Campers are critical when you are looking to enjoy the outdoors with some of the amenities of home life, but there is nothing worse than settling in for the night and realizing that your camper is uneven. Not only will it be hard to sleep, repeatedly parking on uneven ground can cause damage to the camper and the appliances within it
This can be costly and reduce the lifespan of your camper – and just downright be an inconvenience when things start falling off and drawers start opening because of the angle. However, it is easy to level your 5th wheel trailer in just a few steps. If you set up your camper correctly, you will not have to worry about rolling out of bed – or worse!
Locate Your Tools
Add a couple of extra items to your list when you are getting ready to go camping in your 5th wheel camper. In order to make sure that your 5th wheel camper is level, you will need to bring the following elements. It will make a huge difference during the leveling and stabilization process.
- Leveling blocks or ramp levelers which you will place under your tires or jacks to help level and stabilize your 5th wheel camper on uneven ground. If you want the full low down on levelers, here is our full guide on which ones are the best.
- A level, to help check your progress against leveling. Your 5th wheel camper may have a level on the side of it, but the larger level can be more accurate.
- Wheel chocks, which you place to secure the wheels that you did not use leveling blocks on. It can also help secure your wheel where you do not have a parking brake.
All of these elements are essential in making sure you can level your 5th wheel camper. Though you can substitute if you do not have something available. For example, you can use wood instead of blocks. As long as it is strong and level, you can get creative with your tools.
Consider the Size of Your Camper
The larger your 5th wheel camper, the more you will notice if your camper is on uneven ground. If you have a 24-foot camper, you may not notice if your camper is unbalanced. However, if you have a 32-foot camper, it will be very noticeable. It may be difficult for you to sleep or settle in until your camper is leveled, so do not forget to take this step.
Before you use your camper for the first time, consider trying it out. Locate the leveling jacks, check out how to lower them, and test out how they operate. You should also make sure that you have leveling blocks, which will help stabilize your 5th wheel camper. It is possible to stabilize without leveling blocks. You will just get your hands dirty.
Your 5th wheel camper must be both stable and level, which are different. Leveling means that it is flat on the ground, which can be hard to accomplish on uneven gravel or dirt. Stabilizing means that your 5th wheel will not rock from side to side or front to back when in it. Both are important to achieve an ideal camping experience.
Locate a Campsite that is Level
You will want to do your due diligence to find a campsite that is level before you start worrying about how to situate your 5th wheel camper. This seems like a no-brainer, but you may forget or think that your camper can do all the work for you. It can, but it is less work for you if you start with a great foundation, which means the most level site you can find.
Before you settle at the campsite, there are several ways that you can check to see how level it is. There should be a level built into your 5th wheel camper on the outside that you can use to see how level the ground is. If you cannot find it or the level is broken, you can also place an actual level on the camper floor or frame. Either will work just as well.
If you do not have a level, many cell phones have a level app. If not, you can download one from your preferred app store. This will work in a pinch. It can even provide more details like the angle you are at. No matter which level you use, you want to get the bubble as close to the middle as you can. The closer to the center it is, the more level you are.
If it is very uneven, find another campsite or you will need to use your blocks or leveling ramps. You can check several using this method before you select the right site for you! Once you have selected where you will settle your camper, you can drop the 5th wheel travel trailer and start to work leveling it! Since you chose the most level one you could find from the start, you will have a better experience!
Level Camper from Side to Side
Next, you will want to level your 5th wheel camper from side to side, but do not be quick to detach it from your tow vehicle. It is easier to level while still attached to the vehicle. You already know how level the site is, so now you need to position your 5th wheel camper. Get your blocks and your level handy, and get ready to rock and roll to get your camper to even ground.
First, start by driving forward and reverse. Check to see if the weight of your car helped level the ground. If this does not work, grab the set of leveling blocks. If you need to raise one side, put the RV leveling block on the opposite side to help level the camper. For example, if your camper is higher on the left, that means you need to raise the right side and vice versa. You will need to guess to see how many blocks you will need if using Lynx Levelers or if you use the Andersen model, you just pull forward or back more to get more height.
We carry both models depending on the site we are at.
Based on how your vehicle and camper are positioned, you can either roll back on the blocks or pull forward. To roll back on the leveling blocks, place the blocks behind the wheel. If you need to adjust by pulling forward, they should be in front of the wheel. Try using one block and building up slowly. After each step, check your level.
You can level your camper if you do not have blocks. You can dig in the dirt to go lower or make a mound of dirt to raise the tires. You can use homemade leveling blocks. However, you choose to level your 5th wheel camper, be sure to clean up the site and leave it just as you found it before you go home. What is level for you may not be for others.
Chock Your Wheels
Now you will want to make sure to get chocks to place under the other trailer tires. A wheel chock is a wedge-like block that stop your fifth wheel trailer from rolling. It is a safety precaution that you will not want to skip. You can also use other elements to prevent your wheels from rolling. We usually use X-Chocks in addition for extra stability from your camper moving and to keep it more secure.
On the wheels that you did not adjust, place a chock in front of and behind the RV tire. Make sure they are firmly placed and tight to the wheel. This will secure the wheel and prevent any unwanted rolling. Double-check your level to ensure you did not slightly adjust the balance while placing.
Unhitch your Camper
Now that the camper is level and has been secured, you can unhitch it from your tow vehicle. It may seem complicated, but leveling your 5th wheel camper will become second nature to you, and you will be able to identify level ground and set it up in no time. It is important to go through these steps to protect yourself and preserve the life of your camper.
