Packing for an RV adventure is an art, and no one gets it completely right on their first try. Finding the perfect balance between available space and the tools you need is done through trial and error. You can rest assured that no two RVers do it the same way! The good news is you don't have to guess when it comes to packing appropriate tools for your journey.
The intrepid traveler, for example, packs the right clothes and kitchen supplies. This article will focus on choosing the right tools for any crisis you may encounter. If you know anything about RVing, you will be aware that a recreational vehicle is bound to need something tightened or replaced as it bounces down the road.
The tools discussed below are essential. There is nothing fancy or brand specific. Most avid RVers will use each of these items at some point in their travels. You don't need a degree in mechanics to master these tools. Most are something you already have lying around your stick and brick home. NOTE: Owning a good tool set will save you time and money. Don't skimp. Always carry the tools you need to prevent having to hire a professional to fix something simple. There is nothing more discouraging than having to pay a big bill for a DIY item.
1.) The Store-Bought Toolkit.
Depending on the size of your RV, you may or may not need all the tools mentioned below. This article is a comprehensive list covering almost any tool you could need. No matter how mechanically gifted you are, every RV needs a basic toolkit. These kits come in a convenient case and will contain tools like a hammer, a drill with bits and a battery, screwdrivers, pliers, a tape measure, box cutter, wrenches and various other accessories.
Even if you already have these tools in your home, it's best to buy another set to keep in your RV. Your RV toolkit is essential and will help you fix many everyday problems that you will encounter on the road.
2.) The DIY Toolbox.
The store-bought toolkit is a great place to start and you'll probably use everything that's in it at some point, but you'll also want to pick up a few more tools to handle other issues that come up on the road. These affordable, easy-to-find and useful items will round out your RV toolbox nicely.
Vise grip pliers (medium and regular sizes)
Channel lock pliers
Socket wrench set
Allen key set AKA hex key
Stubby screwdrivers (flat and Philips' head)
Extra nails, screws, nuts, bolts, etc.
Sealants, Adhesives, and Fasteners
When things start coming loose, breaking off or leaking, you'll be glad you thought ahead. You can't always fix things while you're out on the road exploring by running to the store. These products will hold your RV together and keep things dry until you can buy the replacements you need.
Tape (RV repair, duct, Gorilla and electrical)
Staple gun (with staples)
Teflon tape for plumbing
Hose clamps (various sizes)
Silicon sealant (for keeping the rain and other water outside)
Cabinet door catches
The following items will keep your lights burning when you are out on the road. If a light or fuse goes out in your RV or if wiring becomes faulty, these tools will shed a little light on the subject. Electrical items can also be used to keep your vehicle in running order.
Spare bulbs for exterior (turn signals, headlights, brakes, running lights, etc.) and interior lights
Extra fuses/fuse kit (make sure to have them in all the necessary amp ratings)
Insulated wire (10- to 12-gauge)
Extension cord (25 ft.)
Soldering iron and solder (battery-operated or butane powered)
There will be times when you need to cut, file, trim and scrape items in the RV or the great outdoors. This list of tools will keep everything trimmed and smooth and can even help with firewood if you need it!
Side cutters (various sizes)
Wood saw (small)
Packing For Success
Always pack your RV with items you will need to survive in a crisis. Hopefully, you won't end up needing these things, but if you do end up stranded, injured, without power, or in any other precarious situation, the following items should be of great assistance.
Flashlights (both regular and head-mounted for working with your hands in the dark) and batteries. I also recommend a set of crank flashlights just in case.
Collapsible roadside triangles
Water purification tablets
Emergency radio (hand-cranked or solar)
Window breaker/seatbelt cutter
Extra batteries for everything
If you will be traveling in an area that has frequent storms, consider owning a weather radio. There is nothing worse than living through a hurricane or tornado in an RV. Protect your family with these simple battery operated systems perfect for the inside of your rig.
Personal Picks and Misc. Tools
These items should round out your RV tool box nicely, filling in any blank spaces that may exist. They might not fit into any of the other categories, but they are every bit as important as anything listed above.
Folding ladder (if you have room)
Trucker's tire gauge
Hand cleaner (pre-moistened wipes or other waterless cleaner)
Many Experienced RVers swear by the following "must have" items.
Tire plug kit
Small air compressor
RV Leveling Blocks
Eternabond Tape for Roof Leaks
Finally, while not exactly “tools,” most RVers will want to pack a great road atlas, an RV GPS system and some RV related apps on their smart phone.
Sure, you may not end up needing every tool on this list, but you are guaranteed to use most of them. It's better to be prepared than to be stranded in a remote location without the tools you need. Also, be sure to keep everything organized and labeled in your storage bays.
Not the handiest person in the world? Don't worry. YouTube is filled with do it yourself videos that can help you out when you are camping. A quick Google search will also lead to countless RV-related sites featuring detailed instructions. So next time something breaks on your beloved recreational vehicle, tap into that same pioneer spirit that urged you to buy your RV in the first place. You can do it! You can fix it yourself!