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.
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#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.
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.
#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.
#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.
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.
#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.
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.
#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.
#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.
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.
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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.