Got an SUV and enjoy camping? Then you've probably thought about ditching the tent and sleeping in the back of your SUV. But there's one problem - sleeping in an SUV can be uncomfortable on the hard floor of your cargo area. An SUV Mattress helps solve that. In this article we'll break down how to choose an SUV Mattress and DIY alternatives to store-bought mattresses.
Two Types of SUV Mattresses: Rear Seat & Cargo Area Mattresses
SUV Mattresses basically come in one of two varieties: ones that fit into your rear seating area (without folding the seats back) and, more commonly, ones that go into the cargo area of your SUV.
Rear seating mattresses give you fairly limited room and are limited to one person, however, you preserve your cargo area.
[caption id="attachment_5395" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Rear seating area mattresses like this one are placed on your rear seats opposed to the cargo area of your SUV.[/caption]
Cargo area mattresses go into your cargo area with your seats folded back. In most cases, this works out to roughly a double mattress.
For the purposes of this article, we're going to assume you want a cargo area mattress.
How to Choose the Right Mattress According to Your SUV Model
The most important factor for choosing an SUV Mattress is the size of the cargo area of your SUV.
Most SUV Mattresses will easily into the back of any SUV or crossover as they take the lowest common demoninator - i.e. they're designed to fit in the smallest crossover as a smaller SUV Mattress can fit into a larger cargo area (but the opposite isn't true).
Most SUV mattresses are going to measure roughly the same size as a double mattress: around 38" x 76". Take for example this Trekway SUV Mattress which measures 41"x71".
[caption id="attachment_5393" align="aligncenter" width="1492"] Most SUV Mattresses measure roughly the same size as a double mattress.[/caption]
You can measure the cargo area by taking length, width, and height measurements, and taking note of any irregularities or obstructions, such as wheel wells, that may affect the mattress's fit. For example, a Toyota RAV4 has a width at the wheel wells of 42.6" and a width at the seating area of 54.5". The maximum length is about 75" (depending on where the front seats are positioned to).
Can You Use an SUV Mattress in a Crossover or Minivan?
Yes, generally an SUV Mattress can be used in a crossover or minivan as well as an SUV.
How Much are SUV Mattresses?
Expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $150 for an SUV Mattress. The cost of an SUV Mattress is going to be dictated by a few things:
- The size of the mattress (bigger is more expensive)
- The thickness of the mattress (the thinner the cheaper)
- The brand of the mattress
- Where you're buying it from
When buying an SUV Mattress, like many things, Amazon is going to be your friend. You'll often find SUV mattresses at specialty camping stores but typically you're going to pay much more than you will online.
What Are Some Alternatives to an SUV Mattress?
Buying an SUV Mattress can be relatively expensive and you don't necessarily need to fork over money to buy a specifically designed mattress for the back of your SUV. Here are some alternatives:
- Nothing but a sleeping bag. This is the cheapest and easiest option. Just fold out your sleeping bag and go. The problem is that cargo areas in SUVs are HARD, so this isn't a great option for most people.
- Traditional camping sleeping mat. If you sleep in a tent often you may have a sleeping mat already. These are a good option for the back of your SUV. It won't extended the full width of your SUV but it's definitely better than sleeping on the cargo area by itself.
- Normal air mattress. If you already have a normal double air mattress that you use for a guest room or elsewhere, then it may fit in the back of your SUV. Measure it to see if it fits. The downside will be that it won't utilize the full area of your SUV but hey, if you got it use it.
It's worth noting, that while all of the above are viable alternatives to using an SUV Mattress, one thing is not a viable option and that is a cot. Given the limited height in most SUVs, setting up a cot in the back of your SUV would result in your face being pushed up against the roof of your SUV.
Picking a mattress to fit in the back of your SUV is a relatively straight forward process as most mattresses will fit in basically all SUVs and crossovers. If in doubt though, measure the back of your cargo area, both at the wheel-wells and between the passenger doors to confirm the mattress will fit.