Before you hit the road in your RV, you should review my Essential Tools for the RV Owner checklist. From minor repairs to roadside emergencies, carrying the right tools can make all the difference. In this blog post, I’ll discuss the tools recreational vehicle owners should take that will help them stay prepared and safe during their travels. At the end of this article, you will find downloadable documents that you can use to develop your custom list. I am starting with the basic tool kit that everybody should have and then the ultimate tool kit that covers just about any situation you may run into RVing. If you find I’ve missed something, let me know in the comments section.
You can download the tool checklists at the end of the article.
Essential Hand Tools
Hand tools are an important part of any RV owner’s toolkit. Here are some of the must-have hand tools for your RV:
- Socket and Wrench Set: socket and wrench set is one of the most crucial tools for an RV owner. This set comes in different sizes and can be used to tighten and loosen nuts and bolts, making it easier to perform repairs or adjustments to your RV. Be sure to choose a set with metric and SAE sizes, a ratchet handle, extensions, and adapters to make it versatile.
- Screwdrivers: Choose a set of screwdrivers in different sizes and types (flathead, Phillips, etc.) to tackle tasks such as tightening or loosening screws, opening panels or cabinets, and more.
- Pliers: Pliers come in handy for various tasks, such as cutting wires, holding onto small parts, and bending metal. They’re an essential tool for any RV owner who wants to be able to make repairs and adjustments on the go.
- Adjustable wrench: An adjustable wrench is a versatile tool used to tighten or loosen bolts and nuts of different sizes. Choose a wrench with a comfortable grip and a wide jaw opening for better performance. A ten-inch (10″) Crescent wrench is big enough to change your propane tanks and accomplish most other tasks.
- Claw hammer: A claw hammer is a versatile tool for removing nails, pounding in stakes, and more. Choose a hammer with a comfortable grip and a balanced weight distribution for better control.
- Hacksaw: A hacksaw is a cutting tool that can cut through metal, plastic, and other materials. Choose a hacksaw with a durable frame and a comfortable grip for better control.
- Utility knife: Use a utility knife to cut through various materials, including cardboard, plastic, and carpet. Choose a utility knife with a retractable blade and a comfortable grip for better handling.
- Channel locks: Channel locks are pliers that are convenient to grip and turn objects of various shapes and sizes. Choose a pair of channel locks with a comfortable grip and durable construction for better performance.
- Find the complete list at the end of this article.
A multimeter is another essential tool on the checklist for RV owners. It measures electrical current, voltage, and resistance, which helps troubleshoot electrical problems in your RV. With a multimeter, you can identify the source of an electrical issue and take steps to fix it. It is best to choose a multimeter with a digital display and an auto-ranging feature for accuracy. Get a clamp-on version like this one, which will allow you to measure amperage. Finally, make sure to get an AC/DC meter. The pictured KAIWEETS HT206D Digital Clamp Meter is inexpensive and covers the average RVers needs very well.
Spare fuses are crucial for any RV owner to carry. It’s essential to check your RV’s fuse box to determine which types and sizes of fuses you need to take. Various fuses, including those for lighting, appliances, and other electrical systems, should be kept on hand. If you have a towable RV, carry fuses for the tow vehicle in the RV. A common problem is blowing a fuse on the tow vehicle when connecting the trailer’s electrical cable. Having the correct fuses stops an unsafe towing condition and potentially a citation for non-working trailer lights. A kit like this one includes both mini and standard-size ATC fuses. They are the most common ones found in both RVs and your two vehicles.
Duct Tape, Electrical Tape, and Zip Ties
Duct tape can temporarily patch holes, fix leaks, and even temporarily secure loose items. Choose durable and weather-resistant tape for better results. Electrical tape is also invaluable when you need to repair something electrical. Finally, a good selection of zip ties will be useful when camping.
Tire Pressure Gauge
Another essential tool on the checklist is a tire gauge. Keeping your RV’s tires inflated properly is crucial for ensuring a smooth and safe ride. A tire pressure gauge will help you check the tire pressure and prevent potential problems. You must choose a tire gauge capable of reading the pressures you need to run in your tires. In most cases, one of those cheap pencil styles and some digital gauges can’t read more than 50 psi, making them worthless to the RV owner.
Cheap Tire Gauges Can Kill You Cheap air gauges can read 10 to 15% off of actual pressure. For example, if a tire requires 80 pounds of air, 10% is 8 pounds, which means your tire pressure may be 72psi or 88psi. Depending on your tire, this can put you close to an under or overinflated condition. Spend a few extra dollars and get the tire gauge the tire guys use, the Milton S-976. They are only about $20 and are very durable and accurate. Skip the fancy digital ones because they will fail at the most inopportune time.
Jumper cables are an essential tool on the RV owner’s tool checklist that applies to every vehicle owner. They are invaluable when RVs battery dies or you need to jump-start another vehicle. Choose cables at least 10 feet long with heavy-duty clamps for better conductivity. Watch the wire gauge of the cables. Cheap ones may use eight gauge wire, appropriate for jumping an auto but not for jumping a large motorhome. The larger your RV, the larger the wire gauge your cables. Remember, wire gauges are backward, so an eight-gauge wire is smaller than a one-gauge. I advise spending a few extra bucks and getting one or two-gauge wire.
