Can You Sleep In A U-Haul?
Rental cargo vans like your local Uhaul uses have been helping people move their belongings for decades. But can you sleep in a Uhaul cargo van?
With rent evictions rising across the country, more and more Americans are being forced to move from their homes, and many are turning to rental companies like Uhaul to save money. Whether you are trying to move on a limited budget or just find yourself in the middle of a move without a hotel option, sleeping in the back of a cargo van might have crossed your mind. Even though it is possible, it may not be the best option. Several states have laws against public parking or even overnight sleeping. Yet, there is enough space to lay down a mattress, even if sleeping in the back is not a very comfortable option.
Table of Contents
- Can You Sleep In A U-Haul?
- Is It Legal to Sleep in A U-Haul?
- Is Sleeping In A U-Haul Budget-Friendly?
- Can Sleeping In A U-Haul Be Comfortable?
Can You Sleep In A U-Haul?
You can sleep in a U-Haul van, but you need to consider the legalities of the area you’re driving, if your budget can offer any better accommodations, your safety, and of course, your comfort level while sleeping in a U-Haul. While you may be able to sleep in a U-Haul, you won’t be in for a good night’s sleep.
A better question is, should you sleep in a U-Haul? Because it’s kind of a bad idea.
Read on to learn the reasons you should (or shouldn’t) sleep in a U-Haul and get a few tips that will make your decision easier.
Is It Legal to Sleep in A U-Haul?
As long as you abide by the agreement made with U-Haul when you rent the vehicle, you can use the vehicle as you like.
In other words, you are allowed to lay down in your U-Haul.
There’s no federal law about sleeping in a vehicle, but some states prohibit car sleeping or overnight parking.
Namely, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee have stricter laws.
Avoid parking in assigned spaces or time limits.
Generally, spots that commonly experience overnight parking are more likely to be legal and provide better security.
For example, consider a busy parking garage area with security.
Also, look for stores open 24 hours or late hours, such as a Walmart.
Is Sleeping In A U-Haul Budget-Friendly?
Using your U-Haul as a hotel room can benefit your budget.
By skipping expensive campgrounds, hotel rooms, and any paid-for overnight location, car camping can save you money.
However, it’s worth noting that you need to be cautious of where you park your U-Haul.
While security is a primary concern, it’s also advisable to park legally.
For example, if you park your U-Haul in a parking space that limits parking for under 3 hours, your nap will also be under 3 hours.
If you go over, you might incur expensive fines.
If you transform your U-Haul into a camper, it can be more budget-friendly than a camping trailer or RV.
It’s often cheaper than a hotel stay, even if you choose a campground with shower access.
Also, check out truck stops, rest areas, or free campsites on public land.
Can Sleeping In A U-Haul Be Comfortable?
For those with experience driving six or more hours at a time, you know it can be exhausting.
It’s also uncomfortable.
Sitting for more than 2-3 hours can cause various problems, from lower back pain to neck tightness to tingling legs.
Now imagine sleeping on a metal floor after an all-day drive.
There is no single answer to the answer about comfort, as it considers a variety of variables.
Some people can sleep anywhere and wake up refreshed.
Others, like the fairytale, notice even the slightest imperfections in their mattress.
If you find it difficult to adjust to beds that aren’t your own or sleep in new places, chances are sleeping in a U-Haul won’t be comfortable.
However, if you’re willing to make adjustments, there are ways to make the sleeping arrangement bearable.
Do you need to curl into the fetal position to sleep on your U-Haul? Then, it’s probably not a wise idea.
While position and mattress hardness are personal preferences, you still need enough room to roll over.
If you wince and bruise every time you nudge in your sleep, you won’t be getting more than a few winks.
It helps to estimate how much space you need for your stuff, plus your body size. For example, if you have room to lay out a sleeping bag with some wiggle room, you’re more likely to snooze.
It might involve some jigsaw-style puzzling to fit yourself and your belongings into the space safely and comfortably.
U-Haul rents multiple vehicle models and trailers.
Your first consideration for vehicle type will likely concern how much stuff you need to haul.
But don’t forget to include your sleeping room in your calculations.
U-Haul has seven types in their truck category.
However, we’re excluding pickup trucks and utility trailers, as we have other articles discussing the pros and cons of truck sleeping.
Instead, here are the types that feature an enclosed space for sleeping:
- Cargo van (9 feet)
- Truck (10, 15, 17, 20, or 26 feet)
- Cargo trailers (4 x 8, 5 x 8, or 6 x 12 feet)
Unless you’re leaving your stuff behind, the 4 x 8-foot cargo trailer is unlikely to suit your needs. The 5 x 8-foot option is also tight but doable for sleepers with shorter stature.
U-Hauls lock from the outside, which can be a safety issue.
It means you won’t be able to lock it from the inside, and it’s possible to be trapped inside.
However, getting locked in is less likely, unless you give someone outside the key.
You can try to block the door or otherwise make it difficult to break in—but be careful to give yourself room for an exit.
We mentioned a few of the legalities of parking, but you should also consider if you feel safe sleeping in your unlocked U-Haul.
Some areas, such as those with security or regular traffic, will be safer than others.
Are all U-Haul models available universally?
With over 21,000 locations across all 50 US states, plus 10 Canadian provinces, you can find a U-Haul almost anywhere.
While options will vary depending on your departure location, you’re likely to have access to most if not all models.
Where can I park and sleep for free?
Some cities or towns offer free parking but generally limit the time allowed. You’re also more likely to be asked to move along by security or police.
Truck stops, rest areas, or free campsites on federally-owned land are the best locations to find free and secure parking.
Can multiple people sleep in a U-Haul?
If you have adequate space, it’s possible to fit more than one sleeper. However, adding more people will limit your ability to create a comfortable sleeping space. It might also determine how much stuff you can haul.
Regular tent campers are more likely to adapt to the cramped space and unsavory conditions. Still, you might try sharing a tight space with your travel partner before your U-Haul trip. It can give you an idea of what to expect.
However, inexperienced travelers or campers might have a difficult journey.
It’s also inadvisable to use a U-Haul as a family sleeper, especially if you have young children. While the vehicle has some shielding from the elements, it isn’t hospitable for children.
Although, in mild weather, in addition to proper clothing and adult supervision, it might be passable for a one-night sleepover.