You chose trucking as a carrier because you like the flexibility, travel, and pay. Being a carrier can be a terrific career for these and other reasons.
But planning is important when it comes to a successful trip. Truck driver essentials include items and tools that can prepare you for potential problems while keeping you comfortable during the trip.
What follows are things truck drivers need to help reduce stress while on the road. Stocking these things before your trip means you can maintain your schedule and get cargo to its destination on time.
Truck Driver Essentials: 19 Things Truckers Describe as “Must-Haves”
Whether you’re just starting as a trucker or have several thousand miles under your belt, the following items are trucker must haves. Once you’re done packing tools, kits, and food, be sure to check them regularly, and replenish necessities when necessary. Here’s everything you need to know.
Trucking permit and credentials
This paperwork should always be carried on board with you. You’ll need this information if you’re stopped by law enforcement or checking in at a weigh station. Documentation should include the following:
- CDL license
- Proof of insurance
- Vehicle registration
- State permits
- Long-form physical
- Special certifications (such as transporting hazardous materials, liquid tankers, or triple trailers)
Shower flip flops
A lot of people use truck-stop showers. This means a lot of potential diseases ending up on your feet, including athlete’s foot, fungal infections, and bacterial issues. Shower flip-flops fall into trucker must haves, as they protect your feet from potential discomfort. Also, when you’re done with your shower, be sure to disinfect that footgear.
You might think that most rest stops have bathrooms, and you’d be right. But you might find yourself on a long stretch of road when nature calls, with no rest stop or gas station in sight. In such a situation, truck driver essentials should include an emergency bathroom container with toilet paper and disinfectant wipes.
Personal hygiene supplies
Even if you’re on a short-haul trip, always carry personal hygiene supplies with you. You never know when your job might be extended, or if something might keep you on the road for longer than you anticipated. What should go into your hygiene kit? At the very least, put in a toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, and soap.
“Gloves?” you might be thinking. “My lanes are all warm-weather!” Even if your transport takes you only through the Sun Belt states, gloves are a must, especially good work gloves. For one thing, it can get cold in the south. For another, gloves protect your hands from injuries.
Extra clean clothes make sense on a long-distance OTR job. Even if you can find truck rest stops with laundry facilities, extra shirts, pants, socks, and underwear are essential to keep you well-groomed. Extra clothes also make sense on short hauls; you never know when scheduling or weather delays might occur.
A high-visibility jacket or vest is another truck driver essential, especially at night, if you need to step out of your truck to check your tires or load. The fluorescent materials used in this high-vis gear help other drivers see you clearly and can avoid potential accidents.
A flashlight is a necessity, in case something goes wrong when you drive at night. A sturdy light can provide a great deal of assistance if you need to pull over in the dark to check on a flat tire or other problem. Along with the flashlight, be sure to pack several batteries.
Tire pressure gauge
Speaking of flat tires—or low tires—your tire pressure gauge helps keep your tires at the right pressure for road conditions and weather. Under-inflated or over-inflated tires can impact your truck’s handling. You can also check the load/inflation tables available through any tire manufacturer to make sure your tires’ pressure is within the safe range.
First aid kit
Whether you’re a company driver or on your own, a medical first-aid kit, complete with adhesive bandages, compresses, gauze, tape, and first-aid cream needs to be added to your stash. Check this kit regularly, and replace items as needed.
Along with the first-aid kit, an emergency kit is one of those truck driver essentials you must have to keep safe. The safety kit should include bottled water, a flashlight and batteries, duct tape, jumper cables, a tarp, wrench, fuses, and pliers. A small tool kit would also be helpful.
Road cones and flares
Other things truckers need are road cones and flares, which should be added to your emergency kit. Both are important if you run into trouble or see another truck driver who needs your help. Road cones warn other drivers to keep their distance, while flares are highly useful in more remote areas or at night.
Portable cooking appliances
You won’t want to exist on a diet of restaurant food or junk-food snacks that are high in sugar or sodium. This is where portable cooking appliances, such as electric skillets, slow cookers, or even portable roasters can come in very handy. These devices provide you with hot meals and plenty of variety.
Cell phone charger
Your cell phone is your lifeline between you, the broker, the shipper, and your family. And that can also provide entertainment, from streaming music to games. All of these activities are a drain on your phone’s battery. Stocking a charger in your cab takes care of this issue. Chargers are available to fit into your 12V port. Also, carry a plug-in charger as a backup.
In theory, the trucking life seems glamorous with its long-distance travel on the nation’s roads. In reality, long-distance hauling can be lonely, boring, and solitary. An e-Reader can provide entertainment during layovers or stops. Whether you take a Kindle, Nook, or similar devices, e-readers give you access to a wide range of reading material, including magazines, newspapers, and books.
Portable movie player
If you’re not interested in reading, a portable movie player with DVDs of your choice can be a great alternative. It offers flexibility, allowing you to watch shows and movies you want, which can keep you entertained for hours.
Extra water and non-perishable foods
Yes, there are many restaurants on the interstates and highways of the United States. But stopping to grab a bite can be pricey and time-consuming. Save time and money by carrying plenty of water—hydration is important. And healthy, non-perishable snacks are on the list of truck driver essentials, as they can keep you going for long periods.
Hard toe (waterproof) boots
Much like gloves, water-proof boots with reinforced toes come in handy in various situations. Even if you aren’t traveling in areas known for snow or ice, you might have to pull over on a rocky shoulder to redistribute a load or to load or unload cargo on wet terrains. Be sure these boots are comfortable, too. You might be wearing them for a long stretch.
An effective load board is your best friend and an important addition to your list of trucker must haves. The load board helps you find jobs which will keep your truck moving and your business profitable. For example, the Truckstop.com Load Board helps you find loads that fit your schedule and geographic region while helping you form long-lasting relationships with brokers and shippers.
Find more high-paying loads today!
All your travel requirements and preparation don’t matter one bit if you don’t have anything to haul. This is where a great load board paves the way. The Truckstop.com Load Board is one of the most important truck driver essentials you could have. It helps you quickly find and book loads to transport. Visit Truckstop.com to schedule your free load board demo.