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Question Of The Week

Best Mattresses for Campers and RVs

We were stunned to receive no less than 98 responses to this week’s Question of the Week, What mattress do you have in you truck camper?  Evidently we are very passionate about what we sleep on in our campers.

Four mattress brands come up again and again in the responses; Zinus, LinenSpa, Lucid, and Signature Sleep.  These mattresses are purchased from Amazon and ship in a box small enough to fit through a camper’s door.

Once in the camper’s cabover, you open the box and the mattress expands into shape.  That’s about the easiest truck camper mattress installation you’ll ever hear of.

After looking into these four popular brands, one mattress stands out for (1) the quality and quantity of its online reviews, and (2) the availability of an RV short queen size.  Plus a lot of TCM readers rave about it.  So here it is, the most recommended replacement and best mattresses for campers in 2018:

Zinus Green Tea RV Short Queen 8-inch Memory Foam Mattress

The LinenSpa, Signature Sleep, and Lucid brands also receive positive reviews, but not quite on the same magnitude as the Zinus.  The Zinus also offers the RV short queen size where the others only offer the standard queen.  Some campers will not fit a standard queen.

Note that all of these mattresses are available in different sizes.  Some are also available in different heights should cabinetry clearance be an issue.  Most readers report purchasing an 8-inch mattress for comfort and cabinetry clearance.

Here are the other three most popular mattresses as reported by TCM readers:

LinenSpa 8-Inch Gel Memory Foam Mattress

Signature Sleep Memoir 8-inch Memory Foam Mattress

Lucid 5-inch Get Memory Foam Mattress

For pop-up truck campers, the Exped self-inflating sleeping pads are an interesting option mentioned by readers.  We had not heard of Exped prior to this survey and are interested to learn more about the company and products.

Exped Megamat Insulated Self-Inflating Sleeping Pac

Thank you to everyone who contributed to this week’s Question of the Week.  Many fellow truck campers will now sleep better and in more comfort from your valued advice.

“We only kept the original 4-inch queen mattress for a few months.  Then while on a trip across the United States, we ordered a 10-inch memory foam mattress and had it delivered to my aunt’s house in Georgia.  We had started our trip in Washington State.

What a huge difference!  My wife and I could finally sleep comfortably even with the dog on the bed.  It was a bit of a challenge to get the new mattress in the camper and we lost a little cabover head room, but it was well worth the cost.” – Michael Walker, 2016 GMC 3500, 2017 Northern Lite 10-2 dry bath

“We have a memory foam mattress from Mattress Insider with a pillow top.  We opted for an aftermarket mattress because we’ve had bad experiences with the typical RV mattress.  We like the memory foam style mattresses, so we ordered it when we were waiting to pick up our camper.

As we were in the process of selling everything to go full-time, and were without a guest bed with company coming, we moved the original truck camper mattress into the guest room and found it was not so bad.  In fact, it was pretty decent.

With a pillow topper it might have been perfect.  In hindsight, we should have not assumed that every RV mattress is bad and tried it for a night.  We do however like the memory foam mattress we purchased and are very happy.

I have placed the mattress on Hypervent material which sits on foam insulating board.  This helps with moisture control and provides a bit of insulation between the floor and the mattress.” – Bruce Bowens, 2015 Ram 3500, 2017 Eagle Cap 1165

“As our first purchase after obtaining our truck camper, we bought a LinenSpa 8-inch memory foam and innerspring hybrid mattress from Amazon.

I was originally concerned that it may be too thick to handle but, with the way it was shipped in a roll, and a little preplanning, we were able to unpack it in place.  There were no issues with getting it maneuvered once it was inside the camper.  We just cut the straps and it opened up, and was ready to go almost instantly.

This mattress is almost better than the mattress in our home and I look forward to using it when we travel.  The memory foam option was a concern for moisture but we covered it in a Lucid premium hypoallergenic 100-percent waterproof mattress protector and it stays extremely dry at all times.

For only $167, the mattress was a smart purchase and we would do it again in the future.” – Wayne Whaley, 2014 Chevy Silverado 1500, 2011 Palomino Bronco 1200

“We ditched our mattress after the first season and replaced it with a 5-inch queen size foam mattress from IKEA.  It has served us well since and we find it very comfy.  At IKEA we could lay on different firmness mattresses to make our decision.

It fits in the cabover just right!  My wife and I both say we always sleep better in the camper.  Rock on TCM!” – Dan Forry, 1996 Ford F-250, 2006 Palomino 1251

“We changed out the factory mattress on our Four Wheel Camper Hawk and replaced it with Exped Mega Mats, (i.e. very nice air mattresses).  The two mats fill the space of the queen bed perfectly, allow each of us to adjust the firmness of our side, and offer a significant reduction in weight that needs to be lifted to get to the under-bed storage.

The only downside is that the air pressure needs to be adjusted if you make significant changes in elevation, particularly if you are starting at sea level and travel up into the 8,000 foot range.” – Bill Elwell, 2016 Ram 2500, 2016 Four Wheel Camper Flatbed Hawk

“We never took the plastic protector off the mattress that came with our camper.  We ordered a triple density foam 8-inch mattress online and then put a 3-inch topper on it.

It is very comfortable, but the height required that I remove a small cabinet door near the foot of the bed since the additional height of the mattress prevented opening the door to access storage for clothing.

Personally, I think the camper manufacturers should offer the option of buying the camper without a mattress.  We donated the factory mattress.  The RV industry rarely use a top quality mattress.” – Dewey Lackey, 2003 Silverado 3500, 2014 Lance 1172

“After a few years of the original 4-inch foam mattress and a nice memory foam topper, I decided to buy something better.  I did a lot of research on RV mattresses.  What I found was Bed In a Box made by Zinus.

It’s a camper Queen mattress.  It fits well and sleeps well.  It’s 8-inches thick and has three layers.  I have a Sleep Number at home and I wanted something better then what was originally in the camper.  No, it’s not a Sleep Number but it sleeps well and I wake up feeling refreshed.

