Owning a camper means committing to regular repairs and maintenance. When you’re on the road and thousands of miles from home, you don’t want to discover at that point that you’re lacking the proper tools. Which tools should you always have onboard when in your camper?
Here are the recommended tools that camper owners need to have:
- OBD-II diagnostic scanner
- Tire-changing kit
- Torque wrench
- Jump starter kit
- Socket and ratchet set
- Telescoping ladder
- Wire cutters
- Electrical tape
- Folded blade saw
- Caulk gun
- And more
In this guide, we’ll walk you through all the tools that will make caring for your camper easy and convenient. We’ll also include shopping links so you can pick up whatever you need. Keep reading, as you won’t want to miss it!
23 Must-Have Tools for Campers
OBD-II Diagnostic Scanner
OBD-II is short for on-board diagnostics. In other words, when something goes wrong with your camper, a tool like an OBD-II diagnostic scanner can indicate where the problem might be emanating from.
Having a diagnostic scanner can save you hours of time, as you can skip a lot of the trial and error and get right to the troubleshooting.
If you don’t already own an OBD-II diagnostic scanner, we like MOTOPOWER’s universal scanner, which works on everything from cars to trucks to RVs and campers. Included with the scanner is the OBD2 DTC lookup library for making sense of codes.
You can use the lookup library to deduce engine speed, coolant temperature, load value, real-time curves, and more.
Look, the tires attached to your camper won’t last forever, whether you drive your camper or pull it with a towing vehicle. When one of those tires inevitably goes flat, what are you going to do?
You must be able to quickly remove the tire, either to repair it or replace it. A tire-changing kit is a must for any camper owner.
Andersen, Inc.’s tire-changing kit includes more of the equipment you need for a quick, smooth tire change. The duffel bag is loaded with jacks of varying sizes as well as sockets and wrenches for detaching and reinstalling a tire.
When working with nuts and screws on your camper, you don’t want them to be too tight.
If they are, then you could damage the nuts and sometimes adjacent parts as well. Then you have to pay to order new nuts, which is an unnecessary expense.
A torque wrench will prolong the life of camper nuts. Since you don’t need a tool that takes up too much room, try the SUGPV mini digital torque wrench.
An included LED display provides diagnostics in real-time. To prevent overdoing the torque, a buzzer and the display will indicate when you’ve reached the right level. An auto-shutoff saves you a step when you’re done tightening nuts.
Jump Starter Kit
We’ve written about preserving your camper battery here on the blog, including in this post. Yet sometimes you make mistakes, and so perhaps your camper battery died.
Maybe it’s not your camper battery that’s dead, but the battery that powers your towing vehicle, be that a car, truck, or SUV.
Well, now what? You can’t exactly continue on your journey with a dead battery. If you’re out in the middle of nowhere, it can take a long time for help to arrive. In the meantime, you’re stranded.
A jump starter kit is a must. Even if you decide to pass on most of the tools on this list, a jump starter kit should not be one of them.
The Clore Automotive Jump-N-Carry kit produces 1,700 peak amps, which is 425 cranking amps. You’ll jump your vehicle and be back on the road in no time!
Socket and Ratchet Set
Your camper is a big place, and those teeny-tiny sockets can go missing in an instant. Once you misplace them, they’re usually gone for good. That precludes you from doing maintenance.
It sounds like you need a socket and ratchet set for your camper such as this one from DeWalt.
The 34-piece set includes 3/8-inch metric sockets and a ratchet with 72 teeth. All sockets are clearly identified with stamped markings so you don’t confuse one for another.
As you maintain your camper, the time will inevitably come for you to climb to the roof to check it out. However, reaching your roof is not easy to do without a telescoping ladder.
Sure, you could climb up on your towing vehicle to reach the roof of your camper. However, this can damage your towing vehicle, and it’s dangerous. Plus, without a towing vehicle, such as is the case if your camper is drivable, you don’t have easy access.
The Soctone telescoping ladder is 12.5 feet tall when fully opened, which should be tall enough for you to climb to the top of your camper roof. Capable of holding up to 330 pounds of weight, this telescoping ladder includes dual triangle stabilizers to keep you secure when you’re on it.
Working with the electricity on your camper is not something that ever RVer feels comfortable with. For those who do, wire cutters are a crucial item to keep in your toolbox.
Wire cutters are designed to slice through wires easily, the same of which cannot be said if you use makeshift tools for the job.
We recommend Klein Tools wire cutters, as these cutters can slice through copper wire, solid wire, and stranded wire. The serrated nose can pull, shape, and bend wire as well.
In addition to wire cutters, for electrical jobs in your camper, you must have electrical tape. SoundOriginal’s electrical tape comes in six hues: white, green, black, yellow, blue, and red.
You can color-code your projects so the wiring is easier to keep track of, whether you’re working on lighting, steering, or other electrical jobs.
Folded Blade Saw
You never know when you’ll need a saw for camper projects, but if your camper is on the smaller side, then you don’t exactly have room for a full-sized saw. That’s why a folded saw is so useful.
Try the REXBETI Folding Saw, Compact Design Hand Saw, an 8-inch saw that folds in half. The precision-ground steel blades will retain their shape and sharpness over multiple uses.
You can lock the blades in two unique positions for under-hand cutting and over-hand cutting. Soft-grip touchpoints across the saw allow you to use it comfortably and retain your control over every cut.
Getting back to the electricity-related tools for your camper, a multimeter is another of those un-skippable tools. A multimeter reads voltage and current to allow you to troubleshoot electrical issues in your camper.
Think of it as an ODB-II diagnostic tool but for electricity rather than general troubleshooting.
The CAMWAY digital clamp meter reads both alternate current or AC and direct current or DC voltage. Producing results such as continuity, temperature, resistance, duty cycle, and frequency, you can glean critical information about your camper’s electrical system with a multimeter like CAMWAY’s.
