Finding good sheets for boats are a nightmare. Getting sheets to stay on boat beds is even worse. Boat beds tend to be odd-sized, even when they are rectangular, let alone V-berths. And boat mattresses are often thin. Most conventional sheets are now made to fit 15” mattresses!
So what options can you use when trying to find the best sheets for boats?
Quahog Bay Cinch-Fit
Quahog Bay makes sheets for both V-berths and rectangular but odd-sized mattresses. Each has an elastic drawstring on the bottom sheet that you can tighten for a snug fit, and the top sheets are sized to actually fit as well. The sheets are luxurious 600 thread-count cotton, and they have a wonderful selection of blankets and quilts for boat beds, too (lots of options for V-berths). See their offerings here. This is what I use for our sheets – and I also have one of their fleece blankets and a duvet set.
J S Sanders V-Berth Sheets
Julie Tijerina, graphic designer on The Boat Galley team, recently bought these v-berth sheets from Amazon. She raves about them. And you can’t beat the price.
In Julie’s own words: “I bought these from Amazon and they’re kinda great. I purchased the X-large v-berth set and it’s like I had them custom made. They are perfect – 10/10 would buy again.”
Elastic straps that go under the mattress work “okay” but not really well with thin or V-berth mattresses. The Bed Scrunchie (Amazon) attaches to the bottom sheet in 8 places and then can be tightened up. It doesn’t keep the bottom sheet as tight as the Quahog Bay sheets and honestly is a pain to put on every time you change sheets. But it is less expensive. I use this on our mattress pad. Available on Amazon.
You can have custom boat sheets, mattress pads, and duvets made but they are quite expensive. Some people try their hand at making their own but warning: it’s harder than you expect.
Other Considerations in Buying Boat Bedding
Of course, fitting boat sheets aren’t the only thing you need to consider. Boat life offers a few unique challenges.
Get a waterproof mattress pad to protect your mattress in case of a hatch, porthole, or stanchion leak
Sheet Fabric Choices
Cotton or bamboo? It’s really a matter of personal preference. Any percentage of polyester will increase the heat in hot weather.
Does someone onboard suffer from acid reflux? You can raise the head of the bed with these foam risers under the mattress (Amazon). Cut the risers to size with an electric knife if you have one; otherwise, good kitchen shears will work.
Winter warmth – think about using a fleece top sheet. It’s much warmer than flannel.
In hot weather – a mattress cooler is our new favorite thing for living without air conditioning. The Classic model uses about 1 amp of 12V power, so 8 amp-hours for all night. This one uses a pad with cool water running through it in tubes to lower the bed temperature 8 – 10 degrees below the air temp. It makes a measurable difference – much better than the “no electricity” so-called cooling pads. You do have to add about a quart of water each day to make up for the evaporation, and if you start with cold water from the fridge, it cools down immediately; otherwise it will take about 15 minutes to cool. NOTE: the Deluxe gets colder but uses far more power than what I describe here. We use the Classic and love it!
The motor in the mattress cooler is 12V but as the system is designed for houses, it has a 110V plug. Rather than running it off an inverter (and the inefficiencies there), you can get this cord (Amazon) and plug it into a 12V cigarette lighter socket.
Hopefully you realize buying sheets for boats doesn’t have to be a chore. Hopefully these suggestions will make your sleep onboard just a little more comfortable.