Truck owners tend to be adventurous and go to all sorts of new places with little to no living arrangements. I, for once, started finding myself in remote areas and thought to myself, how can I get more out of my truck in these situations?
That’s when my “moment of brilliance” happened, and I thought, “Maybe I can sleep under the Tonneau Cover.” It almost seemed purpose-made, and there was no obvious downside. But on second thought, can you sleep under a tonneau cover?
Yes, you can indeed sleep under a Tonneau Cover. Lots of campers on a budget, including me, already do it. However, it is not that simple; you will need a few things to make yourself comfortable.
Can You Sleep Under a Truck Tonneau Cover?
The first thing to get in your way when it comes to sleeping on your truck bed is the bed itself. They are made of metal and, more often than not, have ridges that make sleeping on them comfortably almost impossible.
Another potential challenge is the issue of airflow. Obviously, we as humans need air to stay alive, and some Tonneau Covers come with virtually zero airflow pathways. Then comes the question of being stuck in a cold environment.
So yes, while sleeping under a Tonneau Cover is completely plausible. But you will need preparation and equipment.
In the following section, we will discuss how to face these challenges so that your night on the truck bed is as comfortable and safe as possible.
Two words, “Air Mattress.” A proper-sized air mattress can be your best friend. Always choose a high-quality one that has good fabric lining, so your skin doesn’t curse you the morning after.
Also, take a measuring tape and get an exact measurement of the flat space on your truck bed to buy a matching-sized mattress. Again, get the flat one. If your mattress is bigger, it will go on top of the wheels and ruin your entire night with the wobble.
The general rule of thumb is to get as small as possible for your body structure. Typically, you will also want sheets and a nice air pillow, but those are entirely up to personal preference.
Airflow is essential. Even if you manage to take a nap on an uneven truck bed, you will not survive (literally) long without ample airflow. No Tonneau Cover is really made with sleeping inside in mind, so you will usually need to look for one with some ventilation.
If you cannot find that, ventilating kits are also widely available, and you just need to pick a favorite. However, if you find yourself without any of these, just leaving the tailgate open will also work in a pinch.
You will need to get even more creative in incredibly hot or cold environments. Once, I found myself in quite a sticky situation where the night was getting colder, and I realized an air mattress was not nearly enough to keep me warm.
Thankfully, that awful night passed by wearing way too many clothes. Check the weather forecast beforehand and take a sleeping bag with you for the cold. For hot temperatures, a simple portable fan should suffice.
It would be lying if I said I figured out sleeping under the Tonneau Cover on my first try. However, as long as you find suitable solutions to these issues and keep learning as you go, you will be just fine.
Is It Safe to Sleep Under A Tonneau Cover?
Yes, it is perfectly safe, given that you are already in a safe environment and do not have any airflow issues.
The regular camping dangers are still true in the case of sleeping under a tonneau cover, but I think you already know how to stay safe from animals and insects.
What Kind of Tonneau Cover Is Better for Sleeping Under?
Almost all Tonneau covers, whether soft or hard, are fine for this purpose. You just need to create some form of ventilation.
Brands like Gator, Access, Bakflip, Truxedo, and Leer are well known and make excellent quality covers for all purposes.
When Should You Consider Sleeping Under a Tonneau Cover?
Camping with your truck is essentially a cheaper alternative to an RV. So wherever an RV can go, you can take yours and sleep on the bed. Use your camping instincts, and you will be fine.
When Should You Avoid Sleeping Under a Tonneau Cover?
It goes without saying that if you are claustrophobic, sleeping under a Tonneau Cover is definitely something you should avoid.
Additionally, when the temperature is too hot or too cold, you will need a more comfortable sleeping arrangement.
I strongly advise avoiding sleeping under a Tonneau Cover in extreme situations like temperatures below minus ten and thunder/hail storms.
Should You Sleep Under a Tonneau Cover When Camping?
Even after years of experience sleeping under a Tonneau Cover, I must warn you that it is not a proper camping setup.
You will not be very comfortable, and a lot of creative problem-solving is involved. If, however, adventure and discomfort are what you seek, then, by all means, do it.
Why Should You Use A Sleeping Pad to Sleep under a Tonneau Cover?
Sleeping pads are less bulky alternatives to air mattresses. They basically serve the same purpose, and depending on your truck bed, you will not be unhappy with either.
Choosing neither is a bad idea as all truck beds have ridges, and sleeping on them is something I will not wish on my worst enemy.
What Are the Precautions to Sleep Under a Tonneau Cover?
You must look out for predatory animals, airflow, and temperature issues and ensure that your truck has a stable flat parking space. I have discussed the solutions to these issues in other sections of this article.