The beauty of owning a caravan is being able to take off into the great outdoors without a care in the world. It’s the ultimate freedom, not knowing where you may end up or where you’re going to stop for the night.
If you happen to stop at a BIG4 Holiday Park it’s likely you’ll encounter a caravan site with a level pitch which will make your set up a breeze. But if you’re camping somewhere with unfavourable ground conditions, i.e soft grass or a slope, it’s best to know how to level a caravan yourself. Otherwise you’re in store for an uncomfortable night, or worse still expensive caravan repairs.
Why do you need to level a caravan?
When it comes to setting up a caravan, ideally you want a level camping site. But if you don’t get one, then it’s best to take steps to get your caravan as level as possible. Most caravans can handle a variation of 10 degrees, but anything past that and you could have problems with the following:
- Items falling down
- The fridge not working
- Doors swinging open
- Sinks and shower not draining
- Discomfort when sleeping
- Damage to the caravan’s internal systems.
Tools and techniques
So how do you level a caravan from front to back and side to side?
Here we’ll just cover the basic tools you can use but there are quite a selection of products available on the market for caravan levelling – many people also choose to use their own tools rather than specialised products, but at the end of the day, it’s what works best for you and what you’re most comfortable with.
Level a caravan with a spirit level
The first tool you need is a two-way spirit level (or bulls-eye level) as otherwise you won’t know if the caravan is level in both a horizontal or vertical position. Some people use a builder’s level, but they’re quite clunky, hard to store and don’t give you an accurate reading in both positions at glance. Place the spirit level on the floor of the caravan just inside the door to check the levels or on the A-frame if you’re towing a camper.
If your caravan needs levelling, then the most common method is to use levelling blocks or ramps. These can either be wooden, or if you don’t want to carry around wood, then lightweight plastic ramps with a heavy duty grip are an option. The ramps usually come in pairs and have a gradual incline in between.
Effectively you pull forward onto the ramp or block with one wheel to raise the caravan. Never reverse onto it as you’ll have no braking.
Level a caravan a tyre jack
A tyre jack is another alternative for caravan levelling. After you’ve parked, apply the handbrake and fix the jack under the tyre. Crank to raise the side of the caravan until it’s level. A tool that can make this less time consuming and give you more precise handling is an aluminium leveller which fits around and under the wheel. You just use the supplied ratchet to wind the caravan to the desired height, easy!
Choosing a good site for a caravan
As any experienced camper knows, the site you choose can make or break a camping trip.
A hard surface that is nice and flat is best for a caravan site. Even if it is on a slight slope, if you have the tools we mentioned above, then you shouldn’t have too much difficulty with caravan levelling. If you can, avoid sites that have soft grass or that could be prone to mud after a rain shower.
If you’re staying in bush, National Parks or private properties, you may not get a choice on the type of site you’re allocated, so it’s best to be prepared for any eventuality. For example, if you encounter soft grass you’ll want as wide a ramp as you can get to spread the load, a narrow ramp could sink straight into the grass under your caravan.
Talk to the caravan experts
Damaged your rig through not taking the time to level it properly? Emu Caravan Repairs can handle most caravan modifications and repairs, caravan servicing and trailer repairs in Melbourne. No matter what brand or age of caravan you own, we can restore it to working order. Contact us if you have any questions or would like to book a service. We are located in Ferntree Gully in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs.