Basic RV Tool Kit – Essential Tools & Supplies for Rvers

RVers preparing to go RVing full-time have asked us, “What are the essential tools and supplies we’ll need for the RV life?” That’s a big question, but when we began gathering items for our online Gear Store last week, we realized it was a perfect time for us to provide an answer and outline a good solid basic RV tool kit.

Mark just completed two sizeable repair projects in the last few weeks too: replacing the landing legs on our fifth wheel toy hauler and replacing the start motor plus relocating the start relay (so it’s easier to access) in our Polaris RZR side-by-side. Since he had just pulled out all of the tools necessary for these jobs, the whole issue of “essential” vs. “not-so-important” tools was fresh in his mind.

RV Tool Kit - Essential tools for RVers and RV living

What are the “must have” tools when you run off to a life of adventure in an RV?

I asked him to do a pretend shopping spree and assemble an RV tool kit on Amazon while I took Buddy for a walk. When I returned, he’d put together a terrific basic RV tool kit. He’d also discovered a few cool tools he didn’t have yet, and they were all sitting in our Amazon shopping cart!

Well, the Master Mechanic in any RV or boat can never have too many tools, right?!

Mark keeps most of his tools in the basement of our fifth wheel. He also has two additional mini tool kits. One mini tool kit lives in the truck and has duplicates of all the most basic tools he might need for a breakdown on the road or a tire change. The other mini tool kit lives in our Polaris RZR side-by-side in case it has a breakdown or needs a tire change.

You can find all of the tools discussed here in the “RV Tool Kit” curation in our Gear Store or click the blue boldface titles or the images below.

HANDHELD TOOLS for an RV TOOL KIT

RV Tool Kit - Handheld Tools

Handheld Tools

Handheld tools are the heart of the tool kit. Craftsman is a great brand that comes with a lifetime warranty. So, a lot of the tools listed here are Craftsman. If a Craftsman tool breaks, you can just take it to a hardware store that carries Craftsman and they’ll replace it free of charge.

Mechanic’s Tool Set – A good place to start is to get a robust mechanic’s tool kit that has a wide variety of tools: hammer, screwdrivers, sockets, drill bits, pliers, etc. Mark keeps his in the truck so he doesn’t have to go digging for a tool in the basement when something comes up as we drive.

Socket Set – This particular set includes both SAE and metric sizes as well as 1/4 and 3/8 inch drives.

Wrench Set – A robust set like this one includes wrenches of every size in both metric and SAE. Some sets skip certain sizes, so verify that you’ll be getting all the sizes you need. This set can also be rolled up in its fabric case so it’s easy to carry and store.

Adjustable Wrenches – A big one and a small one will do the trick.

Screwdriver Set – Be sure to include both Phillips head and flat head screwdrivers. Want more variety? here is a bigger set.

Screwdriver #2 Square Head – Many RVs are built with things that require a #2 square head screwdriver. We use ours all the time!

Basic Pliers Set – This set includes channel locks and needle nose along with regular pliers. This bigger set has more variety.

Hand Saw – You might need to cut some lumber (we have!)

Hack Saw – You might need to cut some metal pipe (we have!)

Folding Saw – Sometimes we use this saw to cut back overhanging branches at our campsite.

Telescoping Inspection Mirror – With some projects it’s super difficult to see into the deep recesses of where you’re working. A telescoping mirror makes it possible to see the backs of things and around corners.

Telescoping Magnet Tool – If you drop that vital nut down into an impossible to reach spot, you can retrieve it with this nifty tool.

Measuring Tape – Handy if you need to measure something.

Level – Handy if you want something to be level or square.

Kneeling Pad – When you’re working on something low, it really helps to have a kneeling pad to cushion your knees. Mark uses his all the time!

CORDLESS POWER TOOLS for an RV TOOL KIT

RV Tool Kit - Cordless Tools

Cordless Tools

Several companies make a suite of cordless power tools that all use the same battery pack. If possible, stick to one brand to avoid storing a variety of battery packs and chargers (although we’ve ended up with a mix ourselves!).

Ryobi, Rigid, DeWalt, Milwaukee and Makita all make sets of tools based on their battery packs and are good reliable brands. However, each brand offers a different suite of tools. The products linked to here are all Ryobi which we like a lot. We keep two battery packs on hand so we can be using one while the other is charging…or use both at the same time!

Cordless Drill – We not only use ours for standard drilling purposes, but we also use it to raise and lower our landing jacks. We did this on our full-timing fifth wheel and now on our toy hauler. Both trailers came with manual landing jacks. To set up our drill for this purpose we put a 1/4 to 3/8 socket adapter in the chuck and attach an 8 inch extension and a 3/4 inch deep socket with 3/8 drive.

Drill Bit Set – There are bigger kits, but this is a good basic selection.

Cordless Screwdriver – This little gem is fabulous and saves your wrists if you have a lot of screwing and unscrewing to do.

Cordless Screwdriver Hex Bits – These are super handy to use in the cordless screwdriver if you have a lot of bolts to tighten.

Cordless Tire Inflator Air Compressor – This tire inflator can inflate all kinds of tires (Schrader valve) and basketballs too! We use it to inflate the air bags on our Reese Goose Box.

Cordless Dust Blower – After driving our side-by-side, we use this to blow the dust off ourselves. It can inflate air mattresses too.

Work Light – A super bright light that can be hung right over your work area makes it much easier to see what you’re doing.

Hand Vacuum – RV floor space and storage space is so limited that we prefer to use a hand vac instead of a stand-up vacuum.

