Why Levelling a Caravan is Important
After 16 years of caravanning, I learnt a lesson last week. How important levelling a caravan was. During those 16 years, I’ve rarely been on an unlevel pitch. Now I don’t know if my latest caravan needs levelling more for some reason, or pitches have got less level, or even maybe I’m somehow selecting different sites that are unlevel, but I’m more and more needing to level the caravan, where i didn’t really need to before.
When you’re driving around a caravan site, do you ever consider how level the pitch might be? Most of the time it’s not the first thing on our minds. That pitch is too shady, that pitch is too near the toilets, that one’s too near the playground etc etc. The list of requirements can be huge!
Most pitches look level enough. When we were recently in Brighton we were on the Caravan and Motorhome Club’s site there and were on a serviced pitch. This means we have electric, water and waste connections. It was also a hardstanding.
I reversed onto the pitch in one easy, confident motion – impressing multiple onlookers. OK, I took the caravan off the tow ball and used the motor mover to position the caravan. There’s no need to show off my reversing skills. Haha.
The first thing I do is to jump into the caravan and get my spirit level. Now, levelling a caravan front to back, so to speak, is easy, we have a jockey wheel. A few rotations of the handle in a clockwise or anti clockwise levels it that way easily. However, side to side levelling is, of course, more tricky.
So, I jumped into the caravan looked at the spirit level, it needed a bit of adjustment back to front. I hopped out and sorted that. Now, side to side. Hmm, I looked at the spirit level. It wasn’t exactly level, but really, it was just a bit down on one side. Probably placing a playing card under the wheel would have sorted it. But oh no, the international caravan vlogger thought “That’ll do” and proceeded to put the awning up. My first mistake.
There’s a couple of things here. Firstly, if you put the awning up, when the caravan isn’t level, it can be tricker to do, also you can’t easily level the caravan once the awning is pegged down, for obvious reasons. Secondly, you’ll quickly realise that even the slightest bit of side to side “unlevelness” can result in the water NOT draining away in the sinks or shower. Oh and thirdly, you’ll always get a sense that the caravan isn’t level when being in it. There are many other reasons, such as the bathroom door not shutting and sleeping in an uneven caravan, in my experience, isn’t comfortable.
It can also affect the operation of the fridge and air conditioning.
How to Level a Caravan
Levelling a caravan can be as easy as just putting something raised, like a plank of wood, under your tire (I mean reversing one side over it) . In my case at Brighton, one side needed raising, probably no more than 2 inches. Because it was so slight, I didn’t bother, but I should have bothered.
The cheapest way is to carry a few planks of wood of varying sizes, arrange them in such a ways that you can easy reverse up onto them on one side. (You could also go forward, you don’t have to reverse!)
Purpose-made levelling ramps can be used. You place these behind wheel and reverse far enough up again so that the caravan is level. There’s no end of these available online.
Getting a bit more advanced and therefore more expensive, there’s a product called “lock ‘n’ level”. This consists of an airbag (or two if your have twin axle) which you drive over. Once the caravan is in place you inflate the airbag, which lifts the side of the caravan. It’s pretty ingenious and works very well. I used one recently on our trip to France. Now, the thing is, I should have used it when I went to Brighton!
Next up is the ultimate in levelling luxury. E&P Levelling is a hydraulic solution to the levelling issue. You press a button and hydraulic ramps lower to level the caravan side to side. There’s also an option for it to automatically lower the legs and level that way too. This is obviously the most expensive option.
So there’s nothing clevel, or complicated in levelling a caravan, you just have to put something under the caravan to lift one side and use the jockey wheel to level front and back. Easy. However, if you don’t do it, you’re in for an uncomfortable week suffering complains that the sink won’t drain, the loo door won’t stay shut and constantly feeling like you’re living on a slope, which isn’t very nice!
What is the best way to level a caravan?
Levelling a caravan is essential to ensure stability, safety, and comfort while camping or travelling. Here are some steps you can follow to level your caravan:
- Choose a level and stable site: It’s essential to park your caravan on a level and stable site. If the ground is uneven, it can affect the stability of the caravan and make it difficult to level it properly.
- Use levelling blocks: You can use them to raise the caravan’s low side until it’s level. These blocks are placed under the caravan’s wheels and can be adjusted to achieve the desired level.
- Use a spirit level: A spirit level can be set on the caravan’s floor to help you determine its level. You can adjust the height of the levelling blocks until the caravan is level in all directions.
- Adjust the jockey wheel: The jockey wheel at the front of the caravan can also help level it. By winding the jockey wheel up or down, you can adjust the height of the caravan’s hitch to achieve the desired level.
- Check the level after setup: Once you have levelled the caravan, it’s important to recheck the level after you have set up your camping gear. Sometimes the added weight can cause the caravan to become unlevel, so double-checking is always a good idea.
Overall, levelling a caravan takes some practice but can be done quickly and easily with the right tools and techniques. Remember always to prioritise safety and stability when levelling your caravan. Don’t forget to check out our caravan accessories.
Can you level a caravan using legs?
As the caravan legs, stays, or even steadies are attached to the caravan floor, it is not recommended you use them to level your caravan. The legs are made of much sterner stuff than the floor, which in some cases is wood. The last thing you need is for your steadies to punch a hole through your floor.
What happens if caravan is not level?
If your caravan is not level when pitched on a site, it’s not a very nice place to be. Water won’t drain in the sinks or shower correctly. Doors might not shut, including sliding doors in the washroom.
Can I use a jack to level caravan?
A jack is mainly used to lift the caravan up when changing a wheel. It’s not recommended to use a jack to level your caravan as it is inherently unsafe. Use ramps, lock n level or if you have it, E&P levelling.