Maximise your Caravan Kip
A great night's sleep is essential to enhance your mood, energy levels and general health, especially when you're caravanning
Words: Mark Williams
Caravan kippage has come a long way in the last 10 years. Gone are the days of freezing your wotsits off, while rolling back and forth, trying to get comfy on a sub-standard mattress; or climbing into slightly-damp bedding.
No, modern caravans are as comfy, warm and cosy as home – if not more so!
Realising the importance of a good night's kip, manufacturers have invested time and money into gaining the upper hand in the sleeping stakes – creating ZZZ-rated sleep systems!
Of course, there's a trade off between comfort and weight, so each manufacturer has taken a slightly different route to achieving 'sleep-heaven'. Using various high-quality foams, fibres and fillings, they've created mattresses that are light yet firm and comfortable.
Uniquely-shaped beds once limited the choice of replacement mattresses to those made by the manufacturer. But now there are many independent mattress makers, giving caravanners more choice when updating a mattress.
Memory foam isn't a sales gimmick; its use in hospitals and top hotels, where sleep comfort is paramount, bears witness to its qualities. Caravan builders are now widely adopting its use in their own 'original equipment' mattresses.
This is fine, if you have a new caravan; but poor mattresses in older vans can create problems including sweating, because the mattress surface doesn't 'breathe', and aches and pains caused by pressure points and sagging in the mattress.
Sound familiar? You need to look around for a replacement mattress.
Time For A New Mattress?
Choose carefully, as adding significant weight, especially towards the back of the caravan, can cause towing-stability issues.
The good news is there are plenty of lighter mattress options now, which offer a mix of firmness and softness to suit all tastes. Indeed, many mattress companies 'grade' their products for the amount of support they give.
And even if you have an odd-sized island bed or a bed with a cut-off, you're catered for, too. Companies like Komfi can cut foam mattresses to match the size of your caravan bed.
So, if you're looking to upgrade your sleep in an older caravan to 2018 standards, it's no longer a problem. Simply measure your existing mattress carefully, and make a rough sketch for the manufacturer.
What About The Lounge?
Upgrading lounge bed areas is trickier. Buying replacement cushions from the manufacturer can be hugely expensive, so speak to the furnishings makers to see if they can help you.
Check the covers of the lounge cushions can be removed, and measure the length, width and depth of the foam filler, not the whole cushion. You'll only need to replace the fillers of the cushions you lie on, of course, not the 'spares'.
Many mattress makers will cut foams to any shape or size. This isn't cheap; typically, a good mattress for your caravan will cost £400 or more. Remember though, if you haven't slept well, you won't enjoy your holiday.
To reduce this expense, consider buying a foam mattress topper. These are lightweight and easily transferable to your next caravan. They are especially useful for making the uneven surface of lounge beds more comfortable.
The Materials the Manufacturers Use
- Bailey – Bailey has developed 'DreamSleep' to ensure its beds are quick and easy to make up. Materials-wise, it uses a 'Honeycore' foam and a breathable, antibacterial cover in Pegasus and Unicorn vans, and luxurious Ozio in its Pursuits.
- Swift – Swift caravans use lightweight and luxurious Duvalay Duvalite mattresses, famed for their comfort and Dragons' Den backing! Our first experience of Swift's sleep system was a revelation. It'll make you want to sleep in your van all the time!
- Lunar – Lunar now uses luxury pocket-sprung mattresses in all its fixed-bed models, ensuring a great night's kip.
- Elddis – The Erwin Hymer Group models have fixed-bed mattresses that feature a lightweight and super-supportive Ozio core. Award-winning Ozio is backed up by the new soft-touch Argentum+ antibacterial and anti-allergy technology.
- Coachman – You'll sleep soundly in Coachman caravans, thanks to its new 'Honeycore' foam construction mattresses, which guarantee a comfortable and restful night's sleep. The company's fixed-bed vans feature a high-density filling for increased support and longevity.
Have I Got the Right Caravan Bed?
- Fixed-bed caravans are very much for people who want their caravan as a place to sleep as much as a place to live, but some layouts have flaws. Some fixed beds have one side of the mattress against the wall. This won't matter to you if you're going to sleep alone in it, but if you share it with a partner, you might like to reconsider. Caravanners who frequently wake in the night to use the loo need to be on the 'open' side of the bed.
- A true island bed will have access to both sides. If you both have a tendency to wake for the loo, a true island bed avoids the unseemly climb over a sleeping partner.
- Noisy kids? If noisy kids affect your sleep, first buy some foam earplugs, but also consider the design of your van (can you shut the children off in their own zone at the back?) or, if they're a bit older, move them out into a pup tent or awning! (I've already done this! – Ed)
What is memory foam?
Memory foam is unlike traditional foam fillings. It reacts and moulds to the shape of your body, so that your hips and shoulders soften the foam below them, and are fully supported by the mattress. It's created from polyurethane with additional chemistry, which allows it to react to warmth and become more elastic.
Grantham Caravans' Sleepsure
If you're concerned about sleeping on a 'used' mattress that has come with the caravan or has been affected by damp, Grantham Caravans offers Sleepsure. This is a deep-clean treatment designed to clean, freshen and rejuvenate mattresses and other upholstery.
Mould and bacterial growth in foams and fabrics can begin within 24 hours of a moisture ingress. Ordinarily, in these circumstances, you'd be advised to buy an entirely new mattress, but Grantham Caravans claims Sleepsure treatment can rejuvenate your existing upholstery – saving you significant amounts of money.
The process involves a thorough cleaning and steaming process, using high pressure and high temperatures to remove all mould and damp from the core of the mattress. An additional treatment is then applied. Finally, the mattress is fully dried inside and out, and left fresh and hygienic.
Read our guide on Buying a Bespoke Mattress for a Caravan! Or, get 'Top Tips for a Great Night's Sleep'!