Question Of The Week

Readers Level on Leveling A Truck Camper

Seventy-six readers wrote in with a wide range of tips, tricks, and opinions on leveling a truck camper.  This week’s Question of the Week was, “Do you level your truck camper rig when you park for the night?”.

“It depends.  Just for a quick stop overnight?  Nope.  For anything more than twenty-four hours, we’ll at minimum put the jacks down just to stabilize.  If it’s longer than a day and a half, off go Derringers and we level.” – Bruce Allison, 2000 Ford F350 CC DRW, 2012 Adventurer 910FBS

“Yes.  First I drop the air out of the bags.  Then I level with blocks.  Finally I put down the jacks to cut out any sway in the rig.  I don’t do anything when overnighting on a Walmart type stop.” – Pat Caulfield, 2008 Ford F450, 2007 Okanagan 117DBL

“It depends.  If we are just stopping to sleep for the night we never do anything more than park in a more or less level spot.  When we park for a weekend we put down the jacks and level with them, more for making the camper less rocky than for being perfectly level.” – Charles Bradford, 2010 Dodge Ram 1500, Jayco Sport pop-up



“It depends.  Okay, I will level with you, I don’t level as much as I used to.  I have found, like you, that I don’t have to be perfectly level.  If I can’t find a decent spot, I get out the homemade two by eight blocks that can raise me one or two blocks high.” – John Bull, 2004 Dodge 3500, 2004 Lance 920

“Yes.  We use wood blocks under the tires.” – Joet, 1992 Chevy Silverado 2500, 1988 Sunlite Hideaway 9.5 SD

“No.  We have a bubble level in the cab that was installed to indicate a level camper.  We stop when the bubble is close.  If close enough is not achievable, we throw a rock, log, board, etc, under appropriate wheel.” – Bob Ragain, 1988 Unimog U1300, 1971 Alaskan 10′ NCO

“It depends.  When we do level, we use the surface bubble level on the smart phone called iHandy Carpenter.  It works great!” – George Kepler, 2011 Ford F150, 2012 Phoenix pop-up

“Yes.  Well, the slide-out of the camper is heavy and slides more easily when level.  And in case of an emergency, it is faster to remove the camper unit from the truck (example, fire) when the legs are down.” – Richard C. Raymond, 2005 Chevy Silverado 3500, Palomino Winter Creek 11.5 RS

“Yes.  I use those orange plastic blocks designed for leveling RVs.  I don’t go crazy on this.  I try to find a level spot within the campsite first, and then I bring out the blocks.  I use a bubble level in the refrigerator.” – Paul Panasuk, 2011 GMC Sierra, 2013 Northstar Laredo SC

“It depends.  We do a quick and dirty using a carpenter’s level.  Then, move the truck around a bit in the site to the most level spot.  Color us lazy.” – Stan, 2012 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD, 2011 Lance 865

“It depends.  We are on all four or two Happijacs when we are on dirt, or some places that will not damage pavement like gas stations, etc.  I like to be on level ground.  My husband does not care one way or the other. ” – Judi Flett, 2007 Dodge Ram 3500, 2007 Northstar Igloo

“I just make sure the head side of how we sleep is on the uphill!” – Bill B. Peters, 2013 Chevy Silverado, 2013 Four Wheel Camper Hawk

“Yes.  First we adjust air pressure in rear air bags, then use Lynx leveler blocks.  We like the rig to be about a half degree high on the front for comfort, and zeroed side side so that the door to the satellite receiver stays open.  Yes, we use a digital level.” – Jim Finck, 2001 Chevy 2500HD, 2004 Lance 1010

“It depends.  If we’re just stopping just to sleep, then no.  If I may do some cooking, I will adjust the airbag suspension for a bit more levelness.  When stopped for a day or two at a campsite to recharge I’ll drop the jacks for a bit more stability.  But, if I’m going to be at a location as a base camp then I loosen the turnbuckles and a do a full on level.  I have a couple self adhesive spirit levels attached to the front driver’s side corner of the camper that do the trick in all situations.  I have been known to put the jacks down not for leveling but for stability on the occasional windy/gusty evening.” – Jeff Yarborough, 2005 Dodge Ram 3500, 2009 Lance 915

“Yes.  Always.  The little princess in me requires the camper to be perfectly level and most important stable.  Without the jacks, I feel the camper moving with the crosswinds at night or when somebody goes to the bathroom at night.” – Normand Matte, 2003 Dodge Ram 2500, 2003 Lance 1130

“It depends.  If it is a stop and stay for a few days, yes.  If it is a overnighter, we just want the front of the rig a bit higher.  We will reference the two pack of bubble levels for six bucks at any camping store.  Slap one of those suckers on the side and one on the back when you are at the house and can do a proper leveling job.  The lego block set for the camper is there for the extreme conditions.” – Dean and Angel Saunders, 2008 Dodge 2500, 2002 Lance 920

