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A Guide to RV Mattresses
By Timothy Taylor
I remember my first RV trip. The rig wasn’t mine, but the memories —I’ll always own those. We were trekking through the Appalachian Mountains on a magnificent journey from Michigan to Maine. Magnificent in beauty, scope and pain.
Let me back up. The RV belonged to my friend, Paul, and if you knew Paul, then you’d know how excited he was about his new RV. So excited that he insisted that I accompany him, and his young family, on the maiden journey east. Aside from the occasional olfactory offense of a pungent diaper, the trip was mostly enjoyable, until I spent my first night sleeping on the RV mattress. I woke up the next day (and the next, and the next) with aching joints and a body wrought with the spoils awarded to the soldiers of restless sleep.
Now that I am officially an avid RV man (just ask my ex-wife), I recall that first trip and wince. I had no idea that a harmless-looking mattress could negatively impact my journey to such an extent. If you’re like me, you like to spend as much time in your RV as you can. Heck, mine is basically a permanent residence from April to October. And if my first RV journey gave me anything other than a sore back, it was the wisdom of knowing the importance of having a comfortable, supportive RV mattress.
After years of RVing, I’ve found that most of the long term-travelers I’ve met have also had negative experiences with stock RV mattresses. Unfortunately, while your new RV might come with all of the bells and whistles you could imagine, it likely doesn’t come with a high-quality mattress. And this isn’t an issue for the occasional traveler or the resilient sleeper. As a frequent user of my RV, and someone with a history of back problems, I am exactly the kind of sleeper for which a subpar mattress just won’t work. It doesn’t work on my bed at home, and it doesn’t work in my RV. So when you’re looking for an RV mattress, try to get something similar to what you’re used to sleeping on. While there’s not as much of a selection, if you dedicate your search you can get a comfortable supportive mattress for your RV.
If you’re a back sleeper, look for a mattress with a good amount of padding, like a pillow or euro top. The plush surface will conform to the curves of your back better than a harder surface, so your spine can rest closer to its natural alignment.
For side sleepers, a mattress that’s too firm can cause extreme discomfort. When you lie on your side, your spine rests in its natural position, so side sleepers need an RV mattress that conforms to support the natural curvature of the body. Softer mattresses generally conform better, but some firm mattresses with pillow or euro tops can provide comfortable conformability.
If you sleep on your stomach, you’ll want to avoid a soft mattress, as it will cause sagging that will arch your back in an uncomfortable position. The best mattress for a stomach sleeper has a medium firmness and will provide adequate support for your middle section without arching your spine. Mattresses that have large padded tops like pillow soft and euro tops are often uncomfortable for stomach sleepers.
This summer, as you roll around this beautiful country, equip your RV with the kind of mattress that will provide the support you need and the comfort you desire. Find an RV mattress that suits your sleeping position, and you’ll enjoy your RV even more. You’ll sleep better at night and get the most out of your days, all the while feeling rested and ready to see what this beautiful land has to offer.
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