Joan and I have been traveling in an RV almost 10 years with tens of thousands of miles adding to our adventure. Starting day one of our travels we developed an emergency kit for those unforeseen events that may occur that would aid us in staying safe as well as allow us to make repairs within our skills so we could continue our travels. In the 10 items you need for your emergency kit we discuss below, we don’t address those items that would be equipped from the RV manufacturer such as fire extinguishers or that ever important Mom’s first aid kit. This RV Emergency Kit contains a number of tools and safety equipment that we have acquired over time and use either for our needs or coming to the aid of a fellow RV traveler.
Before I start the list, allow me to address RV preparation before you start traveling. If something is suspect that may give you trouble with the tow vehicle or RV, have it checked out weeks before you leave on the trip. You’ve planned for weeks or months for this trip so don’t let known problems attention fail on the road or at the campground that should be resolved and run the potential of ruining your RV adventure.
1. Eternabond Tape
Eternabond Tape is perfect for the RV Emergency Kit if roof damage every occurs. While rare, but it happens, large tree limbs can become dislodged and fall into the RV causing wholes or tears in the roof fabric. Eternabond Tape provides a quick and permanent solution to patch a roof quickly.
Eternabond Tape is a Micro Sealant tape that will stop virtually any leak and can water proof any surface in minutes. We carry a 4 inch by 20 foot roll and on two occasions had to make emergency repairs to roof damage. Eternabond Tape can be used to seal any rip, tear, or open seam in any surface and can be use on all roof types including EPDM, TPO, hypalon, most PVC, fiber glass and all metals.
2. Lap Sealant
As with the previously mention Eternabond Tape, a good quality lap sealant is important as part of your RV emergency kit. Do not use a silicone or calk designed for home use on your RV. Lap sealants are designed for the various types of RV roofing materials and remain pliable to withstand movement subjected to RV travel. A lap sealant is used to create a water tight seal along the roofs edges, vents, RV trim and screw heads. It cures fast and is highly weather resistant that will not shrink, remaining flexible over time.
For RVs with EPDM and TPO roof we’ve found Dicor 501LSW-1 Epdm Self-Leveling Lap Sealant works well. This also works well on fiber glass and aluminum. For those who have PVC roofs, use a XTRM-PLY PVC lap sealant.
3. Spare RV Tire
This part of the RV Emergency Kit that always generates a number of opinions around the campfire. Some take the path that all is needed is a flat tire puncture kit where a glue infused string is inserted into a hole in the tire created by a nail. Here’s the problem. Most RV tires require 65lbs to 110lbs of pressure. Many portable 12V air compressor will take hours to fill a flat tire to the lower pressures and most don’t have the capacity for time needing the higher pressures.
In our experience, we’ve had two tires that completely exploded and a third that had a tear in the treads where a puncture kit wouldn’t work. Our only alternative as a spare tire to continue our trip.
4. Bottle Jack and a ½ Inch Breaker Bar
Continuing the discussion of replacing a flat or damaged tire, those who have the basic skill and physical ability to replace a car tire can also replace a tire on most RVs. That is with the exception of a large Class A motor home. In the instance of a Class A, these are very large, very heavy tires, have large lugs and require specialty equipment to replace.
We have a 4 ton bottle jack. These are relatively inexpensive and are capable of lifting the axle of most 1, 2 and 3 axle RVs for tire replacement. We also have a couple 12 inch 2x10s in the event we are one soft or uneven soil and need a firm base for the jack.
We also carry a ½ inch drive breaker bar that is 36 inches long with a socket to match the lugs on our 5th wheel. There are times that it’s almost impossible to remove RV lugs with a 4-way lug wrench or worse with a tire iron.
Having the ability to replace a RV tire when traveling can save many hours sitting on the side of the road waiting on a service to render aid along with the substantial savings of doing it yourself.
5. Bottle water and Golf Umbrella
This part of the RV Emergency Kit may sound odd, but if an event ever occurs where your RV has broken down and it will be hours until help can arrive, a large golf umbrella and bottle water will be your saving grace. We’ve had two instances where we had to wait over 3 hours in the hot sun, on the side of the road waiting on a service call. I’ve never thought it was safe to sit in a vehicle on the side of a road for any period of time (we’ve all seen those catastrophic videos on YouTube). Having portable shade and hydration is very important if you have to face this experience in your RV travels.
6. Road Safety Triangle Kit
This is the last item I’ll discuss as part of the RV Emergency Kit for those events where your RV is disable along the side of the road. We all know the importance of using the emergency flashers, but that isn’t enough. We all see the long haul trucker using road safety triangles along the Interstate. Using several road safety reflective triangles spaced 10 to 15 feet apart from the back of the RV gives oncoming traffic better visibility with the hopes of additional space. This becomes more critical if a breakdown occurs and you are traveling at night.
7. Quality Bright Flashlight
A quality flash light need not cost a hundred dollars nor should it be one of those 99 cent specials from the grocery counter. My preference is an aluminum, weather proof flashlight that has at least 600 lumens of output and operates on standard batteries versus those that are rechargeable. We keep a couple in the ton truck in the door side pockets and a couple more inside the 5th wheel. These lights are easy to find at most big box stores for less than $30 and we carry a few extra batteries just in case. Perfect for those times if you arrive in a dark campground and need a little extra visibility find that camping spot.
8. Basic Tool Kit
A tool kit is important to fix basic problems that may arise. I’m not going to be performing major truck repairs, but I had to replace the two 12V batteries. We keep a small 3/8 inch socket set in metric and SAE for such instances.
We also have a digital volt meter to troubleshoot small electrical problems like a blown fuse or if we experience power problems at the 50 amp pedestal. And speaking of fuses, they always seem to pop when needed most. We have one of every type for the 5th wheel and our truck.
A small, inexpensive batter powered drill is handy for basic repairs along with our 11-in-1 screw driver, zip ties, and a few other simple tools we’ve acquired along the way.
Here’s a tip. Don’t go out and purchase every tool you’ll think you may need. Carry a few basics and as repairs are needed for something new, purchase and you have on hand if the need ever occurs again.
9. Weather Radio
I can’t stress enough the importance of a weather radio as part of your RV Emergency Kit. We have a Midland – WR120B – NOAA Emergency Weather Alert Radio and it has been our best friend during sever weather. The radio is a Public-alert certified monitor that receives 7 NOAA channels with flood, tornado, thunderstorm, and other warnings. It is easy to configure as you travel state to state, county to county, with alerts only when specific counties are threatened. In addition to standard AC power, it uses three AA alkaline batteries for emergency power back-up in the event of power outage.
10. Portable Power Station & Solar Panel
A lithium portable power station may seem like one of those items that will be rarely used or is too expensive. The good news is these units come in a wide variety of sizes that range from something slightly larger than a kids lunch box to more powerful units in the range of a small suitcase, with varying power ratings, outputs for devices, and cost. It all depends on how long you may want to power the devices needed and the wattage of the devices to be powered. One note, while these will handle most power needs such as TVs, appliances, residential refrigerators, phones, tablets, computers, and CPAP machines, they are not practical to power an air conditioner.
These portable powered generators can be charged with 120V AC, a 12V car cigarette plug, or solar panels. Depending on the unit, each can support 100 watts from one or more portable solar panels making this a great option for emergency power over extend periods of time.
I have included in the Helpful Links below various types and sizes of portable power stations we have reviewed showing practical uses of each and how they apply to RV travel.
While this list may not include everything that you may need in your RV Emergency Kit, this is a good start to address many of the issues that may occur. My hope is you’ll never need any of these, but if you do, you’ll be glad you were prepared.