Can You Sleep Under A Tonneau Cover?

The cover used to protect the bed of a pickup truck – also known as a tonneau cover – would seem to most like a convenient place to sleep while camping or traveling. But many still wonder about the effectiveness and safety of this practice. So, can you sleep under a tonneau cover in your pickup truck’s bed?

As it turns out, you definitely can sleep under this cover, and it has several benefits, including affordability, safety, convenience, and comfort when compared to sleeping in a tent. 

In this article, we’ll explore in detail the logistics of sleeping under a truck’s tonneau cover and when it’s most advantageous. Keep reading to learn about the pros and cons of doing so.

When Can You Sleep Under a Tonneau Cover?

People most often resort to sleeping under a tonneau cover when they’re on the road and need a place to sleep in a pinch. If you drive a pickup truck and you’re on a cross-country camping trip, for example, you might find yourself in a position where you can’t find a tent site to set up camp at for the night.

Or, you might make it to your campsite but not have enough time to set up your tent before the sun goes down. 

Truck beg protected by tonneau cover

When these situations occur, it becomes imperative to find a safe and logical place to sleep for the night, and fast. This is where a pickup truck tonneau cover comes into play. Most truck beds have ample space for a couple of people to sleep in for the night. In many cases, you can even fit an air mattress, sleeping bags, and/or pillows in this space. 

One thing to keep in mind when sleeping under a tonneau cover, though, is that you need to accommodate your air space. If you completely cover the truck bed with the tonneau cover, you cut off your access to fresh oxygen while you sleep. Thus, most people lower or completely put down the door to their truck bed to allow fresh air inside. 

Pros of Sleeping Under a Tonneau Cover

It’s extremely advantageous to sleep under a tonneau cover if you need to sleep in your pickup truck for the night. Here are some of the main perks. 

It’s Cheap and Sometimes Free

If you find a Walmart parking lot, you can park your truck there for the night, free of charge. It’s completely legal and a common way to camp in your vehicle when you can’t find a good campsite. 

Furthermore, if you want a safer setting with possibly more amenities (like a paid, pass-only campsite that has bathrooms), you can sleep under your tonneau cover for an affordable price.

Even campsites such as KOA sites charge a modest price of $30-$60 per night, where you can safely park your truck and sleep. You get access to bathrooms, showers, convenience stores, and other amenities. 

It Can Be More Comfortable Than Tent Camping

Sleeping in your truck bed can also be more comfortable than tent camping at night. In a tent, you have to worry about rolling over and feeling the hard ground poke into your back and sides. But beneath a tonneau cover, you have a flat and smooth sleeping environment where you can even set up blankets and pillows. 

Cons of Sleeping Under a Tonneau Cover

There are also some drawbacks to sleeping under your truck’s tonneau cover. Consider the following before doing so.

You Still Have to Find a Place to Park

If you’re out in the middle of nowhere, you may have a hard time finding a Walmart where you can park your truck for free. Furthermore, some campsites do not allow visitors to sleep directly in their cars and instead require you to pitch a tent.

Therefore, you may find yourself in a pickle when it comes to sleeping under a tonneau cover since you can’t park just anywhere and sleep.

It’s Only Safe to a Certain Extent

Although you are safe and protected from the elements when sleeping under a tonneau cover, you, unfortunately, aren’t safe from intruders or animals. The bed of a pickup truck isn’t exactly like a cabin or RV, where you can lock the door at night. 

When sleeping under a tonneau cover, you expose yourself to the possibility of someone or something getting inside while you sleep.


You can absolutely sleep under a tonneau cover if you need to. While it’s not the most ideal place to sleep or camp for the night, it makes a convenient bed if you have a pickup truck.