Commercial truck drivers, literally by definition, spend a lot of their time out on the road. Many of these journeys will involve at least one night away from home. They may well involve a lot more. Smart truck drivers quickly learn to be prepared for whatever they may encounter.
Personal hygiene kit
When it comes to personal hygiene, there’s a simple rule. If you think you’re likely to need it, bring it yourself. What’s more, bring enough of it to be sure it’ll last your whole trip. Travel toiletries can be expensive. It’s generally more affordable to buy travel-sized containers and decant products into them.
Look for “dry” products as much as possible, for example, shampoo bars instead of liquid shampoo. If you must take liquids, put a little plastic wrap over the mouth of the bottle before you put on the lid. Remember toilet paper and hand sanitiser. You might also want to invest in microfibre (quick-dry) washcloths and towels. Flip-flops are also a good idea (for use in showers).
Take a selection of travel-friendly foods with you. Check the applicable rules. In general, however, dried, wrapped foods are usually fine. Also take everything you need to get fed and hydrated e.g. your own plate/bowl, travel cup, water bottle and cutlery.
Depending on where you are going (and for how long) you might want to consider a camping stove and cooking equipment. If you do, however, remember to keep safety in mind whenever you use it.
You’re almost certainly going to be eating, or at least snacking, inside your cab. You might therefore want to bring along a battery-operated, hand-held vacuum cleaner and some odour-busting products. These can make a real difference to your comfort (and also make you look more professional to your clients).
To a certain extent, this will depend on where you’re going. That said, it’s generally advisable to be prepared for unexpected weather conditions. Look for clothing that can be layered and/or fold away to a small size e.g. cagoules you can put in a pouch. Also, try to pack clothing that washes easily, dries quickly and doesn’t crease.
A universal plug, traveller’s clothesline and washing detergent (preferably solid) will allow you to keep your clothes clean even if you can’t get to a laundrette. A small sewing kit will allow you to deal with basic repairs.
Personal tech/entertainment kit
This is entirely up to you. If getting online matters to you, however, be sure to think about how to do so if you can’t get onto a public WiFi connection.
As a minimum, take along an eye mask, some earplugs, an extra blanket and an alarm clock. Depending on where you’re going, you might want to take your own sleeping bag and liners. Also, take along anything which helps you get to sleep e.g. a jar of hot chocolate.
Your employer will probably give you one of these. They are, however, so important that it’s worth taking your own. Even if you’re mostly happy with what your employer gives you, you may want to add a few specific bits and pieces. If you have any serious medical conditions, including allergies, then it’s a good idea to invest in MedicAlert ID jewellery.
You’re going to need cones, a high-vis jacket (taking a spare is a good idea) and lighting (roadside, on-body and a good torch). You’re also going to need protection from the weather, whatever it is. This means that, no matter where you’re going, it’s a good idea to take a regular blanket, a survival blanket, suncream, sunglasses, a peaked hat and a water bottle.
You can rely on electronic maps but paper ones still have their uses and take up very little space.
Tool kit/loading and unloading gear
Your employer may have a recommended list. If not, consider the following:
- Adjustable wrench
- Allen key set
- Box knife
- Bungee cords
- Electrical tape
- Multi-head screwdriver
- Socket set
- Tyre air gauge
- Zip ties
You’ll also need your gear for loading and unloading.