By Kyle & Olivia Brady | Founders of Drivin' & Vibin' | We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases.

How to Sleep Better in Your RV?

Whether you’re camping for the weekend, a season or full time – adjusting to an RV bed can be challenging. Not to mention, the issues go far beyond your mattress!

Today we’re diving deep into ways you can improve your RV sleeping situation. Additionally, we surveyed hundreds of RVers to find common pain points when it comes to a good night sleep in your home on wheels!

Let’s dive in!

Start With The Mattress, But Don’t Stop There

Let’s get one thing straight – RVs don’t come stock with a great mattress. In fact, the majority of RV owners have replaced their original mattresses. 58% of RVers we surveyed have opted to buy a better, after market mattress or mattress topper.

However, it’s not all bad news. 29% of RVers say they get a better night sleep in an RV than in a traditional home.

RV MATTRESS SURVEY CHART

When it comes to buying a new mattress for your RV, you have lots of options.

In most cases, standard household mattresses can be used in an RV. This makes replacement easy and flush with options. In rare cases (like some Airstreams or corner-bed models), you’ll have to order a custom mattress.

If a custom mattress is your route, here’s how we did it for our Airstream

Pro Tips from Seasoned RVers:

  • “We purchased a 8” Zinus Green Tea Queen mattress from Amazon last year and I just installed the Froli Star system in the trailer after reading positive reviews” – Mary O.
  • “We just replaced our factory hard mattress with a Helix Midnight and put HyperVent under the mattress to allow it to breath. We love this new mattress.” – Mike R.
  • “Ours came with a Simmons beauty rest mattress. It was not the best so we added the Serta 3inch memory foam topper. Now it amazing!” – Johnny I.
  • “When nobody was looking, I quietly stole the mattress from our spare bedroom and exchanged it for our new RV mattress.” Joe R.

Temperature Control in Your RV

RVs are not like “sticks & bricks” homes. They have less insulation, roof top AC units (super inefficient), and typically heat by means of a loud propane furnace. This combo makes it challenging to maintain a base temperature.

Additionally, the air inside your RV may be too humid (causing condensation) or too dry.

21% of RVers said it was very difficult to control the nighttime temperature in their RV.

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Here are a few tips to help solve this problem:

  • Experiment Often: If you haven’t solved your temp control problem, keep trying new tricks. You’ll get it eventually.
  • Layer Up: Sometimes the best option is to add another blanket or put on some nighttime sweats.
  • Mr. Buddy Heater: These small propane heaters can take the edge off on extra cold nights. Keep in mind, you must ventilate the area.
  • Electric Heater: If you have electric hook ups, experiment with different electric heaters. We found the oil-filled, radiator style heaters can put off a lot of heat with out drying out the air.
  • Fan-Tastic Roof Vent: For warmer nights, try this fan as an AC substitute.
  • Move On Down The Road: You’ve got wheels! Move to a better climate.

Do You Feel Safe Where You’re Sleeping?

A big part of RV life is the feeling of freedom. But, it’s hard to feel free if you don’t feel safe…much less, get a good night sleep.

Compared to a traditional home, 18% of RVers we surveyed said they feel less safe when sleeping in their RV. Additionally, only 4% said they feel more safe.

This is a pretty big problem. If you’re worried about your safety, there’s no way to get great rest.

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Tips for feeling more safe in your RV:

  • Choose Your Campground Wisely: Research in depth before booking a reservation. We use RV Trip Wizard to find the best campgrounds and to read lots of reviews.
  • Carry Self Protection: This doesn’t have to be a gun (although, if you feel comfortable with one it’ll work). You could also use pepper spray, taser, and loud alarm systems.
  • Safety In Numbers: Go RVing with buddies. This can be fun and help you feel more secure. If you don’t have any RV friends yet, join a group like the Escapees RV Club to find like minded travelers.

How To Control Outside Noise in Your RV?

RVs have thin walls. If you’re camping in an RV park you (most likely) have nearby neighbors. Sounds like a pretty bad combo, doesn’t it?

