RV Mattress Topper: The Easy Solution For Your Uncomfortable RV Bed!
(Camp Addict does NOT accept payment from any company to review or endorse their products.)
By Kelly Beasley
Last Updated: May 23, 2023
It's no secret that RVs come with some of the worst mattresses you can imagine. How do I know?
Because THIS is the 'mattress' my 2010 Crossroads Slingshot came with:
It. Was. Horrible.
It wasn't even a traditional travel trailer bed. It was an old futon.
I eventually broke down and bought an RV foam mattress topper.
You're here because your RV mattress isn't up to snuff, correct?
Let's figure out if a camper mattress topper is for you, and if so, what kind you should look for.
What Is An RV Mattress Topper?
An RV mattress topper is a layer of foam or other material that goes on top of your mattress for comfort enhancement.
Many campers use them to make their current mattress more comfortable for their spine and other bones, haha.
If you have shallow pockets, it's your best option because high-quality new mattresses are pricey.
Camper bed toppers come in many different materials. There are feather mattress toppers, foam toppers, and gel-infused memory foam mattress toppers.
Choosing the best RV mattress topper to suit your needs depends on your preferences.
What Kind Of Mattress Topper Can You Use In An RV?
You can use any mattress topper in an RV, and you don't have to buy ones marketed as camper mattress toppers.
Most can be trimmed down to fit your mattress if necessary.
There are also toppers called 'mattress pads.' Mattress pads are similar but don't offer enough 'cush' to make up for a sad mattress.
Benefits Of RV Mattress Toppers
An RV mattress topper can do many things to enhance your experience while camping, including contributing several health benefits.
What To Look For When Buying An RV Mattress Topper
Not all RV mattress toppers are made the same and come in as wide varieties as mattresses.
You have different comfort needs than the person camping next to you.
Meaning you need to keep some things in mind when looking.
Here are some things to consider when looking for an RV bed topper.
You might be camping mainly in high-humidity areas. This, along with the fact that, well, sometimes human bodily liquids (eew!) might come into contact with the topper, means it's not a bad idea to find a moisture-resistant topper.
That, or buy a cover for your mattress. But the topper itself doubles as a protective cover for your mattress. Bonus!
RV toppers that precisely fit camper mattress sizes do exist.
If you have a standard-sized RV mattress, such as an RV short queen, it will be 60 inches x 75 inches.
Here are some standard RV size 'named' mattresses:
That said, many mattresses in RVs are not standard-sized RV mattress.
If you're looking for, say, an RV short queen RV mattress topper or an RV king mattress topper, you won't find either in most standard mattress stores.
If this is the case, you could get a topper that can be cut to fit.
For example, a foam mattress can easily be cut.
Maybe you found a regular twin, but you have a smaller twin. Just trim it to fit.
You may not want to cut yours, so if not, find a custom topper or one that matches your mattress's dimensions.
Oh boy. This one gets personal.
But the thing is, a topper is designed to make a mattress more comfortable.
Usually, this means it makes it softer or 'cushier.'
That said, depending on your chosen material, you can either firm up a mattress or soften it.
You'll likely see ads that say the topper will 'balance softness and support' or some nonsense like that.
The truth is it's up to you to try out a topper (if possible) and decide if you like it.
If you're picky, look for a place that allows you to test the topper for a night or two.
Some even offer 60-day money-back guarantees.
There are two different kinds of toppers.
There are mattress toppers, and then there are mattress pads.
For instance, a travel trailer mattress topper sits on top of the mattress, while a camper mattress pad often mimics the bottom sheet of your camper sheet set in that it envelops the bed.
The topper is usually thicker than a pad. Mattress pads offer a little more luxurious softness for those who prefer them.
Some people also use pads to protect the mattress from liquid spills.
Think of, say, an RV queen mattress pad to be like a pillow-top mattress. It sort of mimics that feeling.
A mattress topper for RV bed tries to change up the entire feel of the mattress.
Toppers are thick! They are not as thick as a mattress, but they are considerable.
When you're looking to purchase, expect to find many that are four inches thick.
