How To Level A CamperAnthony Day
If you are just learning the ropes of RV travel and maintenance, then one of the first things that you are going to want to learn is how to level your camper.
Keeping your camper level is going to be a crucial aspect of safely parking your RV when camping and storing it, which is why you want to be sure that you are following the procedure properly. Although the process of leveling a camper is not all that difficult, overlooking the steps involved can result in some serious complications.
To level a camper you must first find a flat surface to park on. Once parked, take an initial level reading of the camper and then drive your vehicle onto leveling blocks. Use your camper jack to balance the front/back of the camper and then make adjustments as needed until level.
For so many people, RV travel is a way of life. These incredible vehicles enable us to hit the open road to explore our vast and beautiful country - while at the same time, doing it all in the comforts of home. RV travel is more popular than ever - with recent years showing record-breaking figures in sales and rentals. This means that there are a lot of newbie RVers out there that are still getting acquainted with their recreational vehicles. Owning an RV comes with a lot of responsibility, as these vehicles are much more dynamic and complex than a standard car. There are a lot of important details that you want to be aware of before hitting the open road and knowing how to level your camper is of the utmost importance. To help you understand exactly how to level your camper, we are going to take you through the whole process.
After extensively researching RV maintenance and upkeep, I have been able to gather enough information to determine how to properly level a camper. My research has indicated that a failure to level a camper can potentially result in serious issues with your vehicle.
Do Campers Need To Be Level?
When it comes to RV maintenance procedures, there are some areas where you can cut corners from time to time. However, leveling your camper is not one of them.
Leveling your camper does not require a lot of time and it can make all the difference in how many years you get out of your recreational vehicle.
The importance of leveling a camper is an easy thing to overlook when you are just getting into RV travel, as this is a procedure that you do not need to consider when traveling in a standard vehicle. Let’s take a look at why you need to level your camper.
Tank Fluid Readings
Your camper is likely equipped with a sophisticated plumbing and sewage system that needs to be monitored. Most modern campers have a panel that indicates your fluid levels so that you know when to drain your tanks.
When you are camping without leveling your vehicle, your fluid readings are going to be off. This often results in your panels falsely indicating that there is less fluid in your tanks than you think, which can lead you to put off draining your tanks.
An unleveled camper will also affect the flow of your plumbing system, which cause build-ups and pour drainage. Your tanks may be tilted at a certain angle that prevents all of your black and gray water from draining when you dump your sewage - resulting in you driving around with unnecessary old waste.
Camper Strain & Practicality
If your camper is not balanced, you are going to be putting a lot of unnecessary strain on your vehicle. The structure and overall systems of the camper such as plumbing are going to be put under stress, which can result in maintenance issues.
You will also find that an unlevel camper is simply impractical. Your cupboards, drawers, and sliding doors may all open up or simply not close properly.
Lastly, a leveled camper is a comfy camper. Whether it is eating, showering, or sleeping - you are going to find that you are much more comfortable in your camper when it is nice and balanced.
If you have ever slept in a tent on an uneven surface, you will understand how tedious this can be.
Camper Level Indicators
When you go out on a road trip, having a level with you to balance your camper is going to be essential. A standard bubble level is all that you need to get a reading, which should be packed in your camper at all times.
However, a lot of campers come equipped with level indicators installed inside already, which makes getting a reading even easier. If you do not have one in your vehicle, you can easily install a level yourself.
You want to get a reading of the front/back and side/side level when parking your camper. The bubble is going to tip in a certain direction and you want to get it right in the middle for all positions of your camper.
Camper Leveling Tools
You are going to want to have some basic camper leveling tools with you when you go on your road trip. These are going to be essential items that you will use every time you park your vehicle for camping and storage.
Get yourself some leveling blocks for your camper (if not included already). You can find official leveling blocks that are designed specifically for RV campers, which are very handy. They are very similar to legos - simply snap them together to create a platform for your vehicle.
Alternatively, if you do not want to invest in official leveling blocks, you can always use some flat pieces of lumber.
Virtually every camper already has a jack built-in on its front end. After you park your vehicle onto leveling blocks, you want to place leveling blocks underneath the jack tongue so that you can level out the front and back sides of your camper.
In addition, most campers are equipped with stabilizer jacks in each corner. You want to use these to stabilize the camper so that it does not move and stays level.
Automatic Camper Leveling
Leveling a camper has never been easier thanks to automatic leveling systems. This is a new-age approach to leveling an RV and it is commonly seen on Class A recreational vehicles in particular.
