Trucking can be a tiresome and difficult job, not to mention a lonely one. Truckers drive thousands of miles in short spaces of time to get the goods we need from place to place, and it’s fair to say that it’s not a job everyone could do. What are the essentials that truckers simply must have with them for those long, arduous trips across country? Here are 10 things the truckers say are simply a must, and you may be surprised by some of them!
1. Sleeping Bag, Blanket and Pillow
We know, that’s three things, but they all go together so we’re classing them as one. Some drivers take sheets with them, but that’s a cumbersome way of doing things. Taking a sleeping bag also adds warmth, and whether the driver is sleeping in the cab, at a truck stop or a motel, the bag is vital for cleanliness. A blanket is essential to add extra heat when it gets very cold, and there’s nothing like a comfortable and familiar pillow for a good night’s sleep.
2. Hygiene Kit
What do we mean by a hygiene kit? Well, a washbag with a few bits extra. A toothbrush and toothpaste are vital, soap and a spare, a flannel and towel, and other items such as a shaving kit, deodorant and so on. By carrying everything that they would normally use in the bathroom at home, the 21st century professional driver is able to keep clean and presentable at all times, and it helps to feel better for the day ahead too.
3. Extra Toilet Kit
Imagine you’re going camping, what do you take above and beyond all else? Toilet roll, and plenty of it! There’s no real explanation to do here apart from that the hygiene levels at some truck stops leave a lot to be desired and it’s better to be safe and sorry in case you are caught unawares. Some trips involve very long journeys through the wilderness, so enough said!
4. Shower Footwear
This is one item you may not find if you have a look at the major truck parts supplier Find It Parts but a pair of plastic shoes or flip flops are a vital part of the truckers kit. Why? Taking a shower at a truck stop or motel is sometimes like stepping into the dark – you have no idea who has been in there shortly before you. Fungal foot infections spread very easily this way, so the shoes guard against it. After all, the last problem a long-distance driver wants is one with the feet.
5. A Flashlight
This goes without saying but despite the escalating trucking industry worth very few essentials are supplied by the employer. Thus, a flashlight is a must that truckers must provide themselves. It really is essential too as if you’ve ever been out in the middle of nowhere late at night you’ll know the darkness can make things difficult, and a flashlight is essential in the event of a breakdown not just to see where you are or what is wrong, but as a beacon for the services coming to the rescue.
6. Strong Gloves
A pair of gloves is an essential choice in all seasons, and not just in the winter. Gloves may keep your hands warm when it’s cold, but they also provide protection when unstrapping a wagon or performing any other manual jobs where there is a potential for injury if things go wrong. There are many gloves on the market designed especially for the purpose, and they sell very well throughout the year.
7. Extra Clothing and Bad Weather Gear
When you consider that a truck driver’s journey can take them from one corner of the USA to another, it’s easy to see that the weather conditions can be very varied. They may go from warmer climes in the south to freezing weather in the north in just a couple of days, so bad weather clothing is a certainty for any sensible trucker. A heavy jacket, snow boots and more may also be part of the package.
8. Cell-Phone Holder
The cell phone is an essential part of the truckers’ tool kit, and a cell phone holder -one that attaches to the dash so the phone can be used hands-free when needed – will save a lot of trouble and keep those points of the license. The police take a very dim view of truckers – or any drivers – using the phone in their hands while driving, so a dedicated cradle for the phone in which it can be remotely answered and used is a piece of kit you will find in every truck’s cab.
9. Food and Water
A trucker will only carry food that will not go off in the cab, for obvious reasons, but will always have some snacks for fighting off that hunger and enough water for routine and extra for emergencies. No matter how well-kept a truck may be there are always problems that can occur, and water is vital if a driver is stranded for a long time in a remote location.
10. Ear Plugs
The relentless noise of the truck on the road can be tiresome, so many truckers carry earplugs. They are even more useful for if the night is to be spent by a busy road, or if the truck has a co-driver who is a noisy sleeper! Anything to ensure a good night’s sleep is welcome as part of the truckers’ travel pack, so earplugs certainly fit the bill.
That’s our 10 essentials that truckers say they will always have with them, and many of them explain why this is a hard job but an iconic one that is part of American culture. There will be many other items that they choose to carry with them, but a trucker with all of the above in the cab is ready to hit the road for a long and lonely journey to wherever they may need to go.