When you take those first steps into road living, bedding for RVs is not something that springs to mind as needing special consideration. The assumption most people make is that they can simply grab a few bedroom essentials from the house and toss them into their RV.
The more experienced RV adventurers know better so here are some important factors to bear in mind.
What is the Difference Between Normal Beds and RV Beds?
RV manufacturers tend to make beds at different sizes to those we find in our own homes. This stands to reason when you consider that they are governed by the dimensions of the vehicle, whereas in a house, the bed stands in a room with space around it.
The makers of RV beds don’t have the luxury of standardization that goes with making domestic beds. Even standard sizes- king, queen size etc. RV mattress will tend to be a bit shorter than the normal home equivalent.
Before purchasing your RV bedding, it is important to measure the size of the matrasses and to buy accordingly. There is nothing worse than trying to get a good night’s rest on a bed where the sheets billow up around you like a shroud or slither off the bed every time you roll over.
Another factor is that you don’t want your bedding to fall off the beds while you are driving your trailer or motorhome.
Of course, it hardly needs to be said but the foundation of all of good sleep is a good quality mattress. No matter how carefully you choose your bedding, you won’t be able to overcome discomfort if the mattress beneath it feels like something from a medieval torture chamber.
If you are buying a new RV you can discuss this with your supplier when you are choosing your vehicle, but if you have an older RV or have bought second hand you are well advised to check the mattrasses and ensure they offer the comfort that you are looking for. You spend a third of your life sleeping so don’t scrimp on comfort.
Why Use Specialized RV Bedding and Sheets?
There are also other factors to consider when purchasing RV bedding. Unlike in your home where you can easily control the temperature, you are now mobile and exterior temperatures can vary considerably.
This means that you may need to have different sets of RV bedding so that they correspond to the conditions in which you are going to find yourself.
Think carefully about washing and drying the items you choose. Everything needs to be easily washed because you will no longer have access to that home laundry in your kitchen or basement.
The less time you have to spend sitting in soulless laundromats the better. Finally, with less space for storage, you will want your RV bedding to be of the ideal size so that you aren’t wasting precious locker space unnecessarily.
With all of these factors to consider, we can now break down your camper bedding options so that you have all the information you need to make the most practical choices.
We’ve touched on this already but it is important so don’t forget to measure the mattresses you are buying for. While you have that tape measure out, be sure to measure the depth as well as the length and width of each mattress.
There is nothing worse than a fitted sheet that doesn’t actually fit and insists on getting into a wrestling match with you in the middle of the night.
Camper beds come in many shapes and sizes, so make sure you get the right size RV sheets. Some manufacturers make particular sheets for particular RVs, like Aurora RV Linens which specialize in exact fitted sheets for Leisure Travel Vans.
While there may not be such a company for your beds, it never hurts to check with the manufacturer.
On a hot summer’s night, it is great to slide between nice cool sheets. That experience becomes very different during a cold winter when chilly sheets can take your breath away.
Understand the conditions you will be encountering and purchase those sheets accordingly. You may well need winter bedding and summer bedding which you can swap over with the change in seasons.
Sheets are made from a wide variety of materials ranging from cool cotton and silk, through to cosy flannel sheets. A lot of this comes down to personal choice but always consider ease of washing and drying if you will be on the road for any length of time.
A good tip after drying sheets in a tumble dryer is to fold them carefully while they are still warm or to put them straight back onto the bed. This alleviates the need for ironing which is one activity that RV campers should be spared. You are doing this for pleasure, after all.
These guys are great for the house but think carefully before including them on your list of RV necessities. They might look and feel great but washing and drying them on your trip can become a real chore.
If you wish to use a camper comforter, just consider how you will be cleaning it and if that needs to happen on the road.
Good old-fashioned blankets have always been a popular choice for camper bedding. They store quite easily and can be layered according to how much warmth is required.
Many of the more modern weaves are cheap and can be folded up and tucked away when not in use.
A heavy woollen blanket retains an extraordinary amount of heat. On the down side, they can’t be washed in hot water or tumble dried. This means cold washes followed by a lengthy period on a washing line.
Electric blankets are another option you might like to look at, but again, a bit of forward planning is needed here. Think about how long the cables need to be and what fittings will correspond with you van.
They can now be purchased with cigarette lighter fittings which many RVs have.
With duvets you have a wide array of options. It is imperative that you have a duvet that corresponds to the temperatures you will be sleeping in.
There is plenty of choice available so this won’t be difficult and one option is to purchase layered duvets. They fit together in the duvet cover and you can add two or more lightweight duvets together for added warmth when camping in cold weather.
You should always have covers if you go down the duvet route as these are easy to take off and wash. Fitting duvets into their covers is an acquired skill. In the beginning it is a little like trying to wrestle a marshmallow into a slot machine but it gets easier with practice.
You can also cheat and buy zip up covers but these ruin half the fun of the camping experience, especially if you are a spectator rather than the person fitting them.
