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If there’s one universal truth in RVing, it’s that RV mattresses stink. They are often nothing more than upholstered foam cushions. Moreover, they vary widely from way too soft to rock hard. But whatever their problem, the result is the same–you don’t sleep well in your camper, which sucks the fun out of your getaway.
There are ways to fix bad mattresses without shopping for new RV mattresses, though. Toppers and mattress pads are a great alternative. With the right products–and maybe a little trial and error–you can get exactly the kind of support you need to get the perfect night’s sleep no matter where you have parked for the night.
Best Mattress Topper for RV
|LUCID - LU20RQ45MT 2 Inch Ventilated Memory Foam Mattress Topper||Prime||Buy Now|
|LUCID 2 Inch 5 Zone Lavender Memory Foam Mattress Topper - Queen||Prime||Buy Now|
|DreamFoam 2" Gel Swirl Memory Foam Topper, Made in Arizona, Full||Prime||Buy Now|
|Custom 3 LB Memory Foam Mattress Topper for RVs, Boats, Trucks, & Sofa Beds (72x75 RV King Short)||Prime||Buy Now|
|Classic Brands 3-Inch Cool Cloud Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper With Free Cover, Queen||Prime||Buy Now|
|Linenspa 3 Inch Gel Infused Memory Foam Mattress Topper, RV Queen, 3 Inch||Prime||Buy Now|
|Mellow 4 Inch Memory Foam Mattress Topper with Cover, Calming Green Tea Infusion, Short Queen||Prime||Buy Now|
|ZINUS 4 Inch Green Tea Memory Foam Mattress Topper / Pressure-Relieving Layers / CertiPUR-US Certified, Short Queen||Prime||Buy Now|
|Amazon Basics Cooling Gel-Infused Firm Support Mattress Topper - Alternative Latex Foam - 2-inch - Full||Prime||Buy Now|
|Pure Green Natural Latex Mattress Topper - Medium Firmness - 3 Inch - Queen Size (GOLS Certified Organic)||Prime||Buy Now|
|Sleep & Beyond 60 by 80-Inch Organic Merino Wool Mattress Topper Queen, Ivory||Prime||Buy Now|
|ViscoSoft 4 Inch Pillow Top Memory Foam Mattress Topper King - Made in USA - Serene Lux Dual Layer Mattress Pad||Prime||Buy Now|
|Best Price Mattress 4 Inch Trifold Memory Foam Mattress Topper with Cooling Gel Infusion, CertiPUR-US Certified, Short Queen||Prime||Buy Now|
|AB Lifestyles RV Short Queen 60x75 Quilted Mattress Pad Cover. Fitted Sheet Style. for RV, Camper. Made in The USA||Prime||Buy Now|
|eLuxurySupply RV Mattress Topper Short Queen - Extra Plush Bamboo Pad with Fitted Skirt - Mattress Cover for RV, Camper||Prime||Buy Now|
Best RV Mattress Topper and Pad – 15 Options
Basic Memory Foam: Lucid 2-Inch Ventilated Memory Foam
This basic, no-frills two-inch topper is the perfect place to start. It’s priced below $100, even for king-sized toppers. The number one problem with memory foam is that it’s hot to sleep on. Lucid solves this problem in several ways, but this one features the most basic approach. The topper is perforated throughout to encourage airflow and keep you cool all night long.
Lucid is one of the most popular makers of mattress toppers, with options to suit any purchaser. You can upgrade to a three-inch-thick version. They also have many infused foams available, including gel, lavender scented, and charcoal.
This is a budget pick at two inches thick and only available in standard home mattress sizes. It is perfect if you plan to combine it with a pad or fitted sheet. It’s also simple to cut should you need to custom size your topper for an odd-sized RV mattress.
Lucid specifically markets these memory foam toppers as a plush add-on when you have a firm mattress underneath. However, depending on the softness of your setup, you may find it too soft for some uses.
Scented and Sculpted Memory Foam: Lucid 2-Inch Lavender Scented 5-Zone Memory Foam Topper
Before memory foam toppers caught on, many people were familiar with egg crate foam toppers. They were made of a simple foam, but their contoured shape helped them add a little support.
Lucid makes a modern take on this. It’s a two-inch-thick topper that is contoured into five separate zones. Each zone is scalloped to provide varying levels of support, with the firmest layer in the center. It is still symmetrical, though, so you can rotate it with your mattress.
Like other Lucid toppers, this one is very soft. But the contoured design provides extra support and good airflow to keep you cool. In addition, the lavender essential oils mask any funky rubber odors and encourage a calm and relaxing night’s sleep.
Gel Swirl Memory Foam: DreamFoam 2-Inch Gel Swirl Memory Foam, Best RV Queen Mattress Topper
If you like the idea of a gel foam topper, the DreamFoam swirl is a good budget option. Instead of the small dobs or homogenous gel infusion, DreamFoam has the gel mixed around in different densities. Whether or not that works better is up for debate, but it makes it look cool.
DreamFoam toppers are built in the US and come with a three-year warranty. They are also CertiPUR-US certified to be free of harmful chemicals. This is the short queen size, which works well for many RVs.
