5 Best “Van Mattresses” to Buy Online 2023: (Odd & Custom Sizes)
Traveling in a van can be an exciting and liberating experience, but having a comfortable place to sleep is essential for a quality travel experience and a good night’s rest on the road.
This comprehensive guide will help you find the perfect mattress for your travel van, whether you’re looking for a futon, a traditional mattress, or something more compact.
We’ll discuss sizes that fit in a van, considerations for comfort and durability, and tips for choosing the right style of mattress for your needs.
MOST POPULAR VAN MATTRESS – Dreamfoam Essential Memory Foam Mattress by RV Mattress (Buy it Here).
WHY IS IT SO POPULAR?—–> The most popular option for the vast majority of van life travelers that we have reviewed with is the Dreamfoam Essential mattress by RV Mattress. This mattress is affordable, comes in a variety of thicknesses and odd RV & van sizes. It can also easily be cut (mattress cutting guide here) down to perfectly fit any space. This mattress will give you the most comfort for the best price that we have found.
5 Best Types of Mattresses/Pads for Travel Vans:
There are several styles of mattresses or padding that can work well in a travel van, including:
1. The Dreamfoam Eessential RV Mattress (lots of unique sizes and easily customizable)
why we like this option for vans:
- Comes in a variety of thicknesses from 6-14 inches.
- Comes in a variety of odd sizes that fit perfectly in smaller RVs and vans with limited space (including rv bunk, 3/4, narrow twin, full xl, short full, short queen, olympic queen, etc…)
- One of the best bang for your buck mattresses on the market.
- High quality memory foam mattress with a high density support system to provide support to all types of sleepers.
- All foam construction makes it easy to cut or customize sizing if needed
- 100% Made in the USA
- Amazing value
- High quality memory foam construction
- Variety of thicknesses and odd sizes available
- Great reviews online
- Made in the USA
What our testers are saying:
The Dreamfoam Essential mattress is great all around supportive memory foam mattress at an unbeatable price point. This mattress is available in a variety of thicknesses and odd and custom sizes to fit Vans, RV’s, Campers, Boats, Trucks and more. 100% made in the USA at their own factory in Arizona, which allows them to offer highly competitive factory direct pricing. Traditional mattresses offer more support and comfort than futons but may require more space in your van. Consider compact or folding options if you’re tight on space.
- Comfort: Traditional mattresses often provide better support and comfort compared to futons or air mattresses.
- Variety: A wide range of materials, thicknesses, and firmness levels are available to suit your preferences.
- Durability: High-quality traditional mattresses can have a longer lifespan compared to other options.
- Space requirements: Traditional mattresses may take up more space in your van, leaving less room for other items or activities.
- Weight: They can be heavier than other options, making them more challenging to move and manage.
- Cost: Mattresses can be more expensive than other types of van sleeping alternatives.
2. Use a Futon Style Mattress
why we like this option for vans:
- Thinner profile: 4.5 inches thick
- Easy to roll up and store when not in use
- Supportive and comfortable for their size
- Easy to squeeze into smaller or odd size spaces.
- Anti-Microbial & Dust Mite Resistant
- 100% Chemical Free
- 4.5 -inch
- Medium Firm feel
- 15-20 year life expectancy
What our testers are saying:
Futons are versatile and can be folded into a sofa when not in use, saving valuable space in your van. They usually have a thinner profile and can be more affordable than traditional mattresses. A futon mattress has a slightly different feel than a standard mattress. They give a more firm feel and don’t generally have as much give or bounce as a foam or innerspring mattress. Many people prefer a futon style mattress over a standard mattress and say that it has a more “luxurious feel”. The futon sofa mattress is perfect for a van bed because it is firm enough to help hold a sleeper on top while being thinner, easy to store and roll up when not in use.
- Space-saving: Futons can be folded into a sofa when not in use, freeing up valuable space in your van.
- Versatile: They serve as both a bed and seating area.
- Affordable: Futons are often less expensive than traditional mattresses.
- Lightweight: They are usually lighter than traditional mattresses, making them easier to handle and maneuver.
- Durability: They may not last as long as traditional mattresses due to their thinner profile and construction.
