Best Campervan Mattress Guide for Van Life

Once you’ve finished building the bed frame, you’re ready to get a mattress to finally get around to sleeping in your van! But with so many different options, which is the best camper van mattress?

If you’re like us, you’re probably looking for a mattress that’s comfortable, obviously! But you should also prioritize a mattress that’s lightweight, which is better for your van’s fuel economy and engine.

Woman laying on a foam mattress inside an unfinished DIY camper van conversion
Seven separate foam cushions make up our camper van mattress

In our camper van, we have a LINENSPA foam mattress, and we believe 100% that this foam mattress ticks all the boxes and meets all the requirements for a campervan mattress. (This is ESPECIALLY true if you have a convertible bed.)

And after 5+ years of sleeping in our van, we still love our foam mattress.

Top Pick
Linenspa | Foam Mattress

This high-quality, gel-infused mattress has been supporting our bodies for 4+ years. It's lightweight and easy to cut so that you can shape it to fit your van's unique dimensions.

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In this post, we’ll discuss the basics of choosing a mattress for your camper van, including what considerations to think about, the best material options, and how to cut a mattress (if you need to). Let’s get to it!

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, this site earns from qualifying purchases. Though we may earn a commission, the price you pay always remains the same.

What To Consider Before Buying a Van Mattress

Woman laying on a mattress inside a camper van

Getting a campervan mattress that checks all the right boxes will help you get the most out of your van life experience. Below are four important considerations to make before selecting a mattress.

  • Comfort – Prioritizing comfort is self-explanatory. Van life is exhausting! Whether you spent the whole day hiking or exploring a new urban city, you want a mattress that helps you get a great night’s rest so that you feel replenished the next day.
  • Lightweight – Get a mattress that won’t weigh down your camper van. This reduces pressure on your vehicle’s engine and suspension and won’t negatively affect your fuel economy. Standard spring mattresses are surprisingly heavy. We’ll provide several great alternatives below.
  • DIY Friendly – Unless you constructed a bed frame with the correct dimensions to accept a standard-size mattress, you will need to find a mattress material that is easy to cut and resize. Our bed frame isn’t even a perfect rectangle – it’s a weird Tetris-shaped polygon – so finding a DIY-friendly mattress material was important to us.
  • Affordable – Buying a mattress isn’t a small expense, so finding a comfortable mattress that is also affordable is critical. Though we prioritize comfort, we don’t want to break the bank. In our case, we were looking to spend no more than $200.

Van Mattress Material Options

There are lots of different mattress options available for van conversions, each with their unique set of pros and cons. Below, we list five different van mattress options and give our preferred recommendations.

What We Recommend

  • Foam: Lightweight and extremely DIY friendly, foam mattresses are the best option for most van conversions. Click here to scroll down to our review.
  • Latex topper: Although more expensive and considerably heavier than foam, latex mattresses are extremely comfortable, durable, and environmentally sustainable.
  • Air mattress: Great for single travelers, extremely lightweight, and takes up very little storage space when compressed. Although you cannot resize an air mattress, various dimensions are available.

What We Don’t Recommend

  • Spring mattresses: Heavy and unable to resize, standard household mattresses aren’t particularly friendly for van life. Not only that, but these bulky mattresses easily trap moisture and consequently are susceptible to mold.
  • Futon: Bulky and heavy, futons don’t provide any real advantages over foam and latex mattresses.

Material Summary Table

Below is a quick summary with the pros and cons for each of the mattress material options as they pertain to camper van living.

Easy to cut & shape
Many affordable options
Great for bed/sofa combo
May get soft over time
Less breathable
“Runs hot”
LatexMaximum comfort
Sustainable material
Easy to cut & shape
More expensive
Air MattressVery lightweight
Space efficient
Cannot cut & shape
Less comfortable
Spring MattressComfortable
“Like home” feel
Heavy & bulky
Not DIY-friendly
FutonGreat for bed/sofa comboHeavy & bulky
Cannot cut & shape

Best Campervan Mattress Recommendation

If you’ve made it down this far, you can guess that high-density foam is our most preferred campervan mattress material. A foam mattress meets most of our van conversion requirements, and after 5+ years on the road, we would select this material again.

