As any RV enthusiast knows, living on the road requires a certain level of self-sufficiency. While the comforts of an RV can make travel more enjoyable, they also require scheduled maintenance and repairs.
Having the right tools at hand can make all the difference in keeping your RV in its best shape allowing you to enjoy your time on the road. Whether you are a full-time RVer or an occasional traveler, here are some tools that every RV owner should have in their toolkit. Our list details it all, from essential hand tools to specialized equipment.
Disclaimer: Every RVer requires quality tools. However, tools can only go as far as the person wielding allows. Do your proper research to ensure you have the necessary knowledge to handle RV repairs. Check your RV owner’s manual when in doubt, and always seek professional assistance when required.
RV and trailer tires are the foundation of your motorhome. As a result, maintaining proper tire pressure is critical. Failing to maintain proper tire pressure leads to inefficiency and, eventually, a time-consuming flat tire. A fast tire inflator is one of the best RV items to have on hand.
But first, you’ll need a tire pressure tester to see how much pressure your RV or truck tires are currently holding. The recommended PSI is listed on the tire sidewall. Remember to bring your spare tire!
First Aid Kit
Keeping a well-stocked first aid kit on hand in an emergency is usually a good idea.
Whether checking or repairing RV components, a power drill will save you a lot of time over using screwdrivers. I like to utilize my cordless drill set when installing new hooks or accessories to improve the overall organization of the interior of my RV.
This is something that everyone should own. RVers will find them useful for a variety of tasks. A good multi-tool has several screwdrivers, pliers, knives/saws, a bottle opener or corkscrew, and occasionally more.
These will be extremely useful if you ever need to replace the hitch ball on your tow hitch. They can also assist you in adjusting other hitch equipment that needs to be tightened to the proper requirements for safe towing when used with the proper socket wrench set.
A telescoping ladder is a terrific addition to the best RV tool kit if you need an RV ladder fixed to the rear or side of your camper. It’s an excellent way to access your RV’s roof, and it compresses to allow for easy storage, even in tiny RVs with little space.
Bottle Jack Recovery Kit With 6 Ton Bottle Jack
Servicing RV tires, brakes, and suspension components necessitates removing the weight from your RV tires. The best way to jack up your RV to install a spare tire or do other repairs is with a bottle jack that is suitably rated for the axle weight of your RV.
For RV repairs or upgrades, you’ll need a variety of flathead and Phillips head screwdrivers in various sizes. If you want to reduce space, use a multi-bit screwdriver instead of carrying many screwdrivers.
Hex Key Allen Wrench Set
For a variety of reasons, a hex key, also known as an Allen wrench, set can be beneficial for RV living, including:
- Tightening and loosening bolts and screws: RVs have numerous bolts and screws that must be tightened and loosened regularly, especially when performing maintenance or repairs. Hex keys are ideal because they are available in various sizes and can easily reach bolts and screws in tight spaces.
- Assembling furniture and accessories: If you need to assemble furniture or accessories in your RV, they may come with hex bolts or screws that need to be tightened or loosened with a hex key. Having a set of hex keys on hand can make these items much easier to put together.
- Space-saving: RVs have limited storage space, so tools that take up as little space as possible are essential. Because hex key sets are small and compact, they are ideal for RV living.
Overall, a hex key or Allen wrench set is a versatile tool that can be used for various tasks when living in an RV, including tightening and loosening bolts and screws and assembling furniture and accessories. Because of its small size and versatility, it is an excellent addition to any RV toolkit.
A rubber mallet may surprise you, but it’s crucial equipment for one of the best old-man camping hacks I’ve ever seen. Have you ever gotten your hatchet stuck in a piece of firewood?
Rather than raising the entire piece of wood and slamming it against the ground, use a rubber mallet and strike the rear of the hatchet head until the wood splits as desired. This RV tool will significantly improve your firewood-splitting game.
Crescent Adjustable Wrench
An adjustable wrench is essential, regardless of how many wrench sizes you already have. Getting the correct wrench size for the nut you’re trying to loosen is often tricky, and this is where your adjustable wrench comes in handy to keep you from breaking the nut or bolt and digging yourself into a deeper hole.
Portable Power Source
While boondocking or camping off the grid, a portable generator might be beneficial for powering your RV.
Another fantastic addition to your RV armory is a proper mechanic’s tool set. It will include socket wrenches and numerous short and deep socket alternatives for engine repair, changing the oil on a portable generator, and much more.
