How to Sleep Comfortably in A Short Bed Pickup Truck

Shorter trucks are easier to use in day to day life, period, but when it comes to using one for those recreational goals like camping, things become a bit more complicated.

And that all has to do with the length of the bed – if your truck has a 5 foot one, chances are you are not going to have the greatest time when trying to overnight there.

That being said, there is still a method or two you can try to make it all worth it. Here are tips on how to make that sleeping experience a bit more easier in a short box.

Lay diagonally

Wonder how can you increase your truck’s length by about 1 foot in an instance? It’s simple, just sleep there diagonally.

Is it going to work just as well as a longer bed? Probably not. Can it be done with two people in there? Not really. But if you’re that kind of solo camper to whom this idea doesn’t sound bad at all, go for it.

Here’s a video of a guy who goes more in-depth about the method:

*How much distance are you going to gain has all to do with what kind of truck you have – a short bed 2019 Nissan Frontier will benefit 1 foot and 2 45/64 inches, while a Toyota Tacoma of the same year 1 foot and 7/8 inches (based on my calculations).

This is the difference between not being able to stretch at all to actually having a rather good time in there, that is if you’re not taller than 6 feet or so.

Prop open the tailgate

You can add right around 1.5 feet in length to your truck by leaving the tailgate open.

What it means is even if you have a 5 foot bed on the pickup, doing so should make it more than possible for many of the individuals, even the taller kind, to actually be comfortable while being in there. Not to mention it’s going to be easier to stay there for a longer time, as you’re not going need to twist yourself in awkward positions, like with the first mentioned technique.

The only issue is that you probably don’t want to just leave the tailgate open as it is. The lack of privacy, bugs and all that are not the things you’ll like.

What you can do to combat this issue is buy a tent which goes over that area.

What type of tent you will need to get depends on two things – do you have a cap on there or not.

If your pickup truck does feature a cap, get one that goes over the back. The DAC tent (affiliate link to Amazon) is made exactly for this reason. All you have to do is just stretch it over the back, hook up with some cords and you are good to go!

If the truck has nothing on there, that is it’s just an empty bed, you’ll need to get a tent that covers most of that area.

The Napier Outdoor Sportz is probably the best one you can get right now. Definitely, there are less expensive alternatives you can opt for as well, but i always try to go for quality, which is this option.

Use a RTT

Buying a roof top tent and going about setting it up is probably going to cost the most overall, but if you really want to get decent results in general, i think this is a great method.

An RTT works so well – you can fit many people in there, not to mention the ease of setup.

So… what should you go for?

I can say that deciding what method to go for depends on your situation.

If you consider, or are already full timing, buying a tent and setting it up in the bed all the time everyday is really not an option. It is more custom to those weekend campers, or in general, occasional use.

In this instance, not changing anything and getting used to sleeping diagonally is the best way to go, i think.

Otherwise any of the other approaches will work nice too.

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One Comment

  1. So frustrating — the f150 Lightning is perfect in every way except it has a short bed. 67.1 inches long, 50.6 inches wide

    I’m just over 6′, so 72.5″ tall.

    That 5.4″ (almost half a foot) shortfall is tough over time. I’m planning to do lots of camping in my next rig, and I’m someone who needs to sleep full length at least part of the night. I’m not willing to put a tent over the tailgate, or sleep with it open.

    So close!

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