In 2007 Rene Agredano embarked on full-time RVing with her husband and three-legged dog, and never looked back. Through her work as a small business owner, writer, metalsmith, and animal advocate, she loves sharing RV knowledge with other nomads here at Let’s RV, and on her website at LiveWorkDream.
Crooked and unlevel campsites are an issue many towable RV owners face at one time or another. Whether you enjoy boondocking or organized campground camping, it happens. Thankfully, even trailer and fifth wheel owners like myself don’t have to put up with lopsided living. If your trailer doesn’t have automatic leveling systems, here’s how to deal with parking in a crooked campsite.
How to Deal with RV Parking on Unlevel Campsites
You almost expect to be crooked when boondocking. But even the nicest campsites at great RV parks can be lopsided. A parking spot might tilt from side-to-side, or front-to-back. And when you’re in the middle of trying to squeeze your towable RV onto the apron, it’s often hard to see just how unlevel a site is. That is, until you actually make it onto the spot and step inside your RV.
For many modern motorhome, travel trailers, and fifth wheel owners, unlevel campsites aren’t that big of an issue. New rigs (especially luxury RVs) often come with push-button, automatic leveling systems that turn the most unlevel campsites into parking spots you don’t mind staying on.
But for those of us with older towable RVs that don’t have fancy automatic side-to-side levelers, crooked campsites can be a chore. Sometimes you’ve gotta deal with the parking spot you’re given, so here’s what I’ve learned about how to parking our fifth wheel in lopsided campsites.
Step 1: Check your bubble level
One of the biggest mistakes new RVers make (at least those with trailers and fifth wheels like me), is to unhitch before checking the bubble level.
You might have bubble levels attached to the side of your RV, and even the front. We have those handy stick-on RV bubble levels, but they fade over time. We find the best way to check if a campsite is crooked is to use a small hardware store bubble level.
First, get parked on a campsite. When your wheels seem like they’re in the right spot, go inside the rig.
- Place the bubble level on the floor, as close to the middle of the rig. Then move it around, and observe. Where is the bubble when the level sits lengthwise? If it’s not too far forward or backward, leveling is rig is relatively easy with our push-button front landing legs. A travel trailer’s A-frame landing jack does the same thing.
- Next, rotate the bubble level so it’s sideways on the floor. If the bubble is not dead center, it’s time to get out the leveling blocks.
Step 2: Consider leveling blocks
During the first few years of full-time RVing, we didn’t carry leveling blocks. Our small fifth wheel just didn’t have a ton of storage. We were newbie RVers, and thought they were unnecessary. And we never landed in terribly uneven campsites. Until we did.
That’s when we knew how important leveling blocks can be. We finally bought leveling blocks on Amazon (of course!).
Leveling blocks are every RVer’s best friend. Even those RVs with push-button leveling systems. A set of them strategically placed under your wheels can mean the difference between staying in one spot or moving on.
Tips to Level RV Towables with Leveling Blocks
Placing leveling blocks in the right spot is challenging when you first use them. To use leveling blocks successfully, you must ask yourself things like:
- Do you need one, two, or three blocks stacked onto each other? Being slightly off usually only requires one block under wheels.
- Should leveling blocks go in front of the wheels so you can roll onto them?
- Or should they snuggle behind wheels so you can back up onto them?
- Where will your tires roll when move onto them? . Tires should sit right in the middle of the block. If your tire tread is partially off the block, your tire can get damaged, Always try to place them in the middle.
The answers depend on the severity of your unlevel campsite. How much room you have to pull forward or roll backward is also a factor. These are things that only you can judge once you’re at the campsite.
Step 3: Chock wheels, then unhitch, stabilize and finally, extend slides
Don’t unhitch until you chock your wheels. If you do, your trailer or fifth wheel might roll right off the leveling blocks. Always chock wheels, then unhitch your tow vehicle. Once unhitched, you can crank down your stabilizing jacks. Ensure there is even pressure applied at each jack. Once you take these steps it’s safe to extend your slide-outs.
You’ll Get the Hang of Parking of Trailer and Fifth Wheel Leveling with Practice
It may take several tries to get your wheels perfectly placed on the leveling blocks. If you travel with a partner, be kind to one another as you learn to level your RV. This is a frustrating experience for RV newbies. The best way to master unlevel campsites is to go camping as many times as possible until you know how to level a travel trailer or fifth wheel like a pro.