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

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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.

How To Defrost An RV Refrigerator The Easy Way

If it’s time to defrost an RV refrigerator in your rig, don’t feel bad. Frost often builds up inside RV freezers and refrigerators. And when it does you will have to get rid of it eventually when it starts affecting the performance of the refrigerator.

Residential refrigerators have advanced to the point where almost all of them are frost-free. So why do so many RV refrigerators have to be defrosted manually?

Well, the problem is much worse in the summer months, when the air is hot and humid. Opening the fridge doors a lot will allow the hot and humid air inside. Then the moisture can stick to the sidewalls of the freezer and the fins in the refrigerator.

Another common cause of frost building up inside RV refrigerators is the size of the units themselves. Most RV refrigerators are much smaller than we may be used to using at home.

And because they are smaller we all like to pack as much food inside as we can to have our normal foods available whenever we want them.

But packing food into an RV fridge decreases the air flow inside of it. And this in turn makes the chances of frost buildup much greater.

So the frost keeps building up inside. When it reaches the point where the freezer and refrigerator is not cooling as well as it should, it’s time for action. It’s time to defrost an RV refrigerator!

Watch my Youtube video on how to defrost an RV refrigerator by clicking here
Watch my Youtube video on this subject by clicking the image above

The Safest Way To Defrost And RV Refrigerator

The absolute safest way to defrost an RV refrigerator is to turn it off and remove all of the food inside. This means both the freezer and the refrigerator.

The safest way to defrost an RV refrigerator
The safest way to defrost a fridge is to open all doors completely

Then you simply open all of the doors to the fridge and leave them open until the frost is gone. Of course, this can take a long time.

So it calls for a lot of insulated bags to store your food items in while the refrigerator defrosts.

But there is one big advantage to this long way of defrosting refrigerators. And that is that you cannot possibly harm anything by doing it this way.

That’s right, just letting air inside your RV refrigerator to warm the ice to the point that it defrosts is totally safe.

But it is also time-consuming and takes up a lot of space for the food being kept cool while the fridge defrosts.

So is there a better and faster way to defrost an RV refrigerator? The answer is yes!

Before You Defrost – A Warning

When you open up the freezer door and see ice that has caked to the walls, it will be tempting to chip it off. But that is the worst thing you can do. You can do a lot of damage easily by using anything metal inside the refrigerator.

Some RV owners have punched a hole through the walls of their refrigerator. This can easily happen by using things like an ice pick, a fork, or a screwdriver on the ice.

Don't use sharp metal objects when you defrost an RV refrigerator
Don’t use sharp metal objects inside the refrigerator

These RV refrigerators are very versatile but they are not built to withstand the use of metal objects on their walls to clear ice. So don’t even think about it.

And truthfully, there are other methods that are faster, more complete and much safer for your fridge.

In fact, I will show you the process that we use to defrost an RV refrigerator now, and it’s much safer. It is also very easy to do and doesn’t take much time.

Most of the time we can defrost our RV freezer and refrigerator in about 30 minutes from start to finish. We have a full size refrigerator, so if you have a smaller one it may go even faster.

So here is how we do it –

How We Defrost An RV Refrigerator

The first step is to turn off the refrigerator. Then we begin heating two pots of water on the stove.

We start heating pots of water on the stove

Then we remove all of the food items from the freezer. We don’t leave anything in there while we are defrosting it.

We also remove food items from the refrigerator in front of the cooling fins. And any food that could be temperature sensitive like yogurt, mayonnaise, etc. too.

We leave the rest of the food where it is in the refrigerator though. There is no need to completely unload the refrigerator compartment.

We then put all of the frozen food and the refrigerated food in insulated bags to keep them cold. And we usually add some blue ice to the bags to help keep the food cold while defrosting the fridge.

Use insulated bags with blue ice added for the food from the refrigerator and freezer
We put all the food in insulated bags with blue ice

Then we place some towels on the floor and shelf of the freezer compartment. These towels accomplish a couple of important things.

First, they keep the hot pots from damaging the freezer floor or shelf. And second, they also absorb water from the freezer walls as they thaw out.

When the water is hot, we put the pots in the freezer on the towels and close the door. The water does not have to be boiling, just hot enough to melt the ice.

Put the pots of hot water on the towels in the freezer
We put the pots of hot water on the towels in the freezer

It usually takes about 15 – 20 minutes for the hot water to thaw the freezer compartment completely. It also usually thaws the fins in the fridge compartment by then as well.

When everything is thawed, we remove the pots and towels. And then is when we wipe down the walls of the freezer with towels until it is dry.

Then we turn on the refrigerator. As soon as it’s starting to cool again, we reload the freezer and refrigerator. And we are done!

What If Additional Defrosting Is Needed?

Occasionally, the refrigerator fins do not thaw as quickly as the freezer. So we have another procedure to solve that issue.

In this case, we use a hair dryer on the low setting and aim the warm air toward the refrigerator fins. We always keep the nozzle a safe distance away from any of the fridge walls or fins.

It’s also very important to keep the nozzle of the hair dryer moving at all times. We never let it stop in one place very long. That makes sure that nothing in the refrigerator gets overheated.

