If you just bought your pickup to look tough while commuting to work and back, you can probably move on. Your cup holders are in the right place, the stereo works, and you can see over the traffic. You’re fat and happy. Have a problem? Call the auto club.
For the rest of us, we bought thee things to work. We’re hot shotting, hunting, hauling our RV on the weekends or just using them as work trucks. We count on them, and we count on our own skills and abilities when we encounter problems. This list is for you, seven items to keep in your truck. Don’t leave home without them.
1. Folding Shovel
Have you ever needed to dig, but couldn’t find a shovel? You find a tire iron or a large screwdriver and start digging away. Then you use your hands to try and move the loose dirt or snow. At the very least, it really slows you down. When you need a shovel, it’s hard to substitute.
The is the perfect match for pickup owners. Gerber makes tough stuff. The shovel is tough and durable. Moving snow, mud, sand or dirt won’t be a problem. The storage bag helps keep your truck clean after use.
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2. Quality Tow Strap
Like the shovel, when you need to pull a stuck vehicle, a tow strap is hard to beat. They also hold some advantages over a chain. They’re lighter, easier to store and are less likely to dent and scratch vehicles. You didn’t buy that truck just to look pretty. So why not avoid unnecessary damage? This [easyazon_link identifier=”B000IAIP72″ locale=”US” tag=”thetruckingpodcaststore-20″]Neiko Heavy Duty Tow Strap With Hooks[/easyazon_link] is rated at 10,000 pounds. The hooks ensure you can connect the vehicles in whatever way you need to do the job.
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3. Flares – The Real Ones
Although you can use safety triangles, flash lights, or those bend-to-break plastic glow sticks, a real fire breathing flare is a great thing to have on hand. You should be able to buy them individually at most auto parts stores, and they’re inexpensive. They can be seen from greater distances than glow sticks and reflective devices.
Flares also make great fire starters. They’ll even get wet wood going. Nothing beats warm and dry when you’re wet and cold.
4. Fire Extinguisher
This is a must for any vehicle, and required for all commercial vehicles. There are things you can go cheap on, but a fire extinguisher should not be one of them. The [easyazon_link identifier=”B000VBGG5Q” locale=”US” tag=”thetruckingpodcaststore-20″]Kidde 21005779 Pro 210 Fire Extinguisher, ABC, 160CI[/easyazon_link] is big enough to do the job, but you can still find room for it. It’s ABC rating means you can use it on all types of fires. It also comes with a gauge, so you can tell it’s still charged. And it’s rechargeable.]
5. Food and Water
If you bought that truck for adventure, you should be ready for the possibility of being stuck somewhere you might not have planned for. That day trip can easily turn into a weekend trip as you make repairs, wait for help or decide to hike out on your own. Nothing beats having a little food and water stored away.
The water is a no brainer. Just keep a few bottles of water stored in a safe place. If freezing is a concern, throw one bottle in your freezer to be sure is isn’t going to burst.
For emergency food, hit the local grocery store. Pass on that fancy freeze dried stuff unless you can eat it right out of the package. Otherwise you’ve added the task of boiling water to your emergency. Choose items like nuts, dried fruit mixes and protein mixes. Choose items that are wrapped in foil, and being frozen and thawed over and over isn’t going to cause a problem. Pay attention to what can melt in the summer heat.
Store your food in it’s own container, and mark it with the date of whatever item expires first. Then, replace it with a new stash when needed, and enjoy what came out of the box. The [easyazon_link identifier=”B004W3WC84″ locale=”US” tag=”thetruckingpodcaststore-20″]Plano Ammo Can (Field Box)[/easyazon_link] is a great choice for storing that food stash. Wrap your food in paper towels as you store it. This will further prevent the packaging from damage, and give you a supply of paper towels for emergencies.
6. Wool Blanket
When you need to stay warm, nothing beats wool. The [easyazon_link identifier=”B00D1AJVHY” locale=”US” tag=”thetruckingpodcaststore-20″]US Military Wool Fire Retardant Blanket, 66″ x 90″ (80% Wool)[/easyazon_link] is an easy choice. A couple of these can easily be hidden away for emergencies. Watch what you buy. I chose this specific blanket because of it’s 80% wool content. Others are as low as 50% or less.
7. Tin Foil for Phone Calls
Grab a twelve inch square of tin foil from your kitchen, then fold it nicely and place it in a baggie. Store that thing in your glove box. You’ve just stored a cell phone range extender. I’ve used this more than once.
If you can’t get a cell connection, take a ball cap and line it with the foil. Stand in the bed of your truck, on a boulder or some other elevated place. Place your phone in the tin lined cap and move it around. If there’s a weak cell to be found, this just may find it. Once you find the cell, leave your phone in the foil lined hat and use the speaker phone feature for your call.
In my 15 years of traveling the U.S. and Canada, I’ve used this trick about a half dozen times. If there’s a cell to find, it works.