If you’re an avid outdoors enthusiast and an owner of a RV, then you know that there’s nothing better than exploring the great outdoors in your RV. However, one thing that might not be prepared for is all of the mishaps that can happen while out in nature. That’s why it’s essential to have a well-equipped RV toolbox on hand.
Just consider that you are regularly bouncing your “home” down the road at excessive speeds. It only goes to reason that sometimes things are going to break, and it will always happen when you are far from resources to make repairs.
After 5 years of full time travel and more home “fix it’s” than I can count, I have put together what we consider to be the best RV tool kit that we can assemble. This list of tools will keep you prepared for almost any eventuality and provide you with peace of mind as you travel the roads.
You will save money and time for more enjoyable camping activities.
Considerations For Building A Tool Box
1) How Much Space Do You Have?
When deciding what tools to pack, storage space is always an important factor to consider. Different RV’s are outfitted with different sizes of storage compartments under their beds or in their cabinets. All have limited space for everything you want to carry.
Figuring out how much space you have will help determine what tools you might want to include in your tool box.
2) How Much Weight Can Your RV Carry?
Next, consider the maximum weight that your vehicle can handle. You will have to factor in the weight of all the tools you plan to pack and still keep your vehicle at its optimal capacity. You certainly do not want your tool kit to CAUSE a breakdown!
3) What Type Of Vehicle Are You Driving?
Your RV might be a third-hand pickup truck camper, a brick sized Class C motor home, or a small Class A with a toad. Each will have different storage space and carrying weight capacity, so size and weight of larger tools needs to be considered. Towing a trailer behind a pickup truck for instance, gives you a much larger storage opportunity (in the back of the truck) than driving a Class C towing a Smart Car.
4) How Far/ Long Are Your Camping Trips?
Length and distance of your trip will determine how bulky and heavy your tool box will need to be. If you’re not going too far from home, then a smaller compact collection of essential tools might suffice. However if you’re planning on extended length or distant trips, you’ll want to make sure your tool kit is packed with the essential tools for every possible situation.
5) What Is Your Skill Level?
Your own ability to effect repairs will also factor into how essential your tools will be. This is not always an easy thing to assess, especially if you are new to camping or don’t have much experience tinkering with things on your own. If that’s the case, it doesn’t make much sense to carry a bunch of tools you will not attempt to use.
Essential Tools For Your RV Tool Kit
In The Toolbox:
Being able to manage most repairs with the essential tools that are packed in your RV tool box means you won’t have to rely on anyone else’s expertise or urgency to fix issues.
This basic list of essential hand tools and supplies will give you the confidence and capability to handle almost any problem, no matter what kind of campground you’re spending your time.
A good solid claw hammer is essential for driving in tent stakes, pulling up nails, and many other uses.
A good set of screwdrivers for various sizes and types should always be present in your kit. It won’t help you to have a great list of tools if you can’t get essential screws to turn.
A good pair of pliers are important in any tool kit. So many uses! There are several essential types and sizes to consider: needlenose, slip-joint (for gripping tightly and bending wire), adjustable (be able to cut, strip and bend different size wires), channel lock (for nail pulling, prying , closing bags)
Needle Nose Pliers
RV’s have endless small spaces and small parts. Needle Nosed pliers help getting into these tight spots.
A pair of clippers is necessary for to use as wire cutters, and for cutting the TON of zip ties you will inevitably use.
Channel Lock Pliers
Adjustable pliers give you a strong grip on many different sized items.
Irwin Pliers Set
- Durable nickel chromium steel.
- Includes 6″ diagonal and slip-joint, 8″ needle nose, and 10″ channel lock.
- Anti-pinch, non-slip ProTouch Grips provide comfort, control, and less hand fatigue.
Allen (Hex) Wrenches
Many small bolts in your RV and vehicle as well as bicycles and other recreational equipment will have hex-heads. A good set of Allen Wrenches is super handy and quite small. Many, many screws and bolts on your RV will use allen wrenches.
Any tool set would be incomplete without good socket wrenches and a set of sockets. Get both standard and metric if you have the space.
Also, get a long breaker bar for your set. It is not big, but will help a ton if you are doing brakes, or adding equipment onto your rig. l
You will always use wrenches working on your RV, vehicle or rec equipment.
Get a wrench set that includes both standard and metric sizes.
A nice adjustable wrench gives you the ability to tighten or loosen any size nuts and bolts as well as turning pipe fittings. Having an adjustable wrench in your kit will also ensure that the tool fits what you need to fix.
Sometimes you just need a pair of vice grip pliers that locks on and does not let go.
