When it comes to RV storage space there are 2 truths that EVERY husband knows.
- There is NEVER enough of it.
- Your wife is getting 90% of it.
But luckily for us guys, there is always that 10%. That wonderful dank musty basement space where we keep the sewer hoses that NOONE really wants to put their hands on. THAT is our kingdom- we control it- we decide what is in and what is out. And what are we putting in there? Damn right -TOOLS! (insert grunting) Having the essential tools in our RV toolkit is our number one job as Emperor of the Basement!
It’s the last bastion of manhood, our tool space and we need our tools! RV care is just as demanding as home care (who knew!). Stuff breaks when you bounce it down the highway at 60mph and that stuff need’s fixing. So it is important that we carry the essentials for good RV maintenance. Over these last few years on the road, I have come to depend on a few good staples that help me keep my rig operational. Hope this will help those of you just looking down the road to keep what you will need.
Essential Tools that Every RVer Should Have Around
Yes, all of the old staples. Hammer, screwdrivers, wrenches, pliers, Allen wrenches, knives. All of the stuff you would usually have in there. You will be constantly reattaching window blinds, adjusting door hardware, re-mounting wood trim, etc. So a good set of standard all-purpose hand tools is absolutely essential. Remember- bouncing down the highway at 60mph! As a basic set, this Stanley Compact Set works nicely. I purchased an empty tool bag at Home Depot and put all my own tools in it, it was a great deal, I found another one on Amazon that is similar to mine.
Battery Operated Drill
You will use this a lot, just as you do in your house. I use the Ryobi One+ system. I have the 18v drill, the impact driver for changing tires, and the handheld leaf blower for blowing off the rugs, etc around the campsite. Of course, a good set of drill bits, as well as driver bits, is important. Check to see what hellish manner of screwheads your RV manufacturer decided to use and make sure you have those bits along. I swear those things are like cattle brands these days. Every manufacturer has to have their own unique screw head shape to baffle us into paying servicemen to work on our rigs.
Tire Changing Equipment
DO NOT WAIT until after your first blowout to upgrade your tire changing gear. I know this. I DID this. Our first blowout, I used the laughable jack that came with my pickup truck. When I used the RV lug wrench to try to loosen a lug nut, it promptly broke off in my hand! Luckily the nuts were the same size as the truck so I was able to use the laughable lug wrench that came with the truck to finish the job. It took over an hour to change that tire. Not exactly going to get me a pit crew pass into Talladega next year!
Anyway, the next day I got down to Walmart and picked up a 3 Ton Floor Jack, 4-way lug wrench, and 3 Ton Jack Stands. All of this cost about $100 and I keep them all in the back of the pickup so they are with me all of the time. These also make brake jobs etc. on the truck a breeze! Soon after that, I picked up the previously mentioned Ryobi Impact Wrench. Not an absolute necessity, but then again my back isn’t getting any younger.
Water intrusion is one of the most common destroyers of RV’s. Plain and simple. Cracks around the exterior seams appear without making a sound and it can be weeks or months before you know it if you are not diligent. I tour my rig exterior as often as once per month checking for failing caulking seams. I keep my caulking gun and some DiCor on hand at all times. I have both the sagging and non-sagging tubes so that I have what I need for any situation.
Just this last March I had my rig into the factory repair facility in Indiana (where else?) for an entire side wall replacement. The caulking job they did was horrendous and I had to re-caulk most of the seals myself. Huge priority on this one guys- keep your caulking tight!
Battery Maintenance Equipment
It is always a good idea, depending on how aggressive you are while exploring nature, to have a good strong tow strap along. We have done a decent bit of off-roading and have never needed to be pulled out of anywhere, but I have used my tow strap on 3 different occasions to help others out of sticky situations.
Shovel and Rake
I have a spade in the back of my truck and a folding leaf rake inside the rig. We have used both of these innumerable times in our travels to dig fire pits, rake leaves from around our campsite, dig worms for fishing etc. Great simple tools to have around when you need them.
Here are some other RV Accessories that we can’t live without that might interest you:
This is so important to have with you. I found this OxGord Telescoping Ladder on Amazon and have really loved it. It telescopes down into a nice small package to fit easily inside my “basement” and then opens up to 12 feet. That is plenty of height for any kind of RV washing/waxing, seal caulking, etc. Also handy for releasing kites from trees. (that is “kites” not “cat’s”- sorry, I’m a dog guy- the cat can stay in the tree!)
Bungee cords have a thousand and one uses. I use mine for holding the bikes on the bike rack, transporting propane tanks to the refill station, and tying my children to trees. Oop’s, forget that last one. This set from Cartman is a nice assortment and good value. The plastic jar is handy to keep them in when not in use. Remember to replace your bungees about once a year depending on use. They do wear out over time, especially if they are exposed to the elements.
A generator is essential if you plan to do any amount of boondocking. It is also a good idea as a general rule. We have a residential refrigerator in our unit and so we do not have the propane option if there is a power outage. Our Craftsman Hybrid Generator has come to the rescue on several occasions this summer AND saved us a TON of money by allowing us to boondock for quite a few weeks.
Rags or Towels
Don’t forget to have some spare towels or rags for utility use. I use them to clean up outside the rig and to wipe down my hoses EVERY time I put them away. After being hooked up for a month, they can get pretty grubby so a towel in your hand while you coil them up is a great idea. Also, gotta keep that rig washed and waxed. These microfiber towels at Amazon are good all-purpose rags.
It is always a good idea to have some good strong rope around. Again there are a thousand uses- especially if you run out of bungees to tie the kids to trees with. There is always a load of something in the truck to tie down, or a bow and arrow being crafted. Paracord is very popular as part of a hiking or camping safety kit as well. It is lightweight and super strong so you can use it to tie a shelter together, make a hammock, etc. There are tons of colors to choose from as well so if you are creative you can make bracelets, etc. You can get clasps, compasses, flint fire starters etc to connect with the paracord to create a safety bracelet.
Not only are wheel chocks important when your rig is set up, but they are also important as safety equipment should you have a blow out on the road. (And you WILL have a blow out on the road!) The chocks can hold your truck/ trailer/ RV in place while you are on the jack to avoid roll-aways. Nobody likes to see their rig roll off into the distance with no driver…
These are my essential tools- the ones I use the most. Of course, there are a good few “rainy day” tools I keep in a big storage bin as well. But these are the ones that I find have the most use for me. Hopefully, this list will help you to use your own space in the most efficient manner.
What tools do you use on a regular basis, share your favorites in the comments below?