“Yes.  I bring one and two inch by six inch pressure treated three foot long planks.  I drive up on the planks to get it as level as I can, whether it’s at a Walmart, a campsite, or boondocking.  I never use the jacks to get level.” – Bruce Neumann, 2006 Dodge Ram 3500, 2008 Okanagan 96DB


“It depends.  I have levels in the truck calibrated to the levels on the Lance.  We will move around at Walmart or on a site that gets things close enough.  If a site is off level a lot I will use a block or two under the tires.  It’s an old habit from my motorhome days. The picture above  was last fall, when we still had our 2007 SunLite that we really enjoyed (all the way to Alaska and back 15,200 miles)!” – Ken Chambers, 2007.5 Chevy 2500HD, 2014 Lance 855S

“It depends.  We level it by feel.  Most campgrounds are quite level, and we just park.  We boondock in the mountains, and it seems like there are no level places anywhere.  We either dig a hole for the wheel on the high side, or use a couple of blocks of wood on the low side.  Sometimes we have to do both.  No levels, just calibrated eyeballs.  As long as we don’t roll out of bed when we lie down, the refrigerator works fine.” – Phil Rodacy, 2012 GMC 3500, 2006 Okanagan 90W

“Yes.  I use leveling pads/blocks.” – Eldon Rhodes, 2008 Chevy 3500 Dully, 2011 Lance 1050

“No.  When we first got our camper we carried a series of boards along to try to level it up.  Now we never carry anything to level.  We simply try to find a place where the front is slightly higher so that we don’t sleep with our heads lower than our feet.  Sideways doesn’t matter too much.  We are not fussy about it.  First, we also worried about the refrigerator, but it seemed like it always worked so we quit worrying about it.” – Allen Brummel, 2008 Dodge Ram 1500, 2008 Northstar TC650


“It depends.  We do keep a small level in our rig and use it to determine if we need to level front to back or side to side, depending on the situation.  We use plastic leveling blocks and/or two by six boards.  In many campgrounds, the sites are level enough and we won’t fine tune the leveling process, but we have been in some situations in state and national parks where some leveling has been required.  We have also stayed in the forest outside of any park and have had to level our rig. We have never used the jacks to level the camper.” – Dave Neumann, 2010 Toyota Tundra 4×4, 2011 Adventurer 80GS

“It depends.  I’ll level the rig if it’s more than a bubble off plumb.  My level of concern was raised after discovering one morning my refrigerator had not operated all night.  I carry four two by eights to use under the base of my jacks.  They work well in appropriate combinations under my tires to level the unit.  In a few instances it was also necessary to adjust the air in my Ride-Rite air bags.” – Dennis Sychra, 2012 Ford F 150 Ecoboost HD, 2004 Northern Lite Q Lite

“It depends.  Actually Gordon, we pretty much do exactly what you do. When we are traveling and just stop for one night, we try to find a level area and we are ready to eat and sleep.  However, that being said, we recently stayed in Ohiopyle State Park in Pennsylvania and arrived very late one evening.  We just pulled in and went to bed.  The next morning we attempted to level our camper somewhat, as we were staying there three nights, but the site was such a sloping site that it was just about impossible to level our camper.  We did not want the camper to come off the truck as we were towing the motorcycle and had that to get around with.  We decided to change sites and that worked fine.  If we find ourselves in a position where there are no other sites available, we would lower the legs on the camper and level that way.  We have never worried about the refrigerator and have never had any problems at all.” – Rich and Denise Snyder, 2002 Dodge Ram 3500, 1997 Bigfoot

“Yes.  We level with levels on backend of camper and side of camper.  We also have a very large slide so we ensure it stays level as well.  We use jacks and blocks every time we stop no matter where it is.  We hate feeling like we’re at sea!” – Dan, 2007 Dodge Ram 3500, 2004 Arctic Fox 1150

“It depends.  I’ve got a little torpedo level and a pair of Camco Tri-leveler blocks.  We try to get level just by parking the truck in the most level spot.  If it’s really off, we get out the blocks.  We have a compressor fridge so level isn’t a worry.  Mainly we are trying to get somewhat level to keep our heads up for sleeping.” – Mike, 2005 Dodge 2500, 2011 Outfitter Apex 8

“I would have to say yes just because we have a flat bubble level that I lay on the countertop just to get close to level.  We always pull a bass boat in and out of the water each day with the truck, so we have to unload the truck camper at the campsite.  If it’s close then I’m happy. ” – Brett Van Diest, 2007 Ford F250, 1994 Fleetwood Caribou 8CS