There are even five-inch mattress toppers, but those could darn near be used as an RV replacement mattress.
The thicker it is, the more likely it is to change the entire feel of your mattress.
Thicker toppers will still give your bed some new luxury and protection, but it won't be as dramatic.
The feel will also depend on what materials in the topper.
If you sleep under a low roof (such as a truck camper or overhead bed in Class C recreational vehicles), consider that when deciding how thick is too thick.
Read our article on RV mattress topper thickness to learn more.
Each manufacturer will have its claim as to how long their toppers should be expected to last.
But honestly, you can tell a lot just by look and feel.
Do you think a simple egg crate foam topper will do much or last long?
Getting something with gel materials, like a gel memory foam mattress topper, will be of higher quality and last longer.
If you want your new product to last a long time, get something that looks and feels like it has substance.
Also, refer to what the manufacturer says. They may have a guarantee.
Do toppers self-cool? No. But some materials are hotter than others.
For a long time, the standard material memory foam was considered a hot material.
But science has changed memory foams.
Nowadays, they can be infused with other materials that make them cooler, such as gel foam.
Tiny air holes in other materials help dissipate heat and increase airflow with their ventilated design.
So, if you know you're going to camp only in the winter, consider getting wool or feather toppers or one that boasts warmth.
Otherwise, look for the opposite in your RV mattress cover.
Is a warranty important for your best mattress topper for a camper? Not for me- heck, I can't remember that I do or don't have a warranty on anything I have bought in the past!
Looking for a money-back guarantee is where you should start.
But if having a warranty is crucial for you, keep it in mind when shopping.
Materials Used In Mattress Toppers
Even this category is large and confusing!
Let's simplify the basics of each material.
This one is probably the one you're already the most familiar with.
We've all had down alternative pillows, faux down, or the same with a duvet.
This is more common in a mattress pad, not in a topper.
But if you want some extra warmth and insulation and squish, go for it.
If you are allergic to down but like the consistency of it, this could be for you.
Latex mattress toppers come in a variety of latex types.
They sometimes mix synthetic latex with natural and blended latex.
PURE latex is all natural ingredients and will be the most expensive.
Latex comes from rubber trees. There are two types, Talalay and Dunlop.
If you have a latex allergy or want a more affordable option, go synthetic.
Gel infusion is popular with an RV memory foam mattress topper. In the past (pre-1990), memory foam was popular but was also notorious for being too hot.
Manufacturers finally figured if they added tiny gel beads to the foam, it had cooling properties.
Other times they add a layer of gel to the top, also for the cooling benefit.
Memory foam, by itself, is outdated.
If not infused with gel or another material, it makes for a hot sleep (great if you're sleeping in cold temps, though).
Memory foam also hardens when it's cold.
So getting into a cold bed is even worse because it's going to be a hard and cold bed under about 60 degrees or so (Kelly is saying this from experience using a memory foam topper in her RV).
But infused memory foam is good when infused with materials like gel.
There's even a new Zinus topper brand made of memory foam.
It has an infusion of green tea extract in its product.
They claim it is good for its anti-odor properties and moisture absorption. Huh. If your topper or mattress stinks, it's time to purchase a new one.
Real down is incredible for its insulating and warmth properties.
Again, this won't do much to change your mattress (and is probably more of a mattress pad than a topper).
But if you are not allergic and want to fancy up your California king sleeper, you could go for a goose feather top. Nice to have all-natural ingredients in your topper, eh?
Do Toppers Extend The Lifespan Of Mattresses?
Yes, a topper makes your mattress last longer.
Listen, if I could sleep in my RV on a crap cotton futon with a topper on it in decent comfort for about three years, you bet your life a topper of any kind will make your mattress last longer and feel better for those extra years!
How To Keep An RV Mattress Topper From Sliding
Do toppers slide in an RV? Mine never did.
Marshall's never did when he had one, either. And I've never heard any friends complain about this problem.
It's like the ONE THING in an RV you can depend on not moving when you travel: your mattress and anything you put on top of it.
This is where I throw my computer on moving days.
Where To Buy A Camper Mattress Topper?
You can find a wide variety of RV mattress toppers for sale on Amazon.
