If you’re a caravanning beginner you may not be aware of the caravan bedding dilemma that many of us have gone through over the years. It can be quite tricky choosing the best caravan bedding due to the fact there is such a variety of different sleeping arrangements in different caravans. For instance, if you have a caravan with a fixed double bed or fixed bunk beds its pretty straightforward going for the standard duvet set up as you would do at home. However, if your sleeping in a temporary bed in your caravan or even sleeping in an awning annexe its not so simple. Your choice of bedding can easily leave you feeling too cold, too hot or just generally uncomfortable. So with this post, I wanted to discuss the various caravan bedding options to consider so everyone in the caravan whether they are on a fixed bed, temporary bed or sleeping in the awning gets the best nights sleep.
Not only do you want to take with you caravan bedding that’s going to provide you with the most comfort, there is also the question of space. Specifically, how much space do you have in your caravan to store all of the potential pillows, duvets, sleeping bags, mattress toppers or air beds? This becomes pretty important when you’re loading your caravan. Individually bedding items doe not weigh particularly very much. However, if your caravan has several beds all that sleeping paraphernalia can take up quite a bit of space. Space which you may have needed to take along other possessions. Hence, you want to take minimal caravan bedding with you to retain as much storage space as possible.
However, that can be pretty tricky due to variations in temperature. Depending on how well insulated your caravan is in the spring, autumn and winter months it may get pretty cold. However, come summertime that same caravan could feel like a sweat lodge. If your sleeping in the caravan awning, speaking from personal experience in the summer it may be hot in the early evening but on a clear night, it gets cold pretty quick. Therefore, you really need to choose to take with you suitable caravan bedding for the time of year and for the sleeping location. Sleeping inside the caravan is a very different experience to sleeping in the awning.
Fixed Caravan Beds – Sourcing Fitted Sheets
As I stated in the introduction to this post, relatively speaking caravan bedding for fixed beds is pretty simple. You’ve got a proper mattress, not a set cushions and its just used as a bed. Therefore, you can use pretty much standard pillows and duvets as you would at home. I know some of our guests don’t actually have separate caravan bedding. They just take their pillows and duvet from their bed at home along with them. The only real difference is sourcing suitable bedsheets. Mattresses, for either double beds, single beds or bunk beds in caravans are generally not shaped like those you would find in your home. For instance, to make it easier to navigate around the caravan you have island beds with rounded corners.
Typically example of a caravan island bed mattress protector with rounded corners: Image – Amazon
You then also have corner double beds fitted in caravans and motorhomes. Again, to enable better access to the bathroom typically located next to the bed a corner is removed from the mattress. Therefore, a standard double bedsheet for home just isn’t going to fit. You could obviously use a standard double bed sheet, but you would have to fold under the corner. However, during the night that’s likely to come undone. Therefore, either during the night or in the morning you find your self entangled in the bedsheet. Hence, you want to find suitably fitted/made to measure bed sheets for your size and shape of caravan fixed bed. Depending on the layout of your particular caravan it could be a left or right cut off. Therefore, be careful when ordering bed sheets for cut off a mattress that the sheets you order are for the correct side cut off.
A typical example of fitted sheets for a left cut off caravan mattress: Image – Amazon
While single beds/bunk beds in caravans don’t have large rounded edges or corners chopped off, their sizes can vary quite a bit. Therefore, sometimes it can be tricky soucing fitted/made to measure bed sheets. Though to be honest, with these types of caravan beds, using a fitted sheet due the standard mattress shape isn’t as important compared to island beds or cut off corner mattresses.
Non-Fixed Caravan Beds and Memory Foam Mattress Toppers
Ok, so we have now covered the easy caravan bedding requirements of fitted sheets for fixed beds. Lets now talk about non-fixed beds. Essentially, a non-fixed caravan bed somewhere that’s a seating area during the day but a bed at night. Within recent years there has been a growing trend for the use of memory foam toppers for non-fixed caravan beds. Anyone who has slept on a caravan non-fixed bed unless they have a really firm mattress at home will understand why. But to discuss the benefits of memory foam mattress toppers I wanted to include the video below from Dan of the YouTube channel Meet the Trudigians. Just the clarify for context, in the video below, Duvalay is a brand of memory foam mattress topper.
So I do want to discuss a little more about using memory foam mattress toppers and their benefits as part of your caravan bedding set up. But first I just wanted to discuss why you would actually need them at all for caravan non-fixed beds.
Why Don’t Caravan Cushions On Their Own Make Good Beds?