Top Pick
Linenspa | Foam Mattress

This high-quality, gel-infused mattress has been supporting our bodies for 4+ years. It's lightweight and easy to cut so that you can shape it to fit your van's unique dimensions.

Buy on Amazon
We earn a commission if you purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Specifically, we purchased a Linenspa multi-density foam mattress with a cooling-gel top layer. We have been extremely happy with our mattress for five specific reasons.

1. Foam Mattresses Are Easy To Cut and Resize

This was the #1 reason we went with a foam mattress. You can quickly and easily cut through the foam material with a simple bread knife (or, better yet, an electric carving knife). We ordered the queen-size LINENSPA foam mattress, and in less than 2 hours, we cut the mattress down to 7 different pieces to fit our van.

Cutting a foam mattress for our camper van
Foam pieces cut with our electric carving knife

Want a bed that converts to a dinette during the day? You’ll need a mattress that is comprised of multiple sections that turn into cushions for the dinette. A foam mattress – and a removable swivel table – will help you achieve this.

Related read: How to make DIY camper van cushions

2. Foam Is a Lightweight Material

It’s no secret that foam mattresses are incredibly lightweight! You can easily lift, move, and transport them in and out of your van. It’s made cleaning our bed, airing out foam, and accessing our under-bed storage quick and easy.

Man displaying a square foam mattress cutout.

Our foam mattress is especially great because we have a convertible bed. This means we’re constantly rearranging our foam cushions as we convert our bed to a dining area (during the day) and back to a bed (in the evenings). This would be much more physically challenging if we had a heavier material, like latex.

Having a lightweight camper van mattress has other benefits, too. They decrease the overall payload of your camper van, reduce pressure on the suspension system, lower the strain on your vehicle’s engine, and improve gas efficiency.

3. Foam Mattresses Are Comfortable!

We know this part is subjective, but we love sleeping on our foam mattress. Before van life we had slept on all different types of mattresses in the past – spring, latex, and even a water mattress – but never foam.

Sleeping With A Cat In A Camper Van
Who doesn’t love a good mattress to sleep on?

After our first night sleeping in our camper van, we swore we had some of the best sleep we could remember. The foam mattress was firm and gave the support that our lower backs needed. No more of the usual aches and pains our spring mattress gave us back home.

Plus, unlike a regular spring mattress, a foam mattress limits motion transfer. This means less chance of getting woken up when your partner moves around at night or gets up to go to the bathroom.

Gel-Infused Top Layer = Secret Sauce

The different layers of a Linenspa foam mattress
Different layers of a Linenspa foam mattress

The LINENSPA foam mattress comes in two primary layers, with the top-most layer being a gel-infused memory foam (blue color) for improved body support. This gel-infused top layer also provides an added cooling feature to prevent overheating at night.

4. Linenspa Mattresses Come in Different Thicknesses

Different camper van conversions require mattresses of different thicknesses. Some people need a mattress that is thin and takes up as little vertical space as possible. But others may want a substantially thicker mattress for better comfort.

With LINENSPA, there are three different mattress thicknesses to choose from. We recommend viewing the Amazon product page by clicking the info button below to view all the options.

Top Pick
Linenspa | Foam Mattress

This high-quality, gel-infused mattress has been supporting our bodies for 4+ years. It's lightweight and easy to cut so that you can shape it to fit your van's unique dimensions.

Buy on Amazon
We earn a commission if you purchase, at no additional cost to you.

We went with the 5” thick foam mattress for our camper van build and feel that 5 inches provides the best overall thickness for both sleeping and sitting comfort.

Because we have a convertible bed, we’re always sitting on our mattress cushions throughout the day. We think 5″ is the right thickness to be able to sit on a mattress without your bum reaching the wooden bed frame.

