• Camp Addict
  • /
  • 🛏️ RV Mattresses vs. Regular Mattresses

RV Mattresses vs. Regular Mattresses: What's The Difference?

Kelly Headshot

By Kelly Beasley

Have you ever wondered about the differences between RV and regular mattresses?

What makes them unique, and can you just use a regular mattress in your RV?

Here, we explore the world of camper mattresses vs. regular mattresses.

We'll dive into their unique characteristics and help you make an informed decision when it comes to choosing the perfect new mattress for your camper needs.

So, are there differences between these two things, and if so, what are they?

Trailer mattress at front

Short Summary

  • Understanding the differences between RV and regular mattress sizes is essential.
  • RV mattresses are typically lighter, thinner, and designed to fit the limited space of RVs, while regular mattresses provide greater comfort for home use.
  • Consider the size, weight capacity, and compatibility when selecting a mattress for an RV, as using a standard one may not be suitable due to its size or weight.

First, Why Are Mattresses In New RVs So Bad?

Regular-sized or not, new recreational vehicles are known for having pretty terrible mattresses.


Unless you're purchasing a top-of-the-line RV, usually, you'll find nothing more than a thin and cheap foam mattress in new campers.

The reason behind this is that mattress comfort is such a personal thing. They come firm, soft, foam, hybrid, or innerspring because everyone is very selective about what they deem comfortable.

Because of this, the first thing many new RV owners do is replace the camper mattress.

So, manufacturers decided not to bother spending big money on custom beds or even moderately comfortable ones.

Instead, they put in the bare minimum cheap mattress as it will likely get replaced anyway.

Understanding The Differences Between RV Mattresses And Regular Mattresses

Are these two totally different animals? Not exactly.

The main difference? If a mattress does not match traditional size mattress dimensions or shape, it's an RV mattress.

The main differences between an RV mattress and a regular mattress are typically size, shape, and weight.

Let's get deeper into these three differences and why they exist.

Couple on Avocado green mattress

Understanding RV And Regular Mattress Sizes

Understanding the differences in size between RV and regular mattresses is crucial for making the right choice for your sleeping needs.

RV mattresses are designed to fit the limited space in RVs. Regular mattresses are made for home beds of standard sizes, but sometimes will fit on an RV bed platform. Some RVs have standard sized beds/mattresses in them like a regular Queen or King.

Common RV Mattress Sizes

RV mattresses come in various sizes to accommodate different types of RVs and sleeping arrangements.

Common 'official' sizes include:

These unique dimensions are tailor-made to fit the compact spaces commonly found in most RVs.

It is essential to measure the space in your RV accurately and consult an RV mattress sizes chart to find the perfect fit for your vehicle.

On the other hand, 'regular' mattresses are designed to fit standard bed frames and platforms found in homes. They come in typical sizes like:

  • Twin
  • Full
  • Queen
  • King
  • California King

These dimensions often are not compatible with the often smaller bed platforms found in RVs.

So it's crucial to know the dimensions of your platform before making a decision and purchasing.

Standard Regular Mattress Sizes

Standard regular mattress sizes, designed for home use, include:

  • Twin (39” x 75”)
  • Full/Double (54” x 75”)
  • Standard Queen Mattress (60” x 80”)
  • King (76” x 80”)

If you have a bed platform that can accommodate one of these sizes, you can get one for your RV.

However, they may not be suitable for use in an RV due to size and weight limitations.

Mattresses specifically made for RVs are generally lighter, slimmer, and smaller.

As a result, using a standard regular mattress in an RV may not work.

Kelly's Tochta RV foam mattress

Weight And Thickness Differences

When discussing the difference between an RV and a regular mattress, it’s important to note that RV mattresses are generally lighter and thinner than regular mattresses.

This is to accommodate the limited space and weight capacity in RVs.

Regular mattresses, on the other hand, are designed for home use and provide more comfort and support.