A whopping 79% of RVers said they sometimes or often wake up from outside noise.

There’s not many great solutions for this problem, but these may help:

  • Go Boondocking: If you’re unfamiliar with the term, boondocking is typically camping in rural areas with no neighbors and no hook-ups. If you need hook-ups, count this option out. Here’s our 20 favorite boondocking sites in the USA!
  • Wear Ear Plugs: This old-school solution will still work pretty well.
  • White Noise Machine: If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!

Airstream Mistake

Where Are The Best & Worst Places To Sleep In Your RV?

The best (or worst) thing you can do for a good night sleep in your RV is choosing where to sleep. Of the hundreds of RV owners we surveys, we found some very clear winners and losers.

The finalists for the worst place to sleep were Walmart, Cracker Barrel and Interstate/Highway Rest Stops.

The overwhelming majority (74%) of RVers said Rest Stops are the worst place to sleep in an RV. Walmart (25%) came in a strong second place and Cracker Barrel (1%) barely registered.

The finalists for the best places to catch Zzz in an RV were RV parks & resorts, boondocking spots, and National/State Parks.

The majority of RV owners (51%) said that National/State Parks are the best places to get a good night sleep. Boondocking spots came in second with 29% and RV Parks were third with 20%.

Do You Struggle With RV Sleep?

Have you ever found it challenging to sleep in an RV? Better still, have you upgraded your RV mattress? Let us know in the comments section how you improved your RV sleeping situation.

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The Best FREE Camping in the USA

We love camping across this amazing country. And, we really love it when its free. Here’s our list of the 20 Best Free Campsites in the USA.

If you haven’t tried free camping before, also known as boondocking, take a look at our beginners guide to boondocking filled with everything you need to know to get started.

Become a FREE CAMPING INSIDER and join the 100,000 campers that love to score the best site! Simply enter your email below.

 

 

 

 

5 Comments

  1. Our Dynaquest XL came with a gel infused memory foam mattress which wasn’t bad but a little too thin for a full sized man. We picked up a topper from Costco but it was too soft. In a last ditch effort to avoid buying a new mattress we tried the topper UNDER the mattress which worked great!

  2. Don’t recommend pepper spray! We live in the mountains and hike the mountains all the time. Always carried bear spray (pepper spray) until it accidentally was set off inside our camper. Once I realized (through experience) the effects of the spray, I felt very ignorant for having ever carried it and sincerely thinking it was a form of “protection “. Was attempting to retrieve something from a floor level cabinet (which also contained the spray) when simultaneously I heard a noise and felt a severe burning on my shin (which was about 2inches from the spray)…almost immediately all other effects of the spray took over (burning eyes, difficulty breathing, etc.). Fortunately I was the only one in the camper when it went off (door to camper was open) BUT it adversely affected my husband and grandchildren, who were all outside and varying distances from the camper…the furthest was a grandson about one and a half truck lengths from the front of the camper. Neighboring campers were also affected. Won’t go into what it did to my shin nor how long it took to recover. But can you imagine how effective it would be as protection from someone trying to break into your camper????? If outside, the person/animal you are spraying would have to be too close for comfort and the wind would have to be blowing in its direction… however you would still suffer from it as well…you might be doing the “enemy” a “favor” by debilitating yourself….won’t know for sure until you pull the “trigger” on that can.

  3. No problems with feeling safe. City living is more dangerous than boondocking. Criminals generally don’t like the boonies!

  4. For people just starting out, building or gutting a camper, go for the best, most dense insulation possible. Totally worth the time and expense in noise reduction and temperature regulation. Also, insulated window and ceiling vent coverings.

  5. Great study! My wife says she’s never slept better than in our RV. We replaced our mattress with an 8″ memory foam queen mattress that weighs just 60 lbs, so not TOO much added weight, and it’s super comfortable. I have to agree, though, that temperature control is the hardest…especially in 40 degree weather and below. We sleep above the hitch in our fifth wheel so it’s like we’re in a little capsule completely lacking in insulation. A great, insulating comforter was a must for us. Good read 🙂

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