Level Campervan, Happy Camper
Have you ever tried to sleep on a bed that’s at an angle? How about cooking on an uneven surface?
Or when your shower won’t drain because the water is pooling at the high end of the pan?
I’ve been guilty of traveling miles to a great destination, only to realize I’d forgotten the campervan jacks and other leveling gear.
Of course that led to using rocks, wood, dirt… whatever was handy, to raise or lower one or more corners of the van.
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While many larger RV’s have built-in jacks for campers, some automatic, this is less common with Campervans and other Class B campers.
That’s okay, there’s plenty of great gear available for leveling your van.
Why you should level your campervan
An unlevel van can impact some surprising and unexpected aspects of your campervan experience.
- Many fridge freezers must be level to function properly
- Kitchen equipment, supply’s and food will be unstable on your counters
- Sink and shower drains won’t work properly, which can lead to water damage
- And if you’re anything like me, ever important sleep is pretty much impossible on a sloping campervan mattress
How to find a level campsite to park your campervan
Upon arriving at the camping area, the goal is to find the flattest campsite to park on.
If you’re in a campground (as opposed to boondocking in a dispersed camping area), your campground host will often be happy to help you find a level spot.
You’ll likely need to get out of your van and scout out the area on foot to try to find the hardest ground.
This is important because your campervan jacks won’t be as effective if they sink into the earth.
Be careful on grass, as it can be too soft, especially if there’s been rain recently, or it’s in the forecast.
Also, if you’re parked on dirt, rain can significantly impact the level of your van, not to mention your ability to drive out later.
How to establish level and plumb reference points within your van
Before you can get a reading with a level, you have to be certain that your campervan floor and counter tops are level.
Most van floors are level when the vehicle is parked on a level surface.
Of course it’s not quite that simple, as the steel floor in most vans have surface variations such as ridges, grooves and anchor points for cargo and seat belts.
Your campervan flooring should be installed over these in such a way as to provide a totally level surface.
Another point of level within the van should be your counter tops.
Likewise, the vertical surfaces of your cabinets should be plumb.
Finding a level spot in your van
Establishing a level spot in your van starts with parking your van on a flat surface. Follow these steps to make sure your van floor is level.
- Make sure all tires are at equal pressure
- Park the van on a surface you know to be level such as a smooth garage floor
- With a carpenters level, test your vans floor, counters or other flat surfaces for level
- Check your cabinets for plumb
- Mark some level and plumb spots with painters tape. This is where you’ll install permanent level indicators
Note: If any suspension components are in need of repair or replacement, you may need to fix that before finding level in your van. You may want to have your mechanic help you with making your van floor level.
Our Top Picks for campervan jacks, leveling ramps & jack pads
I’m partial to the Andersen Campervan Leveling system for bigger vans like Mercedes Sprinters and other heavy Class B RV leveling.
They’ve put a lot of thought, experience and engineering know-how into their system.
Install a permanent level indicator
While it’s great to have a small level on board, it’s best to install a permanent level in your campervan.
The first thing we do when we’ve chosen a site is check the level of our van with our LevelMatePro.
This is a brilliant device that literally every Campervan or RV should have on board.
Other options include basic bubble levels that can be installed in several locations in the van.
We have a LevelMatePro in our kitchen area, a basic bubble level in the cab and another at the rear of the van.
Campervan jacks and ramps for leveling your Campervan
As you get more experienced with leveling, you’ll get better at finding the most level angle available.
Once parked, after checking your leveling system, you’ll typically need to make some minor adjustments, at least.
Fortunately, there are some wonderful, reasonably priced camper leveling jacks for every size and type of Campervan.
Our campervan jacks level indicator Top Picks
How to safely position your leveling campervan jacks, pads, ramps & wheel chocks
I usually aim for zero to 1 degree of angle. Anything more than that is difficult for cooking, sleeping, moving around and could impact appliance and water system functioning.
Of course the camper leveling jacks and blocks you choose will include instructions for their use.
Below are some general guidelines for safely setting your jacks, pads and blocks.
Once you’ve determined where the campervan jacks or blocks should be placed, make sure you follow these steps:
- First, make sure the van is in the parking gear, and set the parking brake
- Then, turn off the motor while setting up the leveling equipment, whether it’s campervan jacks, tire blocks, or wheel ramps
- Check in with your travel partner and let them know you’re working near the wheels and under the van
- Set wheel chocks under one tire until you’re ready to roll onto the blocks
- And, if you’re using campervan jacks, place jack pads under their bases for ground stability, especially if you’re on softer ground
- While making your adjustments, check (or have your partner check) your level frequently to monitor your progress
- Exercise patience during the process. However long it takes to get your van level, it’s worth the effort
The highly rated Camco FasTen leveling blocks are super versatile and simple to use and they’re what we prefer for leveling lighter campervans.
Recap for campervan jacks and leveling systems
- Sometimes you’ll get lucky with a perfectly flat spot to park on, but don’t bank on it
- An unlevel van can lead to poor sleep, water damage, even appliance failure
- Ask your campground host to help you find a flat spot to park
- Establish true level and plumb in your campervan, even if you have to get help from a mechanic
- Install a permanent level indicator for easy site set up
- Carry jacks for camper leveling for those times when no flat spot is available
- As long as you’ve got ramps, blocks and jack pads on board, you can park just about anywhere
- Wheel chocks will keep you and your travel mates safe while leveling the van