Seals and gaps across your camper let in air as well as insects, neither of which is great for your camper in the long run. When you spot an errant seal, don’t let it sit. Caulk it immediately with a caulk gun.
The Bates caulking gun is a hand caulk gun with a high degree of thrust. Promising professional results, an included smooth pressure rod will allow you to use the caulk gun without as much force.
Seal with cement, butyl, asphalt, adhesives, and acrylic as well as traditional caulk, as the Bates gun is designed for them all!
Imagine this scenario.
It’s the middle of the night and your camper is making a strange noise. Sure, you could always use a flashlight to determine what the source of the noise is, but that only frees up one of your hands when you could need two.
Plus, what if you drop your flashlight and it goes rolling about your camper?
A headlamp is the better option, as both your hands are available for whatever camper-related task is required of you.
We like the Energizer LED headlamp, which produces 100 lumens of illumination. The beam that emanates from the headlamp extends a full 35 meters when set to high mode. To preserve the light, you can also switch to a low-light mode.
The band that’s attached to the LED light is adjustable and washable if it starts to smell a little funky.
If you’re worried about dropping your headlamp, don’t be. Energizer says its LED headlamp is rated for a meter drop without damage.
It never hurts to have a utility knife on your person or close by when taking long trips in your camper.
You can cut sticks and coals to start a fire, use the knife as a makeshift skewer, and slice and dice food for serving if you don’t have any culinary knives.
X-Acto is a trusted brand in utility knives. The Z-Series craft knife includes a safety cap to reduce the rate of incidents.
Featuring a #11 fine-point blade coated with zirconium nitride, the knife includes an aluminum handle that’s light and easy to use.
You can use your X-Acto knife for slicing plastic, metal (thin metal only though), fabric, and paper.
A hex key or Allen key aka an Allen wrench is required if you have any hexagonal head fasteners on your camper, which you should. You can use an Allen wrench to install the fasteners or remove them.
Amazon Basics’ Allen wrenches include 26 to a set. The wrenches come in various sizes. Built from chrome vanadium steel with a black oxide finish that resists corrosion, the wrenches are also sand-blasted for smoothness.
The length of the arms is conducive to reaching deep and using the Allen wrench. Torque and leverage both increase as well. Beveled ends make it easy to insert the wrench wherever you need to.
For smaller-gauge wire than the wires, you’d cut when doing electrical work on your camper, a set of pliers is a great tool to have onboard.
Amazon Basics’ long-nose pliers are eight inches and rated for 1,000 volts. The insulated pliers include a comfort grip complete with a non-slip coating. The pliers themselves are made of heat-treated chrome vanadium steel and feature a polished black finish.
Who doesn’t need a hammer or two when doing basic tinkering on your camper?
If you’re looking for a claw hammer, this Craftsman hammer is a 16-ounce tool with a fiberglass body. The over-mold grip is adept at pulling and driving nails.
Maybe you’d prefer a rubber mallet. In that case, may we suggest the Coleman mallet? It comes with a built-in tent peg remover.
You’re working on tightening some screws and uh-oh, where is your screwdriver? You won’t have to ask that question again when you have a screwdriver set in your camper.
The Craftsman screwdriver set includes 12 pieces. Each tool has a black oxide tip for an awesome grip. A torque zone improves grip too, and a speed zone gives you better control when rotating your screwdriver.
Cordless Drill + Drill Bits
As great as screwdrivers are, there will be some instances when making repairs on your camper that a screwdriver just doesn’t cut it. You need a drill instead.
For campers, a cordless drill makes the most sense. You can work untethered on the interior and exterior of your vehicle.
The DeWalt cordless drill and driver kit includes a drill driver that can produce over 300 unit watts out or UWO. The kit has 99 other pieces, most of which are bits in a variety of sizes. Everything comes in a case for tidy transport anywhere in your camper.
Whether you’re drilling, cutting, slicing, or hammering, you should protect your hands to avoid burns and lacerations. To that end, a solid pair of work gloves is a must.
What do we recommend? How about the Ironclad general utility work gloves? These all-purpose gloves boast a performance fit. Knuckle protection in the form of durable thermoplastic rubber is abrasion-resistant.
An included hook-and-loop closure makes it easy to slip these gloves right on and adjust them as needed. Terrycloth sweat wipes included on the back of each thumb prevent your gloves from becoming slick with sweat.
When they get a little grimy or stinky, you can wash the Ironclad general utility work gloves in the washing machine.
Tire Pressure Gauge
Whether you have four sets of tires (your camper’s) to contend with or eight (your camper plus your towing vehicle), you can keep all the tires in tip-top condition with a tire pressure gauge.
The AstroAI digital tire pressure gauge can read up to 150 PSI. It has settings for bicycles, trucks, cars, and other vehicles. All settings are displayed on an appealing backlit LCD screen.
Did your tire pressure gauge find that one of your tires is underinflated? You can’t always get to a gas station to refill your tires depending on where you’re traveling in your camper.
In that case, you need to be able to pull over and refill your tires on your own.
The AstroAI air compressor is a great complement to the digital tire pressure gauge. This portable air pump can inflate a standard car tire to 35 PSI in five minutes or less, so it’s quite an efficient addition to your camper tools.
The better question isn’t when duct tape will come in handy but when won’t it? That’s why you should always carry at least one roll with you when adventuring in your camper.
AmazonCommercial standard duct tape is cost-effective, as three packs of tape cost less than $20. Each roll of duct tape is 30 feet long by 1.88 inches wide.
Taking the best care of your camper requires a whole bevy of tools, from gauges to screwdrivers and drill bits to duct tape. We hope this list helps you determine which tools you’re currently missing.