Must-haves on your packing list before a long-haul journey
Packing for a long-haul journey can be overwhelming for truck drivers who are in the early stages of their careers and don’t have the same long-haul experience that their colleagues have. To avoid any mishaps or forgotten items on the road, we have compiled a list of must-haves to pack up before your long-haul journey.
Long-haul truck drivers are obviously on the road for long periods of time and finding washing stations are sometimes hard to come by in more rural areas. We recommend packing plenty of clothing – far more than you’ll think you need – just in case there aren’t any washing stations at your truck stops. As well as this, make sure the clothes you pack are comfortable and weather appropriate. Depending on the country or the season, you will be spending long periods of time in the truck and you won’t want to be too hot or too cold. Lastly, sunglasses are an essential all year round! Many truck drivers often forget to bring these along and when the winter sun is low and strong, visibility is poor – which contributes to nearly 3,000 road accidents a year.
There are plenty of wash and shower stations that provide soaps for truck drivers. However, we suggest purchasing a shower bag or caddy and bringing along the toiletries you normally use, which may include:
- Small portable mirror
- Shower shoes
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Any medicine you take
This will prevent you from being caught out on the occasions toiletries aren’t available. However, if you’re keen to stop at locations with all the amenities, we covered some great stops in our blog “The best UK truck stops for resting HGV drivers”, which you can read here.
For long-haul truck drivers, your truck is like a home away from home for most of the year, and so, you will want to keep it clean, tidy, and comfortable.
- Handheld vacuum
- Bin Bags
- Air fresheners
- Disinfectant spray or wipes
- Paper or cotton towels
As we are currently living through a global pandemic, hygiene is more important than ever before. To help reduce the spread of the virus and ensure safety while out on the road, we also recommend packing plenty of face masks, disposable gloves, and bottles of hand sanitiser.
Ways to stay entertained
It can get very lonely and isolating on long-haul journeys, and so, having sources of entertainment in the evenings will massively help. Whether you are waiting at a dock or winding down for the evening, the following will help pass the time:
- Books or audiobooks
- Laptop or tablet to watch movies
- Smartphone to keep in touch with your friends and family
- Chargers for your equipment
- Notepad and pen
From winter blizzards to summer storms and heatwaves, drivers should be prepared to face any seasonal weather conditions. Although most drivers will be notified of any emergency items they should take on their trip, here are some ideas of what to pack before you head off:
- Flashlight/torch and batteries
- Extra blankets, sheets, and pillows to stay warm
- First aid kit
- Non-perishable food and extra water
- Road atlas
- Hardy toolbox
- Work gloves
- Backup power bank and USB cable to charge your phone
- Tire thumper
- Reflective triangle, vest, and other clothing
- Fire extinguisher
- Spare cash and some identification
Equipment for Health and fitness
Truck drivers are some of the most inactive workers, with 88% of long-haul drivers suffering from obesity or hypertension. Truck drivers sit for very long periods of the day while on the road so it can be difficult to stay active and healthy. In a recent Men’s Health article, they suggest exercising for just 15 minutes a day to help combat the inactivity that leads to chronic illness. Doing 15-20 minute high-intensity bodyweight workouts or packing a skipping rope, resistance bands, and small weights will achieve the recommended daily amount of exercise.
Sleep is also an issue for long-haul truck drivers, with 27% sleeping six or fewer hours a night, and 34% saying they have dangerously nodded-off while driving. Exercising daily can also help encourage good sleeping habits.
If you would like some more tips on how to stay healthy on the road, we covered this in our blog “5 Health Tips for HGV Drivers”, which you can read here.
If you are an experienced HGV driver or have any other essential items that other drivers should pack before a long-haul journey, please share with us on Twitter by tagging us at @stoneridge_uk. If you would like to read more articles, on topics from new legislation to the best truck stops in the UK, browse our driver’s blog.