Truck Drivers Emergency Kit: What Truckers Need to Survive
What items should truckers have in an
That depends on each driver's specific situation.
Although we will refer to them as a "kit", others
may call such a group of supplies a
- "bug out bag,"
- survival pack,
- emergency preparedness kit,
- set of disaster
response tools, etc.
Not everything we
suggest will fit neatly into one backpack,
Alice pack or box -- unless you are a local truck driver or slip-seat
But we do show one here from Amazon.com, with whom we have an affiliate relationship.
What is an Emergency?
Wikipedia defines an emergency
as "a situation
that poses an immediate risk to health,
property or environment." For the purposes of this page, we will focus
more on survival in an emergency, whatever that may be for you.
Emergency situations for professional truck drivers may
include but are
not limited to the following:
- tornado or high winds;
- snowstorm, blizzard, hail or
- lengthy traffic jams (such as
the 60-mile one in China);
bridge or tunnel failure;
- economic collapse;
- riots, acts of war or
- electromagnetic pulse; and
- land-based power failure
inability to use credit cards, access online bank accounts or pump
cannot possibly foresee the types of emergencies you may encounter, so
our emergency kit lists are generic and intended to help you prepare
for most times of distress.
In this order, we are going to provide:
- our assumptions;
- the generic lists; and
- a list of suggested items.
OK, let's go.
Our Assumptions Regarding a Trucker Emergency Kit
emergencies: No one can predict with certainty when an
emergency will arise or what type it will be. Just as is the case with
having insurance, you buy it with the hopes that you will never have to
duplication: Although there may be a bit of overlap,
please note that this information is a bit
different from what we have on our Packing
List page. Our listings on this page will not be exhaustive
emergency kit lists but are meant to be a guide. They are also
primarily intended for American and Canadian drivers, although any
trucker around the world can use the information. Please use your own
- Solo drivers:
suggestions are based on drivers who are not part of a team. If you are
part of a trucking team, you will need to double up on some of the
Because you as a professional truck driver travel for a living,
your situation may be far different from folks who have a "day job" and
go home every night. At any given time, you may be anywhere between
your home terminal and thousands of miles away from home. In an
emergency, you may not have the
luxury of being near home, a terminal, a truck
stop or even a
restroom facility. Our lists are designed specifically for truckers.
We're making multiple lists available, roughly broken into sections by
the length of time truckers stay away from home.
- Bugging out:
when an emergency happens, you have a responsibility to your trucking
company (if you have one) and taking care of your truck. You just can't
abandon those. For those reasons, the option to "bug out" (depart
quickly) from your truck is not usually an option. When it comes to
truck driver survival, your truck can offer
you at least some
protection from the
elements in an emergency; for that reason, you will probably not want
to venture forth from it too much in some emergencies.
unless you have a full tank of fuel and an APU that provides both
climate control and electrification, your situation inside a truck can
become dire in either extreme hot
or extreme cold conditions.
The nature of your truck driver emergency, your location and what you
have with you
on the road will all dictate whether or not you need to venture outside
your truck. We are going to concentrate on
preparing for emergencies only with what you can have on hand -- even
if the size of your truck greatly limits the provisions you can carry
with you in your emergency
kit. For this reason, we are not going to cover things like what you
need to build a fire, hunt for game, go fishing or live off the land.
Also, you will need to judge which items you take based upon your
trucking company's restrictions.
Based on FMCSA regulations, trucks need to be equipped with
certain items like reflective triangles or flares. For this reason,
none of our lists includes these items.
- Tool kits:
you are an owner-operator who does your own truck maintenance
regularly, you may not need a large variety of tools. A few basic tools
-- such as a hammer, flathead screwdriver, Phillips head screwdriver,
9/16" wrench, set of Allen wrenches and pliers -- may meet most of your
needs. In some cases, you may need a couple of different sizes of
screwdrivers. Some drivers may prefer to carry a multi-function tool or
Swiss army knife that can be used in a variety of situations.
- Buying and
In the USA, we are so used to just going to the store whenever we need
to. It is said that grocery stores have only as much food as will last
for 3 days. In an emergency, it won't last even that long. Also, if
there is a banking freeze, economic collapse or widespread power
outage, you may not be able to use your credit cards or debit cards. We
encourage you to carry at least some cash with you; the longer or
farther you are away from home, consider increasing that amount.
There is no
telling how long an emergency will last. Depending on what happens and
how far from home you are, you could be prevented from traveling for
time. We're going to start with the drivers who can carry the
least amount of things with them and progress to those who live in their trucks
Suggested Emergency Kit for Slip-Seat Drivers or Day Cab
Drivers (home daily)
- One gallon of water
- Enough food for two days and
- Cell phone and charger
- One nationally accepted credit
- Swiss army knife or
- Pepper spray (for self
- Spare pair of underwear and
socks (if possible)
- Hat and sunglasses
- Small medical supply: pain
relievers, bandages, moist
wipes or wet wipes
- Clothing that can be adjusted
and conditions (worn or carried)
- Good pair of shoes (worn)
- Up-to-date medical
emergency contact info
Suggested Emergency Kit for Regional Truck Drivers (home
In addition to the preceding, we suggest:
- At least three more gallons of
water (more if carried food is dehydrated or freeze dried)
- Five more days' worth of food
(to last through the
work week) and more protein bars
preparation product to
keep perishable foods cold
- Can opener
- Mess kit (or plate, bowl, cup
and eating utensils)
- Cooking device like a hot
pot (to run from
12-volt outlet or via inverter) or a solar cooker (which you can make)
- Cooking utensils
- Soap (for washing hands/body
and also dishes)
- Washcloth, hand towel and
- Dish cloth and dish towel
- Sleeping bag and pillow
- Assortment of seasonal clothes,
spare pair of shoes and personal weather protection
- More medical supplies (like a
sufficient quantity of prescription medications
and basic tools
truck stop directory
toilet and deodorizer
- Personal hygiene items and
- CB radio
- Larger amount of cash.
Suggested Emergency Kit for Long-Haul Truck Drivers (home
every 2 to 3 weeks or longer)
In addition to the preceding, we suggest:
- More food
- More water
- A water filter
- Another cooking device for more
- First aid manual
- More clothing
- Laundry supplies
- Plastic bucket
- Small sewing kit
- Larger set of tools
- Emergency radio
- Emergency candles and
- Spare pair of glasses or
- Spare batteries for flashlight
- Larger amount of cash.
For your convenience, we have assembled a list of
suggested emergency kit items from Amazon.com.
Money saving tip:
best time to prepare for an emergency -- and assemble an emergency kit
-- is in advance.
You don't want to
come up short in the middle of a seeming disaster.
By the same token, don't go crazy trying to
prepare for every possible situation.
Depending on where your loads
take you, you may never encounter some types of emergencies.
example, it would be like throwing your money away to prepare for a
flood in the middle of the desert.
If you study insurance, you will understand that
people pay into it to "share the risk."
You can't eliminate the risk
Select the products and tools for your emergency
kit that will be of the
most benefit to you.
When you run out of consumable goods, be sure to replace them promptly.
Don't forget to rotate your stock and replace things in your kit that expire.
Depending on your circumstances, you may have to
barter for what you need. This is another subject entirely.
Return from Truck Drivers Emergency Kit: What Truckers Need to Survive to our Packing List page or our Truck Drivers Money Saving Tips home page.