The very first project we tackled when we bought our new Coach was replacing the mattresses. The ones that came with it were terrible. When I sat on the bed I hit the plywood as fast as a rock would sink to the bottom of a shallow pond.
Motorhome Mattress Options: Standard size motorhome mattresses such as the 60×80 Queen can be replaced with bed-in-a-box vendors such as Purple, Casper and Nectar. Custom size and shape mattresses can be special ordered through vendors such as Mattress Insider and Tochta.
Picking the right mattress is challenging. One can't simply go to Mattress Warehouse and have them deliver a custom mattress to a camper! I spent weeks researching websites and mattress brands to find something that would work in our RV. This article will walk you though my research and decision making process. I hope this will help you find the right mattress for your Motor Coach.
Table of Contents
- Difference between a RV mattress and a regular mattress
- Bed-in-a-Box Options
- Custom Sized Bed Options
Difference between a RV mattress and a regular mattress
I thought I would start off answering the most common question I had when I started looking at mattresses — What is the difference between a RV mattress and a regular mattress?
Length and Width
RV Queen mattresses typically have the exact same length and width dimensions of a standard home mattress — 60 inch width x 80 inch length. RV Queen Mattresses work best in a RV because fitted sheets are available everywhere form Amazon too Cabela's.
RV King mattresses, however, are not the same size as a standard home King or California King mattress. RV King mattresses are custom fit into a particular space by the RV Manufacturer that wants to offer a “RV King” option. RV Kings range in size.
The only thing that makes a RV King a RV King is that one or both of the dimensions will be larger than a Queen mattress.
- The RV King Mattress in our 2020 Grand Design Momentum measured 70 inch width x 80 inch length
- A Standard King Mattress measures 76 inch with x 80 inch length
- A California King Mattress measures 72 inch width by 84 inch length
The height or thickness of a mattress is the primary difference between a RV mattress and a standard home mattress. RV mattresses are thinner because of the low ceiling clearance in RV bedrooms.
Putting a 13″ tall Posturepedic with a 2″ pillow topper may be comfortable, but the sleeping position would be too close to the ceiling to be functional.
- The original hight of our Momentum mattress was 7 inches. The 7″ height put the top of the mattress 25 inches above the floor.
- After measuring several times I confirmed that we could use up to a 10″ thick mattress in our bedroom.
- 10 inches put the height of the mattress 28″ above the floor.
- Our home mattress is 30″ above the floor so we knew we could get in and out ok.
RV mattresses typically come in 5.5 inch, 8 inch and 10 inch thicknesses. Ceiling clearance is what determines maximum thickness of a RV mattress.
Another major difference between standard home mattresses and a RV mattresses is how they are made. Most mattresses made for a house often have springs and steel internally. Home mattresses are built to last for decades, but they are heavy! Every pound added in a RV takes away from the payload (e.g. what you can take with you).
Weight is a consideration in a RV: Keeping mattresses as light as possible allows more payload to carry other items
RVs are humid. The moisture from our breathing and sweat does not evaporate out of a RV as quickly as it would in a normal house.
Beds with good airflow are essential in a RV — it helps prevent mold from forming!
Mattresses inside of an RV can create a perfect environment for mold to grow. The mold typically builds between the mattress and the wood bed frame. To prevent this from happening, the material a mattress is constructed with needs to have good airflow.
It seems like everyone has entered the bed-in-a-box market. Casper, Purple, and Nectar are the most popular ones. All of these vendors market heavily to the consumer market.
Purple Mattress is arguably the most popular bed-in-a-box option on the market. They are a well established business that has hundreds of positive reviews all over the web.
The Standard Purple mattress is made with two-levels of foam plus a patented purple webbing material on top that made them famous. The webbing in the Purple mattress shifts into all types of odd shapes that conform to the body precisely. The main advantage to the webbing flexibility is that it minimizes body pressure points making it feel like sleeping on a cloud. The other key advantage of the Purple webbing is it has excellent air circulation and it sleeps cool.
