Van Camping: Finding the Perfect Mattress

posted in: Accommodations, Adventure, Travel | 12

One of the most important aspects of sleeping in a vehicle is being comfortable. We truck camped on and off for years and our bedding situation, an egg crate foam with extra blankets, did not cut it for long-term. It isn’t horribly uncomfortable, just something you don’t want to sleep on night after night. My max was about three nights.

Now that we are turning our minivan into a campervan, it’s time to get serious about our sleeping arrangements. Never underestimate the importance of a good night’s sleep! We need a good van camping mattress…

      >>>RELATED POST: Why we Chose a Campervan as our Next Travel Vehicle

Are you turning your truck or van into a camper? Your first priority should be comfortable sleeping arrangements. Here is the perfect van camping mattress!
Minivan soon to be our campervan!

What about an Air Mattress?

We had two things in mind when choosing what the mattress should provide: comfort and simplicity. Our first thought was an air mattress. But when it comes down to it, they aren’t that comfortable and take up a lot of space when blown up. In order for us to have extra room in the back when driving around, we would have to inflate and deflate every day. Sounds like a nuisance to me so the air mattress was out.

What about a Build-a-Bed?

If you search on the web or Pinterest for cool campervans, you will be sure to find many different over-the-top examples of what we could do. There are some really awesome ideas out there but take a lot of extra work. Building a bed frame with storage underneath is one of those ideas. We thought about this layout, but ultimately decided against it as it is permanent, takes up space, and takes a lot more work than we are willing to do. We are also focused on simplicity remember!

So what kind of mattress did we decide is the perfect one for van camping?

The Perfect Van Camping Mattress

We searched the internet high and low looking for our best available options. And we found it! Our final choice is two tri-folding foam mattresses with ultra-soft removable covers and non-slip bottoms side by side. In order to get the best fit for our van, we chose two separate mattresses instead of one. It also gives us the opportunity to only use one if we go on any solo trips in the future.

Are you turning your truck or van into a camper? Your first priority should be comfortable sleeping arrangements. Here is the perfect van camping mattress!
The mattress folds up to allow room behind the main seats.

The downside to a foam mattress? The cost. Plain and simple. It is not the cheapest option, but we decided when we ultimately made the big decision to buy a minivan versus an RV or trailer that we were not going to skimp on the important stuff. And comfort while sleeping is probably THE most important aspect.

The upside of a foam mattress? It is SO comfortable. It is 4 inches of pure foam bliss. I cannot wait to sleep on this thing. Yes, I am actually looking forward to sleeping in our van! Sounds a little crazy but it’s true.

The tri-fold is also a huge benefit. It easily folds up in seconds, leaving us with our space for when we want to set up our tables and chairs on a rainy day or at night when we want to be inside relaxing.

In the full flat position, the mattress measures 75in.x25in.x4in. so we have enough room to extend our feet all the way out. Now if you are over six feet tall this may be an issue, but neither of us have that to worry about.

Are you turning your truck or van into a camper? Your first priority should be comfortable sleeping arrangements. Here is the perfect van camping mattress!
Comfy. Comfy.

Where You can Purchase the Perfect Van Camping Mattress

We bought our Milliard Tri-Folding Mattresses on and they were eligible for FREE shipping.

If you purchase the mattresses for your van, make sure to also buy a waterproof breathable mattress cover as well.

Turning our minivan into a campervan is an ongoing process so stay tuned for more information on the conversion!

Would you ever van camp? Tell us in the comments below!

Don’t forget to sign up below to be the first to know when a new post comes out so you can follow along on our adventures!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, if you book through our link we will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thanks for your support as this helps with the cost of running the website.

Like it? Pin it!

Are you turning your van into a campervan? Your first priority should be comfortable sleeping arrangements. Here is the perfect van camping mattress!

12 Responses

  1. Lara Dunning

    My hubs has been fixing up an old Ford van and we plan to camp in it. We haven’t gotten to the “fix up the inside stage” but we will soon. Thanks for the tip on the mattress! I love how it folds up and saves space.

    • Dang Travelers

      Exciting! And out west by you will be perfect for stealth camping. We met a lot of people when we were in Washington that didn’t even bat an eyelash when we talked about it. Here near the city we get a lot of confused looks 😊

  2. Paul

    We would love to van camp some day, it sounds like it would be an amazing adventure! These mattresses really do look comfy, it definitely seems worth the outlay for a good nights sleep!

  3. Kaylene

    Wow, the foam mattress looks really comfortable! My boyfriend and I would love to van camp sometime (just gotta get a van first! haha). We just did a 2.5 week road trip and thought how convenient it would be to van camp.

  4. Eric || The Bucket List Project

    So is the plan to use the matress when folded up as a seat while driving because I am curious how you added seat belts.
    Love the concept though. I would have started with cost effective options first (Darcee would say the word is cheap) but to be honest you are making an investment and a good foam mattress sounds like it works great and offers you the best comfort.

    • Dang Travelers

      No, we won’t be using them as seats ever. The seats that came with the van automatically fold in the floor so when or if we need to use them they pop right up. Also, we have traveled long enough to know cheap is not always the best option especially when it has to do with quality sleep. In my opinion, sleeping in my car alone is dropping our day-to-day lodging costs enough. No need to skimp on the mattress.

  5. Corinne

    I agree those mattresses are wonderful and comfy. We used to sleep on them all the time. Perfect for the van.

  6. Dave (Silverbackpacker)

    Mattresses are so important for a good nights sleep. Its great that you thought of a folding one to save space during the day. Have you thought about taking along a couple of hammocks too.?

  7. Kerri

    Interesting to see this fold out foam. Looks like you are having a great time kitting out your vehicle. We’ve just bought a camper ourselves so are having plenty of fun sprucing it up a bit. The bed looks super comfy.

  8. Dave

    I’ve got an old Dodge B350 one-tone 15 passenger van I’m converting. I had a twin frame & mattress, lengthwise along the driver’s side wall, but it took up too much space. The frame will fir crossways just fine, with about 5″ to spare, but the mattress is about 7″ too long. I know there are mattresses out there that are 68″ long, more or less, but just try to find one.

Leave a Reply