How To Level Your Travel Trailer Like A Professional
By Kelly Beasley
Last Updated: October 13, 2022
You just got your travel trailer - congratulations!
But now what do you do with it???
Indeed, the first thing you have to do is bring it home.
And if you're bringing it home or to a campground, you must park it and know how to level a trailer.
So after parking your travel trailer, you must LEVEL YOUR TRAILER as long as you are running your absorption fridge.
(If it's a residential fridge, you don't have to level your rig. But propane (absorption) fridges have ammonia in them, and if your trailer is not level, the ammonia cannot move around, which is a fire hazard.)
Leveling a travel trailer isn't so hard once you know how to level a camper, but it can be a little intimidating at first (of course, if you have an auto-leveling system, you only have to push a button).
You will make mistakes. It's only natural, so don't fret when you mess up.
You will need a few things before leveling an RV:
2. Stand for your tongue jack and stabilizers
3. Bubble levels on your camper
What is the procedure for leveling a camper? Let's dig in.
How To Level A Camping Trailer: Picking Your Spot
Well, if you're in a campground, you may not have much choice.
But most campground spots are usually reasonably level.
Trailer leveling is usually pretty easy to unnecessary in many campgrounds. (But if you don't have to level, make sure you still chock your trailer tires!)
If you aren't comfortable with backing your new trailer, you can choose to get a 'pull-through' spot.
It might be a little more expensive, but worth it in times of high-stress/tight quarters!
If you are boondocking, you can find a spot using our guide to boondocking.
Level: You're going to want to find a spot that's as level as you can find to start with.
Solar: If you are using rooftop solar, consider positioning your travel trailer to get maximum sun on your panels.
Refrigerator Needs: In hotter climates, some people will also park to deliberately keep the side of their rig that has the refrigerator shaded.
The most common type of RV refrigerator, an absorption one, has to work hard to stay cool if it's scorching and facing the sun.
Compression Or Absorption Refrigerator?
View: You can consider positioning your rig so that your windows have the best views if you're boondocking.
Neighborly Considerations: If you are boondocking with others you don't know, there's an unwritten rule to try not to park nearby with your door facing their door.
This sometimes cannot be helped, but try to do your best not to be 'staring' right at your neighbor if they were there first.
Slides: Your spot must be wide enough to accommodate your slide-outs. Also, be sure to park the side of the camper with the slide so that it has room to open if you're in a tight spot.
Comfort: It's nice to have a level camper, as you don't want your cupboards and doors annoyingly swinging open or not staying in the position you want them in.
Levelers VS. Stabilizing Jacks
RVing stuff can be confusing. Don't confuse your stabilizers for something that levels your camper.
Stabilizing jacks are only to do just what they say they do: stabilize and keep your camper from shaking a lot when you're inside.
If you have hydraulic leveling jacks, you should keep leveling blocks even if you have Andersen levelers. Why? Because some spots will have soft ground.
If you don't use blocks of some sort underneath your leveling jacks, they might sink right into the ground, and you'll remain unlevel.
Additionally, if your camper is unlevel and you try to use your crank or auto stabilizers to level your camper, you might end up breaking your stabilizing jacks.
Then you'll need to replace them, which isn't fun and costs money.
After You Have Parked (DON'T Unhitch Yet!)
Ok, you picked your spot and parked your camper.
Now comes the work of leveling your RV, which starts BEFORE you unhitch.
You will first need to level your rig from side to side.
THEN you can level front to back by leveling the front of the trailer (after unhitching).
Your rig might come with bubble levels pre-installed somewhere on the outside of your rig or the inside.
If not, you can purchase levels to stick onto the front and side of your rig so you can see where level is.
(Use the level on the tongue to find level before you stick the level on your camper.)
Also, you can use a level on the tongue of your trailer paralleling your bumper or use a level app on your smartphone and use it for your travel trailer leveling (See the Level Mate Pro below).
OR, since your refrigerator is the most crucial component of being level, you can use a bubble level inside your fridge.
