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RV Mattress Topper VS New Mattress: 6 Ways To Decide For Your Camper

Kelly Headshot

By Kelly Beasley

The importance of a good night's sleep, especially while camping, is undeniable.

A critical factor in achieving restful sleep is the comfort and support your mattress provides, whether it has a mattress topper or not. 

European Class C parked in field with couple sitting beside it

When you're spending time on the road in your recreational vehicle, the quality of your mattress becomes even more essential for good sleep.

Whether to get an RV foam topper vs. replacement of your existing mattress can be confusing, especially with the wide array of options available.

This guide helps you make an informed choice by outlining six clear ways to determine if a mattress topper or a buying a new RV mattress is right for your motorhome or travel trailer.

Assess The Current Condition Of Your RV Mattress

The first step in determining whether you need a new mattress vs. a mattress topper is to evaluate the condition of your current RV mattress.

Marshall trailer with twin mattress on queen bed platform closeup

Look for any sags, indentations, or staining that may indicate the need for a replacement.

If your mattress is still in good shape but needs more cushioning, a memory foam mattress topper, latex mattress topper, or a high-quality mattress pillow-top pad may be the right solution.

Buying an RV mattress topper or pad is a cost-effective way to improve the comfort of your current mattress while also providing extra layers of comfort and support.

Make sure that adding a mattress topper won't make your bed too tall if you have it on a slide or if it's a Murphy bed.

"Keep a comfortable sleep environment by ensuring you have the best mattress, best pillows, and best sheets for your sleep preferences and body type." - The Sleep Foundation

Evaluate Your Sleep Preferences and Needs

Next, consider your sleep preferences and needs.

Temperature regulation is important. Mattress toppers come in a wide variety of materials.

If you're a hot sleeper, a cooling mattress topper like the memory foam toppers made from gel-infused memory foam or latex can help regulate your body temperature at night.

Dog sitting in front of RV

Photo by @WilliamTrinklePhotography

Or, if you want a warmer bed, you might get a topper made of feathers.

Side sleepers might benefit from a contouring memory foam mattress topper that provides pressure relief, while stomach sleepers may prefer a firmer mattress topper for added support.

Additionally, consider any allergies or sensitivities you may have.

Organic cotton, wool, and hypoallergenic polyester mattress toppers are excellent options for those prone to allergens, dust mites, and other irritants.

A washable RV mattress cover and protector can also be useful for keeping your sleeping environment clean and free from allergens, spills, sweat, and other, um, undesirable liquids to be sleeping on.

If you have a firm mattress and want more of a soft feel, get a soft mattress topper.

Consider Durability And Longevity

While RV mattress toppers can temporarily fix an uncomfortable mattress, they may not be a long-term solution.

If your current mattress has lost its support or shows significant wear and tear, it's time to invest in a new, high-quality bed that offers improved durability and longevity.

Memory foam mattresses, latex mattresses, and hybrid options are popular for RVers seeking long-term comfort and support.

Examine The Cost-Benefit Analysis Of A Mattress Topper

Before deciding, it's important to weigh the cost of a brand-new mattress against the price of a quality mattress topper.

Avocado RV mattress family

New mattresses (of decent quality) start around $500-$700 for the cheapest and cost upwards of $3,000.

Suppose your current camper mattress is still in decent shape and just needs a bit of extra cushioning or support. In that case, a mattress topper made from memory foam, latex, or other materials can be a more cost-effective solution (RV mattress toppers run around $150-$300).

However, if your mattress is nearing the end of its lifespan, investing in a new mattress may be the better long-term option than getting a mattress topper.

Need A Topper?

If you think a new topper is the way to go, check out our recommendations for new RV mattress toppers to find one that is right for your sleeping situation.

Test Different RV Mattress Toppers And Mattresses

Finally, the best way to determine whether you need a new mattress vs. a mattress topper is to try different options.

Visit a store or look for online retailers that offer a trial period, allowing you to test various materials, RV mattress firmness levels, plushness, and thicknesses to find the right mattress topper or mattress for your needs. (How thick should a topper be?)

Be sure to also try different fitted sheets, straps, and other RV mattress accessories to ensure a snug and secure fit, especially if you have a mattress with curved or angled corners.

RV Mattress Age Considerations

Tochta custom RV mattress box

Tochta is one of our very favorite mattress brands.

Naturally, older mattresses are likely to be worn out unless they weren't used much, seeing as how most people only use their RV a couple of times a year.

Even if not used much, the chance it's full of dander and dust mites is high, or even damaged from mildew.

You can certainly get a mattress cover to help. Otherwise, consider replacing an old RV mattress, especially if you plan to keep this camper for a long time.

RV Topper vs. Replacement Conclusion

The choice between getting an RV topper versus a replacement mattress for your RV ultimately depends on your individual needs, preferences, financial situation, and the current condition of your motorhome or travel trailer mattress.

By evaluating your current mattress, considering your sleep preferences, assessing durability and longevity, examining the cost-benefit analysis, and testing different options, you'll be better equipped to decide whether your RV needs a new mattress or if you can cover it with a mattress topper.

Kelly Headshot

I dedicated myself to living the full-time RV life for over 6.5 years, immersing myself in the unique quirks and joys of the boondocking lifestyle and gaining a wealth of knowledge and experience along the way. In December 2020, my business partner and I made the transition to part-time RVing, but in January 2023, we hit the road once again, this time in our trusty vans. My mission is to help others embrace the RVing lifestyle with confidence and excitement, armed with the knowledge and resources needed to make the most of their adventures. I believe that the more you know, the more you can truly appreciate and enjoy the freedom and flexibility of the open road.

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