If you’ve ever driven on a highway, there’s a good chance that you’ve driven past a dry van. Dry vans are the most readily available and used trailer type both here in America and across the world.

Its ability to transport goods in a safe and secure manner makes dry vans the perfect trailer to haul non-perishable food and goods from state to state.

In this article, we will present every relatable dry van fact and stat that you could possibly want to know.

By the end, you will be well informed on dry vans and able to decide whether using one is right for your haul. Or, maybe you’re interested in becoming a dry van trucker? Either way, you’ve come to the right place. 

What Is A Dry Van?

A dry van is a type of semi-trailer used to transport goods. Dry vans are typically used to haul products such as furniture, appliances, clothing, and electronics.

These vehicles are usually large enough to hold several tons of goods but smaller than refrigerated trucks.

Dry vans are also known as ‘box trucks.’ They’re not temperature controlled, but they can hold large loads. Dry vans are often used for LTL shipping.

Dry vans are also used for transporting dry goods such as canned foods, grains, flour, sugar, etc. Dry vans are fully enclosed boxes that are sealed.

Freight is protected from any external influences. Dry vans do not have temperature control, so they are suitable for moving non-perishables, but not perishables.

Dry Van trailers are boxy-shaped trailers that are used to transport loads over long distances. These trailers are ideal for carrying large amounts of perishable or fragile cargo.

Dry van trailer shipments increase each year as the U. S. economy and population grow.

What Are Dry Vans Not Suited To Haul?

These trailers aren’t suitable for carrying oversized loads. Freight exceeding the length or width of the trailer deck, the height of the trailer ceiling, or the weight capacity won’t be moved by truck.

Companies without loading docks will have difficulty moving freight into and out of these trailers. Dry vans aren’t suitable for shipping temperature-sensitive goods.

How Much Weight Can A Dry Van Haul?

Dry vans are typically used by companies to ship goods across state lines. There are two different types of containers, each with its own weight limits.

A 53-foot container has a weight limit of 45,000 pounds while a 28-foot container can hold no more than 22,500 pounds. Drivers must be careful when transporting heavy loads because they could exceed their weight limits.

What Does A Dry Van Look Like?

Dry van trailers are used to transport goods across long distances. These trailers are usually made out of steel and aluminum. Most trailers have doors that swing open and reveal the cargo area.

Roll-up doors are also available. The inside of the cargo area is usually covered in wood flooring. A palletized or boxed load is placed on this floor during transportation.

Who Uses Dry Van Trucks for Shipping?

Dry van trucking companies use dry vans for shipments that can’t be shipped by other methods. These types of companies offer services to many different industries.

How Does Using A Dry Van Impact Your Shipping Costs?

Dry vans are versatile vehicles that are usually used to haul freight. The cost of renting a dry van is very low, but it depends on what kind of van you rent. A dry van is cheaper than most other types of trucks.

What Are Some Pros And Cons Of Dry Van Shipping?

Dry van shipping is cheaper than refrigerated transport. Dry van shipping uses sealed containers, so they protect cargo from the elements. Trucks and containers are likely available near the delivery location and are able to coordinate fast pickup and delivery times.

Dry van shipping is often used when large items need to be moved quickly or when a product needs to stay protected from the elements.

Due to the size restrictions of dry van containers, they are unable to ship oversized products. Wood floors in dry van containers can become damaged due to moisture buildup and heavy freight.

Dry Van Shipping is not climate-controlled, so temperatures and humidity levels can fluctuate during bad weather.

What Are Standard Dry Van Dimensions?

Dry van sizes vary widely. Some are straight trucks, some are pup trailers, and others are box trucks. Below we have listed the three types of dry vans and their dimensions. 

  • Straight trucks – These trailers are often used for city deliveries, but they’re also called box trucks. There can be a wide variety of sizes available here but the most common size, by length, width, and height, measures 24 feet long, 8 feet wide, and 6 feet tall.
  • 28-foot trailers – These are often called pup trailers because they are used for LTL shipments. They’re 28 feet long, eight feet wide, and nine feet tall. There are enough standard pallet positions to accommodate 14 standard pallets and 22,500 pounds (10,000 kg) of freight.
  • 53-foot trailers – On today’s highways and byways, these are the most common dry vans being used since they can carry so many pallets. Common dimensions for this trailer are 53 feet by 8 feet 6 inches by 8 feet 6 inches.

They have a total floor space of approximately 15,890 square feet (1,400 square meters), and they can handle 45,000 pounds of cargo at once.

What Is A Flatbed Truck?

Flatbed trucks are large vehicles with a flat body and a flatbed. They are typically used to transport large loads.

Drivers can load them from the side or top using forklifts and other similar equipment. All flatbeds are not the same, though. There are different styles and sizes available. 

Dry Van vs. Flatbed

Dry vans offer better protection than flatbeds. Flatbeds have no built in protection, unless the operator uses tarps or tarp systems. Flatbed trailers are great for transporting building materials, but they aren’t always the best option for palletized items. 

Flatbed trailers can be loaded from all directions, and there are many different types of cargo that can be transported on them.

What Is A Dry Van?

Loading docks aren’t necessary, so you don’t need to pay extra for them. Rates tend to be higher for flatbeds because of the additional flexibility.

What Costs More: Dry Van or Flatbed?

Dry vans are cheaper than flatbeds because they use fewer resources. Flatbed trailers are generally more expensive than dry vans because they’re bigger and require more space.

In addition, tarps are needed to protect goods from inclement weather.

What Is A Dry Van’s Weight Distribution?

Before you begin to load your dry van, you must make sure that the weight distribution is correct. A typical rule of thumb is to make sure that the axles underneath the truck hold about 43% of its total weight, while the remaining 14% should be spread out on the front axle between the cab and the engine.

Moving the trailer’s tandem back and forth, moving the fifth wheel, adding or losing fuel, or moving the cargo lengthwise are all options for redistributing a dry van’s weight.

What Trailer Preparation Is Needed For A Dry Van?

Before loading the goods into the van, make sure that you have the necessary equipment to do so. You should check the trailer to see if it’s clean and free of debris, as well as to see if there are any holes, nails, or sharp objects. Make sure to fix any holes in the van before loading the goods.

Dry Van vs. Reefer Trailer

Most people choose to use a dry van because they want to avoid using a reefer trailer. Reefers are used to transport perishable items, such as meat or produce.

A Reefer is a refrigerated trailer that is used to transport perishable temperature-sensitive goods such as meat, ice cream, frozen foods, etc.

A dry van is better suited for transporting non-temperature-sensitive freight because it doesn’t have any refrigeration systems.

Refrigerated trailers offer additional protection for fragile items such as fruit, flowers, or other perishable products.


So there you have it! You are now a whole lot wiser on the subject of dry vans. Dry vans are the workhorse of American hauling.

Without the army of dry van truckers burning rubber across our vast country, our grocery store aisles would be incredibly bare and the entire nation would come to a disastrously hungry halt. 

Whether you’re looking to ship freight on a regular basis, as a one-off, or become a fully-licensed dry van trucker, here’s hoping you came here and found what you were looking for.