Moving a Casper foam mattress in a small car

My trusty ride. A 2006 Ford Focus 2-door hatchback. Pretty tiny, but she got the job done.

Long story short

I am moving and need my bed. I can’t use a U-Haul (that’s the long story part) and I don’t want to try to sell it and get another one. The solution?
Make it fit in my car.

How I did it

TL;DR — use a plastic mattress bag, duct tape the crap out of it, shop-vac the air out then ratchet-strap it into a roll and voila!

When you order a Casper, they ship it to you in a really small box. Apparently companies like them use really heavy-duty machines to compress, roll and seal these things to get them so small.

This is something my measly human arms were not capable of.

© Casper stock photo showing how small these suckers pack down

So I did some Googling and found this article from 2011 where a guy successfully rolled up his foam mattress into his car. I was skeptical it would work as his looked much softer than a Casper, but I wanted to give it a shot anyway.

Let’s go shopping!

Here’s what we ended up using to get the job done:

  • Plastic mattress bag. I used one from U-Haul. (link) $4
  • 2 cheap ratchet straps from Target. (link) $10
  • Duct Tape. $4
  • Shop Vac (already owned). $0

Total Cost: $18.00

I’m 5% sure this is going to work.

We were all pretty skeptical and thought it was totally going to fail.

The plastic was pretty thin, the tape wasn’t super sticky and the mattress was definitely not that squishy. We tried to fold it in half normally and could barely even do that.

Whatever, let’s try it anyway!

Step 1

Put the mattress in your bag. UHAUL didn’t have any queen-sized bags left, so I used a king. It worked, but was sort of annoying dealing with the extra plastic.

I purchased the cheaper (non-sealable) bag and regret it. UHAUL also has a heavier sealable version which my gut says would have made things easier, but oh well. The one I bought actually has little holes punched in it every few feet (something I JUST now noticed) — definitely not air tight, but good enough to compress and get some straps and tape around it.

Step 2

Seal it up! I bought both Duck Tape and Gorilla tape to cover my bases in case one wasn’t sticky enough. The Duck Tape seemed stickier than the Gorilla Tape, but both ended up being sticky enough.

Warning, the Duck Tape actually ended up being too sticky in one spot… I tried to remove it and ended up ripping some of the plastic.

Step 3 (a wasted step)

I also bought some Ziplock Space Bags because of their fancy one-way vacuum valves. We cut the valve off the bag, then taped it to the mattress bag in hopes of using it. Except we cut and taped it on before we tested to make sure it would fit the vacuum hose… The vacuum hose was too big.

Step 4

Vacuum that air out! Instead of using our fancy valve, we just un-sealed one of the corners and put the hose directly into that. After a few seconds the “loose air” will get vacuumed out and the plastic will attempt to get sucked in. Just move the hose around so it’s touching the mattress a little bit.

You’ll likely be able to hear the difference between working and not-working.

Step 5

OMG it’s working. It’s actually working!

We were pretty shocked, but it was awesome. Once it got thin enough we tried rolling it up.

Step 6

Roll it up! We kept the vacuum running through the whole process, which I think was a good idea in the end. I ran the vacuum and my two friends started rolling it up. It was surprisingly easy at this point.

Step 7

Strap it. From there we started strapping it down with our ratchet straps. This was mostly because I wanted a backup in case the bag’s seal was ever broken. This turned out to be a great idea (that plastic was really thin).

Pro Tip: old boxers make great padding so your ratchets don’t rip the plastic when you’re cranking down on them.

Step 8

Toss it in the car. This was so easy. 2 of us easily carried it down the stairs and tossed it in the back of my car. During this process though we ripped the plastic and the bed started to re-inflate. Good thing the straps are there. They will be a huge pain in the ass to remove, but that’s future-Sam’s problem.

Even has room left over for more stuff!

Things I would have done differently

  • Get the right size mattress bag. The extra plastic is annoying to deal with.
  • I’d try the sealable bag. The tape was easy enough, but hard to apply and probably didn’t seal 100%.
  • I’d use at least 2 more ratchet straps. Those ones are rating for 300lbs each, so they’re probably okay, but I like to be safe. In fact, I’m going to go get a couple more right now.
  • If it was an option, I’d just not move. I’m lazy and moving is hard.
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