Is your Truck Ready for the Hunts?
Series: Professional Hunting Gear Guide
By Lone Wolf
Close your eyes for a moment… In your mind’s eye join with me as we create the setting. The stadium filled with thousands of crazed fight fans. Two warriors pace their corners mentally prepping for battle. The loud flamboyant ring announcer, microphone in hand, issues the challenge to everyone present including the fighters to mentally evaluate… ARE YOU READY TO RUMBLE??? Very few five-word combos cause the mind such dynamic introspection. Depending on our internal scoreboard, emotions can run the entire gambit from excitement to confidence to OH $#*% !!! Trust me, I have landed on just about every point along this spectrum throughout my hunting years. There are very few feelings worse than being 37 miles from the nearest paved road, no cell phone service, it’s almost dark, temperatures dropping, you're all alone, and your truck is dead. Now what? Am I ready and prepared? That pesky internal scoreboard has officially hit 0:00 on the timer. What is your score? How does your stomach feel???
One of my top preseason priorities is making sure I have what I need in my truck for any type of situation, whether it is a survival situation, quick truck fix, or hunting gear maintenance. My preparation is rooted in my own experiences and hundreds of years of bacon-saving-wisdom from the fine folks within my hunting circles. In a series of upcoming mini-articles, my hope is to save at least one hunter from the consequences of not being prepared. All hunting preparations must start with the mothership. Let’s discuss the supplies in my truck.
INSIDE THE CAB
- Cell phone booster - One of my all-time favorite purchases. Many times, phone service can be the determining factor to either press forward or retreat. It will add confidence during sketchy weather conditions. Saved me hours of time searching for phone service.
- Window mount GPS – Used ALL THE TIME. More in the mountains that in town. Always tracking my course of travel. When the fog rolls in or the night sneaks up on you, simply follow your recorded GPS route back to camp. Bonus: you can refer to the marked roads years later.
- Optics Cleaning Kit (lens wipes, lens pens, Q-tips, anti-fog stuff, and cloths for cleaning.
- Spare rings, leather, and zip ties (bino harness hooks/attachments break). I store all these items in one small plastic container.
- Spare tripod/window mount plates - Losing one of these makes a spotting scope worthless.
- Flashlight/headlamp / Matches for necessary fire
- Batteries - You can never have enough AA or AAA batteries, for cameras, radios, headlamps etc.
- Duct tape/Electrical tape. Surprisingly I use electrical tape - A LOT. My favorite use is attaching a punched tag to the beam.
- Maps - I like Atlas maps for the states I hunt. I buy two per state made by two different companies because one will usually have roads that the other does not and vice versa.
- Hidden Cash or Credit Card - comes in handy when you drive an hour to the nearest gas pump but left you wallet back at camp.
- Hand Wash Kit - I use another bigger plastic container filled with wet wipes, soap, and hand sanitizer so you can eat your lunch with clean hands after field dressing your deer or skinning a coyote.
- Leather Gloves
- Toilet Paper - Enough said…
Let’s move on to the back of my truck to discuss the more “manly” items on my prep list. All my external supplies are located in a hard-plastic survival box that takes up about 1/5th of the truck bed. It is retrofit with weather stripping and latches to prevent infiltration of the elements. Each item in my survival box has been used at least once in the past few years.
- Tire repair kit / air pump - #1 ITEM USED. Supplies purchased for around $50-60. Including a small compressor with an auxiliary plug for power and thick tire plugs and hand tools for plugging large holes.
- Tire jack / spare tire – At the beginning of each hunting season check the functionality of your jack and tools. Ensure spare tire can be removed and is in ready to roll when called upon.
- Tire Lug wrench - Ensure it fits your lugs. NOTE: Custom rims may require additional adapters.
- Repair Tools- Mainly for truck repairs, you can never have enough tools.
- Hidden Spare Key - check the magnet type boxes often, they fall off on bumpy roads.
- Quality Tow Strap
- Portable Battery Jumper – Fully charged before trip
- Gas Can – VP Racing jugs work best
- Jumper Cables
- Tarp/Rain Gear – Include (1) heavy-duty poncho
- Saw/Axe – compound bow saw and axe. A fallen tree over the road or needed firewood.
- Tubes and Pumps for Syphoning Gas - sometimes you need gas from your ATV in your truck!
- Fire-starting Kit/Lighter – An old pill bottle stuffed with cotton balls covered in Vaseline are a guaranteed fire starter. Include lighter and matches.
- Wire and plastic Zip ties – Unlimited use and applications.
- Jacket or Hoodie - I prefer a bright yellow/orange hoodie. When stuffed in last, it adds stability for the other items in box.
- Canned Food and Bottled Water
- Funnel for Fueling – Preferred style with a flexible hose on the bottom for ease of filling your tank with any type of gas can.
- First Aid Kit - include some super glue or liquid Band-Aid.
Your truck is your ticket and lifeline in and out of the wilderness. Just about any truck can get you in, but most importantly, it must get you out. Beyond the obvious means of transportation, it is your guaranteed shelter and personal survival supply station. I have learned that if you want to extend out beyond the normal campgrounds, well-traveled roads, and cell service your truck preparation needs to be on point. We are traveling uncharted and unfamiliar territory to hunt and explore. The last thing we want is to create a disastrous news story. Eliminating all other distractions and delays is the goal. There is no perfect set up and no one can ever be 100% ready for every situation. However, these items have kept me safe and alive so far. I welcome your feedback and commentary. What works well for you? I am always willing to add more bacon bits of wisdom to my hunting/survival arsenal.