Replacing the RV Mattress: Sleeping as Comfortably on the Road as You Do at Home

Replacing the RV Mattress: Sleeping as Comfortably on the Road as You Do at Home

Jayco Whitehawk Master Bedroom

Still sleeping on the standard RV mattress that came with your rig? You’re not alone.

When we bought our first travel trailer, we made two big rookie mistakes:

  1. We went out and bought discount store, cheap bed-in-a-bag sheets and blankets for all our beds.
  2. We slept on the original RV mattress for over three years.

Now think about this. We had invested in a brand new, bunkhouse travel trailer in order to have the comforts of home while we were on the road and at the campground. But then for some reason, we skimped on the beds and bedding.

This makes zero sense, folks.

We just accepted that we would come home from our extended trips with achy backs and necks.

And then the light bulb went off.

I could sleep as well in the camper as I could in my bed at home with a pretty minimal investment. In fact, I was shocked when I realized how affordable some of the internet mattresses were.

RVers are now catching on to this way more quickly than we did. There are frequent posts in our forum, Facebook Group, and on social media from people looking to upgrade their sleeping arrangements. All we can say now is: Do it now. It’s worth it. You will NEVER regret investing in a good night’s sleep.

I’m going to share the products that we have purchased and used for the last two years in our RV. But first, I want to explain a couple of no-no’s.

No-No #1: DO NOT buy cute camper bedding from big camping box stores just because you like the print or it is specially fitted for RV mattresses. Comfort is the number one priority and I have never seen a great quality sheet or blanket from these outlets.

No-No #2: Don’t assume a mattress topper is going to be cheaper than a mattress. Compare and research price points carefully. There are now mattresses you can buy online for close to the same price as a quality topper.

Now onto the recommendations…

The Mattress

When I first started shopping for an RV mattress, I figured I was in for a big investment.

Not true.

I found out that one of the best reviewed “Short Queen” mattress online came in at about $200. We ended up purchasing the Zinus Sleep Master Ultima Comfort Memory Foam Mattress and absolutely love it. In fact, I like my RV mattress more that my more expensive one at home.

The Zinus Sleep Master Short Queen mattress comes in an 8-inch model for $199.99 and a 10-inch model for $229.99. We went with the 10-inch version, because…live a little, you know?

Many of our podcast listeners have purchased this same mattress, and we have only heard positive feedback so far. We have also received a lot of other recommendations from the RVFTA community and wanted to pass along the expertise (price listed is for queen, however other sizes are available):

Bottom Line? You bought an RV for all the comforts of home. Now you need to buy the mattress, so you actually have all the comforts of home.

The Bedding

Jayco White Hawk Bunkhouse

Bedding is a bit more simple than choosing an RV mattress. Basically, whatever you love at home, replicate in your trailer. I’ve gone through a couple of rounds of RV bedding, mostly because my boys’ preferences have changes as they have gotten older.

Top Tip #1: Look for great sales during the off season. I wanted a down comforter in the RV, but didn’t love the price tag. I ended up scoring a great deal on clearance at Target. We also love lightweight flannel sheets, and I waited until the end of the winter season to find a new set for 50% off.

Top Tip #2: Coordinate all the bedding in the camper, especially if you have a smaller RV. This will help your tiny space feel comfy and tidy, instead of chaotic. You can read about my ‘one-pop-of-color’ rule in our post about Easy RV Makeover Tips.

For the kids, I am in love with the Pillowfort Line from Target. They have some fun outdoorsy, animal prints that won’t make your camper look like a kid’s room.

This year, the boys decided they were too old for prints (sniff.) and wanted solid colors. They really like cozy bedding, so I got them each a set of the Room Essentials Jersey Sheets in a denim color, which gels nicely with my new blue-pop-of-color for the Toy Hauler.

I also found these Pillowfort Comforters for 50% off on clearance. Seriously. Stalk those Pillowfort aisles.

Wesley liked the Rugby Stripe

And Max and Theo chose the Navy Triangle Stitch Quilt

The Pillows

I’m going to admit it. Last camping season we were still carrying pillows back and forth from the camper to the house, because we all love our house pillows so much.

So this year, the family bedding splurge was a complete set of camper pillows. We bought 5 bamboo pillows and the boys are wild for them. They actually call them their panda pillows, which is an adorable mix up that I just can’t correct.

If you make spring camping resolutions (because, don’t we all???) let this year’s be about creating the most comfy, cozy camper bed that you can possibly imagine. If you’re not sleeping well in your RV, then there is no way that you’re fully enjoying the RV experience. How do we know? Because we finally fixed our camp bedding years into RVing, and just can’t believe it took that long.

Sweet dreams at the campground…


  1. JP

    We REALLY enjoy the RV Superbag as recommended by Mike Wendland on the Roadtrek group. It is compact to put away and since we don’t have a dedicated bed in a Class B (Pleasure-Way Excel TS) that is an important issue. It is so much better than just a regular sleeping bag because it has sheets and pillow cases that match and are velcroed into place, and they do stay. It is so comfy and really easy to get out and put away. Would recommend it for any one who does not have a dedicated bed, or even for someone in a popup or hybrid.

