Sleeping Under A Tonneau Cover: Have You Ever Tried?

Whether you’re camping and need to find a safe outdoor place to sleep, or you’re just stuck with your truck outside and need an ideal overnight spot, sleeping under a tonneau cover is a great solution. Imagine gazing at the stars from the comfort of your truck bed, surrounded by the great outdoors. 

This novel approach of sleeping under a tonneau cover gives a new level of convenience, comfort, and flexibility, regardless of whether you are an experienced camper or a newbie to the world of outdoor experiences. In this article, we will look into sleeping under a tonneau cover, including its advantages, practicality, and sense of freedom it offers. Let’s find out more below. 

1. Can You Sleep Under A Tonneau Cover?

sleeping under a tonneau cover
Can You Sleep Under A Tonneau Cover? (Source: Internet)

Yes, you can. A cost-effective option is to spend the nighttime hours sleeping under a tonneau cover. You still have to conform to a few guidelines regarding environmental conditions and space to breathe. It’s also important to think about comfort levels and safety requirements. Ensure that you start off with the appropriate tonneau cover.

A tonneau cover is a style of covering made specifically to protect a pickup truck’s bed from harm. It has a number of functions, including weatherproofing the cargo, improving the truck’s aerodynamics, and offering security for precious items in the bed. Tonneau covers are available in a variety of designs and materials, including retractable, hard folding, and soft roll-up coverings. 

When traveling and in a bind, people tend to sleep under a tonneau cover. For example, if you can’t find an appropriate spot for overnight camping or you are driving a long distance and need a place to rest for the night. Additionally, you can arrive at your campground, but not have enough time to pitch your tent before sunrise.

When such situations occur, it is crucial to quickly locate a secure and appropriate place to spend the night. A truck’s tonneau cover might be useful in this case. The majority of truck beds offer enough room for two people to spend the night there.

2. Sleeping Under A Tonneau Cover: What Items Do You Need?

When preparing to sleep under a tonneau cover, there are several important things to consider to ensure your comfort, safety, and enjoyment. Here’s a list of items to prepare:

  1. A Safe Location: Park in well-lit, secure areas to ensure your safety. If you intend to sleep on the truck bed, avoid parking the vehicle under a large tree. Storms can result in branches breaking off and falling on vehicles, injuring people. Make sure that the location is also well-ventilated and has enough space for breathing. If it’s woodland, pick a spot that isn’t completely surrounded by thick brush. By doing this, you can protect yourself from wild animals.
  2. Sleeping Gear:
  • Sleeping bag or blankets: Choose appropriate bedding for the weather conditions.
  • An air mattress: It’s recommended to have a thick air mattress for a comfortable sleep experience. The goal is to have pleasure without experiencing back discomfort or achy bones the following morning.
  • Pillow: For added comfort while sleeping
  1. Weather Considerations: Be prepared for temperature changes, precipitation, and other weather conditions, check the weather forecast. 
  2. Warm Clothing: Layer up to stay warm during colder nights.
  3. Rain Gear: If your tonneau cover doesn’t provide adequate rain protection, have rainproof clothing or tarps.
  4. Flashlight Or Headlamp: Essential for moving around in the dark and finding things inside the truck bed.
  5. Window Covers Or Curtains: Create a private sleeping space by covering windows on the truck’s cab.
  6. Snacks and water: Keep essentials nearby in case you get hungry or thirsty during the night.

In addition, you can prepare some other things (if needed): Books, magazines, basic first aid supplies, and insect repellent. 

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3. Pro Tips On Sleeping Under A Tonneau Cover

  • Purchase a sleeping pad: You may get a comfortable night’s sleep in the truck bed by buying a good sleeping pad. Everyone avoids sleeping on rough surfaces. You’ll sleep better if you use a sleeping pad or a mattress.
  • Set up your tonneau cover correctly: In order to avoid discomfort and suffocation, the cover has to be properly installed to allow for sufficient airflow.
  • Check the cover before use: It is better to check your tonneau cover before your trip. By doing this, you can ensure that every part is in good working order and that you feel secure when resting in your truck bed.
  • Make sure you have enough space to breathe: The majority of tonneau cover constructions aren’t designed to enable airflow inside the bed. If you intend to sleep under a tonneau cover, you’ll need enough space to breathe.

