Truck drivers spend many hours on the road, and nighttime isn’t an exception. However, it’s during the night that the job can be a bit challenging. Apart from having to deal with the fact that you’re working when everyone is enjoying a peaceful night’s sleep, you have to deal with the cold and discomfort of driving at night.So, is there a way for truck drivers to stay warm at night? Certainly. Several things can help truckers stay warm at night. Other than the general rule of bundling up when it is cold, there are nine practical ways that truck drivers can stay warm at night:

  1. Inspect your truck.
  2. Run your heater.
  3. Practice smart layering.
  4. Use heated mattress pads.
  5. Buy a down comforter.
  6. Use sunshades for insulation.
  7. Learn how to heat your sleeping bag quickly.
  8. Keep a window cracked.
  9. Know your company’s rules.

In this article, you will learn more about each of these tips to stay warm at night and even get some bonus tips on how to get great sleep while stuck on the road!

How Can Truck Drivers Stay Warm at Night?

Truck drivers should prepare for driving at night in the wintertime. If you want to stay warm throughout the night, you need to bundle up! Invest in thick gloves, thermal socks, blankets, and anything else that will help you keep the cold at bay. In addition to these general rules for bundling up, there are also other ways to keep warm at night.

9 Tips for Truckers to Stay Warm at Night

It’s not enough to have the right supplies in your truck. If you drive at night often, especially in the winter, you need to be familiar with some tips and tricks to stay warm, especially in the coldest months.

1.       Truck Inspection is Key

Before any trip, you need to inspect your vehicle to ensure everything is working as it should. Professional drivers check everything from the wiper blades and fluids to the tires and the lights. Examining your car ensures your safety on the road.

But what does it have to do with your warmth? Everything. When your engine is running without any interference, your rig also functions properly and stays warm due to the temperature emitted from the engine.

Therefore, if you don’t want your vehicle breaking down in the middle of nowhere and turning you into a popsicle due to low temperatures, you need to inspect your car before every trip.

2.     Run Your Heater

Another excellent tip for staying warm when driving at night is to run your heater for a while just before you’re about to sleep. You can do it when you’re finishing up your paperwork or getting ready for bed. Turn the heater to its highest setting and leave it on.

When you do this, the heat will be contained inside the truck and will be enough to keep you warm when you turn off the vehicle. However, don’t forget to turn the heater down when you retire for bed. Otherwise, you’ll wake up to the heater blowing cold air towards you in the morning.

It’s also advisable to get a space heater that you can power using an external power source. This way, you won’t end up draining the battery power in the process.

3.     Smart Layering Does Wonders

A sleeping bag is one of the must-have items for truckers who frequently drive at night. But don’t purchase just any sleeping bag you come across. The trick is to find a sleeping bag that’s designed to withstand extremely low temperatures.

The Coleman North Rim 0-Degree Sleeping Bag is a great option. Apart from its ability to withstand low temperatures, it’s constructed to prevent cold spots and features a hooded design that guarantees warmth from head to toe.

Such a sleeping bag is a wise investment because you can use it all year round. To increase the warmth, you can add layers of blankets on top of the sleeping bag for additional insulation.

4.     12 Volt Mattress Pads

12V mattress pads should also be at the top of your list if you want to stay warm throughout the night. The pads plug into a lighter socket and are perfect for helping you stay warm at night without idling the engine.

Be sure not to go higher than 12 volts. 12V appliances are recommended for trucks because most semi-trucks use three to four 12-volt batteries in parallel. Twenty-four volts from these batteries are connected to the starter and used for starting the truck and keeping it running.

The trucker’s cab only gets the leftover voltage from the series of batteries. So, drivers need to stay within their voltage limits. Otherwise, if the energy demands are too high, the appliances may start to pull energy from the truck’s starter and may even kill the battery.

Don’t let this limitation discourage you, though. There are plenty of appliances made in mini-12V sizes.