The only thing is that the cabinet door rubs the bed.  I just push down a little with my hand to open the door.  Amazon has several of the RV mattresses.  It’s hard to try them out on the internet, but I read many reviews and decided on what I bought.” – Jeff Hagberg, 2002 Ford F250, 2006 Travel Lite 800 SBX

“Previously, I had a Palomino and the factory mattress was heaven.  When I got the CampLite I was sore and disappointed the first time out with it.  Immediately I bought a 2-inch high-density egg crate mattress topper and have never looked back.  I have some of the best sleeps on that combination.” – Heather Rutherford, 2016 Ford F150, 2015 CampLite 5.7

“We have a Select Comfort air mattress with dual controls.  I like my side firm and she likes hers mushy.  I’m not sure why she puts air in it at all.  The queen bed fit perfectly in the cab over.  The only real challenge is that as you go up in altitude the harder the bed gets with pressure, so you’re having to let air out as your altitude increases and add air as you decline in altitude.” – Douglas Caruolo, 2001 Ford F350, 2016 Eagle cap 1160

“The original mattress was worn out.  I went with an 8-inch Zinus memory foam mattress from Amazon.  I ordered a queen size for a camper (74 inches long by 60 inches wide).  It is very comfortable, and a bit firm.  The price is reasonable at $160.” – Ron Wolfgram, 2000 Ford F250, 2006 Adventurer 810WS

“Our camper came with a California king size mattress.  I switched it for an elastomeric foam queen.  I don’t find camper mattresses comfortable, and the California kind didn’t provide for any space on one side of the bed.

This is our second truck camper.  I have replaced with the mattress with elastomeric foam both times.  I got the mattresses from Amazon.  They were shipped for free in a vacuum pack which made it easy to put into the sleeping loft, open, and expand.” – Nancy Meiners, 2015 Ford F350, 2016 Adventurer 116DS

“In our camper we have a Signature Sleep 8-inch memory foam mattress bought from Amazon Prime.  We threw out our factory mattress after two years!

We were limited to a 8-inch height mattress because of cabinet doors.  The queen size width was a little wider then the factory mattress, but it still fit.  We have a 12-inch Signature Sleep memory foam mattress at home.  It is without a doubt the most comfortable mattress we’ve ever slept on and you can’t beat the price!” – Mark Larson, 2017 Ram 3500, 2016 Arctic Fox 811

“I just got back into truck campers after ten years of going to the dark side – Class As.

The first thing was to replace the old mattress.  I went to MattressInsider.com.  It is 5.5-inch thick gel foam.  Delivered to my door the total is a little under $400.

They are custom making me a 58×80 queen that fits the 59-inch wide box that Arctic Fox builds.  The width is important because the bed has to slide in and out freely in order to be made.  A standard 60×80 queen binds along the sides and is hard to move.” – George Young, 2016 Ford F350, 2007 Arctic Fox 1140

“We kept the mattress that came with the Lance camper and put on a mattress topper. The combination makes for a very comfortable sleep.” – Mike Monteith, 2015 Ford F350, 2016 Lance 1150

“We’ve always bought new RVs and never liked any of the new mattresses that they came with.  Some time ago we discovered a brand called Lucid that’s sold through a company called Linen Spa.  Our first order was for a tri-fold 3-inch covered foam mattress for a small camper.

After it arrived and aired up over the recommended 48 hours, I found a couple of small indentations in the foam.  Most people wouldn’t have noticed them, but I am particular.  I called Linen Spa customer service and was greeted by a very friendly and professional agent who was profusely apologetic.  She told me to just keep the one we had and told me they would ship a replacement immediately.  Two days later a new one arrived at my door.

It was in perfect shape and we found it surprisingly comfortable as both a couch and folded out as a mattress.  Some time later we bought a new truck camper and didn’t like the mattress so I naturally thought of Linen Spa simply because of their great product and customer service.

We ordered a Lucid 5-inch memory foam mattress which was 4-inches of firm hi-density foam with an inch of memory foam on top.  It was nicely enclosed in a removable cotton covering.  At first I thought it to be on the firm side, but I prefer it that way.

As it turned out, it was the most comfortable night’s sleep I ever had and I fell deeply in love with it.  During the months when the camper was off the truck, I would go out to the camper just to take naps.  Once in place, I didn’t want to get out of bed.

Everyone who we convinced to climb in and try it immediately felt the same way.  When it came time to sell the camper, the first thing I did was tell the prospective buyer how comfortable it was and invite them to lay down.  The mattress sold the camper in about two minutes.  I have another one in my Amazon cart waiting for our next truck camper. Here’s link with sizes and pricing: http://amzn.to/2sPHd28

Unfortunately, they don’t make a short queen for many RVs.” – Neil Mullen, 2016 Ram 2500 Tradesman, In between campers at the moment

“I returned the mattress that came with the camper because it had dents after a couple of uses.  They offered to replace it with the same item or to give me a refund.  I took the refund and ordered a foam mattress online that is a few inches shorter and fits better.  It works much better.” – Craig Brooks, 2012 Chevy Silverado 3500, 2015 Arctic Fox 811

“We changed our mattress a few years ago.  We sleep on a memory foam mattress now.  It is a short queen and the new one is an inch shorter than the original.  It is much taller; 11-inches versus 5-inches, and much more comfortable.  It reduces the headroom somewhat in our non-basement camper, but the added comfort is well worth the loss of headroom.” – Kevin Davidson, 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 3500, 2001 Lance 1010

“I bought my camper used and thought the existing mattress was too thin.  I bought an RV mattress that was thicker and more comfortable.  But, it was very difficult to put in and I wish I had one that is easier to take in and out.” – Marvin Jansen, 2005 Chevy 2500HD, 1997 Lance Squire Lite

“We replaced the factory mattress after only a few months of use.  It was awful!  We replaced it with an 8-inch natural latex foam mattress.  It was not the lightest or cheapest option, but it is the most comfortable mattress we own.  8-inches was the thickest mattress that would fit without blocking the closet doors alongside the bed.  It is a residential queen size mattress which fits perfectly in the cabover.” – Celina Binns, 2014 Ford F350, 2014 Arctic Fox 1150