Flashlights and Headlamps
A good LED flashlight is essential for any RV owner. Having two or three is advisable. Choose a waterproof and shock-resistant flashlight with adjustable brightness levels for better visibility. A magnetic mount is convenient as well. Headlamps are super valuable, particularly when you are off-grid camping.
First Aid Kit
A first aid kit is an important item on the essential tools for the recreational vehicle owner checklist. Every RV owner should carry one with them on their travels. It should include all the necessary supplies to treat minor injuries, illnesses, or accidents that may occur during your trip. Choose a kit that is portable, waterproof, and has clear labeling for easy identification. Here are some of the items that the essentials tools checklist kit should contain in your RV first aid kit:
- Bandages of various sizes: Adhesive bandages, gauze pads, and sterile dressings are essential for covering and protecting wounds.
- Antiseptic wipes and ointments: Used to clean and disinfect wounds and prevent infection.
- Pain relievers: Your favorites like Ibuprofen or acetaminophen
- Tweezers and scissors: These tools are used to remove splinters and debris and cut clothing to assess an injury.
- Disposable gloves: Gloves are worn to protect the caregiver and the injured person from contamination and infection.
- Instant cold packs: Used to reduce swelling and inflammation in case of an injury.
- Thermometer: A digital thermometer is essential for checking body temperature and monitoring fever.
- Mylar Reflective Emergency blanket: An emergency blanket keeps you warm and protects you from the elements.
- CPR mask: A CPR mask is used in cardiac arrest to protect the caregiver and the patient from cross-infection.
- Prescription medications: If anyone in your RV has a chronic condition or needs prescription medication, be sure to carry enough medication for the duration of your trip.
Including a first-aid manual explaining how to use each item in your kit is also a good idea. Check your first aid kit regularly to ensure all items are in good condition and replace any expired or damaged items. By having a well-stocked and up-to-date first aid kit with you on your RV trip, you can have peace of mind knowing that you’re prepared for any minor medical emergency that may arise.
Bungee Cords, Ratchet Straps, Tow Straps, Chain
Depending on how and where you camp, these items on the essential tools checklist can get you or your neighbor out of a lot of trouble when camping. Carrying bungee cords, ratchet straps, tow straps, or chain is essential for any RV owner. These tools can come in handy in a variety of situations.
Bungee cords are stretchy, with hooks on each end used to secure items such as tarps, camping gear, and bicycles to your RV. They are lightweight, easy to use, and come in various lengths and strengths.
Ratchet straps are heavy-duty straps with a ratcheting mechanism ideal for securing items such as furniture, grills, etc., and other large items that need to be transported in your RV.
Tow straps and chains are essential for RV owners who plan to tow a vehicle behind their RV. They can tow a broken car or pull your RV out of a ditch.
Jacks, Tire Chocks, Leveling Blocks
Leveling blocks will help you level your RV on uneven ground and prop it up when parked for extended periods. Choose blocks that are lightweight, durable, and stackable. A jack is necessary for lifting the RV when changing a tire or performing repairs. Choose a hydraulic jack with a sturdy, stable base capable of lifting your RVs weight. Remember that your leveling blocks make excellent pads under the jack base if you are on soft ground or the jack cannot lift the RV high enough to get the tire off.
Roadside Emergency Markers or Flares
Roadside emergency markers or flares are crucial for alerting other drivers of your presence in case of a breakdown or accident, especially at night. Choose markers or flares that are bright and can be seen from a distance. LED is the best option here, followed by triangular orange hazard markers.
A couple of items on the essential tools for RV owners checklist are listed below. You can technically get by without them, but having them along will make your trip much easier! Let’s start with a spare tire.
Carrying a spare tire is a good idea for any RV owner. It’s crucial to ensure that the spare tire is the same size and type as the other tires in your RV. Also, check the spare tire regularly to ensure it’s properly inflated and in good condition. To save space, some RV owners elect not to carry a spare but rely on a Roadside Assistance plan to change a tire if needed. For more great tire maintenance tips check out this article with my Top Ten Tire Maintenance Tips
Carrying an air compressor is optional on the essential tools checklist but can come in handy in case of a flat tire. It will help you inflate your tires to the proper pressure quickly. Choose a portable air compressor with a long cord reaching all your tires. It needs to be rated to make enough pressure to fill the tires on your RV. So, if you need to run your tires at 90 psi, the compressor should be able to make 100 or more psi. Plus, you can use the compressor to fill blowup toys, rafts, etc.
Without a doubt, the highest-rated and best portable compressor on the market is one of the models made by VIAIR. The one here is very popular with the RVing community and is rated at 150 psi. You won’t only use this RVing but all over the house. Get one here on Amazon and support the blog. https://amzn.to/406snPV
A cordless drill is useful for drilling holes, driving screws, and performing other tasks that require a lot of torque. But did you know that you can buy an adaptor so you can use it to raise and lower the scissor jacks on your travel trailer or fifth wheel? Choose a cordless drill with a long-lasting battery and multiple torque settings for versatility, and don’t forget to charge the battery.
Summarizing RV Owners Essential Tools Checklist
In conclusion, carrying the tools on the RV owners’ essential tools checklist that you can download below will help you stay prepared for any repairs or emergencies during your travels. Remember to check your tools regularly to ensure they’re in good condition and replace any worn or damaged items. With these tools, you can confidently hit the road, knowing you’re ready for anything coming your way.
For more great maintenance ideas, check out these articles on my website:
Download the checklists:
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