Improperly set up campers can lead to costly repairs in the long term. Unhitching the camper will let you use your truck without needing to pack it all up until you are ready to leave. Just remember to leave the campground as you found it so the next campers can have the best experience.
Level Front to Back
Now that you are leveled from left to right and unhitched, you will need to make sure that your fifth wheel camper is leveled from front to back. This can also be called the altitude of your camper, and this will help make sure that you are not setting up on an incline or decline. This can be just as disorientating as being slightly off balance to the left or right.
The best way to do this is by using your landing gear. These are used to raise and lower the front of your 5th wheel camper. Again, check your level to make sure that you are level. You can also practice by putting a ball in the camper and making sure it does not roll down.
Lower the 5th Wheel Leveling Jacks
The tongue jack helps to level the camper from front to back, but the fifth wheel leveling jacks toward the rear help to stabilize the camper. The stabilizing jack will prevent rocking when you are walking around the camper, keeping your camper level no matter how much you are moving around inside! If you want to learn all of our stabilizing tricks, read this post.
The leveling jack will help to reduce the weight on your camper’s suspension, which will help to lessen the interior bounce or rocking. Lower the jack to the ground slowly. Do not make it too taught at first. Enter the camper and test the stability. If it is rocking, lower the stabilizer jacks more. Repeat the process until your 5th wheel camper feels stable.
If you are camping on dirt or gravel, you will want to use a stabilizing block if available. If not, you can use wood or anything else that can help provide a firmer surface for the jack to rest on. This will provide additional stability for your jacks. Use the level to ensure that your camper is still level after you lowered the rear jack. Adjust as needed.
Pull Out Camper Slide-outs
If your 5th wheel camper has any slide-outs, you can now open your slide outs. These could be any extra rooms, awnings, or any other decorative elements.
Of course, you will have to adjust these slide-outs later if they are standing in the ground, but it will help save you time and frustration if you pull these out as you start the leveling process. Each camper is different, so you may not have any slide-out elements. If this is the case, you can start leveling as soon as you pick your campsite.
If you have any questions, consult your manual. The manual should give you instructions on how to level, especially with your 5th wheel camper slide-outs. If you level without setting the slide-outs up, you will need to readjust your camper later as it will significantly impact the balance of your camper.
That is it, you are done with leveling your 5th wheel.
Automatic Leveling 5th Wheels
Some 5th wheel campers may include an auto leveling system. If you have this feature, you are very lucky! These help to reduce some of the steps below. Instead of rocking back and forth, your camper will stabilize and level using internal mechanisms with the flip of a switch. This is more convenient, but it is not a perfect process. You may still need to manually level to get your camper perfectly level.
Locate a Level Campsite
Even though your camper can level automatically, you will still want to locate a relatively level campsite, to begin with. If you are on uneven land, you will want to park the front end of your camper to the downhill side of the campsite. This is because you will level your 5th wheel camper by raising the front with the tongue jack instead of the backside.
Make sure that your 5th wheel camper has wheel chocks in place to ensure the wheels do not move. You can chock them for extra stability. If your campsite is uneven, your wheels must be locked to prevent your camper from rolling downhill on accident.
Place Blocks Under Your Jacks
Before you auto-level your camper, you want to place leveling blocks under your jacks. If you do not have blocks, you can use wood or other level surfaces. This will help make sure that your jacks ( rear jacks and front jacks) are starting on a truly level surface, and serves a similar purpose as when you are manually leveling your 5th wheel camper.
The leveling blocks will also help protect them as jacks can sink into asphalt if it becomes too hot. Doing so protects your 5th wheel camper but also prevents you from damaging the campsite. Before you place, make sure the surface is not icy or otherwise slick. Do not place them in a puddle. Any of these surfaces can cause your blocks to slip.
If your blocks slip, it could damage the jacks or your camper on impact. It is important to make sure that your blocks are secure before turning on your auto-leveling system. You do not want anything to happen that could make your 5th wheel camper roll.
Turn On the Auto-Leveling System
Now that your blocks are secure under the jacks, switch on your auto-leveling system. This will automatically sense how level your 5th wheel camper is, and the system will tell you what areas in your 5th wheel camper need to be adjusted. It is easy to level these areas through this automatic system.
Start adjusting these different areas using buttons on your control panel. You can level those as needed, though if the area is very uneven, you may need to add an additional level block under the jack. This will make the auto-leveling process much easier if you can manually assist the process with your leveling blocks.
Keep an eye on the level. This will help you visually see how level your camper is in addition to trusting the automatic system.
Some auto-leveling systems will actually level for you with zero input. These are great, but can sometimes have errors, so always double-check the computer’s work.
Use the Rear Stabilizers
Now that your 5th wheel is level, you will want to extend the rear stabilizers to help it stop moving from side to side. This will help remove some of the tension from your unit. But, as you lower these levers, it is important not to over-extend them. Your RV wheels should never be off the ground because of these jacks.
The stabilizers should serve to help secure your 5th wheel camper, but they should never be used to bear the full weight of your camper. This is not safe and will damage your 5th wheel camper over time.
Take out Slide Outs
Each automatic leveling system is different, but generally, you will want to take out any slide-outs like rooms or awnings after you turn the system on. These impact the center of balance in the unit, so it would impact how you level your 5th wheel camper.
Be sure to consult your owner’s manual to see at what point during the leveling process you need to take out these different elements. As a good rule of thumb, you will want to pull these out before you level.
Be the first to be notified about FREE tips, hints, coupon codes, and email-exclusive information. All for FREE!