We see a lot of articles about what an RV tool kit should contain, and they always seem to include a whole lot of tools and other items that most folks will rarely (if ever) use.
As every RVer knows, space and weight are always considerations when we’re driving a little house on wheels, and carrying more heavy tools that you’ll actually use doesn’t make sense for many RVers.
As most of our readers are well aware, we’re big DIYers and we love to do our own maintenance. We also live in our RV full time, and we’ve done so for very nearly 20 years now. So, sure – we carry a fairly substantial array of tools and supplies, some we brought with us when we first set out on the road, and others we’ve accumulated during projects and maintenance along the way.
But let’s face it – not every RVer needs a basement full of tools and supplies. Not every RVer is a full-timer, and not every RVer spends the majority of their time boondocking in areas far off the grid (and far from stores).
Many RVers pull into a campground, hook up, and enjoy their camping experience for a weekend, or they hit the road for a week or two, and then they go home. If there’s an odd tool they happen to need on their trip, they can ask around the campground to borrow such a tool or, if absolutely necessary, they can run to a local hardware shop to grab the tool they need. Or, depending on the project/repair, they might just be able to wait until they get home to a garage full of additional tools.
Our point is that there’s just no need to spend hundreds of dollars creating an RV tool kit full of items you’re unlikely to use. So in this post, we’ll reveal the contents of a simple, basic RV tool kit with items most RVers will actually use.
- 1) What Tools Do I Need to Carry in My RV?
- 2) The 6 Most Important Tools for Your RV Tool Kit
- 3) The 10 Most Important Random Items for Your RV Tool Kit
- 4) 2 Bonus Items for your RV Tool Kit
- 5) Conclusion
What Tools Do I Need to Carry in My RV?
For the most part, a basic RV tool kit is what every RVer needs. And when we say “basic”, we really do mean BASIC – the parts and tools you’ll most likely actually USE at some point. Again, since full-timers carry everything they own with them, they tend to be more limited by space and weight. And part-timers can keep additional tools for more extensive projects at their sticks & bricks house.
When you find yourself looking at one of our DIY videos, you’ll see we often include a list of tools needed. If you need a particular tool you don’t already own, you can either borrow it or simply add it to your arsenal at that time, space permitting. No need to carry 50 pounds of tools and supplies on every road trip, camping trip, or adventure.
You also need to consider what type of work you’ll actually do on your RV. For example, we saw one list that included a gigantic, heavy wrench (and we mean GIGANTIC and HEAVY), “in case you need to work on your leaf springs.” Leaf springs?? Really? Is that what you intend to do on your next camping trip? Probably not.
So let’s get to the basics – the stuff you’ll carry and use, that can be packed into a small soft-sided tool bag and tossed into the basement of your rig. You’ll notice that only some of these items are actually tools. The other items are things we think you’ll appreciate having in your RV tool kit.
The 6 Most Important Tools for Your RV Tool Kit
If you want to be the least bit handy for some DIY projects and to avoid unnecessary service appointments, here are five tools we feel are necessary for your RV tool kit:
1. Assorted screwdrivers – both flat blade & Phillips
Many people have an assortment of screwdrivers at home which they can transfer to the RV as we did. Others may prefer a highly compact version of a multi-screwdriver set like this one which has thousands of excellent reviews on Amazon:
- Features bayonet blade, Rapidaptor with quick release chuck, integrated bit storage and pouch for convenient transport and storage (SL/PH)
- Two-position Bayonet blade is extendable and can be removed and attached to power tool
2. A set of open-end wrenches and a crescent wrench
The same goes for a set of open-end wrenches. If you don’t have a set to toss into the RV when you travel, a nice little combination set (both standard and metric) like this one won’t break the bank and is compact and light, as it rolls into a small pouch, easily tossed into your tool bag. Amazon has a 9-piece and a 24-piece set like this one:
- 9-piece combination wrench set with chrome finish
- Manufactured from long-lasting, durable materials, drop forged and hardened treated
A good quality crescent wrench or two (we have both large and small ones) is also important to carry in your RV tool kit.
3. Assorted pliers
Any good set of pliers will do, but you’ll definitely need them in your RV tool kit. This set from Amazon is inexpensive but will give you seven different types of pliers, including needle nose, diagonal cutters, and channel locks.
- 8-inch groove joint, 8-inch and 6-inch slip joint, 7-inch linesman, 6-inch and 4-1/2 inch long nose, and 6-inch diagonal pliers. Covered slushing oil...
- Drop Forged Polished Steel: Heat treated durable body construction
4. Socket set (both metric & standard/SAE sizes)
A socket set is another necessary piece of your RV tool kit. You’ll want a selection of both metric and standard sizes such as those found in a kit like this one:
- DURABILITY: Premium chrome vanadium steel with heat treatment , chrome flash certainly ensures the strength and rust-resistance of tools.
- REVERSIBLE RATCHET: The reversible ratchet with quick release mechanism improves efficiency and performance. The little rotation flipper on the...
Another note about sockets – you may eventually find yourself needing an unusual socket size. You’ll either need a deep socket for something, or you’ll need a specific size for a specific job. A good example of this is when you’ll use a ratchet and a 1 1/16-inch socket for the anode rod of your Suburban water heater.
