The Top 10 RV Tools That Are Must-Haves For Every RVer

All experienced RV travelers know that having the right RV tools on hand is essential. That’s because RVs constantly need minor repairs.

It’s not hard to understand why when you realize that an RV is a home that is driven down the road. And that means that it’s being shaken and jostled as it goes.

So RVs are subjected to stresses that stationary homes never experience.

That means that screws and bolts often get loose. And sometimes things break. But if you have the right basic tools on hand, you can handle most of these repairs yourself.

So this article is about the kind of tools every RVer should have readily at hand for minor repairs. Let’s get started on the top ten list of RV tools that will be needed.

The Top 10 Tools For Your RV Tool Kit
Watch my video on the Top 10 RV tools by clicking the image above

Disclosure: Please note this post may contain affiliate links. This means – at no additional cost to you – I earn a commission if you make a purchase using our affiliate links. I only link to products and companies I use and feel comfortable recommending. The income goes toward supporting the free content on this website

#1 – Cordless Drill/Driver

There are lots of screws that are used in the construction of an RV. In fact, that is the one fastener that you will most likely encounter in any repair project.

Of course, you can choose the more labor intensive way and just use a set of screwdrivers if you wish. But having a good cordless drill/driver will make your life so much easier.

And you could just choose a corded one instead. But my experience has been that although it works just fine, it’s more of a hassle to use.

That cord is always getting in the way it seems. And usually it happens at the worst times. So not having to think about managing an electrical cord as you work is great.

It may seem obvious, but don’t forget that you will also need a good assortment of drill and driver bits. The drill/driver is no real help unless it has the bits that go with it.

And finally, there is no need to overbuy this kind of tool. Expensive drill/driver sets are mainly for heavy duty use by professionals. So getting a lower cost quality unit will be just fine for your needs on minor RV repairs.

Cordless drill/driver I recommend

RV tools #2 – Drill/Driver hand tool

You may be wondering why I also recommend having a manual drill/driver after singing the praises of a powered one in the section above.

The main reason it’s a good idea to have one of these tools is to avoid over-tightening screws and fasteners. One of the last things you want to do is strip out a hole where the fastener goes.

And powered drill/drivers can do this very quickly if you aren’t careful.

So I often use the cordless drill/driver to screw in the fastener most of the way. Then I use the hand tool to finish it off.

That’s because you can feel when the fastener is getting tight by hand and then stop. But the powered tool can easily go too far before you know it.

Multi-use hand drill/driver I recommend

#3 – Claw Hammer

Almost any construction or repair project can benefit from having a hammer handy.

And one of the most versatile hammers available is the good old-fashioned claw hammer.

The hammer part of the head is useful for nailing things as well as taking things apart in demolition. It also can be useful for driving stakes in the ground.

The claw part of the hammer is great for removing things that are fastened down.

All in all, it’s a really useful and versatile tool that any RVer should have on hand.

Claw hammer I recommend

#4 – Utility Knife

There are all sorts of minor repairs and projects around an RV that can benefit from using a utility knife.

And there are several kinds of utility knives to be had. But I personally recommend using one that has snap-off blades.

I find that it works well for almost any project around the RV and allows you to have a sharp blade all the time.

Utility knife with snap-off blades I recommend

RV tools #5 – Multi-Tester

If you have any kind of electrical problem or issue on your RV, you will be glad to have an electrical multi-tester to use on it.

A multi-tester is one of the RV tools that proves it’s value over and over again.

It’s not uncommon to have electrical circuit issues on RVs. And diagnosing that kind of problem to find the source can be problematic.

But it’s almost impossible to diagnose these kind of issues without the help of a good electrical multi-tester.

Again, there is no need for a really expensive model if you aren’t a repair expert. And a good, useful multi-tester can often be had for under $75.

Electrical multi-tester I recommend

#6 – Gorilla Tape

Of all the RV tools that you really should have on hand, gorilla tape or duct tape whould be high on the list.

This stuff is so useful for so many kinds of projects around the RV, it’s hard to list them all. In fact, you may find yourself using it more than almost anything else to solve some RV issues.

Even if the RV repair is a temporary one, it usually buys you enough time to arrange for a more permanent repair later on.

So be sure to have a couple of rolls of this kind of tape in your RV tool bag.

Gorilla tape I recommend

Duct tape I recommend

RV Tools #7 – Tape Measure

It seems that I am constantly using a tape measure to find out how much room I have in the RV for something I need.

In fact, a tape measure is useful in almost any project or repair you encounter on an RV.

And it’s a good idea to have them in different sizes. I often keep a smaller 10 foot tape measure inside the RV.

Then for larger projects I have a 25 foot and a 50 foot tape measure in my RV tool bag as well.

