At our recent chapter Rally, we had a session called “Tech Talk,” we shared experiences, tips, new gadgets, and ideas about owning a Leisure Travel Van. Since I typically lead the Tech Talk at the Rallies, I usually start by asking the audience who are the new owners. This provides an entrance into the discussion about what I and others may consider “essential items” to carry with you on any travel adventure. The essential items I’m referring to are the tools and items to allow you to prevent or resolve an issue and keep you on the road or at least will enable you to limp home if necessary.
Everyone probably carries various items and tools, some more than others, but here is what we carry. I listed them in no particular order other than these are items I feel are essential to my traveling comfort. Some of these items I have never had the opportunity to use, and I’m okay with that.
Tire Pressure Gauge
Hopefully, everyone is carrying a tire pressure gauge. There are various types available, and it’s a relatively inexpensive item. Keeping your tires at the proper pressure will improve tire wear, affect gas mileage, and is critical for the safety of your vehicle. It was one of the first items I added to my toolkit. The one I have has a reversible head necessary to reach valve stems that face inward on the dually rear tires.
This tape has many uses and comes in handy for various applications. It could be used to help repair something or to affix something that has come loose temporarily. My most recent application was to affix an edge of my flexible solar panel on the rooftop that had come loose while traveling.
No one wants to be stranded or have something not working because of a blown fuse. I carry an assortment of different sizes just in case we experience a fuse issue. I also purchased a couple of heavy-duty 200A fuses which sit behind the house batteries.
I carry an assortment of socket tools and open-ended wrenches, mostly metric, but I also have some SAE sockets. I also carry a large adjustable crescent wrench if I don’t have an exact match. I’m assuming the Ford chassis may not be metric, but whatever chassis you have, make sure you have a compatible wrench set. I also carry a small toolkit with various items such as screwdrivers, pliers, wire snips, hammers, etc.
If you’ve ever had to deal with a hardware screw on your LTV, you probably quickly realized that they are not your normal slotted or Phillips type of screw head. LTV uses almost exclusively the Robertson S2 type screw, which has a square socket type of head. Since I never know what type of bit I may need, I just carry an assortment that includes the Robertson-type bits.
A good flashlight is a must. I use a rechargeable Ni-CAD rechargeable one that is small yet capable of putting out about 1000 lumens. I charge it via the USB outlet on my GoPower Solar Controller. If I need to see at night or in a dimly lit area, I want one that puts plenty of light to see, and I can hold it in my mouth if necessary. Another good option to have is a head-mounted light.
Water Pressure Regulator
I see this as a primary item because you never know the water pressure at a campground. It would be a terrible experience to blow a water hose inside the coach because the pressure was too high. There are various types of pressure regulators, some with a gauge and adjustable or a simple standard pressure reducer.
Tire Air Compressor
This was one of the more expensive first tool-type items I purchased for our travels. From my experience, you can’t always find an air station or one that works. I prefer to check the tire pressure before we get started and adjust if needed without finding an air station. If this is an item you add to your list, ensure it is a high-quality compressor that can handle the higher pressure needed for the LTV’s tires. Low-priced ones may claim to support the 60-plus PSI ratings but may also fill at a much slower rate.
First Aid Kit
A good all-purpose first-aid kit is a must. If not for your own potential injuries, possibly for your fellow campers you meet while on the road. Ours includes various bandages, antiseptics, pain relievers such as Advil, and sting relief if we get stung. Keep in mind you may need to replace some of the items as they age.
Obviously, it’s for electrical wiring but can be used for repair or just to secure wires together, or even for other duties that may just require some vinyl tape. Our most recent repair was to fix the fog lamp wire a mouse had chewed through.
Go figure, another kind of tape to carry. I carry both white and yellow Teflon tape. The white is typically for plumbing connections and can be used on a water hose connection to help stop the leak. Possibly where the hose connects to the RV water supply or the pressure regulator. The yellow tape is specific to propane/gas connections. If you have to replace your propane regulator, you’ll want to use the yellow Teflon tape or special gas-approved anti-leak sealant when making the connections.
Zip or Cable Ties
An assortment of plastic zip-ties can come in handy for various applications. Maybe to secure a wire bundle or anything else you may need to secure.
External Torx Head Socket
If your Unity ever needs to be towed, the driveshaft must be disconnected from the differential. To accomplish this will require a special Torx Head Socket E14. You can buy an assortment of these sockets or a single, but make sure you have the E14 size, as the tow provider may not have it.
Ohm or Multimeter
In case of an electrical issue, I carry a multimeter to check everything from amperage, volts, continuity, etc. I’m not too electrical savvy, so I typically have to read the instruction manual and keep it with the device.
A pair of coveralls will keep your clothes clean when the time comes to crawl under your RV to inspect or do some maintenance. You don’t want to ruin or dirty the nice upholstery with your soiled clothes, and this provides an easy solution to avoid that. I prefer the long-sleeved versions.
Mechanics gloves will protect and keep your hands clean. It will also help so that when getting back into your LTV you don’t soil the steering wheel or whatever else you may touch.
Spare Propane Regulator
I now carry a spare since experiencing a failed propane regulator on one of our trips a few years ago. Propane pressure regulators seem to have a life span that can be shortened by dirty propane. So just in case, I carry a spare that I can install or have someone do for me.
I discovered these last few items listed at our spring Rally when other LTV owners brought them to my attention. They all seem like good candidates to potentially add to the list of my essential items or at least to be aware of.
WAGO Wire Connectors
Anyone that has needed to splice two wires together knows that it doesn’t always go as easily as planned, especially if you have limited space to work in. These inline splicing connectors can simplify that process and provide what I believe to be a more secure connection.
Photo source: amazon.com
This UV protectant is used in marine and aerospace. Many individuals endorsed it at our Rally as the protectant to use on the rubber hinges for the storage compartments to prolong their life. It can also be used on other various surfaces of the RV to protect from the elements.
PEX Clamps & Pliers
If you ever noticed the clamps used in the LTV on the plumbing lines, you’ll notice they are not the typical type you may be used to, or at least what I’m not used to. They are a type called PEX that requires a special clamp and application tool. Not a typical item you may need, but one individual at our last Rally had a leak issue, which would have come in handy.
Everyone’s list may vary from mine. Traveling in an RV is a continual learning experience. We all hope for the best without issue but must also be somewhat prepared. I tried to list items I think new RV’ers should consider, and most of these items are relatively inexpensive. I have some plastic bins where I can store many of the smaller items and keep everything within the same storage area. This way, if I need something, I know exactly where it’s located. I carry some other items and many resources to see what others may carry. You can purchase pre-packaged RV kits from Amazon as well.