Mattress Insider also sells two different mattress toppers, both made from memory foam. One with regular memory foam and a quilted top and one with gel infused memory foam and no quilted top.
Camping World also has a selection of mattress toppers for sale.
Remember, if you can't find one that is the right size, you can cut it down to fit.
Here are some places to get a new topper:
How To Dispose Of Your Old Mattress Topper
Oh, you had a mattress topper that wore out or that you didn't like? First, ask friends if they want it.
If nobody does, take it to the nearest dump and toss it.
Or, find a friend with a dumpster where you can dump it.
If your campground has plenty of dumpster room, leave it there.
You could also try selling it or giving it away on an online marketplace like Facebook or Craigslist.
But if it isn't brand-new, good luck with that.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Mattress Toppers Worth Buying?
Mattress toppers are worth buying if you want to save money on a new mattress or enhance the comfort of your bed.
Learn what to consider when deciding if it's best to go with a mattress topper vs. buying a new mattress.
Is A Foam Egg Crate A Good Topper?
No, we wouldn't recommend a foam egg crate topper.
They are very airy and don't do much to provide cushion or support as egg crates are often too thin.
What Can I Do To Make An RV Bed More Comfortable?
An easy way to make your rig's bed more comfortable is to buy an RV foam mattress topper or a bed pad to enhance the top.
Is it Possible To Use A Topper As A Mattress?
Yes, you can use a camper bed topper as a mattress if it is thick enough. There are 5-inch toppers available.
If you need a thinner mattress, there's a chance a 5-inch topper will do the job.
Which Is Better: RV Mattress Pad Or Topper?
It depends on what you want it to do.
If you want a little tweak, you can get away with just an RV mattress pad. If you are looking for more support and cushion, or to make your mattress last longer, go with a topper.
Does An RV Mattress Topper Go Under The Sheet?
Yes, put the topper underneath the bottom fitted sheet (directly above the mattress itself).
How Thick Should An RV Mattress Topper Be?
The thickness of an RV mattress topper depends on your needs, and it should not be so thick that you can't turn over or make your bed's overall height too tall.
The thicker it is, the more effective it will be.
Read our How Thick Should an RV Mattress Topper Be? article to learn more.
What Is An RV Queen Mattress Topper?
A camper queen mattress topper is a piece of material (generally some sort of gel-infused memory foam) set on top of an existing mattress to make it more comfortable to sleep on.
An RV queen-size mattress topper measures 60 inches wide by 80 inches long and is the same size used on a traditional queen-size mattress (that you would have at home).
What Size Is A Short Queen Topper?
An RV short queen topper is five to six inches shorter than one for a standard queen mattress:
RV short queen mattress topper size: 60 inches x 74 inches (or 60 inches x 75 inches).
Standard queen mattress topper size: 60 inches x 80 inches.
Where Can You Buy An RV Queen Mattress Topper?
One common place to buy any size RV mattress topper is Amazon.
Check your local mattress stores for RV sizes if you want to buy locally.
You can also order from Camping World and other RV supply stores.
However, don't expect to find a topper to test in the showroom.
You're already ahead of the game if you get a topper instead of getting even the best price mattress.
When buying a topper, you'll spend anywhere from $90 to $250. Decent and even good mattresses start in the $300 range.
So what is the best mattress topper for an RV? It's the one you feel most comfortable with concerning materials and feel. You may also want to find the best price mattress you can, depending on your budget.
Most mattresses that come with a travel trailer, fifth wheel, or motorhome are, how do we put this gently, horrible to sleep on. They can always use some help!
Whether you have an RV full mattress, an RV queen, or others, you may want something to enhance your bed.
Materials like high-density foam, charcoal, polyurethane foam, and latex toppers are common, so your choices are many.
Educate yourself on what to look for and what you want from the topper.
Save yourself a huge chunk of change by getting a topper instead of replacing your entire mattress!
Author: Kelly Beasley
As a seasoned and passionate RVing expert, I have dedicated myself to living the full-time RV life for over 5.5 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. Join me on this journey and let's make some unforgettable memories.
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