How to Keep Your Truck's Sleeper Cab Cool at Night
During the warmer months, it’s essential to keep your truck’s sleeper cab cool to help you sleep better and for longer periods of time. Cooler cabs lead to better sleep, which in turn has many health benefits, such as increasing concentration and reducing stress. Ensuring that your sleep space is organized, cool, and comfortable is crucial to a high-quality sleep and a better overall experience on the road.
Understanding Your Truck's Sleeper Cab
Major truck manufacturers across the country have designed sleeper cabs to keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Among these, Freightliner, Kenworth, International, Peterbilt, Volvo, and Mack have introduced strong and modernized HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) systems and additional features that enable you to easily control the interior climate.
In particular, the Mack Anthem and Mack Pinnacle feature an HVAC system that is easily controlled from one convenient panel, along with sleeper windows with self-contained, built- in blackout shades to keep the heat out. These windows also tilt open to help with cross- ventilation. In addition, there are plenty of power outlets in case you want to plug in a personal fan to create a cooler sleep space.
Similarly, the International Lonestar, Prostar, and LT Series come with redesigned, battery- powered HVAC systems, including new vents which improve airflow throughout the cabin. By using battery power, the HVAC system still maintains a cool and comfortable environment when the engine is turned off.
Finally, the Peterbilt 579 sleeper cab comes with an independent HVAC system with separate controls, so you can choose to have a different temperature in the cab than in the driver’s seat. This is especially helpful for tandem trucking so both drivers can choose their preferred temperatures.
Some truck models also come with APUs, or Auxiliary Power Units, to keep the air conditioning running without having to idle the engine. The availability of an APU depends upon the model, truck configuration, year, and manufacturer, but ultimately this unit saves fuel, reduces emissions, and minimizes wear and tear on the engine.
Practical Ways to Keep Your Sleeper Cab Cool
- Use window covers or sun shades
- Utilize portable air conditioning units
- Invest in cooling accessories
- Understand and maintain your truck’s HVAC system
- For any wear, damage, frayed wires, or leaks
- The air filters to see if they need cleaning or replacing due to pollen, dust, or debris
- The condenser and evaporator coils to check if they require cleaning
- The refrigerant levels to ensure there are no leaks
- Moving parts, such as belts and pulleys, that may need lubricating
Besides utilizing your truck’s HVAC system, maximizing cross-ventilation in your sleeper cab keeps the air circulating, promoting a cooler and more breathable environment. When air gets trapped in a hot space, it can quickly become too warm for comfort. Utilize any windows you may have in your sleeper cab to allow for cross-ventilation and consistent airflow. If your truck comes equipped with ventilation fans or roof vents, or if you have a personal fan, use those as well to maximize the cool air coming in.
Window covers and sun shades are a great investment to keep you protected from the hot rays of the sun (or to keep frost and cold out of your truck during the winter). Sun shades use reflection to block out the sun and can be placed against the windows and windshield at your choosing, such as when you are parked or stopping at a rest area. Window covers in general serve to protect you and the inside of your vehicle not only from the heat but also from harmful UV rays. You can use anything from a mesh screen to an attachable shade to a curtain to cover up your window and keep heat out. As an alternative but more costly option, you can insulate your sleeper cab or try tinting your windows to further block out the sun and minimize heat.
Prefer a stronger solution to keep you cool without idling your engine? Portable, battery- operated A/Cs are a fantastic option. There are specific portable A/C units designed for trucks, so be sure to shop around for the right size, wattage, and price depending on your needs.
Portable fans and A/C units may seem like obvious choices for cooling accessories, but you can also purchase a cooling seat cushion to help regulate your body temperature while on the road. For an extra layer of coolness, use a wet towel or cloth to keep your skin feeling refreshed.
Your truck’s HVAC system is in charge of the interior temperature. The ventilation and air conditioning features work together to regulate the temperature, humidity, and air quality within the truck. Using a combination of mechanical and electrical components, the HVAC system ventilates by circulating fresh air from outside the truck into the cabin, and the system provides A/C by cooling and dehumidifying the inside air. You can also choose to recirculate air through the HVAC, meaning that no outside air comes through your vents. This feature is especially helpful in areas with poor air quality or strong odors. The key parts involved in controlling the HVAC system and achieving your desired temperature include heaters, clutches, compressors, driers, evaporators, coils, and refrigerant.