It usually only takes a few minutes to finish thawing out the fins with this method. Then we go ahead with our reloading procedure.

The refrigerator fins may require more work to help them fully defrost
Sometimes the fins require more work to help them defrost

Conclusion

The whole process is not hard to do. It just takes a little time, as I said about a half hour for us.

Once again, the absolute safe way is to just open the refrigerator and freezer, and take everything out. Then leave the doors open until thawing is completed.

But we have followed the procedure I mentioned above several times and have never had any problems.

We always use common sense and are careful with hot water. If you choose to try this method, go slow the first time and keep safety first.

RV Mice – Learn How To Get Rid Of Them For Good!

If you haven’t had RV mice problems so far, consider yourself very fortunate. Chances are that somewhere down the line you will face having to deal with these unwanted guests.

And it’s important to understand that having mice in your RV is not just irritating or a nuisance. No, they can really do some serious damage to your RV quickly.

This is because mice chew on almost everything in an RV. They love to chew on pipes, wood, clothing, furniture and paper goods of any kind.

But for some reason they seem very attracted to electrical wiring.

So just think about how much expensive damage to RV wiring can be done by mice behind your RV’s walls. Or even in your engine compartment if you have a motorhome.

This kind of damage can cost thousands of dollars in RV repairs. And of course, a lot of frustration and irritation as well.

So this article will help you devise a plan to eliminate RV mice issues as much as possible. Let’s get started!

Video on getting rid of RV mice
Watch my video on getting rid of RV mice 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

How To Prevent RV Mice

RV mice problems are most prevalent while an RV is in storage. This is because mice are looking for food and shelter. And your empty RV is just what they need to make a cozy home.

And since humans aren’t around, it seems to be the perfect place for them to set up shop for a while.

So the first action to take against having mice in your RV is to put prevention measures in place to keep them out. After all, it’s a lot easier to keep them out in the first place than have to remove them afterward.

Prevention Steps To Take

So here are the steps to take to prevent a mice infestation:

  • Look under your RV and try to plug up any holes or gaps that you can find where they might get entry. Remember they can get in with just a 1/4 inch gap. So push steel wool into the gap and then seal it further with expanding foam.
  • Remove all food when in storage other than canned food. They can even chew into plastic containers so remove anything other than what is in a can.
  • Many RVers have used strong scents and smells to keep them out. Scents like peppermint oil soaked cotton balls, Irish Spring soap bars, mothballs, and even dryer sheets. You may have to experiment to find the right combination for your area, but many have found these to be effective. Just remember to replenish and renew the scents often.
  • Predator pee has also been used to good effect by some RV owners. Especially bobcat and coyote pee. Mice recognize the scent of their predators and usually vacate the area.
  • LED rope lights under the RV at night has also been effective for some RVers. It’s well known that mice don’t like well lighted areas, so they seem to avoid RVs with lighted underbellies.
  • If you have an RV motorhome, keep the hood open when stored. This lets light and drafts into the engine compartment and mice will probably avoid nesting there.

Click here for expanding foam

Click here for predator pee granules

Click here for predator pee spray

Click here for LED rope lights

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Full-time Travel And RV Mice

If you are a full-time RV traveler, you are less likely to have to deal with mice in your RV.

This is because mice would rather be in an area where humans aren’t around. And since you are on the move, that can also be a deterrent to them setting up long-term living arrangements in your rig.

But that doesn’t mean that it can’t happen if you are a full-timer. We have had to deal with mice ourselves on one occasion.

So you need to have a plan not only to prevent RV mice, but also to remove them if necessary.

How To Remove RV Mice

Here are a few methods that have proven to be effective in getting rid of mice in your RV:

  • Mice killer or poison has proven to work against a mice infestation. The only caveat is to remember that mice can take the poison back to their nest behind the RV walls and die there. That means they are out of your reach, and the smell can be pretty bad for a while.
  • Glue traps have also been good mice control products. You put bait on the pad and when the mouse steps on the pad to get it he gets stuck there. He can’t go back to his home behind the walls. But you have to be vigilant about checking the glue traps regularly to dispose of them.
  • Humane mouse traps are another way to try to catch mice and remove them. And if done right, there is no real harm to the mouse. They are baited into a plastic container where they are trapped. They have food and air holes to breathe. But again, you must check the traps regularly to remove the mouse before he dies.
  • The good old-fashioned spring loaded mouse trap is by far the most effective way of eliminating an RV mice infestation. So if things start getting out of control because the mice are breeding rapidly, it may be your best choice overall.

Click here for Tomcat Mouse Killer

Click here for mouse glue traps

Click here for humane mouse traps

Click here for old-fashioned mouse traps

(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

If you find that you start to have an RV mice problem, don’t panic. But don’t be complacent either.

You need a plan of action to get them out of your RV as soon as possible. And then, do your best to prevent them from coming back.

The suggestions in this article have been proven over time to be very effective. But some work better than others.

The key here is not to waste any time doing something to remove the mice from your RV. So choose your plan of action and start putting it in place as soon as possible!