Truck Driver Essentials: The Ultimate Truck Driver Packing List

November 20, 2021

Are you a new OTR truck driver about to hit the road for the first time? Or are you an experienced truck driver who just wants to make sure they have all the essential items for a successful trip on the road? 

Whatever your needs are, we have compiled a list of over 30 truck driver essentials for you. This packing list contains items for various purposes, including hygiene, navigation, emergencies, personal needs, food, and entertainment.

Hygiene Essentials for Truck Drivers

Some of the most essential things truckers need are hygiene items. These hygiene products are must-haves for you as a truck driver:

  1. Hygiene basics and toiletries

These are arguably the most important truck driver supplies you’ll need on the road. You should maintain flawless personal hygiene as best as you can, especially if you’re in a team. You don’t want to be the reason your team truck driving partner is uncomfortable throughout a long trip. 

Your hygiene basics and toiletries include your toothbrush, toothpaste, bathing soap, deodorant, grooming kit, towel, and many more.

  1. Shower flip flops

Shower flip-flops are for those detours to truck stop showers. There, you’re going to use a truck stop shower after another truck driver. Although the truck stop pays janitors to clean up after every truck driver, we recommend you protect your feet from any unfriendly bacteria that the janitor might have missed.

  1. Cleaning supplies 

Not only do you have to keep your body clean, but you also have to keep your cab clean. This is where your cleaning supplies come in handy. The handheld vacuum, for instance, is portable, and you should be done cleaning your cab in 5 minutes with it. 

Other essential cleaning supplies that a trucker needs are cleaning wipes, hand broom, laundry detergent, trash bags, and many more.

Personal Items Truck Drivers Must Have

After you have your hygiene supplies ready, items for personal needs are next:

  1. Sleeping gear

Quality sleep is possible if you have some essential sleeping gear, even in the small sleeper cab. Your sleeping gear includes items that keep you comfortable while you relax in your sleeper cab. Examples include a cozy blanket and a pillow.

  1. Gloves

For when the weather is cold, gloves keep your hands warm enough to use the steering wheel and other buttons on the dashboard. When you also need to carry out some repairs, gloves protect your hands from getting injured. Therefore, you need them.

  1. Clean clothes

Apart from your gloves, you should also bring a clean set of clothes along with you. And don’t forget to pack your clothes according to the weather. 

  1. Waterproof boots

Wet feet can be uncomfortable. Wet feet also make it easier for you to slip and fall. Waterproof boots protect you from that discomfort, and they keep you safe and dry. 

  1. Cell phone charger

Many cell phone manufacturers claim their batteries can last for 48 hours. While we’re not disputing their claims, we recommend you prepare your cell phone charger, regardless of whether your battery lasts for 100 hours. This way, you can be sure that you are never out of cell phone power to carry out important communications.

  1. Dash-mounted cell phone holder

Dash-mounted cell phone holders make it easier to keep your eyes on the road, even if you need to use your phone for minor things. The dash-mounted cell phone holder keeps your phone in front of you so that you can easily check out notifications or carry out simple commands without taking your eyes off the road for too long.

Emergency Items For Truckers

Emergencies happen every time. And they are always costly. They cost time, money, life, or sometimes all three. But you can limit the costs you’ll pay in emergencies by packing these OTR emergency trucker supplies:

  1. Credit card

This goes without saying. You can’t avoid doing transactions while you’re on the road. You’re always going to want to buy one thing or the other. For that, you can always use your credit card. 

Unless you intend to trade by barter, the credit card is an indispensable thing a truck driver needs on the road. 

  1. Cash

What happens when you lose your credit card, or you have issues with it? You’re going to need cold, hard, cash. Cash never has electronic issues, so there’re fewer ways it can disappoint you.

  1. Flashlight

You may not need a flashlight if you’re not an OTR truck driver. Otherwise, you will depend heavily on flashlights to find your way on foot. 

Flashlights can come in handy when you find yourself in that area of the truck stop that is dimly lit. Or if you’re spending the night in your cab, you can also see around you. If your truck breaks down at night, you can’t make any quick repairs unless you see what you’re doing.

  1. Spare batteries

If your flashlight runs on battery, don’t forget to bring spare batteries along. Also bring spare batteries for every electronic you have with you, such as your electric razor.

  1. Emergency toilet and toilet paper 

Sometimes the emergency isn’t happening around you. It’s happening within you. And this inward emergency can be as urgent as the external emergency. Therefore, you’ll need an emergency bathroom container. And well… you know what toilet paper does.

PS: Don’t ever forget to bring this along with you, especially if you’re traveling through or to the middle of nowhere. 

  1. First aid kit

Injuries happen all the time. All of them require prompt medical attention, but not all require that you visit the hospital, especially when you have your first aid kit. Don’t spare the smallest cuts, because a wound doesn’t have to be big before it gets infested.

