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The recently introduced GMC Sierra AT4X is an impressive combination of off-roading and luxury. But can you sleep in it?
Pickups are great for towing campers or as a platform upon which to build out overlanding rigs, but from the factory they usually aren’t as useful as SUVs to sleep in, considering half of the length of the vehicle is taken up by the bed. Let's see how the AT4X fares.
The biggest thing to consider when it comes to camping in your car is whether or not there is enough space in it for you and possibly a partner to lay down comfortably. This is tough when it comes to pickup trucks, which are hampered by the fact that half (or more) of the length of the vehicle is taken up by the bed of the truck. Some trucks have added features like lie-flat seats that make sleeping in them a bit easier, though it’s still not a perfect solution. Unfortunately the AT4X is not one of those trucks. While the seats do lay back quite a good amount, I wasn’t able to get comfortable enough to rely on them for a good night’s rest. To the rear we go.
If you’re vertically challenged, you may be in luck, especially if you don’t sleep stretched out. The Sierra 1500 is a wide truck, almost 7 feet wide in fact. The rear bench measures 56 inches in width, which isn’t a great option for most adults unless you really like sleeping in the fetal position. It’ll do in a pinch but I wouldn’t expect to get a great night's sleep again and again.
Below the bench, which folds up and out of the way, is a relatively flat floor which can offer a bit more length. At 63” it still isn’t enough for me to lie down with the doors closed, but it is much less cramped than spending the night on the bench. The subtle bump in the middle of the floor, which is much less severe than the ridges in the bed, can easily be remedied by an inflatable sleeping pad like the Sea to Summit Ether Light XT, or, even better, a cheap air mattress from Walmart.
The bed of the AT4X seems like the most logical place to sleep. After all, it is named the bed for a reason right? If you have an inflatable mattress, then sure, but due to the ridges on the floor, a simple sleeping pad and sleeping bag will not be enough here. Additionally, the length of the bed leaves something to be desired. Though it is longer than the beds in the comparably priced F-150 Raptor and Ram TRX, it isn’t quite 6 feet in length, at just shy of 70 inches. It is simply too short for many people to lie flat and stretch out, but that can be solved by lying diagonally (the diagonal limit with the tailgate closed is 90 inches) or by simply lying with the tailgate open, which extends the bed to roughly 8 feet.
At its widest point, the bed is 71 inches, so just shy of six feet, so sleeping perpendicular may be an option, depending on your height. At its narrowest, the bed is 50 inches, about 4” shy of full-size mattress width.
The biggest pitfall when it comes to sleeping in the open bed of a truck is that you aren’t shielded from any of the elements, whether that’s weather, animals, or other people.
The AT4X does come with GMC’s MultiPro Tailgate, which, of all the tailgates on the market, is my favorite. It can be used as a step or a seat, and even comes with speakers built-in, which can be an entertaining addition at a campsite. For more on the MultiPro Tailgate, check out the video above.
As far as interior storage is concerned, the AT4X ranks about average for a full-size pickup truck, with a good amount of cupholders and a fairly sizable center console. Though a refrigerator isn’t an option from the factory, a safe is, if security is important to you. If you’re a Nalgene user, you’re out of luck when it comes to large-enough cupholders, though you can find an extender online to make it work. I especially like that the rear seat cupholders are also easily accessible from the front seats, in case you’re like me and like to have backup beverages readily available.
The bed itself, though not a true 6-foot bed, is still large enough to carry weeks’ worth of camping and climbing equipment, though as this truck didn’t come with any kind of cover, said gear will be open to the elements as well as potential thieves (furry or otherwise). I’ve made that work in the past by stringing together my gear with cable bike locks and always keeping my coolers nearby overnight. If you’re sleeping in the middle of nowhere, this will be much less of a concern.
With large windows all around, the interior of the AT4X feels bright and airy, plus the height of the truck gives you some privacy, especially if you choose to sleep on the floor. It would take someone climbing onto the truck itself to be able to see you. The windows also allow for a good amount of circulation, which, when paired with window screens, always increases the quality of my sleep.
Like I mentioned above, pickup trucks are much better as a starting point for building an overlanding rig than for sleeping in as-is, especially if you’re talking about the interior. The AT4X, despite its from-the-factory off-roading chops, isn’t what I would consider when it comes to overlanding, especially with an almost $80,000 price tag. The interior, while an incredibly nice place to spend a few hours driving, doesn’t feature the lie-flat seats or refrigerated storage that you can find in other vehicles like the F-150 or the Defender, and the bed, while not as short as the bed in the F-150 Raptor or Ram TRX, still doesn’t quite hit the 6’ mark, which is why I’ve rated it 2.4 out of 5 Zs.
The gear I used:
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