Sleeping in a truck bed can be an adventurous and budget-friendly way to camp. But is it comfortable and practical to catch some zzz’s under a soft tonneau cover? Let’s explore the pros and cons.
What Factors Should You Consider Before Sleeping Under a Soft Tonneau?
Sleeping under a soft vinyl tonneau cover is doable but there are some important considerations.
How Secure Are Your Belongings?
Unlike a hard shell tonneau or truck cap, a soft cover can be easily folded or rolled up. This allows quick access to the bed but also means it may not protect your gear as well when you’re asleep. Assess your comfort level with potential theft based on where you’re camping.
What Are The Weather Conditions?
While a soft tonneau provides some shelter, it may not keep you as dry in heavy rain or snow as a hard topper. Check the forecast and prepare with adequate insulating layers and waterproof gear beneath you.
How Comfortable Is The Sleeping Setup?
The confined bed space and lack of airflow could make sleeping under a soft tonneau cover challenging. Having an air mattress, cot, or camping pad will make a big difference. Test options that fit your truck.
Is It The Most Budget-Friendly Option?
If funds are limited, a soft roll-up or folding tonneau can provide basic protection for a truck bed sleepover versus pricier hard shell alternatives. Assess your comfort level.
What Are The Pros Of Sleeping Under a Soft Tonneau?
While logistics take planning, there are some benefits to catching Zzz’s beneath a soft truck bed cover:
Soft vinyl tonneau covers are generally the most affordable type of truck bed cover. For the budget-conscious, they can offer a cheaper camping sleep setup than a truck cap or rooftop tent.
It’s simple to roll up a soft tonneau or fold it forward to get in and out of the truck bed. You don’t have to fully remove a hard shell. This convenience allows easy overnight access.
A soft cover provides enclosed space to sleep protected from dew, light rain, falling leaves, and other debris. Hard shells give more weatherproofing but soft covers offer basic coverage.
Lightweight soft vinyl covers make spontaneous overnight camping trips easy. You can quickly roll or fold one up and stow it in the truck cab if needed during the day.
The lack of rigid walls allows more potential airflow than hard truck caps. Strategically crack windows or doors for better ventilation.
What Are The Cons Of Sleeping Under a Soft Tonneau?
Along with the advantages, there are some potential drawbacks:
Soft covers can be easily accessed from outside the truck. Valuables stored in the bed may not be as secure while you’re asleep.
Minimal Weather Protection
Vinyl tonneaus lack the insulating qualities and waterproofness of a hard shell or camper. Be prepared with backup insulating and waterproof layers.
The enclosed truck bed offers limited space. An air mattress helps but the metal bed floor remains hard. Airflow is also restricted compared to a tent.
Exposed Tailgate Gap
Gaps around a soft tonneau’s tailgate edge allow dust and moisture inside. Sealing this off can further limit ventilation.
Soft vinyl covers transfer more external noise than hard shells or tents. Bring ear plugs to combat highway traffic or campsite sounds.
Tips For Comfortable, Successful Truck Bed Camping With A Soft Tonneau
While potential drawbacks exist, with the right prep, sleeping under a soft truck bed cover can make for cozy, budget-friendly overlanding. Some tips:
Choose a High-Quality Soft Tonneau
Invest in a thick, durable vinyl cover from a reputable brand like Extang, BakFlip, or Truxedo to withstand outdoor use.
Add a Bed Mat for Cushioning
An anti-scratch, waterproof bed mat or outdoor carpet provides insulation against the hard metal truck bed.
Inflate an Air Mattress or Pad
For comfort, have a cot, self-inflating pad, or air mattress that contours to the wheel wells and fits under the cover.
Utilize Moisture Protection Layers
Have waterproof tarps, drapes, or tent footprints to place beneath you for dew protection.
Insulate With Sleeping Bags and Pads
Quality cold weather sleeping bags and pads add warmth. Thermal liners also help retain body heat.
Store critical items like wallets, phones, and keys in the cab, rooftop carrier, or locked trunk to reduce theft risk.
Crack Windows or Doors for Ventilation
Strategically open truck windows or doors a few inches to prevent condensation buildup inside.
Bring Ear Plugs for Noise Reduction
Reduce road noise or campground sounds that transfer through the vinyl cover with ear plugs.
Check Local Laws on Camping
Ensure truck bed camping is allowed wherever you plan to overnight along your route.
Is Sleeping Under a Soft Tonneau Right For You?
Assessing your budget, desired security, weather conditions, and comfort preferences will determine if sleeping under a soft truck bed cover meets your needs. With smart preparation, it can prove a cozy and cost-efficient option for road trips and weekend getaways. If opting to “truck camp,” utilize quality gear to enhance the experience. Soon you’ll be catching peaceful Zzzzs beneath the stars in your home on the range.