Growing up, my Dad had his workshop in the basement, another one in a barn, yet we always kept a few essential tools in a kitchen drawer- just for those quick, minor repairs.

If you are a major ‘DIY’ tinkerer, you probably (like me) carry enough tools to build an RV from scratch (at least my Wife thinks so!), but even the person who takes their rig to the service shop for everything needs to carry a basic “kit”. A handful of tools, a few spare parts, and some basic supplies are all that are needed for most minor repairs.
Let’s look at what the essentials are…

This list will be only a “home” part of the RV list- I’ll leave out things like lug wrenches, etc. that you might want for roadside repairs, and focus on the tools needed for quick RV home fixes.
For minor repairs, the tool list is pretty short for me- a multi bit screw driver is #1 on the list for me, making certain that you get a #2 square driver bit for it (known as a Robertson screw. This fits the square drive screws which are common in RVs, and is available at most hardware / home center type stores. Because the multi bit drivers are inexpensive, as are the bits, I would get a full assortment, including a set of Torx bits (though this is optional).
Next would be a plier of some sort- a pair of locking pliers such as Vice-Grips® should fill the bill. An adjustable wrench would finish out the basic tool list (we are talking basic.)
Testers fall under the tool heading, and you should have at least a couple of basic electrical testers in your kit.. A basic 12 volt test light is inexpensive, and invaluable in tracking down 12 volt problems, from bad connections to blown fuses. Add to this a basic multimeter and an outlet tester (which tells if an outlet is wired correctly), and you can troubleshoot most minor power problems.
Next we come to “supplies”. I guess the purist would list only 2 essentials- WD-40® and Duct Tape, though some electrical spray cleaner and dry based spray lubricants can be handy as well, as is a roll of electrical tape.
When it comes to spare parts to carry, the essentials are pretty basic. Check out the interior and exterior lamps to see what bulbs they take (typical interior bulbs are either 1141- looks like an old tail light bulb, or 921- a peanut sized wedge based bulb), but other specialty bulbs are common- each light fixture should have the recommended bulb marked on a label. Picking up a few spares will keep you from being in the dark! Like bulbs, there are a few different 12 volt fuses used- different types and ratings, so it’s a good idea to find the 12 volt fuse panel (some rigs may have several- both house and chassis), and pick up the correct spares. The last spare I like to carry can also be thought of as a supply- a few hose clamps in different sizes, which can be very handy in a pinch.

I hope this gives an idea of an inexpensive, basic kit that you can pout together which will give everyone the tools to perform minor repairs to your rolling home.

Have an essential tool or supply I left out? Let me know in this forum thread.


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  362. I carry very few tools: I prefer the molded plastic case with individual spaces for each wrench, pliers, knife, sockets, ratchets, hex keys. since there is a dedicated space for each tool, you can be sure you’ve put everything away when you’re done. My wife keeps a small tool box with a pair of pliers, screw driver, small hammer, and an assortment of nails and screws in the coach.
    I believe in preventive maintenance and I’m not a mechanic.
    I have the same philosophy about my trailered boat.

  363. Sean

    I agree with allot of the above items. I always throw in varies sizes of zip ties and a bunch of metal and wood screws. But it never fails,you always forget to add something.

  364. cyplusram

    I would not leave home without a roll of duct tape. I do carry too many tools and am struggling to cut down particularly on longer trips into new areas – but duct ape will always be there!!

  365. Chris has a pretty good list. In addition, I like to carry, a tube of unopened roofing sealer, fresh D cell batteries, (for the flashlight), a simple pocket tire pressure gauge, and an emergency roadside reflector kit.

  366. Nerdofparadise

    I know the most essential tool in any toolkit is a Visa Card.

  367. Chet King

    I always feel the need to have my electric drill (which includes a flashlight), lazer lever, drill bits and hot glue gun. I am not real sure why, but these plus my solder kit, roll of wire, electrical tape, heat gun and too much more which IF I need I am glad I have them along.

  368. Earl Smith

    Basic supplies I like to include are trash bags that can double as leak stop gaps and a roll of 1″ bunyl putty for leak repairs on the RV as well as plumbing leaks.