Statistically, the majority of RV owners are also homeowners. The following are six portable tools that you can use either at home or in your RV.
1. Multi-tip screwdriver with square head tips
Your RV is basically a house on wheels bouncing down the highway loosening screws as you go. A multi-tip screwdriver is essential to keeping screws tight and driving others that have worked their way out during transit snuggly back in place.
Make sure you have one like this that includes square head tips as you will find square-headed screws in most all RVs.
2. Cordless drill car adapter
Most RVers already have a cordless drill they use around the house and take with them in the RV. They come in handy running stabilizing jacks up and down (most manufacturers do not recommend this, but the majority of RVers still do so), small field repairs, and can also be used to get your lug nuts/bolts threaded on and off quickly when you have a flat tire, saving your wrists the tedious job of threading them in or out. Always use a torque wrench to tighten lug nuts/bolts to manufactured specifications.
What really makes a cordless drill super convenient for RVers (especially dry campers) is a car adapter allowing them to recharge the battery for their cordless drill without starting their generator or the need for shore power. Here is the link for a car charger from DEWALT.
Every home and RV needs a good flashlight or two in case of emergency and other purposes. For your RV, a tactical flashlight has the added advantage of being able to zoom the light into a tight beam to illuminate the back corner of an outside storage compartment when you are looking for something or light up the numbers on a campsite post when you arrive after hours.
The beam can also be broadened for walking the dog in the evening. Consider buying a two-pack, one for home and one for the RV, eliminating the need to remember to load it each time you head out camping.
4. Water pump pliers
These pliers are more commonly known by the brand name Channellock and have many uses around the house and RV. They are super useful when tightening either end of the potable water hose in the campground when hand strength proves insufficient. A pair somewhere in the range of 10-12” like these are about right.
While something you won’t likely need very often at home or RVing, a multimeter can come in very handy in any of the following ways:
- Checking the 12-volt fuses in your RV’s distribution panel when a circuit goes dead
- Checking the condition of household batteries used in portable radios, flashlights, and small electronics like handheld GPS units, etc.
- Checking the line voltage of incoming shore power (RV air conditioners can be damaged while operated on low shore power voltage)
- Checking the continuity of circuits or incandescent light bulbs
- Determining 12-volt amp draws when you seem to be depleting your RV’s house batteries sooner than you should be
- Conforming polarity (12 volt DC or 120 volt AC)
For the applications listed above, you don’t need to spend a lot of money on a fancy state-of-the-art unit, just a basic one like this.
6. Wire stripper, cutter, crimper kit
Every homeowner and RV owner needs to have a way to make simple repairs to electrical connections on their personal vehicles and RV. While 120 volt AC repairs are best left to an electrician or RV technician, most RVers have the smarts to safely diagnose and repair a low voltage 12-volt problem in their RV.
However, it doesn’t do much good to have the diagnosis and repair skills if you don’t have the basics to perform a repair. A combination wire stripper/cutter/crimper with an assortment of 12-volt terminals like this gives you what you are likely to need for most low voltage field repairs.
Remember, most any RV can continue to operate without a functioning 120-volt system, but when 12-volt items (water pump, furnace, etc) fail due to wiring problems you are likely done camping until repairs are made.
These portable tools are not only convenient at home but can be very useful on the road in your RV as well. Equipping your RV with basic tools, just another adventure in RVing!
Dave Helgeson’s many roles in the RV industry started before he even had a driver’s license. His grandparents and father owned an RV dealership before the term “RV” had been coined, and Dave played a pivotal role in nearly every position of an RV dealership. He and his wife Cheri launched their own RV dealership in the Pacific Northwest. The duo also spent 29 years overseeing regional RV shows. Dave has also served as President of a local chapter of the Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), worked on the board of advisors for the RV Technician Program of a local technical college, and served as a board member of the Manufactured Home and RV Association. Dave’s reputation earned him the title of “The foremost expert on boondocking,” bestowed by RV industry icon, the late Gary Bunzer (The RV Doctor). When he’s not out boondocking, you’ll find Dave in the spotlight at RV shows across the country, giving seminars about all things RVing. He and Cheri currently roam in their fifth travel trailer, with Dave doing all the service, repair and modifications to his own unit.