Can I Use A Heated Mattress Pad In My Camping Van?

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Finding ways to stay warm while camping can sometimes be challenging. But with a bit of creativity, you can ensure the time you spend in an RV is comfortable and enjoyable.

One of the best ways to cut down on draining one source of electricity entirely is by using a heated mattress pad at night in your camper van.

What is a Heated Mattress Pad?

A heated mattress pad is a thick layer of fabric placed on top of a mattress that uses electricity to heat wires or water to increase the pad’s temperature. The wires or hydronic water tubes are between two layers of fabric and heat up at different temperature settings.

They are made from various types of material but are most commonly made from polyester or cotton. They can be very useful while camping and helpful for those who have back or muscle pain which makes it difficult to sleep at night.

Mattress pads are available in a range of sizes to fit different mattresses.

That includes both traditional mattresses, memory foam mattresses, and airbeds. Most are designed to run on electricity, but some use batteries as well, which are ideal when you are camping off the grid.

Heated Mattress Pad vs. a Heated Blanket

For those looking for an alternate heating option for an upcoming camping trip, you may be wondering which would be better, a heated mattress pad or an electric blanket.

If you are looking for the optimal amount of extra warmth at night, you would be better off buying a mattress pad instead of a blanket. That’s because heated mattress pads are better at masking the wires or tubes.

Your body and the rest of your bedding helps to insulate the heat. While it may still provide you with plenty of warmth, an electric blanket will not insulate as well while lying on top of you the same way a pad would.

What Features Should I Pay Attention to When Buying a Heated Mattress Pad?

There are several things you should know about heated mattress pads before you purchase one.

There are many different mattress pads available, all made by different companies, and each has its own features.

Some of the features may interest you more than others, so it’s a good idea to learn more about them before you purchase a mattress pad.

The Different Materials Used to Make a Mattress Pad

Several components make up a mattress pad, including the type of heating element, controller, and the fabric used for the pad itself. There are also mattress pads with skirts that go around the sides and corners of your mattress to help hold it in place.

The heating element is made from small electrical wires or water tubes, depending on the mattress pad you purchase. The higher quality the pad is, the thinner the wires or tubes will be, and you won’t feel them through the fabric.

The controller for your mattress pad is how you control the temperature. These can range from very basic with just a few options to highly advanced with some modern mattress pads, including wireless remote controls.

The mattress pad can be made from various types of material, including cotton, polyester, or a cotton and poly blend. You will need to keep this in mind if you are allergic or sensitive to either of these materials.

You will also need to consider the fit of the mattress pad and purchase one that is the correct size to ensure maximum comfort. For a heated mattress pad, you want it to fit securely so that it will not bunch up overnight and pose a possible safety risk.

Personalization Features

We all have different needs with it comes to getting a comfortable night’s rest. Here are some of the different personalization features you can find on heated mattress pads.

Heat Settings

Most heated mattress pads will have temperature settings that go from 1 up to 10 for maximum heat. Others may have just low, medium, and high.

Versatile Heat Settings

If you share a bed with a partner who prefers to be either warmer or cooler at night, some mattress pads allow you to control the heat level for each side of the bed.

You can also find pads with heating and cooling options so you can turn down the heat and enjoy a cool temperature instead, which is a great option when you are camping during the summer.


Some mattress pads have the option to preheat the pad. That helps it hold temperature so that your bed will be warm and comfortable as soon as you lie down.

Timers and Automatic Shut Off

You may not want to have your heating pad on throughout the night. If that’s the case, you can find mattress pads that will turn off after a set period, such as 4 to 6 hours or longer. It is not only convenient, but it is also an excellent safety feature as well.

Ease of Use & Cleaning

Modern heated mattress pads include features that make them easy to use and maintain.

Pads with digital controls and large displays can make these products simpler to use. And most will also feature a removable cover, allowing you to wash the outer layer and keep it fresh and clean without causing any damage to the electrical wiring.

Safety Features

Since a heated mattress pad operates on electricity, finding a product with reliable safety features is essential. Always look for a heated mattress pad that has a UL certification on the outside of the box.

These standards apply to various electric products that ensure they have been tested and are safe to use. You should also look for a heated mattress pad that features automatic shut-off and overheating protection. It will detect if the pad is getting too hot and automatically shut it off to eliminate a potential fire hazard.

Will a Heated Mattress Pad Run on a 12V Battery?

While it may operate on a 12V battery, you should not use one for a heated mattress pad.

That’s because it may not be safe, and you may also push the limits of your RV battery by using it throughout the night. It’s recommended that you always use a 120v outlet near your bed. Therefore, you would need to use a pure sine inverter to convert the voltage if you must use a 12V battery.

Where Can I Find a Heated Mattress Pad?

There are several websites where you can find heated mattress pads and other essential items for camping.

Amazon has many options available from top brands such as Sunbeam, Beautyrest, and Serta. You can also find these products at retail locations like Bed, Bath, and Beyond, JCPenney, Walmart, and Target.

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