How do you rate foam mattresses for this build?

Submitted: Saturday, Sep 15, 2018 at 15:03
ThreadID: 137252 Views:3615 Replies:12 FollowUps:13
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I am building a little off road pop-up hybrid with a 5ft slide-out at the back to house a bed, which is a little narrower than queen size, but full length.
With the slide-out length limitation, I am folding the bed and running it on rollers so that about a third of it sits against the back wall at an angle rather like a double chaise thingy.
Here it is folded up with the slide-out pulled out:

And here is it stretched out to full length, once again with the slide-out out:

So I am going to need a mattress in two pieces but joined at the top surface by the upholsterer. This means that I guess innersprings are out of the running and the only option is foam cut to size. Weight is important too. Our last camper had 4 inch foam of unknown density and was not the best.
We want a softish bed but don't want to go bumping hips on the base. Should I go with say a six inch foam of whatever density as recommended by Clark Rubber or would it be better to laminate 2 inches of low density foam over 4 inches of high density foam?
Or does anyone have a better suggestion? I haven't got a clue.
Many thanks,
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Reply By: RMD - Saturday, Sep 15, 2018 at 15:36

Saturday, Sep 15, 2018 at 15:36
G'day Keith.
Back in 05 I bought a Tvan and it had a thick foam mattress as supplied. It was soft but did not in anyway provide comfort for sleeping on your side or back.
Almost crippled with pain from the lack of support after the first night.
I had an expensive multi zone mattress which gave good support but lost it when the dearly beloved left. I then used a 4wd inflatable mattress with an Aldi thick memory foam topper. This I found to be quite good.
If Clark, I would tend to go with a 1"or 2" top over a good density lower slab in the two segments you mentioned. Perhaps a memory foam upper over good solid foam below.
I would also seriously not take Clark Rubber advice, I have and regret believing them, definitely go and lie down on their inshop sample for a while, to gauge the support it gives to ensure the comfort. Initially their foam seems supportive but gives up quick smart. Scoliosis anyone? You may be disappointed, despite their claim of it being high density.
Some of the new offerings of good performing memory foam matresses from sleep stores may be able to be sectioned and recovered with the fold you require and not be much more expensive than a big slab of expensive Clark foam. Theirs has to be GOLD impregnated IMHO.
Buying WELL, just once, will be the best option.
AnswerID: 621231

Follow Up By: Keith B2 - Saturday, Sep 15, 2018 at 16:32

Saturday, Sep 15, 2018 at 16:32
Thanks RMD.

I just went over to Clark Rubber to buy a bit ef edge strip and started talking to the sales guy who, although a nice bloke, didn't seem to know much about mattresses. He seemed more interested in selling me one of their stock lines, none of which I liked. I got talking to a young bloke who was having a mattress custom made for his Troopy right then and there in the store.

He was getting what looked like a queen size with 2 inches of memory foam laminated over 3 inches of high density foam. It looked the business and was to cost him about $500, which I thought was okay, and much cheaper that the FoamBooth. The mattress itself felt axcellent.

But, taking your advice, I gave the young bloke my details and he offered to text me and let me know how the mattress was performing. I have a few months at least before I need to buy, so his advice will be a big help, just like yours was.

Many thanks.
FollowupID: 893755

Follow Up By: Ron N - Saturday, Sep 15, 2018 at 23:14

Saturday, Sep 15, 2018 at 23:14
Keith - I can't help but agree with the majority of what RMD has stated. Most plain Clark foam is pretty useless for sleeping on.

Years ago, we used to rebuild our 'dozer and loader seats regularly, and had a hard time trying to get the right density foam, the right amount of compression and shock absorption.

Then we started using an old "gun" upholsterer, who knew every trick in the book, and every product that was available.
He came up with a "crumbed" foam which provided a good base of about 2/3rds of the height of the seat cushion - overlaid with a moderately firm foam rubber, that made up the top third of the cushion.

That arrangement provided more comfortable seating, than even any of the original manufacturers seating - and we used those materials and that formula for years, with excellent comfort results.

The crumbed foam I have not seen for a long time, and I can't find it online - but it's probably still available somewhere.
I'm sure it was made from recycled foam chunks glued together, because it was made from different-coloured chunks, and it was reasonably firm when you tried to compress it.

I'd be finding an old upholsterer and getting some ideas from him, and see what is available by way of products today.
One things for sure, a good mattress is not made just from one type of foam all the way through, the best mattress is a mix of varying levels of foam firmness, with the softer layer on top.

