Campers and RVs are going to need some routine maintenance and occasionally some repairs. You never know what the road will bring so be prepared.
Have the right tools with you to make some simple repairs for better trips. There are also some tools to keep at home the will make doing maintenance easier. Many of the tools listed are you might already own but investing in a set to keep in the camper will keep them ready when you need them.
Take a Look Around
Before building your camper’s tool kit walk around it to see what types and sizes of fasteners it has and make sure that you have them as part of your tool kit. Nothing would be more frustrating than getting out your screw drivers to tighten up a couple of loose screws only to find every is held together with Torx screws and all you have is Philips.
Tools for in the Camper
- 10-1 screw driver
- Socket set
- Big flat head screwdriver
- Multi tool
- Tire gauge
- Inflator – 12v
- 110 to 12 v converter
- Safety glasses
- Drill bits
- Duct tape
- ½ impact gun
- Bottle jack
- Lego leveling blocks
- Non contact tester
- Zip ties
Tools to Keep at home
- Grease gun
- Wash brush
- Floor jack
- Jack stands
- Caulk gun
- RV caulk
Tools to Store in your Camper
Socket set and wrenches(mechanics tools)
I have a 275-piece mechanics tool kit that is always in my truck. In it I have added some pliers and screw drives to complete the kit. The kit has ¼, 3/8 and ½ inch ratchets standard and metric sockets. Standard and metric wrenches. This is more than I need and has more sizes then are on the truck and trailer but at least I know I have it. I have rarely need but have been glad to have with me on several occasions. Like that time on the way to work that a caliper bolt came loose or when the battery died in the parking lot of Big R. I have all the tools I needed and made the repairs right there in the parking lot.
The kit did not have the right size for the plug/anode rod on the water heater, so I have added that socket to the kit. This kit does have the right size for the lug nuts on the trailer and on the truck. it also has a multibit screw driver, Allen wrenches and combination wrenches all in standard and metric. The great thing about kits like this is that they keep everything together and organized in plastic case.
If you are not going to have big kit like this at least have a ½ inch ratchet or breaker bar with the correct socket for the trailer and a small 3/8 inch ratchet and standard and metric sockets should cover most of the sizes you’ll find on your camper. Add an adjustable wrench an should be able to tight any nuts or bolts that have come loose on your travels.
When building you camping tool kit start with a tool box to hold everything. It doesn’t have to be fancy but get a quality one with a good latch. For me because a lot of my tools are already the truck a 20 inch box held everything.
A 10-1 screw driver will get you most of the sizes and types that you are likely to find a camper. A multibit type with a large kit with lots of types of bits will also get the job done. The 10-1 include some of the more common sizes of Philips, flat blade, torx, square bits and nut drivers. I also recommend a very large flat blade because it can also be used as a pry bar if you need it.
Keep a hammer handy for driving in tent stakes or if you get to your site and find some loose nails sticking up on the picnic table. I also keep a hatchet in the camper the making kindling.
Pliers and Multi tools
Needle nose, channel locks and Multi-tool. Most needle nose also include a wire cutter which could come in handy if you need make any electrical repairs. The channel locks are for repairs to pipes or gripping any nuts or bolts larger than the sockets or wrenches you have on hand. The multitool will have knife and file on it plus some on the extras to will come handy.
The level is used the leveling the camper when you get to you site. You can get levels the attach to the camper. I just keep an inexpensive 2 foot level in the camper. A small 9 inch torpedo level will also get the job done and fit nicely into a tool box.
The electrical tester to keep in your camper are a multi-tester and a non-contact tester. See our article on testing the power supply. Is It Safe To Plug My Camper in? How to Test a Shore Outlet.
Other Supplies to Keep Handy
Some other thinks to keep in the tool box that will help make repairs. Small tube of silicone to seal up any seams that may leaking. Duct tape because if we learned anything from Myth busters beside blowing things up is fun the you can fix or build just about anything with duct tape. Zip ties these are almost as useful as the duct for making creative repairs. WD40 or Liquid wrench for any squeaky or sticky hinges or stubborn bolts.
A small hack saw that fits into the tool box in case you have cut and metal or plastic and a fold pruning saw for any trees branches or fire wood that you need to cut.
It is important the keep the tires on the tow vehicle and the trailer properly inflated. To do this on the go keep a tire gauge, and inflator in the camper. I like the inflators the plug into the 12 volt power outlet, that way I can use if even if I don’t have electricity. It can be plugged into the truck’s or camper’s 12 volt power supply. I purchased 110v to 12v converter, so it can plug it into an outlet if power is available. These inflators can also be used for bike and beach toys. The inflator does have gauge on it but also keep a separate digital tire gauge in truck to check all of tires if everything is good I don;t have pull out the inflator.
Bottle Jack/Lego blocks
The side of the highway it is not where you want to find out if the jack that came with your car won’t lift your camper. Test it before you hit road to see if it will work. If not, purchase a small bottle jack for the trailer. Another option for lifting the trailer to change a tire are the Lego type leveling blocks. Build a nice tall ramp with the blocks and pull the good tire up on to it. The bad tire will just lift off the ground. Obviously, this only works for tandem axle trailers.
Safety glasses and mechanic’s gloves
Safety first. The glass will be especially helpful if you must crawl under the camper to make a repair and dirt is falling you face. The mechanic’s gloves will protect your hands from sharp edges and some and are also heat resistant. The mechanic’s gloves also keep your hands warm without giving up dexterity.
A cordless Drill with drill bits. To make some repairs you may find that you need to drill a pilot hole for a screw drill out a broken bolt. If didn’t pack the drill, you may find that you can’t make that repair. Bonus if you bring the drill you can get a bit that will raise and lower the stabilizing jacks. A small 12 volt drill will be perfect for the camper.
A cordless impact gun isn’t something that I would go out and buy because it only has one purpose and they can be kind pricey. If you already own one or are looking for an excuse to buy one a ½ inch cordless impact gun will make quick work of changing a flat tire. Do not use it on the stabilizers, the impact gun is too strong and will strip the threads.
Don’t forget to pack the chargers just in case you have to drill more or have a stubborn lug not.
Tools to Keep at Home
There are few tools beside the ones list above to keep home that will help in maintaining your camper. You may want to add a more extensive screw driver selection, more pliers and more sockets. Maybe an air compressor for inflating the tires, they work better than the little inflators but are not necessary.
The tools lists below are ones you should have but don’t need to take these on the road with you..
The bottle jacks are nice and small but floor jack are better. These types of jacks that roll on the floor and generally have nice high lifting heights and long handles that make them easy to use. Any time you need to lift the truck or camper to change or rotate the tires, grease the bearings or inspect the brakes a floor jack is the best way to lift the vehicle. They are a very bulky and heavy and not really suited for packing in the camper. Also get a couple of jack stands. I have a 3-ton model but depending on the size of your truck and trailer you may need to go bigger.
To keeping trailer rolling down the highway you are going need to keep the wheel bearings greased. Each hub is going to have a grease fitting for a grease gun. Grease guns get greasy ad nasty, so something better left a home unless you are doing a multi-month road trip. If you are small guns the will fit neatly it a container. Refer to your owner’s manual for the type of grease best suited for your trailer.
Just like your bathroom at home the bathroom and other seams in your camper are going the need to be re-caulked periodically. Be sure to buy caulk that in for RV use.
You spent a lot of money on you camper keep looking good by washing it once or twice a season.
Having the right tools at home or the road will make for better trips and less frustration if some does break or come lose. If anything I missed in this list the you had need for or wished you had when something went wrong please add to comments. Something you don’t know you need until standing there trying to fix it.