Top Essentials for the Road
Would you leave for a long vacation with only what you have in your pockets? Of course not! While a trucker’s road trip is not a vacation and involves hard work, it still involves paid travel as its core duty. Like any long trip, a haul requires preparation and supplies to run smoothly. To help you prepare for your next haul, we have put together a list of the best essentials to pack for the road.
- Water: It might seem obvious, but water is among one of the most important items to keep in stock. Water, among other drinks such as sports drinks and juices, is crucial for feeling your best. While you may want to just load up on coffee at the pit stops, caffeine can lead to dehydration, winding up making you even more tired.
- Snacks: If your cab has room, you can even invest in a microwave or electric cooker to make your own food. Try to stock up on healthy snacks such as granola bars, fruit, or nuts to give you a boost of energy. It is easy to develop bad eating habits by stopping at convenience stores and fast food; be prepared with your own healthy alternatives.
- Sunglasses: Staring at the road for hours on end can cause a lot of eye strain, and the harsh light of the sun can make it worse or even decrease road visibility. A pair or two of UV ray-blocking sunglasses can relieve tension on your eyes, prevent headaches, as well as make it safer to drive without glare.
- Work Gloves: Depending on the type of load you haul work gloves might be an essential part of your job duties. Some truckers, such as flatbed haulers, will need work gloves to handle products and set up their rigs. Always keep a pair in your cab.
- Repair Tools: As someone who operates a vehicle professionally, it only makes sense to bring along tools to keep your truck running in tip top shape. Common tools to pack include a tire gauge, crowbar, pliers, tire chains, wrenches, hammers, and a tape measure.
- First Aid Kit: Bring first aid supplies in case of a medical emergency. If you already have one, double check that it is fully stocked before heading out. A good first aid kit will have bandages, gauze, antibiotic ointment, medical scissors, and more.
- Emergency Road Kit: It is always best to prepare for the worst-case scenarios. Many road kits are provided by the company, so do not forget to keep it packed in a safe place in your cab. Common items in an emergency road kit include jumper cables, flares, traffic cones, and a flashlight.
- Pillows and Sleep Gear: Don’t forget your sleeping supplies if you’re sleeping in your cab! Pack pillows, sheets, blankets, or even a sleeping bag, depending on your preference. Ear plugs and a sleep mask can come in handy if you are parked in a particularly busy area.
- Phone/Charger and Holder: A smartphone is a useful tool in many ways. It can keep you connected to work and family, act as a map, and provide entertainment through music, audiobooks, and podcasts. For extra safety, invest in a dash-mounted phone holder. If you are relying on your phone for directions instead of a separate GPS, playing music, etc., it is best to keep the phone in an accessible view, so you do not get distracted looking for it.
- GPS: Bringing a GPS is key, especially if you do not want to rely on your phone for navigation. See if your company can provide one before purchasing your own.
- Shower Shoes: A multi-day trip means you will be showering at truck stops. Public showers are not always the cleanest and can harbor various fungi and bacteria if not cleaned well. Rather than taking any chances, bring a cheap pair of flip flops to wear when using truck stop showers to protect your feet.
- Hygienic Products: Pack all the essential products for overnights in a neat bag! That includes toothpaste/toothbrush, shampoo, soap, deodorant, and other toiletries. Consider bringing medications such as ibuprofen, allergy medicines, and stomach relief as well.
- Weather Gear: Driving regionally and cross-country often means you will be crossing through different climates and weather patterns. Check your route and weather predictions along the way in case you will need special gear such as warm gloves, hats, heavy jackets, and rain protection.
- Cleaning Supplies: Your cab is your home on the road. For a comfortable work and living space, pack cleaning supplies to keep the area tidy. Pack the basics such as multi-surface cleaner, paper towels, antibacterial wipes, dusters, and garbage bags. You can even bring a handheld vacuum for a quick solution to any dirt or spills.
- Document Folder: As any good trucker could tell you, staying organized on the road is important. It can be easy to get lost in clutter when you are working in a small space driving all day. To keep track of important paperwork, bring a folder along for organization. Accordion folders are particularly useful since they have multiple sections to group certain documents together. Your cab is your office, so keep it tidy.