“It depends.  Nine out of ten times I just try to find a fairly level spot. When I have to tweak it a little I have blocks to drive on. ” – Greg, 2013 GMC 3500HD, 2010 AKC 10′ CO

“It depends.  A lot of my camping is within the California State Park system.  The pull-thru and/or paved spaces, if present, are not usually as secluded as I prefer.  So, the sites I use are most usually configured for tents with a parking space.  I try to park in a levelish spot but if that is not possible, out come the Legos (plastic leveling blocks).  I get the truck and camper combination close enough to level so I do not ordinarily have to release the turnbuckles.  My Lance came with a small circular bubble level that I place at the rear threshold and fine tune with the jacks.  Even when level from the outset, I’ll stabilize with at least two jacks.  My trick or tip is that long ago I affixed two small horizontal bubble levels inconspicuously inside the cab of the truck; one on the passenger door and one on the dashboard.  I use these to quickly assess the space I’m in and with a little maneuvering I am able to get to the desired sweet spot.  And that’s on the level!” – Mark Obert, 1999 Ford F250SD, 1999 Lance 920

“No, I never found the need to, but if I did I would run a little water in the sink and see an equal circle around the drain!” – Paul Kitching, 2000 Ford F350, 2004 Lance 1161

“It depends.  I, too, just level to the extent of what feels level and comfortable.  If the site is too off-level I’ll move the truck or try for another site.  It’s pretty much the same thing you do, and I’ve never had a refrigerator problem and mine is thirteen years old.” – William M Johnson, 2012 GMC Sierra 2500HD, 2000 Fleetwood ElkHorn

“It depends.  I have leveled twice.  But if I can park with the front of the truck up a slight incline (about two inches), I’m fine.  As it is just me in the camper, I’ve never put the camper jacks down while camping since I don’t have to deal with someone walking around and shaking the camper.” – Tim May, 1993 Dodge w250, 1987 Vacationeer 9′ 10″

“Yes.  We use two by eight steps that I made.  Basically, they are three feet, two feet and one foot two by eights stacked together, all flush at one end and nailed together.  I carry them in my boat most of the time or in the camper itself when I’m not towing the boat.  The camper has bubble levels on the outside right rear corner.  After parking I have a look at the levels, put the steps near the tires according to what the levels told me, and then drive up onto the steps while my wife watches the levels.  We can usually get very close to perfectly level in one or two attempts.  We often camp where there is almost no level ground, or level ground is not near where we want to camp (near the water).  Since we like being level for cooking and sleeping we take a few minutes to get level.” – Ken Woodward, 2012 Ford F150, 1994 Trav-L-Mate 8′

“Yes, we level the camper usually by lowering the camper jacks and using the built in levels on the camper.  Why?  Because we read somewhere in the owner’s manuals that the refrigerator needed to be level.  So this is great news about not having to be concerned about it.  We also like the jacks down because it gives us better stability.  We don’t really lift it off the bed.  We just nudge it a little.  But like you folks we find that in all reality standing back about thirty feet and looking at the camper is as good as of better than the levels.” – Terry Nininger, 2008 Chevy Silverado 3500, 2008 Arctic Fox 990

“It depends.  If it’s mostly level I’ll just use the jack or jacks to level it.  Where I camp mostly is rough, not level.  I level the camper and not the truck.  I just take off turnbuckles, level the camper, and I am done.  If I’m in a level spot in a campground I don’t even drop the jacks unless I need to stabilize it.  Someone said, “level the camper not the truck”.  So I don’t carry much to level one.  I just use the jacks. ” – Jeff Hagberg, 2002 Ford F250, 2006 Travel Lite 800SBX

“It depends.  I rarely level my rig.  It would have to be way off before I do this.  I use my jacks and/or blocks to do so.” – Bob Chan, 1989 Ford F250, 1988 Lance 780

“Yes.  I like the camper’s interior doors to stay put instead of hitting me in the butt every time I let go of them.  I make modest adjustments just by lowering the jacks.  Adjustments approaching two inches or more are done by using leveling blocks.  I have levels mounted inside the truck cab that mirror the truck bed for rough leveling.  I have a high quality bulls-eye level that I custom-mounted on the rear bumper just under the license plate light for fine tuning.  Jacks-down prevents that tell-tale “don’t bother knocking” motion, too! (wink,wink) TMI??” – John and Marylou Wells, 2011 Chevy 3500, Chalet Ascent S100F

“Yes.  Rather than undo the turnbuckles, we use twelve inch square wooden blocks made from pressure treated wood.  We installed bubble levels at the rear left corner of the camper, and use either one, one and a half inch block or two that are fastened together with deck screws.  If one block is not enough, we go to those fastened together.  By putting a block under both the front and rear tires on the side needing to be raised, and then checking the bubble levels, we usually are within a fraction of an inch of being perfectly level.” – Dewey Lackey, 2003 Silverado, 2007 Snowriver 9.6

