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Ask Dave: What tools should be in my RV’s toolbox?

Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook” as well as the Managing Editor of the RV Repair Club. Today he discusses what tools an RVer should carry in a toolbox.

Dear Dave,
Would you post a list of tools you recommend to be carrtied in a tool kit for a travel trailer. Thank you. —Jack

Dear Jack,
A list of tools that I would recommend will vary with the type of rig you have, accessories or gadgets, and your level of technical expertise. However, here is what I recommend for a start:

Basics

  • Screwdrivers – Philips/flat head (three different sizes but definitely #2 phillips head)
  • Multi-bit set with Torx, #2 Philips, and others for square head and star head screws
  • Pliers – Large and small
  • Channel Lock Pliers
  • Needle Nose Pliers
  • Side Cutter
  • Tin Snips
  • Wire Stripper/cutter
  • Socket Sets –  1/4” – 3/8” – Some 1/2” for larger projects like lug nuts – SAE & Metric (I also carry a set of deep well sockets – 3/8”)
  • Drill Bit Assortment
  • Wrench Set – Open End/Box End – SAE & Metric
  • Cordless Screw Gun/Charger
  • Electric Screw Gun (just in case!)
  • Blow Hammer
  • Regular Hammer
  • Crescent Wrench – 2 sizes
  • Razor Knife
  • Vise Grips
  • Bubble Level
  • Plumbers Tape
  • Gloves
  • LED Flashlight
  • Shop Towels
  • Hand Cleaner/Sanitizer

Electrical

  • Duct Tape
  • Black Electrical Tape
  • Rescue Tape
  • 12-volt Test Light
  • Digital Multimeter
  • Non Contact Voltage Tester
  • Battery Terminal Cleaner/Sealant
  • Assorted Wire Terminals/Wire Nuts
  • Wire – 10 ga/12 ga
  • Assorted Bulbs
  • Assorted Fuses
  • Extra 120-volt Outlet/GFCI
  • Battery Filler/Distilled Water
  • Zip Ties
  • Certified Tire Gauge
  • GFCI Outlet Tester
  • Voltage Tester – Surge Guard
  • AmWatt – Amperage Gauge
  • 10 Gauge Extension Cord (Note: Used for tools only)

Emergency

  • Roadside Emergency Kit – Flares, Triangles, etc
  • Jumper Cables
  • Portable 12-volt Booster/Air Compressor
  • First Aid Kit
  • Fire Extinguishers
  • Fuel Can – empty
  • Floor Jack – Note: make sure it is rated for your weight and you consult your owner’s manual for proper placement and lifting the rig.  Most RVers purchase roadside assistance and let someone else wrestle with the wheel!

Fluids/Sealants

  • Oil
  • Transmission Fluid
  • Hydraulic Fluid (slide room motor and jacks)
  • Brake Fluid
  • Antifreeze
  • Windshield Washer Fluid
  • CRC Silicone Spray
  • Self-Leveling Lap Seal designed for roof material
  • Fluid Film

Customized Items

  • Conduct a thorough walk-through inside and out to see what “specialized” fasteners and other items your rig may have such as torx head screws, allen head, or even pop rivets. This is something that will be a work-in-progress as you come across items that are unique and it will prompt you to wonder: “Why did they use that?!”
  • Wind Speed Indicator – AC/Heater Air Flow
  • Level Check – LP Level Tester
  • Magnet Source – Magnetizer/Demagnetizer
  • Puck Wrench
  • Milk Crate – great for carrying tools as well as a stool!
  • PEX Water Line & Fittings – Hose Cutter

I conduct a seminar at RV shows titled “Cool Tools & Must Have Gadgets,” which is an informal walk-through of some of the tools I’ve found and made over the years. Here is a photo of some of those tools.

As you can see, the list can go on forever, with the yellow gas sniffer, LP level tester, blow gun, etc. Take a look at the list and see what you feel comfortable with testing and using and what would apply to your vehicle. I would suggest starting with the basics and build from there.

I also invite our readers to add their favorite tools and gadgets, and I believe this thread will last a long time!

Read more from Dave here

HAVE A QUESTION FOR DAVE?

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##RVDT1725

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Vanessa Simmons
21 days ago

That’s more stuff than I have in my fully outfitted shop in my garage at home. No way to fit all that in my “tool kit” in the TT.

Drew
21 days ago

Really good recommendations from Dave. I would add that a second small tool box should be kept on hand to hold your often used tools….like your multi-tipped screwdriver, a few electrical connectors, a couple of fuses, faucet washers, teflon and Rescue tape, and channel locks. As is about 50% of the time, I’m carrying this box around helping others with minor stuff-it’s very handy. I think I paid $6.99 for it at Harbor Freight.

Tommy Molnar
21 days ago

Add this list of “must-haves” to Nanci Dixon’s list and we see a use for a towable utility trailer behind whatever you already tow.

David Telenko
21 days ago

I thought that Dave’s list was well thought out. For sure everyone will have more or less. Some with even no tools (sometimes a good idea). My favorite is my Snap-On multi tip screwdriver with all the tips that will fit in the handle + a couple extra ones! Hard to please everyone!!
Snoopy

James LaGasse
21 days ago

My tool box for hand tools and electrical is a 50 cal ammo box, it contains most of what I need with the few tools I carry in the tow vehicle and a few other odds and ends. One of the reasons we bought our small TT is the simplicity of its build. In 6 years I have had to do several repairs on the road without having to redo when returning home. One reason is we don’t have all the bells and whistles just the basics. It would not be a good fit for full timing but we do spend as much as 10 weeks on the road at a time. After watching my father spend so much time repairing his rig over the years I made the best decision for us.

tom
21 days ago

Credit card and a charged cell phone.

Bob
21 days ago

A small roll of roof repair tape like Eternabond.
Now, as far as the floor jack. Most that are capable of lifting even a small TT weigh over 50lbs. Even those do not have the lift height needed, so now you need to carry wooden blocks and jack stands for safety. That takes up a of of space.

Bob P
21 days ago

With that list you will have to camp in the back yard so you have access to your tools in the garage. Lol

Rock & Tina
21 days ago

Duct Tape should be on your Basics list, not your Electrical list. You don’t want people using duct tape on electrical components like you would use Electric tape. AmWatt would be an Amperage Meter, not a Gauge

Richard
21 days ago

Given a small RV and weight limitations (OCCC), which tools should most folks have with them on the road? The above list is great, but that would have to be in the garage at home for many folks. That list weighs more than the wife!

Bob P
21 days ago
Reply to  Richard

That comment could get you in trouble, beeeee careful.

MrDisaster
21 days ago
Reply to  Richard

In other news the memorial service for Richard will be announced next week, (jk)

Admin
RV Staff (@rvstaff)
21 days ago
Reply to  MrDisaster

Ha ha! I’ve moderated a couple hundred comments today, but when I read yours I knew exactly which one you were referring to, MrDisaster! 😆 Take care. 🙂 –Diane