One thing to keep in mind about this topper is that it is more like regular foam than memory foam. As a result, many reviewers have noted that it lacks the feel and softness of higher-quality memory foam.
So if you’re looking for a simple foam pad with a little contouring support but not as soft as memory foam, this may work well. The gel infusion is a bonus and might help keep you cool at night.
Memory Foam in RV Sizes: Mattress Insider Custom 3-Pound Memory Foam, Short RV King Mattress Topper
This two-inch-thick topper is made with three-pound foam and is labeled to have a soft to medium feel. However, it doesn’t have any additives, so it may be hot to sleep on for some people.
Mattress Insider sells this topper in various sizes, including this short king, which measures 72 by 75. There is also an Olympic Queen 66×80, 48×75 bunk size, RV Short queen 60×75, and an RV king 72×80.
This is US-made pure premium open-cell memory foam. It is CertiPurus certified to be low VOCs, no PBDEs, no mercury, no lead or heavy metals, no formaldehyde, and no prohibited phthalates.
3-Inch Memory Foam: Classic Brands 3-Inch Cool Cloud Gel Memory Foam Topper with Cover
The Classic Brands Cool Cloud gel memory foam topper comes with a cover and is available in standard mattress sizes. In addition to the twin, full, queen, and king sizes, you can get twin XL and California king sizes. This is a very soft topper, partly due to its contoured design.
This topper has a few features worth pointing out. For a three-inch topper with all the options, it’s well-priced. It is ventilated for cooling airflow, and the foam includes cooling gel. Instead of just a rectangular block of foam, this topper is scalloped with contours cut in the upper layer. That means you get the foam’s support without the suffocating heat build-up that a smooth mattress top creates.
Thick RV Size Memory Foam: Linenspa 3-Inch Gel Memory Foam, RV Queen Size
This three-inch gel topper is available in RV Queen, short queen, and Full XL long sizes. It is also available with a two-inch profile. It is described as ultra-plush, meaning most sleepers will find it pretty soft. It’s a great addition on top of a hard mattress.
Linenspa toppers are covered by a three-year warranty. They’re made in China of 100 percent polyurethane memory foam.
Dual-Foam Solution: Mellow 4-Inch Dual Foam Topper with Calming Green Tea
The Mellow topper is a little different from the others on our list. It is made of two foam layers for the ultimate support. The bottom layer is standard high-density foam, which offers more padding and a firmer feel than memory foam alone. That layer is 2-1/2 inches thick.
On top of that is a green tea-infused memory foam layer that is 1-1/2 inches thick. The layers are bonded together and covered by a nice, breathable poly mesh cover. This topper has collected a few negative reviews from folks who thought it was a four-inch memory foam topper. It’s not, but that is only because it is designed to be firmer than that would be. If you have a soft to medium firm mattress, this would be an excellent topper to help you make it more comfortable.
Mellow’s topper is clean and certified and backed by a three-year warranty. It comes in twin, twin XL, full, short queen, queen, king, and California king sizes.
Dual Foam, Charcoal, and Green Tea: Zinus 4-Inch Green Tea and Charcoal Memory Foam RV Mattress Topper
This Zinus memory foam topper has a two-layer technology to offer better support than memory foam alone. Where other toppers may feel too soft and lack the support you need on a softer mattress, the Zinus combines a denser foam base layer with a super comfortable infused memory foam topper.
The two forms are woven in a proprietary pattern to provide pressure relieving points and extra comfort. It’s ideal for either back or side sleepers.
Why green tea? Green tea is renowned for its health benefits. A cup is full of antioxidants and nutrients. It’s also widely used in the beauty industry in healthy skincare products. Zinus claims that infusing the mattress with green tea, castor oil, and charcoal offers benefits like relaxation and improved sleep.
Whether you’re on the green tea bandwagon or think that’s a load of hogswallop, this topper has some benefits that others lack. The charcoal is naturally odor absorbing, and the two-layered design means a more firm and supportive mattress than memory foam alone.
The Zinus green tea topper is available in most standard mattress sizes, plus twin XL and short queen. In addition, you can pick thicknesses from 1.5 to 4 inches, and a quilted plush cover is also available.
Basic Latex Foam Topper: Amazon Basics Alternative Latex Foam 2-Inch Cooling Gel Topper
Here’s an option that you can use to firm up a too-soft bed. This Amazon Basics Alternative Latex Foam topper looks like the memory foam toppers on our list, but it’s very different. Instead of the soft sink, you get with memory foam, this firmer latex foam gives more of a supportive bounce. A latex topper might be the ticket if you’re looking for a comfortable alternative to protect your mattress and rejuvenate an old mattress cushion.
Like many memory foam toppers, this latex foam includes cooling gel beads throughout to help dissipate heat. But heat build-up isn’t as big a problem anyway since you don’t sink so deeply into this foam.
Premium Latex Topper: Sleep On Latex Pure Green Natural Latex 3-Inch Medium Firm Topper — Certified Organic
While memory foam has taken over the bed topper market, latex is a spectacular alternative. Latex is breathable and more durable than memory foam.
