We need to spend some time talking about our bunks. It’s our bed, our sanctuary, and most importantly the one spot that we can temporarily call our own. This brings us to the question, how do we make our bunk feel more like home?
Before we look at what a standard bunk comes with, it’s dimensions, and some tips to personalize, we need to look at the different configurations.
For our template (and cover photo), we’re gonna use a Prevost XLII from Prairie Entertainer.
Configuration 1 – Standard
Bunk dimensions: 29″ Wide x 74″ Long x 25″ High
As pictured above, The standard config comes with 12 bunks. There are 2x columns/side, with 3 bunks stacked high. Each side has a front and back, as well as a top, middle, and a bottom. This is the most common configuration. Even when there are only 8 people on the bus and only 2/3rds of the bunks are occupied with people, the other 4 bunks are used as junk bunks. This helps make the bus a little less cluttered since there aren’t bags and jackets laying all over the place.
Configuration 2 – Condo Bunks
Bunk dimensions: 29″ Wide x 74″ Long x 35″ High
Condo bunks are more common on busses that have less than 8 people or used as an artist bus. This differs from the standard config because it only has 8 bunks total. There are still 2 columns per side, but only 2 high. Without having a middle bunk, these are called condo bunks because they’re substantially taller than a standard bunk.
Configuration 3 – Mixed
A mix of condos and standard. The best of both worlds where any column can be converted from standard into condos within an hour or so. This is generally a pretty easy, although its a time-consuming process that takes 2 people to do.
Now that we know the configs, we can move onto the stuff that really matters, which bunk are you gonna pick?
Pick the right bunk
Like I mentioned above, there are different configurations contributing to how much space you’re gonna have. Normally, that’s out of your control and depends on how many people it needs to accommodate. Something that you can control, is which bunk you pick. Here are some Pros and Cons of each bunk position.
Front refers to the column of bunks closest to the front of the bus. These are generally the “noisier” bunks since they’re the closest to the front lounge. But if guys are playing Star Wars video games in the back lounge all night anyways, the guys in the back column get their fair share of noise.
These bunks are often the least popular. For a couple of reasons, they deserve it. They tend to sway a little more since they’re on the top half of the center of gravity and can be a little difficult to climb in and out of. Especially when the bus is moving.
I have night terrors and leave my bunk on a frequent basis. The thought of jumping out of my bunk, 5ft in the air while sleeping is not a good look for me. Although they have their downsides, tops are kinda out of the way and can be quiet.
These are the most popular. They’re the easiest to get in and out of. While still having a good distance from the road, they’re not high enough to cause the same problems as the top bunk. I was on a bus once where a middle bunk became a junk bunk. THIS CAN NOT HAPPEN UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. THIS IS SACRILIGEOUS TO THE TOUR GODS.
The bottom bunk is tolerable and can be a popular pick for a lot of road dogs. The bottom is good because it’s kinda secluded. People have to bend all the way down to be at your level, so you’re far enough away from everyone’s mouths when they’re talking too loud in bunk alley. You have to be a bit more of a reserved sleeper in the bottom bunk. If you’re tossing and turning and hang your arm or leg out past your curtain, you’re likely to get stepped on. Bottom bunks can be a little louder since they’re close to the engine or generator and can be temperature dependant if the bays are not properly insulated.
Now you know the importance of picking the correct bunk based on your sleeping needs. Let’s dig in and find out what’s available for you before you start buying stuff.
What comes with your bunk?
On day 1 with you new bus, you roll up to your bunk and see:
- A mattress (roughly 4 inches deep)
- 1 pillow
- 1 blanket
- A switch light
- 1 wall mounted pouch
- If it’s an older bus, you’ll see a DVD player with a fold-down screen mounted to the top of your bunk. These things are THE WORST. For starters, they never fucking work. If they even have power, they’ll have an annoying light that lights up your bunk like an alien invasion making it impossible to sleep. I can almost guarantee that the latch that closes it shut is broken. So every time you hit a bump in the road, the screen falls down at whacks you in the middle of the night.
Needless to say, these things don’t come super comfy with the stock features. If you’re gonna be in this thing for months, let’s chat about some ways to improve.