Cheers, Ron.
FollowupID: 893759

Reply By: Mikee5 - Saturday, Sep 15, 2018 at 15:49

Saturday, Sep 15, 2018 at 15:49
We had a custom sized mattress made by Makin Mattresses you can choose size and firmness, it may be worth visiting one of their stores (factories).
AnswerID: 621232

Follow Up By: Keith B2 - Saturday, Sep 15, 2018 at 16:35

Saturday, Sep 15, 2018 at 16:35
Thanks Mike. The nearest Makin store is about two and a half hours away. But I will definitely make the trip if I can't get it sorted locally.

In my earlier post, I forgot to add that I am allergic to latex.

Thanks heaps.
FollowupID: 893756

Reply By: Jarse - Saturday, Sep 15, 2018 at 17:47

Saturday, Sep 15, 2018 at 17:47
Keith, I used to make polyurethane foam in a previous life (and survived the chemicals).
Back then, foam was graded in order of firmness from 30 to 75, with 75 being the firmest.
If you’re of average build and after a reasonably soft mattress, I would recommend 3” of F50 with a 1” of F40 on top.
If you go much thinner on the lower layer of F50, you’ll probably bottom out.
Hope this helps.
AnswerID: 621233

Follow Up By: Keith B2 - Saturday, Sep 15, 2018 at 19:53

Saturday, Sep 15, 2018 at 19:53
Thanks Jarse. Where does memory foam fit into the picture?
FollowupID: 893757

Follow Up By: RMD - Saturday, Sep 15, 2018 at 22:34

Saturday, Sep 15, 2018 at 22:34
Thanks for the informative info about the foam rating. It gives us an ability to compare and decide much better than before.

FollowupID: 893758

Follow Up By: Jarse - Sunday, Sep 16, 2018 at 07:23

Sunday, Sep 16, 2018 at 07:23
Hi all,
Back then, memory foam wasn’t made in Australia (and possibly hadn’t been discovered, not sure). There was a HR (high resilience) foam, which also had a level of fire retardant (PBDE) in its formula. It was used in top-of-the-range foam-only mattresses. Being almost double the cost of regular polyurethane, I doubt it’s even still produced in Oz. We only did about 2 production runs a year of the stuff. It was very difficult to make.

I can’t offer expert advice on memory foam, except that if I were going to use it, I would only use it in the thinner top layer of the mattress (in place of the F40), because you need a layer of firmness underneath. Memory foam is as dear as poison, so only using a thinner layer might be more economical, too. The only disadvantage is that unless you laminate a layer to each side, you will only have a ‘one sided’ mattress.
FollowupID: 893760

Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Saturday, Sep 15, 2018 at 20:20

Saturday, Sep 15, 2018 at 20:20
When we bought our first slide-on camper, we used a double self inflater for a while, then I bought a 6" double mattress from a local business and we've used that since. Not the most comfortable at times, and boney parts of one's torso often "bottom out" on the base.

There is a mob in Clontarf Qld that make innerspring mattresses to size. Perhaps 2 innersprings to suit your application, with an eggshell foam on top, to cushion any joins etc.

Made to Measure Mattresses
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AnswerID: 621235

Reply By: Member - nick b boab - Saturday, Sep 15, 2018 at 22:41

Saturday, Sep 15, 2018 at 22:41
Its suprising just how good a foam mattress with eggshell & lambswool top cover can be .
Cheers Nick b

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AnswerID: 621237

Reply By: splits - Saturday, Sep 15, 2018 at 22:50

Saturday, Sep 15, 2018 at 22:50
We have used two different types of home made camper bodies on our single cab ute over the eleven years that we have owned it. The same foam mattress has been used in both of them.

It was custom made by a small company in a local industrial area. It made all kinds of foam items in large quantities for furniture manufacturers. The owner laid many combinations of pieces of foam on the workshop floor and my wife and I layed on them until we found one that suited us.

This was certainly a no frills company and there was no glitzy showroom but he knew what he was doing. The mattress is excellent and still like new.

We had a small caravan prior to buying the ute and its mattress had a lot of condensation problems. He assured us that would not happen with this mattress and he was right. We have not seen any sign of it in all weather conditions from desert heat to the Snowy Mountains in winter.
AnswerID: 621238

Reply By: PhilD - Sunday, Sep 16, 2018 at 09:52

Sunday, Sep 16, 2018 at 09:52
I have a 1.5m rear slide out on my truck, and have used a Froli spring base, 100 mm of foam and a latex topper = a very comfortable bed.
AnswerID: 621242

Follow Up By: Keith B2 - Sunday, Sep 16, 2018 at 15:29

Sunday, Sep 16, 2018 at 15:29
I have been looking at the Froli material and it is certainly impressive, but a little expensive.
Looks like a good option though. Many thanks.
FollowupID: 893765

