What’s an RV Jackknife Sofa? (With Popular Examples)

RVs are equipped with several different options for guest beds and sofas. A jackknife sofa is a great option when you want to conserve space. They are also lightweight and easy to transition between sofa and bed. But what exactly is a jackknife sofa? How does it differ from other sofas?

Quick Answer

A jackknife sofa is a type of RV couch. It can be converted into a bed by pulling down on the seat and laying it flat. Compared to a typical pull-out sofa, jackknife sofas are lighter and easier to move. Jackknife sofas are also very affordable compared to other RV sofas such as a hide-a-bed. A jackknife sofa is often made of the same cloth or leather material of a normal couch. Jackknife sofas typically range in size from 60 inches long to 72 inches long.

A jackknife sofa:

  • Is used in an RV
  • Conserves space
  • Converts to a single bed
  • Lighter than normal sofa

If you are thinking about buying an RV, or making upgrades to your current RV, a jackknife sofa is an excellent choice. It can conserve space while adding comfort. Before you buy, it’s a good idea to understand all you can about jackknife sofas.

Everything You Should Know About RV Jackknife Sofas

Anyone who owns an RV knows that space is limited. Picking the right sofa can mean the difference between being comfortable and being cramped. Jackknife sofas are an excellent choice to conserve space without compromising comfort.

What Are RV Jackknife Sofas?

The general layout of a Jackknife sofa is similar in design to a futon. It is a sofa that can be converted into a single bed. This can be a great addition to an RV, especially if you plan on having family or guests. Some of the highlights of a jackknife sofa include the following.

Similar to a couch: Jackknife sofas are often made of the same material as your comfy couch at home. This means it will provide a home-like feel while you’re on the road. This may seem like something easily over-looked, but when you’re on the road for days or weeks at a time, something as comfortable as the couch at home can make all the difference.

Lightweight: Compared to a typical pull-out couch, a jackknife sofa is incredibly light. These sofas usually weigh around 100-150 pounds compared to a pull-out couch which typically weigh around 200-250 pounds. This is due to the lighter mattress used for jackknife sofas. The frames are built lighter as well.

Tailored for RVs: Jackknife sofas are made for RVs. Everything that goes into the design is aimed at providing the absolute best fit for an RV in the limited amount of space provided. They will come with the necessary hardware to secure the sofa in your RV.

What Are the Benefits of a Jackknife Sofa?

With plenty of options out there, it’s hard to narrow down which sofa is the right choice for your RV. Jackknife sofas have plenty of pros and cons. Knowing the benefits can help you pick and choose the right sofa for your RV.

Easy to use: Jackknife sofas have a very simple design that makes it easy to transform from a sofa to a bed, and vice versa. When travelling in an RV, simplicity is key. You don’t want a couch that takes twenty minutes to convert into a bed, or one that has levers or buttons that might break. Simply pull the seats out and lay the sofa flat. It’s as simple as that!

Conserves space: Using a jackknife sofa that doubles as a guest bed conserves space. In an RV, space is king. You want something that’s easy to use, takes up as little space as possible, but doesn’t cut into comfort and style. A jackknife sofa can save you space that you would otherwise take up with a guest bed or bunk beds.

Affordable: Compared to other sofa bed options, the jackknife sofa is quite affordable. They typically range between $400-$700, depending on factors such as frame material, length, and couch material. If you’re worried the cheaper ones won’t be as comfortable, there is always the option of buying a mattress topper to make the most out of your jackknife sofa.

What Are Alternatives to A RV Jackknife Sofa?

There are four traditional types of RV sofa beds. Each has their own advantages and disadvantages. Some are a better fit than others for your specific RV due to space, comfort needs, or size needs. The four possible RV sofa beds include the jackknife sofa, tri-fold sofa, hide-a-bed sofa, and the air mattress hide-a-bed sofa.

Tri-fold sofa: Tri fold sofas are similar in design to a jackknife sofa in that they do not have a mattress. They do not have a difficult frame to deal with like you would have with a pull-out couch. Instead, you simply pull out the seat and fold it down to create a bed. The main difference between a tri-fold sofa and a jackknife sofa is the weight and size. Tri-fold sofas tend to be larger to accommodate more space, but this also makes them heavier than jackknife sofas.

Hide-a-bed sofa: These types of sofas are declining in the RV world. They are similar to a typical pull-out couch you might have in your basement. The hide-a-bed sofa has a mattress and frame tucked into the sofa that can be pulled out into a bed. The mattress can be spring or foam. The entire product tends to be on the heavier side, which is the main reason they are being seen less and less in the RV world.

Air mattress hide-a-bed sofa: Similar to the traditional hide-a-bed sofa, the air mattress version is the same except it uses an air mattress instead of a standard mattress. This eliminates the bulky and heavy mattress, making this hide-a-bed lighter and easier to move around.

