I’m often asked what tools and maintenance items I carry along while pursuing the Full Time RV Life. While organizing the RV this spring I pulled out all my tools and thought this would be a good time to show to you the stuff I carry. When RVing there is always the balance between carrying what you may need and adding to much weight to the rig. I would love to carry many more items but due to space and weight considerations it’s not practical. I do try to bring along enough tools and maintenance items to hopefully solve any minor issues that happen out on the road. Below I will detail the different tools and items I carry and at the end of the article is a short video as well.
Screwdrivers and Wrenches
The RV and Tow vehicles are loaded with various sizes and types of nuts, bolts and screws so I bring along a decent assortment of screwdrivers and wrenches. You may not want or need this many but I recommend at least to have: long and short multi-bit screwdrivers, large flat head screwdriver, electric screw gun, socket wrench set, Vise-Grips, channel lock pliers, and crescent wrench. I find it handy to have angled screwdriver and small stubby type for getting into the many nooks and crevices of the RV. Also a kit with an assortment of screwdriver bits and some Allen keys is a good idea.
Plumbing and Electrical
Your RV comes with many plumbing and electrical systems and if you’re a little handy many things can be maintained and repaired without paying for specialized technicians. You can save yourself a fair amount of time and money if you carry a few basic items. For plumbing I bring some Teflon tape, Plumber’s putty, ABS cement, hose washers. Also a few specialized tools to work on the water heater. A special socket to change the heater element and another to remove the anode rod on my Suburban type HW tanks for maintenance. The U-shaped wrench is a spanner wrench for tightening ABS plastic plumbing pipe nuts.
On the electrical side a good multi-meter is I feel a must have. Other items to consider include fuses and lamps, connectors, extension cord, battery charger and bits and pieces of spare wire. If you know how to solder then a small iron and solder.
Cutting, Filing and Snipping
My pliers collection is a little excessive but comes from being a TV Repair guy. I recommend a couple of sizes of side cutters and really handy is a pair of long-handled needle nose pliers for getting into tight places with some leverage. For cutting I have a small hacksaw, quality scissors, box cutters, and small wood saw. For filing I carry various wire brushes, hand file, and metal scraper.
Adhesives, Sealants and Fasteners
These are some of the more common things you may need to patch up the RV. Especially important is to keep the seals on the outside maintained so a leak can’t develop. An undiscovered water leak into an RV usually leads to an expensive repair. I keep a tube of roof sealant and common silicone sealants as well as various types of tape: duct, electrical, rescue, and a very strong and sticky one called Gorilla Tape. For my fastening needs there are several boxes of assorted screws, nuts and bolts, zip ties, staples, etc.
Other Tools and Maintenance Items for the Full Time RV Life packed along are: air compressor, large axe, small spade shovel, rope, cordless drill and bits, level, jumper cables, jack stands, 2 ton hydraulic floor jack, bottle jack, torque wrench, grease gun, hammers, 25 foot tape measure, crow bar, rubber mallet, and spare bug screen.
Duct tape and Bailing Wire
Two indispensable things to carry for quick emergency repairs are Duct Tape and Bailing Wire. On the side of a busy highway it may be necessary to reattach some piece of the RV as a stop-gap measure until you can get to a service center. Say your muffler is dragging or a trailer wheel well cover is a dangling, having these two simple items can save the day.
Video detailing Tools and Maintenance Items for the Full Time RV Life
I find that this choice of tools allows me to repair most failures and perform modifications to the RV while traveling. If I need anything else I can acquire it from a local supply store or rent the tool. Hopefully this list can help out the new RVer looking to go fulltime and wondering what to bring for tools and maintenance. The particular RV and the equipment you have may demand a different assortment but this should give you a basic overview. If anyone has some must carry items I missed feel free to comment below.