Deep dive on improved mattress options

Like a lot of folks I found the 2" stock mattress to be insufficient for a good nights sleep. And man do I want to sleep well and be comfortable. So I went through a lot of trial and error searching for fix and finally found a really great setup, plus a key realization. Here’s the rub:

  1. I first try a cheap 1.5" memory foam topper from Walmart. It’s a hair better. But ultimately, sucks. It’s too soft and adds very little to the setup. You get what you pay for.

  2. Next up, I got a firm 2" latex foam topper off Amazon. It was better. But too firm. Sitting atop it really felt like a waste of a total of 4" of foam. This would turn out to be foreshadowing.

  3. I get a cushy softer 2" memory foam topper. A 29 ILD latex foam from The Foam Factory. This is the best yet… but man, it’s still not great, which is weird and frustrating because I’ve had 3" and 4" mattresses in the back of my old truck that were way cushier and way more comfortable. (Both store-bought tri-folds and custom ones I made myself from foam layers.) What gives? It just seemed like I was making terrible use of the 4" of foam I was on.

  4. It occurs to me that I should stop layering on top of the original mattress. After all, the original mattress is made to give adequate support with only 2" of give. It’s hard as hell. (And btw if you’ve never unzipped yours, you should… it’s two layers, a rock hard layer and a marginally softer one. So make sure you’re not running your pads upside down.)

I decide the problem is the original mattress. Every inch counts when sleeping on something only a few inches thick and the bottom half of my build is hardly giving any cushion. For all my toppers I’m basically just floating above the stock mattress instead of sinking into it. So I replace it.

I get some furniture cushion foam from a local supplier. 2" thick HR40 (high resistance). I put that into the GFC pad covers and put my 2" latex memory 29ILD foam on top and HOLY SHIT is it nice. It’s firm enough enough for my hips and shoulders to not punch through to the decking, but soft enough to actually make use of all 4" of foam and give cushion and support and a good night of side sleeping with minimal tossing and turning.

Your mileage may vary. I think one could go even softer on the bottom layer. I may try it just for kicks. But the big takeaway here should be that the stock bottom layer is meant to act as a mattress if all you have is 2" of foam. It has hardly any give for that reason and works well for that purpose.

But, if you are going to layer on top and build a thicker mattress you would VERY MUCH benefit from using layers which will make full use of thickness you’re building to. Replace that bottom layer.


Exactly what I did. I found the issue to the the bottom grey GFC foam. Way too firm/stiff for my liking. Once I removed that and built it from the ground up, it was a game changer.

Many folks are adding to the the top of the mattress when the issue is inside the cushions. I like soft (came from a inflatable qomotop 4in mattress) and I have found a good mixture for my liking!

1st layer = softer gfc foam

2nd layer = Overland soft goods goam

3rd n 4 layer = 1.25 inch foam from Target.

Total of nearly 4.5 inches with only 3 inches in the feet area.


Sounds like a nice setup. I wish I’d thought to build it ground up earlier on. Putting anything on top of the stock foam really is a waste. I get why GFC uses what they do… if you’re using just their 2" pad it needs to be that tough. But for a thicker build it’s a detriment.

4.5"! I thought my 4" was about as full as it could get. Closes totally fine though. All it takes is maybe an additional 30 seconds of fussing with the tent to make sure it doesn’t get pinched when closing.

Are you guys fitting all the layers inside the GFC covers?

Yes I did. Cut each layer a little smaller and it works.

A little tip - flip those back 2 square ones so the bigger part of the pad is face down into the canopy.

This creates each space to pack the tent material in the rear and closes even easier.

I managed it before… barely.

I bought overland soft goods sheets. They’re oversized to fit the extra foam. Much better.

Not a fan of that personally. I find everything fits just fine without it. Just requires a little extra care when closing is all.

First two iterations I cut them smaller but got annoyed with the gaps. This last round it’s all cut the same size. Better fit and still closes just fine.

Took an alteration from the start I didn’t expect GFC engineering people to come up with the perfect sleeping mattress for everyone and if they did, they make a lot more money worldwide selling mattresses. Anyway, the bedding system I created is relatively simple I want to do achieve three things.

I wanted to be able to store my bedding and other items when the lid was closed in order to do this obviously, I had to achieve more space. So before even sleeping on the included foam and covers I put them in the storage and created my own sleep area.

I purchased half inch yoga mats TPE is the latest technological improvement to the traditional yoga mats. The mats are made of SGS certified TPE material, which is non-slip, Easy-to-clean odor-less
I cut the four sections identical do the measurements of each section then attach them on the outside and using common white Velcro so I can continue to remove them if necessary or desired.

Next, I purchased Exped mats not the duo but Exped Mega Mat 10 LXW Regular Wide: 72.1 x 25.6 x 4 inches Long X-Wide: 77.6 x 30.3 x 4 inches. Exact width of the GFC tent platform is 56 inches so I was only off 1/10 of an inch for a perfect fit as you can see one is longer and one is shorter, I am longer, and my wife is short, so it works perfectly. Reason I do not like Mega 10 Duo is because I don’t always sleep in the tent if it’s a clear night, I’m probably on the ground enjoying the stars.
Both of these mats when deflated and folded in half now fit comfortably at the far end of the tent which allows me to store all of my pillows and bedding with room to spare and the tent top closes with a good seal and no effort.


This is the stock mattress that’s in mine. Not seeing the bottom grey layer. Both layers seems to be the same foam.

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Interesting. When did you buy yours? I forget what number my build is but I picked it up in February 2022.

Interesting. Your build number is higher also so must be newer.

I wonder what the change was. Either way I’d assume that whatever they used on yours is still pretty damn firm. It would have to be.

Build number is 4758, installed in January 2023.

Yes it’s still firm and the two layers are really hard to seperate without ripping foam off of either layer.

Im doing a little experimenting tonight and following what you guys did. Im putting the 1” topper from overland softgoods inside the cover. I picked up a 1.25” topper from Target and will be putting that in between the cover and overland softgoods sheets. Total will be about 4.25” of thickness.

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Yeah the glue seems to vary in how well it sticks. I didn’t bother trying to peel it apart and just replaced the whole thing.

My little experiment failed. I was able to latch the top shut but there was a lot of bowing on the top panel and a very visible gap along the seal. So I just went back to the previous setup with the 1” foam topper in between the fitted sheet and GFC pads. I might look into a softer 2” foam to replace the factory 2” foam.

We have a Nemo roamer double we used for tent camping and it fits great. First we tried it on top of the std cushion but it was kind of a pain, had to take it or the sleeping bag out to close it correctly. Then we tried it with the cushions removed and it’s awesome, just deflate and there’s plenty of room to leave the sleeping bag in the tent and it closes great.

We bought a recommended natural latex mattress and it wasn’t soft enough (Amazon… Pure Green Natural Latex Mattress Topper w/Cover - Soft- 1 Inch - Full Size). Was a waste of $200. So now I just put a Thermarest type (high quality camping pad that inflates) down on top of stock mattress and it’s working just fine. This doesn’t surprise me - you can put a Thermarest over cobble rocks and it’ll be comfortable! Little bit of extra work to inflate and spread out the Thermarest and then to stow away (actually could probably just deflate Thermarest and leave on top of stock mattress and close the GFC top.) Good luck with getting the right softness & comfort.

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Do yourself a favor and try doing what I did. The two inches of stock mattress under you is a waste of space. You can do a lot more with 4" of total fluff.