after every night spent in the camper. It turns out, it’s no wonder the bed produced such a lousy night’s sleep… this is what we found on the inside of our mattress… it’s literally just a hunk of plastic smushed together with some thin padding on both sides.  (Imagine sleeping on a pile of milk cartons and you’ll come close to what our experience was like.)

There’s a ton of great info below as you being your upgrade journey. Read on and see how a Zinus memory foam short queen mattress worked out for us!

Plastic Camper Mattress

Mattress Topper Solutions?

There are plenty of types of mattress topper options out there that you can try. We tried a few of them ourselves in our popup camper and then in our travel trailer. The toppers made small improvements for us, but in the long run, we were still experiencing lower back pain, spine soreness, and just overall crankiness and body aches from night after night of uncomfortable sleep. Here are some of the toppers available:

Where to Buy RV Mattresses for Campers

Once we caught a glimpse inside our mattress, we knew that an upgrade to a more supportive and comfortable mattress had just climbed to a top spot on our camper wish list. Of course, there are two big considerations to keep in mind when it comes to buying an RV mattress: you have to make sure your mattress fits in the camper (many campers have “short” mattresses which are a few inches shorter than standard mattress sizes).  You also have to make sure you can fit your new mattress in the camper door!

We started looking for a new mattress at a couple of area camper dealers.  That search ended pretty quickly because the mattresses we were finding were all very pricey – more than we were looking to spend.

Back to the drawing board, we turned to the internet.  We ended up finding the dreamiest (pun intended) mattress EVER on Amazon. Yes, that’s right. We purchased a Zinus Memory Foam Short Queen Mattress for right around $250. We were already familiar with mattresses that come vacuum-sealed (we have a Ghostbed mattress on our bed at home). With a 2-week long RV road trip to Yellowstone on the horizon and needed to make sure that we had a comfortable place to rest our weary heads!

Popular Mattress Types

  • Memory Foam Mattresses – all foam (There are different kinds of foam mattresses as well, including memory foam, latex foam, gel foam, etc.)
  • Hybrid Mattresses – foam plus some combination of gel or latex with an innerspring system
  • Innerspring Mattresses – layers of coils with a foam comfort layer

So here’s a look at what we started with:

RV Factory Mattress

This is what we ended up with:

New Camper Bed

Here’s a comparison of the two mattresses:

RV Mattress Comparison

Needless to say, we LOVE (LOVE!!!!!!!!!) our new mattress.  It is beyond night and day difference and now we crawl into our RV bed and fall asleep in what feels like seconds.  After a day full of fresh air and a night around the campfire, our heads hit the pillow and we wake up feeling rested and great.

Mattress Update – User Experience

Update: Today I am coming back to this post 5 YEARS after our mattress purchase for quick update. We bought our new mattress in 2017 and since then, we have logged more than 10,000 miles in our travel trailer. Over all of those miles, we have probably spent more than 6 months’ worth of sleep on this mattress. Between my husband and I, we are both combination side sleepers and back sleepers. I tend to like a soft mattress while be prefers a medium firm mattress. The mattress that we bought has enough softness for me and enough firmness for him. It has truly been a win-win situation!

The comfort and durability of this mattress are impressive and I can see it lasting for many years to come!

We have considered upgrading to a new camper a couple of times in the last year or two but have yet to commit. One thing is for certain: this mattress will be coming with us to our new rig, whenever that occurs!

When you choose your own RV mattress, you can take firmness levels, filling, top layer variations and thickness into consideration and pick your preferences!

Typical RV Mattress Dimensions

The majority of campers come with short queen mattresses. Short RV king size mattresses have a larger width than short queen styles. It is important to measure your mattress space and current mattress size before making a purchase. As we all know, most RVs are extremely limited in space. There is usually not much wiggle room and if you get a mattress that is too big, you will be out of luck. Many rigs do not have excess inches to spare.

King mattresses are bigger (wider) than queen mattresses. Short versions of each are both 75 inches long. This is 5 inches shorter than the length of a standard sized mattress.

Short King Mattress Dimensions: 72 inches wide by 75 inches long

Short Queen Mattress Dimensions: 60 inches wide by  75 inches long

Again, I can’t emphasize enough: you need to know how much space you have available before you make a purchase. Sometimes you will hear these “short” mattresses referred to as RV King mattresses or RV Queen Mattresses. The term “RV” is used interchangeably with the word “short.”

Mattress Preferences are Personal!

When you are choosing a new mattress, the only opinion that matters is the person (or persons) who will sleep on it!

Here are a few features and options to keep in mind as you shop:

  • Sleeping positions – How you sleep can sometimes determine which mattress style will best suit you. For example, stomach sleepers vs side sleepers may choose different firmness levels.
  • Allergies and Sensitivities – If you are allergic to certain materials, make sure to avoid purchasing a mattress that contains the allergen. This also goes for sensitivities, for example some mattress come infused with scents such as lavender. If you have scent sensitivity, you may want to avoid that mattress type. Latex mattresses are another good example. If you have a latex allergy, you will want to avoid a mattress made with latex foam.
  • Body Types – Similar to sleeping positions, different body types sleep best on certain mattress types. Consider pressure relief for joints and finding a mattress that offers proper alignment for your neck, hips, back, etc.

