RV leveling blocks are something that every RVer needs. Even if you have an auto-leveling rig, leveling blocks can serve many useful purposes at a campsite. For one thing, if your RV has an absorption refrigerator (and most RVs do), it has to be completely level.
Many smaller RVs and travel trailers don’t have auto leveling jacks, so it’s up to you to do it yourself. But even if you do have auto leveling jacks, you can benefit from some leveling blocks in certain cases.
Let’s learn a little bit more about what leveling blocks do, the different types there are, and why they’re useful to you.
Why You Need to Be Level
For obvious reasons, it’s not very comfortable to live, eat, or sleep in an RV that’s not level. Unless you like laying down while all the blood rushes to your head, which I’m guessing you don’t. Another obvious reason why you might want it to be level is for safety. It’s not likely that you’re strong enough to be able to tip your RV over, even if it’s not level, but having an unlevel RV will certainly increase your chances.
Especially since chocking your tires will do very little to keep your RV in place when there’s too much weight on one side. Unless, of course, you want to roll down the side of a mountain. Wheeeeeeee!!!
If your RV isn’t level, your doorways won’t line up, meaning your doors won’t latch or lock when you need them to, and they could fly open unexpectedly. The worst is when this happens in the middle of the night while you’re sleeping.
Welcome to our rig, wildlife! We’re open for business!
Your things could also fall out of your refrigerator or your cabinets when you open them up if your RV is leaning to one side. While that’s more of an inconvenience than anything, you really don’t want to have to live that way.
To be frank, your refrigerator is one of the main reasons you want to keep your RV level. RVs are equipped with absorption refrigerators. These types of refrigerators use a heat source (like propane) to operate.
Absorption refrigerators are manufactured with no moving parts except for the two coolants included. They must be level in order to work properly, and operating one when it’s not level can damage it.
What You Need
Once you start RVing, you’ll be surprised at how many campgrounds you’ll find that aren’t level. This applies not only to state parks, but to privately owned properties, too. Many people who camp are in it for the scenery, which often means mountains and rugged terrain.
You should be equipped and ready to level when you arrive at your campsite, so you’ll need some supplies. Leveling is relatively easy, and there are a lot of different ways to approach leveling, so we’ll review them here.
You can buy levels that stick onto the outside of your rig that will tell you whether you’re level or not. Think hanging a picture on the wall, except this is your entire home. You may already have a level inside your RV, but having them on the outside makes it easier and much more convenient.
It’s a good idea to put one on the side and one on the back so you can make sure it’s level front to back and side to side. You can always use a regular level, but it’s almost as much of a hassle as running inside to check the built-in one.
One way to get yourself level without having to use an abundance of leveling blocks is to dig out holes for your wheels. It doesn’t require any fancy equipment to do it, and can help get you closer to level than anything more complicated.
You’ll still need leveling blocks or a leveling system, but this is an easy way to get you started. It’s also a fairly cheap option. All you need is a shovel, but you can’t do it on hard surfaces like concrete or asphalt.
If your RV doesn’t come with a leveling system, you’ll have to build one yourself using leveling blocks, ramps, or scissor levelers. Scissor levelers are only for very lightweight RVs, so if you have something heavier, you’ll have to get blocks and ramps that will hold the weight.
Leveling vs. Stabilizing
For beginners, or anyone who doesn’t already know, leveling and stabilizing an RV are two very different things. It’s a critical differentiation that everyone should be cautious about. You can’t stabilize your RV and think it’s level. You also can’t level your RV and think it’s stable. You have to do both.
Leveling is the act of making sure your RV is level. It involves leveling blocks or systems that assist in getting your RV on level ground so you can live in it and use it comfortably and safely.
Leveling jacks, blocks, or systems help lift one side of your RV up to six inches. This is critical for all of the reasons mentioned above such as comfort, safety, and appliances.
Stabilizing jacks help keep your RV stationary, so you don’t experience bouncing, rocking, or excess movement while you’re living in it. You will always experience some movement, but stabilizing it will help keep it at a minimum.
Stabilizing and leveling are not the same, and it’s important to remember that you need to ensure you have both. Small RVs sometimes don’t need much leveling. They will rest on the tires and the suspension just fine without it. But they do still need to be stabilized.
Large RVs that have built-in auto-leveling systems will both level and stabilize the RV automatically so you don’t have to do anything on your own.
Best Leveling Systems
There are quite a few styles of levels you can get. It all depends on the size and weight of your RV. Small trailers will do fine with something to raise tires while larger rigs may need hydraulic pads or something stronger.
Andersen Camper Leveler
These RV leveling blocks are crescent-shaped blocks that are thicker on one side. The idea is that you put them in front of your tires like you would a chock, placing them only in front of the tires that need to be raised. Then you drive forward until you’ve reached the desired height.