Keeping on top of your battery system is also very important especially if you boondock. A multimeter is a handy tool to have not just for this application, but for many other uses around your RV’s electrical system.
Also, a hydrometer is the best way to keep track of how well your batteries are charging and when to equalize them.
I also always have some distilled water on hand to fill those cells up.
- Cool-grip Spiral Handle provides a safe, comfortable grip
- Unparalleled heat retention and even heating.
- Use in the oven, on the stove, on the grill, or over a campfire
- An essential tool for your RV’s complex electrical systems.
A good razor knife is essential for everything from flooring, to electrical, to opening boxes.
It is always handy to carry a pocket knife as well. You will find yourself pulling it out for any number of reasons.
There are a lot of occasions where you will ned to make sure your RV, or parts of your RV are level. A torpedo level does the job in a very small package.
You will do a LOT of repairs in very dimly lit places- under the RV, or in the compartments. Having a good flashlight or headlamp makes all the different. A headlamp will keep your hands free to work on your project.
Most places on an RV that will require the use of a hacksaw (plumbing areas) will be too tight for a full sized hack saw. A mini unit makes all the difference.
A folding saw is a great item to have. If you want to gather fire wood or clear away a tree branch from your site, it will come in handy and save you a ton of money.
Caulking seams on RV’s split all of the time, due to the flexing that occurs when you travel. A caulking gun is an essential tool to re-seal these seams and keep your home watertight.
All of your hand tools will need someplace to go. This tool bag is just right for the job. It is soft sided, and has tons of pockets for all of your tools, plus handles for easy transport.
Along with your tools, there are essential supplies you should always carry with you on your trips. These items are used quite often so you want to make sure to have them on hand at all times.
Hoses get used a lot in an RV, and the wear and tear of putting the hose on and off will lead to leaks. Campsite owners do not appreciate people letting their water spray onto the ground. Replace your hose washers regularly.
Zip ties are essential for a million different tasks. in Your RV. From bundling wires. to temporarily wrapping hoses, zip ties will help keep all of your stuff in order.
Get some Gorilla Tape– you are a rugged outdoorsperson for crying out loud! Some people use duct tape- these people are sissy’s! Gorilla Tape is super strong and can be used anywhere.
- Heavy duty and double thickness of duct tape.
- Great for indoor or outdoor use and made to stick.
- Rugged, weather-resistant shell; withstands moisture, UV rays and temperature extremes.
You will do some electrical work eventually. Make sure you have some electrical tape on hand. Electric tape comes in several colors and has a ton of uses.
Lap Sealant- Self-Leveling
Water intrusion is one of the most common destroyers of RV’s. Plain and simple. Cracks around the exterior seams (especially on the RV roof) 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 caulk 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.
This self-leveling sealant is perfect for roof top repairs, split seams etc. It flows into the repair and seals it off completely.
Lap Sealant- Non-Leveling
If you are diligent about nothing else- KEEP YOUR RIG WATERTIGHT!
A few key power tools are an essential part of your RV toolkit. Luckily, todays battery operated power tools are powerful and compact so space is not a big issue. Here are a few power tools that you should have with you.
Battery Operated Drill and Bits
You will use this a lot, just as you do in your house. I use the Ryobi One+ system. I have the 18v power drill, the impact driver for changing tires, and the handheld leaf blower for blowing off the rugs, etc around the campsite. This is one power tool set I would NOT do without.
Of course, a good set of drill bits, as well as driver bits, is important. Check to see what hellish manner of screwheads your fifth wheel or travel trailer 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.
Dremel Tool and Blades
Dremel tools come in handy so many times when you have to cut a material in a tight space, or cut off a bolt that will not come loose. They are small and very useful!
Screwdriver Bit Set
Phillips, straight, hex, star bits are a good start. These turn your drill into a very powerful screwdriver and will help save you time on many a project.
Tire Changing Equipment
DO NOT WAIT until after your first blowout of your RV tires 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 manufacturers 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!
Get These FREE!
AND START TO:
Stay organized and prepared when departing for your next trip.
Make sure everything is done and your rig is ready to travel.
Relax and enjoy the ride knowing you haven’t forgotten anything.
Be prepared for your next travel day and stop doing things last-minute.
Anyway, the next day I picked up a 3 Ton Floor Jack, 4-way lug wrench, and 3 Ton Jack Stands.
All of this cost about $150 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.
80+ PSI Compressor
Tire leaks NEVER happen near gas stations. Having your own compact tire inflator allows you to keep your RV, truck, or trailer tires at pressure when it is convenient for you- instead of while you are traveling.
