When Kelly and I bought our first RV, there was no dedicated bedroom area. Consequently, what Winnebago referred to as a bed, I (and I suspect others) referred to as a couch. A fold-down couch no-less. It was awful.
Buying the Airstream, I was hopeful that the mattress would be something decent. I was wrong. In moving full-time into the Airstream, downsizing from a king size bed was only made worse by the flimsy and wimpy mattress provided us. After nearly 100 nights, the OEM mattress contained a nice-sized (and rather uncomfortable) crater, offering little to no lumbar support. Given this situation, there was no doubt that a new mattress was in order. Unlike a vacation RV, this bed is our primary bed and comfort is paramount – this is one of the items we are not willing to compromise.
Generally, RV mattresses are not standard size – they are ‘short’ a few inches from those typically found in traditional residential use. Given this reality, our first decision revolved around whether or not to maintain the ‘short’ dimensions of our queen bed (80″ x-75″) or move to the normal dimensions (80″ x 60″). While the difference does not sounds material, those five inches matter.
Our bedding is cut to 80″ x 60″, hence is a bit loose and not securely affixed to the ‘short’ mattress. Secondly, our bedroom is not large – adding an additional five inches of clearance consumes otherwise needed space.
The other primary consideration was whether to have a mattress custom made. As most RV mattress are junk, anyone wishing to maintain the ‘short’ sizing and a decent mattress must often procure a custom mattress. This option can be quite expensive, however, in doing so, the buyer gets exactly what s/he wants – not so when buying at a typical mattress store.
Ultimately, we chose to buy a traditionally sized mattress. We ventured over to Sleeptrain, a local mattress retailer and began the customary action of resting atop a number of purchase candidates. Ultimately, we chose a very firm Beautyrest affectionally dubbed the “brick” by the staff. No matter – Kelly and I both prefer a very firm mattress and while the staff had a bit of fun, the ‘brick’ had Kelly and me at hello. Like most mattress stores, Sleeptrain had obligatory big sale underway and we scored what we felt was a nice deal (btw – is it just me, or does anyone else notice that only mens clothing store JoS. A. Bank seems to offer more ‘blowout’ sales than the mattress stores?).
With the purchase decision complete, our next order of business was to rebuild our bed platform in order to accommodate the larger mattress. It turns out that it is very difficult to find plywood in excess of 48″ wide and when you do, the price is exorbitant. This presented a problem as we wanted our platform to be 56″ wide. After a bit of rude sketch work, I landed on a design that would allow for a nice solution … and provide extra scrap wood to be recycled into a small deck outside our door step. Score.
In the spirit of plan the work, work the plan, that’s exactly how Kelly and I spent our day yesterday.
First order of business – disassemble the existing platform.
Second, we assembled the new (and, at 3/4″ thicker & heavier) platform.
Final assembly complete, I was curious to visualize the impact of losing those five inches, so I placed the OEM mattress onto the newly constructed longer platform.
Once this comparison was complete, I unceremoniously finalized the upgrade, surrendering this mattress to the Sleeptrain delivery guys for a proper burial.
Then, it was time to look forward to improved sleep comfort. But not before first better understanding the loss of those lost five inches.
Finally, project Mattress Upgrade was complete and all was well again.