What Size Truck Do I Need To Move A King-Size Bed?

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A pickup truck is one of the greatest assets available to you when you’re moving large furniture. The open-bed construction, powerful engine, and high payload and towing capacity have made these vehicles top choices for movers. Mattresses are notoriously difficult to move and transport, however, so we’ll cover everything you need to know about preparing, loading, and moving a king-size bed.

King-size mattresses are 80 inches, or 6 feet 8 inches long, so the truck moving the mattress must have a bed that is at least that deep on the inside, otherwise, the tailgate will have to be down to accommodate the mattress. California kings require 84 inches, or 7 feet, of length.

A truck that has a bed big enough to fit the mattress is going to be a fairly decently sized truck; not your average pickup for sure. Let’s take a look at exactly how big the truck you’ll need is, and what kind of trucks are most likely to fit the bill.

What Size Truck Do You Need?

Not just any truck will do when it comes to moving a king-size mattress, as not all trucks have a bed long enough to fit the mattress without needing to have the tailgate down. If you don’t have a truck yourself that is up to the task at hand, you may need to rent, buy, or borrow a truck that can handle the large load.

Compared to other types of cargo, king-size beds aren’t the heaviest item for a truck to handle. They usually weigh an average of 160 lbs., with a range of 130-180 lbs. This includes the mattress, box springs, and frame. Almost every vehicle has a payload that can handle this weight, so you don’t need to worry about the weight of the mattress. The size of the mattress is the main problem here.

King-size beds are the widest type of bed there is. A typical king-size mattress is 80 inches long and 76 inches wide, or 6 feet 8 inches long and 6 feet 4 inches wide. California kings are closer to 84 inches long and 72 inches wide. or 7 feet long and 6 feet wide. Trust me when I say they are bigger than you might think.

If you were thinking about laying the mattress flat in the bed, think again. There’s not a single truck on the market today that is big enough for you to lay a king-size mattress flat in the bed. There are models long enough to fit the mattress on its side, but they aren’t wide enough to fit the mattress laying flat, especially since the wheel wells cut into the usable space.

At the end of the day, moving a king-size mattress will require having the tailgate down with many normal pickups out there. While it definitely is possible to move the mattress in a truck with the tailgate down, it’s definitely way safer to use a truck that can fit the mattress entirely in the bed.

Imagine driving down the road, and one of the straps holding the mattress was just barely not tight enough and the mattress falls out of the truck. I’ve seen it happen firsthand, and let me tell you, it is not a pretty sight.

However, you can make things much easier on yourself by using a truck with a bigger bed. This will allow you to have the whole mattress inside the bed and practically eliminate any horror stories of the mattress falling out of the truck.

Long-bed trucks are your best bet here. Many of these trucks have beds that are 95 inches or longer, so you’ll be able to position the mattress lengthwise without any issue whatsoever, and have room left over. They are usually about 65 inches wide though, so the mattress will still not be able to fit laying flat. Some of the best long-bed trucks include the Chevrolet Silverado, the Dodge Ram, and the Nissan Titan.

Having access to a long-bed truck is going to make your life so much easier when moving king-size mattresses. Not only will you be able to fit the mattress, but you will likely also be able to move the frame and box springs as well; depending on their respective sizes, of course.

How Do You Fit a King Size Bed in a Truck?

If this is your first time moving a mattress, it can be a daunting task.

We’ve written up a sort of how-to guide for you on how to fit a king-size mattress, the box spring, and the frame in the bed of your truck, as well as some advice for the best ways to travel with the bed when it is in the back of your truck.

Prepare The Bed For Travel

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Once you’ve got the truck situation squared away, it’s time to prepare the bed for the move. Usually, when transporting an entire bed, you’ll be dealing with the mattress, the box springs, and the bed frame. The sheets, pillows, blankets, etc. should all be packed away separately before you get started. Having loose sheets, pillows, and blankets in the bed of your truck while traveling can lead to some horrific disasters.

Disassemble Bed Frame

The first thing to do is to break down the bed frame as far as it will go. It will be much too large to transport in one solid piece, and it will take up much less room once it’s fully disassembled. Carefully take apart the frame and arrange the pieces from largest to smallest. If you can break it down into flat panels, make a neat stack.

Carefully collect the screws, nails, and other connective pieces as you remove them. Store them in sealable plastic bags, label them as bed frame parts, and tape the bags to the area they were removed from. This will make it easier to reassemble the frame once you’ve moved to a new location.