The main issue with the Purple webbing material is it is not as effective for heavy people. Sleepers weighting over 200 LBS can sink through the web layer into the foam.
The Original Queen Purple Mattress is a good choice for for a RV. It is made with a breathable fabric and it has excellent airflow. The Queen measures 60” x 80” x 9.25″.
The 9 1/4″ height of the Purple Queen mattress makes it a good choice for RV's
The original Queen Purple Mattress retails for $1,149
- Purple has other mattress options they call the Hybrid and the Hybrid Premier. The Hybrid mattresses have individually wrapped metal coils that add weight and height. Purple Hybrid is 11″ tall and the Purple Hybrid Premier is 13″ tall.
A challenge with Purple is they require special sheets. Standard queen sheets will not stay on a purple mattress. The Purple sheets have elastic built into the bottom sheet that holds it securely onto the bed. If you decide to go with purple, ordering sheets with the bed typically saves money.
Casper mattress is the second most popular bed-in-a-box brand. The had heavy seed funding and grew quickly. Their IPO plans, however, did not go well. It is possible that pressure from investors could disrupt their business and warranty support at some point.
Similar to Purple, Casper offers 3 types of mattresses — Original, Nova Hybrid and Wave Hybrid. The Hybrid's are a combination foam mattress with an internal metal frame. The Casper Original Queen mattress weighs 79 LBS. The Hybrid weighs 91 LBS. We don't think their Hybrid mattress additional weight made them a good fit for a RV.
- Casper Mattresses are constructed with 3-levels of Foam. The top layer is soft and the levels progressively get firmer.
- Casper Mattress sleep warmer due to its all foam construction.
- Casper only sells standard sizes. Their dimensions cannot be customized.
- The Casper Original and Hybrid mattresses are 11″ tall, which may not work in an RV.
The Original Casper Queen Mattress retails for $1,095.
Nectar mattress is another bed-in-a-box brand that gets good reviews. Nectar mattresses are constructed with 5 layers. Note: they count the top pillow-top as well as the outside bed shell as 2 of the 5 layers.
The Gel layer of the Nectar will initially sleep cool similar to Purple, but the gel will heat up over time and sleep warm like the Casper.
- Nectar only sells one style of mattress. They do not make a mattress with internal coil springs
- Nectar only sells standard bed sizes. They do not sell custom sizes.
- Nectar Mattresses are 11″ tall and may not work in a RV with a low ceiling
- Nectar has a 365 night guarantee
The Nectar Mattress retails for $1,198
- We have seen Nectar Queen Mattresses on sale for $799
Custom Sized Bed Options
The bed-in-a-box consumer brands we have been discussing work well for standard size bed installations. For the RVers that are fortunate enough to only need a standard size mattress, there are dozens of brands to choose from. However, the majority of RVs on the market have custom size mattresses.
The main challenge for Motorhome owners that hate their beds is finding a replacement that will fit:
- Class B Motorhomes often have beds that are made in sections — when not in use they turn into a couch! They also have low ceilings that may only accommodate a 5″ or thinner mattress.
- Fifth Wheel owners often have a bed fitted into the front of their campers that require a custom mattress that will fit into the rounded shape!
- Larger Class A's, Super C's and Fifth Wheels may have RV King beds. RV King Beds are not a standard size. Each manufacture decides what size their RV King will be. Anyone with a RV King has to custom order a mattress that will fit the location.
One of the largest custom RV bed manufacturers is Mattress Insider. Mattress Insider initially started out as a custom size bed manufacturer for homes in 2008. They gained a solid reputation for being able to make a bed in any size and shape. Over the road truck drivers started ordering sleeper mattress replacements for their trucks, which began moving their business toward mobile applications. It wasn't long before the RV community discovered them. RVers transformed the Mattress Insider business. Although they still sell custom home and truck mattresses, their primary market now is making custom RV beds.
