Working on the road is rough. But that doesn’t mean you can’t bring along a little comfort to make the days a little easier. Whether you’re just getting your CDL or you’ve been an owner-operator for years, you may be wondering what the most important trucking essentials are.
Read on to see some suggestions for your packing list to make the most of your cab space and maximize comfort.
It goes without saying that anyone who spends time on the road needs to have an emergency kit. Even the best drivers in the world have accidents – after all, you can’t control the other drivers on the road!
An emergency kit isn’t just a package of helpful tools. It’s also peace of mind that you won’t be left stranded in the cold, in the blistering heat or alone without the ability to communicate your situation. You’ll also find that an emergency kit can make you the hero if you come across an accident on the road before emergency services can arrive.
The best emergency kits contain at least these staples:
First Aid Kit – No emergency kit is complete without the ability to administer a cursory level of first aid when in need.
Mylar blanket – Trucking doesn’t stop when it gets cold, so you need to be sure you can stay warm even if you’re stuck on the side of the road overnight.
Road Flares & Reflectors – An unmarked accident can be a magnet for pile-ups. You must have some low visibility-friendly solutions to make sure your stopped vehicle doesn’t surprise anyone.
Emergency Radio – In case you lose your normal means of communication, an emergency radio helps prevent you from being stranded for too long.
Emergency Rations – Bottled water and packaged protein bars or similar high-calorie foods are great to keep in an emergency kit. They stay for years, are compact and leave you with enough energy to get through a night or two.
Mobile WiFi Hotspot
There’s no reason to think that being a long-haul trucker will keep you from daily check-ins on Facebook or staying recent with the news. Mobile Wi-Fi hotspots give you the ability to go online when you’re in “hurry up and wait” mode at one stop or another.
These small devices let you access the web from anywhere. In addition to helping you communicate, they can let you use entertainment devices that need online access!
Another benefit is avoiding the spotty Wi-Fi available at some truck stops. It’s frustrating when you expect to be able to go online, only to realize it’d be faster to mail out a letter than try to e-mail your family through slow public Wi-Fi!
Long-haul trucking can involve a lot of late-night journeys. You may not be able to stop somewhere that offers amenities for taking care of your hygiene needs. An overnight kit can solve this problem if you’re worried, and is a smart trucking essential anyway to make sure you always have the brands and products you prefer.
Overnight kits should include things like:
- Toothbrush & Toothpaste
- Backup Glasses/Contacts
- Wet Wipes
- Shower Supplies
While you won’t always need them, it’s definitely something you’ll be glad you have when you do. Especially when the weather gets unbearably hot and you’re ready to relax during a break.
From envelopes to portable file folders, it’s a good idea to have somewhere safe and accessible to store your paperwork. Unfortunately, trucking is an industry that relies heavily on paperwork, so you’ll be dealing with it more than you’d like.
Losing important documents, or even just taking an extra few minutes to gather up the right papers to wrap up a job can be stressful and inefficient. Accordion-style file folders are a great addition to your truck to store and organize paperwork for every job to let you focus on driving or cargo management.
Similarly to an emergency kit, you never want to be left on the road without the means to make a quick trailer repair. Like any vehicle, your truck has a lot of moving parts. It’s inevitable that some problems, big or small, will eventually rear its ugly head at the worst time imaginable.
The ideal trucking essentials toolbox can have hundreds of tools, but the most important ones to have on hand are:
- Tire pressure gauge
- Flashlights (especially self-standing types)
- Vice Grips
- Wire Cutter & Electrical Tape
- Safety Glasses
When you have a well-stocked toolbox on hand, you can turn an issue from an overnight service call into a 20-minute fix. While you’ll still want to get it checked out in a proper service bay, it can make sure you’re able to safely finish your job without delay.
A Good Pair of Gloves (or 3)
Every truck driver knows the value of a good pair of gloves. From reducing vibrations and making the long drive easier to manage, to making quick repairs less painful, reliable gloves are a must-have for your daily work.
Out here in Utah and Idaho, the winters can get brutal. Trying to tackle an emergency repair in the freezing cold without gloves is a quick path to frostbite or other injuries. There’s no reason not to stock some gloves in your truck. They’re easy to store, easy to put on, and can be lifesavers when you need them!
Eating well on the road is possible! Slow cookers are a miracle for those who want to eat freshly-cooked food without needing a full kitchen of appliances. One slow cooker can make a meal of all types of foods – vegetables and meats, soups and stews!
While primarily used in households, slow cookers can be used on the road too. They even make special slow cookers designed for the rigors of bumpy roads. But you can use a standard slow cooker just the same.
Recipes are easy to find online for almost any type of food. This is one of the trucking essentials that helps overcome a common issue with being an owner-operator: eating well and staying healthy!
You won’t always have time to make use of any cooking tool, from a slow cooker to a portable grill. When your driving deadline is tight and you’re starving, it’s good to know you have some quick sources of calories on hand.
Snacks that are non-perishable or can survive a long time stored away are best. Jerky is a fan favorite for sure, but sunflower seeds, peanut butter, or just some bread can help bridge the gap until you have time to sit down and eat some real food.
TVs, Games & Books
A way to pass the time is easily one of the most critical trucking essentials. Life on the road can be tough, but the long periods of being stopped somewhere with nothing to do are mentally exhausting.
Modern electronics give you a lot of options. You can install portable or even full-sized TVs into your sleeper to enjoy entertainment when parked at a truck stop. Likewise, you can hook up gaming systems or Blu-Ray players to enjoy your favorite games, movies or shows too!
Of course, you don’t always need technology to keep the road interesting. A good old-fashioned book (or e-reader) makes a perfect solution for free time. The best part is how easy they are to pick up and put down, ideal for staying ready to work between brief moments of downtime.
Trucker’s Atlas or Paper Maps
We get it. Modern drivers use modern technology. It’s hard to beat Google Maps, Apple Maps or Waze when it comes to getting to your destination without too much trouble. But technology isn’t always reliable. Whether you can’t get a signal, your phone was lost/damaged, or you just don’t want to rely on a gadget to ensure you arrive safely, old fashioned maps make a great backup.
The last thing any driver wants to do is reach a point where they can’t figure out how to get to their destination. No amount of navigation savvy will get you that last mile to a pickup or drop-off if you’re somewhere unfamiliar. Having a map that can’t run out of batteries or fail to connect is always a smart option.
Having space for a bed isn’t all you need in a sleeper cab. While you could try to bring even more of that “at home” feeling with bedding and sheets, it adds extra hassle to life on the road.
A sleeping bag works great to keep you warm and comfortable on a bed and is much easier to store or clean. It’s also great to have in case of an emergency to stay warm outside of your truck!
Contact Semi Service Today
Don’t get left out in the cold, we can help answer your questions! The snowy season is here, so let our experts help you sooner rather than later.
Contact us online or give us a call at (801) 895-4419 to get started today!
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