Upgrading Our Factory RV Mattress

In general, RV mattresses are not known for comfort; they are usually light weight and cost effective. If you’re still sleeping on the factory RV mattress that came with your RV or Travel Trailer, and waking up with back or shoulder pain, then this post is for you.

After living in our R-Pod 192 for four months, and waking up to pins and needles feeling in our arms and shoulders, we decided it was time for an upgrade. Our 192 is murphy bed model with a full residential queen (I’ll get into mattress sizing below). Because it’s a folding murphy bed, the factory mattress, that came with the RV, is thin, light weight, folds in half, and really is just not comfortable. Actually, it was pretty awful.

Read below to learn how we choose our new mattress, the installation, tips to keep our mattress dry and fresh, and how it’s going a few months later. Or, not a reader? Here’s the TL;dr in video format:

Choosing a New RV Mattress

There are many sizes, types, shapes, thickness, materials, etc. to choose from when purchasing a new RV mattress. Much like mattresses for your home, you can spend as much as you’d like and get a mattress as firm or as soft as you’d like.

Since RVs are so popular right now, purchasing an RV mattress (of any size) is pretty easy. You have a ton of online and brick and mortar stores that carry all sizes of RV mattresses. We mostly looked at Brooklyn Bedding, Purple, Amazon and mattresses at Costco.

Choosing the right mattress for your RV is important. You’ll need to measure your space and take into account things like height (Is it too high for the slide? Can your dog still jump on it?), length (Does it hang over the edge of the bed? Can it fold up in the murphy bed?), the moisture level in your RV, the weight of the mattress, and most importantly the quality (Whether to purchase mid-range mattress or a luxury one?). If you are planning to invest in a luxury mattress for your RV, maybe reading up this Luxury mattress guide can help you understand the advantages it offers over others for a long period of time.

When we began our mattress hunt, we were recommended many options. Choosing the right one was the most herculean task! For example, our R-Pod 192 has a base for a traditional or residential queen bed which measures 60 inches by 80 inches. This size is the same as a queen bed in your sticks and bricks home. Because the mattress is very common, you’ll have many mattresses and bedding styles to choose from.

Now, you could also choose to purchase a new queen short mattress for your R-Pod 192, if you want to ensure the murphy folds up nicely (I’ll get into that below). A queen short mattress is five or six inches shorter and measures either 60 inches by 74 or 60 inches by 75 (again, depending on manufacturer).

After some research in online forums and asking for advice from fellow RVers, we decided we wanted a six or eight inch memory foam mattress that was pretty firm. We also wanted to get a traditional size queen so my husband’s feet didn’t hang off the mattress. And we needed to make sure it fit in the space while the murphy bed was in the up position.

R-Pod 192 RV Mattress Upgrade

Ultimately we went with a Zinus 8″ Memory Foam mattress from Amazon. It usually retails right around $200, but I caught it on sale for $189. And it could be delivered within two days.

The Zinus RV mattress arrived two days after we ordered it with Amazon Prime. It was vacuums sealed in a box that, while a little heavy, was easy to maneuver. The box was easy to open and unload. I put on the base of our RV bed and let it decompress. It took about 5 hours to decompress to about 90% but then about maybe 36 hours total to get it to 100% and where it was ready to sleep on.

Our first night’s sleep was different, we were not quite sure about the mattress yet. However, by about night 5 we wondered why we had waited so long to upgrade the mattress.

Our first few times folding the mattress up into the murphy bed was challenging. Once we got the hang of it (first you lift the mattress, then the bed base), I could do it by myself with no issue. We added a second latch to the murphy bed to give it extra support while in the up position.

A new mattress also means new sheets, as our sheets were made for a 6″ mattress. We chose this set of organic cotton sheets for our RV because the elastic goes all the way around (on all four sides!) and keeps the sheets from coming off the corners of the bed. I highly recommend them.

Now, seven months after upgrading, I can say we’re really happy with this mattress. If we were to do it again, we *may* have gone with the six inch mattress because (from what we’ve heard from friends) it’s just as comfortable and folds up in the murphy bed without having to fold the mattress first. (See the video above for a visual of what I mean.)

RV Mattress Care

Some RVers are hesitant to get a memory foam mattress because it can soak up moisture and gather mildew. This happens because moisture in the air (or from you) gets trapped between the bottom of the mattress and the base of the mattress. Also, spills on the top of the mattress can also contribute to mildew.

To combat this, we use a waterproof mattress protector (so it won’t get wet if we spill– as we both drink water in bed a lot). We also put Damp Rid absorbers in the front cubby of our 192 to help reduce moisture at the head of the bed. If you’re concerned or have a moisture issue, you can get an inexpensive coir mat (it’s made of coconut) or even a thicker coir pad to help with airflow and absorb moisture. If you’re really concerned, you can spend a bit more and pick up an underlay for your mattress. (You can read more about how we deal with humidity in our R-Pod 192.)

Memory foam mattresses can also form indentations from extended use. Once a month we rotate the bed so the head of the bed is the foot, and a month later switch back so the foot is at the head. This helps to even the mattress out and ensure longevity.

One last tip: don’t make your bed right away. Give your bed an hour or so to air out and let the moisture from last night’s sleep air out a bit.

RV Mattress Sizes

So, how do you know which RV mattress to get? Unlike most residential size mattress, RV mattress come in multiple sizes. Queen, short queen, Cali king, single, twin, three-quarters — what? Also, to make it more confusing, mattress sizes (especially for bunks) can vary between RV manufacturers. Remember that you need to use a mattress protector too, so try and find one that fits the size of the bed that you’re buying. If the protector doesn’t fit properly, it won’t do the job!

Measuring your space is important and also figuring out what is the best width, length, and height for you, that also fit within that space. And if you’re towing with a vehicle with a lower tow rating, weight is a factor as well.

To learn more about RV sizing, I made this chart:

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RV Twin/Bunk Mattress28″ x 75″
30″ x 75″
30″ x 80″
34″ x 75″
35″ x 79″
RV Three-Quarter Mattress48″ x 75″
48″ x 80″
RV Full Mattress53″ x 75″
RV Full Residental Full Mattress54″ x 75″
RV Short Queen Mattress60″ x 74″
60″ x 75″
RV Residential Queen Mattress60″ x 80″
RV Short King72″ X 75″
RV King
72″ x 80″
RV Eastern King Mattress76″ x 80″
RV Cali King Mattress72″ x 84″

Have you upgraded your mattress yet? Have any tips or tricks to share? We’d love to hear about it! Leave a comment below, or shoot us a message on Twitter.

New to RVing and don’t know where to start? Check out my shopping lists for RV essentials, decor, and more!

I have some affiliate links on this post, so I can make (literally) a few pennies of this post to offset my hosting fees. All opinions are genuine and the products I endorse are actually products we use while living full-time in our R-Pod 192.

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