Mattress Insider has 3 RV bed types — Sedona, Elation and Luxury. All three beds start out with the same foam. The difference between one to the other is the type of foam used in the top layers. The additional layers of foam add height and softness to the bed. The Sedona is 5.5″ thick and the Elation is 6″ thick. The Luxury mattress can be ordered in either 8″ or 11″ thickness.
- Mattress insider has a 121 day guarantee. They will refund your money if you are not 100% satisfied; however, the guarantee is not available for custom sized mattresses. Custom orders are non-refundable.
- They offer 23 standard size options on their website. The sizes will often fit a RV without modifications. If so, the entire order can be placed via their website and qualify for the 121 day guarantee.
Mattress Insider Custom Options
Mattress Insider can make mattresses in any size and shape. All you need to do is measure out exactly what you need and give them a call.
- Custom sizes cannot be ordered online. They want to talk to you in person to make sure they have captured all of the requirements. The staff knows what options are available and they will guide you though the myriad of customization options.
The advantage of customizing with Mattress insider is that you will have complete control over every detail:
- The number and type of foam layers can be selected to get to the exact height and comfort level
- The corners can be rounded off making them easier to walk around in tight quarters
- The beds can be made in sections to accommodate Fold down Dinette sleepers, Class B couch to bed conversions, sleeper sofas, etc.
- They can make large rounded shapes to fit into odd locations like the front of a Fifth Wheel or following the rounded sidewalls of an Airstream
Mattress Insider custom pricing varies by options. A 70x80x10 custom Mattress with standard 3″ radius corners and modified foam layers will cost approximately $925.
Mattress Insider Custom Sheets
The biggest challenge with arbitrary custom sized beds in the RV Industry is finding sheets, blankets, comforters, etc. that will fit them. Mattress Insider does not sell comforters or blankets, but they do make custom fitted 300 Thread Count Sheet Sets.
Mattress Insider sells bottom sheets only because the bottom sheet is custom fitted. Standard top sheets and pillow cases can be found anywhere. This is a nice option for those that may already have top sheets and pillow cases.
Mattress Insider sheets can be made to fit any custom size. If you order them with the Mattress they will make sheets that fit exactly. Sheets can be ordered later, but it helps if you have the original Order number. They will pull the exact sizing dimensions that was ordered and ensure the sheets will fit the mattress perfectly.
Something to keep in mind when ordering custom sheets is they are non-refundable. If in doubt, order sheets a bit bigger than smaller — small sheets will be difficult to change and may tare if they are constantly under tension.
Other Mattress Insider Accessories
Mattress Insider sells a custom Fitted Breathable Zip on Mattress Encasement that we highly recommend. The liner protects the mattress from accidental spills, bed bugs and dust mites.
It is best to order a Mattress Encasement with the mattress. It is easier to install while the mattress is expanding after being unpacked the first time.
Hypervent Aire-Flow Moisture Barrier
The Mattress Insider Hypervent Aire-Flow Moisture Barrier has a long name that may be confusing, but what it does is a must-have for a RV even if you don't have a Mattress Insider bed.
- The Moisture Barrier is made out of a hard plastic mesh material that sits between the plywood bed frame and the mattress.
- The purpose of the Moisture Barrier is to allow airflow under the mattress, which helps prevent mold from forming
It is common to find RV mattresses that are installed above a space that is not heated — the temperature differential between the top where someone is sleeping and the bottom of a mattress can be significant.
The temperature drop between the top and bottom of a mattress lowers the dew-point of the surrounding air, which creates condensation similar to what we see on the outside of a water glass.
In a RV, moisture collects under the bed on top of the plywood platform, which creates a breeding ground for Mold. The Mattress Insider Hypervent Aire-Flow Moisture Barrier creates space for air to circulate under a mattress that helps dry the moisture before it can turn into mold.
Tochta is a custom mattress company that has been in operation for over 25 years. The owners of the company are RVers. They moved their business into the RV market after getting a RV and realizing the beds were terrible. They are now a leading RV custom mattress manufacturer. Their website says they have over 2 million customers.
