Life on the road can be a very freeing, enjoyable experience. But as many full-time RVers can attest, you need to be prepared for anything. Things can break, tear, and malfunction while you’re traveling, especially if you’re on the move for months at a time. A well-stocked RV toolkit is a must-have for any camper, whether you’re out for the weekend or indefinitely.
There are tons of little things that can break that won’t stop you from hitting the road, but they can become inconvenient and bothersome. Avoid the headache and have the right tools to repair your RV on the go.
8 Tools to Include in Your RV Toolkit
1. Tire Pressure Gauge
Be sure to carry a tire pressure gauge in your RV or any automobile you own. More modern RVs and vehicles may have tire pressure sensors but do not always depend on these, especially if you bought your RV used. If you are driving a lot, get into the habit of doing daily tire pressure checks to avoid any mishaps while you are on the road.
Even if you’re parked for an extended period in one spot, keep in the habit of checking your tires regularly. A slow leak or flat tire can really put a damper on your trip, especially if you only discover it on the day you’re planning to head somewhere new.
You can choose from the classic pen-style tire pressure gauge or a digital reader. When looking for a tire pressure gauge, get one that reads to at least 100 psi. This will not be an issue with a digital reader.
2. Air Compressor
Having a tire pressure gauge is helpful to get to know if your tire pressure is low or not, but you also need a way to inflate those tires if need be.
Many gas stations have free or paid air compressors available, but long-term RVers (especially boondockers) may choose to invest in a portable air compressor that draws power from your vehicle battery. These handy tools are not only great for pumping up a low tire but are easy enough to use that they are a must-have for those who like to drive 4×4 roads or on the sand.
3. Flashlight or Headlamp
There are many options for lights to include your RV toolkit, and flashlights and headlamps are two of the best options. Better yet, have both!
Flashlights are ideal when you are looking in hard-to-reach places, and headlamps work well for working on tasks that require both hands. No matter the light source you choose, always pack extra batteries. There are also several options for rechargeable flashlights and headlamp options too.
Most of the time, investing in a rechargeable light source not only saves you from running low on battery, but it often saves you money in the long run. If you decide to go the rechargeable route, make sure you have ample power to power it up. This is easy if you often stay in paid camping areas, but a solar charger or generator will be handy if you frequent boondocking campsites.
Another excellent light option is an inspection mirror with LED lights. If you choose to invest in one of these, look for a telescoping mirror that extends and has a flexible head to give you more reach. While a headlamp and flashlight can be more versatile, the inspection mirror gives you an easy way to see out-of-the-way places.
4. Drill and Drill Bits
When packing a drill in your toolkit for RVing, make sure it is cordless and battery-operated. It also won’t hurt to have at least two batteries, so you can always have a full charge when you need to use it. Having a drill on the road has many uses, including saving your time with your stabilizer jack if you have the right drill socket. Beyond that, having a drill is excellent for fixing various things on your RV, both inside and out.
When deciding which drill to get for your RV toolkit, consider what you may want to use it for and how much power you want. A drill with around 14 volts will be sufficient for most travelers, but it will only really work for smaller jobs and may feel underpowered. A 20-volt drill is recommended if you plan to use your drill often.
5. Zip Ties
Zip ties are very similar to duct tape in that they can fix almost anything—at least for a little while. You can use them to reattach a wayward hose, keep cords and wires together, or lock shut a wily cabinet door for travel. They are so versatile that once you start looking, you’ll find uses for them everywhere. Need to wrap insulation around your pipes for a freezing night? Break a shower curtain ring? Need an extra keychain? You can use zip ties for all of those.
6. Knife or Multi-Tool
Having a multi-purpose tool of any kind is useful. Keep it in your pocket while inspecting your RV or while milling around camp, and we can guarantee you’ll find dozens of uses for it. Some multi-purpose tools also include a knife or blade, but it’s worth it to keep a dedicated pocket knife, too, for small tasks.
7. Multi-Bit Screwdriver
A big part of RV travel is organization and space-saving. So, instead of having multiple screwdrivers, get one with multiple bits.
You can get these with their own organization cases, which is recommended, so you don’t lose any of the bit heads. You should at the very least have a flathead and Phillips to swap in and out since these are the most common screw heads.
If you get the screwdriver in a set, other heads will be included, which on an RV will likely come in handy from time to time.
8. Socket and Ratchet Set
Sockets and ratchet sets are useful in any car toolkit, but especially for RVs. Make sure that the set(s) of sockets you carry are the ones that best fit the bolts and screws in your camper. Most of the time, you will only have to buy one or two additional sizes, but it is a good idea to check what you may need before you hit the road.
Other RV Toolkit Tips
When RVing and traveling full-time, having the right mindset for encountering repairs and pitfalls is necessary. Take some of the stress away from any situation by being prepared for the most common RV repairs. Having roadside assistance of some kind is also recommended for those times when you encounter mechanical issues you can’t fix yourself.
Preparedness goes a long way during long-distance travel. So, on top of the eight must-have tools to include in your RV toolkit we listed, bring along a toolset in a carrying case. Some of these toolsets will consist of some of the items we listed, like the ratchet set or a screwdriver, but they will also include other tools needed for auto and RV repair.
When investing in an RV toolkit in a carrying case, look for SAE or metric sizes that are compatible with your rig. Not all rigs are the same, even within the same brand names. Having a toolkit specific to your rig in a carrying case helps save you from having to buy individual tools, and it keeps them organized while you travel (win-win).