There are certain must-have RV tools that all RVers need. Unlike emergency essentials you should keep in your RV, these tools help you camp smarter.
Some of these RV tools will help in an emergency, but most are designed for routine maintenance. Don’t believe us? – Take the advice of experienced campers.
Before diving into this RV tool checklist, download our customer reference handbook to track your RV’s seasonal and annual maintenance needs. Keeping up with RV maintenance helps you enjoy safe adventures while maximizing your RV’s resale value if you eventually decide to upgrade.
Must-Have RV Tools for Safe Travels
Without further adieu, here’s your checklist of must-have RV tools. Download yours for future reference.
Maintaining the proper pressure in your motorhome or trailer tires is imperative to safe travels. Most RV tires have a 5-6 year lifespan, but that can decrease significantly if you don’t maintain your tires correctly.
Keeping a tire gauge in your RV makes it easy to check tire pressure before and after each trip. Tire pressure should also be checked before winterizing your RV and during the dewinterizing process in the spring.
Explore these resources to learn more about proper RV tire care:
- Everything You Need to Know About RV and Trailer Tires
- How to Maintain Your RV Tires While in Storage
- RV Tire Basics You Should Know
Portable Air Compressor or Tire Inflator
A tire gauge allows you to check tire pressure, but what if you need to add air? You can stop and pay for air at a gas station. Or you can keep a tire inflator onboard and have free air whenever needed.
A portable air compressor or tire inflator is imperative if you’re interested in boondocking. The chances for tire issues increase when navigating unmaintained dirt roads. As you explore further off the beaten path, your need for this RV tool increases. Learn more about portable air compressors for your RV.
Portable Fuel Tank
Honestly, you can get away without this RV tool if you’re only planning RV staycation trips and traveling a short distance. But a portable fuel tank is essential for long road trips, especially if you plan on boondocking.
An extra 2-5 gallons of fuel will help you avoid running out before reaching the next gas station. Plus, it’ll give you peace of mind knowing you have a backup fuel supply when your tank’s Empty light comes on.
Tie-down Straps & Bungee Cords
If you’re new to RVing, we hope you don’t have to learn this lesson the hard way: when you’re driving an RV, anything unsecured inside will shift, bounce, fall, and possibly be irreparably damaged.
That’s why tie-down straps and bungee cords are so essential. They find the most use securing items on cargo carriers or tying down power sports equipment in a toy hauler, but there’s no predicting how many uses you’ll find if you keep them stocked. But you can be sure you’ll find yourself wanting if you don’t.
Here are a few useful articles on loading your RV:
- How to Safely Load Your Travel Trailer
- How to Pack a Toy Hauler with Flammables Safely
- Essential RV Safety for Every Road Trip
Some RVers avoid driving in inclement weather, but maintaining visibility when it’s precipitating is vital if you’re pushing to reach your destination. Windshield wipers are a smart item to stock in your RV toolkit so you can quickly replace them as needed.
Of course, windshield wipers will be specific to your motorhome or tow vehicle, so consult your owner’s manual for wiper replacement recommendations.
Jumper cables are something that all motorists should carry on the road, but you can take things a step further with a jump starter. Successful RVing requires embracing self-sufficiency, and the ability to jump-start dead RV batteries without a second vehicle can save you when you over-discharge your battery on an off-grid camping trip.
Technician Tip: You must select a jump starter of sufficient size and quality to crank your engine, preferably with a LiFePO4 (lithium iron phosphate) battery.
Replacement Light Bulbs
Nobody likes when the lights go out on a camping trip. That refers to headlights, taillights, brake lights, running lights, interior lights, and patio lights. All combine to ensure a safe, illuminating RV experience.
Take note of the bulb types for your RV’s light fixtures and stock replacements. If you happen to have portable lights – flashlights, lanterns, or headlamps – that require batteries, stock those too.
A digital multimeter (DMM) helps you test AC and DC voltage, continuity, and other important metrics of your RV’s electrical system. Having a multimeter, and knowing how to use it, can save you time and money by properly identifying and remedying electrical issues. To maximize its usefulness, a quality DMM must be a true RMS (root mean square) with an AC/DC clamp.
Disclaimer: You should understand how RV electrical systems work, know how to operate a multimeter, and know the proper safety precautions to take when troubleshooting your RV’s electrical system. Here are a few helpful resources, but your manufacturer or owner’s manual should also be consulted:
- AC/DC Power and Your RV’s Electrical System
- How to Troubleshoot RV Electrical Systems
- How to Troubleshoot Your RV Electrical Outlets
Hand tools are also essential for RV maintenance and safe travels. From tightening screws on cabinet handles to removing lug nuts on a tire, countless maintenance and repair tasks will be much easier with the proper hand tools.
Here’s a quick checklist of some hand tools to keep in your RV:
- #2 square bit (aka, a Robertson bit)
- Bottle jack rated for the RV that’s being lifted and jack stands (never use a jack without a jack stand)
- Battery terminal cleaner
- Bubble level
- Breaker bar
- Caulking gun
- Channel locks
- Cordless drill
- Cordless impact driver
- Drill bit set
- Hammer and/or mallet
- Multi-bit screwdriver
- Oil filter wrench and oil drain pan
- Pipe wrench
- Plier Set
- Polarity/GFCI tester
- Pry bar
- Putty knife
- Socket and ratchet set
- Tape measure
- Torque Wrench
- Tread depth gauge
- Utility knife
- Vise grips
- Wire brush
- Wire cutters
- Wire crimpers
- Wire strippers
- Wrenches (Adjustable, Allen, Lug, Metric, and Standard)
Other RV Maintenance Supplies
Prepared RVers also stock other supplies that can’t quite be considered tools. Still, these RV maintenance supplies are good to keep in case you need them instead of having to track them down when the need arises. Here are some examples:
- 3m cleaner or denatured alcohol
- Dry silicone lube
- Duct tape
- Electrical tape
- Foaming window cleaner (ammonia-free)
- Filters (air, oil, and fuel – as required)
- Lap sealant (as recommended by the manufacturer for your RV’s roof type)
- Lubricants for rubbing surfaces, such as slideouts
- Replacement fluids (engine oil, coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid, windshield washer solution, DEF fluid – if required)
- Safety glasses
- Shop towels/rags
- Silicone sealant
- Slide seal conditioner
- Super glue
- Thread seal tape (one rated for LP gas and one rated for potable water)
- Wire connectors
- Work gloves
- Zip ties
Where to Keep RV Tools and Supplies
Things will get quite messy if you don’t have a dedicated place for your must-have RV tools and maintenance supplies. You’ll need the right tool box to keep everything organized and easily accessible.
Depending on your skills and experience, there are other specialty tools you can invest in to tackle DIY RV maintenance. However, even the right tool can be useless if you’re unsure how to work safely on your RV.
And remember that any modifications you make may void any existing warranties on your unit. So it’s best to understand your warranty policy and contact a Camping World Service Center if you’re not 100% certain of the service task you’re about to perform.
What other RV tools do you keep in your motorhome or travel trailer? Share in the comments below.