The Bare Necessities of Road Life – Top Ten Tools

The Bare Necessities of Road Life – Top Ten Tools

Our top ten essentials continued.  Tools!  While much of what you carry is a matter of personal preference and what you will maintain on your own versus paying someone to do, these tools have gotten us out of some MAJOR problems out in the woods by just having them.  Like that time we fixed our truck camper refrigerator and water heater, or the time we fixed the sway bar on the truck, or installed solar in the woods, or built storage in our truck in a Lowes parking lot, or built an entire home on wheels on public land…. you get the point.  In addition, being on the road and in a small space, multipurpose tools are a must!  After a years worth of projects, maintenance, and emergency fix-it jobs, here’s our top ten list:

#10  Hand Saw

Now you are going to think I have no idea what I am talking about here, but this Stanley 10-Inch Utility Saw has not only cut the wooden parts on our truck camper, but our trailer and truck too.  Our Bowsaw ran away early last year and this finish saw has picked up the task and cut firewood to the tune of 3-5 nights a week for company and cooking.  It’s starting to get dull, but then again I found it in the sand outside our truck this morning.  (We are hard on tools).

#9 Zip Ties

You will want these as they are cheap, and work from hanging things, to temporarily fixing a coolant hose leak, with enough patience and determination you can even put back together a failed universal joint to get into town.

#8 Allen Wrench

This you don’t use all that often, but there just aren’t many substitutes available when you need them.  For instance a knife can become a screwdriver but rarely can you find a hexagon the size you need. Cheap ones work just fine.

#7  Socket Set

We used to own almost every socket on the planet when we owned a house, and have found with a set of good pliers and adjustable wrench a small socket set is adequate.  For those larger repairs done on the road we do them with roadfriends doubling our tool set and even more importantly gaining an extra vehicle should you need to run into town while yours is disabled. We bought a $12 Harbor Freight kit last year and have all but destroyed it on the road…yet it has gotten the job done. 

#6  Spares

Spare parts are no fun to carry around so carry ones that you can use for other things too!  A set of hose clamps, some extra nuts and bolts, some screws, some wire will come in handy, it’ll take up less than a can of beans.  I promise.

#5  Quality Electrical/Duct Tape

Hopefully the reasons are clear why to own these items, but paying a bit more means they stay sticky even at lower temperatures, and higher temperatures don’t melt the glue all over whatever your using them on. We like 3M Scotch Electrical Tape and Gorilla Tape.

#4  Adjustable Wrench

A Stanley 6-Inch Adjustable Wrench with a set of pliers will get off most nuts and bolts and in combination can make you sometimes feel you have the power of two people.  This is one area where a good quality tool is very important as well.

#3  Glue

HANDS DOWN J-B Weld is the absolute best.  If you find a stronger easier to use glue let me know, but I’ll be skeptical.  I’ve glued radiator leaks, gas line leaks, kickstands, even hinges on doors and it’s held up.  You do have to mix the white and black paste together and I use Q tips for such applications.  That rubber cushion on the doors coming loose…JB weld it, have a water leak…you guessed it. 

#2  Screwdrivers

Why have I always owned more than one of each?  I grow so fond of them I can’t let them go.  But just get one of each.

#1  Pliers

They basically make your hand super-human strengthworthy to grab nuts, wire, bolts and even crush metal to fit.  We have tried out many pliers over the years and I think the most versatile well built is the IRWIN VISE-GRIP GrooveLock Pliers.  



If you plan on doing any remodeling or building on the road a set of power tools you will be so very happy with.  We use ours weekly and often more.

We own Dewalt and Black and Decker.

Dewalt we own their DEWALT 20v Lithium Drill Driver/Impact.  They are incredible tools for the price.

We own the BLACK+DECKER 20-Volt Lithium-Ion Drill/Driver and Circular Saw.  They are very entry level tools but do get the job done.  If you aren’t doing tons of drilling and want a saw too I think this is the best deal out there.  Added bonus of Black and Decker is they make a kit that allows you to charge any USB device directly from the battery.


Double Bonus

A Voltmeter and patience to learn how to use it.  It will save you not only $ but empower you to become a minor league electrician.  If anything when the item your testing doesn’t work and reads 0.00volts…it probably doesn’t have power.  At least now you know.  Ours is really cheap and we wish we had the one our friends own, which is the INNOVA Auto-Ranging Digital Multimeter.  It has a great readout and its super durable.


Stay tuned for more top ten lists from our first year of road life!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *