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best rv mattress for car camping and truck

Best Mattress For Car Camping & Truck Bed

If you're big into car camping or just want something affordable for your truck bed camper, here's a list of the top rated mattresses.

Buying a mattress for car camping or truck bed camper isn’t like buying one for your home. You’re most likely not looking for a coil mattress or something that’s expensive. You want a product that will get the job done, but won’t break the bank.

Our Top Mattress Picks

Cross-country road trips, weekend adventures, spontaneous star gazing: If your heart rate just spiked, you’re probably a fan of car camping or taking long trips with your truck. Lucky for you, we’ve complied a list of the best rated mattresses for your next adventure.

The idea of sleeping in your car (or van or even your semi truck) might sound like a cramped and achy experience, but adding a mattress to the mix can really make things more comfortable. However, finding a new mattress online can be a chore. There are so many options and it’s hard to know which one will be right for you, especially when you can’t test it out before buying the mattress. Add in the plan to put it in your car, and things can start to get complicated. That’s why we’re here!

AT A GLANCEPRICINGHEADLINE
puffy mattress review coupon code deal

Washable Cover

$300 Off

Discount in Cart

Puffy has an accomodating feel that most people will find comfortable, but the real reason it's on the list is that it has a removable, washable cover, which is rare to see. Another nice mattress for car camping or sleeping in your truck.
nod tuft and needle mattress review

Budget

See on AmazonNod is the entry-level mattress from Tuft & Needle. There's really nothing special about it, but it is comfy and will get the job done. Tuft & Needle nod will be a very good option for your truck bed camper or when you're car camping.
amazonbasics memory foam mattress review

Ultra-Budget

See on AmazonThis is pretty much the cheapest bed that money can buy, and yet it's still not bad, all things considered. This is the easy pick for campers and your short bed truck.

HOW WE DECIDED

  • Mattresses Reviewed125+

    Mattresses Reviewed

  • Brands 60+

    Brands

  • Made the List 4

    Made
    the List

  • Number of Contributors 6

    Number of Contributors

What’s The Right Size Mattress For Car Camping?

Now, let’s be logical here—you’re putting this mattress in a car or truck bed camper or van, so it can’t be big. Nothing larger than a Twin is practical for smaller spaces.

You might be able to shove a Full size into a larger van or truck bed camper, but it will be tight. Go for a Twin in most cases and definitely not a Queen, King, or California King. It’s perfectly fine for car camping and you can fit two people on a Twin if you cuddle. You should also pay attention to the thickness of the mattress, as well as the weight. You’ll want a bed that’s thick enough to keep you from bottoming out, but no thicker, and you don’t want anything especially heavy. It’s likely that you’ll be moving it around quite a bit, so a heavy bed with be a hassle.

Puffy

BEST FOR:

  • If you're concerned with keeping your mattress clean (washable cover)
  • All sleeping positions
  • People that want a bed that has a soft-foam feel and is pretty dang comfortable
  • Couples that want a soft foam bed

Why spend more for Puffy — The list of beds that have a machine-washable cover is short. Puffy is among the most accomodating and easiest to move of the bunch. On top of that, it’s very comfortable and really is a notch above many of the others on this list. It’s even backed by a lifetime warranty!

puffy mattress review stomach sleeper
Puffy has a “stain resistant” cover that’s machine washable

Washable Cover — Rather than purchase an additional mattress protector, it might be easier for you to just get a bed that has a machine-washable cover. The only thing is the cover is not waterproof so if you want to absolutely ward off stains and messes, you might still consider the protector. You can read more about the cover on PuffyMattress.com.

Feel — Puffy feels a bit like Casper or Tulo in that it’s responsive, comfortable, has a medium firmness profile, and we’d wage that the majority of people will really like it. Puffy is just fine for all types of sleepers.

Tuft & Needle Nod

BEST FOR:

  • People that want a comfy bed that's seriously affordable
  • All sleeping positions
  • Anyone that just wants a soft-foam feel

Why Tuft & Needle Nod could be for you — Nod is an Amazon-exclusive bed from Tuft & Needle, which is one of the most respected bed-in-a-box brands. It’s about as simple as you can get, but that’s probably exactly what you should be looking for if you’re sleeping in your car, van, or the back of your truck.

tuft and needle nod mattress review back sleeper
Nod has a basic feel that most people should enjoy

Construction — It doesn’t get any simpler than two layers of polyurethane foam. Nod is an 8″ mattress, which might be in the sweet spot for your application. Interestingly, the top layer of the bed is the exact same as the mattress topper Tuft & Needle sells on Amazon.

Heavy People — If this is going to be your full-time mattress and you weigh over 230 lb, we can’t recommend Tuft & Needle Nod. In fact, we’d urge you to look at a bed with coils. If, however, you’re just using the bed on the weekends or every once in a while, Nod should be just fine for you.

AmazonBasics Mattress

BEST FOR:

  • Budget shoppers that care first and foremost about price
  • Anyone that's open to a (slight) memory foam feel
  • Fans of Amazon (and Amazon Prime)

AmazonBasics is cheap — The entire AmazonBasics brand centers around value. In other words, what can you get for your money? Price is the number one concern. If that’s the case, this is likely the bed for you.

amazon basics side sleeper mattress
We’ve tested plenty of beds that are way worse than AmazonBasics

Price — Again, price is king here. Typically, for the 8″ model, you can get the bed for under $200 if you select a full or twin. To put that in perspective, most budget-level beds are in the $400-$800 range for a full. You could buy multiple AmazonBasics beds for the price of some of these other beds.