There are two types of latex–natural and synthetic. Synthetic latex is much like memory foam. It’s a concoction of chemicals that forms a plastic foam. Natural latex is made from rubber trees, is all-natural, and can be grown with organic practices. Many latex makers mix the two, labeling the topper “made with natural latex.” Be on the lookout for toppers and mattresses made with 100 percent natural latex and no fillers or additives.
A latex topper will last longer than memory foam, and they address memory foam’s two biggest shortcomings. Latex can be made firmer than memory foam, and it doesn’t get hot at night. So a latex foam topper of two or three inches can form a buffer to keep you cool if you have a memory foam mattress.
The reviews from happy sleepers speak for themselves. Latex toppers uniformly get better reviews, with far fewer complaints about heat and overly soft mattress feel.
Sleep On Latex makes this organic topper in one, two, or three-inch thicknesses. It comes in standard mattress sizes but can easily be cut down if you need to fit an RV mattress.
Merino Wool Topper: Sleep and Beyond Organic Merino Wool 1-1/2-Inch Thick Mattress Topper, Queen Size
Despite what the internet and buying guides all say, memory foam–or any kind of foam–isn’t always the right answer. For our money, the ultimate in luxury is a wool topper.
Why wool? Wool may sound stuffy and make you think of your grandfather’s winter coat, but it’s actually a miracle material. First, it’s all natural, and some types are certified organic. But wool is also temperature regulating–it will keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer. It wicks moisture away and prevents overheating for the perfect night’s sleep.
Wool is also perfect for folks who have allergies or chemical sensitivities. While the merino wool topper is not machine washable, Sleep and Beyond make a similar topper from English Shropshire wool that is.
The queen-size topper has seven pounds of merino wool and measures a total of 60 by 80 inches. Twin, full, king, and California king sizes are also available. The cover material is 100 percent organic and natural cotton.
Pillow Top Memory Foam: ViscoSoft 4-Inch Pillow Top Memory Foam Mattress Topper
The ViscoSoft topper is unique because it is one of the only toppers available that combines memory foam and down-like polyester fill. The pillow top design results in all of the pluses of both. You get the soft, supportive comfort of the memory foam, plus the plush feel and coolness that comes from a down mattress pad.
The ViscoSoft is available in standard twin, full, queen, king, and California king sizes. It comes in three and four-inch-thick versions. The three-inch version features a two-inch-thick memory foam layer, while the larger size adds half an inch to this. Both have a 1-1/2-inch-thick plush-down cover. The cover is machine washable and has deep pockets and elastic straps to keep it on the bed.
However, one downside of this design is that you can’t cut it to size. So, unfortunately, it will only work for those with standard-sized mattresses in their rigs. Keep in mind that this is one of the more expensive premium toppers on our list.
The combination of the down-like pad with the memory foam topper seems to be a winning combination. They have collected more than 7,000 five-star reviews. In addition, they offer a 60-day no-hassle money-back guarantee, plus a five-year warranty against defects.
Trifold Mattress Memory Foam: Best Price Mattress 4-Inch Trifold Gel Memory Foam with Cover RV King Mattress Topper
This topper is unique because it is cut into three pieces and folds for easier storage. One of the weaknesses of a memory foam topper is that its clinginess and weight make it very difficult to move from bed to bed. Once you get it unpacked, it’s often best to just leave it in place on the bed and under the covers. This model blurs the line between a topper and a full-blown mattress.
This trifold model is made with mobility in mind. This is a short queen model for RVs, but it also comes in other common sizes. It’s infused with green tea and available with or without cooling gel. If you want a topper you can move from room to room, this one is worth a look. It’s also great to lay out on the floor for family night or fold into a sort of modular sofa. This makes a great choice for a mobile family that provides many options. Some folks even use the twin size in the backs of their cars for car camping!
Mattress Pads: AB Lifestyles RV Short Queen 60×75 Mattress Pad
This pad is a fitted-style sheet with a thin plush top, made specifically for RV mattresses. It doesn’t add any support, but it will help protect your mattress. Combined with a foam topper, it will protect the topper and the mattress while keeping them together.
The AB Lifestyles pad comes in the following sizes.
- Short queen 60×75 (standard and extra deep)
- Queen RV 60×80
- Short king 72×75
- Camper king 72×80
- Bunk 28×75
- Bunk 30×72
- Double bunk 48×75
- Winnebago 50×80
- Extra Deep 72×80
These sheets are 100 percent cotton with 100 percent new polyester fiberfill in the pad. The sheet is 300 thread count satin. Standard depths fit eight-inch mattresses, while extra deep pads fit mattresses up to ten inches. They are made in the US, are machine washable, and are hypoallergenic.
