I have said it before and will say it again truck drivers are a royal pain in the Tuckus to shop for. We have limited space and often times already have almost everything we need or have bought it before someone else can for us.
Here are a few of my top gifts/gadgets for drivers this year. Most years I try and keep everything less than 150.00, this year several items break that mark. These items are ones that I think drivers may find useful.
For the last 12 years, I have been searching for the “perfect” flashlight. It needs to have a bright beam allowing me to check the king pin connection during daylight hours, reach the front of my trailer for interior nighttime inspections, be rechargeable, and most importantly Durable. Over the years I have found lights that are bright enough but are either batter hogs or they just do not hold up well. Most of the rechargeable lights I tried used NiCd or NiMH batteries and did not hold a charge for long. After expressing my frustration to the folks at Tough Tested, they made me these. The Solar Power Bank and Flashlight, the Beacon, and the 16 led Battery Bank and light panel. All 3 are extremely bright and work well for a variety of purposes. They will not only provide the light you need but also charge your mobile devices as well, a great bonus. Some stores such as RoadRanger and Staples may carry these you can also get them online.
Tough Tested have given me this coupon code that you can use.
Give the gift of sleep:
Any driver will tell you that sleep especially quality sleep is one of the most important things that a driver can have. It is also one of the toughest things to get while on the road. Simple things like a sleep mask or an essential oil spray may make it easier. New Pillows and a mattress topper, can also make a huge difference. If you want to really make an impression buy your favorite driver a new mattress…
This can help make a stock OEM Mattress more comfortable. A really good one can also help to stabilize your temperature making sleep more comfortable. I discovered the Jensen ThermoShield Mattress Topper at the Mid-America Truck Show in Louisville they make a wide variety ranging from home use to big rigs and RV sizes. I have several friends who also have gotten this and they all love theirs,
A good pillow can help make all the difference in a good night’s sleep. Last year one of my friends got a My Pillow for Christmas he swears by it. His wife who has had issues with insomnia for years now can have a good night’s sleep without having to take medication. Marcia Campbell of the WSM All Nighter swears by it and tells me all the time I need to get one. (Hey Marcia if you are thinking of getting me a gift…)
A new mattress can make a huge difference in the quality of your night’s sleep. The stock mattresses many trucks come with are not much better than Medieval torture devices. While a new mattress is not cheap with the amount of time we spend in our trucks it is worth the investment.
The Minimizer Long Haul Series is a top of the line mattress made from Organic Latex considered by many to be the ultimate in sleep comfort and back support. It also has an industry-leading lifetime warranty. While this is the most expensive item on the list. It is a good investment in your back and a good night’s sleep and meant to last a lifetime. You can order these directly from Raney’s.
A second option that is a little more pocket-friendly are the mattresses from Bostrom Serta. They have a variety of thicknesses and styles to allow the driver to pick out the mattress that best suits their needs and budget. Their partnership with Serta allows them to bring many of the features you get in your home mattress to your truck.
One more good option is Big Rig Mattress. They have a wide range of styles and sizes in stock allowing you to get the mattress that you need. They even carry some of the more oddball size truck mattresses as well.
Face it trucks can get smelly especially when closed up due to weather. Whether it is odors from cooking, normal body aroma, or smells from the road, breathing clean air is nice. The Dometic Air Purifier slowly works to clean the air in your truck. To keep it smelling fresh. The UV Lights and grid are replaceable, so this is a device that is meant to be sued for years and years to come. This unit will run on AC/DC Power and comes with both US and European cords.
This is a repeat from last years list. You can never go wrong with getting a driver food for Christmas or a way to cook/heat it. The lunchbox style oven/stove has been a standby for drivers for a number of years for cooking on the truck. With it, you can do almost anything that you would at home it just takes a bit longer. With it being 12 volts it can be used even if you are not able to use an inverter in your vehicle. The one I personally use on my truck is the RoadPro Portable Stove. I can use it to do almost anything that I can on my stove or oven at home. You can find them at truck stops and online through Amazon and a variety of other retailers, including many truck stops.
Mud Flap Bracket:
Normally truck accessories don’t make my Christmas gift list, for a wide variety of reasons. However, this one caught my attention at GATS. After several winters of having to bust my knuckles to replaced a damaged mud flap on a trailer, I have been hoping for a better way. The Minimizer Fast Flap is a system that will allow for the quick and easy replacement of a mud flap no bolts required. While this item is more geared towards owner operators with their own equipment. This could also be a great item for a fleet owner to get as a “present” for his drivers. After all, a rapid replacement of a mud flap means leans downtown and more money making opportunities for all involved. You can order this directly from Raney’s.
Cellular Signal Booster:
Communication on the road can be difficult as any driver can tell you. Constant dropped calls or weak data signals when you need them the most The We-Boost Drive 4GX-OTR is designed to give truck drivers one of the best antennas combined with a signal booster to improve cell phone reception. While it will not make your cell phone magically work in the middle of no signal land. It will reduce dropped calls and may help increase your data speeds.
Are always a good gift for a driver. We have a tendency to go through multiple pairs a year. Whether it is leather work gloves for working with freight or other things around the truck, mechanics gloves for high dexterity tasks, or gloves to keep your fingers warm while driving. It seems as if we never have enough.
Magnetic Wrist Band Tool Holder:
Here is an interesting tool gizmo I recently found while browsing through Amazon. It is a magnetic wristband that you can attach small metal parts to like nuts and bolts, as well as screwdriver bits etc. This is an extra handy device for when you have to work underneath your truck or trailer and need to keep track of small parts.
These are always a great gift idea. My personal favorites are still the Blue Parrot 450, the Tough Tested Neckband, and the Plantronics, Voyager 5300.
The Blue Parrot 450 with its best in class volume and noise canceling over the head headset. For years Blue Parrot has been considered by many to be the leader for over the headsets. For those who find most headsets do not have adequate volume for life on the road. This unit should easily meet and exceed your expectations. You can find it online and at truck stops around the country.
The Tough Tested Neckband. For the price point, it is one of the better values on the market. It is designed to reduce outside noise, as well as has speakers to allow you to listen to music, or other entertainment without having to have them in your ears. It is also moisture resistant which is always a bonus to those of us in the trucking industry. You can also find this in several truck stops and other retailers around the country.
For those who prefer the over the ear style, I recommend the Plantronics Voyager 5200. I personally am not a fan of over the ear headsets they rarely fit me right and I have issues hearing with them. That said this unit is the first one I have found that I can tolerate and use on the truck. Comfort is pretty good, battery life is not too bad and it recharges quickly. (Coming from me that is a strong buy recommendation if you like this style.) This is found at many truck stops nationwide. If you are going to purchase online shop around to find the best deal for you.
Other gift ideas include subscriptions to services like Audible, Gift cards to restaurants, truck stops, and their favorite stores, Dash Camera’s and Truck-Specific GPS’s are also good choices. If your driver is interested in photography or video’s consider some accessories he has always wanted or a gift certificate to Amazon or B&H. Lastly, if the driver really has everything. Then consider a donation to their favorite charity. It will make them smile and help make someone else’s season a little brighter.
Merry Christmas, Safe Travels, and a Blessed Holiday Season to All.