- Limited options: There may be fewer choices in terms of materials, thickness, and firmness levels compared to other mattress types.
3. Air Mattresses:
Why we like them for vans:
- Portability: Air mattresses can be easily inflated and deflated, making them convenient for van life.
- Storage: When deflated, air mattresses can be stored compactly, saving space in your van.
- Adjustable firmness: You can adjust the firmness of the mattress by adding or releasing air to suit your preferences.
- Affordably priced compared to other options
- Come in a variety of sizes and styles to fit any car, van or SUV
- Comfort: Air mattresses may not provide the same level of comfort and support as other mattress types.
- Durability: They can be susceptible to punctures or leaks, which can affect their lifespan and functionality.
- Temperature regulation: Air mattresses may not provide adequate insulation, making them less comfortable in extreme temperatures.
Our Favorite Air Mattresses for Travel
Tested and Reviewed
Air mattresses can be easily inflated and deflated, making them a convenient option for van life. They can be stored compactly when not in use but may not provide the same level of comfort as other options.
4. Foam Pads:
why we like them for vans:
- Thinner than traditional mattresses for an easier fit when headspace is limited
- Can easily be cut when custom sizes are required
- Available in a variety of different materials from latex to memory foam
- 4lb high density supportive memory foam
- Organic cotton cover
- 2" or 3" thickness available
- Made in the USA
- Great value
- 2" or 3" thickness available
- 100% natural latex
- Made in the USA
- Optional organic cotton cover
What our testers are saying:
Foam pads, such as memory foam or latex foam, can be cut to size and offer a simple, lightweight, and affordable option for a van mattress.
- Customizable size: Foam pads can be cut to fit the dimensions of your van, making them a flexible option.
- Lightweight: They are generally lighter than traditional mattresses, making them easier to handle and maneuver.
- Affordable: Foam pads can be a cost-effective solution compared to other types of mattresses.
- Comfort: Foam pads may not provide the same level of comfort and support as other mattress types, especially thinner foams.
- Durability: Low-quality foam pads may degrade or lose their shape over time.
- Temperature regulation: Some foam materials, particularly memory foam, can retain heat and may not provide adequate temperature regulation.
Sizes and Dimensions
Consider the available space in your van when selecting a mattress. Measure the area where the mattress will be placed, and keep in mind the width, length, and height restrictions. Common mattress sizes that may fit in a van include:
a. RV Bunk: 28” x 75”. 30” x 75”. 30” x 80”. 34” x 75”. 35” x 79”
b. Narrow twin: 30″ x 75″
a. Twin: 38″ x 75″
b. Twin XL: 38″ x 80″
c. Three Quarter: 48″ x 75″
d. Full/Double: 54″ x 75″
e. Full XL : 54″ x 80″
f. RV short queen : 60″ x 75″
g. RV king: 76″ x 75″
d. Custom: If standard sizes don’t fit your van, consider custom-sized mattresses or foam pads that can be cut to your desired dimensions. Our favorite place to buy custom mattresses is Mattress Insider check them out here
Comfort and Support
When choosing a mattress for your travel van, prioritize comfort and support. Consider your sleeping preferences, such as your preferred sleeping position and firmness level. Memory foam, latex, or hybrid mattresses can provide better contouring and pressure relief, while innerspring mattresses can offer more bounce and support.
Durability and Material Quality
Durability is crucial when selecting a mattress for van life, as you’ll want a mattress that can withstand the wear and tear of travel. Look for high-quality materials and reputable brands that offer warranties or guarantees on their products.
Ease of Use and Storage
Consider how easy the mattress is to set up, take down, and store. Futons, air mattresses, and folding mattresses can be more convenient and space-saving options, while traditional mattresses may require more effort to move and store.
Temperature regulation is essential for a comfortable sleep in a travel van, as temperatures can fluctuate significantly during the day and night. Look for mattresses with breathable materials or cooling technology, such as gel-infused memory foam or latex, to help regulate your sleeping temperature.
Consider your budget when selecting a mattress for your travel van. While investing in a high-quality mattress can provide better comfort and durability, there are affordable options available that can still offer a comfortable sleep.
