The Bedding Headache … solved?

One of the downsides to the layout of the Class B RV that we bought is that the lounge/dining area where you eat and relax has to be converted into a bed at night. The back of the campervan is either a combination dining/sofa/lounge or a bed, never both.

The process of converting is simple but requires that you make the bed every night and unmake it every morning. The bed is only accessible from one end – for us the foot. Making up the bed requires being on your hands-and-knees while you make up the bed that’s under your hands and knees. You have to store the bedding someplace during the day or when you travel, and pull it from storage at bedtime.

In a typical rear-lounge Class B RV, the sofa folds back and the table fills in the aisle to create the bed.

My goals were:

  • Making and unmaking the bed be as simple and easy as possible
  • Because we have to stash the bedding someplace every day, I wanted the bedding to be as compact as possible.
  • On extended trips, we want to be able to launder anything that comes in contact with our skin.

Easy to make at night, easy to stash during the day, easy to launder.

In winter it’s easy. A bottom sheet or blanket to keep us off the vinyl sofa fabric and a pair of mummy sleeping bags unzipped and used as quilts. The bags have nice foot pockets to keep our feet warm, and if it’s really cold we can sleep close and overlap the bags. By not attempting to zip the bags, we can move freely under them without getting tangled up or rolling the bags around us. An unzipped mummy bag used as a top quilt is just as warm as if you were zipped up, and a lot more comfortable. We’re wearing base layers (long johns) at night so the bags don’t get grungy, and we don’t have nylon against our skin.

Summer and shoulder seasons is harder – the nylon bags on bare skin are uncomfortable. In warm weather we’d really rather be under cotton instead of nylon. But tucking in regular bed sheets and blankets when you have to crawl around on top the bed isn’t fun.

Plan A: I thought that we could try to use fleece or flannel sleeping bag liners as a means of keeping the vinyl bed and nylon sleeping bags off our skin while still having something easy to launder. I bought a pair and found out that fleece/flannel has enough friction that it sticks to your base layers and rolls around with you at night. You end up in a tangle of fleece. We gave up on them. Smooth cotton bag liners would have solved that problem but would still have ‘mummified’ us and gotten tangled up as we roll around at night, defeating the simplicity of an unzipped sleeping bag top quit.

Plan B: In our last camper (after a few false starts) I had sewn together a custom sheet that had a headpiece which wrapped under the head of the mattress and a top sheet sewn to the bottom sheet across the foot. I.E. top and bottom sheets were one piece, sewn across the bottom. We covered the sheet(s) with whatever blankets were appropriate. That worked pretty well except at laundry time. The custom sheet set is the size of two queen sheets sewn end-to-end.

For this campervan, I made a bottom sheet that has a pocket which fits over the sofa headrest and a flap that tucks under the cushions that make up the foot of the bed. The sides are not tucked in but seem to stay in place anyway. Instead of a top sheet that was either sewn to the bottom or tucked in, I though I’d try making a top sheet/blanket combo that was stiff enough to not need to be tucked in, but would still stay in place anyway.

My idea was to use a duvet cover as the top sheet and stuff one or more quits or blankets inside as needed. The combination top sheet/blanket would be easy to make up at night – just toss it out onto the bed. It would be easy to stash in the morning – fold it, roll it up and stuff it into a nylon bag. The duvet covers would get laundered like sheets. Whatever was inside them would not.

After trying and failing to find a camping quilt that was long enough, cheap enough, and would fit inside a duvet cover, and after trying and failing to make my own custom sized quilt, and after buying a cheap camping quilt and finding out that it didn’t fold/roll small enough, we finally ended up with an inexpensive ($80) down comforter and ($30) cotton duvet cover from Ikea.

Works great. We unfold the bottom sheet, hook the pocket over the sofa headrest while it’s still upright, then fold the sofa flat & tuck in the foot of the sheet. The duvet/down comforter combination is stored in a large nylon stuff sack & unrolled/unfolded on top the bed. Toss the pillows up by the head and we’re done. In the morning the duvet/comforter and bottom sheet each fold & roll up in seconds.

If it’s warmer at night, we can stuff a blanket inside the duvet cover instead of the down comforter. If it’s too cold, we just sleep in a few more base layers (I.E. long johns).

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