How Long Is a Sleeper Cab in a Truck?

Large Truck

Trucks are large vehicles that are usually used to travel long distances transporting goods. Because of their nature, many of these trucks have sleeper cabs.

How long is a sleeper cab in a truck? Over the years, the length of a sleeper cab has changed a lot to cater to varying travel distances. Today, they are generally about 20 feet from the tip to the tail. That is about 244 inches, a dimension big enough for the driver to have a comfortable living quarter while out on the road.

Those who spend a lot of time on the road surely want a comfortable place to rest and sleep. Truck sleepers or sleeper cabs are the answer to this need.

What is the Size and Length of a Sleeper Cab?

Long-haul truckers have a tough life. That’s true even when they aren’t behind the wheel. Since these drivers are mostly on the road, one of the biggest challenges is getting enough rest. Before, whenever they needed to get some shuteye, they had to squeeze inside a 36-inch space behind the seat.

That’s barely enough room to stuff a twin bed. Even getting dressed and undressed within that limited space is a big challenge. It is even more uncomfortable if the trucker brings his wife or child with him. Such space is just not enough for two people.

It is no wonder truckers want bigger cabs. Fortunately, the trucking companies complied and now sleeper cabs are available in much bigger sizes. Today’s sleeper cabs are available at an overall length of 244 inches or 20 feet, more than enough room for two people.

Semi-trucks are around 53 feet long, minus the sleeper. If you add the cab which is 20 feet, then it is approximately 70 – 80 feet long. It can haul a maximum load of 80,000 pounds with truck engines that weigh more than a car engine. Semi-trucks are built to last longer and to keep on running amid a lot of wear and tear.

Brief History of Sleeper Cabs

If you’re confused about what a sleeper cab is, it’s a cabin or trailer attached to the truck. It has sleeping facilities for the driver who travels overnight. Its origin is closely linked with the US’s Department of Transportation.

The Department of Transportation sets up all the rules and regulations regarding the trucking industry, including how long the driver can work for. With this safety regulation, drivers who are still out are forced to find a place to stay when they reach the number of allotted hours. Many of those drivers prefer to sleep in their cabin rather than spend money at a motel.

This safety regulation prompted truck manufacturers to develop vehicles with more comfortable and convenient cabs. Before sleepers, the cabins in trucks were considered dangerous because they were located between the actual cab and the engine. There would be practically no escape if an accident were to occur while the driver was sleeping.

Initially, manufacturers developed sleeper cabs without comfort in mind. Thus, the original size and dimensions were 18 inches to 24 inches. They then improved it to a bigger size of 36 inches to 48 inches for the long-haul drivers. Modern trucks of today now have sleeper cabs in varying sizes of 36 inches to the massive 244 inches.

This size improvement makes them far more homelike, providing drivers a better living space. It also allows drivers to last longer on the job, even weeks. Today’s sleeper cabs are also vastly different with a wide range of amenities and features inside, coming a long way from how it was 60 years ago.

A Peek Inside a Semi-Truck’s Sleeper Cab

Knowing the size and dimension of a sleeper cab, you can imagine how spacious it is. Still, the inside of a semi-truck’s sleeper must be a complete mystery you want to uncover. Given the nature of the job and the long hour’s drivers spend time there, you’d expect it isn’t comfortable. The truth is that the amenities are very accommodating.

While space is still quite confined and needed getting used to, it remains rewarding compared to the tight semi truck living quarters of former sleeper cabs. With the fact that sleepers are also now available for customization, it is easy to find the best sleeper for long-haul drivers.

Here are a few things often found in a sleeper cab so you can have an idea of what to expect:

The Sleeper Berth Area

You can find most semi-trucks have a twin bed with a complete space-saving design – a pull-down mattress from the wall. The sleeper berth area also typically has a thick curtain for blocking out light. The curtain is to ensure that the driver can sleep well, even in the morning. On the other hand, truckers usually stay at a motel when it comes to extreme weather season.

