Welcome to “Ask an RV Expert,” the advice column where RVillage experts answer your questions about common RV maintenance problems.
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Dear RVillage Expert: We’re getting ready to pick up our first travel trailer. Could you please suggest 5 to 10 roadside and campsite tools and accessories? —Butch K.
While some RVers keep their rigs equipped with so many tools you could mistake their storage bays for a Home Depot—others opt for a minimalist approach to maintenance with nothing but a roll of duct tape and the name of a good service technician on standby. And although neither strategy is technically wrong, there’s thankfully a happy medium for RV owners looking to fix a few things on the road while having enough room in their rig to fit their family and other necessities.
Owning an RV is like owning a home—meaning regular maintenance and repairs are inevitable, no matter how new or old your rig is. From minor inconveniences like loose cabinets and blown fuses to bigger problems like rooftop leaks and flat tires, here are 12 tools to add to your kit to handle some of the most common RV repairs you’ll encounter on the road.
Screwdriver set. The shaking and rattling of road travel will undoubtedly loosen handles, hinges, and other items inside and outside your RV. A screwdriver set with multiple sizes will help you swiftly respond to minor fixes without searching high and low for the right size.
Portable air compressor. While this item won’t fit inside your toolbox, it’s a must-have for RV owners. Whether you need to pump your tires or inflate a paddleboard, a lightweight air compressor can keep you from being stranded at the campsite.
Sealant tape. If you own an RV long enough, you’re bound to run into a leaking roof or window. Sealant tape will allow you to make the temporary patches needed until you can get your RV to a shop or make a more permanent repair on your own.
Fuse assortment. Check your RV distribution panel or fuse box to get familiar with the types of fuses your rig is using. Unlike a circuit breaker, when a fuse blows, you have to replace it. Equip your toolbox with an assorted fuse kit that has the various fuse sizes you need to make this repair.
Cordless power drill. From hanging interior decor to operating some RV tongue jacks and stabilizers, a power drill can come in handy in more ways than one. Most battery-operated drills are lightweight and compact, so you can keep them in your rig without sacrificing space.
Folding saw. No matter what kind of camping you’re doing, you should always pack a folding saw. These compact saws make it easy to cut wood, clear brush, and even trim back tree limbs that could be damaging to your RV’s roof.
Zip ties. Seasoned RVers will tell you that zip ties are an absolute must when camping. You can use them to hang outdoor lights, secure cabinet doors during travel, organize cables and cords, and more. Buy an assorted pack to tackle various projects around your campsite.
Multitool. Keeping a multitool equipped with things like scissors, pliers, a screwdriver, and a pocket knife can help you handle quick tasks when you’re away from your rig or don’t want to dig through your toolbox. Plus, multitools like this come with a bottle opener so you can celebrate a job well done after you’ve completed your project at hand.
Socket set. Whether you’re changing out an anode rod on your water heater or simply tightening or loosening up nuts and bolts, a socket wrench set will be needed for a variety of common maintenance and upkeep in your rig. A socket wrench will also help you get to those hard-to-reach places where a wrench can’t fit.
Gloves. If you plan on hauling firewood, unhitching your rig from a tow vehicle, or lifting any other heavy camping equipment, then you need a durable pair of gloves. These will protect your hands from wear and tear and give you a better grip to more safely perform common RVing and camping tasks.
Plier set. While a pair of needle-nose pliers can help you with a variety of projects, having a three-piece set will keep you more prepared for unexpected repairs. From cutting wires and zip ties to bending the stakes that hold your outdoor rug in place, pliers are always useful at the campsite and in your RV.
Adjustable wrench. It’s no surprise that one of the most common tools needed in a sticks-and-bricks home is also needed in an RV. Whether you have plumbing repairs or are adjusting bike seats, you simply can’t go wrong with equipping your RV’s toolbox with an adjustable wrench or two.
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