Saturday, September 23, 2023


Make your RV’s bed more comfortable without buying a new mattress

Finally! I had a good night’s sleep on an RV mattress! RV mattresses are notoriously bad. All you have to do is visit any RV-related Facebook group and read the comments to learn that!

We started out with a “premium” factory-installed foam mattress. It was so soft we automatically curled into the fetal position when getting in for the night. It was so uncomfortable that we turned it over to the hard base side.

Back for RV factory exchange

We had no choice but to return to the factory and complain about it. They finally installed a slightly less “foamy” mattress. Still sinkable. That one, too, was a no-go.

I fussed A LOT and they begrudgingly installed an air bed. The advantage of this one was that the motor is contained within the mattress frame at the end of the bed. It is a Freedom-Air™ by InnoMax®.  Rather than one king-size mattress, it was two twins. This is great for keeping the inflation settings separate, but also good at keeping cuddling to a minimum. We are old full-time RVers living in close quarters, so lack of cuddling wasn’t a particularly hard adjustment.

We did have issues with the tube attached to the motor leaking, but InnoMax was helpful and immediately sent replacement parts and directions on how to secure the connection better.

Lesson learned: If you have a new RV or one under warranty, you may be able to have a different mattress from the factory than the one that was installed.

More cushion, please!

This one was better, but I still wanted more cushion without deflating the mattress so much that it sank in the center. The solution? A mattress topper! Bigger is better, right? I wish I had taken a picture of the 4″ foam mattress topper expanding exponentially on the bed. It reminded me of a marshmallow over a campfire! Better would have been a video of my husband and me trying to roll it up to put back in the box to return. We lost a bungee cord on that one…

Oh, well. We’ll live with it

After the expanding topper experience, we decided to just live with it. That worked well until we ended up with a house and a new bed. An amazingly comfortable Sleep Number® bed. My husband keeps asking me as we are traveling, “Do you miss the house?” I answer, “Nope, don’t miss the house (don’t want the house). But, okay … I miss the bed.”

Trying again for a good night’s sleep on an RV mattress

Having been spoiled with a good night’s sleep back at our house, I have been looking at mattress toppers for the last few months while we are traveling. Some were excruciatingly expensive and some were of dubious quality. I saw a few on a buy-one-get-one 50% off sale. How many people are buying two overly priced toppers at a time? Not me!

The final decision…

Good nights sleep on RV mattress.

Finally, a sale I could live with while hoping it was not going to be another wrestle-it-back-into-the-box purchase. I read hundreds of reviews of The Big One® Cool Flow Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper and decided this was the one. I accepted the fact the nomenclature of “Cooling” was probably hype, but as long as it was comfortable, that’s what mattered.

A successful 10-hour sleep!

I unrolled the 1.5-inch thick topper and it was perfect! It has areas for more support in the neck, hips, and back regions, and it was very comfortable. We laid it under a heavy mattress pad and can still feel its comfortability.

It now covers the big twin dividing line on our bed, so cuddling is again obtainable (which can either be an advantage or disadvantage, depending on your relationship). The Big One is currently sold out most places online. However, it’s still available for purchase in any size through Kohl’s.

There are a variety of mattress toppers available on Amazon in a variety of thicknesses, too, that you could try.

Finally! A good night’s sleep on an RV mattress! I am a seven-hour-at-most sleeper and this morning I dragged myself out of bed at hour ten! Moral of the story? Don’t give up! You CAN have a good RV night’s sleep!

For more on RV mattresses, make sure you read the latest edition of Tony Barthel’s Great RV Accessories newsletter where he reviews the GhostBed mattress.


Nanci Dixon
Nanci Dixon
Nanci Dixon has been a full-time RVer living “The Dream” for the last six years and an avid RVer for decades more! She works and travels across the country in a 40’ motorhome with her husband. Having been a professional food photographer for many years, she enjoys snapping photos of food, landscapes and an occasional person. They winter in Arizona and love boondocking in the desert. They also enjoy work camping in a regional park. Most of all, she loves to travel.


  1. We tried a variety of toppers on the factory mattress. Finally broke down and bought a custom sized pocket coil mattress with a couple different foam density layers above. And then added a deep pocket pillow top mattress cover. To make sure the bottom sheet stays put, we bought a clip-on adjustable bungee cord that clips to the sheet across the corner under the mattress. The sheet stays put and the bed is better than the one at the house. We use the RV seasonally for 6 months at a crack. The house is more the 2nd home than the RV.

    We have a second little travel trailer for ‘weekend’ trips. First thing we did was ditch the factory mattress and buy a mattress very similar to the one in our primary RV.

  2. We bought a mattress topper from My Pillow. They advertise a queen RV size however they told me to send them the measurements for our RV king and they will custom make one for us at a cost close to the queen size. We sleep great on it and hate to get out of bed most mornings.

  3. Nanci, I did do a select comfort in our trailer, just used a jackery 400 to keep the pressure and “number ” at the correct level. Got one at home and one in the camper…AHHHH

  4. It was too hard to lift the corners of our mattress to change the sheets.
    So, our solution was to purchase a 6″ tri-fold firm mattress. I put a 3″ gel topper on it.
    Now, I just fold the top 1/3 of the mattress towards me to install the fitted sheet corners.
    I bend it back down to finish the job…No more heavy lifting in tight spots.

  5. Have to agree with the choice of a quality topper. Our last coach had a quality but overly firm mattress. We were going to purchase a new one but on an extended trip we had enough and stopped by a super store and purchased a good beaded foam topper…. best night we ever had.

  6. I have that same topper on my mattress at home, and I love it! It made my “slightly too firm” mattress perfect. And with my Kohl’s charge card and some coupons, I got it for a song!

  7. We purchased an innerspring mattress from It is so good we’re considering one for the house. We both hate memory foam and/or toppers, this has been the best experience for us

  8. For my Aliner, I bought a queen sized foam mattress from Walmart. For my Airstream, it is two curved twins…What is a good knife to cut a foam mattress ?

    • Hi Bill, Nope- not an ad and as Chuck said, no money. I always like to include the information of the actual product that I am writing about so people can know what it is. That also encourages our readers to share what brands and items they like and use.

    • Nope- not an ad. Forgot to mention that I bought and paid for the topper and love it. I wanted to share with our readers who also are looking for a more comfortable bed. Took me four years of searching for just the right combination and price.

    • lighten up please…how about taking a bit of advice. Are you gullible to take everything as an attempt to sell you something? What happened to listening and then deciding if it might be a good idea?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Sign up for the

RVtravel Newsletter

Sign up and receive 3 FREE RV Checklists: Set-Up, Take-Down and Packing List.