Follow Up By: PhilD - Sunday, Sep 16, 2018 at 21:26

Sunday, Sep 16, 2018 at 21:26
Keith, I understand. It was the price to pay for my wife being a happy camper. She has had major back operations, so it says a lot for the Froli system for her to say she finds it very comfortable.
FollowupID: 893773

Follow Up By: Keith B2 - Sunday, Sep 16, 2018 at 23:42

Sunday, Sep 16, 2018 at 23:42
I showed the Froli system to my wife and explained that it will cut down headroom a bit. She said, "Bugger that, I'd rather have a decent bed."
So Plil, it looks like you get the yay for the day as far as Mrs KeithB2 is concerned.
Many thanks,
FollowupID: 893776

Reply By: Member - Boobook - Sunday, Sep 16, 2018 at 15:38

Sunday, Sep 16, 2018 at 15:38
Before buying a foam mattress, carefully measure the dimensions of your rubbish bin so it can be made to fit properly.
AnswerID: 621250

Follow Up By: Keith B2 - Sunday, Sep 16, 2018 at 16:23

Sunday, Sep 16, 2018 at 16:23
Tony I share your scepticism. But the height limitation, the fold in the middle and weight might determine the mattress. If I have to chuck it away after 5 years then I am going to have to live with that I guess.
FollowupID: 893766

Reply By: Ozhumvee - Monday, Sep 17, 2018 at 07:11

Monday, Sep 17, 2018 at 07:11
Keith we have a similar style of slideout bed to yours but ours doesn't fold in half but is one piece. I had Made to Measure make a full inner spring mattress to suit which has worked very well. We also had them make one for our Shippshape roof top tent years ago and it was also very good being one sided and low profile, 140mm thick from memory. They could make you two half sized ones and then you can fold them as required.
AnswerID: 621259

Follow Up By: Keith B2 - Monday, Sep 17, 2018 at 09:07

Monday, Sep 17, 2018 at 09:07
Thanks Peter. They do look the business don't they?

Their website says that they have a stiffer edge suitable for sitting on, which is great for a single unit mattress. But this edge will be right under our hips where the two a mattresses butt together.

I am beginning to think that this folding bed wasn't such a great idea.

Many thanks though.
FollowupID: 893777

Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Monday, Sep 17, 2018 at 16:35

Monday, Sep 17, 2018 at 16:35
14 years ago we had a custom made innerspring mattress manufactured for the OKA.
Light weight, single sided. Still in constant use.
If someone gave us a "quality" foam mattress, I would be measuring that rubbish bin.... :)
OKA196 motorhome
FollowupID: 893783

Follow Up By: Keith B2 - Monday, Sep 17, 2018 at 17:40

Monday, Sep 17, 2018 at 17:40
I am currently having a chat with this mob, who were recommended on my Myswag build thread (called World's Slowest Build).
Won't be cheap though. But I guess good never is.
FollowupID: 893785

Reply By: Member - Tony H (touring oz) - Tuesday, Sep 18, 2018 at 16:52

Tuesday, Sep 18, 2018 at 16:52
AnswerID: 621281

Reply By: Ron N - Wednesday, Sep 19, 2018 at 23:55

Wednesday, Sep 19, 2018 at 23:55
I'm not sure if a regular mattress maker would be interested in a custom-made size, but I can advise our main bed is a King Koil Chiropractic Luxury mattress (by A.H Beard) - and we've owned it for several years - and I have never had a mattress that comes anywhere near the comfort of this particular mattress.

Anytime we travel, we never find an equivalent mattress to our King Koil, in any type of accommodation - even when they brag about luxury mattresses.
It's such a superb mattress, we usually can't wait to get home to experience a good comfortable sleep again.

Cheers, Ron.
AnswerID: 621299

Reply By: nzjourneyman - Thursday, Sep 20, 2018 at 05:16

Thursday, Sep 20, 2018 at 05:16
A bunch of years ago I did a long trip from the UK in a troopy with a roof tent. I too needed a split, folding mattress. I had an additional requirement of it not being too thick. The advice at the time was to get the best foam money could buy and ignore the cost. I was also warned that buying cheaper, albeit thicker foam would lead to significant discomfort and sleeping problems. The piece of foam I eventually bought was 2000 x 1200 x 50 and cost GBP150! Which in 1997 was a huge amount. I spent another GBP30 getting a cover made from cloth used to make VW van seats (tough!).

The missus and I slept on that mattress for nearly two years. Obviously it was on the firm side, but we didn't have any issues with sleeping or discomfort. I guess you get what you pay for :)
AnswerID: 621300

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