Roof Top Tent Mattress Guide (Everything You Need To Know)

By Benjamin •  12 min read

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If you are an adventurer and love camping, you are probably familiar with roof top tents. They can be set up quickly, allowing you to camp anywhere.

High-quality roof top tents are very durable, making them perfect for a trip to the wilderness. However, the quality of your roof top tent mattress plays a significant role in ensuring that you have a comfortable camping trip.

Adding a mattress topper and sheets to your roof top tent mattress could also add to your comfort.

If you want to ensure comfortable and cozy nights during camping trips, investing or upgrading your roof top tent mattress is a great place to start.

How to select a good roof top tent mattress.

roof top tent mattress and view

Camping can be an incredible adventure, but a lousy tent mattress can spoil the experience for you. Although most roof top tents come with built-in mattresses, there is no harm in enhancing your overall comfort. A good mattress setup could make sleeping in a roof top tent as comfortable as sleeping in your bed at home.

Here are a few things to bear in mind when buying a roof top tent mattress.

Find the right size.

Roof Top Tent Measurements

Resist the temptation of buying the first mattress that looks good to you. Selecting the correct size mattress is essential, or else it won't be compatible with your roof top tent.

This brings us to my next point- the size of your roof tent determines the size of the mattress you should buy. Before you buy a mattress online or offline, you should know the exact size of your roof top tent interior.

If you buy a mattress that is too big, it may be challenging to fit it inside your roof tent- if at all. On the other hand, it may compromise comfort and cause difficulties when camping or setting up your tent if it is too small.

To find the right size roof top tent mattress, you can look at your tent specifications or measure the inside of your roof top tent. Alternatively, you can also measure the size of your existing roof tent mattress and use that as a guideline.

If you opt to measure your mattress or tent instead of looking at your roof top tent specifications, ensure that your measurements are exactly right.

Pay attention to the thickness of the mattress as well. Roof tent mattresses that are 2 to 3 inches thick are found to be the most comfortable. However, you can choose a thickness as per your preference.

Check out different types of mattresses.

Camping mattresses need to be sturdy and comfortable. Below are some options to consider for your roof top tent-

Camping mat.

Camping Pad Mattress

A camping mat or a foam pad is quite similar to a yoga mat. It is relatively lightweight and inexpensive, but it does not offer much support and isn't your most comfortable option.

If your roof top tent already has a decent mattress, you could use a camping mat as a mattress topper for some added comfort. A camping mat could also provide added insulation when freezing outside, keeping you warm and cozy.

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Replacement roof top tent mattress.

Perhaps your roof top tent mattress is worn out from years of usage- even though it used to be much more comfortable at a stage. If so, you may purchase a replacement mattress directly from your manufacturer.

However, it might not always be so easy and may not be your best option in terms of price.

Air Pad.

Air Pad Mattress

These are inflatable mattresses, but they are not the same as your home air mattress. Of course, they could be more expensive than your average camping mat, but you can consider it as one of the best mattress options for your roof top tent. It is a worthy investment since air pads have undergone vast improvements in recent years.

Air pads offer extra support underneath you, making it easier to fall asleep on camping trips.

Air pads are also relatively easy to travel with. You can quickly deflate them; they take up very little storage space. You can even store one in your backpack. However, inflating these air pads can become 3 to 4 inches thick, providing a lot of support and comfort.

Some air pads even come with air pumps, further enhancing the convenience. Furthermore, you can also consider air pads filled with down, which will keep you warm even during cold seasons.

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Self-inflating camping mattress.

Camping Mattress Self-Inflating

These are perhaps the most favored by frequent campers. You can consider a self-inflating mattress somewhere in between a camping mat and an air pad. They are also one of your most comfortable options. However, they tend to be more expensive.

A self-inflating camping mattress is constructed from cell foam and contains air, with the foam pad resting between the padding. The internal foam pad is used to inflate the mattress.

There is a valve at the top of the mattress. When opened, it sucks in air which gets trapped in and around the foam layer. The air is trapped inside by closing the valve, and the mattress remains inflated.

A great thing about self-inflating camping mattresses is that it is not rendered useless even if this mattress gets punctured. Unlike other air beds, which become unusable when punctured, these mattresses have a foam layer that you can still use.

If you value comfort, support, and insulation- self-inflating camping mattresses are an excellent choice. The only downside is that they may not be as compact as an air pad.

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Understand R-Value.

If you are researching camping mattresses for your roof top tent, R-value is a term you should familiarize yourself with. Not every camping mattress available on the market may have an R-value attached. Still, it is a valuable measurement to understand.

The R-value is related to insulation. A camping mattress is important for comfort and a barrier between you and the surface you are sleeping on. If you are lying directly on a cold surface, the surface absorbs your body heat. You feel cold, and that makes sleeping uncomfortable. A mattress is supposed to oppose the cold and provide insulation overnight.

R-value can, therefore, be considered as resistance to cold. Mattresses with an R-value of 5 or more are considered high-quality and can withstand frigid temperatures. But they can also be expensive.