Premium Mattress Pad: eLuxurySupply RV Mattress Topper Plush Bamboo Pad
This pad has a thicker quilted top than the AB Lifestyles version for a little extra comfort. Its ultra-soft and plush fiberfill is described as being like a cloud. And unlike many pads, this one has a thick top layer that rivals a foam topper. Unfortunately, they are only available in short queen, queen, and RV king sizes.
eLuxurySupply makes this pad out of polyester, cotton, and bamboo. The quilted top pad is filled with plush Revoloft fiberfill that feels a lot like down. The pad layer is an impressive 1-1/2 inches thick, making it a great addition to a mattress that needs a little extra comfort.
ELuxurySupply is a veteran-owned company based in Indiana that prides itself on excellent customer service.
How to Find the Best Camper Mattress Topper – Everything You Need to Know
What is the Best Mattress Topper for an RV?
It won’t take many nights sleeping in your RV to realize that the mattresses are probably less than what you are used to. Most mattresses in campers–whether an ultralight towable or a fancy fifth-wheel–tend to be nothing more than a thick piece of foam. Your back might wake up wanting a little more padding than your home bedroom.
So you’ll research getting an entirely new mattress and quickly realize that the odd-sized mattresses used in RVs make for expensive replacements. You can get a custom mattress made to order, but it will cost you.
A better alternative, certainly from your budget’s perspective, is to try a simple mattress topper. A topper is an extra foam pad that makes your mattress thicker and more comfortable. You can find them in a wide variety of materials and firmnesses. Best of all, since most are simple sheets of foam, you can cut them to size if necessary.
There really isn’t any installation or setup with a topper. It’s a foam pad that goes on the top of the mattress and under the sheets. It won’t slide around if it’s held on by a well-fitted sheet.
Benefits of the Best Mattress Toppers for Campers
The benefits of using a mattress topper can only be realized if you find the right combination of firmness and thickness to improve your mattress. Many people think a memory foam topper can improve any mattress, but this isn’t necessarily true. Memory foam is great for making a too-firm mattress feel soft. On a soft mattress, however, it will make the entire thing way too soft.
Once you nail down exactly what you need though, toppers can completely change the way you sleep and rejuvenate an old or bad mattress.
- More comfortable
- Cheaper than a whole new mattress
- Isolation and noise reduction for a better night’s sleep
- Protects your mattress for the long-term
The primary benefit of using a topper is added comfort. By selecting a thick enough topper, you can convert pretty much any mattress into something useable. It’s the perfect solution for making your RV mattress functional and preventing a case of Morning Grumpiness.
According to Consumer Reports, choosing a mattress topper revolves a lot around the type of sleeper you are. Toppers are great at relieving pressure points. For example, they can mean relief in the thighs for back sleepers and the hips for side sleepers.
Cheaper (and Easier) than a New Mattress
When compared to the alternatives, the topper is a no-brainer. Getting an entirely new mattress is only worth it if you are living full-time in the RV. Most of us are occasional users–but we might go on a long trip that lasts a few weeks. A topper can make the mattress work just fine for these lengths. To be fair, many full-timers find the topper to be an adequate solution as well.
Isolation and Noise Reduction
Another benefit is their cushioning and buffering action that isolates you from your bed partner. Finding a topper that is at least 1-1/2 to 2 inches thick and soft will minimize mattress vibrations. That’s a huge relief if you share your bed with a restless sleeper.
Protects Your Mattress
Finally, a mattress topper can make your mattress last longer. Since you’re placing an extra layer of material between you and the mattress, the mattress will receive less wear and tear than it would otherwise. In an RV with a non-standard mattress size, this can make for a big cost savings over the years.
Disadvantages of Mattress Toppers
There are not many disadvantages to a good quality mattress topper. Beyond a few things you’ll want to consider before you buy the topper, most of the problems you’ll have are minor, temporary issues.
- Heat build-up during the night, especially with memory foam
- Added height
- Odor when new
- Time required to expand
- Alternative fill problems
Heat Build Up
The biggest problem you’ll find is that foam toppers can make you feel hot. Memory foam, in particular, is very dense, and you sink into it. That means there is little airflow, allowing heat to build up as you sleep. Some toppers have special additives, like cooling gel or graphite, to alleviate this.
If you want a foam topper that doesn’t make you sweat, look into a latex topper. Alternatively, you might want to look into a heat-regulating wool-filled topper. These are much cooler alternatives to memory foam. Or, you could just grab one of the best hammocks for RV life and head out into the breeze on those hot nights!
Added Height to Mattress
The height they add to your mattress in the RV setting must be kept in mind. You might run into issues if you fit your topper to a Murphy bed, jack knife sofa, or other fancy space-saving RV mattress. In the case of a jack knife, your topper will affect its ability to fold–especially if you choose a thicker one.
Foam Expansion Time
You’ll have to deal with two immediate but temporary problems when you first get your topper. First, memory foam toppers and mattresses come in small compressed packages that make them easy to ship. That’s actually a bonus because it also makes them easy to fit through the small doors on a camper!
But once you open the package, the mattress will take some time to expand back to its original size. Most topper makers say to give it a full 24 hours–so you probably won’t get to fully enjoy your topper until day two or three.
As a foam topper expands, it will release a funky and objectionable odor. Topper makers call this “off-gassing,” and it’s a perfectly normal part of dealing with memory foam. It’s not dangerous, but it smells unpleasant and can quickly funk up the tight confines of a camper or motorhome.
