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.
RVtravel.com 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.