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MATS 2016: Are You Ready for Truck Show Season?

mats 2016 truck show

This is a guest post by Tom Kyrk of Road Tested Living. 

As the snow melts and the weather warms, people typically take to the roads in search of adventure. “Normal” people head to fairs, amusement parks and other fun venues. Truck drivers? Well, we go to truck shows! This is a time where we can have some fun, let down our hair, see the latest in trucking technology, meet new friends and harass old ones. During these events we can forget the stress of the road for a few days and recharge with friends!

I have been driving for close to 11 years, and two years ago in March was my first time attending the Mid-American Truck Show (MATS). Talk about a huge and overwhelming show for your first time! This show has over a million feet of indoor exhibit space (not counting outdoor exhibits and the fun that can be found in the truck parking lot). My first show was spent wandering around taking it all in and trying to find charging stations for my phone. It got so bad at one point that I had to go back to the truck to charge my phone to take an emergency phone call from home. That said, it was a great time! I truly wonder why I waited so long to go to one.

In August of 2014 I attended the Great American Truck Show for the first time. It was there that I got to meet the crew from ToughTested for the first time. I spent several hours at the booth talking to them about technology and their products – back then they were just starting to introduce their new line up of battery packs for charging phones. Man it made me wish I had some of their rugged smartphone accessories at MATS.

In the truck shows that followed, my friends quickly realized that I was the go to source on smartphone accessories for truckers. Need a charger? Go see Tom! Need a cord? Go see Tom! Need a battery pack? Go see Tom! Somewhere in my backpack or brief case I would have just the accessory needed to save them a trip to their room or truck to charge an iPhone or Android.

This year I am getting ready for truck show season, and will be attending both MATS and GATS. From my experience I have learned a few things:

  1. Wear comfortable shoes. The average person walks between 20 and 30 miles over a 3-day show (we have the fitness tracker records to prove it).
  2. Take breaks. Whether you grab a drink and a bite to eat or just sit down for a few minutes, take some time to get off your feet and relax.
  3. Bring a camera. You will see tons of things to take pictures of!
  4. If you have one, take an extended battery pack for your smartphone. You will be surprised how fast you can kill a battery at these shows.
  5. Even if you arrive and register the day of the show, take a few minutes to look at the directory and plan out a route, as well as some of your must see vendors.
  6. Don’t get upset if you can’t see or do everything on your list. IT’S A MILLION SQUARE FEET. It truly is not possible to see or do everything you want to. Do as much as you can and don’t stress about it.
  7. Bring a backpack. While many of the vendors have free swag bags, a backpack is a great way to carry things, keep them organized and keep arms and hands free.
  8. Most importantly, have fun and make some new friends!

If you’re unable to make any of the big shows this year like MATS and GATS, there are a bunch of regional and local shows that also can be a blast to attend. Try and find one that is near you and take a few hours or a day to attend. Who knows, you may get to make some new friends.

I will be spending some time at the ToughTested Booth during MATS 2016 (69097). To answer questions, talk about tech and life on the road, and share some of my favorite ToughTested products (including the battery pack that got ran over by my truck and STILL works)! More on that soon…

If you are in the market, my top two product recommendations are the High Capacity Solar Charging Battery Pack 15000 MaH or the Rugged, Weatherproof Battery Pack at 8000MaH. (The rugged survived being ran over by the truck.) Keep an eye on the RoadTestedLivin and ToughTested Facebook and Twitter feeds for show schedules and pop up product giveaways.

We look forward to seeing you at MATS and GATS! #LiveWell #TruckerTough