One of the best 12V mattress pads on the market is the Sunbeam Heated Mattress Pad. It’s large enough and has ten heat settings that allow you to regulate the amount of heat you receive. Not to mention, it’s machine washable and dryer safe. Therefore, you can clean it with ease when you need to get on the road in a short while.

5.     Invest in a Down Comforter

Sleeping bags are convenient when you want to stay warm at night. However, they tend to be cold when you get in, and it can be a while before you warm up. A down comforter provides heat instantly. Additionally, if you don’t care for the hassle of getting in and out of the bag, a down comforter is an excellent alternative.

There are a couple of things you need to consider when choosing a down comforter, like:

  • The warmth of the comforter will depend on the climatic conditions you usually drive in and your personal preferences.
  • The weight of the comforter will depend on the weather and your preference as well. Lightweight is better for warmer areas, while the heavier comforters work great for cold areas.
  • The fill power of the comforter determines how insulated it is and usually affects the weight of the comforter.

Some of the highest-rated down comforters on the market include Premium DWR Goose Down Comforter, Egyptian Bedding Down Comforter, and Versari White Goose Down Comforter. These are excellent options because they are all made of high-quality goose down. In addition, they are soft on the skin and hypoallergenic.

6.     DIY Insulation Using Sunshades

Windshield sunshades can help to insulate your truck and keep it warm at night.  The best thing about sunshades is that they’re affordable and beneficial during the day as well.

Sunshades help to prevent the bright morning sunlight from waking you up and help you block the sun while on the go, and at night, they can help protect you from the cold. To make the most out of sunshades, cut them into small pieces, and use them to cover all windows for maximum insulation.

Bonus: If you don’t want people knowing someone is sleeping in the truck, the sunshades also give you the privacy you seek.

7.     Warm Up Your Sleeping Bag Instantly

If you already own a sleeping bag and you don’t see the need to invest in a down comforter, there’s a way to get it warm and toasty for when you’re ready to sleep. All you need is a bottle or two of hot water.

Follow these steps to prepare your hot water bottles:

  1. Boil some water.
  2. Place it in your bottles.
  3. Wrap each bottle with a towel.
  4. Place the wrapped bottles into your sleeping bag.
  5. Get into your sleeping bag and enjoy the warmth!

With this approach, you don’t have to stay awake, impatiently waiting for the sleeping bag to warm up. Everything will be warm and cozy as soon as you put the bottles in. Not to mention, the hot-water-in-a-bottle method lets you fall asleep warm, which allows you to retain warmth throughout the night.

8.     Crack a Window Open in the Winter

Most truckers drive all year round, and winter is not an exception. In such low temperatures, you not only need to keep warm, but you must also keep the moisture out of your car to stay warm throughout the night. The fastest way to do this is to open a window.

Yes, it seems counterintuitive to open a window when you want to stay warm, but failure to do so will only make moisture accumulate in your vehicle, thereby lowering the temperature in your car. You don’t need to open the windows all the way, a small crack to keep the moisture out should do the trick.

9.     Familiarize Yourself with Company Rules

Most companies require their truckers to turn off the vehicle during idle time, but some allow the engine to keep running in extremely low temperatures. Therefore, before you hit the road, it’s advisable to know your company’s regulations about running your truck in cold temperatures.

You may not have to invest in alternative ways of keeping the vehicle warm when you can easily warm it up by turning on the engine.

Another important rule to find out is the company’s stance on resting while on the road. A majority of truck companies require their drivers to rest for a minimum number of hours before getting back on the road. With this information, you can schedule rest time in a motel or bed and breakfast where it’s warm and cozy instead of sleeping in your truck.

How to Enjoy Better Sleep on the Road

Getting good sleep is just as important as staying warm at night. Quality sleep is not only good for your health but also keeps you well-rested and ready for a new day of responsibilities. However, for truckers, getting good sleep is easier said than done.

However, it’s not impossible. There are several things you can do to improve the quality of your sleep to ensure that you are well-rested and ready to hit the road.

1.      Choose Your Rest Area/Truck Stop Wisely

Truckers have two options when they need to take a break while driving at night. You can either stop at a rest area or a truck stop. Wikitravel describes a rest area as a stop along the highway where travelers can stop to take a break.