Ok, whether caravan cushions on their own do make a comfortable bed is obviously subjective. If you have a firm mattress at home you may actually find using the caravan cushions on their own a comfortable bed. However, from personal experience, from my families experience and that of our guests, that’s not the case. But there is a good reason for that. I’ve previously written a post on replacement upholstery foam. Within that post, I discuss if you are looking to replace your seat cushion foam its has to be high density. Why? Well, anything other than high-density foam when you sit down the cushion won’t provide support for a persons weight. You’ll therefore feel the wooden slats underneath the seat.
The Need for High-Density Seat Foam
When you’re sat down most of your weight is placed on small area, hence the requirement for high-density foam. Therefore its supportive and comfortable. However, when your lying down your weight is displaced over a larger area. Hence, while that same cushion provides a lot of support there is no give to the cushion, so it feels like a very firm mattress. The cushions are designed first and foremost as seat cushions and a bed second. So you have to resolve a workaround to make them into a softer more comfortable bed.
Sleeping Bags as Mattress Toppers?
As Dan shows in the video, you could try using a sleeping bag as a mattress topper to sleep on top of. However, it will provide very little support. Furthermore, it can give you a sweaty back which isn’t nice. Also, some sleeping bags have large and knobbly heavy-duty zips which are uncomfortable to sleep on. As Dan also discuss, carrying around extra duvets in the caravan to sleep on top of is also not ideal. Again they are not that supportive and carrying lots of duvets take up lots of storage space.
The Advantages of Memory Foam Mattress Toppers
Many homes today have memory foam mattresses which are either 100% memory foam or a hybrid spring/foam mattress. When it comes to mattress toppers for caravans for non-fixed beds they provide extra support and comfort but don’ take up too much additional storage space. That minimal storage space requirement is a big plus of memory foam mattress toppers. Duvalay is quite heavily marketed for caravans and motorhomes. Ever since I first saw them on Dragons Den many years back I’ve seen their advert pretty consistently in the Caravan Club and Camping and Caravanning Club magazines.
It does have to be acknowledged however, Duvalay mattress toppers are a premium caravan bedding option at a premium price. However, they do appear to be well rated by Dan in the video above. Also, I know several of our guests use Duvalay products and seem pretty happy with them. Are there cheaper memory foam mattress toppers you could use for your caravan bedding? Of course, there are, however how well these cheaper options compare to the Duvalay products I have no idea.
A typical example of a ‘generic’ memory foam mattress topper: Image – Amazon
The Disadvantages of Memory Foam Mattress Toppers
As Dan references in the video. One of the initial disadvantages to memory foam mattress toppers is their smell. I’ve also heard one of our guests comment on this as well. However, if the topper is left out to air for at least a week of so that smell does apparently go away. What you should take away from that is don’t purchase a memory foam mattress topper and just store it in your caravan. As soon as you get it, ideally hang it up on a washing line (weather permitting). You’ll want to take it in the house overnight, and then hang it up again at least for a couple of days. Then it should be ok to put back into its storage bag ready for your next trip in the caravan.
The other potential downside with memory foam mattress toppers is while you may be getting better support, you may get a bit too hot. This is referenced by Dan in his second video and the Duvalay Freshtec:
Now, the Freshtec Duvalay is their premium-premium option. Therefore as of now (Oct,19) its currently priced at £126,95 as you can see from the screenshot of the Duvalay website above. If you feel ‘you can’t put a price on a good night’s sleep…‘ then the Freshtec is worth considering. However, if that sort of price point is just way out of your budget there are other caravan bedding options you could consider.
Alternatives to Memory Foam Mattress Toppers?
There is another option to a memory foam mattress topper for caravan beds. There are quilted mattress toppers, also known as gusseted toppers, and some are pretty good. For instance, I own a couple of the Slumberdown airstream mattress toppers seen in the image below. I use these in my home to make my sofa beds more comfortable for guests. Hence, a very similar use for improving the comfort of non-fixed beds in caravans. Slumberdown claim they are much cooler to sleep on than memory foam mattress toppers. I’ve not done a comparison personally, but as noted by Dan in his second video above, getting hot can be an issue with standard memory foam toppers. What you will notice if you click the link below is these Slumberdown mattress toppers are a significantly cheaper option than a memory foam mattress topper.
