Saturday, December 2, 2023


Every tool that should be in your RV’s toolbox and why

By Cheri Sicard
Certified RV inspector Duane from the RV Inspection and Care YouTube channel always imparts lots of practical advice in his videos, and the one below about the essential tools that every RVer should carry in their RV toolbox is no exception.

According to Duane, with a little bit of guidance and the right tools, you can do about 80 percent of RV maintenance and repair tasks on your RV. repair guru Dave Solberg has also similarly guided me through several DIY solutions. And so do videos like Duane’s. Each thing I fix boosts my confidence in my ability to do it myself and it also results in an addition to my sparsely populated RV toolbox.

Be sure to watch the video to the end as Duane ends with a section about balancing your RV toolbox’s essential needs against how much that RV toolbox will weigh and how much room it will take up in your rig.

RV inspector’s picks for essential tools you need in your RV toolbox:

#1 Cordless drill/driver: Duane puts this at his #1 position, no doubt because it has so many uses.

#2 Manual or hand driver: Sometimes the cordless drill/driver won’t fit in the area you need to tighten, so a manual driver becomes an essential tool.

#3 Claw hammer: Handy not only for the hammer side, but the claw side to help pry or pull things up when needed.

#4 Utility knives: Another item that will get a lot of use around the RV.

#5 Multimeter: Essential to diagnose electrical problems.

#6 Gorilla tape: Not actually a “tool” but essential for temporary repairs on-the-go that you will get to later.

#7 Tape measure: You know the old adage on DIY projects – measure twice, cut once.

#8 LED flashlight: It will be dark in many of the areas where you need to work on your RV, and a bright LED flashlight lets there be light.

#9 A good ladder: Duane recommends a good folding aluminum ladder because they are lightweight.

#10 A good socket and wrench set: Duane recommends having both SAE and metric tools. He says that a 3/8 size socket set works well for more tasks around the RV.

#11 Full set of bits for the drill/driver: This will have you pretty much covered no matter what the task.

#12 Full set of pliers: Don’t just rely on one type; include needle nose, channel locks, and more.

#13 Zip ties in different lengths: Like Gorilla tape, these are RV multi-taskers that can be used for any number of temporary fixes.

#14 Electrical tape and connectors: Sometimes things in your RV’s electrical system can come loose and these will let you reconnect things.

#15 Wire cutters/wire strippers: Having this tool lets you easily strip off wire insulation to make a good connection.

#16 Air compressor: A larger air compressor will not only inflate your tires, it can run air tools or be used for cleanups.

#17 Heat gun: Especially useful when you need to remove something with adhesive behind it.

#18 Hydraulic jacks: RVs are heavy and one or two hydraulic jacks like these can safely hold the weight and allow you to work on things.

#19 Hex key/Allen wrench sets: Duane again recommends both SAE and metric sets.

#20 Rubber mallet: There will be times in your camping and RV repair life where you will need a softer hammer.

#21 Crescent wrench set: Handy for when you don’t have the exact size wrench you need.

#22 Caulking gun and sealant: Get the right sealant for seams and joint repair around your RV. Check out a great caulking gun review here. 

#23 EternaBond tape: This is a lifesaver for quick roof repairs and leaks.

#24 Bungee cords in different lengths: This is another item with tons of uses around the RV, including quick and temporary repairs.

#25 Headlamp: Illuminates the area where you are working while keeping your hands free.

#26 Set of vice grips: Duane tends to use long-nosed vice grips more, but it’s a good idea to carry both types to hold things that you are working on in place.

#27 Level: You don’t need a huge one, but a nice, small level will come in handy for lots of RV projects in addition to telling you if your rig is level.

#28 Torque wrench: Good around motorhomes that have many bolts that need regular tightening.

#29 A good tool bag: You will probably need more than one. Duane likes tool roll-ups for things like screwdrivers and wrenches. Whatever you use, make sure it keeps things organized and accessible.

Did Duane miss anything? Are there any other tools you find essential when RVing? Drop your thoughts in the comments below.