There are many other types of camper mattress toppers beyond the foam ones. Feather toppers have been around for years, filled with real down feathers of artificial polyester fill. Another great choice is wool. Real feathers tend to have sharp quills that can poke through the sheets. Other fills can settle and clump in cheaper toppers. A good RV mattress topper should have quilting stitched in to make sure there are no problems.
This isn’t to say that the alternatives to foam aren’t great–there are many reasons to consider one.
Types of RV Mattress Toppers
Most people believe memory foam is the best mattress topper for camper bed models. Memory foam is a soft, plush foam that doesn’t spring back instantly–it remembers where you pressed it. In foam terms, this is called elasticity.
Most people find memory foam amazingly comfortable, but there are some exceptions. It can be hot. It can also wind up being too firm after a night’s sleep, and your body has sunk into it. And some people hate the softness of it and need a firmer solution.
There are a wide variety of memory foam toppers sold online. You can find models with cooling gel or ventilation holes for better airflow. Some include covers, while others do not.
In general, memory foam toppers are very soft and are best used on top of a firm mattress. However, you can find some toppers built in two layers–memory foam on top of high-density regular foam. These are more appropriate for softer mattresses.
If your mattress is already really soft, you might want to look into a latex or regular foam topper. These can be firmer than memory foam and have more bounce and less sink.
Down or Wool Toppers
You can also get more traditional toppers made from natural fibers. These are usually thinner than foam options–typically no more than 1 or 1-1/2 inches thick. Think of these toppers as big, flat pillows that you can add to the top of your mattress. And just like pillows, they can be firm or soft, washable, or only spot-cleanable.
You might also be able to find some down-alternative toppers made from polyester fiberfill. No matter what the filling is made of, they usually have a quilted cotton cover that keeps it all together. They also usually have elastic straps to help keep them in place on the mattress.
While not everyone needs to have a topper, having a mattress pad on your bed is always a good idea. These fitted sheets add just a small amount of pillowy fiberfill to the top of the mattress. They protect the mattress, and some are even waterproof. If you use them with a topper, the fitted sheet can help keep the topper and mattress stacked together.
Mattress pads are usually made with a polyester fiberfill or other down alternative. A mattress pad adds an extra layer of padding to the top of the mattress, but not nearly as much as a topper does. It’s usually quilted to allow for more cushioning. Pads are much less likely to get hot than a memory foam topper is.
It should be noted that there’s no real agreed-upon definition of what constitutes a pad and what is a topper. Makers of these products universally include both words in their ads to attract the most customers.
Choosing the Best RV Mattress Toppers for Your Rig
Sizes – Length and Width
One problem you might have is getting a topper that fits your RV mattress. There are a few specific RV mattress toppers available online. You’ll notice that these usually include RV photos and RV mattress sizes, like “short queen” or RV queen.
The problem, of course, is that RV mattresses don’t necessarily conform to the same dimensions as a regular bedroom. So the majority of toppers you find might not fit.
You certainly don’t want to assume that just because the manufacturer claims you have a queen or king-sized bed that it matches those home standards. Instead, always double-check by getting out a measuring tape and making sure. That way, when shopping for the topper, you will get the right size the first time.
Here are a few of the RV sizes that AB Lifestyles sells with their RV mattress pads. Unfortunately, most toppers don’t have this variety of sizes.
Maybe people consider the standard RV king mattress topper 70×80 to be what amounts to a “king size.” But as you can see from the description, many makers have slightly different sizes to suit their trailer layouts.
|RV Mattress Size Description||Width (Inches)||Length (Inches)|
|70 x 80 Mattress Topper||70||80|
Now, for comparison, here are the sizes that are available from most mattress topper makers.
|Standard Mattress Description||Width (Inches)||Length (Inches)|
As you can see, it’s possible to use these sizes to find a 70×80 RV mattress topper. A standard mattress topper king size would suit, but you’d have to trim six inches off of one edge. If your bed is not a perfect rectangle, you might also opt for a California King size to have a little extra room to trim it just right to fit your 70×80 mattress topper.
Getting the Right Thickness
Generally, toppers come in thicknesses between one and four inches. How much is enough for your use?
Smaller toppers, usually only 1 or 1-1/2 inches thick, add a subtle change to your mattress without changing its overall characteristics. A one-inch topper also doesn’t add much height, so you can be sure your fitted sheets will still work. You can tweak the surface feel of a mattress with a topper like this, but you probably won’t change things enough to improve your overall sleep patterns.
Two, three, and four-inch toppers are thick enough to change the quality of your bed. Obviously, the thicker the topper, the less of your original mattress you will feel. A three or four-inch topper is basically a mattress makeover. These are great options for rejuvenating a dead mattress.
A two-inch topper changes the mattress’s feel quite a bit, but you can still feel the original underneath. These are good for people who need a better night’s sleep but don’t want to make their bed too tall or worry about their sheets fitting.
