RV Mattress Topper: The Easy Solution For Your Uncomfortable RV Bed!

Kelly Headshot

By Kelly Beasley

Last Updated: April 27, 2022

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 when I bought it:

Kellys old RV mattress

It. Was. Horrible.

It wasn't even a traditional travel trailer bed. It looked like an old futon.

I lived with it for way too long, and then I finally broke down and bought a RV foam mattress topper for it.

It helped, but it wasn't perfect.

Mine is not the only story- it's likely you are here because your RV mattress isn't up to snuff.

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 enhancement of some type.

Many campers use them to make their current mattress more comfortable.

For those with shallow pockets, it's their best option, as new mattresses are quite pricey.

A camper bed topper can made from many different materials.

Choosing the best one to suit your needs depends on your personal preferences.

What Kind of Mattress Topper Can You Use in an RV? 

You can use any kind of mattress topper in an RV. You don't have to buy ones that are specifically marketed as a camper mattress toppers.

Some can be trimmed down to fit your mattress if needed.

There are also toppers called mattress pads that 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.

  • Eliminate pressure points
  • Reduce odors/dirt if the old mattress is funky
  • Eliminate motion transfer
  • Make a sleep partner happier if comfier
  • Reduce allergic reactions
  • Extend your mattress life
  • Save money from buying a whole new mattress
  • Boost your comfort
  • Improve support to body

What to Look for When Buying an RV Mattress Topper

Not all RV mattress toppers are made the same. They come in as many varieties as mattresses.

Closeup corner of foam mattress

You have different needs than the person camping next to you.

This means you need to keep some things in mind when looking.

Here are some things to consider:

Moisture Resistance

You might be camping mostly 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 it. But the topper itself also acts as a protective cover for your mattress. Bonus!

Size

RV toppers that specifically fit camper mattress sizes do exist.

Meaning if you have a standard-sized RV mattress such as an RV short queen it will be 60" x 75".

Here are some common RV size 'named' mattresses:

  1. RV Queen
  2. Queen Short
  3. RV Bunk
  4. RV Full
  5. RV Mattress King
  6. RV Short King
  7. RV California King

That said, many mattresses in RVs are not standard-sized RV mattress.

If you're looking for an RV short queen mattress topper, you won't find it in most standard mattress stores.

If this is the case, just 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. You can 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.

Couple and dog sitting in front of van

Firmness

Oh boy. This one gets personal.

But the thing is, a topper is designed to make a mattress more comfortable.

Normally, this means it makes it softer or 'cushier.'

That said, depending on what material you choose, 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 and then decide if you like it or not.

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.

Type

There are two different kinds of toppers, so to speak.

There are mattress toppers and then there mattress pads.

Toppers usually just sit on top of the mattress, while a camper mattress pad often mimics the bottom sheet of your RV bed sheets in that it envelops the bed.

The topper is usually thicker than a pad. Mattress pads just offer a little more luxurious softness for those who prefer it.

Some people also use pads to protect the mattress from liquid spills.

Think of a pad like a pillow-top mattress. It sort of mimics that feel.

A topper tries to change up the entire feel of the mattress.

Thickness

Toppers are thick! 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 the topper is made from.

If you sleep under a low roof (such as a truck camper or overhead bed in Class C recreational vehicles), take that into consideration when deciding how thick is too thick.

Durability

Each manufacturer will have their own 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 is going to do much or last long?

Nope.

Getting something like a gel memory foam mattress topper will be of higher quality, and will obviously 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.

Self-Cooling

Do toppers self-cool? No. But some materials are hotter than others.

For a long time, the common material memory foam was considered a hot material.

But science has changed memory foams.

Nowadays they can be infused with other materials that make it cooler, such as gel foam.

Tiny air holes in other materials help dissipate heat and increase airflow.

So, if you know you're going to camp only in the winter, consider getting a topper made from wool or feathers, or one that boasts warmth.

Otherwise, look for the opposite.

Warranty

Is a warranty important to you?

Personally, I don't remember when anything I buy has a warranty. 

