There are a few things that are really important and if you are just starting trucking as a career you need to get these things now, or as soon as you possibly can. Below are my affiliate links to help you get started better;
- Flashlight – it doesn’t have to be an expensive one but it needs to be a good one that is reliable, and ideally have two. One as your primary and one as a backup.
- Work Gloves – You need a good pair of work gloves (two pair is better so you have a dry pair at all times) for cranking the landing gear, hooking and unhooking airlines and the electrical cord, sliding tandems, opening, and closing trailer doors, using load straps and load securement and many other things. Gloves protect your hands – and they keep them clean so you don’t bring grease, grime, and other dirty stuff back into your truck.
- Fuel Gloves – You need a SEPERATE pair of gloves that are coated and that you only use for fueling. Then keep then in an exterior toolbox or a side box in a container to keep the fuel smell out of the cab of your truck and fuel off your hands.
- Warm Gloves – Winter is coming – and it always is. Even in warmer times, there are cold mornings and evenings in other parts of the country where you may find yourself. Warm gloves are a must – unless you just want to be miserable, so get a pair today.
- Hammer/Tire Thumper – This can be a simple as a cheap claw hammer and it will work fine, or as fancy of a tire thumper as you want to go. Just be sure to get something and then use it every single day on each piece of equipment.
- SunGlasses – Even if you don’t like them these things are necessary for a professional driver at times. You may not need or want them all the time – but when the sun is straight in your eyes even with the visor down they are invaluable.
- Non-Slip Safety Shoes – Most companies now REQUIRE you to have steel-toed nonslip safety shoes. Some issue a par to you which are usually big clunky work boots that will tear your feet up. You can do far better by buying your own safety shoes! *** Be sure to check with your COMPANY SAFETY DEPARTMENT and make sure that the brand and style you are considering is acceptable – or they may not allow you to wear them!
- PPE – Vest, Hard Hat, Safety Glasses and Goggles, Ear Plugs – You may not need this stuff everywhere – but there are some customers that require it and if you don’t have your own they are either not going to let you in or they are going to loan you nasty sweaty gear that has been loaned to hundreds of other people where you get to get their DNA and who knows what else all over you! Say No Thanks – and have your own…
- Clipboard and get some Pens too – Essential items for every trucker
- Motor Carriers Atlas – Many newbies no longer even carry one, and some probably don’t even know what this is let alone how to use it – but if you want to be as prepared as you can and do better than most, get one. Learn how to use it and always have it in your truck and available. Your GPS will fail, and so will your phone – because there are still places where you will get no signal form either. Not the company tablet in your truck, not your own GPS that you put in, and not even your phone! Nothing… Then what? I hope you have your motor carriers atlas and know how to use it and you will be fine. (By the way, I drove many years with nothing but an atlas as did all other truck drivers once upon a time and it still works – GPS is nice indeed but don’t blindly rely on it). You can get the deluxe (which is far better) or the CHEAP one – which is still far better than nothing when the GPS stops working!
There are many other things you will need and want too, but this is a good start and big step in the right direction so you can get started working and making some money – then add other things as you need and want them – and of course, as you can afford them too!
Check With Your School and Your First Company
Before you buy anything though, be sure to check with the truck driving school you will be attending and see what they will have for you there. Some will issue you some gear (which you get to keep) while others just let you borrow and use their stuff long enough to get through school.
If they are not going to provide you with an item on the list that you get to keep when you leave – you need to go ahead and buy your own stuff. You may even need it for school if they don’t have anything there for you to even use.
Then you need to check with your first trucking company as soon as you pick the company you are going to work for and see what if anything they will issue you during in-processing and orientation there.
Be sure that you have what you need one-way or the other – and personally even if a company does issue stuff – it is often cheap junk, which is better than nothing but not a good as your own stuff!