Ergo Sleeping on a Bigfoot Gaucho! - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-05-2011, 04:50 PM   #1
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Ergo Sleeping on a Bigfoot Gaucho!

This year, I need to look at my Gaucho Couch: it is uncomfortable to sleep on.
The problem is that there is an inconsistency between the seating portion of the couch and the back rest portion when unfolded into a "bed". The seating area is cushioned, the back rest area less so. It feels like a big gap down the "middle".

But ... I have on big constraint: I must be able to fold the bed back into a couch each morning with the mattress. I need to be able to move about the cabin freely - especially when using the marine bath. If the couch is left as a bed ... I am very unhappy using the trailer.

A 3" foam mattress is too thick. I'm concerned that too thin a mattress will not make up for the difference in cushioning on the couch, and not provide me with a comfortable bed.

Any ideas, any experience with gaucho couches?
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Old 11-05-2011, 05:06 PM   #2
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Airbed? They inflate in about 90 seconds and deflate just about as fast. When folded, a double-size fits something about the size of a small suitcase.
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Old 11-05-2011, 05:06 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Jane P. View Post
This year, I need to look at my Gaucho Couch: it is uncomfortable to sleep on.
The problem is that there is an inconsistency between the seating portion of the couch and the back rest portion when unfolded into a "bed". The seating area is cushioned, the back rest area less so. It feels like a big gap down the "middle".

But ... I have on big constraint: I must be able to fold the bed back into a couch each morning with the mattress. I need to be able to move about the cabin freely - especially when using the marine bath. If the couch is left as a bed ... I am very unhappy using the trailer.

A 3" foam mattress is too thick. I'm concerned that too thin a mattress will not make up for the difference in cushioning on the couch, and not provide me with a comfortable bed.

Any ideas, any experience with gaucho couches?
how about something thin to place under the thinner sections to even it out?
Another possibility would be to take the back cushions apart and wrap them with a layer of quilt batting which will make them a little thicker and they would even be more comfy when in couch position.
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Old 11-05-2011, 05:39 PM   #4
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Try a Memory Foam Mattress!

We have an '86 Bigfoot with a gaucho bed as well. I found the bed to be kind of uncomfortable even though I think the backrest and the sofa cushion are approx the same size and thickness on ours. They are just missing that "cushy element" that makes a sofa into a bed. The last time we went camping about 3 weeks ago I bought a full sized Memory foam mattress from Target (it was only around $20) and I finally felt like the bed was comfortable enough! (it was one of the thinner ones that folds into a 30" circular bag and stores up in the cupboard over the gaucho.) If that hadn't worked, I would have tried my Therm-a-Rest sleeping pads from backpacking next. I use them on a cot when we are forced to do the tent camping with the kid's school camping trip and they make the cot pretty comfortable and really store in a small space when the air is let out.
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Old 11-05-2011, 05:40 PM   #5
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This is a constant thought problem for me.

In the past we have put a four inch foam mattress on top of the cushions but there's the issue of what do you do with it. In the past we kept the bed made up.

In the Scamp 16 we are not keeping the bed made up and are using a 1.5 inch Walmart Spa Sensation like Susan G. but thinner to top the standard cushions, this seems adequate.

I have considered replacing the 4" standard cushion material with cushion material more suited for sleeping.

I have also considered having 6" cushions made.

Most wild, I have also considered converting the dinette area into a front facing love seat and two love seat facing chairs. The love seat couch would extend out to create a walk around bed with a 6" thick mattress.

The final solution requires a total reconfiguration of our Scamp but also results in a more traditional dry shower.
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Old 11-05-2011, 06:33 PM   #6
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We use this quilted memory foam topper with a custom made fitted sheet.
It roles up for easy storage and makes the bed instantly when released...
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Old 11-06-2011, 04:47 PM   #7
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Airbed? They inflate in about 90 seconds and deflate just about as fast. When folded, a double-size fits something about the size of a small suitcase.
Good idea Donna. However, I recall an archival post where you warned others that air mattresses are cold This disqualifies them (I dry camp in the winter).

In addition, I'd like to avoid unmaking the bed during the day.

But I do need to be able to return the bad to it's couch position. Hence, the mattress needs to be thin enough to allow for that.
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Old 11-06-2011, 04:57 PM   #8
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Jane, I do remembering telling folks I thought air mattresses/airbeds are cold. But I also think Memory foam is hot. Others find either to be fine. I know I wouldn't use an airbed during the winter.... memory foam would be better for that
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Old 11-06-2011, 05:00 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Toni M T View Post
We have an '86 Bigfoot with a gaucho bed as well. I found the bed to be kind of uncomfortable even though I think the backrest and the sofa cushion are approx the same size and thickness on ours. They are just missing that "cushy element" that makes a sofa into a bed. The last time we went camping about 3 weeks ago I bought a full sized Memory foam mattress from Target (it was only around $20) and I finally felt like the bed was comfortable enough! (it was one of the thinner ones that folds into a 30" circular bag and stores up in the cupboard over the gaucho.) If that hadn't worked, I would have tried my Therm-a-Rest sleeping pads from backpacking next. I use them on a cot when we are forced to do the tent camping with the kid's school camping trip and they make the cot pretty comfortable and really store in a small space when the air is let out.
Yea! Bigfoot people. I have tried the Bigfoot owners site. But most of these units are newer and the owners have no idea what I'm talking about!!!