Made For RV Bedding
These are a great asset to the RV experience. They consist of fitted bedding that can be zipped over the mattress easily. They come in a variety of weights and some come with a built-in top sheet offering an all-in-one system.
Another good thing is that they don’t slide off the mattress while you are travelling so you won’t reach you destination only to find your carefully made beds scattered across the floor of your RV.
Also, many RV beds are against the walls, so not having to continually get fitted sheets on those in a major bonus especially in tight kids bedding situations.
You can find Beddys brand bedding at their website: Beddys.com I do not believe you can get it at any stores, not even Camping World. There have been some sets available on Amazon.
In essence, this is a glorified sleeping bag but with some added bonuses. You can choose superbags that come with fitted sheets inside for easy washing. They come in many sizes and configurations so there will be one to match your RV and your personal comfort requirements.
RV Superbags sell direct from their site: rvsuperbag.com
The most important part is that they have a thick and a thin side. In warmer conditions the thick side goes on the bottom offering a mattress pad but it can be turned over in cooler conditions to provide extra warmth.
These provide the convenience of entire bedding sets in one package.
These sheets use an elastic string which runs around the edges of the sheet and meet in the center, so you can pull the sheet tight on any fit. Plastic cinches slide up to hold the sheet fast.
- Fitted sheets with pull string cinches to stay firm and tight.
- Fitted sheet design loves to hug mattresses.
- A cord storage pocket provides storage for the excess cording.
There is a small pocket at the pull point to hold the extra string and tucks under the mattress. 600 thread count cotton fabric make these sheets super comfy!
This two-piece system incorporates a lower cover that fits around the outside edges of the mattress and a zip sheet that is designed to zip straight onto this lower cover.
CiQuickZip SheetsnchFit Bedding
- Changing fitted sheets on & off the mattress will never be a struggle again.
- Zip-On Sheets can be easily zipped on & off the fitted base.
- Particularly useful for people with difficult-to-reach mattresses.
Once fitted, the quickzip bedding combination holds firmly in place and won’t slip off the rv bed. An added advantage is that the lower cover protects the edges of the mattress.
Advanced RV Bedding
Almost all of the bedding options we have looked at come in a wide range of materials and which one you opt for will be dictated by a number of different factors.
Price is often the most important issue though there is one other that you may want to take into account. Here’s where bamboo and bamboo cotton blends might interest you.
This mixture of fibres is attractive because it is earth friendly and most RV campers care about the environment. The bedding will be soft and silky but is biodegradable whilst offering a thread count that competes with that of the highest cotton sheets.
It is also great for wicking away moisture. Because bamboo deters the growth of fungi it increases mattress life. You will need to weigh up the cost here but that increase in the longevity of the mattress may change the equation considerably in the long term.
Mattress Pads and Toppers
Once again, these RV bedding options come in a wide variety of materials. Both pads and toppers protect the mattress from stains as well as mites or allergy generating fungi.
It can be a little complicated differentiating one term from the other so here is what to look out for.
The pads are thin covers designed for mattress protection and easy washing. The toppers, on the other hand, are an extension of the mattress which enhances comfort and support but which can’t simply be tossed into the washing machine.
Toppers not only increase comfort; they also provide an element of temperature control. Like most of the RV bedding we have looked at, these items come in a wide range of materials and at differing prices.
Make sure that if you are using a mattress topper you also get sheets with deep pockets to cover the extra height.
These simple little accessories are indispensable if you are using loose bedding that is not attached to the mattress in some way or other. There is nothing complicated about them.
They are simply elasticated straps that clip onto sheets and other bedding, usually with clips like those you would find on braces.
They can be slipped under the mattress to hold the bedding in place. There are options that slip under the corners of the mattress and other longer ones that diagonally traverse from each corner.
When sheets need to be washed, the straps can be left in place and simply be unclipped until needed again.
Pillows are important for a good night’s sleep. It is worth replacing them from time to time as long-term use often leads to them becoming flat and unsupportive. In the campervan, they regularly play a secondary roll as cushions.
Often the bed doubles as seating and pillows are then included in that arrangement. The beauty of this set up is that with the use of just some simple decorative covers and throws, you are able to change the décor of the van to better reflect your taste. Same can be done with pillowcases.
Entering a van with matching bed cover and pillow can transform RV from appearing purely functional to something with more of a designer feel.
A great night’s sleep enhances the RV lifestyle and the right bedding solution is an important but often over looked factor in this regard. I think most of us start out our early road trips using bedding from our homes or bedding that is designed for the house.
It is only when we have spent some time on the road that the importance of using RV specific bedding starts to become apartment. You may well need to purchase bedding for your vehicle from a specialist supplier but it is worth the extra cost and the slight inconvenience.
Grainne Foley grew up in Ireland and spent summers caravanning around Europe with her family. Now, as a wife and mother of 2, she spent 5 years traveling the USA as a full time RVing family. She is passionate about travel, and helping others who are considering the RV lifestyle. She has created dozens of helpful RVing checklists which are available throughout the website, and has curated hundreds of simple, flavorful meals for families on the go.