Here are some tips to make your space well ventilated: 

  • Leave your tailgate open during the night (not recommended for some locations).
  • Create a few air holes on the tonneau covers (if the tonneau cover is used for sleeping and not for protecting the vehicle’s bed).
  • Install a ventilation system and a gadget for measuring temperature
  • Use an alarm system to detect intruders

4. Taking precautions when sleeping under a tonneau cover

Taking precautions when sleeping under a tonneau cover (Source: Internet)

Before sleeping under a tonneau cover, it’s important to take several precautions to ensure your safety, comfort, and overall well-being. Here are some key precautions to consider:

  1. You should park your car in areas with nearby security cameras.
  2. Avoid spending the night in a remote location. For instance, stay away from remote farms and forests.
  3. Any parking spot at Walmart is available.
  4. Lock valuable items in your truck’s cab or utilize any locking features your tonneau cover might have. Avoid leaving valuable items exposed in the bed of the truck.
  5. Let a friend or family member know your location and your plans to sleep under a tonneau cover. Share your expected arrival time and contact information.
  6. Keep a list of emergency contacts in case you need assistance during the night.
  7. Carry a basic first aid kit with essentials like bandages, antiseptics, and any necessary medications.
  8. If insects are a concern in the area, use appropriate insect repellent to prevent bites.
  9. Have a plan in place in case you feel uncomfortable or encounter unexpected situations during the night.
  10. If something feels off or unsafe, don’t hesitate to relocate to a different area.

5. Sleeping Under A Tonneau Cover: The Pros And Cons 


  • Adventure and Unique Experience: Sleeping under a tonneau cover offers a sense of adventure and a departure from traditional camping setups.
  • Convenience: You can quickly set up your sleeping space in the bed of your truck, eliminating the need for a separate tent.
  • Privacy: Tonneau covers provide a degree of privacy and shelter from curious onlookers or fellow campers.
  • Easy Access: You have direct access to your sleeping area from the cab of the truck, making it convenient to get in and out.
  • Cost-Effective: Sleeping under a tonneau cover can save you money on buying a tent or other camping gear.


  • Limited Space: The truck bed is smaller than a typical tent, which might limit your movement and comfort during sleep.
  • Lack of Ventilation: Without proper ventilation, condensation can build up inside the tonneau cover, leading to a damp and uncomfortable sleep environment.
  • Weather Vulnerability: Tonneau covers might not provide sufficient protection during heavy rain, strong winds, or extreme cold.
  • Comfort Challenges: The truck bed surface might be hard and uneven, requiring extra padding for a comfortable sleep.
  • Security Concerns: Tonneau covers might not offer the same level of security as a locked tent. Your belongings can be more at risk of stolen.
  • Setup Constraints: Setting up a sleeping space under a tonneau cover can be more complex and less versatile than setting up a tent.
  • Limited Amenities: You might lack amenities like a full tent’s interior pockets, vestibule space, or features like bug nets.
  • Noisy Environment: If you’re parked in a busy area, noise from traffic or other campers could disrupt your sleep.

6. Tonneau Covers That Are Appropriate For Sleeping

There are many types of tonneau covers: 

6.1. Hard Folding Tonneau Covers:

These coverings include several panels that may be folded back in parts so that the truck bed can be partially or completely opened. When fully closed, they provide a secure and weather-resistant enclosure. Some models have built-in channels for water drainage and may offer ventilation options. They can provide a relatively flat and stable surface for sleeping.

6.2. Retractable Tonneau Covers:

Retractable covers include a retractable mechanism that makes it easy to slide open and shut the cover. They offer similar benefits to hard folding covers in terms of security and protection. Some retractable covers have the ability to lock in different positions, allowing for partial or full coverage.

6.3. Soft Roll-Up Tonneau Covers:

These tonneau covers, which can be rolled up, are composed of fabric or vinyl. Some models provide the option to secure the cover in different open positions. Soft roll-up covers might not be as secure or weather-resistant as hard covers, but they can still provide shelter. 

6.4. Hard Rolling Tonneau Covers:

Hard rolling covers are typically made of aluminum or hard plastic panels that roll up into a canister at the front of the bed. They offer security and protection while providing the option to expose the bed partially or fully.

In reality, any tonneau cover can be used with a few modifications to create a cozy shelter for sleeping under a tonneau cover. To avoid suffocating, choose a tonneau cover with a hole, or you may also attach some pipes to allow some air inside or install a ventilation system. 