25 foot tape measure I recommend

#8 – LED Flashlight

RVs are filled with small, dark places that are hard to see into easily.

So having a good LED flashlight that is small and yet powerful is one of your most valuable RV tools.

I also have different kinds of flashlights too, and I keep them in various places throughout the RV.

That’s because it’s important to have one handy for all sorts of things you do in the RV.

Some of my flashlights have a normal shape, but some are also flat or can be hung up as you use it. Just make sure that one is readily available when you need it.

LED flashlight I recommend

#9 – Ladder

Getting up to the top of an RV is going to be vital. So a good ladder is one of your most valuable RV tools.

Here again, I have more than one kind of ladder for my own use.

I have a very small single step ladder that comes in handy when getting to something just outside my reach.

Then I have a 6 foot step ladder that allows me to access almost any area on the sides of my motorhome.

And then I have a foldable ladder that can be converted from a step ladder into a straight ladder. And it is long enough that I can even use it to get on the roof of my RV if needed.

The key to buying a ladder for use around an RV is to get one that is as light as possible. Usually this means either a fiberglass or aluminum ladder.

Aluminum ladder I recommend

RV Tools #10 – Socket and Wrench Set

Just as there are all kinds of screws used as fasteners around an RV, you will also encounter lots of bolts and nuts too.

This means that you must have a good socket and wrench set to handle these kind of fasteners.

These days it is a good idea to have both SAE and metric sockets and wrenches to be sure that you have the right tool on hand.

Of course, then you need to choose the size of the socket set too. The main choices are 1/4, 3/8, and 1/2 inch drive sets.

1/4 inch drive sockets can work for many small RV projects. But if you want a good overall size, 3/8 inch sets are probably the most useful for RV projects.

And 1/2 inch drive is usually too bulky for most standard repairs on an RV.

I know that a lot of RVers just grab an adjustable wrench when they encounter a nut or bolt. But an adjustable wrench can easily round off the heads of the nuts if you aren’t very careful.

So it’s better to take the time to find the correct size socket or wrench and do the job right.

Socket and combination wrench set I recommend

(These are affiliate links for the product on Amazon. It does not cost you any extra to buy the product using my affiliate link if you choose to do so)

Conclusion

The list of RV tools that I just provided in this article is by no means an exhaustive list.

But it is the list of tools that I find myself using more often than most other tools.

So if you feel that you want to try to handle most small and minor RV repair projects on your rig, this list is a good place to start.

5 Essentials That You Need To Know About RV Awning Care

RV awning care is important because awnings make RV living so much more pleasant and enjoyable.

In fact, they can serve many useful functions. They can extend our living space, help cool our RV in summer,and protect things like bicycles and grills.

Besides all that, they also provide a comfortable shelter from direct sun and light rain.

So with all that awnings accomplish, it makes sense to practice some simple RV awning care procedures to extend the life and usefulness of our awning.

This article will discuss 5 ways to maintain and improve the use of an RV awning.

Watch my RV awning care video.
Watch my video on RV awning care by clicking the image above.

Disclosure: Please note this post may contain affiliate links. This means – at no additional cost to you – I earn a commission if you make a purchase using our affiliate links. I only link to products and companies I use and feel comfortable recommending. The income goes toward supporting the free content on this website

1 – Cleaning Is Part Of RV Awning Care

A lot of RVers never even think about cleaning the awning material on their RV. But regular cleaning extends the life of an awning considerably.

Most RV awning materials are made of either acrylic or vinyl. And you can use a dedicated RV awning cleaner on either of them.

Vinyl awnings are more robust and can handle a wider variety of cleaning solutions well. But acrylic awnings call for using the right kind of cleaner to avoid stripping the water-resistant coating away.

The cleaning process is actually pretty simple too. While the awning is out, spray the cleaning solution on both sides of the awning material.

When it is fully covered with solution, roll the awning back up against the RV and let it sit for 15 minutes or so. This allows the cleaning solution to thoroughly get absorbed into all parts of the awning material.

Then open the awning again and thoroughly rinse with water. After that allow it to dry completely before rolling it back up again.

If this is done twice a year, it usually keeps the awning material looking good and generally clean.

Click here for RV awning cleaner

2 – Never Leave An RV Awning Out In Strong Winds

In calm weather an awning functions well and poses no problem. But when high winds start to kick up, it’s time to get that awning back into its storage position.

This is because an awning can become like a huge sail in high winds and it’s easy to experience damage at that point.

Sometimes it just rips the awning material itself, but other times it can even damage the awning frame too.

At any rate, any of this kind of damage is expensive to repair. So it’s best to just avoid the issue completely and take in the awning when winds are strong.