Why RV Mattresses Are Lighter

One of the main reasons mattresses made for RVs are lighter is to ensure they don’t add excessive weight to the RV.

Being overweight compromises performance and safety.

To achieve this, RV mattresses use lighter materials and construction methods, such as less dense foam, and may exclude springs, gel, or foam.

This lighter weight is crucial for maintaining the RVs gross vehicle weight rating – the total weight of the recreational vehicle, including any items stored inside it including the mattress.

On the other hand, regular mattresses are designed for home use, where weight limitations are not as crucial.

They are commonly made without concern for weight, providing more comfort and support but also being heavy.

Thickness Comparison

RV mattresses are typically thinner than regular mattresses, ranging from 5 to 12 inches in thickness.

This thinner profile is sometimes crucial to accommodate the limited space available in some RVs, such as in an overhead bed area in a Class C.

RV foam mattress layers

It also helps ensure that the mattress does not add excessive weight to the vehicle.

It’s important to consider the RV mattress thickness when selecting the right fit for your RV bed.

In contrast, regular mattresses can be much thicker, providing more comfort and support for home use.

This increased thickness of a regular mattress may not be suitable for RV use if space is at a premium and weight capacity is close to the maximum.

Material And Construction Variations

RV and regular mattresses are both made from different materials and construction methods, with options such as:

  • Memory foam
  • Gel-infused foam
  • Innerspring
  • Hybrid designs

These materials and construction methods provide different levels of comfort, support, and durability. (Choosing between memory foam and innerspring RV mattresses.)

Memory Foam And Gel-Infused Options

Memory foam and gel-infused options are popular choices for either type of mattress.

This is especially true in the context of RV mattresses due to their lighter weight, flexibility, and ability to conform to the body for pressure relief and comfort.

These materials provide excellent motion isolation, making them ideal for:

  • Couples who value uninterrupted sleep
  • Light sleepers who have difficulty finding a comfortable position
  • Side sleepers
  • Individuals with chronic pain near pressure points

In addition to their comfort benefits, memory foam, and gel-infused options also offer practical advantages for RV use.

They are lighter in weight and more flexible than traditional innerspring mattresses.

Innerspring And Hybrid Choices

Innerspring and hybrid mattresses are also available for most RV mattresses, offering a more traditional feel for sleepers.

An innerspring RV mattress typically use individually pocketed springs. 

Pocket springs can reduce motion transfer more effectively than other types of innerspring mattresses while providing deep compression support.

RV mattress pocket springs

However, innerspring and hybrid mattresses may be heavier and less suitable for some RV models due to their increased weight and thickness.

As a result, it is essential to consider the specific requirements of your RV, including its weight capacity, height limitations, if any, and bed platform dimensions, before choosing an innerspring or hybrid RV mattress.

Customization And Special Features In RV Mattresses

Customization and special features are sometimes necessary when buying a new camper mattress.

It must fit the unique dimensions and requirements of the RV sleeping space if yours isn't anything standard.

Consider the platform size, shape, corners, and height limitations, if there are any.

Custom Sizes And Shapes

Custom sizes and shapes, such as rounded, angled, or notched corners, are available for RV mattresses. 

These custom options ensure that your new RV mattress fits perfectly within the bed area of your RV.

In contrast, regular mattresses only come as rectangles.

So they may not be compatible with the unique dimensions and requirements of your travel trailer or motorhome's sleeping space.

So using a regular mattress may not provide the customization and comfort you need that you can get from an RV-specific mattress.

Cooling And Motion Isolation Technologies

Cooling and motion isolation technologies, such as gel-infused memory foam and pocketed coils are sometimes built into mattresses, including cooling RV mattresses.

They can enhance comfort and sleep quality while on the road (solving RV sleep issues).

These technologies help to regulate temperature and reduce motion transfer.

Mattress Insider Luxury gel foam RV mattress

It's bad enough that you can often feel others moving around in the RV. You don't want RV mattress motion transfer on top of that!

