How do I move a mattress with a pickup?
January 27, 2010 1:29 PM   Subscribe

How do I move a queen size mattress and box spring with a full size standard-bed pickup?

I've seen this previous thread, but I still have questions.

I need to move a queen size mattress and box spring from NYC to Boston. The mattress is 60"x80".

I'm planning to rent a "large pickup", a Ford F-150 or Chevy Silverado, to move it. The pickup bed measures approximately 62" wide by 78" long (according to Chevy's website. The Ford is virtually identically sized.)

Is it better to leave the tailgate open and lay it flat? Or should I leave the tailgate closed and put the mattress and box spring in at an angle, overhanging the top of the tailgate?

What sort of anchor points for ratchet straps, rope, bungie cords, etc, will there be?

I also considered renting a cargo van, but it's more than three times the cost (the pickup has free miles, the van doesn't) and I'm still not sure it would fit inside the van.
posted by dalesd to Travel & Transportation (16 answers total)
YMMV, but I drove a queen sized mattress/box spring from Houston to Chicago (then just the mattress on the way back) by laying them flat on top of the bed, then tying it down. Take tie-downs and tow cable, wrap it very tight, then tie it all off-- it won't go anywhere. Make sure to secure it to the truck on all four sides. Good luck!

There will be an anchor point on all four sides of the pickup "box", and you can also tie and hook things to the bottom of the frame.
posted by Seeba at 1:34 PM on January 27, 2010

it's ok to have them on top of the tailgate. the wheel wells in the truck bed will prevent a queen size from lying flat.

just tie the hell out of onto those anchor points.

if you have to move other stuff, the cargo van might be easier even tho it cost more...then you could stuff some other stuff in there with the mattress and not worry about it flying off in a freak accident on the highway.
posted by sio42 at 1:54 PM on January 27, 2010

If it was me, I would buy a mattress bag from your local bedding or mattress store and put the mattress into it to keep it clean. Then I would tie the mattress tightly to the box spring so they are a single unit looping your rope around from side to side. Place the unit into the truck any way you can with the wrapped mattress in the up position. Tie the whole thing down with rope to the tie-hooks at the front and rear corners of the load bed. The issue you are most likely to face is the fact that wheel wells stick up into the cargo space of the load bed. If the mattress/box spring fits best with the tail gate up and it's nose down, do it that way. If the best way is to leave the tail gate down and the mattress/box spring in so that one edge is against a wheel well and the other is up on the rail, do it that way. The key isn't position. It is ease of loading and unloading combined with securely tying the load in place.
posted by Old Geezer at 1:55 PM on January 27, 2010

You can't lay the mattress flat on the bed, because the wheel wells are in the way (the distance between them is just over 4'). So if you can only get a truck with a 6.5ft bed, then you'll be best off angling the mattress a little or laying it on top as Seeba recommends. If you can get a pickup with a full-size bed (8'), then you can fit the mattress inside the box, though you'll probably want something underneath it at both ends. There will be four tie-down points, one in each corner.
posted by ssg at 1:56 PM on January 27, 2010

I've moved several mattress sets in pickup trucks, but they've always been stood on their sides (their long sides) in the middle of the bed. The mattresses should fit longwise with the tailgate down. Lots of rope necessary, and tie your knots correctly.

Don't forget to use tarps! You will be very unhappy if it starts to rain otherwise. And always expect rain if you're moving.
posted by aabbbiee at 1:59 PM on January 27, 2010

If you are concerned about your abilities to tie things down tight, you can pick up these Figure-9s online (or at your hardware store if you are lucky). They make getting a taught line trivially easy and come in a bunch of different sizes.

Paired with some reasonably good nylon rope and the tiedown points in the truck, you can position the mattress/ boxspring any way you want (minimizing overhang) and lock it down so that it can't move at all.

If you don't want to spend the money on the tool you can accomplish the same thing using Prussic knots which are a bit more challenging if you don't know how to make them, but not so impossible that it should deter you from trying.
posted by quin at 2:06 PM on January 27, 2010

Based on my own experience trying to do the same thing with a pick-up with an extended (length) bed (but standard full size width) you will probably not be able to put the bed in the truck, even though your measurements may make you feel like it will snugly fit in there.

Sizes may vary - but I would be really surprised if you'd be able to lay it flat, and it will be very hard to put it in at an angle and carry much other things because of how it will have to be positioned. I was only driving it across town but it was still a nightmare. I'd do some "in person" measuring if you can to make sure you shouldn't get the cargo van.