A Breaker Bar
This gadget is quite handy for owners of older RVs, but it is an excellent addition to any RV tool bag. You never know when you’ll need that extra leverage to release that one bolt impeding your RV repairs or improvements.
Small Drill Bit Set
Those cordless drills you added to your RV tool kit earlier are fantastic, but they will only help a little if you have the right drill bits. Furthermore, your drills should come with various drivers with varying lengths and styles of heads so that you may work with various sorts of RV screws.
Electrical vs. Thread Seal Tape: How are they Different but Both Useful for RV Living?
Electrical and thread seal tape are valuable tools for RV living, but their applications differ.
Electrical tape is used chiefly for repairs and installations and is intended to protect and insulate electrical connections and wires from moisture, heat, and other environmental factors. Here are some examples of typical applications for electrical tape in RV living:
- Repairing electrical wires or connections
- Insulating electrical connections or wires with additional insulation
- Wire identification by marking
- Keeping electrical connections dry and free of moisture
- Making a temporary electrical connection or making repairs
Thread seal tape, also known as plumber’s tape or Teflon tape, is primarily used in plumbing and gas lines to seal threaded connections. It is a thin, flexible tape wrapped around a connection’s threads to form a tight seal. Here are some examples of typical thread seal tape applications in RV living:
- Plumbing connections in sinks, toilets, and showers
- Gas line connections for appliances such as stoves and water heaters
- Water hose or water filter connection sealing
- Preventing plumbing and gas line leaks
- Assisting in the loosening of difficult-to-remove tight connections
Electrical tape is primarily used for electrical repairs and installations, whereas thread seal tape is primarily used for sealing plumbing and gas line connections. Both are helpful tools when living in an RV because they can help prevent and solve common problems.
For a variety of reasons, tape measures can be handy for RV (recreational vehicle) living, including:
- Measuring space: RVs have limited space, ensuring that everything you want to bring or install fits in the available space is critical. A tape measure can help you measure the interior and exterior dimensions of your RV and the dimensions of any furniture, appliances, or decor you want to bring in.
- Layouts: If you are renovating or remodeling your RV, a tape measure can help you plan out the layout of your new space. You can measure the available space and use the measurements to design a layout that best uses the available space.
RVs require routine maintenance and repairs, and a tape measure can help measure and cut materials for repairs. A tape measure, for example, can help you measure the dimensions of the space and the materials you need to cut if you need to replace a section of flooring or install new cabinets.
A tape measure is a versatile tool that can assist you with many tasks in an RV, including measuring space, planning layouts, maintenance, and repairs.
Add some to your RV tool kit if the socket set you purchased previously did not include metric wrenches. With all the different bolt and nut sizes available, having as many wrenches as possible on hand will allow for simple installs or removals, regardless of what you’re adding or removing from your RV.
Splicing wire isn’t difficult, but it’s a lot easier and safer with suitable connectors. They will be handy if upgrading your electrical system to handle longer boondocking excursions.
12 Volt Air Compressor
As an RVer, you may use an air compressor in various ways. An air compressor is helpful for everything from inflating watersports equipment like paddleboards to cleaning out vents and ducts during regular RV maintenance. It can also be used to clean up around your campground in place of a leaf blower.
This gadget is for when your standard kitchen knife just won’t cut it…literally.
A pocket knife can be a valuable tool for cutting packaging or improving the interior of your RV.
Other use cases and benefits include:
- Outdoor activities: RVing often involves spending time outdoors, whether camping, hiking, or fishing. A pocket knife can be helpful for various outdoor activities, from cutting fishing lines to whittling sticks for roasting marshmallows.
- Food preparation: RV kitchens are often small and need more space and utensils. A pocket knife can food prep, from cutting fruits and vegetables to slicing bread and cheese.
- Emergencies: A pocket knife can be helpful in various emergencies, from cutting through seat belts to breaking a car window.
- Repairs: RVs require maintenance and repairs from time to time. A pocket knife can be helpful in various repair tasks, from cutting through wire insulation to trimming excess material from a repair job.
Overall, a pocket knife is a versatile and valuable tool that can come in handy in various situations when living in an RV. Its small size and portability make it easy to carry around, and its usefulness in various situations makes it a valuable addition to any RV toolkit.
Caulking Gun Most RV sealants come in the same packages as caulk for domestic use. A caulk gun is included on our list, so you can readily reseal worn roof or window seals as needed.
Leather Work Gloves
While many people like the sensation of calloused hands, some of us rely on them in other ways. Putting on leather gloves sounds like a good idea when shifting hot wood on a bonfire.
