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Can You Sleep in the Bed of a Truck?

Have you been wondering if you can sleep in a truck bed? 

It may seem like an easy way to enjoy some stars on your next outdoor adventure, but it has drawbacks. However, with a bit of tweaking, you can create a cozy spot.

We have collected the best tips (and a few warnings) about camping out in a pickup.

Let’s get rolling!

What is Truck Bed Camping?

This type of camping is just what it sounds like. Just select your location, drive out there, and hop in the back to rest at night. It can be a really convenient way to adventure. But setting up your space for a cozy night can take some extra work at first.

If you decide to sleep in your truck bed, you’ll have several options to get comfortable. You might try using a camper shell or purchasing a special tent for your pickup. Some people set up their bedroll in good weather for some stargazing and fresh air.

The Benefits of Truck Bed Camping

Preparing a big camping rig can take days or even weeks. On the other hand, taking your pickup out for an adventure can be a lot less work and cost less money. You’ll also have increased flexibility because it can get you places RVs can’t. 

We also think sleeping in a truck bed has a leg up vs. the traditional way. Forget about all those restless nights spent tossing and turning out on the cold, hard ground. And don’t worry about setting up a complicated tent. You’ll also have an additional layer of protection from critters and flooding. 

It provides the security that traditional camping lacks while offering the flexibility that RVing can’t. It’s the best of both worlds!

Pro Tip: Learn more about why you should give truck bed camping a try.

The Disadvantages of Truck Bed Camping

This type of camping may not be a great fit for you if you enjoy bringing friends on your adventures. While two people can fit in the rear of your pickup, you may even be a little cramped. And three is definitely a crowd. 

If you want to sleep in your truck bed, it needs to be totally empty. This means you’ll have to rearrange your gear and put some in the cab each time you stop for the night. 

But if you purchase an attachable tent, you may also spend some extra time setting up and tearing down at each stop. It probably won’t work if you upgrade your vehicle or if you want to camp without it. While it seems worthwhile, it depends on your commitment to your current rig.

truck bed tent in campground
Sleep soundly in your truck bed with a truck bed tent.

Tips for Sleeping in the Bed of Your Truck

Camping in your pickup can be a lot of work, but you’ll have a great time with a proper setup. You’ll want to be comfortable and have all the right gear, and we have the tips you need. 

Get the Right Mattress 

While some low-maintenance campers may be happy just rolling out a pad, we prefer a little more comfort. If you have a nice mattress, you can get a good night of sleep in your truck bed.

Most store-bought air mattresses will be too wide to fit between the wheel wells. But you can pick up custom ones with a cutout for a perfect fit. Try using a memory foam mattress instead for extra insulation and comfort.

Consider a Truck Bed Tent 

You don’t have to choose between traditional and truck camping if you opt for a specialized tent. These structures attach to your pickup, giving you privacy and rain coverage. You’ll still be off the ground, so you can sleep easily without worries of flooding or snakes.

These creations can also give you a little extra space. It might be the perfect addition for anyone traveling with a significant other or even a pet. But you’ll have to take it down whenever you want to drive somewhere.

Pro Tip: These 5 Best Truck Bed Tents for Camping are worth the investment.

View of truck bed
Truck bed camping is not for everyone, but can be a great camping experience.

Use a Platform For Storage

Buying or building a platform bed will help you have enough space to store your supplies. You can forget about having to move all of your things from the bed to the cab each night to make room to sleep with platform storage. 

You’ll have created all kinds of extra room by laying your mattress on top of a small shelf. Some campers build a complicated setup with drawers and small cabinets under their sleeping space, while others keep it simple with a slab of plywood and Tupperware containers underneath. Some truck tents even have a little platform built in for your convenience.

Bring Portable Power 

The lack of electricity makes sleeping in a truck bed much different than camping in an RV. If you stay at a park with hookups, you may be able to run an extension cord to your pickup or charge your devices during the day. 

Otherwise, we suggest bringing a power bank to keep phones and GPS devices fully charged. Be careful using your battery to power your electronics because you could end up stranded if it dies.

Make an Epic Camping Kitchen 

One of the best parts about camping might be the food. Eating MREs and instant oatmeal probably won’t make a delicious trip, so we think you should up your kitchen game.

Use your tailgate as a countertop to set up your propane stove or griddle. If your tailgate isn’t flat enough, toss in a spare piece of plywood to create a more even surface. You’ll want to bring basic utensils like forks, spoons, and a sharp knife. Don’t forget to bring pots and pans to cook with and bowls and plates to eat from,

Is Truck Bed Camping Worth It?

Sleeping in a truck bed may not be for everyone. The space can be a bit limiting, and you’ll miss out on some RV amenities.

But staying in your pickup, however, can provide you with more freedom than traveling in a large rig. With plenty of options to customize your setup, from tents to camper shells, you can make the experience something you’ll love!

Discover the Best Free Camping Across the USA

To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy).

You should give it a try!

As a matter of fact, these free campsites are yours. Every time you pay federal taxes, you’re contributing to these lands.

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