They can raise your RV up to 4” and are easy and nearly foolproof. When you’re done, place the chocks under the levels and you’re done. You don’t have to mess with how many blocks you have to stack on one side or whether they’re spaced far enough apart to accommodate both tires.
These levelers can hold up to 30,000 pounds and 32” tires. The company also offers a lifetime guarantee so if something ever happens to them, they’ll replace them for free. They’re quite pricey, but worth it for a lifetime of easy camp setup.
These stackable levelers are also really easy to use, but it doesn’t quite take all the guesswork out of the job. They’re a lot like Legos, so if you like building with blocks, you may actually enjoy this system.
Stack as many of these blocks as you might need to level your RV by interlocking them together. This prevents slipping as you’re driving up onto them, which is a whole lot better (not to mention safer) than stacking wood blocks or rocks up to your desired height.
There are some downsides to these, one of which is the fact that they will sometimes slide when you try to drive onto them. If your tires are close together, it may be difficult to get them stacked both long and high enough to span both tires.
Stack as many of these blocks as you might need to level your RV by interlocking them together. This prevents slipping as you’re driving up onto them.
BAL Light Trailer Tire Leveler
This is a good solution for single axle trailers. It’s a V-shaped bar that you flatten to drive onto, then once your tire is centered, you can turn the crank in the middle to raise the upper part of the V, which in turn raises your tire. It only works on 13-15” tires and can only lift up to 1700 pounds. However, it can lift your tire up to 6.5” so if you need a lot of lift to get it level, you can definitely use this one.
The nice thing about this one is you don’t have to figure out how many blocks you need to stack to make it level. The problem is that it doesn’t work well in areas where the ground is soft because it can sink.
Raising and lowering the crank mechanism is a manual job, so it can be tedious and time-consuming, but it’s nice when you need to raise one side of your RV to a precise level that blocks just won’t seem to get.
The other problem with this device is that it’s pretty heavy to carry around, but it works great for its specific use.
The nice thing about this one is you don’t have to figure out how many blocks you need to stack to make it level. This is a great choice for single axle trailers!
If you’re camping alone, it can be tough to get your camper level because you don’t have anyone to tell you when you can stop driving up onto the blocks. A great option for those traveling by themselves is the LevelMatePro.
This is one that installs on your RV and then connects to your phone via an app. You can drive your camper right up on the blocks and your phone will tell you when it’s level without having to get out of the driver’s seat and check.
You will need to be careful to turn your device off when you’re not using it because the battery doesn’t last very long, but it’s a really nice thing to have if you’re alone.
Camco is one of the most well-known manufacturers in camping supplies. They make all kinds of products for RVs, so you can trust the quality. Camco leveling blocks also interlock much like Legos, but they don’t lock in place like Legos do because they’re meant to prevent slippage.
Each pack contains 10 pieces, so you’ll have plenty of them for most single axle trailers. You should buy as many packages as you have axles to ensure you have enough.
They are made of thick plastic and they should last multiple uses. They can handle quite a load when stacked properly, but they tend to crack when used on gravel, so you’ll need to be extra cautious when using them on rocky surfaces.
However, these work great on gravel and don’t slip like a lot of other leveling systems. There are also wheel chocks that interlock with these leveling blocks so you can be sure it won’t slip when you’re done leveling.
The downside is that you can only stack them three layers high, which only gives you about 4 inches. If you need more height than that, you’ll have to use something else. They only hold about 10,000 pounds, so they’re useless when it comes to bigger vehicles.
Camco leveling blocks also interlock much like Legos, but they don’t lock in place like Legos do because they’re meant to prevent slippage.
Can you level RV with the slides out?
Most RVs specify that you need to level your RV first and then deploy the slides or the patios. You shouldn’t ever slide your slides out or expand your patios without leveling your RV first, or you risk tipping it over.
You’ll put unnecessary strain on your RV’s leveling jacks or any method you use to level it. It can speed up the wear and tear on both your RV slides and the leveling system you’re using. It could also damage those components.
What happens if your RV is not level?
Aside from the reasons stated above, there are many benefits to leveling your RV. If you’re not level, it puts unnecessary strain on door frames, plumbing, cupboards, and the chassis. RVs are built to be level, and while you can travel with them, as you live in them, you should always live in them first.
How many RV leveling blocks do I need?
As a general rule, you should as many leveling blocks as you have wheels. That allows you to level each side or each corner of your camper as much as you need. Between 2 and 4 leveling blocks is enough for most campers, but if you have more tires than that, you should have at least 6-8 on hand.
There are a lot of reasons to level your RV. Safety and comfort are the primary reasons, but for the sake of your chassis, suspension, and appliances, you should also make sure your RV is level.
Which type you use is up to you, but there are a lot of options. Some are easier than others, but your needs will specify which will work best for you.
If you’re traveling alone, you need something that will help you while you’re driving. Your weight will also determine which system is best. It’s up to you what you want to use and what you think will be easiest and most convenient for you.