I have been on the road long enough to put my sleep system to the test. Finding the right sleep system for my for my Honda Odyssey Minivan Camper build took some trial and error.
I chose to go with the Trifold Mattress because I am 6’2″ and needed lots of leg room and did not like how most minivan bed builds or cots nearly take up half of the van. I decided to go a different route choosing a piece of furniture that would both work as a comfortable bed at night but during the day fold up and function as your lounger/couch. I am really happy I went with this decision.
I have used 3 different types of Millard Trifold Mattress during my full time minivan living.
This was my first mattress I purchased for my van in 2017
Pros: Wide and comfortable
Extra fold for additional configurations
Washable cover and the blue color looked nice inside my van
Cons: Not very thick at 4 1/2 inches
Ended up not using extra fold and just made the back rest long instead of stacked
Stayed comfortable to sit on but ultimately became very uncomfortable to sleep on after 2 months of full time use.
This was the second mattress I purchased was this thicker Millard Tri-Fold Mattress. It says it’s 6 inches of thickness but seemed more than that. Out of all the Tri-Fold Mattress I owned this one was the biggest and most thick.
Pros: Extra thick and wide.
Comfortable to sit on.
Cons: Plain white cover looks unfinished and needs a sheet or couch cover.
Even with the thicker foam this mattress became uncomfortable just like the last one after 2 months of full time use.
This was my 3rd mattress I purchased and the one I ended up settling on. This one also became uncomfortable after 2 months to sleep on but I had a solution to to make it work for full time van living. This required a mattress topper of some sort for sleeping and I will cover that shortly.
Pros: I love the cover on this mattress. It has proven to be durable and offers a finished look with out an additional sheet or cover.
The dimensions match nicely with my Exped Megamat air mattress topper.
Very conformable to sit on. Get some pillows to support your back and the low sitting height works great for SUV’s or minivans.
This Exped Megamat made my sleep system very comfortable and sustainable. I love sleeping on this. It’s very warm, self inflating (you just need to use the pump to top it off) and able to set the perfect firmness based on your sleep prefrence. After letting the air mattress self inflate for about 5 minutes I add 25 pumps from the hand pump for the perfect firmness. Think of this as your sleep number.
Pros: Extremely comfortable and provides a better night sleep than my bed when I had a house.
Warm with a high R-Value of 8
Matches the dimensions of my Cot Size Millard Tri-Fold Mattress with the Grey cover
Easy to set up and take down
Cons: Can leak. I had to repair a pinhole once with the included repair kit.
Sometimes this mattress can be too warm and I will wake up with sweats.
Finding a place to store the mattress can be tough as it packs up bulky. I just fold mine in half and place it behind the back rest of the trifold mattress in seating position.
None of the Trifold mattresses I have purchased lasted more thn 2 months before the foam degraded and became uncomfortable to sleep on. All have been very comfortable to sit on and despite the foam degrading remain very comfortable to sit on. I do think if you were to use one of these mattress for just occasional weekend warrior activities it would probably work fine. But for full time van living it’s going to wear out from sitting and sleeping on it daily. I tried rotating the foam but after a while that stopped working. I also looked into a higher density foam and found that prices for custom foam were very expensive and still didn’t offer what I needed.
Adding the Exped Megamat to the sleep system was a game changer. I now have a comfortable, sustainable bed that doesn’t dominate my minivan build.
My favorite out of the 3 is the Grey cover Millard mattreess. It’s not as wide as the other 2 mentioned in this post but works great for me as a solo traveler. I have had some other minivan/SUV campers ask if this solution would work for 2 people and I think it would work great if your rig has enough room to fit a larger mattress.