While you should check up on some components of your truck’s HVAC system to ensure they are working properly, others may need professional care. On a regular basis, consider inspecting:
If you notice any strange smells or noises, or if your HVAC system is not working properly, it’s always a good idea to consult a professional. Routine maintenance can only take you so far, and some issues, such as low refrigerant levels, may require professional servicing.
Why Keeping Your Sleeper Cab Cool is Crucial
Whether you suffer from night sweats or toss and turn during hot nights, keeping your sleeper cab cool is essential. When our bodies become too hot, we often wake up consistently throughout the night, which can leave us feeling irritable, dehydrated, and tired in the morning. In contrast, sleeping in a cool environment comes with many health benefits, such as increased concentration and energy levels and reduced stress and insomnia. For your safety and the safety of everyone else on the road, a good night’s sleep in a cool and comfortable environment is crucial.
Tips for Parking at Rest Stops for Maximum Coolness
When choosing the best rest stops to take a break at throughout your journey, make sure to search for areas with plenty of shaded spots. Shaded areas are bound to keep the exterior and interior of your truck cooler and more comfortable. You can also use the natural environment to your advantage when scouting for a cool place to park. If there is a breeze, position your truck so that any cross-ventilation will catch the wind and promote air circulation in your sleeper cab.
Choosing the Right Bedding to Stay Cool
Did you know that your bedding and mattress can significantly affect your body temperature? By choosing mattresses, sheets, and mattress pads made with cooling technology, you can help your body stay cool throughout the night and get a better quality of sleep.
- Cooling mattresses
- Pillows infused with cooling materials
- Breathable sheets and other bedding
While some mattress materials may naturally be more cooling than others, a mattress’s temperature really comes down to its construction. Truck mattresses made with cooling, breathable materials don’t trap heat and help your body stay cool. From cooling memory foam to latex to innerspring, you can choose your preferred mattress type without sacrificing comfort and coolness. In particular, mattresses such as the SleepDog® and BigDawg™ truck mattresses are built with a layer of CoolRest® gel memory foam that both supports your body in any sleep position and keeps you cool during warm nights.
In addition to your mattress, opting for cooling pillows can further help you sleep through warm nights uninterrupted. Choosing a breathable pillow infused with gel memory foam such as the Glaciertex Cooling pillow is sure to keep you cooler at night by preventing heat retention.
For sheets and other bedding, choose ones made of synthetic materials, polyester, or silk-like fabrics rather than cotton or linen. Other fabrics known for their cooling properties include lyocell, viscose, and modal, which are types of rayon, a synthetic fiber often mistakenly referred to as “bamboo” fabric. These types of bedding are more likely to wick away moisture and help you maintain an even body temperature. If you’re looking for something even cooler, some sheets are also made with specific cooling technologies that store and release heat throughout the night.
Additional Tips for Staying Cool at Night
- Dress in cool clothes
- Follow a pre-sleep routine that works well for you
It’s no secret that staying hydrated is key to feeling better and more refreshed throughout the day, especially during high temperatures. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day can help regulate your body temperature so that you sleep better at night. On the other hand, certain beverages, like coffee, can be dehydrating and leave you feeling hot at night.
Certain clothing materials run hotter than others, so it’s important to choose cooling pajamas to stay comfortable throughout the night. Moisture-wicking, light materials are the best for cooling during both the day and night. Avoid fabrics like flannel, wool, and cotton and choose silk, polyester, or synthetic blends to prevent night sweats and to help your body stay cool and comfortable.
Following a routine before bed can help you relax and stay cool during the night. Hydrating and taking cold showers right before bed can help cool you down from a long day and better regulate your body temperature. Conversely, eating large meals or exercising intensely before bed will make it harder to fall asleep and will increase your body temperature.
Keeping your truck’s sleeper cab cool at night is a vital way to ensure you have a good night’s rest during the warmer months. It’s no surprise that getting enough deep sleep on your truck mattress greatly benefits our physical health and increases energy and concentration. Creating a comfortable sleep space by using your truck’s HVAC system, window covers or shades, cooling accessories such as fans, and cooling bedding and clothes is the best way to ensure you reap all the benefits of a restful sleep. By following these tips to stay cool, you can create a more comfortable sleep environment that will keep you feeling refreshed and alert on the road.