7. Things To Consider When Buying A Sleeping Pad 

Here are some things to consider when buying a sleeping pad for sleeping under a tonneau cover:


Ensure the sleeping pad fits comfortably within the dimensions of your truck bed. The majority of truck beds can fit full queen-size pads, but you should still measure your truck bed before purchasing one. Consider how much space you have under the tonneau cover when choosing the length and width of the sleeping pad.

Thickness and Comfort: 

Opt for a pad with sufficient thickness to provide cushioning and insulation from the hard surface of the truck bed. Look for pads with foam or air chambers that offer a balance of comfort and support.


Choose a sleeping pad that is easy to roll up or deflate and packs into a compact size for storage and transportation.


If you plan to sleep in colder weather, consider a pad with insulation to keep you warm by minimizing heat loss to the truck bed.


Check the R-value of the sleeping pad. A higher R-value indicates better insulation and suitability for colder temperatures.

Durability and Material:

Look for durable materials that can withstand the rigors of outdoor use. Consider materials that are resistant to punctures and abrasions.


Your sleeping mattress’s weight is also crucial. Consider a sleeping pad that is lighter and more portable when you intend to go camping.

8. FAQs 

Q: Is it legal to sleep in a car?

The short answer is Yes. As long as the vehicle was parked legally according to highway rules, you can sleep in a parked vehicle. In reality, after a long drive, it’s a good idea to sleep in your car. If you feel tired, it’s recommended that you stop and get some sleep.

Q: Is it hot under the tonneau cover?

The space under a tonneau cover can become very hot. If there is a lack of ventilation, the temperature may reach insane levels. You might help prevent this issue by letting the airflow in.

Q: Is a pad required for sleeping on the floor of the truck bed?

You will undoubtedly need a pad. It is not recommended to sleep on a truck bed floor during the night because the temperature might drop. Purchase a comfortable sleeping pad or an air mattress to prevent the possibility of backache and the common cold. 

Q: Are tonneau covers water-resistant?

Most tonneau covers are capable of keeping water out due to their flat surfaces. Because they are water-resistant, tonneau covers prevent rainwater from being absorbed. You will need to put in a little more work during the downpour if you have made holes for airflow.

Q: Is it possible to sit on a tonneau cover?

Even a hard tonneau cover doesn’t seem particularly robust, so resist the urge to sit on it or store something heavy on the surface of it.

Q: Can you save gas with a tonneau cover?

Tonneau covers assist in lowering wind resistance. In certain tests, it was discovered that a tonneau cover might increase fuel efficiency by as much as ten percent. The amount you save will depend on the kind of tonneau cover you select.

Q: Should I look for overnight parking?

Avoid parking your vehicle anywhere to sleep. It can be dangerous, and you can inadvertently break the law. Make sure the location is suitable for parking and isn’t in a remote area. Keep in mind if the truck is carrying expensive cargo and the location is adjacent to a woodland or a crime-prone neighborhood. 

Q: Can I place my belongings on the tonneau covers’ surface?

The weight that a tonneau cover is able to support is limited. When sleeping at night, make sure your belongings are locked up. Additionally, this shouldn’t cause any problems if you sleep under a tonneau cover.

Q: How can I store the sleeping pads properly?

It’s effortless to store your pads properly. When storing an inflatable cushion for later use, be careful to deflate it first. You can roll the pads and tie them up with ropes.

Q: Do tonneau covers make noise?

Tonneau covers are made to fit around the vehicle properly. However, if the cover fails to fit tightly, it may shake and rattle while your vehicle moves. This is harmful to the cover and the vehicle itself, and it may become irritating, particularly during long drives.

9. Conclusion

While it may not be suitable for everyone, for those who enjoy camping, road trips, or simply spending time in nature, sleeping under a tonneau cover can be a unique and practical solution. You may approach this unusual travel with excitement and turn it into a memorable experience by choosing the proper style of the tonneau cover, organizing your sleeping area thoughtfully, and prioritizing safety and comfort. 

Make sure you are well-prepared if you plan to sleep under a tonneau cover. Choosing a sleeping mattress is crucial, and you should invest in an insulated, foam pad. In order to ensure that ventilation is not impeded in any way, the cover needs to be correctly installed. It’s also essential to pick a good location where you can park your vehicle and sleep at night. 

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