How strong should the wind get before you take it in? That’s difficult to say, but just know that even wind speeds of 15 miles per hour can do damage. And above that speed, the chances of wind damage gets far greater.

So if you plan on leaving your RV for a while, it’s a good practice to think about pulling in the awning while you are gone.

This is because weather can change suddenly and abruptly. So bear that in mind as you decide whether to leave the awning out or not while you are away.

One more tip – always leave one side of the awning lower than the other side when it rains.

This makes sure that the rain water will have a clear path to drop off and not just pool on the awning material. Pooling water can rip an awning easily.

3 – RV Awning Care Can Include Using Tie-Downs

Some RV awnings have better support frames than others. So therefore, some awnings can stand up to more wind speed than others.

In either case, it’s not a bad idea to provide a little extra insurance against wind damage by using tie-downs. They can help provide more strength and stability while the awning is deployed.

They are also very easy to use and don’t take much time to setup and remove.

I often see RV awning stabilizers installed with the tension strap in front of the awning. But I have found that they can work almost just as well if the tie-down stake is placed back toward the RV too.

RV awning tie-downs with the stake installed in front of the awning.
RV awning tie-downs with the stake in front of the awning
RV awning tie-downs where the stake is installed in the ground by the RV itself.
RV awning tie-downs with the stake back by the RV

And in most cases, it will be best to use a ground stake that screws into the ground to anchor the tension strap. This kind of stake is much harder to pull up and so is more reliable.

Click here for an awning tie-down kit

Click here for corkscrew awning stakes

4 – Use RV Awning Deflappers

If wind conditions start to get active, you may notice that the awning material starts to flap in the wind. This is especially true of acrylic awnings.

The sound that a flapping awning makes is irritating for sure. But there is also danger of damage being done by this kind of flapping as well.

Over time, the flapping motion can slowly weaken the edges of the awning and cause them to fray. And it also can eventually have a negative effect on other parts of the awning.

So, it’s part of good RV awning care to install awning deflappers that stretches the awning material and holds it in place.

They also go on easily and quickly, so it’s a simple process. And they can be removed in just a few minutes too.

Click here for RV awning deflappers

5 – Extend Awning Protection With A Sun Shade

Part of RV awning care is getting the most use of your awning. And since one of the main advantages of an RV awning is the shade it provides, just extend that shade further.

You can do that with a sun shade that will extend the shady area of the awning farther toward the ground. But it also continues to allow easy visibility through the shade material.

In addition to the added shade, it can also provide a greater measure of privacy if you are too close to your campground neighbor.

These kind of sun shades are also easy to attach to your RV awning. They have a strip that goes into an open rail that is found in most awning bars.

The strip holds the sun shade to the awning firmly. From there most sun shades have grommets that can be used to tie the bottom of the shade to the ground with stakes.

Many RVers use bungee cords to hold down the bottom of their awning shade. And they work well for this purpose.

RV awning sun shade tied to stakes using bungee cords
RV awning sun shade tied to stakes using bungee cords

Once the sun shade is attached to your awning, you are shielded from much of the sun on that side of the RV. It can make the difference between enjoying your awning in comfort or leaving to go back inside.

There are even sun shades that can fit on the ends of the awning too. And of course, these can increase both shade and privacy when in use.

Click here for awning sun shades

Click here for awning end cap sun shades

Conclusion

Just adding a few ideas and procedures to your RV awning care plan can be very beneficial. It can save you lots of money on awning repairs and extend the usefulness of your awning too.

The 5 tips presented in this article are simple and easy to do. And putting them into practice will improve your RV living experience.

Have safe and happy travels my friends!

RV Wash And Wax In An Hour – The Rinseless Way

Yes, you can wash and wax your RV in an hour or even less!

In an earlier blog post I explained how washing and waxing an RV is possible using no water, no buckets and no ladders. Here is that article to read.

But some RVers have a hard time accepting that waterless RV washing is safe. They feel that they must be scratching the exterior surface of the RV.

Of course, if you follow the directions in that article, no damage will be done to your paint, gel coat or fiberglass surface.

But in this article I will show you how using about 4 gallons of water on a typical RV will do the job well. It will both clean and wax your RV and best of all it’s really easy and fast!

So let’s get started!

RV wash and wax the rinseless way video
Watch my video on how to perform an RV rinseless wash and wax by clicking this image

Disclosure: Please note this post may contain affiliate links. This means – at no additional cost to you – I earn a commission if you make a purchase using our affiliate links. I only link to products and companies I use and feel comfortable recommending. The income goes toward supporting the free content on this website

What Is An RV Rinseless Wash?

Rinseless washing has been in use for autos and trucks for some time now. But for some reason RV owners have just not picked up on it yet.