Checking the width of our Linenspa foam mattress
Checking the thickness of our Linenspa foam mattress

5. Foam Mattresses Are Surprisingly Affordable

Our queen-size 5″ foam mattress costs less than $200. And while our camper van’s mattress isn’t the cheapest option available, we think this price is very acceptable considering how much time our bodies spend on our mattresses.

How To Cut a Foam Mattress

If you have an irregular-shaped bed frame or want to have a convertible bed that doubles as a dinette during the day (like us!), then you’ll likely need to cut the foam mattress to meet your required specs.

Luckily, cutting through a foam mattress is super easy. If budget is a concern, all you need is a bread knife. You probably already have one in your kitchen. We recommend using a marker to organize all your cut lines and ensure each piece is to the proper dimensions.

But using a knife doesn’t yield the cleanest cuts! We tried our hardest, but making straight and clean cuts is surprisingly difficult with a standard knife. We ended up purchasing an electric carving knife, which made creating straight edges MUCH easier.

Electric knives aren’t expensive, and you might already have one sitting around unused since your last Thanksgiving turkey dinner. If not, the knife below is the one we used for our DIY mattress.

Best For Cutting Foam
Electric Carving Knife

This electric carving knife easily cuts through foam mattresses. With this knife, it's super simple to cut smooth, straight lines. We tried using a standard serated bread knife, but it was surprisingly hard to make high-quality cuts.

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How Thick Should a Camper Van Mattress Be?

The ideal camper van mattress thickness should support your body weight without your body sinking down to the bed frame. In our experience, a 5″ mattress thickness provides the perfect comfort level.

What Is the Best Mattress for Camper Vans?

Foam mattresses are often considered to be the best mattresses for camper vans. They’re lightweight, easy to cut, and are affordable. We’ve slept on our LINENSPA foam mattress for four years and love it.

Is It OK To Cut a Foam Mattress?

Yes! It is perfectly OK to cut a foam mattress. Unlike a traditional spring mattress, a foam mattress has no solid parts, making it easy to cut with any knife or box cutter.

What Is a Cheap Mattress for Camper Vans?

At ~$200, we think our LINENSPA foam mattress is pretty affordable! It’s a great price, but we’ve been getting excellent quality sleep these past three years.

How To Care for a Foam Mattress

A foam mattress is essentially maintenance-free, but foam is still a delicate material, and things can go bad when the mattress is cared for improperly.

There are several things we wished we had known about its maintenance when we first got our camper van’s mattress.

Wait for the Mattress To Expand Fully

When you first receive the mattress, it’s a good idea to open the package immediately and allow the foam to expand back to its standard shape. This can take anywhere between 24-48 hours to fully expand.

It’s important not to lay on or cut into the mattress before it can fully expand. The manufacturer has a great post about why you should wait 24-48 hours before using your mattress.

How To Clean a Foam Mattress

If you stain your mattress, don’t use chemical solvents or liquid to clean the stain. That’s because memory foam is a sensitive material, and harsh stain removers can lead to a breakdown in the material.

If there are any stains or odors, your best bet is to sprinkle baking soda on the site and allow the powder to absorb any liquid and smells from the mattress.

Best Pillows (To Pair With Your Mattress)

A comfortable pillow is an unassuming essential for getting the perfect night’s sleep in a camper van.

And for us, we don’t sleep on anything else but a memory foam pillow with neck support. Sleeping on our pillows lets us sleep on our backs or sides without scrunching our necks in awkward positions and angles.

We couldn’t recommend any other type of pillow.

Aeromax | Contour Foam Pillow

Ideal for various sleep positions like sleeping on your side or on your back. The curved shape supports the curvature of the neck and better supports the head.

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Conclusion: The Best Sleep We’ve Gotten

After our camper’s first night, we woke up and swore we would NEVER ever sleep in a tent again! We laughed because we couldn’t believe how comfortable it could be to sleep in a van. 

100% true story.

Four years later, we STILL get some of the best sleep on our LINENSPA foam mattress.

Please let us know in the comments below if you enjoyed reading this review or think we left anything out.

Happy sleeping!

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