An automatic leveling system utilizes a hydraulic system that balances out the vehicle when camping - without you needing to do any of the work manually.
How to Level an RV or Camper
If you have got all of the right equipment ready, leveling a camper is a very easy process that should really only take you about 10 min or so. Once you have got the procedure down, it will become second nature every time that you park your camper.
1. Find a Flat Spot
When searching for a camping spot, find somewhere that is as flat as possible. If you are camping at an official campground, one of the best and most reliable ways to level your vehicle is to do it on a concrete or asphalt surface, as this is going to be about as flat as you can hope for.
However, if you are camping on a natural surface such as when wild camping, this can be a bit trickier to approach. You want to find a surface that is as flat as can be, as this is going to make the leveling process much smoother. If possible, pick a natural surface that is hard - the more solid the better.
2. Check for Clearance & Obstructions
Once you have found your camping spot, you always want to check the surroundings for any kind of obstructions. This is usually not an issue if you are camping at an official campground but if you happen to be out in nature, this is something to keep in mind.
Take a look at the environment to see if there are any trees, branches, or vegetation that will get in the way of parking your camper. You also want to ensure that you have enough clearance for your slide-out room (if your vehicle has one).
If you see any debris laying around such as fallen branches or large rocks, clear out the area before parking your camper.
3. Check Level Indicators
Before you hit the road, always confirm that you have brought your level with you. You do not need anything fancy, just a standard bubble level will get the job done just fine.
Check to see which side of the camper is going to need to be balanced out. To do this, take your level and place it in the doorway of your vehicle. Get an accurate reading by seeing what the level indicates from the left to right position. This will show you which side of the camper needs to be balanced.
4. Drive onto Leveling Blocks
Now that you have a reading of your camper, you can drive onto your leveling blocks. Most people use leveling blocks that are designed for recreational vehicles, which you can snap together.
Create a platform for your blocks based on your level indicator reading. If you noticed that the camper was imbalanced in a certain position - compensate for this by adding the appropriate height to that leveling block.
Take your blocks and position them in front of your tires. This process is much easier if you have a helper who can assist you with placing the blocks and then call out to you once the vehicle is in position. You want to gently tap on the gas - with just enough acceleration to roll onto the block.
After this initial parking job, take a look at your level indicator to confirm if the blocks were positioned properly. If you are finding that the reading is still off and that your camper is leaning in a certain direction, repeat the process by adjusting the height of your blocks until you get a better reading.
5. Position Wheel Chocks
You want to make sure that your camper stays in position and does not roll or move around. The best way to do this is to utilize wheel chocks.
You should have a pair of wheel chocks for each tire of your camper, which can be options designed specifically for RVs or you can take a DIY approach and use a couple of slanted pieces of lumber. Place a wheel chock at the outer end of each of your tires to secure the camper in place.
6. Use Jack to Level Front-to-Back
Your camper has a jack at its front end, which you are going to want to use to continue leveling the vehicle. You can take some leveling blocks or simply use pieces of lumber for this.
Place your leveling blocks underneath the jack tongue and then begin positioning the jack so that it stabalizes the camper. Use the jack to level the front and backside of your camper until you see that it is balanced. Once you are satisfied with the position of your camper, you can unhitch it from your vehicle.
Take another reading of your camper’s level position to see how balanced it is from front to back. If the vehicle is leaning towards a certain position, adjust the tongue jack to balance it out. Your jack will have a crank that you can adjust to level the camper.
7. Position Stabilizer Jacks
Most modern campers have stabilizer jacks already attached. However, if you are using an older model, you may need to add these manually.
Place a level block at each corner of the camper underneath the dropping point of the stabilizer jack. You can then adjust the jacks at each corner until they make contact with the leveling block.
There should be a firm grip on each stabilizer jack. This is going to keep your camper from rocking around when you move inside, which is going to ensure that your vehicle stays level while parked.
8. Check Indicators Until Level
Once you have gone through the process, take your level out and get another reading of your camper. You may need to make some minor adjustments to your camper’s level to fine-tune its balance. Identify the area of your camper that needs to be leveled and then make adjustments as needed.
About THE AUTHOR
Hi, my name is Anthony, and RVs are what I'm passionate about. I bought my first RV when I was 21, and I've been hooked ever since. I'll guide you on how they work, how they can be used in different environments, and how they fit into our everyday lives.Read More About Anthony Day