Tochta sells 3 different types of RV mattresses — Divini, Utopia, and Journey.
The most unique mattress in the Tochta lineup is the Divini. What makes this mattress unique is they have configurable comfort levels by side. Tochta says the Divini is a “dual zone mattress which is 100% customizable at home.” The at home qualifier is important to keep in mind. This is not a sleep number bed that can easily be adjusted. One has to order it with the firmness by side.
- The firmness levels listed on their website range from 1-9 with level 3 marked as the most popular
- A different different firmness-level insert can be ordered if what was received is not to your liking
- The Divini is offered in both 8 and 10 inch thicknesses
The Tochta Utopia mattress is their most popular version. It has a very nice looking design on the side and it is made with top quality materials.
- The Utopia is a premium mattress that is made with high-quality “quick recovery” foam. Quick Recovery is a foam that returns to its original shape fast.
- The top layer foam that Tochta uses is comfortable without having the sinking in cocoon feeling that happens with less expensive foam mattresses.
Sinking into less-expensive foam mattresses is a problem because the foam tries to hold the shape of the body and pushes back when the sleeper tries to move. The easiest way I can describe this is it feels like being “stuck in the mud.”
The Utopia mattress eliminates the “stuck in the mud” sensation by using high-quality foam that is always trying to return to its natural shape.
The Journey mattress is Tochta's economy offering. The bed is made with less-expensive foam that is not as comfortable as the Utopia. I don't think the Journey would be a good choice as a master bed that would be used all of the time by a couple, but it could be a good option for a bunk bed.
I ran a custom build for a RV King (70x80x10) with 3″ radius corners on the bottom only for each Tochta mattress type:
- Divini Retail price is $2,313 — Current sale price $1,388
- Utopia Retail price is $1,758 — Current sale price $1,055
- Journey Retail price is $1,326 — Current sale price $796
My personal pick out of the Tochta line is the Utopia as long as it is on sale. $1,055 is a fair price for this mattress. I am not sure if they have these always on sale or not. However, at $1,758, the cost is too high. Mattress Insider Custom Mattress based off of their Luxury Mattress is a more cost-effective choice.
Tochta sells a 600 thread count cotton sheet set that is offered in standard sizes. They do not sell custom sized sheets that will fit their custom sized mattresses.
The sheet set looks nice, but there are higher-quality standard size sheets such as these 1000 thread count Egyptian Queen sheet set found on Amazon for $89. We do not recommend buying the Tochta sheets. There is nothing unique about them. If you need sheets made to fit your custom mattress, check out Mattress Insider's Sheet Collection. They will make their sheets in virtually any size and shape.
Other Tochta Accessories
HyPUR-FLO Moisture Protection
Similar to Mattress Insider's Hypervent Aire-Flow Moisture Barrier, Tochta sells a HyPUR-FLOW Moisture system.
The Mattress insider and Tochta systems work basically the same. The mesh keeps the bed elevated above the bottom plywood frame enabling airflow. The main issue I have with the Tochta is it is only offered in standard sizes. One would have to order a Tochta to fit a larger bed and cut it down. Mattress Insider will make their Hypervent Aire-Flow Moisture Barrier to the size and dimensions of the custom bed. The Mattress insider Hypervent also has a smooth top fabric that sits between the bed and the mesh, which will help keep the mesh material from cutting into the mattress.
There are a myriad of options out there for RV mattress replacements. Those with standard Queen sized mattresses have the most options to choose from. RVers with King mattresses or ones that have odd shapes have to find a shop that can build a custom sizes. Both Mattress Insider and Tochta make comfortable high-quality custom mattresses that will fit into virtually any type of space.
It is important to be mindful of the environment that an RV lives in. They generally have higher humidity levels than a standard home, which can accelerate the formation of mold. It is important to keep air circulating above and below a mattress that will evaporate condensation before mold can form.