Leveling Your RV Travel Trailer in 5 Steps with 4 Tools
Posted: September 30, 2023
Leveling a Travel Trailer with 4 Tools in 5 Steps
When it comes to camping or parking an RV, not all spots are created equal. Depending on the site, your travel trailer may not sit level, which can cause various issues, such as your refrigerator malfunctioning or your tires sinking into the ground, making it difficult for you to pull out when it’s time to leave.
But leveling a travel trailer is not difficult as long as you have a bit of patience. Furthermore, every season brings new innovations that simplify the process of leveling an RV. To help you with this, we have put together a step-by-step guide on how to level a camper trailer, including some of those innovative RV leveling accessories.
4 Tools to Manually Level Your Camper
1. Trailer Levels
When it comes to leveling a travel trailer, it's important to have two levels with you on board — one for left to right and the other for front-to-back leveling. Having both levels is crucial to ensure the trailer is properly leveled, which makes a big difference, especially while sleeping at night.
Although you can use a couple of construction levels from your toolbox, we recommend using dedicated RV levelers that come in various shapes and sizes. You can choose from simple bubble cylinders to gauges with markings or digital versions that connect to apps. To level a travel trailer properly, it's best to select and install one or more of the following RV levels.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? These bubble levels are simple, inexpensive, and get the job done just fine. You can easily attach them to the side of your camper.
For travel trailers or any other type of trailer, it's best to place both bubble levels outside. One should be placed on the passenger side of the front of the trailer, left to right, while the other should be placed on the driver's side, front to back. This will give you the most accurate measurement of whether or not your trailer is level, especially after making adjustments.
Graduated RV Levels
If you’re looking for an easy way to level your camper, graduated RV levels can be a great tool. These levels have markings that show you how many inches or degrees you need to adjust your trailer to make it level. There's even a round version with a target in the center that many RVers prefer. The cost is relatively low, and they provide more accurate information. You can attach these levels to the outside of your trailer just like regular bubble levels, making it much easier to level your camper without having to guess.
RV Leveling Apps and Connected Devices
Well into the 21st century, it goes without saying, “There’s an app for that,” and “that” includes RV leveling. There are two basic kinds of apps.
Stand-Along RV Leveling Apps
These apps make use of your phone's compass, gyroscope, and other features, along with your trailer's dimensions, to provide you with precise instructions on how to level your trailer. One such app is the Caravan Leveler, which is available for both Android and Apple devices. It can even connect with your Apple Watch, so you don't have to stay close to your phone while leveling.
RV Leveling Apps with Mounted Devices
These app leveling systems come with a box that needs to be mounted inside your RV. Once you've mounted it, you can download the app that wirelessly syncs with the box in your rig. LevelMatePRO is the most popular option for these app-based leveling systems. Although more expensive, they offer benefits over app-only leveling such as more precise angle and height calculations, the ability to recall hitch position, and the capability to work on multiple devices.ithout saying, “There’s an app for that,” and “that” includes RV leveling. There are two basic kinds of apps.
Where to Buy Trailer Levels
You can purchase trailer levels at any RV outlet store or online. You’ll find a nice selection of RV levels on Amazon.
2. Leveling Blocks and RV Jack Pads
When you go to level your RV, you'll need leveling blocks and jack pads to ensure your trailer is level, stable and doesn't sink into the ground.
RV leveling blocks and stabilizer pads come in different shapes and sizes, such as stacker blocks, curved ramps, or flat plastic pieces. Although some campers use wood blocks or lumber to level their trailers, manufactured plastic leveling blocks are a better option due to their durability, easy storage and affordability.
Travel trailer leveling blocks can also serve as jack pads and stabilizer pads when the ground is soft, such as grass, sand or asphalt in hot weather. These jack pads will prevent your tongue jack and stabilizers from sinking into the ground or getting damaged.
To determine the right size of leveling blocks for your RV, measure the width of your trailer tires. Your leveling blocks should be wider than your tires for easier leveling. A 12-piece leveling block set should provide at least three blocks per tire, depending on your trailer type. Depending on the campground or RV park and the level of their sites, you may need an additional set to use as stabilizer blocks.
Where to Buy Camper Leveling Blocks and Jack Pads
These items can also be bought online or at RV outlet stores. Camping World is a good go-to for a selection of leveling blocks that can double as trailer jack pads.
3. RV Wheel Chocks
When leveling your travel trailer, you’ll need a trusty wheel chock. This handy tool helps keep your tire in place once your leveling blocks are set up. Keeping at least one wheel chock in your camper is always a good idea, but in case of an uneven site, you may need more than one for the safest setup.
The good news is that many of the leveling blocks mentioned above come with matching chocks. While experts might disagree on whether you need more than one wheel chock, it's always better to err on the side of caution, especially if you're dealing with a particularly tricky site.
4. RV Stabilizing Jacks
RV stabilizers are meant to keep your RV steady and stable once it’s level and chocked. It's important to keep in mind that travel trailer stabilizer jacks are not meant to level your camper. If someone tells you otherwise, they don’t know what they're talking about.
The purpose of a stabilizing jack is to provide stability when you're walking around inside your trailer. It's a great way to keep things from wobbling or shaking when you're moving around. If you see these as optional, trust us, one camping trip without them will change your mind.
To keep your vehicle steady, you can choose either manual or electric RV stabilizer jacks. Scissor jacks are a popular and budget-friendly choice. Some travel trailers even come with a pre-installed stabilizing jack, like the Lippert Power Stabilizer Jack. If yours doesn't have one, don't worry! You can always get it installed as an add-on.
How to Level a Travel Trailer in 5 Simple Steps
If you're new to owning a travel trailer, don't worry — leveling it is actually pretty easy once you get the hang of it! All it takes is a little patience and practice. Check out these simple steps below to learn the best way to level your travel trailer.
