Hello and welcome to the BW Mitchum Trucking blog! We’re bringing you the latest information on topics that matter to commercial truck drivers. BW Mitchum has been a leader in customized intermodal and domestic transportation, while still maintaining the core principles you expect from a 3rd-generation family business. We pride ourselves on our reliable and personalized customer service and provide whatever logistical support customers may need in addition to transportation, including warehousing, trans loading, and brokerage services. We are committed to continuing to provide the highest-quality transport services as we continue to grow. 

In our previous blog, we discussed some common mistakes that new truck drivers make. Some new truck drivers dive into the profession with a bit too much ambition and find themselves in predicaments. We talked about mistakes such as driving too fast, forgetting about your trailer, and not checking everything before you leave for your trip. If you are interested in learning more, we encourage you to check out our last post!

Today, we’ll be going over all of the gear you will need as a commercial truck driver. While you are on the road, the cab of your truck is essentially your home. You’ll be spending the majority of your time in your truck, so you want to make sure you have everything that you could possibly need! This includes items that you may not use very often, but you’d rather not be caught without. Like they say, it’s better to be safe than sorry! If you are interested in learning about all of the gear you should keep in your cab, you’re in the right place. Let’s get right into it.

As a commercial truck driver, life on the road is demanding and can be challenging. You never know what you might run into, which is why it’s always best to be prepared. Of course, you want your hauling journey to be as comfortable as possible so that you can get your job done efficiently and in a timely manner. Having all the right gear can certainly help you do just that. It can also be easy to forget things, so we recommend making a complete checklist of your own and utilizing it before every trip! 

First and foremost, you want to make sure you have essential items. These are items that you use on a daily basis, such as clothing, toiletries, and food. When it comes to clothing, you want to make sure that you bring enough clothes for the duration of your trip. How many days will you be gone? Make sure to bring clothing for each day, plus a few extras just in case they get dirty or otherwise uncomfortable. The type of clothing you bring will likely depend on your destination. What is the weather expected to be like? Be sure to check the upcoming forecast– You wouldn’t want to be stuck in cold temperatures without warm clothes. 

Some drivers may choose to keep weather-specific clothing items in their cab year-round, just in case of emergency. This is a personal preference and is entirely up to you. Here are some of the basic clothing items and accessories you may want to bring along with you on the road:

  • Shirts
  • Pants
  • Underwear
  • Sneakers and boots
  • Socks
  • Jackets and/or sweatshirts
  • Hats
  • Gloves
  • Sunglasses
  • Sleepwear 

You may also want to bring a laundry bag– Many truck stops have laundry washing facilities, or you may choose to use a laundromat. In any case, you may also want to bring your own laundry detergent.

Believe it or not, toiletries are sometimes overlooked. Although you use most of these items every day, you may be so focused on getting on the road that you forget. This means you may have to buy some of these items at truck stops, and that can be pricey. Because of this, many truck drivers prefer to pack their own toiletries so they can stay feeling fresh and clean on the road. As a commercial truck driver, being so busy and on the road most of the time can cause you to put hygiene on the back burner. However, keeping up with hygiene on the road can lead to a boost in confidence and good first impressions! It is important for you to take care of yourself so that you can do your job efficiently. Here are some of the toiletries you may want to bring with you:

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Dental floss
  • Mouthwash
  • Deodorant
  • Razor and shaving cream
  • Wet wipes
  • Hair brush or comb
  • Shower bag
  • Shampoo 
  • Bar of soap
  • Towel and washcloth
  • Shower sandals
  • Toilet paper
  • Any prescription medication you will need
  • Over-the-counter medications such as Tylenol 
  • Moisturizing lotion
  • Lip balm
  • Menstrual products (for female truck drivers)

Today, most truck stops have designated bathroom and shower areas for truck drivers to freshen up while on the road. Some of these stops will provide you with shampoo and soap, but you may feel more comfortable bringing your own. Additionally, if the stop you choose does not provide these items, you’ll have to buy them, which can add up over time. It also may be worth bringing a couple of extras of some of these items, just in case.

Food is arguably one of the most important items to carry with you on the road. You can plan times to stop for meals along your route, but sometimes things don’t always go as planned. With that in mind, it is important to keep some food, drinks, and snacks in the cab of your truck. Truck drivers are prone to developing a variety of health issues, including obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes, all of which can be attributed to an unhealthy diet and lifestyle. We strongly encourage you to stock up on some healthy snacks! Here are some food items you may want to consider bringing:

  • Granola bars
  • Fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Water and other beverages that do not contain sugar
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Jerky 
  • Energy bars
  • Trail mix
  • Peanut butter

These are just a few choices, of course, but you’ll want to stick to simple foods that are ready-to-eat and require little to no preparation. Depending on the foods you decide to bring, such as produce items, you may want to invest in a small cooler to keep in the cab of your truck to keep the items fresh. Additionally, you can look for foods that can be heated up easily in a microwave, such as oatmeal or instant rice. 

Besides the everyday essentials, you’ll want to bring emergency supplies as well. You never know what can happen on the road. In a worst-case scenario, you may be left to fend for yourself for a day or two. In case of emergency, you’ll want to make sure you have these items on hand:

  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Blankets/Emergency blankets
  • Pocket knife
  • Non-perishable foods
  • Extra water
  • Toolkit
  • Flares
  • Paper map/atlas

You should also keep a toolbox for trucking emergencies. This should include tools such as pliers, zip ties, a screwdriver, wrench set, and brake cleaner. 

In addition to these emergency items, you’ll want to have a complete first aid kit for both minor and more serious injuries. Your first aid kit should include the following:

  • Adhesive bandages 
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Medical gloves
  • Gauze rolls and pads
  • Adhesive tape
  • Thermometer
  • Tweezers
  • Scissors
  • Rubber tourniquet
  • Instant cold packs

Remember, this is not a definitive list of items– You can add to your first aid kit as you see fit. You never know when you may need them, whether it’s for you or a fellow driver. 

Now that you’ve covered the basics, it’s time to think about some other items you may need or want, especially when it comes to keeping yourself occupied during a break. Again, these items can vary from person to person, but you may want to bring:

  • Phone charger (and an extra one)
  • Portable charger or power pack for smartphones
  • Headphones
  • Laptop or tablet
  • Books, including puzzle or activity books
  • Magazines or newspapers

The bottom line is: Bring whatever will keep you occupied on breaks or overnight stops. If you have a hobby, such as drawing, bring whatever supplies you need to do that on the road!

As you can see, a large part of being a commercial truck driver is being prepared! Unexpected things can happen on the road, and you don’t want to be caught without an item you need. We recommend creating and printing out a list of essential items and going through your list each time you make a trip, whether you are going to or from a destination. We hope you found this article informative, and we hope to see you back on the blog soon for more tips and insight on topics involving truck drivers. If you are currently seeking new opportunities in the commercial trucking industry, we are always interested in adding new talent to our team! Visit our opportunities page to learn more about our requirements and apply for one of our open positions. Thank you for reading!