Leveling your travel trailer is one of the most important parts of the setup process. If your trailer isn’t level, you can run into major issues like doors and cabinets swinging open, appliances malfunctioning, and an extremely uncomfortable sleep. In this guide, I’ll walk you through the full process of leveling a travel trailer from start to finish using the proper leveling equipment and techniques.
When I first started RVing, I didn’t realize how crucial getting the trailer level was. I would simply park, lower the stabilizers, and hoped for the best. Well, this resulted in a trailer that was uncomfortable to be in. The fridge didn’t work right, doors swung open, and sleeping on an angle was just plain awful.
What I didn’t know then was that travel trailers absolutely need to be level for optimal appliance operation and comfort. The refrigerator is designed to work properly only when level. And your sleep will be miserable if you aren’t sleeping on a flat, level surface.
The basic process for leveling a trailer is straightforward:
- Level side-to-side first
- Then level front-to-back
But to get it right, you need the proper gear and techniques which I’ll cover next. With the right preparation, you can level a trailer in about 10-15 minutes.
Gather Your Leveling Equipment
Having the right leveling equipment on hand will make the job much easier. Here are the essentials you’ll need:
These are placed under the trailer’s tires to raise one side or end higher as needed to get level. Some popular options are Lynx Levelers, Anderson Levelers, and BAL Deluxe Leveling Blocks. You want the type with interlocking or stacking blocks that can be configured in different ways. I recommend having at least 10-12 blocks, but get more if your trailer is especially heavy or large.
Once you have the trailer level, you need to chock the wheels to keep it in place. Chocks prevent shifting so the trailer stays in that perfectly level position. The best are adjustable, interlocking chocks like the Camco Heavy Duty Wheel Chocks or the BAL Interlocking Wheel Chocks.
Small vial levels that you place in locations around the interior are needed to check that the trailer is level side-to-side and front-to-back. I keep one permanently in the fridge, one on the counter, and use a smartphone level app for additional checking.
These aren’t meant to level the trailer, only stabilize it once it’s level. But heavy-duty stabilizer jacks like the Valterra SW2 Power Stabilizer Jacks are a useful leveling tool to have. Just don’t depend on them alone to level the entire trailer.
Tongue Jack Pad
Placing a pad or wood block under your tongue jack helps prevent it from sinking into soft ground as it supports the trailer’s weight. This helps keep the tongue jack effective for leveling.
Find a Level Campsite
When pulling into your campsite, finding a spot that’s naturally level makes getting the trailer perfectly dialed in much easier:
- Look for a site that doesn’t have a major side-to-side tilt or slope. Check the site for any large dips or rises you’ll have to account for.
- As you pull in, go very slowly so you can better observe the ground surface. Try to get the trailer centered in the flattest spot within the site.
- Consider factors like sun exposure, having room for your slide-out, and if you want a back-in or pull-through site. But focus mainly on the levelness of the site itself.
Taking some extra time to park the trailer in the best location from the start will pay off when it comes to getting level.
Level Side-to-Side First
Now that you’re parked, it’s time to get level. And you should always start with the side-to-side leveling:
- Place your leveling blocks under the tires on the low side of the trailer, using more blocks stacked if you need to raise that side higher.
- Once the blocks are set, slowly pull the trailer forward or backward until the tires come to rest on them.
- Go inside and check your bubble levels to see if the trailer is level side-to-side.
- If it’s not yet level, add or remove blocks under the wheels as needed. Keep adjusting until the level confirms you’re perfectly level from left to right.
- Having interlocking leveling blocks that can be stacked together makes this process much simpler. You just combine them like legos to get the height you need under each tire.
Side-to-side needs to be done before front-to-back leveling. So take however much time needed to get this right first.
Once your trailer is level left and right, it’s time to address the front-to-back levelness:
- Use your tongue jack to lift the front of the trailer by cranking it. Be sure to place a tongue jack pad underneath it to prevent sinking.
- Lift the tongue jack up or down until the front of the trailer is level with the back. Keep an eye on those trusty bubble levels for confirmation.
- Lifting the low end of the trailer is typically easier than lowering the high end, so raise the tongue jack rather than trying to lower the rear.
Getting level front-to-back can take some trial and error with the tongue jack. But be patient and keep fine tuning it until everything is dialed in.
Stabilize and Complete Set-Up
Once fully level, finish up by stabilizing the trailer and completing the rest of the set-up:
- Place wheel chocks behind the tires to prevent any shifting of the level trailer. Interlocking chocks like the Camco X-Chock Wheel Stabilizers work well.
- Lower your stabilizer jacks at the four corners of the trailer to further stabilize it. They don’t actually level the trailer, just steady it.
- Unhitch from your tow vehicle now that the trailer is chocked and stabilized.
- Hook up any needed utilities like power, water, and sewer connections.
- Do a final walkthrough of the interior to confirm everything is ready to go – cabinets closed, appliances functioning, etc.
- Enjoy relaxing in your perfectly level trailer!
Taking the time to properly level your travel trailer is so worthwhile. You’ll find everything just works better, and you can really relax knowing you’re not at an awkward angle. Follow this complete leveling process, use the right gear, and your trailer will be flat, stable, and comfortable.
How important is getting my trailer perfectly level?
It’s very important! An unlevel trailer can cause all sorts of issues down the road. Taking the time to get it right using leveling blocks and a tongue jack will prevent problems.
Do I need special tools or equipment to get level?
A few key items make leveling easier – leveling blocks, chocks, stabilizer jacks, and a tongue jack pad. These are worth investing in for hassle-free leveling every time.
Should I level side-to-side or front-to-back first?
Always start with the side-to-side leveling. Get that perfect first, then focus on the front-to-back. Doing side-to-side second won’t work well.
How do I use leveling blocks correctly?
Place blocks under the low side’s tires to raise it up to level. Stack the interlocking blocks to get the right height. Drive up onto the blocks slowly. Add or remove blocks as needed.
Can I just use the stabilizer jacks to get my trailer level?
Stabilizer jacks don’t have enough extension to fully level the trailer. They’re only meant to stabilize once level. Depending on them alone won’t work well.
Leveling your travel trailer properly is a crucial first step when arriving at a campsite. Take the time to do it right, it will pay off in spades. By using the appropriate gear and techniques laid out here, you can get perfectly dialed in just about anywhere you camp.
Your fridge will work properly, doors won’t swing open uninvited, and you’ll avoid the neck pain of an unlevel sleep. A comfortable, worry-free camping experience starts with a level trailer. So use these tips on how to easily level a travel trailer and enjoy the ride!