An RV rinseless wash is possible because of advanced cleaning products on the market these days. These products have lubricating polymers that surround the dirt and grime and lift it slightly off the surface.

Then using a high quality microfiber towel or mop, you can wipe off the residue left by the cleaning solution. And since wax is part of the solution too, you can leave a nice coat of protective wax behind.

It is called “rinseless” because there is no need to use a water hose to rinse the surface after application.

The product that I have used for quite a while is made by Optimum Polymer Technologies. It is called Optimum No Rinse (ONR) Wash & Wax.

Many professional detailers use this product on even high-end vehicles. It is completely safe for any auto exterior surface if used correctly.

Using this product you can quickly and easily perform an RV wash and wax that will leave your RV clean and shining like a diamond!

RV Wash And Wax Tools Needed

To wash and wax your RV you will need only one bucket. And a two gallon bucket will do just fine.

You only use an ounce of ONR in a two gallon bucket, so it’s very economical to use. And usually only two buckets of product are needed for me to wash and wax my 40 foot diesel pusher.

After you have your cleaning solution ready, you will need a very soft bristle application brush. And it should be placed on a telescoping pole that will allow you to reach the top of the RV sides.

You just dip the brush in the solution, and then apply it to the RV. Don’t scrub or rub hard. Just a gentle application will suffice.

Once you have covered an area with ONR, you then remove the residue with high quality mop heads on a telescoping pole.

The pole system I like to use for this is made by Aero Cosmetics. The pole easily adjusts to any height for an RV. And the head swivels to match the RV contours.

But most importantly, the mop heads are made of high quality materials that will allow you to perform a rinseless wash without surface damage.

There are links to all of these tools listed below here.

Optimum No Rinse Wash And Wax

Soft Wash Brush With Telescoping Handle

Aero Cosmetics Wash Wax All Mop And Telescoping Handle Kit

(These are affiliate links for the product on Amazon. It does not cost you any extra to buy the product using my affiliate link if you choose to do so)

How Often To Wash And Wax Your RV?

Since it only takes me about an hour to perform an RV wash and wax on my RV, I tend to do it fairly often.

I know that many RV owners don’t wash and wax their RV very often. This is because they use the old methods that are very difficult and time consuming.

Or it could be because they tend to use professional detailers instead. These professionals do a great job, but they also charge hundreds of dollars each time.

So RV owners often use them only once or twice a year. But this is not enough in most cases. Would you feel good about only washing your car or truck once or twice a year?

The system I am showing you in this article does require an initial investment in the pole system and tools needed. But from there on the cost is minimal.

As a result, I often wash and wax my RV about once a month. I like to always have plenty of wax protection on my coach so it constantly looks great.

I also tend to alternate between a waterless wash using Aero Cosmetics Wash Wax All product and a rinseless wash with ONR. You don’t have to do it this way though. It’s just a routine that I have adopted on my RV.

Either product will do a great job on your RV’s exterior!

Extend The UV Protection On Your RV

The wax contained in either Wash Wax All waterless wash or ONR rinseless wash is good. But it only lasts for a couple of months or so.

However, your RV will probably be exposed to the sun’s UV rays constantly if it is in use a lot. And UV damage is one of the worst factors that harms an RV exterior.

So how to combat this problem? I like to extend the UV protection on my RV by using a synthetic wax product as well.

The product that I like to use is Meguiar’s Ultimate Fast Finish in the spray form. It is touted on the can as providing paint protection for up to a year.

I’m not sure that I would completely buy into that completely. But I can say that it appears to do a great job if applied every six months or so.

And the good news is that it can be applied using the same mop and pole system that I use for the Wash Wax All product. Simply spray it on the mop head and apply with the wet side, and then wipe smooth with the dry side.

So every six months I clean and wax the coach with either Wash Wax All or ONR. Then while it’s clean I extend the protection with Ultimate Fast Finish.

It has worked very well on both my RV and my towed vehicle, a 2011 Honda Civic.

Meguiar’s Ultimate Fast Finish

(These are affiliate links for the product on Amazon. It does not cost you any extra to buy the product using my affiliate link if you choose to do so)

Conclusion

Almost anyone can use the products and tools that I have mentioned above for a high quality RV wash and wax.

It’s not hard or difficult. That’s because the pole system makes it so easy. You can typically stand in one spot and cover a large area of the RV at one time.

If I take plenty of breaks and sit down for a while I can do my entire motorhome in an hour and a half. But if I stay at it, it’s only an hour.

If your RV is smaller than my 40 footer, it will take you even less time.

So why pay the professional detailers hundreds of dollars a year for an RV wash and wax job when you can do it simply and easily yourself?

Have safe and happy travels my friends!