Getting To Know Your Trucks – Dry Vans, Reefers And Soft Sides

//Getting To Know Your Trucks – Dry Vans, Reefers And Soft Sides

Trucks are not the same. You have small trucks, big trucks, dump trucks, long distance trucks, flatbeds – I could go on for quite some time trying to list every type of truck. If you are planning on a trucking career, it’s important to have a reasonable idea of the type of truck you want to eventually drive, right from the get-go. In today’s post, I’ll take you to three trucks that, whilst being similar, are still very different.

The Dry Van

Dry vans are, as the name suggests, vans. They can range in size from small local delivery vans to large trailer vans that require a tractor to pull them. Dry vans have a single opening at the rear and may include a lift that can be raised and lowered from ground to van floor height. These vans are typically reversed into a loading bay where a forklift is used to load and/or unload freight being carried. This can result in fairly lengthy layovers.


Reefers are very similar to dry vans, however, they do differ in one major area – they are refrigerated. new drivers do require further training in order to understand the requirements of refrigeration. The cargo is generally perishable and heat sensitive, so a minimum temperature must be maintained at all times.

Soft Sides

Soft side vans are similar to dry vans, the major difference being the sides of the van. Instead of solid metal, soft sides have side curtains, often made of canvas or a special plastic material. These curtains can be raised or moved sideways to allow access to the freight. Dry vans need to work on a first-out-last-in procedure – in other words, the first freight to leave needs to be the last freight loaded. With soft sides, this is not such a problem.

Driving each of these vehicles is fairly similar, you just need to be aware of the type of truck you are driving, and any special idiosyncrasies that come with that truck. You also need to be aware of security and safety around your truck, especially when parked at a truck stop. Dry vans can be locked, as can reefers, however, soft sides are not so easy to protect.

Thinking of a career in trucking? What sort of truck do you want to drive?

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