For those odd sizes that are both rarely needed, and aren’t included in the average socket set, you can pick up individual sockets in most auto parts, hardware, or big box stores. Keep in mind that a large socket size, like the 1 1/16, might be a 1/2″ drive rather than the smaller/more common 3/8″ drive. If your socket set doesn’t include a 1/2 to 3/8 adapter, you’ll need of those as well, which avoids the need for a 1/2″ drive socket wrench.
5. Cordless drill with drill bits and assorted drivers
This one is a bit more expensive, but we guarantee you’ll love owning it and find it to be an excellent investment. You never know where on your RV you’ll need to use a cordless drill, but you’re pretty well assured of needing one with some regularity.
Remember – we’re driving the house over hill and dale and bumps and potholes. In addition to repairs and DIY projects, you’ll need to tend to things that loosen up. This is one of the most important tools you’ll carry in your RV tool kit. This is the one we have, and it’s one of our most-used and most-loved pieces of equipment on our rig:
- Dewalt drill has compact and lightweight design that fits into tight areas.NEW 18V XR Li-Ion compact drill driver featuring XR 1.3Ah Li-Ion battery...
- High performance motor of the power drill delivers 300 unit watts out (UWO) of power ability completing a wide range of applications
Once you have a cordless drill, you’ll want the following assorted drill bits and drivers to use with it:
- VERSATILE PERFORMANCE - Take on a wide range of jobs with these versatile tools compatible with a wide range of common drills and power screwdrivers
- LONG LIFE - Outlast tough elements with a heat-treated design engineered for long life
- DEWALT drill bit set has connectable accessory storage system to optimize storage space
- Patented bit-bar design of the drill bits set allows easy removal of bits and customizable placement
6. A hammer… or two!
You know that old saying… “if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail?!” Well, if that’s ALL you have, that’s true. But since this is #6 in our list of must-haves… well, just use it for the nails! Because with all that shaking, rattling, and rolling down the road… a couple are gonna pop out here and there!
- Forged steel head for superior durability
- ProTouch grip for maximum comfort even after prolonged use
The 10 Most Important Random Items for Your RV Tool Kit
In addition to the top five tools noted above, your RV tool kit should also contain a host of other items that are sure to be helpful to you on the road or during a repair or DIY project.
Here is our list of the 10 most important items to toss into your RV tool kit:
We keep a good assortment of odds, ends, and miscellaneous parts on board so that when things need fixing out in the wild, we seldom have to worry that there’s no hardware store around.
- Zip Ties (or Cable Ties, or “Zap Straps” for our Canadian friends)
Zip ties are among the best things ever invented for various repairs and upgrades. We keep a large supply of various sizes on board. They’ve come in handy far more times than we could ever count!
Strong Velcro is another indispensable item with multiple uses. Great for holding things in place and for many minor upgrade projects.
Seals just about anything and won’t come off… EVER!
Every RV roof should be inspected at least a couple of times a year to ensure that any minor cracks in the sealant are touched up. We’ve never had a roof leak because we’re diligent about checking and maintaining the sealant.
Check out our video on the subject, and be sure to have a tube of Dicor handy at all times. We’ll stick a putty knife in here too, for scraping off old Dicor. You might like having this 1.5” size and this 4” size on hand. They’re about a dollar each, and plastic, to avoid damaging rubber roofs.
You’ll need a caulk gun to apply the self-leveling lap sealant on the roof. You’ll need one for other projects as well, like re-caulking the shower every few years, for example.
Silicone spray stops squeaks but doesn’t attract dirt. This is a very handy item for RVers who are handy with a DIY or maintenance project.
Get the good stuff – self-fusing Rescue Tape. When you need it, you’ll really want it to work! And – trust us – you’ll need a roll of high-quality plumbing tape.
Self-explanatory! We use ours endlessly.
2 Bonus Items for your RV Tool Kit
A couple of other items you might like to have onboard your RV are a digital multimeter and a wire stripper.
If you’re troubleshooting an electrical issue or even just need to check your battery health, a digital multimeter is both necessary and inexpensive.
- 【2000 Counts 8233D PRO Pocket Digital Multimeter】 Wide Application: It Can Accurately Measure AC/DC Current Voltage, Resistance, Capacitance...
- 【Included 9 Volt Battery】The Compartment Lid at the Back is Secured by One Cross Head Screw, Not Difficult to Remove at All; Also, Included Pair...
You may be surprised at the amount of electrical work you can do on your own on your RV. Whether you need to install a new propane detector or a more complex project, a wire stripper is a handy item to have in your RV tool kit. This is the one we use, and love:
- SELF-ADJUSTING: Strip wire from 10 to 24 AWG with our self-adjusting mechanism. Jaw Width: 2 inches
- ADJUSTABLE STOPPER: Control the length of the core strip with the built-in adjustable stopper
Whether you’re a weekend RVer or a full-timer, carrying an RV tool kit is important. But we maintain that you don’t need to break the bank for the basics. Many of the tools and items noted in this article may be things you have on hand at home. If you keep them together in a versatile tool bag, you can just toss them in the RV whenever you travel. Or better yet – simply reach for your RV tool kit when you need to do a project at home!
- EASY TOOL ACCESS: This tool bag features a pop-open design and large interior compartment to allow for easy access to tools and parts.
- DURABLE TOOL BAG: This tool bag is heavy-duty poly fabric construction to stand up to any job.
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