How To Level Your Travel Trailer
Leveling your travel trailer doesn’t have to be overwhelming, even for the adventurer just starting out. While it is an essential part of having a safe and comfortable camping experience, with the right knowledge, you’ll be able to breeze through it like a seasoned professional.
Even though leveling a Bowlus travel trailer doesn’t require most of the steps listed here, and instead takes an easier approach with a jockey wheel, we’re experts on all things RV and wanted to share that knowledge with you.
Here at Bowlus, we want everyone to be able to access the freedom that travel provides. That’s why we’ve created a “how-to” guide on how to level your travel trailer, designed for everyone to be able to follow and successfully complete before your next great adventure.
What Does “Leveling a Travel Trailer” Actually Mean?
When we talk about leveling a travel trailer, we’re talking about the process of getting your trailer into a level (flat/balanced) position. You’ll want your trailer to be level not only from side to side but also from the front to the back.
Don’t get leveling confused with stabilization. Stabilization happens after leveling and refers to the process of keeping the trailer level instead of getting it level in the first place.
Why Do I Need to Level My Travel Trailer?
Before learning the steps, it’s important first to understand the logic behind why leveling is not only helpful but essential to the camping experience.
Leveling the trailer is considered by many experts to be more of a requirement than a recommendation. In addition to increasing the comfort of those traveling in the trailer, it helps prevent accidents and injuries that can be related to an imbalance. Proper leveling can also increase your travel trailer’s lifespan and help keep repair costs down.
Here are a few specific reasons to learn how to level your travel trailer:
It Makes The Actual Travel Safer
Before you even get to your destination, leveling your trailer makes your trip safer.
Having a level trailer puts equal pressure on all wheels and axles. If the pressure is off, it can put too much stress on the tire and increase the risk of a blowout. In addition, it decreases the overall stability of the trailer, which can lead to swaying. This is especially true for those traveling on the highway and even more likely around semi-trucks.
When the weight distribution is off, it can also impact the functionality of the brakes. That can lead to skids and even brake failure, which is an extremely dangerous situation.
It Adds To Everyone’s Comfort Level
In addition to the safety of the trailer, making sure that it is level ultimately makes the travel experience as comfortable as possible. If you’ve ever tried to walk through an unbalanced travel trailer, you’ll know how difficult it can be.
But, besides the normal bumps and bruises caused by having your trailer be out of balance, it also makes sleeping much more comfortable. You don’t want to slide off of the bed in the middle of the night!
Tools To Gather Before Leveling Your Travel Trailer
Now that you’re ready to jump in and try your hand at leveling your own travel trailer, let’s make sure that you have all of the tools you need to make it a success.
An RV Specific Level
The first, and obviously most important, tool that you’ll need to successfully level your travel trailer is the level itself.
There are many different types of levels, so you’ll want to make sure to purchase one that will work for this specific purpose. This type of level, like a T-Level, will help you know when the trailer is balanced both side to side and front to back. It can also be screw-mounted to the trailer hitch permanently to make the process easier in the future.
Boards Or Leveling Blocks
In addition to a level, you’ll also need either multiple wide boards or leveling blocks. If you’re going with boards, aim for a size that is about two feet long and eight inches wide. You’ll want it to be wider than the tire.
Leveling blocks look similar to legos and are able to be snapped together to make a ramp. We’ll discuss them more in detail in a bit.
The final component of leveling your trailer are wheel chocks.
Wheel chocks are essential wedges that are made of a sturdy material, usually rubber, wood, or plastic. They are used to stop the trailer from rolling as you’re working on leveling it.
How Do I Level My Travel Trailer?
With more understanding of the why and with the right tools at the ready, let’s take a look at the details and steps of how to level your travel trailer.
Fortunately for you, leveling a Bowlus doesn’t require all of these extra steps. Instead of using a traditional tongue jack, the Bowlus can be raised and lowered via its hand-crank jockey wheel. That means you can set it up within minutes and never have to worry about whether your trailer is leveled. You can even connect it with an app for maximum ease.
Step One: Pick A Good Spot
While nearly everywhere that you’ll park your trailer is going to be slightly uneven or sloped, when first learning how to perform a leveling, try to choose a spot that looks as even as possible. You’ll also want to minimize the amount of obstacles in the area, like rocks and tree branches.
As you pull the trailer into the spot you’ve chosen, stop about two feet away from where you’re planning on doing the leveling. You’ll also want to make sure that there isn’t anyone close to the trailer while you work.
Step Two: Start With Placing The Level To Balance Side To Side
It’s important to know where to place the level on the trailer to get the most accurate results. We’ll start with balancing the trailer from side to side.
For side to side leveling, position the level across the trailer hitch. Make sure it runs parallel with the front cap, so that it is obvious which side (if any) is lower than the other.
Step Three: Place The Boards Or Leveling Blocks
After the level is placed appropriately, if either side is low, it’s time to place either the boards or the leveling blocks.
If you are backing your travel trailer in, you’ll want to position them just behind the tires on the side that is low. If you’re pulling it in, they will need to be positioned just in front of the tires on the low side. Start small, then add accordingly until the trailer is balanced. You may have to move the trailer back and forth a few times. Ask for someone to help guide you in if you’re unsure about it.
Once the trailer is balanced, verify that the part of the tire that contacts the board or blocks is in full contact. If any part of the tire hangs off the edges, it can weaken the tires over time.
Step Four: Chock Your Wheels
After you get your trailer fully balanced from side to side, the next step is to chock your wheels. This helps stop the trailer from rolling backward and causing damage or injury. All you need to do is place them behind the wheel and push them into place with your hands. Use them any time you are leveling your trailer, even if you don’t think you need them.
Step Five: Front To Back Leveling
After the trailer is balanced side to side, it’s time to move on to front to back. The Bowlus Endless Highways and Endless Highways Performance Edition has a jockey wheel at the front of the hitch that makes front to back leveling as simple as turning a crank. In other RVs, it is much more complicated. For other RVs, you would need to locate the tongue jack, which is where the trailer attaches to your vehicle. Place a few pieces of wood under the jack to keep it level. There are also wheel docks that you can purchase to perform the same job.
Once they are in place, you can unhitch your trailer and move your vehicle.
Use the level to check the balance again, this time from front to back. All you’ll need to do now is adjust the tongue jack until the trailer is even.
Step Six: Secure The Stabilizing Jacks
The Bowlus hasMost travel trailers have four stabilizing jacks, one on each of their four corners. While this isn’t part of the leveling process, it does prevent the trailer from moving too much once it is leveled.
Now congratulate yourself for performing a successful travel trailer leveling, and enjoy your trip!
Learning how to level your travel trailer is one of the most important, basic skills any adventurer needs to learn. It not only keeps your trailer balanced, but can also help prevent injuries and make sure that the plumbing system and refrigerator operate as efficiently as possible.
If this sounds a bit complicated, don’t worry. Leveling a Bowlus travel trailer doesn’t require all of these extra steps, so you can get it leveled and ready to go within minutes.
If you take care of your travel trailer, by leveling it and doing any other necessary maintenance, you’re sure to be able to enjoy all its luxurious amenities for a long time to come. You’ll soon find that our travel trailers are the absolute best option for any road trips, and whether you’ll be enjoying amenities at a luxury park or boondocking out in nature, you’ll never be without power or comfort. The team at Bowlus wishes you many successful adventures!