However, it's more than a pain to run into and out of your rig to keep checking for level.
After you have figured out which side needs to be raised (the low side is where the leveling blocks go to raise that side), it's time to get out your camper leveling system.
Types of Camper Leveling Systems
There are two primary types of levels for leveling a travel trailer. Block style and wedge style.
Using Leveling Blocks
If you have stacking blocks or 'Lynx Levelers,' place them in front of your trailer tires on the side that needs to be lifted.
You can put the leveling blocks in front of or behind your trailer tires.
You have to guesstimate how many blocks to use to get to level.
Get in your tow vehicle.
Pull forward or backward until your tires are on top of the leveling blocks.
Then you have to check to see if you are level or need more or fewer leveling blocks to get level.
If you aren't level, back off the blocks, adjust them, and try again.
Once you are level, chock your wheels on the other side, and you will disconnect your rig.
Now you can level your travel trailer from front to back using your tongue (front) jack.
Make sure your tongue jack has a 'foot' on it, or you use some blocks or stand for your jack so it doesn't sink into the soft or wet ground.
Boom, you're ready to start camping!
Leveling A Travel Trailer With Andersen Levelers
Andersen Levelers are such an ingenious leveling system we can hardly stand it!
It might just be the best way to level an RV.
This system eliminates the hassle of driving onto blocks, figuring out you need more blocks, having to drive off, add some and start over again. Instead, Andersen levelers are shaped like wedges or ramps.
With them, simply place the wedges in front of the tires or behind the tires that need to be lifted.
Drive forward until your rig looks level or until your partner tells you you are level.
If alone, step out, check the level, and correct (pulling forward or backward) if necessary.
No hassle with figuring out more blocks or fewer blocks and having to re-stack the blocks.
Back up more or pull forward more according to what your level is telling you.
Once you are level, you must chock the levelers themselves.
We DO recommend having a spare pair of good trailer wheel chocks to chock the other side of the trailer.
Sometimes it is hard to tell which way your trailer will roll at your campsite.
If you chock the Andersen Levelers incorrectly, your rig might roll a little and become un-level again.
After you are level side-to-side, you can unhitch your trailer from your tow vehicle and then level from front to back using your tongue (front) jack.
Make sure your tongue has a jack pad or 'foot' on it, or you use some blocks or stand for your jack, so it doesn't sink into the soft or wet ground.
Here's a simple video showing how to level a travel trailer side-to-side:
Solo Leveling: Leveling Help Using A Level Mate Pro
Talk about convenience!
This little puppy makes trailer leveling solo a breeze.
The Level Mate Pro also helps if you have a very lazy partner who doesn't want to help with set-up.
Or it's good if you're super controlling and want to get your RV level all by yourself.
Instead of jumping in and out of your tow vehicle to check your level bubbles, this gadget lets you see what is happening in real-time.
It's a little pricey, but if you have to, or choose to level on your own and have to do it a lot, then it may justify the price.
There are other digital RV leveling systems out there, but they are not as simple to use and don't cost much less.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Level Should A Travel Trailer Be?
It's said that you can be 2-3 inches off of level. Anymore than that and you will feel it as you walk around inside, the cabinet and bathroom doors might swing open on their own, and if you have an absorption fridge, it needs to be no more out of level than this.
Should I Replace A Manual Tongue Jack With An Automatic Jack?
If you're asking me directly, I say it's worth it. I did this in 2017 and immediately wished I'd done so sooner. Not only is it easier to level, but if you have weight distribution bars, it's much easier to lift and lower the tongue with an automatic jack.
Electric Tongue Jacks
Does A Travel Trailer Need To Be Level When Stored?
Your travel trailer does not need to be level when stored unless you have an absorption refrigerator and plan to keep it running. Otherwise, it does not need to be level.
Is It Difficult To Level An RV Camper?
Leveling a camper trailer is relatively easy once you know how to do it. It's a matter of leveling from side to side first, then front to back. You need a relatively level spot to start with, or leveling a trailer will be next to impossible.