Let’s Pimp Your Bunk
There are countless ways to customize your bunk. Some people stick pics of their family on the walls, while others don’t give a shit and just use their bunk to sleep. Personally, I like to feng shui the place since its a bit of a nightmare pit, to begin with. Here are some accessories – that I’ve learned over time – that I use to make those select hours that I’m in my bunk, more enjoyable.
The very first thing that you need is a better or at least a second pillow. You can always get to the bus early on the first day and pillage a junk bunk for an extra pillow before anyone else does. Or… you can just bring your own. Personally, I like to go with a memory foam pillow with some sort of cooling technology. But I’ve been known to be a bit of a princess. Something to note, I’d recommend getting a fresh pillowcase and washing it before you take it on tour. I used a pillowcase out of the box one time and my eyes swole up like I had a shellfish allergy.
I’ve seen guys steal these from hotels. The bill can be up to $100 for a used pillow that someone has 100% had sex on. Just plan ahead and order on amazon like a grown-up. Here’s the one I use for $40
Power Strip (or Power Bar if you’re a Canuck)
A power bar is essential for the practicality of your bunk. Usually the bunk comes with only 1 plug and it’s normally high up or in an awkward spot. I recommend getting one with a 90-degree male end and taping it into the plug. If you can get one that has USB plug inputs on it, it’ll save you from having multiple wall plugs. The newer or retrofitted busses have the USB plug in the bunks. They’re a nice touch.
Dual Lock Velcro
You can’t pimp your bunk without dual lock velcro. For its size, it can hold almost anything want onto the walls of your bunk but give you the versatility to take your stuff with you when you leave the bus. I put a small strip on the backside of my iPad so I can take it into the hotel or venue to download shows instead of using the bus internet. I like to fall asleep to movies but hate rolling over onto my iPad in the middle of the night.
I’ll usually go to a target or winners and get a small shelf to dual lock to the wall as well. You can find these in the bath section (for shelves and racks), or the automotive section (for pouches made to hang on the back of a driver’s seat). The more you can utilize the walls instead of having stuff line your bunk, the better you’ll sleep. Especially since you’re in a metal tube barreling down the hwy.
This is the only way to listen to anything in your bunk. For starters. No one wants to hear you watching a movie, listening to music, or watching someone’s insta stories from your bunk. After years of using wired headphones and waking up with them wrapped around my neck, Bluetooth headphones have more than proven their worth. If you wanna spend a little extra $ and get some low profile, or noise-canceling features, you’re gonna be a lot more comfortable and potentially be able to fall asleep without taking them out. Just remember to put them on the charger in the morning when you wake up so they’re ready to go when you get back at the end of the night.
Personal Sized Humidifier
I said I was a princess, right? Let’s face it. The air coming out of the vents in the bunk is super dry. I can’t count how many times I’ve woken up in the morning and had a blood-crusted nose. In the winter, my hands start to crack and bleed from air being so dry.
I have a personal sized humidifier that I use in my bunk, fastened to the wall with dual-lock and plugged into a USB slot on my power bar, of coarse. You can get them now with the ability to take essential oils. A couple of eucalyptus drops will not only help the funk of bunk alley and the corpse sleeping under you, but it will help purify the air and give you a better sleep.
I like to get a couple of nights on the bus to get a vibe before I buy a mattress liner. Sometimes the mattress has surpassed its hay-day in the early 2000s. Sometimes it’s a fresh mattress and just needs to be broken in. I find the down or down alternative mattress pads are best in this case because they can fit over the mattress and be tucked underneath. With the foam pads, you have to try and fit the sheet over top. It’s often problematic.
Just know, that every time you put something on top of your mattress, you’re closing in on the already tight space in your bunk.
One time I was on tour with an unnamed rock n roll band that had an “eccentric” singer. A fan did an oil painting of him looking all dark and mysterious. It was actually pretty cool.
Anyways, he started singing weird lullabies to me throughout the day. Like ones about him watching me while I sleep. Although I thought it was super creepy, I just got on with my day. Later I found that he had propped the painting up against the wall in my bunk in a way that I’d only see it when I crawled in. Personally, I don’t suggest putting pictures of the singer on the walls of your bunk, but it was good for a laugh.
Share Some Pictures
Like I said, there are countless ways to customize your bunk on tour. If you have cool pics from your bunk organization or ways you made your bunk feel like home, I WANNA SEE THEM! That’s correct, I WANNA SEE WHERE YOU SLEEP! Send me pics and/or tag me in them on socials.
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