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What Are the Steps for a DIY RV Mattress Upgrade?

RVs are great because they allow you to enjoy the comforts of home no matter where you travel! But unfortunately, some manufacturers cut corners when it comes to the beds. You don’t usually get a chance to sleep in an RV before you buy it, so it’s too late to change your mind if you get stuck with a crummy RV mattress.

There are a few common problems that you might experience. For starters, most standard mattresses are pretty thin, so they don’t properly cushion your body. Some mattresses even have plastic interiors that are far from comfortable! Next, the bed base is often made from a flimsy sheet of plywood. There also isn’t any padding above or below the mattress. If you can comfortably sleep on a bed like this, you’re in the minority.

If you’re sick of spending nights on a thin, lumpy mattress, you can take steps to upgrade or replace your current bed. Plenty of RVers have been in your exact situation. We’ve collected some of the best tips for a DIY mattress upgrade so you can enjoy better sleep during your next trip.

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Start with the Base

If you want to upgrade your mattress, you should start by looking at the base of the bed. If the foundation is flimsy or uneven, even the best mattress can be bent into awkward and uncomfortable positions.

Begin by removing the existing mattress so you can expose the base. Examine it for structural issues, and be sure to check what it’s made of! Plywood is a common material. If you want to upgrade the base for a low cost, you could add an extra layer of plywood for strength.

Get a Mattress Topper

Once you’ve improved the base, it’s time to move on to the actual RV mattress. In some cases, you might want to buy an entirely new mattress, but this isn’t feasible or affordable for some people. If you want a low-budget solution that can vastly improve your sleep quality, get a nice mattress topper!

A mattress topper adds an extra layer of padding to your bed. There are lots of different options, but many people enjoy toppers that are made from memory foam. These provide additional support for your body, plus they add an extra layer of thickness and comfort to any mattress. Some toppers even come with cooling gel materials that prevent you from overheating at night. Whatever material you prefer, just make sure you get a topper that fits over your current mattress.

Prepare To Install a New Mattress

A mattress topper can solve the issue for a lot of people, but sometimes it’s not enough. In that case, it’s time to think about buying a replacement mattress. Unfortunately, you can’t just walk into your local mattress store and buy one on the spot because most RVs have custom-made beds.

1. Measure the Space Within the RV

The measurements for an RV mattress aren’t the same as traditional products. They are usually shorter, and some mattresses have curved corners or edges so they can fit into a special nook.

The first step of a mattress upgrade is measuring your available space. Remove the existing mattress and measure it, but also be sure to inspect the bed nook itself. Include the length, width, and height of the space for the best results.

2. Can It Fit Through the Door?

Next up, think about how you’ll get the new mattress into your RV. Unless the back of your camper can open up, you’ll need an option that can fit through the front door. If space is tight, you may want to get a mattress that’s rolled up and shipped in a box. You can then bring this inside and let it expand in the RV.

Another potential option is a split mattress! Some manufacturers create full-size beds that are split in half for easier transportation. These models are smaller and more flexible, so it’s easier to get them into your RV.

3. Consider Allergies and Material Preferences

As you shop around for a new RV mattress, think about your own personal needs and preferences. Some types of foam can aggravate allergies, so keep that in mind if you have sensitive sinuses. In addition, you may want a gel-infused mattress that stays cool as opposed to a warmer material. Some RVers have even upgraded to Sleep Number mattresses.

4. Explore Warranty/Return Information

Mattresses are also quite expensive, so try not to commit to a single product until you’re sure that you like it. Review the warranty and return information. Make sure you can get a replacement if the first option doesn’t work out.

You also might be able to participate in a trial run where you can test the bed for a few weeks. This should give you enough time to decide if it will work out in the long term. Don’t cut any tags off your mattress during this time.

RV Mattresses To Consider for a DIY Upgrade

There are lots of options you can explore if you want a new RV mattress. The following are popular brands for your consideration.

Add Finishing Touches

Finally, you can finish up your DIY RV mattress upgrade by adding a few extra comforts. Things like well-fitting sheets, comfortable pillows, and your favorite blankets will take it from good to great! A weighted blanket can also help you sleep more soundly and provide an even layer of pressure.

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3 thoughts on “What Are the Steps for a DIY RV Mattress Upgrade?”

  1. While the discussion about improving mattresses always seems to be about adding toppers, adding foam underneath an existing mattress can be a better choice in some circumstances. The stock mattress in our Winnebago View is a combination of foam with a memory foam top layer, which was fine, but despite the fact that I weight less than 180#, it wasn’t supportive enough and I was nearly bottoming it out. Adding a 2″ HD Firm foam pad from The Foam Factory underneath the stock mattress made all the difference in the world. The cost was a little over $100.

  2. We inherited a Sleep Number air mattress from my mother-in-law. We decided to try it in the trailer and it works great! It’s MUCH lighter than a normal mattress and thus we can get into the under-mattress storage much easier. I also extended the wood mattress bed by a few inches to make it a full queen size. The only down-side to it is that as we go to higher and lower altitudes, the mattress needs to be readjusted when we reach the new camp site. Of course, this takes 110v, but worse case is that we run an extension cord to the 110 outlet in the truck, adjust the mattress, and then we’re done until we move again. Certainly worth consideration.

  3. Good article and hoping someone can help me. Have a Rockwood 2019 2104s MiniLite. It has a murphy bed and the mattress was not a good one to begin with and desperately needs to be replaced. Have been trying to gather information as to options. With the murphy bed I need to worry about the thickness and particularly the weight of the replacement mattress. The current short queen mattress only weighs about 25 lbs and almost any decent mattress I would want to get will weigh twice that and be thicker than the 5-6 inches of the current mattress. I am worried about the weight capacity of the murphy bed – with the strapping as well as the mechanical lift system.
    Does anyone know what weight the Rockwood system could support and how thick I could go with a replacement mattress?? And, if so, brand recommendations??

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