OTR truck drivers spend on average 250-300 days and nights on the road every year. To cut accommodation costs, many long-haul drivers have a sleeper cab to do paperwork, relax, cook and sleep in! Drivers make truck sleeper cabs as comfortable as possible and, in many ways, they become mini homes on wheels. Major upgrades are pretty pricy, especially if they involve taking the truck in for rewiring or installing new parts. However, there are a number of smaller ways to make your sleeper more comfortable without breaking the bank!
1. Mattress Quality Matters!
With a much larger, heavier vehicle, a more limited circle of vision and less maneuverability, driving a semi-truck is very different from a car or van. Factor in the long shifts behind the wheel, and for everyone’s safety, it’s vital that OTR truck drivers stay sharp! They need to be well-rested enough to react quickly to changing road conditions and unpredictable traffic. To do this they need plenty of sleep, which is made much easier by a comfortable sleeper cab bed!
A good mattress both improves the quality of your sleep and reduces the risk of hip, neck and back pain. You can make your cab bed even more comfortable with a memory foam pillow and a heated blanket in winter. If you’re looking to invest more in your sleeper cab bed, you’ll find a number of options on offer. For example, new Volvo sleeper cabs offer an adjustable bed frame that can be turned into a reclining chair! Whether your updates are big or small, upgrading your sleeper cab bed can improve the quality of both your rest and your driving!
2. Keep Warm with A Winterfront
A winterfront is a budget-friendly cover that clips or screws onto your semi-truck’s front grille to keep the cold weather out! Winterfronts are easy to put on and equally easy to remove when the weather warms up. By partially covering your grille, the winterfront protects the engine from cold, snow, rain and sleet! This traps more heat in the engine compartment so the engine can start more easily on extremely cold days! By keeping the breeze out, a truck grille cover also keeps the cab warmer for the driver, meaning less power spent running the HVAC! Over a long winter, changes like this can help reduce your fuel costs!
3. Cook in a Superior Kitchen!
When you spend weeks at a time on the road, with limited time to shop and nowhere to cook, healthy living becomes a real challenge! To help drivers save money and eat more healthily, most truck sleeper cabs have a built-in microwave and mini fridge. However, for drivers who want more options, there are a few things you can try out. If nothing gets you going like a cup of joe first thing in the morning, or mid-afternoon during a long shift, consider investing in a coffee maker! This means that even if you’re driving in a remote area or starting the day well before cafes open, you’ll never have to go without a good cup of coffee!
How Do You Improve Your Sleeper Cab Meal Options?
If you want to increase your lunchtime options without stretching your budget, you could also consider an electric sandwich toaster. Keep sandwich ingredients in the fridge or cupboard and you can whip up a grilled cheese at a moment’s notice! If you want more elaborate options, consider a plug-in slow cooker so you can cook delicious meals overnight! Slow-cooked hot meals are especially enjoyable during cold North American winters, and you can enjoy the leftovers the next day! If you have an electric APU with good-quality batteries, you should have enough power to run cooking equipment like this throughout your rest period.
For drivers who prefer their food baked, roasted or toasted, there’s also the option of the toaster oven. Unlike a conventional oven, a toaster oven plugs into a standard socket and runs on electricity. It’s big enough to cook dinner in and compact enough to tuck away in your semi-truck until it’s needed! If you want lots of options, but don’t want to add too much extra weight onto your truck, or don’t have room for much cooking equipment with limited sleeper storage, you can always bring one item at a time and leave the others at home. Then you just swap one or two items before each trip, or as the seasons change.
4. Update Your Electronics!
Gone are the days when a truck sleeper cab was just a small bunk behind the seats to get a few hours of sleep in between shifts. The modern sleeper lets you rest, relax and enjoy your break as if you were at home. These days, that means electronics and entertainments as well as just somewhere to sleep! A sleeper cab with auxiliary power means you can have a TV, games consoles, a laptop with Wi-Fi and more!
If you’re a gamer, you can easily upgrade your sleeper cab by buying a new games console or upgrading your games! If you have a TV, you could hook it up with a satellite provider like EpicVue so you can watch the game or keep up to date with the news while you’re on the road! On top of this, if you don’t want to rely on truck-stop Wi-Fi, you can get a portable Wi-Fi router/ dongle for your truck so you can enjoy data on the move! This makes it easier to keep up with friends and family, allowing you to video call home whenever you like! Reliable Wi-Fi also opens up options like having a Chromecast so you can project Netflix, Sky, Fox, or your channel of choice from an app on your phone onto your TV!
5. Boost Your Battery Power!
Electronics have become a big part of daily life and make sleeper-cab living much more comfortable. However, they also use a lot of power, and the more electronics you have, the more power you need. This is a problem, because you can’t connect a sleeper cab to the mains if your batteries run out (except through Shore Power). That’s why a lot of fleet managers fit their semi-trucks with electric APUs. The battery-powered APU lets you run your electronics without draining your starter battery or installing a noisy diesel generator.
Many of the easiest ways to upgrade your sleeper cab require extra power to run extra electrical devices. The electric APU for semi-trucks is a big help here, as its batteries charge off your alternator while the engine is running, then release the power when the engine’s turned off. This lets you power your electronics, HVAC and cooking equipment, but it also massively reduces your idle times. This saves you fuel and protects your emissions system because, as the lowest duty cycle, idling damages your engine and clogs up your DPF with excess soot.
Does a truck APU let you power more electronics without idling?
The answer is it should do, and it can do! A good electric APU for semi-trucks is perfectly capable of powering your sleeper cab—even one with a decent kitchen and entertainment system. However, the power has to come from somewhere and the APU is only as powerful as its batteries. If you buy the wrong type of batteries, the APU will have less power to release and won’t meet your needs. Many OEMs and drivers try to cut costs by running APUs on lead-acid batteries, but they aren’t powerful enough. Lead-acid batteries aren’t designed to be discharged below 50% and the more you use them the more their capacity to hold power decreases. For deep-discharge applications like an electric APU, you need a lithium battery that’s been optimized for trucking conditions. With lithium batteries, your APU will be twice as powerful and will run for twice as long between charges!
Does Roadwarrior Offer Lithium APU Batteries?
The Roadwarrior team designed LightningVolt lithium batteries to double the power in truck sleeper cabs. They can safely discharge up to 95% of their stored power, letting them run for twice as long between charges. This means you can enjoy your home comforts and still have enough power to run the HVAC all night! LightningVolt batteries also have a built-in overcharge and overuse protection system and a much longer overall life span. This means you only need to replace them every 5–10 years depending on use, rather than every 1–2. On top of this, they’re freeze-cycle tested to work in cold, North American winters. Find out more about LightningVolt batteries here.
Overall, the main thing is to customize your semi-truck sleeper cab in a way that suits you! With these tips, you can easily upgrade your sleeper, or customize a new or second-hand cab to make it feel like home!