While these technologies are also available in regular mattresses, they may not be as crucial in a home setting where space, temperature regulation, and weight limitations are less critical.

But for those who value a comfortable sleep experience while traveling, the inclusion of cooling and motion isolation technologies in an RV mattress can really help.

Practical Considerations: Can You Use A Regular Mattress In An RV?

The short answer is yes, you can use a regular mattress in an RV.

You can even trim a regular foam mattress to fit your platform area.

But there are other practical considerations to consider, such as size, weight, compatibility with the RVs bed platform, and weight capacity.

When choosing a mattress for an RV, consider the size and weight of the mattress.

Pros And Cons Of Using A Regular Mattress

Using a regular mattress in an RV may provide more comfort and support compared to a thinner, lighter RV mattress (though some companies DO make very comfortable AND customizable RV mattresses, such as RV Mattress and Tochta).

However, it can also add excessive weight and may not fit the unique dimensions of the RVs bed platform, making it an impractical choice for most RV owners.

Additionally, it may be too thick if, for example, it's on a slide and has no spare clearance when the slide goes in.

Before attempting to use a regular mattress in your RV, consider the following factors:

  • Size, height, and weight of the mattress
  • Compatibility with your RVs bed platform
  • Weight capacity of your camper

RV vs. Regular Mattress Cost

The prices between these two types are similar.

Certain manufacturers regularly make RV sized mattresses such as the RV Queen.

They use similar materials as well. Where it gets more expensive is if you have to have one custom made to be an irregular size or one that has curved or cut corners or a hinge.

A custom order like that is usually more expensive.

So, if you have a mattress like that in your camper that you don't like and can't afford to get a new custom one made, consider trying a topper on it.

Because you have a special size, cut the topper to fit.

Which Is Better? RV Or Regular Mattresses?

It depends on the mattress. RV manufacturers often put terrible mattresses in their cheaper units.

An RV mattress is simply any mattress that is not a traditional size or shape.

Get one that fits your bed platform and one that feels comfortable to you. 

That's what the best mattress is. It's not about the type.

Class C motorhome in desert


In conclusion, understanding the differences between RV and regular mattresses is essential for making the right choice for your sleeping needs.

When it comes to RV mattresses vs. regular mattresses, either one can work for you.

It just depends on your weight and size needs in your RV. 

RV mattresses are specifically designed to fit the limited space and weight capacity in RVs, while regular mattresses are made for home use and only come in standard sizes.

By carefully choosing the size, weight, and construction of your mattress, you can ensure a comfortable and restful sleep experience, whether you’re on the road or at home.

So, the next time you find yourself pondering the mysteries of RV and regular mattresses, remember that they are very similar. Their biggest difference is dimensions. 

Choose wisely, and you’ll be well on your way to creating the perfect sleep environment for your RV adventures or your cozy home sanctuary.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Use A Regular Mattress In An RV?

Yes, it is possible to use a regular mattress in an RV.

However, you may need to purchase a mattress specifically designed for an RV since standard mattress sizes do not always fit the RV bed frames properly. 

Using a regular mattress in an RV is possible when it fits and weight isn't an issue. 

Is There A Difference Between RV Mattresses And Regular Mattresses?

Yes, there is a difference between RV mattresses and regular mattresses.

RV mattresses are typically narrower and shorter than standard mattress sizes to accommodate the diverse spaces in a recreational vehicle. 

They also often feature different heights and thicknesses depending on the need.

Can I Put A Regular Queen Mattress In My RV?

Yes, you can put a regular queen mattress in your RV as long as the bed area is big enough for it and it has no thickness restrictions. 

Be sure to double-check measurements before buying to ensure a proper fit.

Understanding The Differences Between RV And Regular Mattresses

RV mattresses are designed to fit into the limited space and weight capacity of RVs, so they tend to be built thinner and smaller than regular mattresses. 

Sometimes they have cut corners or hinges for folding up when not in use. But materials used to make an RV mattress are commonly the same types used in regular mattresses.

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.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}