When it comes to my campervan life, I have three top priorities – comfortable bed, comfortable bed, comfortable bed. I realise that this is not the same for everyone and, for you, it might be things like headroom, indoor loo, three-way fridge, or solar energy. I want these too but I find that I cannot really enjoy my camping if I can’t get a good night’s sleep and for me, that means an exquisitely comfortable bed. Fortunately, I have found one…
Having done quite a few sports in my life, including riding horses, I now have a spine that is less than perfect and I imagine that may be the same for some of you, too. This means that an uncomfortable sleeping surface can be hell and spoil the next day’s activities. So, over the past few years, I have been questing for a bed that can work in a small campervan and still be a dream to sleep on. Enter the Tri Fold mattress.
When we had our current camper converted (Toyota Alphard), we had a very deluxe rock and roll bed fitted which, I have to admit, looked super smart.
It was great as a car seat but, for me, was just not comfortable as a bed, even using a Duvalay that has a thin section of memory foam built into it. Since then, I have heard a lot of people say that they don’t find their rock and roll bed comfortable to sleep on either. But this is not the fault of the rock and roll bed.
If you think about it, a rock and roll bed has to be designed to primarily be a safe car seat to support passengers while they are traveling. The seat has to comply with vehicle safety regulations which include things such as seat belts and a certain shape and degree of hardness. This does not really overlap with what a piece of furniture has to be to give you a good night’s sleep.
I Had to do a Body Slam
Obviously, the advantage of rock and roll beds is that they can be folded to give you more space in the van when you are in day mode. But I found that it was really hard for me to pull the bed up and push it down and, when I was away in the van by myself, I would often have to do a body slam on the bed to get it down (I don’t recommend this if you have a bad back). I have heard other ladies say the same.
We Decided to Re-design the Van
We recently had our van re-designed to remove the rock and roll bed and replace it with a bench seat arrangement with a dining table that drops down to complete the bed area at night (See link below for how we did it). This also gave us lots of storage but then there was the question of what mattress/cushions to put on top that would not only be comfortable but also give us space during the day (if we could be bothered to put the bed up at all which we often don’t). However, when we are using the van as a mobile office, we do have to free the central area so that we can raise the table and sit at it to work on our laptops.
After much research, I came across the Tri Fold mattress. As it sounds, this is basically a normal-sized mattress that folds into three. They are mainly designed for people who have small houses but want a floor mattress for guests. Our one is classified as a ‘small double’ (120cm width) and fits perfectly onto our bed area. You can also buy them in other sizes such as: single (90cm width), regular double (135cm width) and king size (150cm width) and they are usually 180/190cm long.
We have opted for the Inofia range as, although these are a little more expensive than some of the others, they are worth every penny. They come in two depths – 10cm and 15cm. We opted for the 15cm because I just wanted to be sure. However, a friend of mine has bought one to go on top of her rock and roll bed as she did not find it comfortable to sleep on. She chose the 10cm one which she is very happy with. It has enabled her to keep her rock and roll bed as she likes to travel with her family in the back sometimes.
When our small double (15cm depth) folds up its dimensions are 120cm x 63cm x 45cm, so it is a large block but sits at the back of the van nicely and is very easy to pull out when you want to put the bed out. The mattresses have a removable cover for washing but unfortunately don’t do extra covers to go over that, although if you are handy at sewing you might be able to make one. We have bought a temporary cover to just go over it when it is folded which is a cover for a garden seat.
As you can see from the photo, I am still playing with some foam cushions for sitting at the table when the van is in day mode. I haven’t had them covered yet as I am still not happy with their length and we are going to cut them down slightly so that they will fit at the back of the bed a bit like a headboard for when we are lounging in bed in the evening catching up on Netflix (I will let you know about our ‘Entertainment’ tech in a later blog). Once the cushions are right, I will get them covered and a cover made for the folded, mattress block in the same material (oohh can’t wait to choose the fabric).
All I can say is, sleeping on this mattress is like sleeping on a cloud and I sometimes find it hard to get out of bed in the morning now! It’s so easy, we just pull it out and roll out the Duvalays on top.
It also has breathable sides so you don’t get any dampness under the Duvalay in the morning.
It has been a real game-changer for us.
As you can imagine, they are not cheap and range from around £150 to £200 depending on the size you want. But, compared to, at least, several hundred pounds for a rock and roll bed, I think that this is probably a bargain. If I was converting a van again, I would definitely do the design around having one of these mattresses.
How we Redesigned our Campervan: http://www.thecampercookie.com/dont-be-afraid-to-change-your-campervan/#more-19064
To check out the Inofia Tri Fold mattresses, I suggest looking on Amazon as they seem to have the best prices at the moment and you can always return it if you find it isn’t right for you. Here is a current link:
If you want to know more about the Duvalay sleeping bag check it out here: https://www.duvalay.co.uk/bestsellers