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Caravan tool kit – 10 must-have tools to include

It doesn’t take much to assemble a vehicle and caravan tool kit. However, to assemble a great one, make sure to include these top 10 essential tools.

You’re sitting on the side of the road, head in hands. Your wife is sitting in a chair under a shady tree, no longer talking to you (of course). The kids? Well, they’re filthy and wasting water, continually using the tap, thirsty from running around the scene of simmering tensions. Why? Because you left the one bloody tool that would have got you and your caravan back on the road, on the bench in the garage.

Make sure to include these top 10 essential tools next time!

1. Spanners (better to have one than be one)

Most people have a set of spanners lying around the bottom of their tool kit, but do they fit the size of nuts and bolts you have on your caravan and vehicle? Why carry imperial if all you need is metric? I carry a set of ratchet spanners as they’re handy in tight spaces and a 24mm spanner to fit my diff plugs. Wrapping your spanner set keeps them together and helps prevent you from losing any.

2. Screwdrivers (not the cocktail version)

A set of screwdrivers are worth their weight in your caravan tool kit. Comfortable handles and strong blades. There is nothing worse than stripping a screw or damaging the screwdriver. A screwdriver with interchangeable heads is handy; it saves space and the heads can also be used with your drill. A good tip is to magnetise your screwdrivers so there is a good connection between the screw and the driver.

3. Sockets (no, not your eye socket)

A decent-quality socket set will last a lifetime, and then some. Make sure the sockets suit your vehicle and caravan (same as the spanners) so they’re not wasting space in your caravan tool kit. Carry metric or imperial, not both, unless you tow something modern with a Series Land Rover (in which case you will have a support truck too).

It is handy to have extension bits and a good crank handle (and not to start the Landy). Buy some extended sockets to access long bolts and store them all in a container to make it easier to find what you are looking for.

4. Cordless drill (can be used for surgical procedures, too)

An 18V cordless drill is the one ‘must-have’ power tool in your caravan tool kit. Having a couple of batteries is beneficial also! A drill is handy for tightening screws, nipping up bolts, drilling holes and winding your stabiliser legs up and down. It makes short work of many small jobs. Just ensure your batteries are charged for when they’re needed. Keep the batteries on charge whenever you are in a powered site (or if you have an inverter, plug in the charger while travelling).

5. Tyre repair kit (not the lilo repair kit)

The further we venture off the blacktop in search of that perfect campsite, the higher the chance of puncturing a tyre. A tyre repair kit is cheap insurance in these situations. Most times, you can plug the hole without having to remove the wheel.

Not only should you carry a good tyre repair kit in your caravan tool kit, but you should also know how to use it. A portable air compressor is handy to have in these situations, too. You will know just how handy the first time you’ve left it at home when it’s required.

6. Cable ties

Cable ties punch above their weight © Glenn Marshall

How is it that something so small can save the day, time and time again? Cable ties punch above their weight and are a must-have for any caravan tool kit. They can tie a camping pass to your awning, hang a flag, tidy up cabling or hold your suspension together in the extremes. Carrying several different sizes is a good idea but keep away from the cheap and nasty multi-packs. Paying more for cable ties does mean getting better quality. They pack light and you can never have enough. Who’s never needed emergency handcuffs?

7. Lubricants (not for that!)

Lubricants all have a use on your caravan and vehicle © Glenn Marshall

Wheel bearing grease, WD-40 and silicon spray all have a use on your caravan and tow vehicle and therefore a place in your caravan tool kit. It is important to carry a tub of High-Temperature Bearing Grease (HTB), you never know when you may need to repack your wheel bearings. WD-40 helps loosen rusty bolts, stops a squeaking cupboard or door, removes water from electrics and even stops your mirror from fogging up in the ensuite. Silicon spray is handy for stubborn zips on your annex or rooftop tent.

8. Multi-grips/shifter (handy as a last resort)

caravan tool kit - shifter and multigrips
© Glenn Marshall

Multi-grips can be used to clamp your fuel line or brake line in an emergency. Shifters come in handy if you happen to have a nut or bolt that doesn’t fit your sockets or spanners or to hold a nut while you tighten a bolt. Make sure the nut is held tight though; shifters are renowned for rounding nuts and the heads on bolts. Having a shifter large enough to use on your towball in your caravan tool kit is a very good idea, as having a loose towball is, er, particularly unsafe.

9. Tape (of the sticky kind)

caravan tool kit - gaffa tape
© Glenn Marshall

Gaffer, electrical and plumbers’ tape are all very useful and don’t take up much room in your caravan tool kit. Gaffer tape can be used as a quick repair for rips and tears or hold your front fender on after an animal strike. Electrical tape will neaten up any cabling work or protect soldered cables. Plumbers’ tape is useful for stopping leaky water connections at caravan parks.

10. Electrical tester

I never leave home without my multimeter. The number of times I have had to check battery connections, test the pins on the caravan plugs, or confirm that the alternator was sending a good charge to the Anderson plug. Mine even has a temperature prong – perfect for testing the internal temperature of a camp oven roast. A good tip is to carry spare batteries, too. A test lamp is also handy for determining the presence or absence of an electrical current when switching a source on and off.

And, just in case, add these to your caravan tool kit as well – there’s always a just in case!

ODDS AND SODS (you will use these one day)

It’s generally the odds and sods that take up all the space in your caravan tool kit, but it is better to include these items than leave them behind. You just never know when you may need:

  • Jumper leads
  • Fencing wire
  • A hand-held light
  • A hammer/rubber mallet
  • A rivet gun and mixed rivets
  • A Stanley knife and blades
  • A hacksaw and blades
  • A hand saw
  • A container of spare nuts, bolts & screws of various sizes and lengths
  • Allen keys
  • Pliers
  • A soldering iron
  • Fuses
  • Silicon
  • A wire brush
  • A magnetic helper

Whether it be to help yourself or to help others, make sure you carry these essential tools in your caravan tool kit.

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