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The Must-Have Tool Kit for Owner Operator Truckers

This article was contributed by TruckDriver.com

The freedom of the open road is one of the many advantages of becoming a professional truck driver. Drivers have the option to drive with a fleet or become their own boss by operating as an owner operator. There’s a whole host of opportunities for hard-working professionals in the world of truck driving, whether going across the country or taking on local deliveries.

Comfort while out driving is important, however, due to the drastically different jobs you may encounter on a daily basis, knowing what items to have on hand for a relaxing drive can be difficult to pinpoint. The industry professionals from TruckDriver.com have compiled a handy list of items every owner operator truck driver should have on hand.

1. 6-Gallon Water Jugs

Many truckers, especially those new to the profession, may not realize how important regular access to clean water can be during long hauls. Whether it’s for maintaining proper hygiene, cooling down a faulty radiator, or to have an emergency supply to keep hydrated, truckers should always have several gallons of water on hand. For fleet drivers, having a supply of clean water is considered to be among the list of mandatory gear needed on the job.

One-gallon water jugs are easily found in most supermarkets, gas stations and truck stops. They tend to be the cheaper option, however 6-gallon jugs are typically made of sturdier material and will not run out or require constant refilling like their one gallon counterparts. Six-gallon jugs are available in a variety of styles for easy storage and their larger capacity makes the six-gallon jugs a better option for long trips.

2. A Good Pair of Work Gloves

The majority of your work as an owner operator will not require strenuous labor or handling hazardous materials. In the event that you do require hand protection, a reliable pair of work gloves will definitely come in handy. A decent pair of cowhide leather gloves will get the job done, however you may want to consider Mechanix work gloves for a little more comfort and dexterity.

3. Multiple Ratchet or Winch Straps

Any seasoned trucker will tell you multiple straps are an incredibly useful tool. In addition to tying down heavy loads, both ratchet and winch straps are used for many other applications while on the road. Ratchet straps accommodate specific weights and are operated by a hand crank, whereas winch straps can be paired with a high torque winch bar – tolerating higher tensions and larger loads. Even if your rig already has a set of ratchet straps, it’s definitely worth looking into an extra pair of ratchet or winch straps. When you have tight deadlines to meet, being over-prepared is never a bad thing!

4. Emergency Space Blanket

Your rig will probably never see the deep recesses of space, but there may come a time when you’re broken down in the middle of a frigid winter storm. In this unfortunate case, a space blanket can be an incredibly useful, even lifesaving, item to have on hand. Despite the sci-fi appearance, space blankets keep you warm by reflecting your own body heat back, instead of letting the excess heat escape through convection.

Space blankets are more efficient at keeping you warm than traditional cloth or fur blankets, as well as incredibly compact and easy to store. Lifesaving and lightweight, a space blanket is a must-have while on the road.

5. Corner Protectors

These go in hand with straps or chains - corner protectors protect your cargo and your gear when used in tie-down applications. They are manufactured in a variety of different materials, most commonly from high-quality plastic or rubber. Corner protectors extend the life of your straps and chains, while reducing tie-down related damage on your cargo. Plastic and rubber are ideal for straps or banding applications, whereas steel or metal protectors are best-suited for use with chains or on cargo with delicate corners. Many seasoned truckers swear by these!

6. Audiobooks

When traveling alone as an owner operator, it’s important to stay alert and focused. Staving off boredom not only makes the ride more enjoyable, it makes driving safer. While music is great, it will only last for so long before you’ve heard the same song one too many times. We don’t recommend watching Netflix or Hulu while on the road, due to the obvious safety concerns. Audiobooks are an excellent alternative! There are hundreds of thousands of audiobooks available and the choices of stories is virtually limitless - new books are being published every day!

If you’ve already joined the audiobook club, consider a subscription with Audible which lets you listen to an unlimited number of books starting at just $14.95 a month.

7. Aluminum Walk Ramps

An aluminum walk ramp is a valuable tool to have on hand in case your destination is not equipped with a loading dock or if the lift on the back of your rig suffers a malfunction. When you need to efficiently move cargo in and out of your trailer or flatbed, a walk ramp is the tool you will need to get the job done. Lightweight and sturdy enough to take on heavy loads with traction surfaces available, walk ramps are an essential tool to have in your rig.

Bonus: Quality Multi-Tool

If you’re a trucker, chances are you probably already have a handful of multi-tools in your collection. When choosing your everyday “go-to” tool, it’s important to not skimp on price. You’re going to want something that stands up to heavy daily use and will last for years. You’ll be doing yourself a favor in the long run by splurging a little on a quality multi-tool.

Go Out & Make Your Perfect Trucker Kit

Years of experience will teach you what will work best for you during long trips. With the above tools at your disposal and a solid grasp of the trucking industry, you’ll be a pro in no time. From protecting your gear to staying alert and entertained during long overnight hauls, the life of an owner operator is never boring!

About Truckdriver.com

Founded in 1996, TruckDriver.com is one of the oldest driver recruiting web sites on the Internet, providing the most comprehensive online career resource for professional truck drivers through our network of quality truck driving jobs for drivers, owner operators and trucking companies.

TruckDriver.com has been owned and operated from the beginning by truck drivers. In 1975, Brian and Vona Thomforde got married and bought a truck, by the mid-nineties, they had 24 trucks on their fleet. Around that time, Brian began looking for more efficient ways to attract drivers, thus Truckdriver.com was born.

Truckdriver.com is a complete online application service providing trucking companies all across the United States and Canada a primary source for locating professional truck drivers.

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