We hear this question a lot from folks heading out to fulltime in an RV.
We are cleaning out the garage and wondering what tools we should take on the road with us.
The tools you need depend on what all you are carrying with you while running down the road.
RVs are relatively simple beasts (the phrase ‘sticks and staples’ has some truth to it). Most of your tool needs will be for tightening screws, replacing faucets, hanging towel bars or curtains, making shelves, etc so basic hand tools are all you’ll need.
Tow or Towed Vehicle
If you have significant tow or towed vehicle issues (blown transmission, leaking radiator, exhaust leaks, etc) you’ll probably have to hire a mechanic to fix it for you. You can’t carry the tools big enough to deal with these troubles nor will most campgrounds be cool with you swapping an engine while the family has S’mores around a campfire.
Smaller issues like flat tires, frayed wires, burnt out headlights or taillights etc. will also require a basic set of hand tools along with a 1/4” and 3/8” socket set. A set of Torx wrenches and Allen wrenches might come in handy as well.
Past the basics, other tool needs will depend on what toys you carry with you. Bikes require metric wrenches. Inflatable kayaks need repair kits. Motorcycles, quad-runners, or hard-sided kayaks will have their own speciality tool needs. We carry bikes and inflatable kayaks so have the related metric wrenches, Allen wrenches, patches and PCV glue.
I like to mess around with vintage tech gear, revising old radios into bluetooth speakers and making sculptures out of the old parts. If you have non-transportation hobbies they will require extra tools and supplies. I got rid of a Dremel tool when we left our sticks and bricks house, had no need for one for several years, and then needed to buy another Dremel set for this new hobby.
I hate rattles.
I carry everything in soft-sided things so it can be “smushed” around and so that it doesn’t rattle.
For hand tools I bought nice tool rollups that keep things organized, compact and easy to carry. For my primary tools I purchased this rollup on Amazon and have been well pleased with it. It holds 90% of the stuff I need, has held up well, and cinches up to carry nicely.
For the miscellaneous tools and supplies I bought a selection of wide-mouthed zippered toolbags. Mine came from Sears and have mostly held up well with one of them starting to rip out after nearly 5 years use.
Other supplies go in industrial-strength padded zippered pouches that I bought at a HermanMiller company store years ago (I’d love to find more of them).
A Photo Inventory
For more specific idea of what I carry I emptied out my truck toolbox and photographed the contents. Scan the photos below for ideas of what tools fulltime RVers need.