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There is nothing worse than waking up in the morning with a raging headache. Especially if this headache was easily preventable. Sleeping with your feet higher than your head (no matter how slight) causes the blood to rush to your noggin and will cause your brain pain. Learning how to level your RV will help you keep this from happening.
Having your rig level and stable is about more than just being able to get a good night’s sleep. When you’re not on a level surface, you run the risk of your doors and drawers in the rig not opening and closing properly. Your objects will stay on the counter instead of rolling off the edge when you’re leveled correctly. These are minor issues compared to having the rig level for the proper and SAFE operation of your propane refrigerator and your slide-outs (if you have them).
Check out these easy tips to keep your rig balanced and level and your head happy.
Level Your RV The Right Way
Even if your rig is equipped with its own hydraulic leveling system, you need to be able to get it level manually. (You should have a manual on the proper use of your rig’s system.) Keep in mind that the hydraulic system isn’t fail-proof and could cause you problems. Having an alternative method or two is important. It’s also key that you teach others in your party how to adjust and level your RV in case you’re not available.
Start With a Level Campsite
It is important to try to find the most level campsite you can. It is not always possible, but most campgrounds do work to have their sites as level as possible. Weather and wear & tear take their toll on the sites so just because a site was flat and perfect last year, it may not be this year.
Before you unhitch your trailer or get your motorhome completely parked, check the little bubble level on the front of most rigs. As a backup, use a simple carpenter’s level to determine if the site is still usable. (In a pinch, you could also try one of the carpenter or level apps on your phone.) Check the pitch in both directions (side to side and front to back). When a site is too sloped or pitched, it can be almost impossible to get your rig stable. If so, find another spot or move on.
Explore Your Options
Now that you’ve found a level(ish) campsite, you will want to do what you can to ensure that your stay will be comfortable and solid. Here are several things that every rig should have stowed away whether you’re a campground RVer or a boondocker.
- Stabilizer Jacks – Your rig should be equipped with stabilizer jacks already. These are useful for minimizing bounce and movement, but they will not help you with leveling your rig. A gooseneck stabilizer will also help reduce movement in 5th wheel trailers.
- RV Leveling Blocks/Pads – Be sure you get blocks or pads wide enough to fit under your whole tire. You risk damaging your tires if they hang over the sharp edges of a block or pad. There are many sets of leveling blocks that are made in 1″ increments. This helps you fine-tune the desired height when you level your RV.
- Wheel chocks – While having the appropriate wheel chocks isn’t necessarily going to help you with leveling the rig, they will keep the rig stable. Placing the chocks should be an automatic part of your camp set up. It is also a good idea when parking the rig for storage. They are especially important if you have a trailer or 5th wheel as they will help keep them from rolling when unhitched.
Know Before You Go
As with most things in RV life, you should know how to set-up and level your RV before you are on the road. Imagine this scenario:
You get into a campground late at night due to heavy traffic on the road. You’re tired and it’s raining. You have no clue how to get your rig level on the extremely UNlevel site you’ve been assigned. (It’s also the ONLY site left in the park.) Now think about how you’re going to feel fumbling around in the dark with equipment that you are completely unfamiliar with.
Know before you go – do a practice run or two setting your rig up from start to finish. You won’t be sorry!