“I have a queen size 8-inch thick gel memory foam mattress.  It fits perfectly and is the most comfortable mattress I’ve ever slept on.  I’m going to buy one for my home.” – Marc Cuslidge, 2006 2500HD, 1994 Weekender 1010

“We changed out the factory mattress after the first season of use.  In fact, when we first purchased the Sleep Number mattress we used it in our house for several months.  We added a thin mattress pad to make the comfort better still.” – Steve Fisher, 2013 GMC 3500, 2014 Chalet DS116

“We still have the original mattress.  We find it comfortable.  We were very surprised how comfortable it was even on the first night.  There was no need to get used to it.  The material is starting to show wear on the edges, but we still love it.” – Rag Rag, 2017 Ford F150, 1990 Sportsman 8FSD

“This is a great topic and one that I think camper manufacturers are missing the boat by a mile.  It seems to be a given that we spend all that money on a camper but get a mattress that is not worth sleeping on.

The factory mattress was the first thing I changed on my camper.  It is not an easy thing to do on a truck camper.  I think some would be unable to do it as it was a real wrestling match to get the old mattress out.  After the fact, I saw a tip on the Lance Owners of America forum on how to use a ratchet strap to roll the old mattress up.

I replaced it with a 7-inch memory foam that I found on Overstock.  I can’t remember a brand, but any memory foam would be more comfortable than the factory mattress.

I measured the stock mattress before I ordered a new one and the fit was perfect.  The memory foam came vacuum sealed as small as possible.  It was not nearly as hard to put in the camper as it was to get the old one out.  I now sleep just as well if not better in the camper than my normal bed at home.

I have a number of pet peeves and one of my top ones is the bedding that campers come with.  The other one is the poor traction of the tires that now come stock on most trucks.  But I live in snow country so most people probably get by with what comes stock.” – Terry Gfeller, 2015 Ram 2500, 2013 Lance 865

“I kept the factory mattress but supplemented it with a 2-inch foam topper from Walmart.  It fits perfectly.  The only problem is that you have to push down on the left corner to open the cabinet.  But, for the added comfort, it is well worth it.” – Richard Blohm, 2016 Ford F450, 2015 Lance 1172

“The original mattress was absolutely terrible to sleep on.  It gave us both back aches every time we slept on it.  We have a Temper-Pedic mattress at home and wanted the same thing in our camper.  We didn’t want to spend that much for something that would only be used a few times a year.

After researching all the different foam mattress units available, we settled on a 12-inch Queen size replacement that was $600 from Tuft & Needle.  It has been great and we have no back issues anymore – ever.  I wouldn’t hesitate a minute from recommending a Tuft & Needle replacement to anybody with any type RV.” – Robert Hicks, 2010 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD, 2011 Lance 992

“We bought the truck camper used and immediately took out the inner spring mattress and replaced it with a mattress in a box from Walmart.  Regrettably they no longer show the make we got as available, but it is 8-inches thick; 2.5-inches of memory foam and 5.5-inches of firm foam.

It was 1-inch thick when we unpacked it and quickly expanded to its full thickness even though the instructions said it could take up to 24 hours.  We like it so much that we put it on all of our beds at home as well.” – Bill Billyard, 2000 Dodge Ram 3500, 2008 Palomino Winter Creek 115RS

“I changed from the factory mattress to a Sleep Number mattress.  I was interested in greater comfort which I achieved plus the much lighter weight is a bonus.

The length and width of the mattress is the same as the factory mattress, but the thickness is about 2-inches taller.  This does not pose any compatibility issues.  The largest issues in replacing the mattress were getting the factory mattress out and finding a place to install the air pump for the Sleep Number mattress.

I have been very happy with the Sleep Number mattress, but found it very surprising how much the firmness changes from low elevations to high elevations and vice versa.  Of course this requires adjusting the firmness level when settling in for the night but, with the remote control, it’s not a big issue.” – Eldon Rhodes, 2008, Chevy 3500HD, 2011 Lance 1050

“I have a Queen Tempur-Pedic.  I replaced the OEM mattress with a better quality mattress with better support for my old Infantry back.  With a career in the Army Infantry carrying a very heavy rucksack on my back for over 20 years, I need good support and the Tempur-Pedic provides it.” – Don Pryor, 2017 Ford F350, 2008 Arctic Fox 1150

“I bought a new queen for the house and moved the old house queen mattress to the camper.” – Anja Franczek, 2011 Ford F250, Lance 865

“I kept the new mattress that came in the camper, but added a 3-inch memory foam topper.  It’s actually pretty comfortable.” – John Leslie, 2017 Ram 3500, 2016 Palomino HS-2911

“We purchased the truck camper from Truck Camper Warehouse used with a king size Sleep Number mattress already in it.  The mattress fits perfectly probably because there are no cabinets in the sleeping area on the driver’s side.” – Mark Unger, 2017 Chevy 3500, 2013 Chalet TS116

“We still have the original mattress.  We added a pillow/quilted cover to it and still sleep like babies.  Plus, the challenge of taking it out and putting another one in doesn’t look like a fun time.” – Ron Williams, 1997 Ford F250, 2003 Lance 1010

“The mattress that came with our Northern Lite was pretty nice, but a little thin for our liking.  We installed a Froli sleep system under the mattress and added a 2-inch queen memory foam mattress on top.  Now we sleep better in our camper than we do at home!

If you are not familiar with the Froli system, it was originally developed for boat berths, and acts like a box spring, but is customizable for your hip and shoulder regions where there is more pressure exerted downward.  It’s a pricey system, but worth every dime!” – Bryan Lyerly, 2007 GMC Sierra, 2012 Northern Lite 8-11 QSE

“We replaced the mattress with a foam mattress.  It is lighter and warmer for spring and fall camping.” – Gerry Whitley, 2001 Chevy K2500, 2006 Adventurer 80W

“We have Select Comfort air bladders that we have converted to fit inside the mattress cover that came with our camper.  We can use the Select Comfort blower when we are connected to shore power or the 12-volt blower when we are boondocking.