(Walked away before posting and on preview somebody else said this about the measurements. Just wanted to give my vote of concern, even if it won't help.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:16 PM on January 27, 2010

I've done both - laying it flat across the top and sticking it in at an angle - and as long as you are conscientious with your tiedowns it should work either way. Laying it flat makes it a little easier to transport other things - you can fill the bed with boxes or whatnot - but if that's not a concern, the angled way lets you use the tailgate to secure the back of it.
posted by restless_nomad at 2:30 PM on January 27, 2010

I suppose you didn't say that getting it to its final destination was your problem, but ... having recently lost a queen-size boxspring to a Boston-area apartment move, I want to say please consider what you'll do once you get it there! Are you sure you will be able to get it into your new place? I wish we had set aside enough time to consider splitting the box spring and reassembling it.
posted by galaksit at 3:05 PM on January 27, 2010

Turn the mattress+boxspring, boxspring on top, sideways (head/foot to the left/right) and set on top of the sides of the box. Run a ratchet strap from the front pocket to the rear pocket on each side and ratchet it down tight. The mattress will stick out less than foot on each side and will be well secured.

Wrapping it either packing saran or a mattress bag will keep it clean.

FYI: if you've properly tied the unit down the tailgate secures nothing.
posted by Mitheral at 5:53 PM on January 27, 2010

Another "tied it down, no problem" camp.

One skill that is absolutely indispensible is tying a taut line hitch. It is a knot that makes it easy to cinch down ropes. With two people you can have one person pull the rope taught while the other takes up the slack with the knot. Try it.

Some people prefer the trucker's knot - try it too.
posted by plinth at 6:21 PM on January 27, 2010

I have the unfortunate luck of having moved way too many mattresses. The bumper sticker "Yes, it's my truck, no I won't help you move" was written with saps like me in mind.
Place the box spring, on its edge (long dimension parallel to truck's long dimension), on the centerline of the truck. Place the mattress beside it, on the driver's side. (you want more mirror view on the passenger side). Run a ratchet strap from one stake pocket to the stake pocket diagonally opposite. Do the other diagonal. then run a bungee cord between the two rear stake pockets to keep the mattress/box shifted forward.

Drive for five miles, then get out and re-tighten your straps.

If you get a long-box and can keep the gate up, you can put a whole shitload of stuff on either side without tying it down very well. If the gate must stay down, tie the rest down with a nest of bungees.

(That trucker's knot plinth linked to is a lifesaver - no ratchet strap? no problem.)
posted by notsnot at 7:20 PM on January 27, 2010

Thanks for the input everybody. Yes, I'll definitely use mattress bags to keep things clean and dry.

Don't worry, I'll tie it down well. I've done enough towing with an open trailer to know how merciless the wind and potholes can be. I have a good selection of ratchet straps, along with some quality rope (and I know how to tie real knots).

I've just never used a pickup for anything like this, so I'm not familiar with where the ropes attach to the pickup bed. A picture would really help me here. They're on the inside corners, near the floor of the bed, correct?

I don't have anything else to move on this trip apart from the bed, its frame, and maybe a headboard. So I don't have to be efficient with space

If I was certain it would fit in a cargo van, I'd do that, even though it costs more. But I don't want to drive to NYC and then find out it won't fit (or, more likely, that I can only fit the mattress or box spring, but not both). One of them will easily fit diagonally, but both may not. They would definitely fir in a Dodge Sprinter cargo van, but all I've found for rent are GMs and Ford Econolines.

So the consensus seems to be that the 60" mattress is wider than the 62" pickup bed, and it just won't fit unless I angle it in to the bed (long side down, tailgate open). Correct? Ford/Chevy must be measuring else. I'm going to go measure one myself.
posted by dalesd at 8:10 AM on January 28, 2010

I like the idea of laying it across the top of the bed. If it doesn't fit in the width of the bed, I'll probably go that way.
posted by dalesd at 8:14 AM on January 28, 2010

Here's a picture of my truck. Ignore the cute munchkin in the middle.

The fir tree in the bed points to a dark rectangle where one tie down is located. Diagonally across you can see a length of orange and black rope going to another one. There are four tie downs in all. Not all trucks have tie downs, but many do.
posted by plinth at 11:26 AM on January 28, 2010

Thanks for the pic, plinth. I stopped in at the local Ford & Chevy dealers with my tape measure and now I see why it won't fit flat. The bed is 62+" wide, but it narrows down at the tailgate to about 59".
posted by dalesd at 3:20 PM on January 28, 2010

« Older Is it safe to email credit card info?   |   how to turn a ham bone into split pea soup Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.