Are you the original owners? How long have you had the trailer?

I think that if you examine the "bed" you'll see that there is a difference in height between the back and seat sections (the seat section has more cushioning and is higher). I can actually see a "crack" between the sections when laid out flat. When sleeping, I feel like I am falling through the "crack". Really annoying!

How thick was the memory foam you bought?

When the bed is made up, can you return it to "couch position" with the mattress still in place? Or is it too thick?

Thanks for you help!
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Old 11-06-2011, 05:09 PM   #10
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Jane, I do remembering telling folks I thought air mattresses/airbeds are cold. But I also think Memory foam is hot. Others find either to be fine. I know I wouldn't use an airbed during the winter.... memory foam would be better for that
Hi Donna,

Rainy sundays are forum days!

I always pay attention you your sage advice.

My first goal is to determine the preferred thickness of a mattress. The "Goldilocks" factor!

Then I can worry about what kind of mattress to get ...

I go back and forth on memory foam. I know some people swear by it, but I'm concerned that the mattress will "form" another depression along the "seat" and "backrest" sections when the bed is in couch position durin the day.

More ideas are greatly welcomed.
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Old 11-06-2011, 05:22 PM   #11
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We use this quilted memory foam topper with a custom made fitted sheet.
It roles up for easy storage and makes the bed instantly when released...
Hey Floyd,

I've been thinking of something along those lines! I have an old (King Size) comforter cover that can be resized/customized to encase a mattress.

Last year, I ordered this product from Cabelas:

Cabela's: Cabela's Deluxe Camp Bed – 48" x 78" x 3"

Unfortunately, the "bed's casing" was way too inflexible and the material felt like vinal: I'd prefer a fabric. But worse, the mattress was over 3" thick and it would not let me fold the bed back into couch position. So, I sent it back. Even so, I still like the concept.

How thick is your mattress? How comfortable for sleeping?

Thanks again everyone! Please keep those ideas coming.
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Old 11-06-2011, 05:45 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Jane P. View Post


Hey Floyd,

I've been thinking of something along those lines! I have an old (King Size) comforter cover that can be resized/customized to encase a mattress.

Last year, I ordered this product from Cabelas:

Cabela's: Cabela's Deluxe Camp Bed 48" x 78" x 3"

Unfortunately, the "bed's casing" was way too inflexible and the material felt like vinal: I'd prefer a fabric. But worse, the mattress was over 3" thick and it would not let me fold the bed back into couch position. So, I sent it back. Even so, I still like the concept.

How thick is your mattress? How comfortable for sleeping?

Thanks again everyone! Please keep those ideas coming.
Ours is nominally 2" then quilted which would make it 1-3/4", then there is the fraud factor... So maybe 1-1/2" thick. It works well and is very comfortable.
However... we found a polyfill mattress topper at Walmart which absolutely transformed our home bed which was getting too firm for our age factor. It is luxurious,It is in the area with the comforters and bed spreads , not with the foam toppers.
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Old 11-06-2011, 06:30 PM   #13
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Ours is nominally 2" then quilted which would make it 1-3/4", then there is the fraud factor... So maybe 1-1/2" thick. It works well and is very comfortable.
However... we found a polyfill mattress topper at Walmart which absolutely transformed our home bed which was getting too firm for our age factor. It is luxurious,It is in the area with the comforters and bed spreads , not with the foam toppers.
Ok ... I'm confused ... How thick is the mattress in your trailer?

Thanks for the info on the polyfill topper. I'll check it out.
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Old 11-07-2011, 10:03 PM   #14
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Ok ... I'm confused ... How thick is the mattress in your trailer?

Thanks for the info on the polyfill topper. I'll check it out.
The manufacturer claims it is made from 2" memory foam, I have not actually measured it after it has been laying out, but I suspect that the quilting reduces actual thickness a bit.
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Old 11-08-2011, 06:21 PM   #15
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here's my 2 cents worth on memory foam....it is luxuriously comfortable. however, if you plan on using it during the winter, BEWARE. the damn stuff will freeze solid. and i mean like a rock. that completely negates it's luxurious qualities!
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Old 11-09-2011, 12:10 AM   #16
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I've been thinking of something along those lines! I have an old (King Size) comforter cover that can be resized/customized to encase a mattress.
In our 1999 Bigfoot 21 RB there is a "jack-knife" sofa (in the front) that has much the same issue. However, when my better-looking half read this, she said "A-ha"!

She is going to try out the idea of the comforter/quilt thing, folded into thirds, with two thirds on the 'lower (thinner) half" and one third on the thicker (seat) portion, to see if that can help resolve the issue. The quilt can be stored under the couch during daytime.