Cutting a Topper to Fit
Foam toppers are simply blocks of foam. Some come with a zip-on cover to keep the foam intact. But there’s nothing internal that makes the foam work or hold it together, unlike an innerspring mattress. This is true of memory foam, latex, and synthetic foam toppers.
So if you can’t find a topper that fits right, buy a bigger one and cut it to size. You can use your mattress as a template, draw the outline on the foam, and then cut the foam with either a bread knife or a sharp pair of scissors. One and two-inch foam toppers can easily be cut with a large pair of scissors. You’ll want to use a serrated bread knife or electric carving knife on anything thicker.
The problem with this is that the included cover might not fit anymore. However, if you bought a topper larger than necessary and cut it down, you could modify the cover as needed. All you’d need is basic sewing skills to cut down the material and re-seam it.
On the other hand, toppers made with natural fill materials like down and wool are more difficult to customize. Since they are thinner anyway, the best policy is to purchase one as close to your bed’s size as possible. If it’s a few inches short on one end or the other, you probably won’t notice it once you make the bed.
If you want a mattress pad with a fitted sheet, you will have much more trouble cutting it to fit. If you’re handy with a sewing machine, it can be done, but you’re better off getting one as close to the desired size as possible. Since the sides have elastic in them to fit over various sizes of mattress, you shouldn’t have any trouble making up for a few extra inches here and there. Get it as close as possible, and then tuck it in well.
What to Look for When Buying an RV Mattress Topper
RV Mattress Pads vs Toppers
There’s a lot of confusion out there when it comes to pads and toppers. Plus, there’s no clear definition, so things get murky quickly!
In our minds, a topper is a thick, extra layer of bedding material. Basically, it makes your entire mattress thicker by adding another layer. You can pick and choose the type of topper you want to get so that it compliments the mattress you already have.
For example, if you have a too soft mattress, you can get a firm topper. Or, if your mattress is too hard, you can get a soft topper. The most common material for a topper is foam. Toppers are usually between two and four inches thick.
A mattress pad, on the other hand, is a combination fitted sheet and a protective pad. The pad is usually thin–typically well under an inch. They are usually made of several different materials—a cotton sheet on top, with polyester and spandex sides that keep it on the mattress.
Under the top layer is some polyester or down fill. Unless the pad is very thick, a pad doesn’t usually change the overall comfort of a mattress. But the breathable materials can greatly improve the effectiveness of a topper underneath.
So the ultimate setup to get the most out of your RV bed is to have the original mattress and a topper of your liking, all wrapped in a high-quality mattress pad.
Mattress Firmness and Comfort
Before beginning your search for a topper or pad, identify exactly where your existing mattress is lacking. For example, is it too firm, and do you need a soft, plush top layer? Or is it too soft for your taste, and you’d do better with a little more support?
As you shop, you’ll find certain types of toppers, and even certain manufacturers, marketing their toppers for a specific purpose. Read what the manufacturers state in their marketing very carefully to ensure it aligns with what you’re shopping for.
Online reviews for toppers can be mixed–a love-it or hate-it affair. There’s a simple explanation for this, however. Just like the bed itself or the shoes on your feet, a mattress topper is a matter of personal preference. Some like them to be soft and plush; others want something that adds more support.
Types of Foam
Memory foam is a synthetic foam that conforms to your body. It has elasticity in that when you press into it, it moves to the contours of your body as you sleep. This relieves pressure points and makes for a very comfortable night’s sleep. Memory foam toppers are sold with different firmnesses, but all-in-all they are generally very soft.
Since the close fit of memory foam retains heat, some makers add special additives to cool it down. Some critics are wary of this and believe that it’s mostly a marketing tactic. When you think about it, there probably aren’t enough of these additives in the material to make a large difference. Still, something is better than nothing, and these additives do not add much to the overall cost.
Features and additives offered on memory foam toppers include the following.
- Vented designs — increases airflow for cooling
- Gel — synthetic plastic foam added for cooling
- Charcoal — Odor absorber
- Graphite — cooling similar to gel, but all natural
- Green tea — calming health benefits
- Lavender scent — calming for better sleep
- Copper — conducts heat away from the body for cooling; also antimicrobial
It’s also common to find toppers combined with various layers of other materials. For example, different firmnesses might be combined into a thicker topper, giving it better-sleeping qualities.
Natural Latex Foam
The most popular alternative to memory foam is latex, a natural product made from the sap of rubber plants. Its biggest plus is that it’s naturally cooling since it has air pockets throughout the material. As a result, most latex toppers you find will actually be a latex blend. Latex can be made much firmer than memory foam can be.
Latex is the best option if you want an all-natural, organic, and sustainable topper. Look for toppers that meet the GOLS (Global Organic Latex Standard) certification. One hundred percent latex is pricey, so you can expect to spend $300 to $800 on a good-quality queen-sized topper.
It’s important to note that many people have an allergy to latex. So you’ll certainly want to avoid a natural latex topper if this is you. You might also want to research a memory foam topper carefully since some of them are made in factories that also make latex toppers.
