How to Sleep Comfortably in a Pickup Truck Bed

Truck camping is useful for travellers who don't want to spend money on hotel or motel accommodations while on a road trip. Basically, with a little extra time, planning, and a few props, your transportation becomes your accommodation as well. Plus, in addition to saving you money, truck bed bunking is time efficient and can be incredibly comfortable when done correctly.

Insert the air pump nozzle into the air hole in the air bed and pump air into the mattress until it is the desired firmness.

Place the air bed in the pickup truck bed and cover it with an unzipped sleeping bag or thick blanket or quilt, tucking corners underneath the mattress.

Hook bungee cords into all four corners of the tarp, attaching two of the cords to the cab of the truck (at least a foot from where the cab ends and the truck bed begins).

Pull the other end of the tarp over the bed of the truck, and out behind it, stretching it out like an awning. Keep these two end corners in place by hoisting them up with a tent pole on each corner. Push the other end of the poles into the ground behind your truck. This part of the tarp should be slightly lower to the ground, so that rain water can drain off.

Add your blanket and your pillow to the truck bed and you're ready to go. Also, if you don't want to be woken up by the sun, aim your truck facing directly where the sun will rise. This will buy you a little more time, and prevent the bed from overheating.


If you decide to make truck camping a regular practice, you may choose to line your truck bed with carpet or raise your mattress by using a makeshift wooden bed frame. These steps could make your nights more comfortable and leave room underneath the mattress for storing supplies. If you are stopping somewhere with lots of insects, you may also want to invest in a mesh lining to cover the truck bed and protect you from being bitten by insects overnight.


Do not run a space heater in an enclosed space. Doing so in your truck bed could result in fire or put your health at risk.

Things You'll Need

  • Air bed
  • Air pump
  • Tarp
  • Bungee cords
  • 2 tent poles
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket
  • Blanket
  • Pillow
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About the Author

Emily Smit began her professional journalism career in 2006. Since that time, she's published several articles in "Avenue" magazine, the "American Chronicle," online at Smudge magazine and in a university newspaper, "The Gateway." Emily currently works in broadcast news. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Alberta, where she studied English and nonfiction writing.