When you’re going on a long trip, packing can be one of the most stressful parts. Did you bring enough clothes? Do you have all of your relevant documents? What is the weather going to be like on your destination? Are you sure you packed enough?
For truck drivers, packing is a constant challenge. You are limited in what fits on your truck and, if you forget something, truck stops may not have the products you need. You have to be careful not to over pack while still bringing enough to last you for your haul.
TRUCK DRIVER PACKING LIST
You may be on the road for anywhere from 7-14 days or more, so you will want to bring enough clothes to wear during this time. Doing laundry can be a challenge if your nearby truck stop doesn’t offer laundry services, and you may not have time to stop regardless. Your clothes won’t necessarily get dirty spending your entire day inside the truck, so expect to rewear an outfit once or twice while on your trip.
When it comes to packing clothes as a truck driver, there are two simple rules of thumb: dress comfortably and dress for the weather. You’ll be spending quite a few hours inside your truck, and wearing uncomfortable clothes while driving is never good. Jeans that dig into your thighs or shirts that poke at your neck will turn from a mild annoyance to a huge nuisance in a matter of hours. The same goes for clothes that don’t work with the weather. Always bring a rain jacket and a coat just in case. It may not be chilly in Arizona, but it might be by the time you make it to Michigan. Sunglasses are another necessity to protect yourself from the sun shining in your eyes.
MEDICATION & TOILETRIES
If you take any medication regularly, be sure to pack your regular dosage along with a few extra doses just in case. Your trip may be extended by bad weather or a load taking longer than anticipated, and you don’t want to be stuck without your necessary medication. If you take any medications, always ensure they are approved under the Department of Transportation and reviewed by a medical professional certified under the DOT.
Bring your toiletries with you to avoid paying the truck stop markup. Though you may not have a lot of time for laundry, invest in a small kit with a laundry bag and some detergent for those times you need it. The same goes for a shower kit – bring along the bare necessities in a shower caddy to make it easy for transport.
You won’t have time to stop every time a craving hits. Bringing snacks helps to stave off the worst of your hunger and keeps you focused on the road, not your next meal. Don’t rely solely on chips and candy either. Truck driving is known for being an unhealthy profession, but it all comes down to your own personal health choices and planning ahead.
Consider packing some of these healthy snacks, perfect for the busy truck driver:
- Fresh fruit
- Protein bars
- Hummus and vegetables
- Unsalted mixed nuts
- Beef jerky
- Frozen fruit bars
The truck won’t be running non-stop, meaning you will have some downtime to yourself. This can be a great time to relax and take part in hobbies you enjoy. You may bring a laptop and some movies along with you, or consider packing some books for the road. If you want to avoid lugging around the weight of a heavy book, some drivers invest in e-readers or audio books instead of hard copies. Podcasts are also very popular for professional truck drivers.
Another popular item many truck drivers invest in is a Bluetooth headset to stay connected with friends, family, and their employer. Always check your company’s safety policies as well as the state laws in which you are operating to ensure that you are legal and following company policy with the device you are using.
No matter the length of your trip, you’ll have some items that will be a necessity every time. You should always pack these items:
- Checks and/or cash. With transactions taking place across the United States, the debit or credit card of a truck driver is a magnet to be flagged for fraud. It’s always a good idea to bring checks just in case you lose a card or it quits working.
- Gloves and tools. The need for a repair can strike at any moment. If you get stranded, you may need to perform some minor repairs yourself. Keeping some basic tools can help get you back on the road as fast as possible.
- A map/atlas. You should never rely only on a GPS or your phone. When service goes out, you’ll be grateful you brought along a paper map with you.