Living Large on the Road
Live Like a King: Life in a Big Sleeper
If you’re wondering what it’s like inside one of those massive, RV-like sleeper units you occasionally pass on the road, they’re exactly what you might imagine. It’s like stepping into a mobile apartment. With most of these specialty sleeper units ranging from 97-180 inches, owners have a lot of room to personalize their sleeper to make life on the road more enjoyable. And enviable.
But, just like most investments, there are quite a few things to consider. For many owner-operators, the biggest questions come down to how much time do you plan on spending on the road, and what are you usually hauling?
Living large on the road is not cheap. Most trucks with extended sleeper units range from $200,000 to $300,000. While these sleepers can make a huge difference in your quality of life on the road, they only really make sense for drivers that have a huge bank account or intend to make their rig their primary home.
With the extended sleeper, you’ll have to downsize in trailer length, and you’ll have to haul lighter loads. The added chassis length needed to fit the sleeper units, combined with the weight of the sleeper unit really adds to your gross vehicle weight (GVW). If you’re hauling freight that is consistently near the GVW, an extended sleeper unit may be risky. You’ll see a lot of household movers with extended sleepers since they typically haul freight under the legal weight limit.
That being said, if you plan to call your truck your main residence, you’ll be able to haul enough freight to make it up and see a nice ROI.
Specialty sleeper unit builders like Bolt Custom, Indiana Custom Trucker and ARI Legacy Sleepers really do a fine job with their sleepers. Most of these large sleeper units feature kitchens with a stovetop, microwave, refrigerator and freezer, and sink. A majority also include a bathroom and shower. Of course, these sleeper units will vary based off budget, but some drivers really go the full nine yards and customize their sleepers to have nice cabinets, tile backsplash, stone countertops, etc. The sleepers are truly meant for extended stay.
Life with an extended sleeper is definitely a lifestyle decision for dedicated, over-the-road drivers. For those looking to make the leap into life in a large sleeper unit, there are a few options out there. For those starting out, buying a used truck may be the best solution. This is the cheapest route to go, and you’ll be able to gauge what amenities you prefer, and if it’s a type of trucking style you’d want to commit to in the future.
Drivers can also purchase new ‘cookie-cutter’ sleeper units, designed by specialty sleeper unit builders, equipped with basic amenities, or opt for a full-on customized sleeper. The nice thing about customizing your sleeper unit is you can design your sleeper exactly the way you want it. If you want to cut down some of the weight of the sleeper, you can work with the builder to include amenities and other features that weigh less than other options.
Take driver Mike Morrissey for instance, his decked-out sleeper unit, profiled in RoadKing magazine, shows the possibilities are endless. Trade shows like MATS and GATS often have sleepers available to tour and can be helpful for those thinking about upgrading their over-the-road lifestyle.
One thing is for sure, stepping inside a 180-inch sleeper will totally change the way you look at 76-inch sleepers. If you’re always on the road, perhaps it’s time to change things up and start living in luxury. Just make sure you have a good banker.