We flatten the mattress bladders when we lower the top for travel.  That leaves enough space so we can leave the sheets, blankets, and quilts in place when the top is down.” – Laurel Wilson, 2018 Ford F350, 2016 Four Wheel Grandby Shell

“We have the original mattress and, so far, it’s been very comfortable to sleep on.  This summer we are on our way to Newfoundland for three months so we will know better after the trip.” – Bill Londry, 2011 Silverado 2500HD, 2016 Adventurer 86FB

“The factory mattress is a standard queen mattress.  It is from Sealy I think.  It was okay, but we were used to a wonderful Tempur-Pedic at home.  Our prior rig was a travel trailer with an awful futon mattress, so we bought a 4-inch thick memory foam pad for it which we then transferred to our Lance.

Since the pad was a queen, it fit perfectly on top of the factory mattress.  For the two years that we were on the road full-time, we slept just fine.  No complaints.  The pad was a vast improvement.

The only problem was that the added thickness blocked the opening on a cabinet on the driver’s side at the foot of the bed.  We stored stuff in there that we didn’t need on a daily basis.  When we did need to get in there, it was a fairly simple matter to just fold back the pad in order to open the cabinet door.” – Joanne Hall, 2014 Chevy Silverado 3500HD, 2014 Lance 1172

“We still have the original foam mattress and it’s very comfortable!” – Orian Hartviksen, 2011 Ford F350, Northern Lite 8-11

“I kept the factory mattress.  It’s firm, and very comfortable for me.  I can sleep pretty much anywhere on anything.  I’m still looking for the ultimate pillow though.” – Christine Dyer, 2012 Chevy Silverado, 2016 Four Wheel Camper Hawk Shell

“I’m still using the mattress that came with the camper.  It’s a Sealy.  Fortunately, it was super clean and in good condition.

Initially found it to be a tad uncomfortable, mainly when sleeping on my side.  Then I went out and bought a blue, closed cell backpacking pad and put it under the mattress.  That was enough to solve the problem, and super cheap.  Note that these are super light at right around one pound each.

I was also looking at memory foam, but that stuff is heavy and a lot more expensive.  The blue foam solved my problem for less than $25.” – Joel Gambino, 2017 Ford F350, 2015 Palomino SS-1251

“The factory mattress is very comfortable and a rather snug fit.  We are considering some sort of breathable layer under the mattress.” – Scott and Daryl Kern, 2015 Chevy 3500, 2017 Bigfoot 25C10.4

“We tried the original equipment mattress out before going on a trip and thought the mattress needed a little more cushion.  So, we put on a 3-inch foam topper that we had.  Unfortunately, the topper was touching the roof when the top was down and it was no help with sleeping.

One day shopping at Bed, Bath, and Beyond we found this therapeutic mattress foam 2-inch topper and put it on our mattress.  This topper made our mattress feel like we were sleeping on a new mattress.  Our topper now goes from our home to our camper.” – Glenn Schuett, 2015 Ford F150, 2013 Northstar TC650

“When we purchased our current camper, it was five years old and the previous owners had installed a futon mattress.  No matter what we did, this was never comfortable for us.  We looked at new campers to see what they had for mattresses but, especially for the price, we were not impressed.

What we ended up doing was making our own mattress to insure it fit just right.  After I measured, I went to a local store carrying foam rubber.  I checked different thicknesses and firmness.  I selected 3-inches of firm and 2-inches of a memory type foam.

I then had them cut to my size requirements and, using a special glue type, had them glued together.  Because of the taper at the head of the bed I bought a couple of extra pieces which I trimmed to fit as a filler.

After fitting everything in place I covered the mattress with a conventional mattress cover and fitted sheet.  So far this has worked quite well for us.” – David Pracht, 2015 GMC K3500, 1987 Lance LC900

“We added a 1-inch memory foam topper to the factory mattress and a cuddle bed fitted pad on top.  I would change to a Select Comfort, but I am not sure the length would work, or where I would locate the pump.” – Tom Scholtens, 2010 Silverado, 2013 Bigfoot 25c10.4

“I bought my camper used and it had the original Serta queen mattress.  The previous owner had not used the camper much, so the mattress is in great shape.  I do want to get a topper for it but, as of now, it’s a great mattress.” – Andrew Pratt, 2012 Ram 1500, 2015 Palomino SS-1240

“I kept the factory mattress, which was not bad, and added a 3-inch memory foam topper.  That was a game changer!” – Danny C, 2016 Ram 2500, CampLite 9.6s

“I bought a truckers 4-inch king size foam mattress to replace the worn out queen.  After removing the side storage box and some of the front box, I split the king to make twin beds up front.  I find it to be very comfortable.  New question: How many campers use a twin bed set up in their campers?” – Gene Funk, 2001 Diplomat Slumber Queen 810W

“I use a Teton Sports Universal Camp Pad.  It works great plus I can pull it out and use it to sleep outside!” – Chuck Cox, 2005 Ford F150, Range Rider Cap

“From past experience, I always found the factory mattress was never that comfortable.  When I bought my new Northern Lite, I thought the first thing I’ll need to do is look for a new mattress.  The day I picked up my camper, I got a chance to use it because we had to go to a wedding that night.

Well, long story short, from that day on, if I want a good night’s sleep, I go out to my camper.  I spent a lot of money on my bedroom mattress, but I just can’t beat the comfort of my Northern Lite factory mattress.

Without a good comfortable night’s sleep, your day can be a not so pleasant one.  Way to go Northern Lite.  You have supplied a top of the line mattress in your new campers.

Next time you’re at an RV trade show, climb up into the bed and check out the comfortable mattress they supply.  Thumbs up in my book.” – Jeff Mawbey, 2010 GMC 3500, 2010 Northern Lite Queen

“Like many truck campers, in the beginning we used the factory mattress.  It didn’t take long before we realized how lousy of a mattress it was.  In hindsight this didn’t give Lance Manufacturing very many brownie points with me and my wife.

