The Complete Guide to Buying and Maintaining Camp Mattresses & Institutional Furniture


As a direct-to-consumer manufacturer, we serve a wide variety of clients, including camps, disaster relief and emergency shelters, colleges, healthcare facilities, job corps and transitional housing centers, and military bases.

Whether you’re looking to order new bulk mattresses for your facility, upgrade your institution’s furniture, or maintain the equipment you already have, we’re here to help.

What to Look for In a Mattress

If you play any part in the purchasing process of your camp, college, or facility, you know there’s a lot that goes into the decision. What types of mattresses and covers are right for your residents? What sizes and features should you be looking for? Did your last order meet all your needs, or did they maybe not hold up so well? Maybe there are even new features available now that weren’t even thought of when you last purchased.

With the product descriptions, statistics, codes and regulations, and dozens of other nitty-gritty details, it can become overwhelming. You’re lost in a forest of information — but we can show you the way out!

Skip the stress and let us show you where to start — with these four things you should always look for in your facility mattresses.

Camp Mattresses


First and foremost, let’s talk safety. Whether they be small campers or college students, you want the people that use your mattresses to be safe. ALWAYS make sure your mattresses comply with federal flammability standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). If you use a mattress that doesn’t meet federal regulations you could not only be risking the safety of your users but also held liable for their injuries.

And speaking of small campers, keep in mind that guard rails are required by federal regulations for all camp bunk beds. You don’t want anyone rolling off the top bunk in the middle of a toss or turn! If you’re buying bunk bed frames to go along with those new mattresses, make sure they either already have guard rails or you have access to rails that can be retrofitted onto existing bunks, like those at American Bedding.



We know, you already knew this one. Humans spend a third of their lives sleeping — obviously, durability is important. But some facilities, a college dorm, for example, require stronger, longer-lasting beds. Unlike a summer camp that only accommodate sleepers for about 8 weeks a year, dorm mattresses have considerably larger students sleeping on them for nearly 9 months a year. Multiply each month by the number of years the school keeps the mattresses and it’s clear why durability matters.

When it comes to camp mattresses, durability is no less of a priority — just for a different reason. Between the many small sleepers your camp houses and the months spent in storage, camp mattresses need to sturdy, durable, and, most importantly, easy to clean. If your mattresses need extra protection, a waterproof mattress cover may just be the answer. With waterproof mattress covers, you don’t have to worry about ruining the materials with too much water during the cleaning process. Additionally, they keep fluids and dirt from penetrating into the core of the mattress.



While sleep may not be a top priority for campers and college students, that doesn’t make it any less important. Sleep is linked directly with the body’s functional abilities and physical health. Prolonged deficiency, such as that caused by tossing and turning on an inadequate mattress, can lead to an increased risk of serious medical problems.

Whether lights out comes at 9 pm or 4 am, you want your mattresses to provide comfort, because sleepers will definitely notice if they don’t. That’s why you want to make sure your residence halls, dormitories, camps, or conference centers have comfortable, high-quality wholesale mattresses that are made with the user in mind.


Never Buy Used

We get it, budgets are tight. It may seem like a dream that some facility upstate is giving away all their mattresses. Imagine how much sports equipment or tech upgrades you could get with all the money you saved! But consider the downside, because you’d better believe there is one — or more like several! Here are a few reasons you should never get your mattresses used:

  1. You don’t know how old they are.
  2. Whatever has been on them is now inside
  3. What you don’t know can hurt you — like surprise bed bugs.

Once you know what kind of mattress you are looking for the search will get that much easier. Use this list as a guide to make sure that you are getting exactly what you need — and, of course, the best bang for your buck.

Mattress Features

Now that you know where to start, let’s dig into the details. Which features do you really need? It’s easy to get bogged down when every mattress looks the same, and every salesman is telling you something different. How can you ever find what you’re looking for when you aren’t sure what’s fib and what’s fact?

To begin, let’s shed some light on a few myths you may have heard while you’ve been shopping. Remember that not all mattresses are created equal, measurements are a big deal, and innerspring mattresses are durable and long-lasting—making them a great choice for colleges and rescue missions.

If you are looking for mattresses specifically for your camp, remember that it’s not as daunting of a task as it first appears! Break it down and make it easier on yourself by knowing how many mattresses you need, clarifying your budget, comparing vendors, and examining available products. And don’t forget, you should never buy camp mattresses without telling the seller the following:

  • That they are for a camp
  • What age group they are for
  • How many weeks the camp is open
  • What size you need

No matter what kind of facility you are shopping for, it’s very important to remember that organizations are liable for the bedding they provide. If mattresses and bedding items are not compliant, the organization is at risk of fines, lawsuits, or even shut down.

And, last but not least, you get what you pay for. We know, you already knew that, but it’s important to remember — especially when it comes to mattresses! Sometimes budgets are tight and there are many more things you need to spend it on. But if you skimp on bedding you could be making a costly mistake for your camp, college, or rescue mission. Often, a lower price means lower quality and you should know exactly what you’re getting before you buy. Always check a mattress’s density, age, and durability to determine its quality.

Okay, now you know what not to get and what not to do, but which features do you need?  The most commonly sought-after, and best, features to have in a mattress (especially one of many in a large facility) are for it to be waterproof, bed bug-proof, and made with the right materials.



More durable, easier to clean, better for storage (not to mention accident-prone campers) —what’s not to love about waterproof mattresses or mattress covers? Especially beneficial to a busy facility, a waterproof mattress or cover is stain-resistant, brings new life to old mattresses, and protects the inner workings from body fluids, mildew, mold, spills, cleaning supplies, or damp storage areas.


Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are the last thing you want to worry about in a facility full of beds. They live in the seams and crevices and if they get a foothold in even one building, they’re very difficult (and pricey) get rid of.  Worst of all, an infestation can go unnoticed until after several weeks’ worth of campers has come and gone. Meaning they’ll already be well on their way to claiming a foothold with you left none the wiser. The best thing a mattress can be, especially in a high-traffic facility like a camp, is bed bug-proof.

Our Bed Bug Proof mattress is designed with inverted seams so bed bugs don’t have a place make a home or even hide. Without the crevices found in typical mattress seams, these pesky critters don’t stand a chance.



Whoever said “It’s not about what’s on the outside, but what’s on the inside that matters” clearly was not talking about mattresses. With bedding, the inside obviously matters—but so does the outside. Different mattresses have various materials that serve unique purposes.

Vinyl and nylon are both great for the outside of the mattress, but they have differences that make them perfect for specific settings. Antibacterial vinyl, for example, is ideal for camps, while the more breathable nylon is better suited for conference facilities, rescue missions, colleges, and military housing. For more comparisons, check out our list of Fabric FAQs.

On the inside, mattress density is incredibly important in both the durability and lifespan of foam mattresses. The most common misunderstanding about density has to do with its relationship to hardness versus softness. People often assume that more dense mattresses are harder, and less dense mattresses are softer, but that’s not necessarily the case. Really, the denser a mattress is, the more durable it is, and, therefore, the longer lifespan it will have.

Lastly, you need to make sure the materials you choose meet federal regulations, like the 16 CFR 1633, the federal flammability standard for mattresses and mattress pads. As mentioned above, you’re responsible for making sure all of your products are up to code — and liable if they are not. To avoid fines or even a full shut down of your facility, make sure you’re using only approved materials.

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