RV Mattress and Insulation Upgrade

When you consider that we spend one-third of our lives in bed it makes a lot of sense to have a comfortable mattress on which to sleep. Unfortunately, most of the mattresses that you find in today’s RVs are total crap. Such was the case with the mattress that came in our Wolf Creek 850 truck camper. We made due by placing a 2 inch foam topper over the OEM mattress, but this issue recently came to a head after my wife spent numerous nights sleeping in the camper while she took care of her ailing parents. Her aching back and shoulders provided ample evidence that a mattress upgrade was needed. Most husbands well tell you that what mama wants, mama gets. Truth be told, I wanted a new mattress, too, so she didn’t have to try too hard to convince me.

After researching numerous options, we opted to go with a Sleep Science memory foam mattress by South Bay International. We ordered an 8 inch thick, queen sized version of the mattress for about $420 through Costco online which included free shipping. The 64 pound mattress comes conveniently folded and compressed in a large box which makes it easy to move around and install. The mattress consists of three layers with the top layer comprised of a proprietary slumber tech Visco memory foam. The mattress itself is flame and dust mite resistant as well as hypoallergenic. Like most quality mattresses, it comes with a zippered cover that can be removed and washed. What’s the bottom line? The mattress is very comfortable to lay on. So comfortable, in fact, that we actually look forward to sleeping in our camper now. Can you say that about the mattress in your RV now? If you can’t, you should consider an upgrade.

By the way, the owner of MattressInsider.com reached out to me after I purchased this mattress to say that they offer custom mattress sizes for truck campers as well as for other kinds of RVs. I’ve never purchased from them before and I’m not familiar with the quality of the product or their service, but thought I’d pass it on.

This occasion gave me an opportunity to perform another quick modification and improvement that I’ve been wanting to do but had never got around to doing. The cabover areas in truck campers where the mattress resides can get quite cold during the winter months. One trick to combat this is to add a layer of insulation underneath the mattress. I did this using the rolled-up silver bubble insulation that you can buy at any big box store. I bought the widest size possible to avoid having to piece it in place then applied it to the surface using double sided tape. The weight of the mattress also help keeps the insulation in place.

Installing the mattress was pretty easy, but at 64 pounds you do have to have a healthy back to heft it into place. As I mentioned earlier, the mattress comes folded and compressed in clear plastic and tape. The best way to install the mattress is to maneuver it in place where you want it, then unwrap it. The mattress expands rather quickly after you cut the wrapping tape so be ready. The instructions that came with the mattress states that it needs to air out for at least 24-48 hours after it’s unwrapped. I think that’s a good idea though I didn’t find the odor too offensive. In order to facilitate the airing-out process we used the Fantastic fan which is conveniently located right above the mattress.

New Sleep Science Foam Mattress Installed.
View showing the newly laid bubble insulation.

I pride myself on my ability to modify and improve the RVs I’ve owned over the years, but for me this was one of the easiest, most important mods I’ve ever made. Sleeping well is important when you’re on the road and enjoying the benefits of your RV. Sure, a good mattress won’t automatically make your camp out or road adventure a success, but a bad mattress can certainly come close to ruining it.

About Mello Mike 866 Articles
Mello Mike is an Arizona native, author, and the founder of Truck Camper Adventure. He's been RV'ing since 2002, is a certified RVIA Level 1 RV Technician, and has restored several Airstream travel trailers. A communications expert and licensed ham radio operator (KK7TCA), he retired from the U.S. Navy in 2004 as a CWO3 after 24 years, holds a BS degree, and now runs Truck Camper Adventure full-time. He also does some RV consulting, repairs, and inspections on the side. He currently rolls in a 4WD Ram 3500 outfitted with a SherpTek truck bed with a Bundutec Roadrunner mounted on top.


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  2. You need some kind of airflow under the mattress or mold will develop. The reflective bubble is great but the heat on one side and cold to the other in short distance will cause condensation.

  3. we have a memory foam topper added to out bed. That was one of the first upgrades we did. Now we look forward to using our bed in the camper. Heck, its more comfortable than our bed at home.

  4. We purchased the Spa Sensations 6" Memory Foam Mattress ($155 & free shipping) from WalMart. I have an expensive brand name in the house but I needed to keep costs down to get the TC on the road.

    I've only slept on it one time in the driveway and from what I can tell it's a little softer than the house mattress. Personally I prefer the firmer one in house but this will have to do for now.

    I think mine is about 75-80 lbs. Cost wise this is a great upgrade. Cheers! ~M

  5. Great idea to add the insulation.

    Goodwill might come and pick up the old mattress. They made "house calls" in GA. for big and heavy donations.

    Joe always says…..happy wife, happy life! I agree!

  6. How much did the original mattress weigh? In other words, what is the extra weight penalty for upgrading to the memory foam mattress?

  7. We upgraded ours recently too, we got a similiar mattress from Ikea. May have to consider the insulation option.

    What did you do with the old mattress? Ours is still sitting in the garage.

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