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Old 09-09-2020, 03:59 PM   #1
Rivet Master
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2007 Interstate
League City , Texas
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 5,609
Tools: Optional and situational (Interstate van)

I'm starting a supplemental thread on tools that some people may wish to carry some of the time depending on their trip-specific needs, but which are probably not desired by all Interstate owners.

This is a van-specific thread within the context of our extremely-limited carrying capacity. This is *not* a trailer / TV thread that will be useful to those Airstreams for whom, IMO, the tool-carrying potential approaches infinity. They don't have the same space limitations as we do, and they are not bound by the same trade-offs.

The primary Sprinter and B Van thread pertaining to tools is here, with its focus being more on intra-van mechanical applications:

Tools: Required, Nice to have, and overkill but I have it anyway

However, we also have additional valuable tool info spread willy-nilly across multiple other threads, including tools for extra-van contexts.

For example, a useful sidebar regarding power tools is contained within the mammoth Small Space Living thread, commencing here. It took me 15 bloody minutes to locate that content, hence I'm re-linking it into this new thread devoted to that topic.

We carried rechargeable power tools to our off-grid location in Canada this year for the first time ever, including an Ego string trimmer (Troutboy was correct about it being a good brand) and a Dewalt impact driver.

I was initially hesitant to do that - afraid that our 300 watts of solar would not be able to keep up, such that the tools would draw down our 300 AH house battery too severely, leading us to discontinue using them, and therefore becoming useless and dead cargo weight.

But I was pleasantly surprised. For perspective, I began mentally tracking tool power consumption in units of refrigerator (i.e., in units of our Vitrifrigo, given that I know instinctively how much juice it needs). We took an oversized rapid-charging lithium battery to fit the Ego string trimmer, and that thing gobbled up 5 refrigerators worth of power, but only in 30-minute increments, such that on a sunny day, the net cost of a recharge was only about 3% of gross battery capacity. The impact driver had tiny batteries in comparison, and consumed less than one refrigerator.

For the chainsaw, though, I think we made the right decision NOT to go rechargeable. That's just too demanding a tool to be trying to run off a solar / battery system, with the amount of work we do out there.

What tools do you take, that are specific to your destination or situation? Where and how do you carry them?

To mark the thread launch, which I always like to do with a frontispiece, here's our rode-hard-and-put-away Stihl conventional gas chainsaw, plus some reasonable arm definition in the 56-year-old female wielding it:

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Old 09-11-2020, 07:42 AM   #2
Rivet Master
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2007 Interstate
League City , Texas
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 5,609
Sub-plot take-away: It pays to cut the cord. If we hadnít cancelled our $100/month cable TV (Comcast) this year and instead signed up for $20/month philo TV, I would not have gained access to some of the DIY Network content that was never included in our chosen cable package (because it would have cost even more which I was not willing to pay).

DIY has more hands-on detail than HGTV. They overlap somewhat in both doing a lot of renovation and building, but DIY is more technical, which we prefer.

DIY taught me about timberloks and draw knives. My husband had SO much fun with the draw knife I bought for tree debarking - we made camp stools, and we stripped our cellular antenna pole so that it would not rot. Now THAT is a tool that has never been mentioned previously on Sprinter and B Van forum. I didnít even know that they were a thing. We like to work with our hands. We spend too much time sitting at computers. You can see the draw knife on the ground partially covered by the letter ďDĒ:

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Old 09-11-2020, 09:00 AM   #3
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2018 Tommy Bahama Interstate
Orlando , Florida
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 2,567
For now, we have only used the AI for relaxing... so we have not had the need for specific tools required during a trip. As you might recall, when I bought the AI, I stuffed it with everything that I might need during a trip. But all this was in case of a breakdown (spare parts and specific tools) or stuff needed to camp:
  • Autel AP200 Bluetooth OBD2 Scanner Car Code Reader. I also carry a more inexpensive unit in case I need to give it to someone on the road (the Autel MS309 Universal OBD2 scanner)
  • For tire changing
    6"x6" Block of wood
    1/2" Breaker bar
    1/2" x 6" extension for the breaker bar
    1/2" socket for the tire nuts
    [Torque wrench
    ARB tire/plug repair kit
    ARB air compressor
  • Tie wraps, tape, fuses, bolts, nuts, screws, spare cabinet catchers, spare magnetic switches, spare surface switches, spare propane regulator, spare macerator, 100' extension cord, screwdriver set, socket set, pliers of all sizes, 25' rolls of 16 and 12 AWG wire, multimeter, jump starter lithium battery pack, small tri-fold solar panel chargers, several flashlights of different shapes...

But back to your topic... we just got a new house that we do not plan to move in for a few years. And we have been using the AI to go back and forth (to avoid having to stop for any bathroom breaks) and as I was writing this I remembered that we are using it, in a way, along the lines of your thread...

We take:
  • The collapsible ladder. To use for installing the outside lights and cameras. And to gain access to the attic while we install an aluminum ladder in there... we had taken this one out of the AI since installing the outside ladder
  • An additional 100' extension cord
  • Battery operated drill and screwdriver
  • Saw
  • Hammer
  • Bins with stuff for plumbing, wood working, etc.

We take the tools in one of the green containers or, if just pulling from the garage shelves, these:

So everything is organized and can be quickly put back in the AI when we leave.
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Safe travels!
WBCCI #26769
2018 Airstream Interstate 3500 Lounge EXT Tommy Bahama w/ARS
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