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Question Of The Week

Essential Truck Camping Tools Revealed

This week’s Question of the Week was, “Aside from common hand tools (screwdrivers, hammer, measuring tape, pliers, utility knife, wrenches, and level) what are the top five essential truck camping tools that you would never leave home without?”

After 89 readers responded with their essential tool box items, we can pronounce the number one most important tool for all of truck camping; duct tape!  In a close second is the ever popular multimeter.  We carry both, and couldn’t agree more.

“A portable drill, hacksaw, vice grips, zip ties, and lots of duct tape.” – Gene Miller, 2008 Ford F-350, 2012 Eagle Cap 1165

“A shovel, light axe, baling wire, tow strap, and a tire plugging kit.  I repaired a distributor rotor on Christmas Day, in rural New Mexico, with baling wire.  I had two flat tires in rural South Texas on county roads miles from nearest town.  I have been buried in snow drifts in mountain passes.  Hatchets are worthless for downed trees on the Macgruder Corridor.  Tow straps are essential for getting yourself or others out of deep stuff.” – Bill Peters, 2013 Chevy Silverado, 2013 Four Wheel Campers Hawk

“An air compressor, jumper cables, tow rope, DVOM (volt meter), and PB Blaster (penetrating oil).” – Tony Tabacchi, 1973 Ford F350, 1973 Ford American Road camper

“AC/DC meter, duct tape, and wire ties.” – Ed Striedl, 2015 Chevy 3500, 2015 Arctic Fox 1140

“Our trips with the camper usually last about a month or longer.  Therefore, I bring enough tools and spare parts to fix things on the truck or the camper if something breaks while we are out in the middle of nowhere.  Besides the regular tools, my top five things to bring are 1. a digital multimeter to trouble shoot electrical issues (plus assorted electrical connectors, fuses, and wire), 2. the special wrench to change the serpentine accessory belt on the truck engine (plus a spare belt), 3. tire pressure gauge, 4. specific wrenches to change the truck alternator (plus a spare alternator), and 5. an OBDII scan tool to diagnose problems, check engine lights, etc. on the truck.” – Buzz and Sherri Merchlewitz, 1998 Dodge 2500, 2007 FWC Grandby

“Teflon tape, zip ties, various screws, nuts, and bolts, biggie cords, folding shovel, and hose washers are high on list.  With me, if it fits, it goes along.” – Cheryl Nelson, 2004 Chevy 3500, 1990 Shadow Cruiser 9.5

“Lenox folding saw with metal and wood blades, large water pump pliers, large jimmy/pry bar, assorted chisels and pin punch (for removing frozen fasteners), and a wire stripper/crimping tool.” – George Visconti, 2005 Silverado 3500, Arctic Fox 22G

“1. A cordless drill with a die grinder cut off wheel and various attachments (like magnetic sockets for the drill), 2. a coil of flexible metal banding, 3. zip ties, 4. electrical wiring nuts. 5. an air compressor.” – Doug Baughman, 2011 Ford F350, 1994 Lance 990

“A digital multi-meter, small bow saw, hacksaw blade, JB weld, and duct tape.” – Don Brown, 2014 Ford F-350, 2014 Lance 855s

“I bring a Fluke F233/A automotive electronic remote reading multimeter.  In addition, I carry a clamp-on ampere and digital temperature probe for cooking.  These work together with the Fluke 233/A.  There are so many electrical features on our new campers these days!

I also bring a small glycerine-filled bourdon tube water pressure gauge for water systems.  And I have a Fluke Non, a contact optical temperature measurement instrument for determining propane level in steel tanks.” – Ed Graf, 2006 Dodge, 2014 Arctic Fox 865

“I live in Portland, Oregon, so a rain coat, tarp, ground mat, WD-40, and a cork screw.” – Brent Portschy, 2005 Dodge Ram 3500, 2006 Host Tahoe 10.5

“1. A tire plug kit, 2. portable compressor, 3. wood pads for the jacks, 4. X tire wrench, 5. shovel, 6. tow strap – oops too many!” – Philip Bolding, Ford F350, 1994 Lance Squire Lite

“12-volt electric/hydraulic bottle jack.  It’s really the only thing that I would consider to be out of the ordinary in my tool box.  It’s one of those things that you hope you never need, but when you do need it, it’s worth its weight in gold.

I bought this one used on eBay a couple years ago.  I’d never seen one in a Ford brand before, so I decided to give it a try.  I’m guessing it was an over-the-counter accessory sold through dealerships.  Anyway, it earned its keep last fall during the Halloween weekend.

A fellow truck camper at the site next to us turned too sharp when exiting his campsite and dropped his right rear wheel off in a drainage ditch.  With the help of a couple of other campers, we used the jack to lift the rear axle and place boards under the tires so he could drive out.  Although the jack is heavy, it sure proved its worth.” – Russ Parker, 2008 Chevy Silverado 3500, 2011 Lance 1191

“A multimeter, that special ratchet wrench for Chevy battery terminals, three foot step ladder, duct tape, and an air gauge.” – Harvey Melcher, 2002 Chevy 2500, 2012 Lance 1050

“Small axe, compact shovel, High Lift jack, flagging tape, clothesline and pins.” – Paul Smietanka, 2004 Silverado

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