Design — This mattress comes in three height profiles: 8″ / 10″ / 12″. The 8″ is what we were primarily thinking of when we put this list together. In any case, however, the bed has three layers of foam, including a very thin layer of memory foam on top. Even so, the bed has a neutral feel with memory foam mixed in and we think it’s comfortable. Only comes with a one year warranty, though, which is perhaps reflected in the price tag.

Review Team

Matt

Matt Ross

Back Sleeper

JD

JD Christison

Combo Sleeper

Dillon Payne

Dillon Payne

Combo Sleeper

kenzie

McKenzie Dillon

Combo Sleeper

We’ve Tested A Lot Of Beds

After testing and reviewing so many mattresses, we’re also very familiar with the online mattress industry. Our goal is to give you the content you need to make an informed decision.

No one on our team is a sleep scientist or anything like that. We’re a group of normal people who value a good night’s sleep, just like you. We vary in height, body type, sleeper type, gender, etc., which means we can cover a decently diverse sleep experience. And our opinions are always 100% our own. We have complete control over our content and our number one goal is to provide helpful information.

Reasonable Pricing For The New Mattress

Mattresses aren’t a cheap product—we all know this. And it’s okay to spend a decent amount of money on the bed you’ll be sleeping on every night for the next decade or so, but it’s not necessary to spend a ton on the mattress you’re going to shove in the bed of your truck for summer weekends in the middle of Joshua Tree. It’s all about finding the best mattress for the money given what you’ll be using it for.

And as we already covered, you’re not looking for a large mattress. You only need a Twin, so we think it’s more than reasonable to keep your costs under $1,000 and in some cases under $500. You might just consider getting an Amazon mattress or a regular, cheap mattress.

Finding A Mattress For Couples

In most cases, we’re all about good edge support. No one wants to feel like they’re rolling off the edge of the bed in the middle of the night.

However, when the plan is to squeeze a mattress into a car, van, truck, or semi truck, it’s actually a good idea to look for squishy edges. Soft edges will give so that you can fit a bed into a tight space, like the trunk of your hatchback Subaru.

So, for couples, edge support isn’t really important to factor in. In reality, couples just need an accomodating and comfortable bed. It doesn’t have to be your every night mattress. It just has to be good enough for when you’re car camping or sleeping in your truck bed.

Construction Of Your Car Camping Mattress

There are two common types of mattress constructions: all-foam and hybrid. There are also gel constructions, but those are far less common and not a practical option for car camping anyway.

All-foam beds are, of course, made with all foam. The construction is different from mattress to mattress, with varying layers and types of foam.

Hybrid beds incorporate both foam and coils. Like all-foam beds, they vary in layers and materials, but hybrids tend to have better airflow and a bouncier feel due to the coils.

When you’re looking for the perfect car camping mattress, you’ll have to decide if you want the lighter weight of a hybrid or the squishable properties of an all-foam bed. There are benefits to both in this context, so it really comes down to your comfort preferences.

What Weight Has To Do With It

Camping usually means you’re going to compromise on comfort, but if you’re going so far as to buying a mattress for the express purpose of camping and/or sleeping in your vehicle, you might as well do what you can to be as comfortable as possible. That means shopping for a mattress that’s good for your body.

How a mattress feels to you is affected quite a bit by your body. The heavier you are, the softer a bed feels, and vice versa. So keep your body type in mind when you’re reading descriptions on feel and firmness. If you’re a heavier individual (say 225lb+) or a petite individual (say sub-115lb), mattresses will most likely feel different to you than how they’re described.

Sleeper Type Still Matters

Your sleeper type also plays a role in determining what kind of mattress is going to be comfortable for you. Here’s a breakdown of sleeper type basics that you ought to know when shopping for a new bed:

There are back and stomach sleepers, side sleepers, and combo sleepers. Combo sleepers rotate through two or more positions throughout the night.

Stomach and back sleepers should look for beds with good support around the hips and trunk area. You want to be sure you keep your spine in alignment. A good rule of thumb is to be sure you don’t have an uncomfortable gap under your lower back. You should also avoid a bed to sinks too much all over. This generally means something on the firmer side, as opposed to a bed described as soft or medium-soft.

Side sleepers need to look for mattresses that provide pressure relief, again to keep your spine in alignment. That means you need the bed to give around your shoulder and hips and you don’t want to have a gap under your stomach. Side sleepers usually need a softer bed than back and stomach sleepers.

Combo sleepers will want something that caters to both the need for support and pressure relief. Look for a mattress in the middle-ground in terms of softness/firmness and pay attention to the material used for each layer of the mattress.

The Fine Print

The bed-in-a-box industry has some pretty standard policies in regards to shipping, returns, warranties, and the like. They generally include free shipping, a 100-night risk free trial period, free returns within that trial period, and a 10-year warranty should you keep the mattress. Some companies offer even more than what’s standard and will give you even longer trial periods and much longer warranties.

The risk-free trial period is an important part of buying a mattress online, particularly when you’re going to put it in your car. When you can’t actually lay on the bed before you buy it and you can’t see how it fits in your vehicle (although you can and should compare dimensions before making a purchase), you need that trial period to make sure it’s the right fit for you and your car. And with that trial period, you have the option of returning the bed if it’s not right. All you have to do is call up the company, and they’ll have it picked up for no charge. Plus, you get a full refund.

Mattress Care Is Really Important

If you’re car camping, you’re likely crashing after a long, lovely day of tromping around in the mountains or falling off rocks (on belay, don’t worry), so it’s probably safe to assume that you’re covered in dust and chalk and maybe some mosquito splats. And even though you’ll have a sleeping bag or blankets, your mattress will still need to be cleaned now and then.

Most mattresses have non-removable covers, which leaves you to spot clean. That’s totally doable – just warm water and some mild detergent – but we suggest a getting a mattress protector. A mattress protector is great. You can just take it off and toss it in the washing machine when you get home from your camping trip.