1. Find the Best Spot
If you're looking to level an RV travel trailer, there's one crucial step you don't want to miss — finding the best possible spot to park. Don't just pull up anywhere in the site you're assigned, take a moment to park your trailer and step outside to check out the area. Look around for the most level part of the site and back your trailer onto it, about a foot in front or behind where you plan to park. This gives you some wiggle room to back up onto leveling blocks, move forward, and get centered in the right spot. If you're not comfortable with backing up, don't worry! You can always follow the same advice before driving through. It's always better to be safe than sorry.
2. Place Your Leveling Blocks
The next step is to use your leveling blocks. If you're using one of those leveling apps we mentioned earlier, it will tell you which side of your camper needs leveling blocks and the exact height required. Pretty cool, huh? But don't worry if you don't have an app, your trusty bubble levelers will still give you the same information, just with a little less precision.
Now, if you backed in, just place the blocks behind your trailer tires. If you pulled through, put the leveling blocks in front of your tires instead. If you're using stacker blocks, arrange them in a ramp-like shape so that your tires can easily drive up onto them. And if you're using curved levelers, just wedge them under the appropriate side of your tires.
3. Drive Your Camper onto the Leveling Blocks and Chock Your Tires
Alright! To get your travel trailer level, just take it easy and slowly back or pull onto the leveling blocks until the app tells you your rig is level or, if you aren’t using a smartphone, it feels level. It's helpful to have a friend outside checking the bubble levels so they can tell you whether you need to back up more or drive up further to get completely level.
If you're using stacking blocks, it's possible that you might need to make some adjustments. Simply back up or pull off, add or remove blocks as needed, then pull up or drive through again. Keep checking your levels until you're all set.
Safety Tip: If you're on your own, you’ll need to keep hopping in and out of your tow vehicle to check the levels. Don't forget to turn off your vehicle before doing so. If you have a leveling app, even better! It can make the process quicker and easier for you. But if you have a buddy with you, it's always safer to let them guide you from the app while you focus on driving.
Once you've set up your travel trailer on the leveling blocks, place the wheel chock on the downhill side of the blocks to keep everything secure and your RV from accidentally rolling.
4. Level from Front to Back
Now that your camper is level from side to side use your tongue jack to level your trailer from front to back, which, by comparison, should be quick and easy.
5. Deploy Your RV Stabilizer Jacks
Your rig is completely level and secure, so it's time to use the stabilizing jacks to keep your trailer from rocking and rolling. Just extend each stabilizer until it reaches the ground, and make sure they're snug without lifting your RV. Remember, RV stabilizing jacks are only for support and should be equally extended.
You’re set for the duration of the stay.
A Final Piece of RV Leveling Advice
Don't fret if you're having trouble leveling your travel trailer. It can be tricky to find that sweet spot, but it's all good! Just take your time, stay positive, and don't get too worked up. With a little patience, you'll have your trailer all leveled up in no time! And the more you do it, the easier it'll get. So keep at it, my friend!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it Hard to Level Your Travel Trailer?
Leveling a travel trailer can be challenging at times, but with practice and the right techniques, it becomes easier. Here are some tips:
- Common Challenges and Solutions: Uneven terrain, limited space or varying weight distribution can present challenges. Using leveling blocks, stabilizing jacks and accurate measurements can help overcome these obstacles.
- Tips for easier leveling: Take your time, make small adjustments and use bubble levels for precision. It's also helpful to have a second person guide you during the leveling process.
- Practicing and gaining experience: The more you level your travel trailer, the more comfortable and efficient you'll become. Practice in different scenarios to refine your skills.
Does a travel trailer have to be perfectly level?
Making sure that your travel trailer is level is super important for a whole bunch of reasons. For starters, it helps keep your refrigerator and slide-out safe and functioning properly while also reducing stress on your frame and axles. Plus, it prevents things from rolling off tables or out of cupboards, which is always a good thing. So, it's really essential to take the necessary steps to get your travel trailer as close to perfectly level as possible.
Should you level an RV with slides in or out?
This is an easy one. The slide stays in until you are level and stabilized.
Can You Level Your Trailer by Yourself?
Leveling a travel trailer by yourself can be challenging, but it's not impossible. Here are some tips to make the process easier:
- Upgrade Your leveling systems and accessories: Consider investing in RV leveling systems or accessories like electric RV stabilizer jacks and an electric or Quick Drop tongue jack. These can simplify the leveling process.
- Alternatives to manual leveling: Some travel trailers come with an auto-leveling systems that do the work for you. If your trailer doesn't have this feature, you can explore retrofitting options.
Are electric tongue jacks worth it?
If you have the budget for it, then investing in a power tongue jack is definitely worth it for a number of reasons. For instance, if you suffer from back problems, or if you use a weight-distribution hitch that requires you to raise and lower your trailer tongue multiple times. A power tongue jack can make things significantly easier and more convenient for you.
Are power stabilizer jacks worth it?
This is another situation where, if you have back problems, investing in power stabilizers is a great idea. Similar to power tongue jacks, they make it easier for you to stabilize your trailer without the need for manual cranking. You save time and effort, and there is less risk of further injuring your back. Moreover, power stabilizers are especially useful in hot weather, allowing you to set up your trailer quickly and efficiently without overexerting yourself in the heat.
Can you add auto-leveling to a travel trailer?
You sure can! Want to know more? Read our post: Can You Add Auto Leveling to an RV?
The term “jack” seems confusing. Can you help me understand the different types of RV jacks?
We have a post for that, too: Leveling Jacks vs. Stabilizing Jacks: Differences, Terms & Definitions.