So the search began for a better mattress that would be comfortable.  The Lance 815 presents a bit of a challenge in the cabover because it’s a low profile hard-side.  You have to be careful on how thick of a mattress you get or you could find yourself hitting your head on the ceiling every time you sit up.

We tried to improve the existing mattress with a topper and iso board under the mattress.  This method really didn’t work well.  We also tried an air mattress.  This was comfortable but had the inherited problem in cold weather of still being cold even with a topper and iso board under it.

Then we heard about Parklane RV mattresses and checked them out.  We have had this mattress for several years and it has proven itself to be comfortable even in cooler weather.  We do have a topper on it, but no iso board under it.

Our mattress size is a RV queen size short.  It arrived in a box rolled up and tied.  It was easy to install.  We simply removed the old mattress, placed the new mattress on the cabover deck and cut the string that holds it together.  We let it air out for about 12 hours, and then put the sheets and blankets on it.” – Alex Blasingame, 2007 Ford F250, 2002 Lance 815

“I have an IKEA foam mattress.  It’s light and inexpensive as far as mattresses go.  It bends in sections so it’s easy to get through the door.  Since it’s not very thick, like many mattresses are these days, it gives lots of head room when sitting on the bed.” – Connie Westbrook, 2003 Chevrolet 3500, 1996 Lance Squire 5000

“We still have the inner spring mattress that Lance provided with the camper.  We put a foam topper on it and we were comfortable for quite a while, but now we both have aching backs after sleeping on it.

We have been actively discussing what to do for some months now.  We have tried to flip the mattress, but cannot seem to find enough room in the camper to even do that!  And the idea of taking it out through the door puts us in a real quandary.

The idea of sawing it in half straight down the middle lengthwise has occurred, but that’s when we kind of just backed off, which is where we are now.  The futon idea sounds good.  So how do we get the factory mattress out of the camper?  Right now we feel like we are just missing some vital piece of information.  Maybe it’s a dealer problem?” – John and Terri Tully, 2014 Ram 3500, 2015 Lance 855s

Editor’s Note: Terry Gfeller commented above about a Lance Owners of America forum post recommending a ratchet strap to remove old camper mattresses.

“I am approximately two and a half years on the OEM mattress and you read my mind.  I am looking for a new one.  I did some searching on forums and found two options.  A foam mattress from Costco ($$$), or from Amazon ($$).  I was just about to pull the trigger on the Amazon one, but now that you bring it up, I’ll will wait for other options.

I do have a Sunbeam heated mattress pad and it’s the best thing since sliced bread. Using the PH (Preheat) 20 minutes before bed is like putting on fleece/cotton sweats straight from a dryer (a warm one that is).  It’s seventh heaven.

I’m looking for a foam 8-inch mattress even though a 12-inch would be nice.  I’m not sure it really makes that much of a difference and would have to cut the foam around the cabinets to open the doors.  It’s no big deal.  The biggest issue I see is what to do with the old one.  The dump seems to be the only option.

Also, how do I get old one out and a new one in when I’m by myself?  I might have to use tie-down straps to roll it up.  The new one will be pre-rolled in plastic, so I’ll shove it in and place it in the bed area.  I might even insulate the bottom with the silver foam bubble insulation.  I’m not sure yet.  Another big question is the smell.  They say it needs to air out for 24 to 48 hour.  I’m probably not going to do that.  I’ll install early in the morning.

I have used the factory mattress, a heating pad single controller, fitted sheet, regular sheet and a 750 down quilt for 6 years now and it works perfectly.  You read my mind and that’s a scary thing – even on this end.  Joking.” – Frank Poole, Ram 5500 HD, Arctic Fox 990

“Buying the Lance 920 in 1999, one of its selling features was its real coil-spring mattress; not just a 3-inch chunk of foam.  After sleeping on it for several years, it just wasn’t comfortable enough.

We’d switched to memory foam mattresses at home.  Even with several toppers of differing types, including memory foam, we were like the Princess and the Pea; just not getting a sound night.

Three or four years ago, I swapped out the Serta for a Morgedal from Ikea.  The Queen-size (under $300) fit well in our north-south cabover and we’ve slept soundly ever after.” – Mark Obert, 1999 Ford F250SD, 1999 Lance 920

“We have a Sleep Number bed.  It fit just fine.” – Stuart Fritts, 2003 Dodge 3500, 2006 Lance 1181

“We have a Sleep Number bed in our truck camper.  It fit in the space perfectly (60×80) and we are so glad to have it!  We also have one at home so we just park, set the number, and sleep as good as (or better than) we do at home.

We have different firmness desires, so the dual adjustability is a must for us.  We actually first bought this mattress and used in in our Palomino 1200 pop-up truck camper.  It just barely fit when deflated, but it beat the air mattresses and other solutions we attempted to make work for us.

Now in a hard side with some head room, we laugh at the pop-up days.  But hey, whatever it takes for a good night’s sleep, right?” – Tracy Schuster, 2015 GMC 3500, 2012 Lance 992

“Sandee kept the Bigfoot queen mattress.  Grant at Bigfoot matched it exactly to the adjacent hampers and cabinets on all four corners.  She added about a 1.5-inches of foam pad and a padded mattress cover that closely matched our home mattress’s comfort level.

It is so comfortable that we prefer staying in the camper when we visit family and friends.  We just run a 110-volt extension cord with an adapter to their garage to run the refrigerator and LEDs.  We keep a small suitcase in the back of the truck double cab in case we decide to take a break from the camper and stay in a hotel.  It has not been used in 39 months, 30 states and over 30,000 miles.” – Joe Sesto, 2015 Silverado 3500, 2015 Bigfoot 2500 10.6e

“When we decided to purchase a new camper, we wanted the next one, as it would be our last one, to come from the factory as a special order.  Our dealer was in Oregon and they worked with us on making sure that camper was delivered sans the stock mattress.

We used the mattress credit towards the purchase a new RV mattress from Park Lane Mattress, which is also in Oregon.  We decided to spend the extra money on a new mattress to make sure that our mattress was as comfortable and useful as possible.  We’re now retired and using the camper for more and longer trips.