Protect It Against The Elements

Next up, you need to prepare the mattress for its journey. It’s going to be exposed in the truck bed, which makes it vulnerable to dirt, debris, insects, and any bad weather conditions you run into. You obviously want to keep the mattress in good shape if you’re going through the trouble of transporting it to a new location.

To help protect the mattress and box springs, they need to be covered during travel. Wrap them securely in water-proof tarps or protective mattress bags. Make sure there are no exposed pieces or loose edges. Once everything is safely packed away, you’re ready to start moving to the truck.

Move The Box Springs And Mattress Out Of The House

This step is sometimes the hardest. Mattresses are notoriously difficult to move. They might not be the heaviest piece of furniture out there, but they’re very bulky and flexible. This is a bad combination that can make them difficult to maneuver.

If possible, get someone to help you move the mattress out of the bedroom and out of the house. (Make sure you prepare a tarp or clean area outside to set it down). I find that it’s easier to move box springs because of their rigid design and lighter composition. Mattresses are trickier, but you can usually tip them onto their side and slide them along the ground. You can also place blankets or tarps underneath the mattress to protect your floors and make them easier to slide.

Tie Box Springs and Mattress Together

Once the mattress and box springs are out in the open air, you should lash them together. This will make both of them more secure during the trip. It’s also easier to maneuver them as one large unit instead of two separate ones. Use strong ropes, cables, or cords to tie them. Make sure that both the length and width are secured so there won’t be any slippage during the drive.

Secure It In The Truck Bed

Now we’ve gotten to the biggest step: Securing a king-size bed in a truck bed. The wheel wells and limited space can make it hard to position the bed but start by sliding the mattress and box springs as far back as they will go. Most movers advise positioning them along the left side of the truck bed. Carefully tilt the bed forward until it’s resting against the right-hand bed rail.

There will be a triangular gap between the angle of the bed and the frame below. If you want to transport the bed frame components in the same load, this space is a good area to store them.

Now that the bed is in the truck, you need to make sure it stays there! You’ll need a good set of tie-downs for your truck. These could be strong ropes, ratchets, or cargo netting. Make sure that whatever you’re using is in good condition. Most trucks include built-in attachments for tie-downs. Firmly attach the tie-downs and secure the bed into place. If you’re using an extended truck bed or are traveling with the tailgate down, make sure you use inflexible restraints on the back.

Firmly tie down the mattress. I recommend using ratchet tie-downs because they can be tightened accordingly. Adding a cargo net over the top will help keep everything locked in place and minimize movement. Visit this post for a breakdown of the pros and cons of different types of tie-downs.

For some extra tips, check out the video below. It specifically refers to moving couches, but it has a lot of the same principles that apply to moving beds.

Driving with a Mattress

Once you’re satisfied with the bed’s arrangement, it’s time to get on the road! Safety should still be a big priority though, so take a few steps to ensure that you’re not posing a danger to yourself, other drivers, or the bed.

  • 1. Monitor the road conditions and weather. A good guideline to follow is “If you wouldn’t roll your window down, don’t try to transport”. Wind and rain can quickly ruin an exposed bed.
  • 2. Have someone trail behind you or watch from the back seat. Make sure you have some way to contact the person who is keeping watch. They’ll be able to let you know if something is coming loose or if there are other dangers you can’t see.
  • 3. Avoid driving at top speeds. No matter how well you’ve secured your mattress, you should take the safe option and slow down a bit. Faster speeds = greater wind = higher pressure on the cargo = more risk of it falling out.

Alternative Delivery Methods

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If moving your king-size mattress with your pickup seems a little too complicated or risky, there are other options available.

First off, you could always rent a moving truck! These are useful because they have lockable doors and more cargo space. You can stand a mattress up inside them without worrying about wind resistance. They can also fit other furniture as well, so you can make fewer trips if you have a lot to move.

Flatbed trailers could also be a good option to explore. If you don’t have access to a long bed truck, it could be easier to find a flatbed trailer long enough to accommodate a king-size bed than a pickup long enough, and they’re usually cheaper than moving trucks. Flatbed trailers are also sometimes wide enough for you to lay the mattress flat.

Finally, you could also leave the mattress behind and order a new one! Many companies provide delivery services these days. Some mattresses even arrive in compact boxes, then expand once they’re opened. If you’re nervous about moving a bed, you could always consider ordering an upgrade. Just think of how well you’ll sleep on a new bed.

Moving mattresses of any size is a difficult task, let alone moving a king-size mattress. Remember that long bed trucks will be your best friend here, and tie down the mattress so that it won’t fall out of the bed. Follow the steps here, and your king-size mattress will be moved to its new home quickly and without complication.

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