This post contains affiliate links. If you click on the links, we may earn a fee. There is no additional cost to you.
Campers must remain level at all times. Both side to side and front to back leveling are essential for several reasons. Campers are a significant investment, both in time and money. Although campers can look level to the naked eye, often they are not. It is nearly impossible to plumb your camper without a level. Campers and Campfires has identified three reasons that owners should pay close attention when leveling.
1. The Refrigerator
No one really thinks of an unlevel camper severely damaging a refrigerator, but it happens frequently. Most damaged refrigerators are caused by campers not being level. Replacing a typical camper refrigerator will run about $1000, and this is money that could be used for a nice camping trip… or 5 nice camping trips.
Most camper refrigerators are absorption models. These refrigerators depend upon chemicals circulating throughout to keep your food cold. When a camper is unlevel, instead of circulating, ammonia will concentrate in one area because it cannot flow properly. This causes the refrigerator not to cool appropriately, and the refrigerator temperature will rise to unsafe levels. A backup of ammonia due to the camper not being level will cause the refrigerator to work too hard, overheat, and possibly catch on fire. Refrigerators are the cause of many camper fires.
2. Water Leaks
Campers and Campfires is aware of several owners who have had water leaks because their camper was not level while camping. This generally happens when water lands on the top of the slide when it rains, then runs towards the camper. If this occurs the water will find the slightest unsealed spot and water will seep into your camper. Water leaks in campers can cause severe damage and cost thousands of dollars to repair. Ensure that your camper is level. If for some reason you do not believe the camper is level and you are expecting a heavy rain while camping, retract the slide for the duration of the storm.
The first indicator of an unlevel camper is when doors do not close properly. It is possible for a door not to latch correctly or the door jamb can become misaligned if the camper is unlevel for an extended period. Secondly, if the camper is not level, it will be an uncomfortable walking, sitting down, or sleeping in your unit. An unlevel camper can feel like you are walking through the topsy-turvy room at the carnival funhouse. Sleeping is a particular issue because if your head is lower than the rest of your body, you are likely to wake up with a headache due to improper blood flow.
How Do I Level My Camper?
Although having an unlevel camper can cause a host of issues, there are options to ensure that this does not happen.
One of the first items you will need is a level that you can place inside and outside of your camper. It does not have fancy; a simple bubble level (Check it out on Amazon) will work. We at Campers and Campfires recommend a digital level (Check it out on Amazon) because it is easy to read while leveling your camper.
Most of the time, while using your camper jack, you can level front to back with no issues. Side to side leveling usually requires a little more effort. Leveling blocks (Check them out on Amazon) or Andersen Levelers (Check them out on Amazon) are extremely helpful in leveling from side to side.
Do not use the stabilizing jacks to level your camper because they are not meant to be load bearing. Stabilizing jacks help stabilize the camper, but using them to lift one side of a camper will damage the jacks. Driving up on a leveler or leveling blocks is the best method.
When parking the camper, try to find the most level ground at your campsite. With the camper still connected to your tow vehicle, place your level in the center of your camper floor or on the back bumper of your camper to check for levelness. If your camper is not level, determine which side needs to be raised. If you have a slide or multiple slides, it is best to extend the slides before leveling because they will change the camper’s levelness due to their weight.
Once you have determined which side of the camper needs to be raised, place the appropriate leveling blocks or leveler next to the tires and drive up on them. Check again to see if the camper is flush side to side. If the camper is within .5 of a degree from being level, you probably will not notice. Anything more than .5 degrees and you notice the unlevelness as you walk through your camper. Anything over 3 degrees and you will be in dangerous territory for causing damage to your refrigerator. Campers and Campfires highly recommends Andersen levelers or a similar type because it is easy to slightly raise or or lower the side. Using leveling blocks is not as easy a process. However, ensuring that your camper is level will drastically increase the quality of your trip.
Once the camper is level side to side, unhook it from the tow vehicle. Place your chocks (Check them out Amazon) in front of and behind each tire before unhooking. After you have unhooked, repeat the process to level from front to back. Once again place the level on the floor of your camper. This time, lay it parallel with the trailer so you can check to see if it is level front to back. Use the front jack to raise or lower the camper until it is level. Now you should be ready to lower your stabilizing jacks and finish the setup process.
If you are new to camping, leveling your camper is an area where you need to pay great attention. Without a level camper, your experience will not be as fun or relaxing.
Do you have any tips or tricks for leveling your camper? We would love to hear from you. Please drop us a line in the comment section below.