Making the Most of Your Home Away From Home
By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm
Sleepers today come in all shapes and sizes, lots of companies are taking driver comfort into account when they order trucks. There are many choices when it comes to the bunk itself, you may have one equipped with anything from a classic flat top, to a company stand up, to a full on custom show stopper. Whatever the size, it’s all about making the most of the space that you have.
The number one job of your bunk is to be a comfortable place for you to get good rest during your 10 off, but they can also be used as a kitchen, dining room, office and living room. For this post we are going to focus on the sleeping aspect, but we will be addressing other uses in future posts.
Mattresses are available these days in many venues, and in various configurations from foam to spring to combinations. A good mattress is a sound investment whether you own the truck or not because your sleep is an invaluable commodity, it’s actually priceless, in my book. You can buy them at truck stops where they are either kept in stock (at the largest truck stops) or ordered for you, custom sized for your particular truck. If you cannot get a new mattress a good alternative is to get yourself a thick memory foam topper, these can really make a difference in how well you sleep, especially if you run team and your rest must be taken while traveling down the road.
Most standard bunks will take a twin size sheet or an extra long twin, but if you are lucky enough to have a thicker or wider bed, you may need to get full sheets and tuck under the extra fabric. You also can get sheets, custom sized at truck stops, specifically made for sleeper mattresses. You can go with plain white or get a wild print, get a coordinated blanket and comforter, add a couple of pillows and you have a beautiful, welcoming, inviting bed. Cotton sheets are a good choice in the summer, but during the colder months flannel sheets or the new fleece ones are a better choice. There are also heated blankets and bunk warmers that plug into your 12 volt outlets you can pre set to your desired temperature, let them warm up, then snuggle in!
The whole idea of creating a home like atmosphere is meant to bring a tranquility and peacefulness to your environment so that when you park for the night, or you switch out with your co-driver, you can shut out the world and relax your body and your mind so that you are able to get the sleep you need in order to start anew the next day. Another way to achieve this ‘homeyness’ is to add a rug, match the rugs you use in the cab only in a bigger size. The floor of the bunk can be very cold, even if there is carpet from the factory. Adding rugs will help your feet stay warmer as well as help keep the floor cleaner, catching things you may drop or spill. You can easily pick up a rug and throw it in the wash, or shake it out whenever need be, much easier than vacuuming two or three times a day!
Keeping a small wastebasket around is necessary and doesn’t take long to fill, so every time you fuel or make a rest stop get into the habit of taking out the garbage at that time, doing so helps keep the bunk clean and fresh and makes it stay a place you want to sleep. As with the cab interior, it’s very important that you choose a fragrance system you like, then make sure you keep it supplied. You want to be sure your bunk ALWAYS smells fresh and clean and inviting, like a place you want to spend time.
There are so many closet organizing solutions available these days that no matter your truck, you will be able to find something that works for you. A little bit of trial and error at first when you get in a new truck, whether to fold or hang up shirts and pants depends on your available storage area, the configuration of cubbies and closets, but with such an assortment of plastic and canvas containers and drawers you should be able to find things that will fit in the spaces you have to work with. Getting things put away and knowing where they are when it’s time to get them together when you need them can be a real time saver.
Use removable products (so you can leave the truck in good condition when it’s time to switch trucks) that are designed to attach securely, without damage to the surface you’re attaching to, to hang family photos and mementos so that you can feel close to those you love. Decorate the inside of the bunk to mimic your home as closely as you can without doing any damage, in order to feel connected to them no matter how far from home you may be.
If you are really creative, you can make your little bedroom as picture perfect as some of the ones in a magazine, then crawl into bed and get some good sleep so you will be ready to go out there and take on the day! (or night, depending on when it’s your turn to drive!)
Stay safe out there, and Keep It Shiny!
Heather Hogeland and Kim Grimm are CDL holders and longtime friends with a combined 75 years and 7 million miles of driving experience. Both are writers and have a love for everything trucking, as well as, furry, four-legged friends. Kim is currently a full-time owner-operator and part-time writer. Heather writes for various trucking publications and enjoys traveling with her husband Roger.