Once you’re ready to start van life, it’s important to have a tool box in your camper van for when you need to do repairs and basic maintenance. We carry a canvas tool bag in our van conversion that we frequently take out from under our bed when something needs to be fixed.
In this post, we share many of our most often used van life tools. Whether it’s to fix electrical problems, water leaks, or repair and inflate tires, this comprehensive tool list should have you covered for most basic camper van emergencies.
Let’s get to it.
61-Piece Screwdriver & Ratchet Set
Space is limited in a camper van. So instead of filling your small toolkit with multiple screwdrivers and rachets, pick up this compact and convenient 61-piece set. This handy set can also be used to repair computers, cameras, bicycles, and more.
We frequently use our set to tighten screws, bolts, and nuts that get loose from the constant driving.
- 【High Quality】The drill bit and sleeve are made of high density chrome vanadium steel for...
- 【Professional Design】The ratchet screwdriver handle can be rotated 180°. It helps you work in...
- 【Perfect Gift for Men】TOOLMAK 61-Piece Ratchet Screwdriver Set is available in gift wrapping. It...
Best For Electrical
Irwin Wire Multi-Tool
We love this tool because, just like with the screwdriver set above, it can do multiple jobs. This saves valuable space in your tool box. Specifically, this Irwin tool can:
- Cut electrical wire
- Strip wire jackets
- Crimps terminals onto wire ends
This tool handles wire between 10-24 AWG in thickness, which is perfect because most of the electrical wires in your camper van should be between these thicknesses.
- SELF-ADJUSTING: Strip wire from 10 to 24 AWG with our self-adjusting mechanism. Jaw Width: 2 inches
- ADJUSTABLE STOPPER: Control the length of the core strip with the built-in adjustable stopper
- CRIMPING: Crimp 10-22 AWG insulated, 10-22 AWG non-insulated, and 7-9mm ignition terminals
Diagnose Electrical Issues
The digital multimeter is another one of those tools that can do multiple jobs with one device. If you travel long enough with your camper, electrical issues are bound to occur. Problems can include:
- Electrical wires coming loose
- Solar panel malfunction
- Dead battery
When an electrical issue arises, the first tool we grab is the electrical multimeter. With this one device you can view a battery’s voltage, verify solar panel output, check electrical continuity, and more.
TIP: If you’re on a budget and cannot afford a battery monitor, you can use a multimeter to calculate a battery’s state-of-charge (SOC) by viewing the battery’s voltage output.
- Accuracy: With 3/s Sampling Speed, this multimeter can accurately measure AC/DC Voltage, DC current...
- Widely Used: This meter is capable of testing Household Outlets, Batteries (including 12V Automotive...
- Multi-Feature: Large Backlight LCD Display with 3 ½ digits (1999 count) delivers your results...
For Electrical Repairs
You should still have plenty of unused wire connectors remaining after building the camper electrical system. It’s wise to bring a handful along in case you need to make any repairs to the electrical system.
- MULTIFARIOUS TERMINALS – All application kits include AWG12-10, 16-14, 22-16 butt, ring, fork,...
- DURABILITY– Each terminal in our wire connector kit features a strong copper barrel to hold the...
- HIGH CONDUCTIVITY – High quality copper provides excellent conductivity, increased current flow,...
Best For Anything
Every camper van tool box needs a foldable pocket blade. Whether it’s cutting rope, sharpening twigs, opening stubborn packages, or even stripping away paint, it’s always useful to have a utility knife nearby. Some people recommend really high-end knives, but we’ve found even a cheap one has adequately served all of our needs
- Sleek, lightweight anodized aluminum design with anti-slip grip. Handle doubles as pocket or money...
- Heavy-duty carbon steel blades stay sharp longer. Convenient folding with the press of a button.
