Last Updated on 11/22/2023 by Glynn Willard
What tools should you carry in your travel trailer or tow vehicle?
There are a few tools for fifth wheels, motorhomes and trailers that are necessary regardless of the RV type.
I highly recommend you stock your tool arsenal for your RV prior to your first “shakedown” trip even if it’s in a campground.
This applies even more if you’re boondocking.
Having the right tools can make the difference between enjoying the rest of your day or spending a lot of money on outsourced repairs or a tow.
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What Are The Essential RV Tools?
This list is not a specific tool list for motorhomes, fifth wheels or travel trailers. Rather a list that applies to all of them.
- Bottle Jack:
- Lug Nut Breaker Bar:
- Torque Wrench:
- Tire Pressure Gauge:
- Portable Air Compressor:
- Quality Set of Sockets And Socket Wrench:
- A Quality Set Of Screwdrivers:
- A 1-1/16″th Socket:
- Manual Grease Gun:
- 1-1/2″ Socket:
- Electric Multimeter:
- Small Level:
- Engine Diagnostic Scanner:
- Vice Grips:
- Duct Tape:
- Needle Nose Pliers:
- Leather Gloves:
- Tape Measure:
- Impact Driver:
- Zip Ties:
Make sure it’s designed to handle the capacity of your RV. We use ours so frequently for maintenance they’re front and center in the tow vehicle.
This is handy for tire rotations, changes and tightening most fasteners around the rig and hitch.
Proper torque on your lug nuts as well as many bolted items is essential for safety. Engineers establish those numbers for a reason. Oh and please do not use your torque wrench as a breaker bar.
A quality gauge that will measure at least 100 psi and has a bleeder valve should always be in your vehicles.
I personally consider one in the tow vehicle essential. We use ours a lot to adjust the tire pressure for both the terrain and the local climate.
My set is out on almost a daily basis since I take preventative maintenance so seriously.
Yes, we all have many lying around, but make sure your set for the rig is adequate and slightly redundant in case one is lost.
Confirm your hot water heater’s anode requires a 1-1/16″ socket and keep it on hand to replace your anode rod or clean the tank.
You likely have wet bolts on certain parts of your trailer. Your suspension is the first place to check. This is often forgotten or disregarded. Oh, and keep a tube of the right grease on hand (to state the obvious).
If your socket set lacks a 1-1/2″ socket, make sure you have one in case you have bearing issues.
Electrical lines on an RV can be finicky since the structure moves frequently. The ability to check the continuity of electrical lines when there’s an electric issue can save you time and frustration.
Regardless if your rig auto-levels, you will absolutely need a level that fits in tight places at some point.
I picked one of these up after being on the road and having the dreaded CEL illuminate. It saved me time and anxiety (money too).
Whether it’s for your kitchen knives or carry knife, keeping them sharp helps. I can’t get over how much I like the one listed here!
Yes, a small flashlight easily accessible in your RV is necessary. Many of the locations that need maintenance or repair are in tight dark places.
I know, you have five different pair scattered around the house. Keep a small and medium sized set in the RV or tow vehicle.
I suggest keeping a roll of black inside the living space in the rig. It will warp if left in the heat (unless you’re winter camping). Many exterior repairs tend to be on black parts, so go with black tape.
This needs no explanation! That said, neither did vice grips!
My pair is always on top in the basement toward the front of the rig for immediate access. I use them for repairs, leveling and hooking up to the tow vehicle.
Save yourself the dough and go find a spare one in the house. Check the junk drawer in the kitchen.
I didn’t consider this essential until it was… Without one of these, I would have had to take the tow vehicle somewhere for a hitch repair. If you already have two, keep your old one in the rig. You can use it for manual stabilizers too.
Stop, hammer time! I’m aging myself… You already have four hammers lying around the garage or shed. Grab one to leave in the rig.
We both know, there’s always a need and a use for zip ties. Enough said!
Uh Oh, You Forgot A Tool For The RV
It didn’t take us long to figure out that anything we forgot to pack in the travel trailer is available almost anywhere.
And Lowes, Home Depot and Walmart have very big rig friendly parking lots. Yeah, we spend a lot of time visiting these stores while on the road.
So, if you forget something, don’t sweat it!