Maintenance and Care
Once you’ve chosen your ideal travel van mattress, it’s essential to maintain and care for it properly. Regularly clean and air out your mattress to prevent the buildup of odors, moisture, or allergens. Use a mattress protector to keep it clean and increase its longevity. For futons and air mattresses, ensure that you follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on care and maintenance.
Accessories for Added Comfort
To further enhance your sleeping experience in your travel van, consider investing in quality bedding and accessories. A comfortable pillow, fitted sheets, and a cozy blanket can make all the difference in your overall comfort. Additionally, you may want to consider adding a mattress topper for extra cushioning and support, especially if you’ve opted for a thinner or firmer mattress.
Trial Periods and Return Policies
When purchasing a mattress for your travel van, be aware of the trial periods and return policies offered by the manufacturer or retailer. Some companies offer sleep trials that allow you to test the mattress for a specified period, usually ranging from 30 to 100 nights. If you find the mattress uncomfortable or unsuitable during the trial period, you may be able to return it for a full refund or exchange it for another model. Understanding the return policies can give you peace of mind when making your decision.
In conclusion, selecting the right mattress for your travel van requires careful consideration of various factors, such as size, type, comfort, durability, and budget. By taking the time to research and compare options, you can find the perfect mattress that meets your needs and ensures a comfortable and restful sleep during your travels. Proper maintenance and the addition of high-quality bedding accessories can further enhance your sleeping experience and help you make the most of your van life adventures.
How thick should a van mattress be?
The ideal thickness of a mattress for use in a van depends on several factors, including personal preferences, available space, and budget. Here are some general guidelines to help you determine the right thickness for your van mattress:
- Comfort and support: A mattress thickness of at least 4 to 6 inches is typically recommended to provide a comfortable and supportive sleeping surface. Thicker mattresses, ranging from 8 to 12 inches, can offer even more comfort and support, but they may also take up more space in your van and be heavier.
- Space constraints: Measure the available space in your van, considering the height and storage requirements. If space is limited, a thinner mattress (4 to 6 inches) may be more suitable, as it will leave more room for other essentials and living space.
- Weight considerations: Thicker mattresses are generally heavier, which can affect your van’s overall weight and fuel efficiency. If weight is a concern, opt for a thinner, lighter mattress or consider materials like high-density foam or latex, which can provide support without being too heavy.
- Personal preferences: Your preferred sleeping position, firmness level, and any existing back or joint issues will play a role in determining the best mattress thickness for you. Side sleepers typically need a thicker mattress for proper spinal alignment, while back and stomach sleepers may find thinner mattresses more comfortable.
Ultimately, the ideal thickness for a van mattress is the one that provides you with a comfortable and supportive night’s sleep while fitting within your van’s space and weight limitations. It’s essential to try out different mattress thicknesses and materials to find the best option for your specific needs.
Building a camper van Murphy bed or slider bed yourself can be a rewarding DIY project. Both types of beds save space in your van and provide a comfortable place to sleep. Below are step-by-step instructions for building each type of bed:
Wondering about where to put your mattress? Check out these DIY Van bed ideas…
DIY Camper Van Murphy Bed:
- Measure and plan: Measure the available space in your van and decide on the dimensions of your Murphy bed. Sketch a plan of the bed’s design, including the frame, mattress size, and any additional storage or features you want to incorporate.
- Gather materials and tools: Purchase the necessary materials, such as plywood, lumber, screws, hinges, and a suitable mattress. You’ll also need tools, including a saw, drill, screwdriver, measuring tape, and level.
- Build the bed frame: Cut the plywood and lumber to the appropriate sizes to create a rectangular frame for the mattress. Assemble the frame using screws and wood glue. Ensure the frame is sturdy and square.
- Attach the hinges: Attach heavy-duty hinges to one side of the bed frame and the corresponding side of your van’s wall. This will allow the bed to fold up and down.
- Build support legs: Construct two support legs that will hold the bed in place when it’s folded down. Attach the legs to the bed frame using hinges, so they can fold up when the bed is not in use.
- Secure the bed: Add a latch or locking mechanism to keep the bed securely folded up when not in use.
