youtubeIf you are among the thousands that joined the RV lifestyle over the past year, your head is probably still spinning as you realize there is a lot to learn. One subject that takes some RVers many years to figure out, often by trial and error, is what are the most useful tools to have with you RVing?

Following are the six most useful tools to keep in the 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.

Multi-tip screwdriver - Photo from

2. Cordless drill car adapter

Most new RVers have already discovered the benefits of traveling with a cordless drill. 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. Note: 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.

Cordless drill

3. Flashlight  / Headlamp

Sooner or later you will find yourself pulling into a campground after the sun has gone down and setting up camp in the dark. Make sure you have a couple of portable battery operated light sources such as flashlights or headlamps. These are invaluable to navigate around the campsite, find needed items in storage compartments, hook up utilities, etc. Many RVers prefer using a headlamp as it allows them to have both hands free to perform set-up tasks.

Headlamps and other portable battery-operated light sources - Photo from

4. Water pump pliers

These pliers are more commonly known by the brand name Channellock and have many uses around the RV. They are super useful when tightening either end of the potable water hose in the campground when hand strength proves insufficient to obtain a seal. They also prove useful when removing your low spot drain caps in the fall during the winterizing process. You don’t need a super large pair, just something in the 10”-12” range.

Water pump pliers

5. Multimeter

• A multimeter is one of those items you won’t need very often, but has no substitute when needed. Here are some potential uses:

• 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, smoke detectors, flashlights, kids’ toys, CO detectors and small electronics like handheld GPS units, etc.

• Checking the line voltage* of incoming shore power as RV roof 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

• Checking the voltage of your house battery(s)

• Confirming polarity (12 volt DC or 120 volt AC*)

*Know the dangers of 120 volt household current and respect them.

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.

Multimeter - photo from

6. Wire stripper, cutter, crimper kit

Every RV owner needs to have a way to make simple repairs to electrical connections on their tow vehicle, dinghy 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.

Terminal Connectors - Photo from

For more tool tips, review our previous article about tools you'll need to carry for mishaps you may have along the way.

Equipping your RV with these basic items will pay dividends over the life of the RV and likely save you from frustration.

Dave Helgeson
Author: Dave HelgesonEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Dave Helgeson and his wife love to travel across the west in their RV. With over 40 years experience in the industry and a lifetime of RVing, Dave writes about all things RVing but loves to share destinations and boondocking advice.


0 #1 Clifford Iotte 2020-12-31 16:31
Sir an additional tool I find quite useful. I have an infrared heat gun which I use to check the temperature of my wheel bearings. A thought to pass on.

Add comment

Security code

More share buttons