Regular foam is high-density polyurethane foam. It is commonly used to make “egg crate toppers” because of their wavy notched appearance. You can find them cheap on Amazon or in many big box retailers.
These thin foam pads don’t add much support. However, they offer a little padding and allow for better airflow over the mattress. Ideally, that should make for a cooler night’s sleep and isolate you from a partner with restless leg syndrome.
But you can also get regular foam in thicker sheets and toppers. This standard foam is sometimes used as a base layer in a latex or memory foam topper. It’s probably what your RV mattress and cushions are made of.
Often you can find memory foam toppers for about the same price. These will offer much more comfort and support if your mattress is uncomfortable and firm. However, a regular foam pad might be a better solution if your mattress is too soft.
Thin egg crate foam pads are perfect if your mattress is fine and you don’t have any trouble sleeping. But instead, they’re for when you want to protect your mattress a little more and maybe give yourself a little isolation, peace, and quiet.
Traditional Fill Materials
The traditional bedding materials you’ll find are down feathers, a polyester down-like material called fiberfill, and wool.
These types of materials are cool and comfortable. They are generally built thinner than foam toppers, which means you are limited to thinner toppers only about one inch thick. But manufacturers can pack a lot of fill into that inch, giving you a pillow top mattress topper that can be either firm or very soft.
Besides having the option of being all-natural and machine washable, these toppers are naturally cooling. Wool, in particular, is known for its natural cooling abilities. So if you’re sleeping in warm climates or without AC in your rig, a wool topper is worth looking into.
Many mattress pads combine a traditional fill topper into their fitted-sheet style mattress protector. However, these generally do not have much thickness built in. As a result, they have less structure and offer less support than a proper topper does. These are great options for protecting your mattress and prolonging its life, but not for changing the characteristics of your bed.
If you need a topper to make your mattress more comfortable, approach a mattress pad skeptically. The thicker, quilted pads can add cushioning to your mattress and can change how they feel. But they don’t have enough thickness to support pressure points or fix that sore back you wake up with every morning.
Installing and Enjoying an RV Mattress Topper
Your exact setup depends greatly on the RV mattress you are dealing with. Campers universally agree that their rig’s mattresses stink, but the exact cause depends on the sleeper. So before you can improve your mattress, you need to narrow down exactly why it stinks.
A mattress pad is a good idea even if you have the perfect mattress. If you are having problems sleeping or waking up with aches and pains, get the thickest pad you can find. Pads have a plush-down or down-alternative top and are machine washable.
They’re perfect for protecting your expensive mattress and extending its life, plus they can add a lot of comfort to an otherwise uncomfortable mattress. Some pads have thick tops that are over an inch thick, but you have to look for them specifically.
If a high-quality pad doesn’t do the trick, it’s easy to add a foam or memory foam topper below it. This is a great technique because the pad you already have will help secure the foam topper in place. It also adds a breathable, soft, comfortable layer over the top of the otherwise hot and clingy memory foam.
How To Keep an RV Mattress Topper From Sliding
If you’re using your topper with a fitted sheet-style mattress pad, put the topper under the mattress pad and let the fitted sheet hold it in place. You’ll need a pad with pockets deep enough to cover your mattress and the foam topper.
You’ll need to get creative if you want to try the foam topper without a mattress pad. If you use fitted bottom sheets, this will keep it in place for the most part. You can also look in the bedding section of your favorite retailer for elastic sheet clips that will help keep the topper and fitted sheet in place.
Some toppers slide around more than others. If your topper came with a zip-on cover, consider removing it and just using the foam under a fitted sheet. This will make any gel cooling in the topper more effective, and the natural clinginess of the foam will help it on the mattress.
It is important to ensure that your foam is secure on the bed and doesn’t slide around. Memory foam toppers, in particular, are heavy and not very strong. So if you move them around, roll them up, or fold them, they will tear easily.
Unpacking and Offgassing
The first day of getting your topper is not the best day of your life–at least as far as bedding and toppers go.
The first problem is that memory foam toppers come vacuum-packed for easy shipping. And since the foam has memory, it takes many hours to expand back to its original size. Most manufacturers say to let the foam expand for a full 24 hours before sleeping on it. Some require even longer wait times.
Once the topper has expanded, it will be heavy and difficult to move around. Be careful not to tear it in the process. As mentioned previously, memory foam is not very strong and is easily damaged.
In addition to the slow expansion, new foam products stink. Quite literally–they smell bad. Sellers refer to this as off-gassing, and while extremely unpleasant, it is pretty normal. The smell gradually goes away over the first day or two.
Purchasing a topper with a scent additive, like lavender might cover up the foam smell. Those mattress toppers, however, often have their own overpowering scent for that first day. In a camper, it can be quite intense.
Common Issues with RV Mattress Toppers and Pads
There are a lot of unanswered questions about mattress toppers and pads out there. Everyone sleeps differently and wants different things from their mattress. Toppers and pads are excellent and inexpensive ways to get a better night’s sleep. But there are so many ways to do it that it can feel overwhelming. The heaps of mixed reviews you’ll read online don’t help, either!
Does an RV Mattress Topper Go Under the Sheet?
