Tools of the Road: Essentials for Your RV Toolkit

An RV toolkit includes more than just a hammer and wrenches. Read some of our suggestions for all of the tools—and other odds and ends—that are must-haves for your trip to remove any stress and let you focus on enjoyment.

RV toolkit essentials. 

One of the benefits of RV camping is the incredible freedom of being completely self-sufficient. RVing gives us a chance to leave the world and its complexities behind and embrace a life of adventure on our own terms. 

Because of the independent nature of RVing, your RV toolkit is more than just an ordinary toolbox. It’s a first-aid kit for your RV, and the key to a successful road trip. Having a quality RV toolbox that’s stocked with all of the RV tools needed for repairs and maintenance should be one of the first things you think about when you’re getting ready to pack your RV for an excursion—whether you’re leaving for two days or two months.

This blog post will help walk you through the different things to consider regarding issues that can go wrong with your RV while you're on the road, and it will give you inspiration about what to pack in your RV toolbox. For a full list of RV toolbox components, check out our How to Pack Your RV guide. 

DON’T RUN WITHOUT SCISSORS

It’s amazing how easily we can overlook essential toolbox items that we take for granted at home. Make sure to remember basics like scissors, duct tape, extra light bulbs, extra batteries, glue, bungee cords, electric wire, a claw hammer and nails, a tire pressure gauge, vehicle fluids, and extension cords. These items are invaluable when you find yourself with broken items or needing electrical repairs when you're far from a gas station (or any form of civilization).

Moving on from these DIY repair basics, you'll also need to pack some other basics that you would find in any toolkit. These are things like wrenches, pliers, vice grips, a lightweight drill, a socket set, a hammer and nails, and a good utility knife.

Also, remember to bring owner's manuals, not just for your RV, but for every tool, contraption, or machine you plan to bring along with you. When it comes to fixing problems and navigating malfunctions, knowledge is power, and the more information you have about your tools and items, the better.

HOME SWEET AWAY

It's also important to view your RV as both a vehicle and a house when you’re planning what tools to bring along. If you keep it in your car, you're probably going to want to keep it in your RV as well (things like a flashlight, jumper cables, emergency lights, and a spare tire).

Meanwhile, you're also maintaining a home-away-from-home within your vehicle, and you should pack everything you'll need to make this possible. Give special attention to your refrigerator, your shower, your fans and/or air conditioning, and anything electric in your RV. These are the things that will really put a damper on your trip if they break along the way and you’re unable to fix them. 

DRIPS ARE A DRAG

Your RV is a house, it's a vehicle...and it's also an RV, which requires its own set of unique tools. So you’ll need some RV-specific essentials like a scissor jack, a fridge cooling fan repair kit, a digital voltmeter, a surge protector, funnels, and a lithium battery jumper in case you break down while boondocking.

One of the things that new RV owners tend to overlook is the frequency (and extreme inconvenience) of RV roof leaks. It's a good idea to keep a roof patch or two in your toolbox as well as some liquid roof for emergency leaks. And, just in case, make sure you have a bucket or two stored in the basement if you need to catch some raindrops while you repair.

Unfortunately, there is no single "best toolkit for RVing" you can purchase to check all of these things off your list at once. RVs need different tools depending on their make and model, and you’ll probably end up mixing and matching different tools to make a customized toolbox for your specific situation.

WATCH YOUR WEIGHT

Lastly, keep in mind that as essential as these tools are, the less space and weight they take up on your rig, the better. Some basic things to remember are: 

  • Evenly space your heavy items throughout the RV to avoid weighing down one side of the rig.
  • Use exterior space whenever possible.
  • Separate tools into multiple toolboxes that keep things organized by what purpose they serve, and also help to distribute weight.
  • Look into purchasing a travel trailer toolkit for unique options that are built specifically to be compact and lightweight, but remember this will probably not contain every tool you need. 

Your RV toolkit is one area of RV packing where less isn't necessarily more. The smarter you pack up your toolbox, the more independent and self-sufficient you can be once you hit the road. Don't skimp on the essentials, and use the different storage compartments available in your RV to make sure you can pack everything you need.

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