  2. Laura

    I too hated schlepping my pillow back and forth. We found outstanding pillows at Costco. 2 pillows for $10. They are made of memory foam “pieces”. Sounds “jenky”, but they are great!

    • RVFamilyTravelAtlas

      Haven’t had a Costco membership in YEARS, but I’m seriously rethinking it recently!

  3. Tanya

    Fun to read this post! The pillowcirt sheets you showed are the same ones my daughter picked out and we also chose to use navy as our pop of color for our new trailer. I took your advice this past winter when we were decorating our new rig and picked one color to go throughout and it was navy.

    After our last trip of 11 nights we realized we need to do something for our mattress. My back was super achy by the end of the trip. I’ll have to check out your recommendations.

  4. LC

    Good advice! One caveat: I ordered the sheets with the cute animals, and they’re 100% polyester. Way too hot for us to sleep in, and they don’t breathe the way cotton does. But they sure are cute!

  5. Melissa

    Did you put some other type of mattress on the bunks?

    After just two trips out, the kid are already complaining about the non-mattresses they have!

  6. Wen

    We agree and made the same mistake. Our bed in the camper has the same sheets, blanket and quilt as our bed. We even outfitted the kitchen the same as the house. High quality all clad, Henkel knives, nice cutting boards, and tervis tumblers. We hated the plastic wine glasses, so we bought inexpensive glass ones that ride in the sink strainer. Life is so much better with these comforts of home.

    • RVFamilyTravelAtlas

      Love our stainless steel wine glasses. None of that plastic nonsense, but still not stressing about the glass:-)

  7. Rebecca

    We too bought a sinus 10 inch!! Loved it so much we bought one for the house!

    • RVFamilyTravelAtlas

      We’ve been thinking about replacing our home mattress with that also:-)

  8. Karen

    Stephanie, I thought you were a Beddy’s fan for RV bedding. Based on your review a while back, I was planning on buying them for my kids’ bunk beds. Did you change your mind? I was under the impression they were an absolute MUST for the RV and worth the high price tag!!!

    • RVFamilyTravelAtlas

      I have a Beddy’s set for the Happy Jack bunk in our toy hauler. I love it and reviewed it on the podcast. I also believe that it is a fabulous option for a lot of RVers. However, not everyone has the budget for Beddy’s and I certainly never said they were a MUST. They are worth the price tag IF you can afford the price tag. I still have not splurged on the $400 it would cost me to outfit both our bunks in the toy hauler. Right now, the boys have fitted Jersey sheets on the bottom and a camp casual blanket on the top. We use what works for us and like to provide folks with a range of options at different price points.

  9. Aaron

    Hey, any advice on pop-up mattresses? Looks like you had 8″ and 10″ options for your trailer, but I think i’m limited to 3″ or 4″ in our new-to-us Palomino pop-up. The current mattresses are just crappy foam. I love the size not-quite-king and not-quite-queen options you were able to get.

    What do you use in your other RV?

    • RVFamilyTravelAtlas

      For a pop up, you need to be very careful to still be able to close the trailer! Many folks get a memory foam topper that you can cut with something like an electric knife. We’ve heard a lot of people have success with that strategy! Something like this one…

  10. Steph

    I’m trying to figure out what you use on the kids bunks for a mattress. We have a great matress on our but the kids 4 bunks are terrible!! We are living in our camper for a while and they will do anything to sleep on the couch!!!
    Thanks for any advice

    • Stephanie

      Our kids have so far been fine with the manufacturer’s bunk mattresses. But if they ever start to complain, I plan on getting them the twin size of the Zinus that we have since they are so affordable!

      • Donna

        Thanks for the info!
        How did you get the old mattress out? Omg, I just tried and it seems impossible. Did you fold it up or something?

        • Stephanie

          That wasn’t a big problem for us…our master was up front by the door and we just folded and slid it out! Good luck!!!

  11. Mary Jo

    We live fulltime in our RV. When we get our new mattress, how do we dispose of the old mattress? Love your blog.


    • Stephanie

      I would think you could look for a local dump. We put ours in attic storage and placed it back in the trailer when we traded it in so we could keep the Zinus.

  12. Hannah

    May I ask what RV you have?? We have 4 boys and you bunk room looks so spacious!! I love it. Fantastic article!!

    • Stephanie

      This is a Jayco White Hawk that they don’t manufacture anymore:-(

  13. Tara

    I need a hinged mattress for a queen slide out. Any suggestions?

  14. Maureen

    we have storage underneath the bed and so the mattress has to lift with the plywood underneath. Did you have this too? I am just worried that if we upgrade the mattress, we get into something so heavy that we won’t be able to lift it to get to the storage.


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