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How to Level Your Trailer in 3 Steps

How to Level a Travel Trailer in 3 Steps

Picture this: You wake up at sunrise in your travel trailer. To shrug off some grogginess, you decide to meander outside for a morning stretch. But when you turn to go back into your rig, the door swings open — into your face.The issue? Your travel trailer isn't level. Leveling your travel trailer is crucial for a safe (and sane) camping trip. So you can avoid flyaway doors and many other issues, we created a 3-step guide on how to level your travel trailer properly the first time. For new camping enthusiasts, we'll first outline why leveling your travel trailer is important and the different tools you need to level your rig. Then, we'll dive into our detailed guide on how to level a travel trailer, so you can feel confident and prepared when rolling up to your campsite. So, let's begin! In this article:
Bubble level on RV

Why Does a Travel Trailer Need to be Level?

  • Function: Many RV fridges (though not all) must be positioned at less than a 2-degree angle in order to keep cool through the night. If your trailer isn't level, you risk waking up to a fridge full of rotten eggs and spoiled milk. Even if your food doesn't rot, have you ever tried to fry an egg on an unlevel stove? Not easy.
  • Safety: Your doors and cabinets may swing open when they aren't supposed to in an unlevel trailer. To avoid getting smacked in the face with a flyaway door, solve the problem before it starts by putting the time into leveling.
  • Comfort: You don't want to be unsteady on your feet or lie down after a long day of camping only to have all your blood rush to your head.
What You Need to Level Your TrailerSome of the components, like the tongue jack and stabilizer jack, you likely already have on your camper. You may also have leveling blocks, wheel chocks, and a bubble level, but if not, you can purchase them separately or buy a full kit.
Wheel Chocks
1. Wheel ChocksPositioned next to the wheel for stabilization. They prevent unwanted rolling and rocking while your rig is parked.
Leveling blocks
2. Leveling BlocksThere are different options for leveling blocks, including stackable blocks, Andersen wheel chocks, and simple wood blocks from any hardware store or your garage. (We'll go over the pros and cons of each below.)
Bubble level
3. Bubble LevelIndicates where your travel trailer needs to be raised or lowered. You can get a bubble level that affixes to your trailer or a handheld bubble level.
Tongue and Jack Stand
4. Tongue Jack Stand + Trailer Jack Pads Brace and support your tongue and leveling jacks so they don't sink into the ground. SnapPads are a popular option, but you can even use a plastic cone or wooden blocks.

How to Level Your Trailer

There are 3 main steps to leveling any travel trailer:
  • Leveling your camper side to side
  • Leveling your camper front to back
  • Stabilizing your camper
Read on below for more details and tips on each step, and feel free to save/download our How to Level Your Trailer Pocket Guide for the campsite. It never hurts to have a handy checklist!
How to Level Your Trailer Pocket Guide
Step 1: Leveling Side to Side

1a. Park but DO NOT Unhitch

When parking your rig, you want to choose a flat area relatively close to your power source. (You don't want to put all that work into leveling your trailer just to realize your cords don't reach the power pedestal.) Make sure your parking spot also has enough room for you to pull out your awning, set up your lawn chairs, and sit down to relax. Shift into park — but DO NOT unhitch. Some newbie campers are so excited to get to the campground for the first time that they want to unhitch immediately, but not so fast. You must be hooked up to drive your trailer onto leveling blocks, so leave the unhitching for later!
Parked at the Campsite
1b. Measure with Bubble Level Your bubble level is a trusty tool that helps you determine where you need to place your blocks. (If your bubble is to the right, raise up the left side of the trailer, and vice versa.) If you have a handheld level, place it on your bumper to measure. You can also find a variety of levels that stick or mount to your rig permanently. There are even smart levels now that tell you exactly how much to raise your camper on each side!
Measure With a Bubble Level
1c. Place BlocksPlace your blocks directly in front of or behind your lower-side tire. Drive onto them (or back onto them, if you prefer).
Help! Where Do I Put My Leveling Blocks?
  • If you are unlevel side to side: Place blocks under the side the bubble level indicates is lower. For instance, if the left side is lower, place the blocks by your left tire (or tires, if you have more than one).
  • If you are level side to side, but unlevel front to back: You'll fix most front-to-back issues later when lowering the tongue jack in step 2, but you may need to raise your front or back tires onto blocks if you are super unlevel. (Ex: parked on more than a 10 degree incline.) If the front of the camper is lower, set up the blocks for the front wheels to roll onto. If the back of the camper is lower, set up the blocks for the back wheels to roll onto.
  • If you're unlevel both side to side and front to back: Place blocks by one low corner of the camper. This will level out both side-to-side and front-to-back angles with a single block. Remember though, you're mostly concentrating on the side-to-side leveling right now. You can perfect the front-to-back leveling later with the tongue jack.
Place Leveling Blocks
Leveling Blocks vs Anderson Levelers vs WoodBlocks = Better for Gravel and GrassIf you are parking your trailer on gravel or grass, you should invest in blocks for leveling your travel trailer. These can be raised, stacked, lowered, and moved easily, which makes them the best for posting on wonky, unlevel ground. They also work better on damp ground because they distribute the weight of your camper to prevent it sinking into softer surfaces.Anderson Leveler = Better for Campsites If you are planning on posting up at campsites with concrete slabs (which create great flat surfaces for level travel trailers), these Anderson Levelers will be perfect for you. These don't require you to guess and check the correct height your trailer needs to be level like stackable blocks. Instead, all you have to do is simply roll onto them and BAM — easy leveling. However, we don't suggest using these on non-paved surfaces. These are great for campsites, but blocks are better for damp or uneven ground. For the ultimate setup, we suggest having both on hand in case you reach a destination that is super unlevel.
1d. Pull Up on Leveling BlocksSlowly drive the camper onto your blocks until the tire is fully on top of them. (If part of the tire hangs off, the tires can weaken over time.) If you are pulling onto Andersen levelers, slowly roll onto the level until the tire of your trailer is cradled — just like a pea in a pod. If you're doing this by yourself, you'll have to get out of the camper and check to see if you're completely on the block. If you have a spotter, wait for their "all good" signal.