As soon as we get the trailer back from Escape where we are having a few things done on it, she says she will go and experiment.......

She had been planning on disassembling the upholstery on it and replacing the seat-back portion with something thicker (and re-installing the original material)

She had already made new cushions for our Boler 1700 and they turned out GREAT, so she is not afraid of experimenting.
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Old 11-09-2011, 01:56 PM   #17
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In our 1999 Bigfoot 21 RB there is a "jack-knife" sofa (in the front) that has much the same issue. However, when my better-looking half read this, she said "A-ha"!

She is going to try out the idea of the comforter/quilt thing, folded into thirds, with two thirds on the 'lower (thinner) half" and one third on the thicker (seat) portion, to see if that can help resolve the issue. The quilt can be stored under the couch during daytime.

As soon as we get the trailer back from Escape where we are having a few things done on it, she says she will go and experiment.......

She had been planning on disassembling the upholstery on it and replacing the seat-back portion with something thicker (and re-installing the original material)

She had already made new cushions for our Boler 1700 and they turned out GREAT, so she is not afraid of experimenting.


Great News! Someone else who understands with the gaucho couch problem!

I want to hear about the experiment. Let's keep in touch!

I am not an upholsterer. But, if all else fails, that would be a consideration. What I'd want to avoid is having to get new material and reupholstering the entire trailer ($$$$). However, you still have that "gap" where the backrest meets the seat. Will additional cushioning alleviate that?

I was thinking about getting a thin topper for the "thinner" seat back section, and then putting it with a 1-2 inch mattress in a custom made cover a la Floyd. I'm trying to figure out how to keep the thin topper in place: It seems that everything slides around to where you don't want it after lights out.

What does your wife think about sewing a thinner topper to the mattress itself? How does she plan on fastening the folded sections of the mattress so that they stay in place?

I need to be able to fold the bed back into couch position. I must to be able to maneuver around the cabin during the day, and I don't want to remake a bed every night.

But it would be great to travel with something as compact as Floyd's mattress.

Any other suggestions?
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Old 11-09-2011, 02:04 PM   #18
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here's my 2 cents worth on memory foam....it is luxuriously comfortable. however, if you plan on using it during the winter, BEWARE. the damn stuff will freeze solid. and i mean like a rock. that completely negates it's luxurious qualities!
I think you may be right. I'm also trying to avoid memory foam because over time, I fear that a concave impression will form where I usually sleep, as well as where the seat back and seat come together on the gaucho couch. Somehow, I think this would compromise my comfort.

My first goal is to discern "how thick" can this mattress be to fill in the "crack", and still allow me to fold the bed back into position. My second problem is to decide the type of mattress best suited for my camping needs.

Comfy and warm: 2 worthy components to a good nights sleep.
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Old 11-16-2011, 03:55 PM   #19
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Great News! Someone else who understands with the gaucho couch problem!

I want to hear about the experiment. Let's keep in touch!

I am not an upholsterer. But, if all else fails, that would be a consideration. What I'd want to avoid is having to get new material and reupholstering the entire trailer ($$$$). However, you still have that "gap" where the backrest meets the seat. Will additional cushioning alleviate that?

I was thinking about getting a thin topper for the "thinner" seat back section, and then putting it with a 1-2 inch mattress in a custom made cover a la Floyd. I'm trying to figure out how to keep the thin topper in place: It seems that everything slides around to where you don't want it after lights out.

What does your wife think about sewing a thinner topper to the mattress itself? How does she plan on fastening the folded sections of the mattress so that they stay in place?

I need to be able to fold the bed back into couch position. I must to be able to maneuver around the cabin during the day, and I don't want to remake a bed every night.

But it would be great to travel with something as compact as Floyd's mattress.

Any other suggestions?
Remember that my Bigfoot does not have a gaucho - it is a full-on luxo sofa of the "jacknife" type that, when you lift on the front edge, it tilts up, a "click" ensues and it pivots outwards as you lower it back down to form a bed. (putting it away consists of lifting the front again and allowing it resume its 'sofa configuration") The Sofa back is thinner than the sofa cushions. It spends 99% of its time as a sofa. So sewing a "make-up" piece onto it is NOT an option.

There is no discernable "gap" between the sofa back and the sofa cushions

Any extra foam etc would be folded up and stuffed into the cavernous space under the sofa when the foam is not needed as "mattress padding"

She was thinking about opening up the material on the sofa back and re-upholstering that portion to make it thicker and 'cushier' for sleeping, if that can be done sans impairing the sofa function
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Old 11-19-2011, 08:41 PM   #20
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We had our sailboat cushions re-done last year. The upholsterer recommended 3" foam (higher density) with an inch of memory foam (cheap topper) glued to the higher density foam top for the v berth. It's great.
Before you spend the bucks, just try spreading a 1 inch over the existing cushions, perhaps? If the cushions are fairly stable. A lot of rv cushions are fairly low density foam, and tend to bottom out, even while sitting, worse when sleeping.
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