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Gilbert (@guest_260579)
20 days ago

My tools include a 1/2” breaker bar and three foot length of 1” iron pipe that is used as a cheater bar. Removing a RV tire can be difficult unless the lug nuts are wire-brushed and sprayed with penetrating oil. I also use a ten ton bottle jack and heavy duty jack stand when removing a tire/rim.
And to distribute the weight, a couple pieces of 2” by 8” (or more) especially if your site has asphalt surface.

Last edited 20 days ago by Gilbert
Gary Blackburn (@guest_260039)
24 days ago

Regarding Cheri Sicard’s Tool List, there are some that I don’t have and others that I carry. Kennedy tool chest is too heavy; replace with three or four roll-ups. Item items not listed:

  1. Assorted electrical crimp connectors and a couple of crimpers
  2. Little box of assorted Cotter Keys
  3. Assorted worm-drive hose straps
  4. In addition to Bungee cords with hook ends, stretch cords with ball ends for keeping hoses and keeping tidy anything else coiled
  5. Soldering iron and tin/lead solder
  6. Hatchet
  7. Large and small sets of metric and standard box end wrenches, open end wrenches and tubing wrenches
  8. Assorted Torx wrenches
  9. Assorted filter wrenches (cap style) and strap wrench
  10. Phillips & flat blade screw drivers
Rusty (@guest_260035)
24 days ago

I would like to see a someone loosen lug nuts that are torqued 110 lbs while parked along a busy highway change a tire without an air ratchet. This tool suggestion list is decent, but I suspect most individuals stuck along the highway, pull out the cellphone and or credit card. Also, one might want to consider the additional weight of carrying way too many tools.

Mike (@guest_260011)
24 days ago

I would add a roll of velcro strips. Very handy, light weight and reuseable.

Mark (@guest_260009)
24 days ago

I recently discovered, when I didn’t have them but needed them, how important having a set of torx bits and square headed drivers were for my class C. They made their way into my tool kit about a week later.

Michael Galvin (@guest_260008)
24 days ago

There are smartphone apps that function as a level.

DW/ND (@guest_260006)
24 days ago

I have a “tool box” which I work from whether at home or on the road. It has both metric and SAE wrenches, a hammer, socket set, Allen wrenches, assorted screwdrivers and pliers. This is all sorted in 3 baby wipes boxes and contained in an old hard side briefcase. It weighs in at 29 lbs! I also carry adhesive tapes and spare parts under the bed in a plastic box. I have used most of them at one time or another on the road! Sooner or later, major or minor, it’ll strike like lightning! Be prepared! I also have a raincoat and an old shower curtain. Rainstorm, windshield wiper breaks, no problem! (after the rain quit and off the hiway).

Gary Rothon (@guest_260002)
24 days ago

The one thing I notice the most was pex tools cutters, clamps and ratchet, I would say this is a don’t leave home without it.

Drew (@guest_259996)
24 days ago

I have Rescue Tape (2 colors). It’s silicon and sticks to itself- many uses and much better than electrical tape. Also, along with my electrical connectors I have spare fuses and a box of assorted nuts, bolts and screws- including some stainless ones.

Neal Davis (@guest_259984)
24 days ago

Thank you for the summary, Cheri! I watched the video a few days ago. Your video column made me aware of Duane’s channel and I am now a subscriber. Thanks again.

Jack Fate (@guest_259975)
25 days ago

I carry a box ( think tall ammo can) with a vast array of glues,sealants & lubricants. Also carry a vast amount of spare parts that continues to grow

Cindy (@guest_259966)
25 days ago

Just in case you don’t have a rubber mallet, a regular hammer with a sock wrapped around the head works pretty good in a pinch.

Bob (@guest_259956)
25 days ago

An flexible drill extension and a right angle adapter. These can be used to get into tight spaces.

Sandy (@guest_259953)
25 days ago

I don’t know if all those tools would fit in my small camper’s storage bay. Maybe it would fit in the bed of my truck though.

Michael Gardner (@guest_259948)
25 days ago

Infrared temperature gun

Donald N Wright (@guest_259943)
25 days ago

This is why the Aliners and Airstream owners get along with each other. We carry tools and fasteners because something always breaks. You want to make bored men at a campground happy ? Go to them and tell them you need their help fixing something !

Gil (@guest_259950)
25 days ago

Good tip, thanks!

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