The new mattress was built, sent to the showroom, moved next door to the dealership, and waited in the manager’s office until our new camper was delivered.  Once the camper arrived, it was set up in the sleeping area.  We have a full size queen bed and the length, width, and depth fit of the new mattress was perfect and there were no issues with the cabinetry or other parts of the sleeping area.

We’re glad we made a separate purchase for the mattress.  Like many folks, we’re very active on our camping trips and a good night’s sleep is really important.  A good mattress goes a long way in making that good night’s sleep possible.  We’ve added a foam topper from Costco to it and now we sleep like we’re on a cloud, and more like the full foam model that we also liked!” – Dave Riddle, 2015 Chevrolet 3500, 2017 Host Mammoth

“We have the original mattress that came with our Wolf Creek.  When we purchased it in 2013, we have always found it very comfortable.  We have Reflectix type insulation under the mattress, and have not experienced any mold issues.  We spend over 100 nights a year in our camper.  We love our camper!” – Rick Jones, 2005 Chevrolet 2500HD, 2013 Wolf Creek 850 SB

“As far as we know, we have the factory mattress since we bought our Northern Lite used.  The original owner had added an egg crate foam topper.  Shortly after getting it home, we decided to change to a 3-inch memory foam topper.  Honestly, I was too lazy to remove the egg crate and just laid the memory foam on top.  The whole set up is a bit tall and we have to squish down the corner to access the wardrobe in the cabover.

We usually seem to get a better night’s sleep than our memory foam mattress at home. Then again, maybe it’s because we are out and away from our real life cares.” – Kris and Frank Thomas, 2007 Ram 3500, 2007 Northern Lite 10-2 CDSE

“We bought our camper second hand from a dealer and it came with a brand new, but lower quality queen mattress.  When we got home we switched out the heated mattress from our fifth wheel trailer and sold the new mattress with the trailer.  As the years passed, the mattress was losing form.  We added a memory foam topper.

Everything in the camper is fitted for a queen mattress, so there were no problems with fit.  However, we did add one of those foil blankets under the mattress to prevent the cold from seeping up through the cabover.  We usually push the boundaries of camping in Canada.” – Tricia Mason, 2009 Ford F350, 2008 S&S Montana Ponderosa

“I kept the original mattress that came with the camper .  It was a thin 3-inches and pretty hard.  Then a light bulb came on and I remembered that I had a two inch memory foam pad that I had purchased at Costco.  I trimmed it down a bit and viola, blissful oblivion.” – Steve Timmings, 2003 Ford F350, 2013 Four Wheel Hawk SC

“We have the factory mattress, but added the Froli Sleep System which basically elevates the mattress on plastic spacers giving us a couple of additional inches of comfort.  It also allows air to circulate under the mattress preventing mildew, but that has never been an issue for us.” – Eddie Fort, 2016 Ford F350, 2016 Hallmark Everest

“We really lucked out when we bought our camper.  The previous owner had installed a 10-inch thick top-of-the-line memory foam mattress.  We had bought memory foam toppers for previous campers, but our present bed is the most comfortable thing we have ever slept on!” – Audrey Ruccio, 2008 Ford F450, 2008 Host Everest

“When we purchased our used 2002 Bigfoot, the mattress had been factory upgraded from foam to a 5-inch deep spring coil mattress.  Over the past ten years, the coils have definitely lost their spring and we are limited to the depth of topper we can put on because of impeding opening of the doors on the side cupboards.

I hate the mattress.  It’s lumpy and hard at the same time.  I hate changing the bed. Trying to pull up the forward corners of a coil spring mattress to put on a fitted sheet while your kneeling on it with little to no head room is worse than a hot yoga session.

My husband has to lay flat on his stomach to change the bed so somehow this has become my job.  Also the lack of support/padding wasn’t helping my sciatica.

I was prepared to order a custom memory foam as the Bigfoot queen is only 60 x 74 as opposed to the standard 60 x 80, but we’ve purchased a slightly larger 2008 Bigfoot 25C9.4 so the old mattress will soon be someone else’s problem.

The newer model allows for a thicker mattress and comes with factory foam.  If it isn’t comfortable, l will definitely be ordering a custom foam with memory topper.

We spend a lot of time in our camper.  We’re in our mid 60s and life is way too short to put up with a bad mattress.” – Cathy Curtis, 2010 Chevy 2500, 2002 Bigfoot 25C8.11

“We changed the lumpy factory mattress after adding a Hypervent pad.  The Hypervent raised the height making it difficult to open cabinet doors.

We bought a Queen Size  Lucid 5-inch gel Memory Foam mattress that is dual-layered and CertiPUR-US Certified.  It has a firm feel.  We got it from Amazon.  This mattress is extremely comfortable.  I have no problem with cabinet doors now.” – Gary Goyette, 2016 GMC 3500HD, 2012 Northern Lite SE

“We replaced the factory mattress with a Corsicana 8521-Q 8-inch memory foam mattress.  It has a foam pad under it and another foam pad on top.  The mattress fit fine; no interference anywhere.  The only problem we have with the new mattress is that we don’t want to get out of bed in the morning.” – Grayden Obenour, 2011 Ford F350, 2000 Lance 920

“We bought our truck camper used.  The original owners bought it with two twin mattresses.  We pushed the mattresses together and added a topper and quilted mattress cover that we bought from Walmart.  This worked for about a year while we thought about what mattress we wanted.

Last year we bought a 10-inch Zinus Ultima Comfort memory foam mattress (from Amazon) for the camper.  We spent two months in the camper going to Alaska last year and the mattress was very comfortable.  It has been a very good choice for us.” – Pat Bullock, 2016, Ford F350, 2001 Lance 1030

“Our camper came with Serta queen size mattress.  We did add on top of it a Nikken magnetic mattress topper.  We sleep excellent.  It’s every bit as good to sleep on as our new bed at home.” – David Stephens, 2018 Chevy 3500 HD, 2014 Lance 1050S

“We use the factory mattress with a 2-inch thick memory foam on top.  It’s very comfortable and we sleep just great.  It still gives us plenty of head room.” – Dan Guptill, 2015 Ram 3500, 2008 Bigfoot 25C10.4E

“Sleep is such an important part of truck camping.  A few nights sleep in our newly purchased truck camper told us we definitely have to change the mattress.  In our house, we have a Sleep Number bed with 3-inches of memory foam.  It’s the kind with cooling gel so you do not overheat.  It sleeps wonderfully!