- 6 gallon capacity maximizes portability and stored air.
- Durable, oil-free pump is made for long-life and no maintenance.
- 150 Max PSI to ensure adequate cut-inch pressure.
Tire Pressure Gauge
This is possibly the most important tool you can have. Proper tire pressure is so important when traveling. If you are doing the job right- you will use a tire pressure gauge all the time on both the RV and tow vehicle.
This is one of the essentials that you simply must have AND use. Correct tire pressure in your RV and truck tires could simply save your life. Also- always make sure to check the pressure in your spare tire.
Battery Operated Impact Wrench
It will happen- you will have a blow out while traveling. Changing a tire on the side of a busy highway is NOT a fun time. An impact wrench will cut down your time spent on this task immensely. You can get one that matches your cordless drill so the batteries match.
Trust me- you will be thanking me next time you are on the side of the road.
Some prefer a canister jack, but I much prefer a floor jack, even if it is larger. Again- when you are on the side of the highway with a flat tire- you do not want to spend time dinking around with a small scissor jack. Get a heavy duty unit and get your tire changed quickly.
3 Ton Floor Jack
- Constructed with heavy duty steel, providing long term durability.
- Features a 3 ton (6,000 lb) capacity and a maximum height of 20-7/8″
- Single piston quick lift pump allows you to easily raise the jack.
4 Way Lug Wrench
A four way wrench makes short work of lug nuts- both loosening AND tightening. They are a bit clunky, but well worth the effort to carry when you are changing a tire.
Tire Puncture Kit
There are a lot of occasions when small punctures can derail your travel. Many times, you can put a plug into a small puncture and keep yourself on the road until it is convenient to have your tire looked at.
Other Necessities For Your RV Toolkit
Other than your hand tools and repair supplies there are a few items that you should also have along.
There is always something to tie down when you are traveling. Bikes, recreational equipment, etc. Ratchet straps are much easier to use than rope, and much more secure. Plus they can be wrapped up and store in a very small space.
- Secure All Kinds of Odd-Shaped Stuff Without Worrying
- Flexible Webbing Adapts & Locks Into Place Instantly
- Pull the Black Spring-Loaded Handles for a Smooth, Speedy Release
Sometime along the way, you will either need a pull, or come across a fellow RV’er that will need a tow. A tow strap is efficient to carry and will be a life saver when needed.
I have never needed to be towed, but I have used my strap 3 different occasions to help get a fellow traveler out of a jam.
Gloves are essential for projects around the RV or campsite. Always have a few pairs in your RV tool set.
Heavy work gloves are good for using a shovel or rake, or carrying fire wood. Work gloves are essential for so many tasks you will do.
Thin disposable rubber gloves are essential for any work around the black tank- including dumping.
A collapsible rake is a great tool for cleaning up around your site. It will fold down into a very small package for transport.
- Easily adjust the fan head and telescoping handle to find the perfect fit.
- Rake is comfortable and durable thanks to the easy-grip, rubberized handle.
- Folds down to 37″ x 7.5 inches for easy storage.
A small folding shovel is a great tool to have and you will use it often to clear up around the campsite, dig a fire pit, dig for fishing worms. etc. Makes a great gift for the RV owner who does not have one!
There is always a use for a good ladder. If you are washing and waxing your rig, or doing repairs along the roof line, you will need one.
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!)
- Our telescopic ladders have a maximum load of 330lb/150kg.
- This foldable ladder is lightweight and easy to carry.
- Space saving design allows storage in most RV storage compartments.
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 had a residential refrigerator in our unit and so we did not have the propane option if there is a power outage.
Our Craftsman Hybrid Generator has come to the rescue on several occasions AND saved us a TON of money by allowing us to boondock for quite a few weeks.
Champion Hybrid Generator
- 50% quieter and 20% lighter than a traditional Champion 3500-watt generator
- Clean electricity for sensitive electronics.
- Economy Mode feature saves fuel and extends engine life.
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 and electrical hookup cable 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 to keep them clean and in good shape.
Also, gotta keep that rig washed and waxed. These microfiber towels at Amazon are good all-purpose rags for jobs that require a softer touch.
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…
- Durable hard plastic with UV inhibitors. Will hold your RV in place
- For use with tires up to 26″ in diameter.
- Non-slip base suitable for most tire sizes. Will not slide out or allow movement.
Here are some other RV Accessories that we can’t live without that might interest you:
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. They have allowed me to properly repair most issues I have had. They are the tools that you need in your RV.
Hopefully, this list will help you RV travelers 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?