Conclusion To Leveling A Travel Trailer
Now that you know how to level an RV trailer get out there and DO it!
It's easy once you get the hang of it and even easier now that you know how to properly level a travel trailer if you use the best tools out there.
Andersen Levelers and either a (willing) partner or the Level Mate Pro!
If you have a motorhome, you might have auto-levelers. If not, you'll have to manually level it too, but that's another article.
Camp On, Y'all!
Author: Kelly Beasley
As a seasoned and passionate RVing expert, I have dedicated myself to living the full-time RV life for over 5.5 years, immersing myself in the unique quirks and joys of the boondocking lifestyle and gaining a wealth of knowledge and experience along the way. In December 2020, my business partner and I made the transition to part-time RVing, but in January 2023, we hit the road once again, this time in our trusty vans. My mission is to help others embrace the RVing lifestyle with confidence and excitement, armed with the knowledge and resources needed to make the most of their adventures. I believe that the more you know, the more you can truly appreciate and enjoy the freedom and flexibility of the open road. Join me on this journey and let's make some unforgettable memories.
What are the level tolerances for an absorption refrigerator?
When is level level enough?
The popular method or idea, if your absorption fridge is mounted facing sideways, is 6 degrees front-to-back, and 3 degrees side-to-side. This would be flipped if your fridge faces front to back. I like having a bubble mount inside my fridge. That way I know it’s the FRIDGE getting as level as possible as opposed to the RV, as the fridge may not be mounted exactly even with the RV itself.
Hope that helps!
To be clear, So as one faces their reefer it is 3 degrees left to right, correct? 3 degrees equals about 1/2” per foot, cuz most non electronic levels don’t show degrees. So if one has a 1 foot long level there should be less than 1/2” space at the end of the level when the level is held so one end is on the floor and the bubble is centered.
Another pro tip in leveling is determine how out of level a space is before pulling into it. That way you eliminate pulling on and off blocks multiple times. Set blocks down, check blocs for level to each other, pull on, Done. This may take carrying a straight edge (2×4)to placelevel on to level across blocks.
Excavating the high side rather than blocking or a combination works well particularly if boondocking.
It still depends on which way your refrigerator is placed inside the RV. The degrees, the way you mention it is correct IF and only if your fridge faces the narrow (sides) side of your RV. If it faces the front or back of the RV, the degrees would be reversed.
very helpful tips for all campers who have not yet levelled. Thanks for that. In the beginning it takes a lot of time, but the more you do it, the faster you get. It’s just like putting up a tent, in the beginning it takes hours. Our awning is now quickly erected and the caravan levelled. Then we have a well-deserved beer.
Yep, I remember back when it was a struggle on my brain to unhitch and level my trailer! After a while, it’s easy-peasy for the most part.
And yep, it’s very nice to crack open a beverage after a long travel day.
About the X-Chocks they are not to be used to chock your trailer, you still need to choke your tires. They are for stabilizing the trailer. Also that was way too many lynx levelers on that tongue. Happy camping. 🙂
You are absolutely correct! We mention this on our RV chocks review page.
Thanks for the comment and happy camping to you as well!
Another very simple trick I just learned is to keep a small camp shovel with you. If you are on dirt or sand and not level. Back up (or pull forward) a few feet, dig a small hole for your tires on the side that needs to come down, and then park those tires in the hole. Sometimes it’s easier (and much more stable) than having to mess leveling blocks and making sure you are centered on the blocks.
Yes! This is something I have done in the past. Sometimes the ground won’t allow it, but when it does, it can make the difference between not being to get level and getting level. I’d just recommend filling the dug out hole before one leaves.
Great tip, thanks for adding!
Is there a weight restriction? Can these be used in a ‘permanent’ situation? My tiny house on wheels probably weighs 18,000 lbs with contents. Can’t seem to get it level.
There are weight restrictions, but they tend to be in the 30-40,000 pound range so you are fine.
I can’t think of a reason they wouldn’t work in a permanent situation.
You can check out individual weight limitations on the leveling blocks we recommend and see which might work best for your situation.