Besides having your first aid kit, learn how to use its content. You can look up how to treat the most common injuries on the internet and prepare yourself for them.

  1. Maintenance tools

Maintenance tools are more like first aid kits, but for machines. With them, you can quickly make simple repairs to your truck and get it back on the road. Or at least, until you find a professional mechanic to do the major repairs. 

Items that should be in your emergency kit include safety glasses, hammers, box knives, wire-cutters, dog bone wrenches, combination wrenches, and many more.

  1. Cones and warning triangles

When you need to use the maintenance tools we talked about there, make sure you first place your cone or warning triangle a few feet behind your trailer. This helps drivers coming behind you to know that you’re not in motion and that they should go around you. 

  1. High-visibility jacket

Besides the cones and warning triangles, high-visibility jackets are essential must-have items for truck drivers. When you’re busy carrying out your repairs at night, high-visibility jackets make it easy for other motorists can know where you are. 

Just as it is with cones and warning triangles, high-visibility jackets can save your life.

Food Packing List For Truckers

As fuel is to your trailer, so is food to your body. There’s only so far you can go without food. 

But it isn’t just enough to eat any food. You must plan and prepare to eat healthy food. These truck driver essentials will make it easier for you:

  1. Non-perishable food

Eating out is time taking. It can be expensive. And it can sometimes be unhealthy, as you may not know all the ingredients used in the meal in front of you. How then do you keep yourself from always having to fall back on this unhealthy option? By packing your own non-perishable food.

Packing your non-perishable food not only helps you save time and money on your trip, but it also puts you in control of what you eat. 

You may also use any of the healthy meal prep ideas we provided for you to keep your health in the best condition.

  1. Water

You can never go wrong with an ample supply of water. 

  1. Healthy snacks

Sometimes in between meals, you want to keep your mouth busy. The mistake many truck drivers make is to stop by a restaurant or fast-food chain to get some junk snacks. 

Being a truck driver, you’re already prone to some diseases, especially if you don’t try to work out. Eating unhealthy food is only going to increase your chances of contracting these diseases. 

But when you only buy healthy snacks or pack yours from home, it becomes easier to say no to those junk snacks that may affect your health.

  1. Portable cooking appliances

A truck driving trip doesn’t exactly give you all the time you need to spend in the kitchen. At the same time, the truck rarely has enough space to import your entire home kitchen into your truck. 

Despite these, you can pack essential cooking appliances that are just enough to keep you alive and well-fed on your trip. Examples include slow cookers and electric skillets.

Navigation Tools For OTR Trucking

It is important to not get lost. Even if you eventually find your way, you would have wasted some precious time. That’s why these navigation items are essential for truck drives. 

  1. GPS

We now live in a world where it has become harder to get lost even when you don’t know your way, thanks to the GPS apps we have on our phones. Always keep at least one of these apps on your phone. We gave a few good options in our article where we talked about the best smartphone apps for truck drivers.

GPS will always save you time and effort, as you don’t have to be in constant communication with your fleet manager for directions. Neither do you have to rely on passers-by for directions.

  1. Atlas and Local Maps

What happens when your phone battery dies, or you broke your phone? An atlas and an updated local map can show you where to go just as well as their electronic versions. You should find local maps in stores in that area.

Entertainment Packing List For Truck Drivers

The life of a truck driver is never boring. There are always activities to keep your mind engaged and your hands busy. But boredom is still something you can’t totally eradicate. And that’s where these truck driver supplies come in handy.

  1. Games

For when you’re bored and not driving, you can keep yourself busy with a mobile game on your phone. But if mobile games are not your cup of tea, you may try out crossword or Sudoku puzzles. Portable game consoles like the Nintendo handhelds can also do the job.

  1. Hardcover books and audiobooks

Bringing along your favorite book can be a nice way to pass time when you’re not driving. The book draws you into its world, and in that time, you’re not a truck driver. You’re only a spectator of the events unfolding through the letters in the book.

But what if you can’t seem to detach yourself from this world? You can have the book as an audiobook. This way, you can listen to it while your hands and eyes are on the road.

  1. Movies

Movies are also another way to escape your surroundings while you’re not busy driving. Thanks to streaming platforms like Netflix and Hulu, you don’t even have to keep movies on your phone. There are huge arrays of movies of all genres to feast on.


We hope you find this list helpful and not forget to pack any truck driver essentials for your next OTR trip.

Safe journey and have fun!

About the author

I’m Luis Uribe, author of this website. I am the owner and head publisher for Trucker Daily and a freight brokerage Total Connection Logistics. I have been in and around the trucking industry for over 15 years. It is my mission with Trucker daily to equip truck drivers, with the latest in industry updates, news, and helpful tips to help further your trucking career and life. Whether you are a truck driving veteran, or beginner, you will find information on this site to save you a lot of time in your driving journey.

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