When it comes to finding versatile all-weather furniture, mattresses pose the biggest challenge. During the warmer months of the year, it’s tempting to want to sleep outdoors or simply lounge on the deck or in the yard on a comfortable mattress.
Unlike all-weather chairs and tables, though, most mattresses aren’t designed to fend off moisture; after all, damage from mildew or mold might result. The good news is that these types of mattresses can be easily safeguarded with six-sided, zippered waterproof mattress protectors.
If you shop around, you can find several types of mattresses that are both portable and durable enough to be used both indoors and outdoors. Here are four possibilities.
Foam, memory foam and gel foam mattresses can be great choices for all-season mattresses as they tend to be light and mobile. There are many thin mattresses of this variety that are designed for futons or sleep sofas but which can also be easily carried to an area of the yard that doesn’t have any furniture. Additionally, futon frames can be easily transported to a porch or deck and bedroom versions of these mattresses have greater depth but are also relatively easy to carry.
Some thin foam mattresses are marketed as waterproof when it’s really an accompanying mattress protector that’s doing the waterproofing. If your foam mattress doesn’t come with a six-sided waterproof protector — these are also known as mattress encasements — make sure to buy one if you plan on using the mattress outdoors.
Foam and memory foam mattresses are both made of polyurethane. However, the kind of polyurethane used in memory foam, dubbed viscoelastic, is softer and conforms to body shape. Meantime, gel foam mattresses are infused with gel to provide for a cooler sleeping experience.
During colder parts of the year, bring the futon and its foam mattress inside and use them for accommodating overnight guests. You can also slip the sleep sofa mattress back into the couch and use it for the same purpose.
Coil Spring Mattresses
Although foam mattresses can be more comfortable, coil spring mattresses tend to hold their shape longer. While you might repurpose a bedroom version of either a foam or coil spring mattress for outdoor use, you can also buy thinner versions.
These thinner coil spring mattresses are mainly targeted for camper trailers, but there’s no reason why you can’t plop one of them on a daybed or bed swing on your patio.
The coils in spring mattresses are made of steel. Typically, the outer quilting consists of a cotton fabric blend. Some coil spring mattresses use various kinds of foam, together with coils, at the base.
Coil spring mattresses are available for some futons, too. If you’re buying a mattress separately from the frame, get one that’s the same size as the frame. Additionally, the number of folds in the futon mattress — albeit two or three — should accommodate the shape of the frame. To help prevent slippage, the mattress can be attached to the frame with ties or Velcro strips.
Latex mattresses, another versatile choice, offer superior spinal support and long mattress life. Natural, synthetic and blended mattresses are available, and so are thin editions geared toward recreational vehicles.
Most latex mattresses are offered with customizable layers and are adjustable to be soft, medium or firm. Many people find latex mattresses also tend to be cooler to sleep on in hot weather.
When you’re deciding what type of latex mattress to get, allergies should be a consideration. Although latex is not waterproof, natural latex, which is made from the rubber tree, is naturally resistant to both moisture and common allergens such as mold, mildew and dust mites.
On the other hand, some folks are allergic to natural latex. However, synthetic latex is unlikely to trigger allergic reactions, according to the Mayo Clinic.
As with foam and coil spring mattresses, make sure to obtain a waterproof protective cover if you expect to use your latex mattress anywhere but indoors, especially if it’s a synthetic or blended mattress.
Unlike foam, coil spring and latex mattresses, many mattresses in the inflatable category are actually waterproof on their own, with no need for a waterproof protector. Also known as an air mattress, this time-honored solution is meant mostly for use in cars or for camping tents. Yet, inflatable mattresses are easy to transport, especially when deflated, that you can easily tote one anywhere on your property, including your kids’ treehouse.
On the whole, inflatable mattresses are inexpensive. Yet some higher-end models now come with amenities such as coil designs, insulation and inflatable pillows and headboards.
To increase comfort levels with a traditional no-frills air mattress, make sure the mattress isn’t either over-inflated or under-inflated. Placing the air mattress on top of a soft surface such as a mat or rug can also help. Inflatable mattresses can also feel too warm on hot days and too cold when the weather is chilly, but covering them with sheets should alleviate those issues.
The Decision is Yours
Practically nothing could be as relaxing as stretching out on a comfy mattress outdoors when the weather is nice. Your choices for doing so include not just inflatable mattresses but also bedroom and thinner versions of foam, inner spring and latex mattresses. The decision is yours.
With the exception of inflatables, mattresses are not waterproof, so you’ll also need to obtain and use a six-sided, zippered waterproof enclosure for your mattress. When properly protected, your mattress will be safe from mildew, mold, other allergens and UV sunlight rays almost anywhere you put it.