If you plan on camping in the winter, it would be best to avoid mattresses whose R-value is 4 or less. If you plan on camping during the summers, an R-value of 1-2.5 should suffice, while an R-value of 2.5-4 will be ideal for three-season use.

Consider the portability of the mattress.

Portability is an important factor when it comes to camping mattresses. You can leave your mattress in your roof top tent. Still, heavy, bulky mattresses may be tough to install and clean instead of lighter removable ones. You may also find issues related to condensation with a heavier mattress that you leave in your roof top tent.

Mattress construction is important, and light and portable mattresses are the best for camping trips.

What size is a roof top tent mattress?

The size of a roof top tent mattress depends on the size of the tent. Although different manufacturers may have varying mattress sizes, here's what you can expect-

How do you clean a roof top tent mattress?

roof top tent mattress clean

Cleaning is essential in taking care of your roof top tent mattress. It keeps your mattress fresh and prolongs its life. The advantage of a roof top tent is that your mattress is exposed to much less dirt than camping on the ground. Regardless of the kind of mattress you have, the procedure to clean largely remains the same.

A clean mattress ensures fresh air, a relaxed ambiance, and good-quality sleep. You may need to clean your mattress more during the summer due to sweating. However, cleaning a roof top tent mattress after every camping trip is good.

Here's how you can clean your roof top mattress-

Use a brush or vacuum cleaner for some light mattress cleaning.

You do not need to deep clean your camping mattress after every use. If there is only a little dirt or debris on it, light cleaning is acceptable.

In most cases, using a soft brush to remove dirt or debris does the trick. You could also use a mattress vacuum cleaner to remove any dirt, dust, or debris on your mattress. Cleaning your mattress is extremely important before storing it to keep it hygienic the next time you use it.

Moisture or dust trapped in mattresses could also become a breeding ground for mold, bacteria, and other microbes, potentially making you sick on your next trip or permanently damaging your mattress.

Use soap and water to remove stains from your mattress.

If your mattress has dirt or stains, use mild soap and warm water to clean it. Mix a small quantity of mild soap with some warm water. Now, gently scrub your mattress gently with a towel or washcloth in this soapy water. Focus on the areas where the stains are more prominent.

After that, use a clean, damp cloth to rinse and remove any excess soap or dirt.

Finally, pat it dry with a dry cotton towel to remove excess water and allow it to air dry before storing. Your mattress must be completely dry before storing; otherwise, mold may start to grow.

Baking soda helps remove odors from your mattress.

Sometimes, your mattress may develop bad smells with extended use. Baking soda is highly effective in removing mild as well as strong odors.

You can pour some liquid baking soda on your roof top tent mattress to eliminate the bad smells.

However, if you do not have liquid baking soda, worry not. Mix some baking soda with a few drops of vinegar and water, and your cleaning mixture is ready.

Allow the baking soda to sit on your mattress for a few minutes or until dry. You can brush off the baking soda or vacuum it, and you will have a fresh-smelling mattress in no time.

Remove mold from your mattress.

Mold and mildew could be very harmful to your health. If you notice any on your mattress, clean it immediately. Mold is very common in foam mattresses as these absorb and retain moisture.

Camping during the rainy season could also get your camping mattress wet and dirty, making it a breeding ground for mold and mildew.

If you see black spots on the mattress indicating mold and mildew, use water and vinegar to remove them. Just mix equal proportions of water and vinegar. Dip a sponge in this mixture and scrub it on the mattress, especially over the black spots. Rinse with a damp cloth, then leave the mattress to air dry.

Sunlight also inhibits the growth of mold and mildew. After cleaning your roof top tent matter with water and vinegar, leave it out in the sun to dry.

A good way of taking care of your mattress is to leave it out in the sun occasionally. Sunlight will eliminate any moisture in your mattress and inhibit the growth of bacteria and other microbes. It is also effective in getting rid of foul odors from your mattress.

Deep clean your mattress.

It is also essential to deep clean your mattress once in a while. Start by removing the pads and sheets. It would be best if you also washed the sheets after every camping trip.

If your mattress is inflatable and comes with an inbuilt air pump, remove it before wiping it down with liquid.

Start deep cleaning your mattress by vacuuming it. Vacuuming ensures that all dust and debris are removed. After that, wipe it down with a soft cloth.

Use some rubbing alcohol to get rid of stains, sticky spots, and germs. If you don't have rubbing alcohol, you could also use dish soap and water to remove grime and stains. However, be careful when using dish soap as you do not want water to get inside the mattress.

If your mattress has smaller parts and separable pads, you can also consider washing these in the washer.

Finally, put your mattress out in the sun to air dry naturally.


Camping is a wonderful way to get out in nature and relax. However, sleeping well under the starry skies makes the camping experience even more memorable.

A good roof top tent mattress enhances your tent's comfort, ensuring you get a blissful night of sleep.

Choosing the right mattress could make a difference to your camping trips. It is also equally important to take good care of your camping mattress to keep it clean and fresh for longer.


Benjamin is the founder of RoadMounter. He loves the outdoors and camping- especially when he can do it with a rooftop tent setup. He created this website to help you with everything related to vehicle camping.

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