After you have pulled up on blocks, go back and check your bubble level again. Is your trailer still tipping to the left or right? You may need to add more blocks on one side or the other. It may take a few tries until your trailer is level left to right, but don't sweat it. Even this trial and error is all part of the camping experience.

Pull up on Leveling Blocks
1e. Place Wheel Chocks Time to put the emergency brake on in your vehicle and grab some wheel chocks. (Whether your camper has 2 or 4 wheels, you'll want to chock them all). Wheel chocks are a safety thing, so use them even if you think you don't need to. The last thing you need is a runaway travel trailer on your relaxing weekend.
Pro-tip: Keep a shovel handyInstead of using wheel chocks or blocks, some people choose to keep a shovel handy when they visit the campsite. If you're parking on sand or rock and your rig is only off a smidge, you can dig a hole or two to level your trailer rather than raising it up. This is an even more stable option than blocks, since you're resting on solid ground. DO NOT try this if you're camping in a wet area. Additionally, you should still have a block on hand to help get out of the hole as an extra precaution.
Place Wheel Chocks
Step 2: Level Rig Front-to-Back
2a. Stabilize Tongue Jack

To stabilize your tongue jack, place a tongue jack stand under the tongue jack. Then use the handle on your tongue jack to crank the jack to the ground. The weight of your trailer's tongue will be here after you pull your tow vehicle away. Remember that your trailer tongue needs to lift completely off the ball (high enough that your vehicle can pull forward without catching on the ball).

2b. Unhitch Your Rig

After your tongue jack is stable, unhitch the trailer from your tow vehicle. Then, simply move your vehicle out of the way.

Unhitch Your Rig
2c. Lower Tongue Jack Until Camper is LevelNow, it's time to crank the handle of your tongue jack to raise or lower your camper until the travel trailer is level. Keep an eye on your bubble level, and once the bubble is in the center of the two lines, you're good to go.
Lower Hitch Jack Until Trailer is Level
Step 3: Stabilize Your Rig
3a. Lower Trailer Stabilizer Jacks This is the final step, so by now your trailer should be level; you're just adding stabilization so your trailer doesn't move too much when you climb in. Place a SnapPad, jack pad, or wooden block underneath each of your stabilizing jacks and lower them to prevent your camper sinking into the ground. You can lower your jacks by hand-cranking, using a drill attachment (if your jacks have one), or using your super convenient electric jacks (if you're a lucky camper and have those). How low should you go? Low enough that they make contact with the surface pad, but not so low that they're raising, leveling, or carrying the weight of the trailer. I'll say it again for the people in the back: DO NOT rely on these jacks to lift up or level your camper. They're just here here to help stabilize, not to lift. If you have a trailer with two axles, you need to purchase a wheel stabilizer as well to place in between your tires to secure them after parking. Tip: Make sure to put down all 4 stabilizers (or however many you have). If you forget, your camper will be super wobbly, and you'll feel every movement anyone makes inside it.
Stabilize trailer using trailer jacks
Should I level my trailer before or after extending the stabilizer jacks?

Before. Level your trailer first, then extend your stabilizer jacks. A level trailer provides the stable base, and the jacks simply extend that stability.
And there you go! You've just leveled your trailer (or at least, you've read an article about leveling a trailer and are ready to do it yourself now, because you're awesome like that). Double check to make sure you're level, then go ahead and finish setting up camp so you can get to what you really came for: smores, bevs, and making memories.

A Few More Tips on Leveling Your Trailer

1.Take Your Time: When you're camping, you have nowhere to be but the campsite. There's no work or school or soccer games or dinner reservations, so don't be in a rush! It's better to take the time and make sure your travel trailer is level now so you don't run into issues later. 2. Keep a "Level" Head: Let this be part of the camping experience, not the obstacle in the way. Yes, we know you just finished a long drive, and tackling a new task may not be exactly what you feel like doing, but view it as a fun puzzle. 3. Don't Be Afraid to Ask For Help: You have something in common with everyone at the campground: they all had to level their camper for the first time at some point. Unless your first escapade is by yourself in the middle of a desert, you should be able to ask someone at your campsite for a bit of help when it comes to leveling your travel trailer.

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