- Lock-back design safely locks the blade in place when in use
For Changing Tires
Breaker Bar (With Bit Set)
This breaker bar can be used for numerous different vehicle maintenance jobs. But in our experience, it is mostly used for removing the tough lugs on our van’s wheels so that we can change out the tires. It’s a powerful and versatile tool that takes up minimal space in our van.
Good To Know: The tool that came with our new Ford Transit was surprisingly low quality. It rusted after a few years, couldn’t fit tightly around the wheel lugs, and made replacing tires a tough task. Check to see the quality of your wheel lug tool to gauge whether it’s worth replacing with this breaker bar.
For Quick & Easy Fixes
This is a versatile and easily removable tape that has plenty of useful applications outside of painting projects. We use it hold items on our countertop when we drive, keep loose wires in place, close packaging bags, and more. And when we no longer need the tape, we easily peel it off and there isn’t any sticky residue remaining. In our experience, painter’s tape is much more useful than standard duct tape.
- READY. SET. PAINT!: 1 roll of 1.88 inch wide ScotchBlue Original Painter's Tape, a multi-surface...
- DAMAGE-FREE PAINTING TAPE: Adhesive tape can stay on surfaces for up to 14 days, and it removes...
- CONQUER MOST SURFACES: Specially designed blue tape for smooth or lightly textured walls, trim,...
For General Hand Safety
Heavy Duty Work Gloves
Work gloves is that one thing that we use for everything around our van and helps protect your hands from cuts, bruises, and stains.
We wear them to loosen our hose fittings, when we collect wood in the forest for our campfires, when we changed a flat tire, and even to unscrew our jam jars.
You might already have one in your garage, or your parent’s, but if not, these work gloves should come in really handy when you need them.
- HIGH PERFORMANCE TASK SPECIFIC WORK GLOVE - The number one selling Ironclad work glove
- HAND SAFETY - Thermoplastic rubber knuckle protection provides impact and abrasion protection across...
- SECURE FIT - Adjustable Hook and Loop Closure provides a secure custom fit for ideal performance
To Fix Flat Tires
Tire Repair Kit
Our Tire Repair Kit is one of those items we hope never to have to use. And we still haven’t. But having a repair kit brings peace of mind when we drive off asphalt roads. Having this repair kit could be the difference from having to call for an expensive tow truck to come pick you up.
If you do get a tire repair kit, we recommend saving an instructional video on your laptop detailing how to use the kit. Because if you’re stranded in a place with no Internet, you won’t know how to repair the tire.
- HEAVY DUTY BROWN STRINGS: Our premium tire plugs are designed to provide maximum strength and a...
- FITS VARIOUS VEHICLES: This flat tire repair kit is suitable for cars, motorcycles, ATVs, tractors,...
- QUALITY TOOLS INCLUDED: Kit comes with a solid pair of quality pliers, an ergonomically designed...
To Reinflate Tires
Viair Air Compressor
An air compressor puts air back into your tires when pressure gets low. This is useful for when you’re tire experiences a flat or even just a slow leak.
However, in our experience, an air compressor comes in much more handy to reinflate tires after we PURPOSEFULLY deflated them. We are constantly adjusting our tire pressure based on the road conditions that our camper van is driving on. When we drive on dirt, rocky, and sandy roads, we like to deflate our tires to increase traction. But before returning to asphalt roads, we use our air compressor to reinflate the tires to improve fuel economy.
- Tire Inflator: The VIAIR 88P Portable Compressor is designed for all vehicles, including full-size...
- Easy-to-Use: Clamp the power leads to your car or truck battery, connect the tire chuck to the valve...
- Truck Accessories: Perfect for inflating tires up to 33" in diameter, this high-quality portable air...
For Solar System Maintenance
MC4 Solar Components
MC4 solar components can be difficult to find when you need them to repair your solar system. You can’t just go into a big box home center to find them. So we like to bring a set of solar components just in case we need them. Specifically, we carry:
- MC4 Connectors – These get clamped onto the ends of the solar wires to and from the solar panels. Includes wrench set.