Whether you just bought an RV or you’re upgrading your current one, sofas are an important component to think about. Jackknife sofas come with a splatter of advantages in the RV world, but there are always alternative options to think about. Consider your available space, as well as the level of comfort you are looking for to choose the best RV sofa.

Top 5 Jackknife Sofas

Some of the biggest names in the business include RecPro, Thomas Payne, and Lippert. These companies make jackknife sofas for your RV, specializing their designs to fit your needs. Some boast the best comfort, others the best design, and still others the easiest to move. We’ll look at the top five jackknife sofas, breaking down each one and focusing on its best attributes. Each sofa comes in a variety of lengths, usually ranging from 64 inches to 72 inches in length when folded flat.

  1. Lippert Components jackknife sofa

The Lippert Components jackknife sofa excels in its design and style. It comes in two different colors: tan and dark chocolate. The most enticing fact about this sofa is that the upholstery is easy to clean. If you’ve ever traveled with kids or pets (or both!), easy cleaning is a must for furniture. This sofa also features a fold-down center with cupholders. The Lippert boasts a single step motion needed to convert it from a sofa into a bed, making bedtime a breeze.

The Lippert Components jackknife sofa is known for being one of the most stylish RV sofas. It’s Beckham tan or poise dark chocolate colors blend well with any interior design.

  1. Thomas Payne RV jackknife sofa

This lightweight jackknife sofa is also very easy to maintain. Similar to the Lippert Components, its upholstery is easy to clean. It is made of Euro-leather vinyl, which is as simple to clean as wiping it down with a wet cloth. It consists of high-density foam, the same as the Lippert Components. The main difference is that the Thomas Payne sofa requires a three-step process to unfold, which is still easier than pulling out a mattress and frame from a hide-a-bed sofa.

Thomas Payne jackknife sofas are known for being the easiest to maintain. The Euro-leather vinyl material makes cleaning a cinch.

  1. RecPro Charles jackknife sofa

The RecPro Charles jackknife sofa is a great choice if you are looking for a sturdy sofa that will last you years. It has a sturdy metal frame that can withstand the movements of your RV as you go over bumpy roads or campsites. It comes in a variety of colors, giving you the option to easily match your interior design. As with all jackknife sofas, it’s simple to transition from a sofa into a bed.

The RecPro Charles is known for being one of the more luxury-driven jackknife sofas. It’s sturdy yet comfortable, and has the best overall ratings.

  1. Thomas Payne jackknife sofa (with leg kit)

This may seem like a repeat, but it’s important to distinguish between a regular jackknife sofa and one with a leg kit. The leg kit on a sofa provides extra storage space underneath. For Rvers, this is a huge difference. Having space to store things is essential in an RV, and installing a leg kit on your jackknife sofa means you can save other storage space where you might put pillows or blankets. Instead, you can store them under your sofa!

  1. RB Component RV Jackknife sofa

This jackknife sofa by RB Components is a great option if you are looking for a wall-mounted sleeper sofa. These sofas can save even more space than a regular floor-bolted jackknife sofa. They have a minimalist design but are made with vinyl that is built to last. These sofas also have a sturdy frame that can withstand bumps along the road.

There’s certainly a wide selection of jackknife sofas to choose from. Knowing the best attributes of each one will help you choose the right fit for your RV.

Frequently Asked Questions About Jackknife Sofas

When buying your first RV, it can be confusing how everything works. What your RV looks like when camping isn’t the same as what it looks like while driving due to the need to secure everything. RV sofas are no different.

Where can I get an RV jackknife sofa? You can find jackknife sofas at RV dealerships, retailers tailored to RVs such as Motorcoach Stores and Lazydays RV, and online. It’s always ideal to scope out a jackknife sofa online before going to the store. This will help you understand exactly what you’re looking for. Vice versa, you can always find what you like at a physical store and then look for deals online when you know exactly what you like.

How can I make my jackknife sofa more comfortable? Adding a mattress topper to your jackknife sofa will increase the comfort. Jackknife sofas are going to be less comfortable than a Lazy Boy sofa, but they’re also more affordable and a better fit for an RV. A mattress topper paired with comfortable bedding will provide maximum comfort for your guest. You can also stuff pillows into any holes or gaps that could cause discomfort.

Do I need a jackknife sofa for my RV? No. You don’t have to have a sofa in your RV. That being said, most RV users say they use their sofas every day. Some who didn’t have a sofa and then got one say they don’t know how they lived without one. You don’t necessarily need a jackknife sofa, but having a sofa on cold mornings or rainy days makes all the difference.

Wrap Up

Jackknife Sofas provide comfortable sitting and sleeping without sacrificing style and space. They are used in RVs to add extra sleeping space for guests, and also a place to sit. Jackknife sofas are very light, but tend to be slightly less comfortable than the heavier sofas. When choosing a sofa it’s important to take into account all the pros and cons, including space, price, comfort, and material.

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