Other benefits include:
- Protection: Leather work gloves provide a layer of protection for your hands, helping to prevent cuts, scrapes, and blisters. This can be especially important when performing manual tasks or handling rough materials.
- Grip: Leather gloves are typically designed with textured surfaces or patterns that provide a good grip, making it easier to handle tools or objects with precision and control.
- Comfort: Leather gloves are often more comfortable to wear than other work gloves, as they conform to the shape of your hand over time and provide a natural fit.
- Durability: Leather is a durable material that can withstand heavy use and is resistant to abrasion, making leather work gloves a reliable tool that will last a long time.
- Versatility: Leather work gloves can be used for various tasks, from gardening and landscaping to handling firewood and performing mechanical repairs on your RV.
Wire Stripper Tool
Wire strippers and wire cutters are required for any RV electrical maintenance, and these tools are specifically intended to assist you in safely handling live electrical current-carrying cables. To be safe, you should turn off the electricity to the cables before performing repairs. If you are uncomfortable dealing with the electrical in your RV, you should never be ashamed to seek professional assistance.
A surge protector is necessary for protecting your RV’s electrical system against power surges and electrical damage caused by lightning strikes or defective wiring.
This is an excellent tool for owners of older RVs or camper vans who are prone to having worn-out wiring. Having additional wire on hand will allow you to remove faulty pieces and splice in a new wire to get your RV back up and running.
Before shopping for electrical wire, check the gauge on your RV.
Needle Nose Pliers
While pliers were on our list of items supplied with most multi-tools, the ends of those pliers are often blunt. Needle nose pliers, on the other hand, are ideal for reaching harder-to-reach areas and accurately pinching connectors when completing electrical repairs.
Zip Ties and Duct Tape
While there are many things that you should keep on the road, duct tape and zip ties can be lifesavers. Duct tape and zip ties can help you patch various things on your trip until you can go to a more trustworthy gear repair.
One power tool may need to be put in the right place on this list but bear with me as I explain. This tool for RV renovation may be used to cut, grind, polish, deburr, and finish a range of surfaces. Use a cordless model with a rechargeable battery for RV usage.
A multimeter is necessary to test your RV’s battery system and repair complex electrical systems. A multimeter can be used to troubleshoot RV thermostats and measure the efficiency of your solar panels.
While there are alternative methods for removing lug nuts from RV tires, a lug wrench is the most effective. Have a lug wrench in your RV or tow vehicle with your other tire-related supplies so that loosening lug nuts aren’t the most challenging part of your tire-changing experience when it happens.
There’s a laundry list of applications for which bungee cords will help you, including:
- Securing items during travel: RVs can experience a lot of movement during travel, which can cause items to shift and fall. Bungee cords can secure items like chairs, coolers, or other loose items to prevent them from moving around.
- Organizing storage spaces: RVs have limited storage space, and keeping items in place can take time and effort. Bungee cords can be used to create makeshift dividers or to hold items in place within storage compartments.
- Setting up outdoor living spaces: Many RVers enjoy spending time outside and setting up outdoor living spaces. Bungee cords can create shade by attaching a tarp to the RV or securing a campsite rug or outdoor mat.
- Emergency repairs: Bungee cords can temporarily fix various problems, from holding a broken awning in place to securing a loose part on the RV.
- Versatility: Bungee cords come in various sizes and can be used for various tasks beyond securing items. They can also be used to tie down tarps or to create a makeshift clothesline.
Water Pressure Regulator
Water pressure regulators are essential for RV living, as they can help protect your RV’s plumbing system from damage due to high water pressure. Here are some reasons why water pressure regulators are helpful for RV living:
- Protects your RV’s plumbing system: High water pressure can cause damage to your RV’s plumbing system, including burst pipes, leaks, and loose fittings. A water pressure regulator helps protect your RV’s plumbing by limiting the water pressure that enters the system.
- Ensures consistent water pressure: A water pressure regulator ensures that the water pressure in your RV remains consistent, regardless of the campground’s water pressure. This can help prevent fluctuating water pressure while showering or washing dishes.
- Easy to install: Water pressure regulators are easy to install and can be attached to the water hose outside of your RV.
- Inexpensive: Water pressure regulators are inexpensive and can save you money in the long run by preventing costly repairs due to high water pressure.
- Prevents water waste: High water pressure can cause excessive water use, which can be expensive if you pay for water at a campground. A water pressure regulator can help you control your water usage and save money on your water bill.