- Branch Connectors – Used to combine multiple solar panels in parallel.
- Fuses – Fuses a solar array wired in parallel.
Best For Plumbing & Water Issues
Thread Seal Tape
When there’s a leak between two plumbing components, one of our first courses of action is to separate the two components and add a few layers of thread seal tape. This helps ensure a tight fit between the two fittings that hopefully stops any future leaks.
This tape is also helpful when you connect to the main water supply at a campsite with your hose to prevent leakage between the connection.
- ❤Superior Quality: ❤Thread sealant tape is made of teflon,is suitable for most kinds of soft...
- ❤Multi-Use: ❤Working for both air and water , plastic and metal pipe fittings.good for gas,...
- ❤Simple & Efficient to Use: ❤simply wrap the tape around the threaded male end of the pipe or...
For When You Need Light
For when you need to do work at night or inspect an issue under the chassis, a small rechargeable flashlight comes very handy. We keep one of these in our van toolbox and the other up front, in our glove compartment.
- Super Bright Flashlight, High Lumen --- High Lumen Tactical Flashlight XML2 T6 Super Bright LED...
- USB Rechargeable Flashlight, Long-lasting, Overcharge protection --- USB charged flashlight, only...
- LED Flashlight Zoomable, 4Modes --- High powered rechargeable flashlight, Easily strech out the...
For Accurate Measurements
We’re always looking out for great additions to our van. But it’s important to know if what we want to buy will fit in the space we intend to put it. Will that rice pot fit in that drawer? Will the rug fit by the front entrance? Will the box fit under our bed? We carry a tape measure for these purpose.
For Metal Repairs
Cold Weld Epoxy (JB Weld)
We carry this package just in case we need to do emergency repairs on our van’s frame and chassis, whether it’s to fill holes or repair cracks. Also works on fiberglass, wood, and plastics.
- J-B WELD ORIGINAL: The Original Cold Weld two-part epoxy system that was designed as an alternative...
- CURE AND SET TIME: After mixing the tubes at a 1:1 ratio, it takes 4-6 hours to set and 15-24 hours...
- VERSATILE & DEPENDABLE: J-B Weld Original is steel reinforced, has a tensile strength of 5020 PSI...
For Extruding Sealants
You might already have a caulking gun if you are converting your own van, but if not, you should pick one up at a hardware store or on Amazon. Having one, along with a tube of sealant, allows you to fix leaks, re-caulk kitchen counters, re-seal windows & solar panel bracket attachments.
- Steel half-barrel (also called cradle) frame caulking gun for 1/10-gal. cartridges
- Thrust ratio of 10:1 for use with low viscosity materials
- Smooth pressure rod requires less force and is quieter than a ratchet-style pressure rod
The Only Power Tool We Carry
DeWalt Power Drill
A power drill comes in handy if you need to repair, modify, or build something completely new in your camper van. While a drill hasn’t been our most often used tool, it’s one that you’re glad to have when you need it.
Budget Tip: Drills are a common tool. You, or your parents, probably have one in the garage. You could probably also borrow a drill from your campsite neighbor, who most likely has one in his/her van life tool box! If not, we list the drill we carry below.
- Dewalt drill has compact and lightweight design that fits into tight areas.NEW 18V XR Li-Ion compact...
- High performance motor of the power drill delivers 300 unit watts out (UWO) of power ability...
- High speed transmission of Dewalt 20V drill delivers 2 speeds (0-450 and 1,500 rpm) for a range of...
Final Thoughts: Have Peace Of Mind By Bringing Your Own Essential Van Life Tools
We know that tools often aren’t the most interesting things we pack in our van, but we hoped you enjoyed and learned a little bit about what we carry in our van life tools box for unforeseen events.
As always, if there are some tools you think are critical for van life and that we left out, please don’t hesitate to contact us to let us know. We’re always on the look out for new tools and we love hearing back from our readers.
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