Yes, toppers are simple slabs of foam that should be covered. Sleeping on the foam itself would be very hot and uncomfortable.
Mattress pads also go under the bottom sheet. The best setup for the perfect night’s sleep is to have your bed made in this order (from top to bottom).
- Optional top comforter or blankets for cold weather
- Comforter or blanket
- Fitted bottom sheet
- Mattress pad/mattress protector
- Foam topper
- Bed platform
Can You Use a Topper as a Mattress?
No. The thickest toppers are still only four inches thick. Even still, they are usually made of very soft foams that are designed to be used in conjunction with a mattress underneath. They do not provide enough support to be used alone. With a topper, you’ll sink until you can feel the floor or the bunk underneath it. By morning, it will be no different than having slept on the floor.
Should You Wash Your Topper?
Toppers are made of foam and cannot be washed. Think of them as an extra inch or two of mattress. And just like your mattress, you can’t wash it.
Toppers are designed to go on top of the mattress but under the sheets. Ideally, you’ll have a mattress pad or protector on top of the topper. That is machine washable and keeps the topper itself clean.
Some pillowy-fill toppers are machine washable, like wool or polyester fiberfill models. These will say on the label whether you can spot clean or machine wash them.
How Do You Store a Mattress Topper?
Mattress toppers aren’t made to be packed, rolled, or stored anywhere except on the bed. Memory foam isn’t very strong, and every time you move it around, you risk tearing the foam. So the best place to store your topper is on your bed, under the sheets.
What Needs to be Done to Get a Fitting Topper?
Toppers are sold in standard sizes to match most standard mattresses. Of course, on an RV mattress sizes are anything but standard.
Start by measuring your RV’s mattress and seeing if you can find a topper that is a close fit. You probably won’t notice if the topper is an inch or two short on the length or width. If it’s too big, however, you might have problems with it sliding as you get in or out of bed.
It’s easy to trim a topper to size—the foam cuts easily with scissors or a bread knife.
How Long Do Mattress Toppers Last?
It’s hard to pin down a mattress topper’s lifespan since they are so different. If it is very soft and compresses a lot each night, it will lose its supportive qualities faster than a firmer topper.
Also, most RV owners are not sleeping in their rigs every night of the year. So if you only use the topper for a few months a year, you’ll probably get five years or more out of your topper.
Keeping the topper protected is key to making it last longer. The best policy is to keep your topper and mattress safe by using a well-built fitted-sheet-style mattress pad and protector.
Of the various materials, latex foam, down, and wool toppers are the most likely to last the longest. Unfortunately, memory foam is rather delicate and will often tear when moved.
Can You Return a Topper?
If you’ve ordered a topper and just can’t get comfortable on it, most Amazon purchases are returnable.
But there are some problems with toppers. Specifically, once you’ve let the genie out of the bottle, it’s very hard to put it back in. Since these toppers arrive vacuum sealed, you probably won’t be able to send them back in the packaging that they came in.
Also, keep in mind you won’t be able to return it if you trim it to size. So it’s probably better to keep it as it came, sleep on it a few nights to make sure you love it, and then make your customizations.
Getting the Best Mattress Topper for Camper Trips Means Better Sleep and More Fun
We can all agree that RV mattresses are terrible for many reasons. However, a topper, or better yet–a topper and mattress pad, can solve many of your problems without purchasing a whole new mattress. Plus, these products will keep your mattress safe and clean, extending its life by many years. The only trick is finding the right one for your bed.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
How can I make my RV mattress more comfortable?
Adding a mattress topper is the most cost-effective way to increase your comfort. These foam or filled pads are added to the top of the mattress and under the sheets. It adds a few more inches of padding to any mattress. Most toppers are made of super-comfy memory foam, which adds even more comfort. You can also find them made from latex or regular foam, wool, down, or polyester fill.
How thick should an RV mattress be?
The thickness of an RV mattress is a factor in what sort of bed it is installed on. A regular bed platform can accommodate any thickness, but a slide-out or fold-up mattress may have a limiting height. Generally, this won’t be more than about six inches.
What is the difference between an RV mattress and a regular mattress?
The biggest differences between an RV and a home mattress are their size and quality. RV mattress sizes are likely to be customized from one rig to another. A few manufacturers might use standard mattress sizes, but generally, this is only in the biggest luxury rigs. The bed platform is often part of the overall trailer layout and is more or less arbitrary. As a result, standard home mattress sizes might not fit. Then there’s the quality of the mattress in question. Usually, RV makers put in simple foam cushions. They look good in photos, but they are generally nothing compared to the spring-form mattresses we’re used to sleeping on at home.
Can you put a regular queen mattress in an RV?
It depends on the RV. The only way to tell is to measure the bed platform–does it match the standard dimensions of a home queen mattress? A regular queen mattress measures 60 inches wide and 80 inches long. Double check that the bed platform is a perfect rectangle and not tapered. If it looks like a standard queen will work, double-check that you can get a regular mattress into the room and through the doors before buying one! Foam mattresses might be easier since they come compressed for shipping.