Make Sure It Fits in the Door

Another point that you will want to keep in mind: can your new mattress fit inside the door of your camper? Our trailer has a fairly sharp angle from the door to the bedroom, so we were concerned that the mattress would arrive and we would not be able to get it inside.

This is why we opted for a vacuum sealed foam mattress.  A thick foam mattress like this one ditches the traditional coils and instead uses foam layers and so it can be rolled up, bagged and compressed in the factory to cut down considerably on shipping size. This type of mattress is also a little easier to manage as you move it into the camper and to the bed.

When our first vacuum sealed mattress arrived, I was so skeptical that it would really fill out to the thickness it claimed. It took a few hours to fully expand, but expand it did!

Mattresses for Smaller RV Beds

You can upgrade any mattress in your RV! Again, you will want to take accurate measurements of the mattress you want to replace and match them up with the mattress you plan to buy. You can find the “short” versions in other widths, for example, an RV full sized mattress.

Twin mattresses in an RV (for example bunk beds) may or may not be standard sized mattresses. Measuring is key!


One last tip as you begin your search for your perfect RV mattress: research the warranty that the mattress company offers. Does the company accept returns? How long do you have to try the mattress out and decide if you like it or not? If you decide to return it, what is the process? What is the cost?

Take a look at the company’s history if it is available. How long has this company been in business? Are there any legit online reviews that you can read from other real customers? Choosing a legitimate business is sometimes easier said than done, but worth the extra research and legwork in case you run into an issue and need customer support.

We’d love to hear from you about YOUR mattress upgrade! Which mattress did you decide to buy? What do you love about it? Is there anything you don’t like about it? Drop us a comment and tell us about your experience. 

Best RV Mattress Options

Ready to upgrade?

Check out the sister post to this one!

12 Best Short Queen RV Mattress Upgrade Options

RV Mattress Upgrades 2 PIN

RV Sheet Sets

Once you upgrade your RV mattress to something much more comfy, you will want to grab some properly fitted sheets! We have a round up that will help! Check out these great short queen RV sheet sets.

Short Queen RV Sheet Set Sheets


How to Upgrade Your RV Mattress

18 thoughts on “How to Upgrade Your RV Mattress”

  1. Do you have storage under your RV bed? Ours lifts and there is storage underneath. I would love to upgrade, but am worried about how a new mattress would work with the under bed storage.

  2. did you get an 8 in or a 10 in… does that matter?
    Also… dont know if you can answer this question. My parents have an RV.. all the outlets in the kitchen are under the cabinets… non of the plugs reach. She is propping toaster, coffee maker..etc on pans when she uses them to help the cords reach. Is this normal? is there a product or trick. The dealer told her to get extension cords, but then you have extension cords everywhere? Im thinking others have had this issue?

    • We got the 8 inch mattress! 🙂 Probably does not matter since mattress height is not typically the issue in an RV like the length and width are.
      That is a great question about electrical outlets! We don’t have a perfect solution, unfortunately. Most of our outlets are under the cabinets as well. We tend to rotate our appliances based on that we are using at the moment. So in the morning, the coffee pot gets plugged in on the kitchen counter. The ice maker always sits over on the other counter by the door in its own little area. We will swap out the Instant Pot, coffee maker, toaster, etc in the same spot on the kitchen counter based on immediate need. We can’t really use more than 1 at a time anyway because if we have the A/C running at the same time, it blows a fuse. LOL

  3. Thanks for the tip! I’m buying this mattress thanks to you 🙂 We get our brand new travel trailer next week. Yvette

  4. We replaced our mattress after one night. Still trying ti figure out a method to hold it up so we can access the underbed storage easier as the mattress is a tad bulkier but well worth it.

  5. We are renting an RV and my 80 year old mom is joining us. What can I do to make sure she is getting a comfy night sleep in an RV bed that is not ours but rented? None of us wants to sleep on a crappy bed for a week.

    • That is a VERY valid concern! Some RV listings will specific mention an upgraded mattress. If you have not booked the RV rental yet, you can try reaching out to potential hosts and asking for details about the mattress. If you are still worried, you can also bring a mattress topper which will definitely help almost any mattress feel comfier.

    • That’s great to hear!! Our pillow topper was a huge improvement, but eventually we had to replace the mattress b/c even our topper wasn’t cutting it.

  6. Our mattress has one corner that is cut at an angle. Haven’t really looked for one yet. We are in San Diego if anyone knows where I can maybe start to look for one. I would really appreciate it, we are in desperate need of new mattress.
    Safe travels.

  7. We currently have a Sleep Number mattress and are wondering if anyone has used one in an rv. I know a lot of it depends on the rig itself, and we haven’t found our dream rv yet, so it’s hard to get a definitive answer without more information, but I’m really just curious if it’s been done.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.