For our truck camper we figured, “Why not get the same thing?”  We did and purchased a 3-inch memory foam pad to use on top of the factory mattress.  It works great.  We have no problem with sleep whenever we use our truck camper.” – Angie Scott, 2014 Chevy Silverado 3500HD, 2016 Northern Lite 8-11

“When I bought our used camper, it had a queen standard RV mattress.  I removed a built-in cabinet that housed a stereo system.  This gave me the room for a king size mattress.  I bought two used twin mattresses and a foam piece designed to convert two twins to a king.  I then put a king mattress topper on and added bedding.

It was nice but, over time, it felt like the mattresses were too thick, not leaving a lot of head room.  I had bought a 6-inch thick twin bunk bed for the grandkids and we liked it.  So now I’m buying another and these will serve double duty for the camper and the bunk beds.” – Mitch Reeves, 2001 Ford E-350, 1993 Shadow Cruiser

“My wife and I decided to get a 10-inch memory foam mattress.  It fits perfectly with just enough space to open the cabinets.  An 8-inch mattress would have been a little better fit for opening and closing the cabinets.

With the 10-inch mattress, the side cabinets open with a little bit of space between the mattress and door.  I am 5’10” and can sit up and not hit my head, so there is enough space with the added mattress height.” – Kurt Macomber, 1993 Ford F350, 2016 Arctic Fox 990

“The mattress was old garbage.  I went to a mattress store and told them that I needed a reasonable queen size mattress.  They got me a Simmons with a foam top.  He said it was a short queen, not a long one.  I could not fit an overly thick mattress because of height restrictions, so I got one that’s about 7-inches high.” – Gary Burgess, 2005 Dodge 3500, 1998 Kodiak 9.5

“I have the original mattress, but we added 1.5-inch memory foam topper.  It is a good fit and we like it.  The dog has not tried it yet.” – John Heath, 2013 Dodge 3500, 2016 Adventurer 86FB

“We kept the factory mattress.  It is extremely comfortable and is a perfect fit in the camper as it should be for a factory install.  We have never felt the need to add a topper, extra foam, etc.  It helps that we purchased the camper new and therefore are the only ones to have slept on the mattress.” – Sean Lynn, 2018 Ram 3500, 2014 Lance 950S

“We have a Tuft & Needle mattress.  It is a memory foam mattress made of organic materials.  It fits in the camper fine.  It is 10-inches thick so I had to raise a cabinet door to clear it, but that was the only fit problem.

The Lance mattress developed a hole in it.  We had a memory foam topper on it.  The new mattress is very comfortable and very reasonably priced.  They are only sold online.” – Kevin Hasch, 2013 Ram 5500, 2013 Lance 1172

“I acquired a new multi-layered custom cut foam mattress.  It fits perfectly and it’s very comfortable.” – Alan Bryant, 2002 Ford F250, 1992 S&S 851

“I am going to talk about our former camper.  We ordered the camper with twin beds so that we would have more flexibility in the bed area.  We could have twins for the guys on hunting trips or make it into a king size bed for the two of us.

When the original twins needed replacing, we went to a business that made mattresses out of foam.  We had them make two twin size beds that they covered in a nice fabric.  We could use a sleeping bag or completely make it up with regular bedding.

They were very comfortable.  As with the original twin mattresses, we had a good size storage area alongside the bed that we used in many different ways through the years.  Now we have a new camper and we have made no mattress changes.” – Glenda Dwyer, 1997 Ford F-250, 1998 Lance 11’3″

“I have a Cabelas X-Large, 83-inch by 38-inch self-inflating Outfitter Sleeping Pad.  I open the valve when traveling, give it one puff of air, and close the valve.  This gives me the perfect inflation for a great night’s sleep.  The mattress that came with the Arctic Fox was way too soft for me.  I didn’t sleep on it even one night.” – Ronald Ramos, 2003 Ram 3500, 2017 Arctic Fox 900

“I slept on new factory mattress one weekend and nope, not again.  I ordered a Tuft & Needle mattress.  It’s more comfortable than our Ghost Bed in the house.  It’s about 3-inches taller, but it fits great and is easier to make since you can pull back the corners.  You can’t do that with the stock one since it’s an innerspring style.” – Mark Johnson, 2015 Chevrolet 3500HD, 2018 Lance 1062

“I have a Zinus memory foam 10-inch green tea, and it fit with no problems.” – John Powell, 2004 Dodge 3500, 2009 Eagle Cap 950

“I swapped in a queen latex mattress just like the king bed at home.  I already had the mattress and figured we would make the swap, but after just a few nights, the decision was easy.

The length and width were the same as the original.  I just needed some extra hands to put it in place.  I installed a Hypervent mattress pad from Fisheries Supply at the same time.  I’m 6’1” but the extra thickness of the mattress and pad are no issue.” – Tom and Kristin Lowe, 2016 GMC 3500, 2017 Host Mammoth

“Our mattress is the one that came with the camper.  I like the warmth of the foam mattress, but that is the only thing good about it.  It has developed a depression in the middle which tells me it’s cheap.  I would like to purchase a new one so I am anxiously awaiting the results of this question.” – John Bull, 2004 Dodge 3500, 2015 Arctic Fox 990

“I have an IKEA twin bed mattress. The twin side-by-side fits the camper easily.  I added Travel-Sak and regular pillows. It took some time to find the correct size.” – RV Little, 2003 Toyota Tundra, Four Wheel Fleet SC

“While looking at used campers, I found many with extremely heavy mattresses and wondered why when weight is a factor.  Foam can be limiting in many ways and one of the items that I will pay attention to on my choice of camper.  In the meantime, I still go camping and found the perfect camping pad/mattress that could work in a camper.

