The things you keep in your truck can clutter up an otherwise clean ride, or they can save your butt and possibly your life. By keeping the right things in your truck you can not only stay comfortable but you can survive a bad situation, too. Check out the list of items below and see what you don’t currently have in your truck. Whether you pack all of these in a single bag or squirrel them away in the various compartments, when you need them you’ll be glad you did.
Paper Map and Compass
While most of us have GPS in our trucks or on our smart phones, there’s no replacement for a good paper map. Batteries die and GPS can sometimes not link up properly, but a good map and compass will work indefinitely, as long as you don’t catch the map on fire. Learn to read a map and compass and you’ll be able to find yourself out of anywhere, or at least navigate the rest of that road trip after your GPS dies.
This one can’t be stressed enough. Ideally you should have 2 or even three flashlights in your truck of varying sizes and strengths. Not only is a flashlight great for changing tires in the dark, but they can be a real lifesaver if you get stuck and have to walk back on the trail to civilization. Trust us, get a few good flashlights and keep the batteries fresh, you’ll be glad you did sooner than later.
Mobile Phone Charger
Whatever type of phone you have, you should keep a mobile charger with you at all times. Even if your battery life is great, you want to make sure you have one in case you get stranded or stuck. If you’re stuck in your truck for more than a day for some reason, you’ll still need to communicate with someone and you can’t do that with a dead battery, can you? This also helps if you decide to spend the night somewhere, too. You can charge on your way home and be ready for the day.
This goes without saying, but water in a truck is pretty important stuff. Water keeps you hydrated on the trail when it’s a hot day, it’s good for flushing out scrapes, scratches, and other wounds, and you can replace a boiled-over radiator with it. Ideally you should keep 2 gallons of sealed water with you at all times, more if you’re going on a long trip.
First Aid Kit
A solid first aid kit is vital. From scrapes while on the trail to automotive crashes on and off the road, if you’re out or direct reach of medical help a first-aid kit can make you comfortable and possibly even save your life. Don’t skimp on this and make sure it has a CPR face shield included, and that you know CPR, too.
Not everything is about pure survival in a bad situation in this list, as simple snacks can help turn an unexpected rush hour into a little more relaxing of a situation. Think snacks that travel well and hold up to heat and cold. Nuts like almonds and protein bars are great, as long as the bars don’t melt easily in prolonged heat. Along with helping with hunger pangs, these can save your life on the trail if you’re broken down and a day or more from walking out.
From keeping warm in a broken down truck overnight to curling up in the bed of your truck and watching the stars with your significant other, keeping a few blankets in your truck is pretty important stuff. Nothing more here, just keep 2 or 3 blankets with you and thank us later.
This doesn’t have to be a full-sized house extinguisher, but instead a smaller one meant for cars and trucks. Fires can pop up quickly and spread like, well, wildfire in a vehicle. A fire can be caused by an overheating engine or be the result of a wreck. Either way, you can save lives and save your truck by being ready to put out any fires that start before they can spread.
12-volt Air Compressor
A small air compressor is perfect for blowing up your tires after you aired down for the trail. Instead of driving on low tires until you get to a gas station, use a small air pump to air them up before hitting the pavement. It’s safer and you’ll save your tires from wearing out too quickly.
Windshield Washer Fluid
It seems like we always run out of fluid at the worst time and wish we had listened to the warning on the dashboard sooner. Keep an extra gallon of washer fluid in your truck so you’re never stuck not seeing out of your windshield.
It can be dangerous breaking down on the side of the road. First the thought of having to fix whatever broke and then the realization that you’re a sitting duck for anyone not paying attention can make you downright grumpy. By using road flares in the day or night, you alert oncoming drivers that you’re there and having some issues.
The great thing about jumper cables is that not only do they help you when you leave your lights on or listen to the radio a little too long, but you can help your neighbor or even a complete stranger that did the exact same thing. It’s hard to drive when your battery is dead, so treat these with the importance they deserve and always have a good pair.
Even if you have a winch, every truck owner needs to have a good set of tow straps. These can help get you out of a bad situation or help a friend that’s less prepared, too. Check out this post on how to safely get un-stuck and buy proper tow straps.
We’re not talking winter gloves here, but if it’s cold out you should have those, too. Ideally here we’re talking about a good pair of leather work gloves. Actions like using a winch, getting your space tire from under your truck, and getting debris out from your path all work better with gloves. Get a good pair and keep them in your truck.
Change of Clothes
The chances of you getting covered in mud or other equally dirty particulate when in a truck are pretty high. Changing tires, getting out and un-stuck in the mud, or just unloading the bed can all get you dirty pretty quickly. Since many of these are unexpected, it’s best to keep a change of clothes with you. Just a t-shirt and a pair of jeans will do, but the first time you get to drive home with your muddy pants in the back instead of on your seat, you’ll be pretty happy.