- Add storage: If desired, build additional storage, such as cabinets or shelves, above or around the Murphy bed.
- Install the mattress: Place the mattress on the bed frame and secure it with straps or a fitted sheet to prevent it from shifting during travel.
Camper Van Slider Bed:
- Measure and plan: Measure the available space in your van and decide on the dimensions of your slider bed. Sketch a plan of the bed’s design, including the sliding mechanism, mattress size, and any additional storage or features you want to incorporate.
- Gather materials and tools: Purchase the necessary materials, such as plywood, lumber, screws, heavy-duty drawer slides, and a suitable mattress. You’ll also need tools, including a saw, drill, screwdriver, measuring tape, and level.
- Build the bed base: Cut the plywood and lumber to the appropriate sizes to create a rectangular base for the mattress. Assemble the base using screws and wood glue. Ensure the base is sturdy and square.
- Install the drawer slides: Attach heavy-duty drawer slides to the sides of the bed base and the corresponding sides of your van’s interior. Ensure the slides are level and can support the weight of the bed and mattress.
- Create the sliding platform: Cut a piece of plywood to the size of your mattress and attach it to the drawer slides. This will be the platform that your mattress will rest on.
- Add support legs (optional): If needed, construct support legs that will hold the bed in place when it’s extended. Attach the legs to the sliding platform using hinges, so they can fold up when the bed is not in use.
- Secure the bed: Add a latch or locking mechanism to keep the bed securely in place when it’s extended and retracted.
- Add storage: If desired, build additional storage, such as cabinets or shelves, around the slider bed.
- Install the mattress: Place the mattress on the sliding platform and secure it with straps or a fitted sheet to prevent it from shifting during travel.
Remember to always measure twice and cut once, and take your time during construction to ensure a safe and secure final product.
Q: What is the best type of mattress for a travel van?
A: The best type of mattress for your travel van depends on your personal preferences, space, and budget. Futons, traditional mattresses, air mattresses, and foam pads are all options to consider. Each type has its pros and cons, so it’s essential to evaluate your specific needs and requirements before making a decision.
Q: Can I use a regular mattress in my travel van?
A: Yes, you can use a regular mattress in your travel van if it fits the available space. Keep in mind that a traditional mattress may be bulkier and heavier than other options, so ensure it’s suitable for your van’s dimensions and weight capacity.
Q: How do I determine the right size mattress for my travel van?
A: Measure the area where the mattress will be placed in your van, considering the width, length, and height restrictions. Compare these measurements to standard mattress sizes or consider a custom-sized mattress or foam pad to ensure the perfect fit.
Q: Are there any mattresses specifically designed for travel vans?
A: While there may not be mattresses explicitly designed for travel vans, some companies offer custom-sized mattresses or foam pads that can be cut to fit your van’s dimensions. You can also consider foldable or easily storable options, such as futons or air mattresses.
Q: How do I maintain and clean my travel van mattress?
A: Regularly clean and air out your mattress to prevent odors, moisture, and allergen buildup. Use a mattress protector to keep it clean and extend its lifespan. For specific care instructions, consult the manufacturer’s guidelines for your chosen mattress type.
Q: Is it necessary to use a mattress topper in my travel van?
A: A mattress topper is not necessary but can provide additional comfort and support, especially if you’ve chosen a thinner or firmer mattress. Toppers can also help with temperature regulation and extend the life of your mattress.
Q: How do I store my mattress when not in use or during travel?
A: Storage solutions depend on the type of mattress you’ve chosen. Futons can be folded into a sofa, air mattresses can be deflated and stored compactly, and foam pads can be rolled up. For traditional mattresses, consider using straps or bungee cords to secure them in place during travel.
Q: Can I use a box spring or foundation with my travel van mattress?
A: Generally, box springs and foundations are not suitable for travel vans due to space and weight restrictions. Most van mattresses are placed directly on a platform or slatted base built into the van’s sleeping area.
Q: How important is temperature regulation for a travel van mattress?
A: Temperature regulation is essential for a comfortable sleep in a travel van, as temperatures can fluctuate significantly during the day and night. Choose a mattress with breathable materials or cooling technology to help regulate your sleeping temperature.