Making your pop up camper mattresses more comfortable may seem like an impossible task, I promise you, it can be done! We have made a few little modifications that have us sleeping like babies all night long. If you have seen the “after” pictures of our pop up camper remodel, you know that I am more of a glamper than an actual camper. 😉 I love to experience the great outdoors, but at the end of the day, I want to come home to a comfortable bed with a fluffy comforter. It drives Mr. TypeTwoFun a little crazy, but that’s just how I am. In fact, before we got the pop up camper, our tent setup included air mattresses with memory foam and down comforters. No, really, it’s true! We laugh about it now, but this set up is probably the reason we decided to take the plunge and buy a camper.
While it may be a little over the top, I think it’s safe to say that I know how to sleep in comfort when camping. So when we bought our Santa Fe, I knew those stock mattresses were not going to cut it. We have a memory foam mattress at home, and I love it. I wanted to bring that comfort to our little PUP by adding a memory foam topper. I wasn’t sure just how thick my topper could be without interfering with the roof closing. As luck would have it, we had an extra 2″ queen sized memory foam topper sitting around. We placed the topper on one of the bunkend beds and closed the camper up. We had no problem whatsoever closing the latches, so we figured that 2″ was a perfect thickness for our trailer.
If you don’t happen to have an extra topper hanging around your house, the Kleenex Box Test (another great idea we found on the Pop Up Portal) is a great way to find out just how much room you have left between your mattress and your camper roof when the camper is all popped down. The idea is to place an empty tissue box on your mattress and then fold the camper up as you usually would. When you open up the camper, take out the tissue box and measure the height. That should be the amount of room you have left for things like mattress toppers.
We decided to give the Kleenex Box Test a go, just for curiosity’s sake. We placed a tissue box on the mattress just before closing up the camper. We decided to place it on top of the folded up canvas towards the edge of the roof, to make sure we’d get an accurate result.
Then we closed up the camper fully and fastened the roof latches. You want to make sure your camper is completely closed and latched. Then open the camper up again and measure the tissue box.
Our tissue box hit the camper door handle the first time, and it barely made a dent in the box. We decided to move the tissue box around several times and take measurements each time. It actually was pretty consistent each time. We measured our box after all our tests, and it seemed like we had at least 4″ of room between our mattresses and our roof. It makes sense, really, because we were able to add the 2″ memory foam topper and had no problem closing the roof with it on. Once we started leaving the bedding and the curtains on, though, it got a little tight. If you leave your curtains, bedding, and solar bunkend covers on when you close the camper, you’ll want to make sure you leave them on for the Kleenex Box Test, too.
Because we only had one 2″ memory foam topper, we had to purchase two more — one for the dining table bed and one for the master king bed. I researched memory foam for a few days, and I finally ended up purchasing these toppers from Amazon. Four years later, I’m still really happy with them. I bought one full sized and one king sized topper. The toppers were a little big, so I just took an electric knife and trimmed them to fit our existing mattresses. It was easy, and now we have memory foam toppers that fit each bed perfectly.
To protect the memory foam when we close up the camper, I decided to buy some cheap mattress protectors from Ikea. These particular ones happened to be on clearance, and I got a full sized protector for $4! Because they didn’t have king sized protectors, I bought two twin sized ones ($2/each) and snipped the elastic off one side of each of them. Then I sewed them together down the middle to make a king sized protector. It fits perfectly!
The mattress pads protect the memory foam when the camper is all folded down, but they also add an extra layer of comfort. Depending on how much room you have, you could probably go with a thicker pad for an even cozier sleep. I’m still debating with Mr. TypeTwoFun about adding a bit more padding.Update: At the end of our last summer road trip, I was starting to feel the OSB bottom on our bunkends. No one else noticed it, but I sure did… and if Mom doesn’t sleep well, the trip can take a nasty turn, right? I remembered a link on Pinterest where people were lining the bottoms of their bunks with interlocking anti-fatigue mats like these. We purchased a few sets from Harbor Freight to do the kids’ full sized bed. I liked it so much that we purchased a few more sets, this time from Costco, to line our bunkend. (Ignore the water pump in the picture below… that’s another project for another day. 😛 )
It took approximately 12 tiles (3 1/3 across x 3 1/3 down) to line the king side and about nine tiles (2 1/3 across x 3 1/3 down) to line the full side. You can simply cut the foam to size with a utility knife and a straight edge. We much preferred the thickness, texture, and smell of the Costco tiles. The Harbor Freight tiles were a little more difficult to cut to size, and they smelled awful for days. The Costco tiles were also a MUCH better deal. Each package cost us $10, but the Costco package came with eight tiles, and the Harbor Freight only had four. Overall, it was a quick and easy project, and it added quite a bit of comfort.
When we make our beds, we use a fitted sheet in the actual size of the camper bed and a flat sheet one size down. So for our king bed, we use a king fitted sheet and a queen flat sheet. All the blankets and comforters we use on the bed are in the same size as the flat sheet we use. Because there isn’t a thick mattress and boxspring on a bunkend bed, I don’t need the extra drop I’d get from a king sized comforter. Using a queen sized one prevents major overhang on the sides and fits the bed perfectly. For the convertible dinette bed, I use twin sized sheets in a jersey stretch. The dinette bed isn’t as small as a twin, but it isn’t as big as a full sized bed either. Using jersey sheets provides a nice snug fit, and the stretch makes setting up the bed easy.
Here’s the master bed all set up. I love to get my comforters and duvet covers from Ikea, both from home and the camper. They are cheap and well made, and I can choose different levels of warmth for my inserts. We find that a level 3 works really well for us. If we need more warmth, we pack extra blankets, but usually we don’t need them. I always take a few extra pillows for comfort, too — although, I don’t typically take as many pillows as you see in the picture. 😉 I have to compromise with Mr. TypeTwoFun sometimes… but we sleep like babies in here, and Mr. TypeTwoFun doesn’t often complain about that. In fact, after our 14-mile hike through the Redwoods last summer, everyone was happy to have that little extra bit of comfort to come home to.
So there you have it! That’s how we set up our sleeping areas when we camp. How about your camper? Have you added any little comforts that make sleeping outdoors easier? If you have, be sure to share them in the comments below!
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