Both rest areas and truck stops include different facilities such as:

  • Restrooms
  • Vending machines
  • Gas stations
  • Information centers
  • ATMs
  • Restaurants
  • Wi-Fi hotspots
  • Newspapers and Magazines

Rest areas are rather commonplace; therefore, you shouldn’t have a hard time finding one. You can easily spot them on a map of the area. However, while it’s possible to stop your truck and sleep in a rest area, it’s not legal in all states.

Therefore, don’t plan your sleeping around rest areas. If you need to plan your sleeping ahead of time, look for truck stops. Truck stops are similar to rest stops. The only difference is that they are specifically designed for truck drivers to stop and sleep until they’re ready to get back on the road again.

2.     Block Out the Light

You can’t always control the amount of light that enters your truck at night, and this can easily make it difficult for you to fall asleep. In such situations, it helps to have an eye mask to block out the light.

Alternatively, you can invest in truck shades or curtains to create a peaceful mood when you want to sleep. If shades and curtains are not an option, you can create DIY shades using blankets or darker pieces of cloth that can block out the light.

3.     Block Out the Noise

Another thing you have no control over is the amount of noise in your surroundings when you want to sleep. If you decide to park next to the road or at a rest area, chances are there will be other travelers in the area, so you can’t enjoy the silence.

This noise shouldn’t have to interfere with your sleep. Invest in a pair of noise-canceling headphones or play some white noise to help you sleep faster. Alternatively, you can turn on a fan to block out other sounds. Earplugs are also a good investment when you want to block out all the noise.

You should also consider keeping your phone on silent mode or setting it to ring for only selected numbers to avoid any distractions.

4.    Comfort is Key

It’s hard to get quality sleep when you’re resting on an uncomfortable surface. In addition to investing in a high-quality mattress or sleeping bag, you also need to purchase a comfortable pillow.

If you find it difficult to sleep in your work clothes, you should also consider bringing a few pair of cozy pajamas for the road. Socks and gloves may also come in handy on those cold winter months.

Here are some other items you may need for comfort:

  • Off-duty clothes: When you’re on the road, you’re not necessarily required to stay in your work clothes. Therefore, carry warm, comfortable clothes when you plan to drive at night.
  • A warm jacket: If you plan to drive at night, it helps to have a warm jacket in your truck for when the weather changes. It’s best to keep it in the vehicle to avoid leaving it behind.
  • Heated blankets: This is perfect for extremely cold weather conditions or when you’re traveling to an area where the weather is unpredictable. With a heated blanket, you have the option of regulating the level of warmth you receive.
  • Warm drinks: Hot cocoa or a cup of tea can warm you up on a cold night. You can get a thermos to hold your beverages or take a quick stop for a warm drink.

5.     Maintain Comfortable Temperatures

To keep your truck warm for the night, you may overdo it with the heat, which can make it too uncomfortable for you to sleep. To avoid this, test out your sleeping conditions before you hit the road. Test the temperatures, lighting, and the sleeping area beforehand so that you can replicate the same conditions for a good night’s sleep.

No More Chilly Nights on the Road!

Staying warm while driving at night is a necessity for every trucker. Low temperatures will not only interfere with your driving ability and experience but can also compromise your health. So, don’t go out on the road without adequate preparation. Invest in these recommended items, and always bundle up when you plan to be on the road for long hours.

Don’t forget to stay hydrated and drink warm fluids, as well. It works wonders with helping you retain body heat. And remember, sleep is equally important. Schedule a few stops on the way to get some rest. You’ll be glad you did it.

About the Author

Blythe Brumleve
Blythe Brumleve
Creative entrepreneur in freight. Founder of Digital Dispatch and host of Everything is Logistics. Co-Founder at Jax Podcasters Unite. Board member of Transportation Marketing and Sales Association. Freightwaves on-air personality. Annoying Jaguars fan. test

To read more about Blythe, check out her full bio here.