It’s not a good idea to pound nails into the walls of your RV. But, a hammer is still a piece of necessary equipment for duties such as pounding in tent posts for your campsite visitors. It is also helpful if you want to do a more thorough DIY RV repair.
Headlamp & Flashlights: Both Useful for Different Applications
The point here is to have the means to light up your campground if you need help finding your other RV gear or are trying to set up camp after dark.
Headlamps and flashlights have different advantages and disadvantages:
- Hands-free illumination: One of the main advantages of a headlamp is that it provides hands-free illumination, leaving your hands free to perform tasks. This can be especially useful when setting up camp, cooking, or performing other tasks that require both hands.
- Increased visibility: Because a headlamp is worn on your head, it provides increased visibility compared to a flashlight. This can be especially useful when hiking or walking at night.
- Energy efficiency: Headlamps are typically more energy-efficient than flashlights, making them a good choice for extended camping trips or off-grid living.
- Limited range: Headlamps are typically designed for close-range illumination and may be less effective for long-range visibility. They also may need to be more helpful in signaling for help or attracting attention.
- Long-range illumination: Flashlights are typically designed to provide long-range illumination and may be more effective for signaling for help or attracting attention. They can also help explore dark areas or check for wildlife outside the RV.
- More versatile: Flashlights come in a variety of sizes and shapes and can be used for a variety of tasks beyond just illumination, such as as a signaling device, a makeshift hammer, or a self-defense tool.
- One-handed use: While flashlights require one hand to hold, they can still be used for various tasks that require only one hand, such as repairing a leak or searching through storage compartments.
- Requires hand use: The main disadvantage of a flashlight compared to a headlamp is that it requires one hand to hold, leaving the other hand free for tasks.
Overall, headlamps and flashlights can be helpful tools for RV living, and which is better depends on your specific needs and preferences. A headlamp may benefit hands-free illumination and energy efficiency, while a flashlight may be more beneficial for long-range illumination and versatility. It may be a good idea to have both tools on hand to cover a variety of situations.
Pop inside the next petrol station and get a small tube of super glue. It’s ideal for minor repairs inside and outside your RV if you want a long-term solution. Just make sure you don’t glue your fingers together!
Locking vise grips help you to keep a better grasp without squeezing with your full might and are very useful for temporarily holding anything in place.
Specific benefits include:
- Gripping power: Vise grips are designed to lock onto an object and provide a powerful grip, making them useful for various tasks, from removing stubborn nuts and bolts to holding items in place.
- Adjustable jaws: The jaws of vise grips can be adjusted to fit various sizes and shapes, making them versatile tools for many applications.
- Multi-purpose: Vise grips can be used as pliers, clamps, and wrenches, making them a multi-purpose tool that can help you tackle various tasks in your RV.
- Emergency repairs: RVs can experience various mechanical problems while on the road. Vise grips can be valuable for emergencies, such as fixing leaks or securing loose parts.
- Durability: Vise grips are typically made from durable materials that can withstand heavy use, making them a reliable tool that will last a long time.
You’ll use a level whenever you set your RV up in a new campsite. Add this item to your RV toolbox to ensure you properly level and stable your RV or travel trailer before setting up the rest of your camp.
Industrial Strength Velcro
Sturdy Velcro is another must-have component with various applications. Excellent for holding objects in place and for various modest renovation projects.
Where Should You Keep Your RV Tools?
Keeping RV tools secure and orderly is critical for quick access and reducing tool damage. Here are some suggestions for where to keep your RV tools:
- Storage compartments: Many RVs include storage compartments for tools and other goods. These storage chambers are frequently positioned outside the RV and can be accessed outside. Make use of these compartments to safely store your tools.
- Toolboxes: Keeping your tools organized and in one place is easy with a toolbox. Your toolbox can be stored within the RV, in one of the storage compartments, or a separate storage container.
- Shelves: Adding shelves to the interior of your RV is a terrific way to store tools and other goods. Ensure your shelves are secure, so they don’t shift around while driving.
- Magnetic Strips: Magnetic strips are another fantastic way to store equipment like knives and other metal things. A magnetic strip can be installed inside your RV or in one of the storage compartments.
- Storage Containers: Storage containers can store tools and other objects. Label your containers so that you know what’s inside each one.
Keep your tools secure and organized so you know where everything is and can quickly reach it when needed.
Stop by the next hardware shop on your RV road trip to pick up a handful of these essential tools for your RV toolkit. Having the necessary equipment is the difference between a half-assed patch job and being able to fully repair broken RV parts so you can get back to enjoying RVing!