Don’t forget to take care of your truck

September 20, 2018

Tom Claycomb

As you get geared up for hunting season, you’re probably preoccupied with sighting in your bow or rifle, stocking up on food and planning menus, sharpening your knives and starting to pack. That’s all good and necessary but don’t forget about another main component: your truck.

There are tons of books and articles on how to pack a survival kit. Take a peek at Adventure Medical Kits’ website. And yet we just take off without giving a thought as to what lies in wait for our trucks.

So my point is everyone has a survival kit, but do you have a survival kit for your truck? If not, you should. Nowadays, nearly everyone has a four-wheel drive vehicle, which means you can get back deeper in the woods. If you break down, you’re really in trouble.

When you think about it, our trucks are our legs and feet. You lose them and you’re sunk, so I think it’d behoove you to set down and give it a thought. This is fresh on my mind right now. I’m up in the mountains helping a buddy build a cabin and recently my truck wouldn’t start. Luckily a neighbor pulled up about that time and helped me get started. I then parked it on a hill so I can jump start it when I head home in a few days.

Oh, one more recent problem. Just a few weeks ago, we were running over to Oregon fishing. I had a blowout. I normally carry two spares but I had my jon boat in back of the truck and only had one.

When I took it in to get fixed, guess what had caused the problem? A rock. Want to know how that I knew this? A 3 ½-inch rock had punctured the tire and was still inside. The worst I’ve ever had was years ago on a moose hunt north of Pocatello. I woke up three mornings in a row with flats. I had to go to town at lunch every day and either purchase a tire or have a flat fixed. Now I carry two spares. You can pick up a spare tire/rim semi-cheap at the junkyard.

If you’re like me, you’re probably not much of a mechanic, and even if you were, you couldn’t carry a shop full of tools. But there are a few tools and items we should carry to get out of the obvious disasters.

Here’s a closer look at the things you should carry in your vehicle:

In snow and ice, tire chains give you get traction. As with a lot of situations in life, put them on before you get in trouble.You see a lot of trees fallen over in the woods, right? What if one falls behind you? You’ll be stuck. So carry an ax and chain saw. I’m surprised this doesn’t happen more than it does.No matter what the season, I always carry a shovel. In the winter, they’re good to dig snow out from under your truck if you high-center, and last spring I was out whistle pig hunting and bottomed out in a badger hole. I had a shovel, so I jacked up my truck, filled in the hole and off I went.And for sure, do not trust the rinky-dink jack that came with your truck. Throw in a Handyman jack. I’ve been stuck a million times and had to jack up my vehicle and lay rocks or sticks under the tires to get unstuck or un-high-centered. (Curse of all curses). Also carry extra bolts. They always fall off the handle.Carry two sets of keys. If you lose your keys, that’d be a bad deal. Leave the extra set in your truck. You can break a window if necessary. Plus, you need to leave a set with your buddy. We were bow hunting over in Nebraska and a blizzard blew in. My buddy made it back to the rig before me but was half froze because he couldn’t get in.When you replace your old fan belts and hoses, carry them for backup. I’ve heard you can use a pair of pantyhose as a fan belt but I don’t wear pantyhose.I’ve noticed that 90 percent of the time my truck starts sounding a little weird before it whacks. I’ve had this happen three to four times only days before I headed out on a hunt. Get it checked — it won’t get any easier to fix in the woods.A few other items to carry flashlights, jumper cables, chains and a tire pump that plugs into the the cigarette lighter.

Hopefully we’ve listed a few common problems that you can be prepared for.

Tom Claycomb lives in Idaho and has outdoors columns in newspapers in Alaska, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Colorado and Louisiana. He also writes for various outdoors magazines and teaches outdoors seminars at stores like Cabela’s, Sportsman’s Warehouse and Bass Pro Shop.

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