Bathroom

It is not ideal for long haul drivers to stop all the time for bathroom breaks as it can take away their time on the road. Also, it is sometimes difficult to find a place for a toilet stop. On that note, some sleepers have a bathroom. They come in different colors and varying tank sizes. Other accessories you might want to buy include additives for breaking down waste and reducing bad odors.

Storage Compartment

Sleeper cabs come with plenty of storage compartments above and below the kitchen counter. Most of them are for storing food, clothes, meal prep utensils, and toiletries. Other features that a kitchen might have may include a sink and a stovetop so you can also cook. When it comes to things truckers can store onboard, note that some companies have restrictions in place.

Entertainment

Depending on the sleeper cab, you can find some with compartments to put your entertainment gadgets in, such as a gaming system, computer, or laptop. They even come equipped with a cable management system for this. Also, some sleepers have a sofa so that both the passenger and driver can have a place to relax.

Food Conservation

When it comes to conserving food, sleeper cabs don’t have appliances. Still, preserving food can be easy by using an ice chest, coolers, and a portable refrigerator. This Skadi brand portable fridge (view on Amazon) is perfect for trucks and designed just for traveling purposes.

Electricity

A source of power can make a significant impact on your life on the road. It can make a substantial difference in the small space that a sleeper cab has. Electricity is useful for operating your cooking equipment, personal hygiene appliances, and even truck support tools. Very common sources of electricity for sleepers include inverters, auxiliary powered units (APU), or solar-powered energy stations.

Optional: Motorcycle Garage

For drivers who like to go out for some sight-seeing during their downtime, they are sure to like sleepers with the option of a motorcycle garage. If their cabin has space, a ramp may be installed so they can take their Harley with them. Of course, this is rare, but if you spend most of your life on the road, then why not go this far?

Handy Accessories to Add to Your Sleeper Cab

As you already know by now, commercial truck driving has you spending a lot of time on the road. However, that does not mean that your trip has to be inconvenient or tedious. With the number of custom sleeper cabs now available, you can have space for more accessories to liven up your day.

A note to keep in mind when choosing things to bring with you is to avoid weight. Instead, you may want to bring these lightweight items that won’t bulk the scales of your sleeper cab. They will help you avoid not getting any fuel bonus that your company might offer.

  • Sunglasses – A good pair of sunglasses can help you prevent eyestrain, fatigue, and headaches, especially those designed for driving.
  • Work gloves – Keep a few pairs on hand. You can choose leather cowboy gloves as they are more comfortable and breathable.
  • First-aid kit – Squeeze in a first-aid kit inside your sleeper cab. Make sure it is a high-quality kit with contents you know you can trust and use.
  • Slow-Cookers – You can slow cook some good food by stocking it with pot roast and fresh vegetables at the start of the day. By lunch, your food will be ready. This excellent pressure cooker by Instant Pot (view on Amazon) is a great item to have that can cook just about anything for you.
  • Electric blanket – Electric blankets are great if you tend to travel in cold climates, such as freezing winters. The cold weather can strain your truck heaters.
  • Shower kit – It always helps to have a small bag of toiletries and grooming tools that can keep you look presentable at all times.
  • Gaming console – It’s important to enjoy your job, so never forget to let out some steam or stress with a gaming console system.
  • Mobile satellite dish – Who said you couldn’t watch your favorite shows on the road? You can connect anywhere with a mobile satellite dish.
  • Mobile Wi-Fi – Thanks to technology, you don’t need to rely on the free Wi-Fi at truck stops. You can get your very own mobile internet connection that can be just as reliable.

These are just some accessories to make your life as a Truckee a little more comfortable and enjoyable. They are lightweight items and don’t take up a lot of space. Of course, you might end up bringing more or different things as you gain experience on the road.

Final Words

If you’re still wondering what life is like in a sleeper cab for a long-haul driver, it is very much the same as living in a small apartment. You don’t have a lot of room or space, but with the right tools and features, you can make your life there just as relaxing and exciting.

Kris Peter

I am a lifelong advocate of sleep, continually learning, and striving to be better than I was yesterday.

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