By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm
Many of today’s trucks have amenities we could only dream of years ago. Lots of companies order their trucks with built-ins like a fridge, an APU or inverter and a place for a microwave. If yours doesn’t have these, it most likely will have an outlet or two for a 12 volt powered appliance.
A definite ‘must have’ is a refrigerator, first and foremost, it will save you time and money. You can get one of these at most truck stops, you can even accumulate your loyalty points to use towards the purchase. It will keep your food fresh and give you healthier options you otherwise wouldn’t have.
If you are fortunate enough to have alternate power and are able to operate a microwave, your choices for eating in the truck increase dramatically, you can pretty much cook like you would at home. With power like that you can also use a crock pot, a George Foreman and other electric appliances so we are going to address basics here, things we all need, regardless of our on-board facilities.
You need to make sure you always have non perishable foods, especially in the winter, as you never know when you may get stuck in a situation where a road is closed and you can’t get to a truck stop. Here are a few staples you may consider:
• Case of Bottled Water
• Peanut Butter
• Cup-O-Soup or Noodles
• Granola or Energy Bars
• Nuts: Almonds, Walnuts, Mixed Nuts, etc.
• Tuna or Chicken (pouches are easier and less messy than cans)
• Bread, Tortillas, Flatbread, Wraps
• Condiments: Ketchup, Mustard
• Tea and Coffee Bags
• Dry Sweetener, Creamer, Spices, etc.
• Utensils (basic, plastic, single use)
• Antibacterial Wet Wipes and Paper Towels (for clean up)
With a fridge your possibilities are greatly multiplied, you can include things like:
• Sliced Deli Meats
• Fresh Fruits
• Fresh Vegetables
• Condiments (that must be kept cool like dressing or relish)
• Jelly or Fruit Spread
We always carry a good thermos that we fill with hot water every time we stop at a truck stop or store so that when we want a cup of soup or coffee, and are not near a truck stop, all we have to do is get out the proper ingredients and pour the hot water. We also always have one of those little hot pots, the one you get at a truck stop that plugs into the cigarette lighter plug and boils water in about 10-15 minutes. They work great and we use one a lot!
I can’t tell you how many times over the years we used these supplies. Remember to rotate them so they don’t get stale. Use them, pull them forward, put new in back, that way you won’t run out. It happens quite often in our industry, we get delayed for one reason or another, shut down in the middle of nowhere. It’s SO important that we are prepared for those times.
It’s not necessary that you stock all of these items, just pick some of them, the ones you like the most, and be sure to keep enough on hand to feed yourself for at least 72 hours. That should be enough to get you through most any situation, although more would be better.
Following along with these suggestions, laying in a supply of non perishable foods, will set you up to be self sufficient in any worst case scenario for a few hours or even days, if need be. You will definitely have less to worry about if you do so and it takes away stress, leaving your mind clear, so you can think about more important things like driving!
Stay safe out there and Keep it Shiny!
Heather Hogeland and Kim Grimm are CDL holders and longtime friends with a combined 75 years and 7 million miles of driving experience. Both are writers and have a love for everything trucking, as well as, furry, four-legged friends. Kim is currently a full-time owner-operator and part-time writer. Heather writes for various trucking publications and enjoys traveling with her husband Roger.