Exped is everything a perfect mattress needs to be – light weight (around 10 pounds), 4-inch adjustable padding, and thermal insulating.  It is costly, but for the comfort it is worth it.  They are now making them in sizes for campers.  Just buy two and put them together with their ingenious designs.  My brother slept on the floor for three months on one without a complaint.” – Sue Chalmers, soon to buy a truck and camper

“Our mattress is a Ducan.  It is an innerspring mattress and was standard for Northern Lite at the time of our purchase.  We have a topper on it also.  I don’t know the brand off hand, and I dare not uncover the made up bed.  I have had a very bad back problem for twenty years and I sleep very well on our bed.  I have no issues at all.” – J. Kevin McCarron, 2013 Ford F350, 2013 Northern Lite 10-2 CDSE

“Soon to be shown the door, we have the factory mattress.  Last year we decided was its last.  We are planning this year to get this one from Ikea.

Or maybe we’ll use the futon from the basement after reading Gordon’s intro!” – Jim McIrvin, 2015 Ford F350, 2012 Lance 1191

“We use the factory mattress.  I bought my camper new, went to Costco before we slept on it, and bought a 3-inch Nova memory foam mattress pad.  The bed is a full size queen so it fit just right.” – Kim and Lori Oliver, 2015 GMC 3500, 2013 Adventure 86SBS

“We have the king size original on top of a standard circulation system.  Love it.” – Mark Nutting, 2016 Ford F250, 2016 Cirrus 800

“With our previous truck camper, a 2005 Lance 1121, we kept the Lance supplied mattress and added a memory foam mattress topper.  We slept on that mattress for a number of years until the storage building where we stored our camper burned to the ground.  Our Lance was no longer.

When we buy our 1172 we might think about a Sleep Number mattress.  I have a really bad back (five surgeries in twelve years).  I have a Tempur-Pedic adjustable at home.  I have not figured out how to put an adjustable in a truck camper yet, so a Sleep Number may be in our next camper.” – Steve Bridges, 2017 Ram 3500, in the market for a Lance 1172

“I changed the mattress as soon as we got the camper.  The stock mattress was terrible. I replaced it with a memory foam type mattress that we picked out at the local mattress store.  It made a big difference.” – Craig Hodges, 2008 Ford F350, 2008 Host Everest

“When I purchased the camper used, I replaced the factory mattress with a 6-inch thick foam mattress.  As I’m a solo traveler, I also downsized from a queen to a full size to save on weight and to make it easier to make the bed.

In addition, I installed a Froli Sleep System under the mattress to increase the comfort and allow air flow.  I would have gotten a thicker mattress but then my access to a storage drawer and a wardrobe would have been blocked.” – Brett Burguard, 2017 Ford F350, 2012 Northstar 9.5 Igloo

“I have an OEM Serta, I believe.  It’s very heavy and uncomfortable, and no way to easily remove, short of cutting it up.  I use a 3-inch memory foam topper.” – Bill Close, 2012 Lance 850

“We have our original mattress and plan to keep it.  Our camper is designed and built for a half-ton pickup.  It has some quirky features unique to it.  One is a mattress which is two pieces with a sewn in hinge.  This is necessary to access the refrigerator which is basically in bed with us.

This situation requires a learning curve because we have to live by the daytime (back flap up), nighttime (back flap down) system.  This we must do because the double door shirt closet is beside the refrigerator and the back flap must be down to open these doors.  Happy trails to you.” – Charles and Barbara King, 2011 Chevy Silverado, 2017 CampLite 6.5

“RVs usually do not come with good quality mattresses, regardless if it is a motorhome, fifth wheel, or truck camper.  Everyone has their own preference of what they like as far as firmness, and this is why manufacturers put inexpensive mattresses in RVs.

Our Arctic Fox came with a queen size mattress that was okay at first but, after a couple of months, it started sinking down where we laid and became extremely uncomfortable.

We have a fifth wheel that is our home base, but we travel in our truck camper for most of the year.  Our fifth wheel has a Select Comfort queen size air mattress with dual controls that we absolutely love.

We ended up purchasing a Comfort Aire air mattress that has dual controls for our truck camper.  We actually purchased a double/full mattress rather than a queen.  A queen is 60-inches by 80-inches.  A double/full mattress is 54-inches by 75-inches.  The difference in width was 6-inches from the queen to the double/full, so that gave us 3-inches on each side for space.

We now have room to tuck down the top sheet, blanket and thick comforter-bedspread.  We can’t tell the difference between the double/full and the queen and feel we have more than enough room to sleep.  Ralph and I are both 5’9” and the 75-inch length is not an issue for us.

Our mattress is 11-inches thick and, with the pillow top and bedspread, we are able to open up our wardrobe doors.  We also have a 1-inch pad that goes underneath our mattress that prevents any condensation.  We ordered this through an online boating store.

I found a website where you can buy good quality separate sheets.  We purchased separate double fitted sheets and top twin flat sheets.  This way we had the right amount of overhang on each side of the mattress.

We purchased a good quality pillow top mattress cover.  Down the road we may buy an electric mattress pad to keep us toasty warm like we have in our fifth wheel.

The pump to our air mattress fit nicely in our wardrobe closet.  We just drilled a small round hole for the airlines to go through.” – Angela Klinger, 2004 Dodge 3500, 2017 Arctic Fox 1140

“I bought the camper used five years ago with the original foam mattress.  I measured up the north-south cabover and found it to be the size of a standard queen.  I got in touch with Classic Bedding (my local mattress maker) and they hooked me up with exactly the same mattress I have on my bed at home.  The only issue is that I had to give up a few inches of headroom, but since my nights are so restful, I call it a win.” – Jim Novotny, 1995 Dodge Ram 2500, 1994 Lance Squire 4000

“With a radiant heat system there’s plenty of room for the three of us.  We have a king size with table ends. It’s like sleeping on a cloud.” – Mark Nutting, 2016 Ford F-250, 2017 Cirrus 800

 

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