Looking for a money-back guarantee is where I would start.

But if having a warranty is important for you, don't forget to keep this in mind when shopping.

Book, reading glasses & coffee on bed

Materials Used in Mattress Toppers

Even this category is large and confusing!

Let's simplify the basics of each material.

Down Alternative

This one is probably the one you're already the most familiar with.

We've all had down alternative pillows, or 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

Latex mattress toppers come in a variety of latex types.

They sometimes mix synthetic latex with natural and blended latex.

PURE latex will be the most expensive. 

Latex comes from rubber trees. There are two types, Talalay and Dunlop.

If you have a latex allergy, you may want to go with synthetic.

Gel-Infused

This 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 small 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

Memory foam, by itself, is sort of 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).

Woman in bed peeking from sheets

But infused memory foam is good when it's infused with materials like the gel.

There's even a new Zinus topper brand made of memory foam.

It has an infusion of green tea extract in their product.

They claim it is good for its anti-odor properties and moisture absorbing. Huh. I mean, if your topper or mattress stinks... maybe it's time to purchase a new one.

Goose Feathers

Real down is pretty 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 just want to fancy up your California king sleeper, you could go for a goose feather top.

Do Toppers Extend The Lifespan Of Mattresses?

A topper definitely makes your mattress last longer. 

Listen, if I could sleep in my RV on a crap cotton futon with a topper on it 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. Never heard of a friend with this problem.

It's like the ONE THING in an RV you can depend on not going anywhere when you travel: your mattress and anything you put on top of it. 

This is where I throw my computer on moving days.

If yours DOES slide, somehow, miraculously, get a mattress cover and put it under that.

Where To Buy An RV 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 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. 

Trailer full of used mattresses

Or, if your campground has plenty of dumpster room, dump 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 are looking to save money on a new mattress, or just want to enhance the comfort of mattress that you have.

Is a foam egg crate an adequate topper?

No, we wouldn't recommend a foam egg crate topper.

They are very airy and don't do much of anything to provide cushion or support as they are often too thin.

What can I do to make an RV bed more comfortable?

An easy way to man an RV bed more comfortable is to buy yourself a 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 just want a little tweak, you can get away with just an RV mattress pad. If you are looking for more support, more cushion, or to make your mattress last longer, go with a topper.

Does an RV mattress topper go under the sheet? 

Yes, put the RV mattress 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. It should not be so thick that you can't turn over or that it makes your bed's overall height too tall.

The thicker it is, the more effect it will have.

What is an RV Queen mattress topper?

An camper queen mattress topper is a piece of material (generally some sort of gel infused memory foam) that is 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 that would be 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" x 74" (or 60" x 75")

Standard queen mattress topper size: 60" x 80"

Where Can You Buy an RV Queen Mattress Topper?

One of the easiest places 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.

Budget

You're already ahead of the game if you are getting a topper in lieu of getting even the best price mattress. 

When buying a topper, plan on spending anywhere from $90 to $250.

Dog yawning lying on Casper foam mattress

Conclusion

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 definitely use help!

Whether you have an RV full mattress, an RV queen, or other, you may want something to enhance the mattress you currently have.

Special materials like high-density foam, charcoal, and latex toppers are common materials nowadays, so your choices are endless.

That's why it's good to go in with a little information on what to look for and know what you want the topper to do. 

You can save yourself a huge chunk of change by getting a topper instead of replacing your entire mattress!

Kelly Headshot

Hello! I'm the co-founder of Camp Addict, which my biz partner and I launched in 2017. I frigging love the RVing lifestyle but in December of 2020, we both converted to part-time RV life. Heck, I lived in my travel trailer for over 5.5 years, STRICTLY boondocking. I learned a lot about the RV life and lifestyle during those years. Now we share what we know with you here at Camp Addict.

After that many years of wonderful full-time travel, it was time for something new. These days, I'm often found working from my new Az home, and sometimes plotting and scheming whether or not to start collecting farm animals (or plotting my next RV trip!).

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