I’ve not compared my Slumberdown mattery toppers directly against a memory foam option. However, my guests have stated they find them quite comfortable they are price pretty reasonably too: Image – Amazon
Sleeping in an Awning? – Caravan Bedding Options
When we go away in my parent’s caravan we have a large Isabelle awning with dual bedroom annexes. As I sleep in one of the annexes, I’ll give you my personal preference on the caravan bedding setup I find the best. While a sleeping bag inside the caravan is no longer the best option, its still the best option if you have to sleep in the caravans awning. Not only will a sleeping bag keep you warmer than a duvet typically, its also more practical due to condensation. Some caravan awnings do suffer from early morning condensation build-up. Well, a duvet is going to suck up that moisture, and that not good. Many sleeping bags are made of a material which is designed to repel moisture. When it comes to choosing the right sleeping bag, well that really depends on the time of year the person is sleeping in the caravan awning as the video below discusses:
As you can see from the video above there is a huge range in the different types of sleeping bag you can choose. There are natural or synthetic based sleeping bags. There are different shapes of sleeping bags, and even different types of bags for men and women. While these all need to be factors you consider when looking for a suitable sleeping bag for a caravan awning, its the temperature range of the bag I specifically want to discuss.
Sleeping Bag Temperature Ratings
Typically, most people take a holiday in their caravan between mid-spring to mid-autumn. In the video above it shows that you can get thin/lightweight sleeping bags which are temperature rated for the summer months. Hence, while this type of sleeping bag is great for minimal storage, its probably going to leave you cold in the awning in those spring and autumn months. Likewise, a large/thick winter-proof sleeping bag is going to be OTT. As we know in the UK our climate even in the spring and autumn can get pretty warm. Therefore a winter-proof sleeping bag is just going to leave you uncomfortable and sweety most months of the year sleeping in the awning. Therefore, the solution I personally prefer and I think is going to be the best option for most people is a 2-season sleeping bag.
A typical example of a 2 season (0-27 degrees) sleeping bag suitable for sleeping in a caravan awning: Image – Amazon
Caravan Awning Air Beds
Now, unless you need to be really tight on space/weight in the caravan, you want to sleep on something a bit better than a camping matt. I’ve got a camping matt which I take to festivals. Don’t get me wrong, its better than sleeping directly on the ground. However, it just doesn’t provide anywhere near the same support as a proper air bed. You can get single air beds from around £10 and double air beds for around £20. Through, from personal experience of using cheap air beds over the years if your budget can stretch a bit more, I would advise doing so.
The valves on cheap air beds just don’t last that long. Therefore, after the first few uses, you start to notice it doest hold pressure through the night. Hence you wake up in the middle of the night on a flat air bed. Not only is that uncomfortable you don’t want to get up to blow it up again. Also, the air compressors make so much noise you would wake up everybody else! If you really want to spoil yourself you could obviously also put a memory foam mattress topper over the air bed.
If you can, try and go for one of the more premium air beds. They will provide more support and are more likely to hold pressure: Image – Amazon
Vacuum Storage Bags for Caravan Bedding
I’ve made several comments during this post about the amount of space in the caravan bedding can take up. Well, an excellent method to reduce that space is vacuum storage bags. Putting your caravan bedding in these bags will dramatically reduce the amount of storage space bedding takes up. Some bags will require the use of a vacuum cleaner. A mains powered vacuum cleaner is the best option. However, a high powered caravan vacuum cleaner will be up to the task. There are also travel vacuum bag storage sets that come with their own pump that you may want to consider.
If your caravan vacuum cleaner doesn’t provide enough suction these travel vacuum bags with their own pump might be worth considering: Image – Amazon
Conclusions on The Best Caravan Bedding
If you’re on a caravan fixed bed you’re ‘sleeping pretty’ to slightly alter the phrase. You have got a proper mattress, not converted seat cushions. Therefore, besides sourcing some proper fitted made to measure sheets for the unique shapes and sizes of caravan mattress with a standard duvet and pillow set up your all sorted. If you’re sleeping on a non-fixed caravan bed, you need to put a bit more thought into your caravan bedding. In most instances to get comfortable, you are going to want to consider a memory foam mattress topper or a cheaper (but still pretty good) quilted/gusseted topper. If you have to sleep in the caravan awning like my self from time to time a good quality 2 season sleeping bag and air mattress I think is the best option. Also, when you are sleeping in the awning its not a bad idea to get some caravan awning lights.
I hope this post on caravan bedding options has given you some ideas on how to get the best nights sleep in your caravan or awning. I also hope in the near future you consider coming to visit us here at Horton Common. 🙂