Flashlight – You can never have too many flashlights. This one is a good all around bright light in a modest size that Mark uses every day.

TOOLS & SUPPLIES FOR RV ELECTRICAL WORK

RV Tool Kit - Tools for Electrical Repairs

For Electrical Work

Multimeter – This is critical for anything and everything electrical. If you want to test what’s going on in a specific location, a clamp-on meter can be placed around a wire and you’ll see the current at that spot.

Aligator Test Clip Leads – Vital for troubleshooting problems

Heat Shrink Butt Connector Kit – This suitcase style kit has marine grade butt connectors from 22 to 10 AWG and comes with a heat shrink tool and crimper. Mark lovs this kit!

Black Electrical Tape – Scotch is a good brand for electrical tapes. Cheaper brands are a waste of money. Get the good stuff!

Colored Electrical Tape – Same as the above but for cases where you want to color code your work.

TOOLS & SUPPLIES FOR RV PLUMBING & GAS WORK

RV Tool Kit - Plumbing Tools

For Plumbing & Gas

PVC Pipe Cutter – It’s really hard to cut PVC without one of these, and they also cut the blue and red PEX water lines with ease.

Tubing Cutter – Use this to cut copper pipe (we used it when installing our vent-free propane heater)

Teflon Tape – Blue Monster is the best brand of teflon tape. We learned about it from a plumber, and Mark has never gone back to the brands he used to use!

TOOLS FOR CHANGING A TIRE

RV Tool Kit - Tire Changing Tools

In case of a flat!

Heavy Duty Lug Wrench — To screw and unscrew the lug nuts on the wheel

Hydraulic Bottle Jack — Get one strong enough to lift your RV or your truck.

18” Breaker Bar — If the Lug Wrench can’t crack the lug nuts loose, a breaker bar and deep impact socket will do the trick. Then switch to the Lug Wrench to finish screwing or unscrewing the lug nut.

Deep Impact Socket — Works with the breaker bar. Match the size of the socket to the lug nuts on your vehicle’s wheels

1/2 inch Drive 10 inch Socket Extension — Necessary to change the inner rear wheel on a dually truck (Mark demonstrates that HERE!).

Flat Tire Repair Kit – It may be possible to patch the tire rather than use the spare.

Fix a flat – When all else fails, it doesn’t hurt to have a can on hand!

Small compressor – Get that baby pumped up!

Tire Pressure Gauge – It’s important to check the tire pressure!

TAPE & FASTENERS

RV Tool Kit - Tape and Fasteners

Tape & Fasteners

Gorilla Tape — All purpose super sticky tape that can attach virtually anything to anything

Alien Tape — Thick double-sided tape that is great for mounting things

Velcro Extreme Mounting Tape – Excellent for mounting things you’ll remove at some point (like clocks that need batteries).

WORK GLOVES

RV Tool Kit - Work Gloves

Hand Protection

Leather Gloves – Protect your hands when doing heavy lifting

RV Dump Gloves – Disposable Nitrile gloves are great protection while doing the dirty deed at the RV dump.

Cut-Resistant Work Gloves – Protect your hands when dealing with sharp metal parts and tools

Are there tools in your RV tool kit that you depend on and that we’ve missed here? Please list them in the comments below!

Check out all of these essential tools under “RV Tool Kit” in our online Gear Store HERE. Or click the image below to see our basic RV tool kit plus all the other goodies we’ve put on the shelves!

RLT Gear Store Storefront

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10 thoughts on “Basic RV Tool Kit – Essential Tools & Supplies for Rvers

  1. Great list although more robust than my own, I have a couple new ideas to add, thanks!

    Quick story about the air compressor 🙂

    I always keep one with me (unbeknownst to my wife) and one Saturday night in TN we noticed the truck had a tire that looked a little low. Sure enough, upon examination, we spotted a ragged-looking nail sticking out of it. No way to get it repaired until Monday – or so my wife thought. 🙂

    I told her I would fix it, no worries. She laughed with relief (well, that’s how I interpreted her lengthly belly laugh anyway).

    Then I told her I was going to perform this trick with the tire still attached and without touching a jack. Once again, she laughed with relief, a little longer this time I think.

    So, I grabbed my tire repair kit and yanked out the nail. The air slowly whistled out of the tire. I quickly popped in the plug but the tire had nearly deflated. She just shook her head, “Well, you fixed it but it’s still flat!”

    I’ll never forget the look on her face when I grabbed the air compressor. No more laughing with relief, I’ll tell you that much! I re-inflated the tire and we were good to go 🙂

    It’s fun to be prepared 🙂

    • What a great story, Steve!! I can just imagine Rose laughing…and then her look of awe as you put on your Superman cape and got it done. What a great feeling that must have been! There’s nothing like a heroic hubby. So often in our lives something breaks and I think there’s absolutely no hope whatsoever…and then I blink and Mark has already fixed it!

    • You’re so right, Pete! But all that stuff does fit in our trailer already. The hardest part is finding the right tools at the moment you need them…organization is key!! And yes, duct tape is in there — “Gorilla Tape” is a super sticky duct tape!

  2. Totally amazed when I learned how may “essentials” Mark has found in the local “swap” !! I know of nothing like that in my neck of the woods – but I benefitted myself when Mark surprised me with the new watch and strong strap….still enjoying it, Mark !!!! Love, Mom

    • Swap meets and flea markets are definitely great places to get tools for pennies on the dollar, and Mark sure has found some incredible deals. It’s uncanny how he’ll find an item he’s been looking for too — he’s tickled that you are enjoying your new watch, set to Paris time, of course! xoxo

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