“I like it fairly level but I can’t sleep with my head downhill.  I can quickly run the jacks down with a cordless drill and I do it mainly to stabilize the camper.  I don’t like it rocking around when I’m inside.  As far as the refrigerator thing goes, I’ve driven thousands of miles over all kinds of roads, and have never had a problem.  I drive with the propane on for the refrigerator which some say is a real no no, but it has worked fine for me, so I’ll continue to do so.” – Larry Goosey, 2007 Chevy Silverado 3500, 2005 Snowriver 9.5

“It depends.  As long as my feet are lower than my head for
sleeping well to prevent headaches.” – Eric and Linda Anderson, 2001 Dodge 3500, 1998 Shadow Cruiser

“Yes.  We level using the orange lego blocks and check for level with one of the round levels placed on the floor of the camper.  Through experience I have gotten pretty good at figuring how many blocks and under which wheels to place them.  It just makes us feel more comfortable and it only takes a few minutes.” – Doug Baker, 2006 Toyota Tundra, 2006 Six-Pac D650


“It depends.  Like you, we just find a level spot and call it good.  If the site is really off level and we can’t adjust by moving the truck, we do carry eight inch by eight inch mitered blocks for leveling (custom made and free).  We put the jacks down the very first night we slept in out first truck camper and we have never done that again.  There is no need.” – Bill Tex, 2006 Chevy, 2013 Eagle Cap 850

“Yes.  I use Lynx leveler blocks.  I have level bubbles mounted at the front driver’s side.  The wife and I work together and we usually get it right the first time.” – Rodger Greene, 2004 GMC 2500HD, 2012 Travel Lite 700

“It depends.  Ford has apps that tell you the degree of angle side-to-side or front to back.  If we are off too many degrees I use electric jacks.” – John, 2011 Ford F250, 2008 Okanagan

“No.” – Karen Clark, 2013 Ford F350, 2013 Hallmark K2

“It depends.  I usually camp off-road in primitive sites, so I always level the Roadtrek with leveling blocks and a level.  I am so good at it, I can do it in one try.  I like a level bed.  In a level space in an approved campground, I don’t unless it feels unlevel inside.  I would never move to avoid leveling.” – Constance Condit, 1997 Roadtrek with Dodge 3500, Dreaming of a truck camper

“Yes.  We will try to park as level as possible in the site right away.  Then we will use front to back and side-to-side levels to see if we need to make any adjustments, using leveling blocks to finish the job.  We have never used the jacks to level the camper.  Mostly we try to be as level as we can for the sake of personal comfort.” – Terry Teeft, 2003 GMC Sierra 2500, 2013 Wolf Creek 850

“It depends.  We use a two by six that we carry with us.  If we are going to use the shower we try to have the camper lean toward the drain.  Otherwise, we live with it. ” – Don and Sue Graf, 2008 Ford F350, Arctic Fox 865

“No.” – Jake and Sylvie Mathis, 1994 Dodge Ram 2500, 2005 Northern Lite 9Q

“Yes, I use Lynx Levelers under the tires.” – John L. Jones, 2002 Chevrolet 3500, 2008 Lance 1191

“It depends.  If we are so out of level so that we are not comfortable, then I move to a more level spot.  In rare cases I’ve used the jacks to level.” – Thomas Wilson, 2011 Ford F250, 2003 Lance 815

“Yes.  I always lower the jacks to stabilize the camper and if I am not fairly level (a quarter bubble either direction), I’ll loosen the turnbuckles.  We don’t like cooking on an unlevel cooktop or having the feeling that one of us is going to roll over onto the other (although that could be fun).  Whenever we take the camper off of the truck, we level it.” – Mike and Linda Rodriguez, 2011 GMC Sierra 3500HD, 2011 Arctic Fox 1140

“It depends.  I level with the jacks ” – Brent and Wendy Bolton, 2006 Chevy 3500, 2002 Corsair 1080

“Yes. I use air bags, jacks, leveling blocks, one or all, whatever it takes.” – Tom Andersen, 2006 Dodge 3500, 2003 Lance 1121

“It depends.  In campgrounds we use leveling blocks under the tires.  In parking lots we look for a level spot.” – Dan and Peggy Sego, 2005 Dodge 3500, 2011 Lance 992

“Yes.  I use a combination of wood blocks under the tires and the jacks.” – Don Norris, 2003, Chevy, K2500, 2005 Travel Lite 800SBX

“It depends.  If it feels good, let it be for the night.  If we are staying longer I am more particular.  I use two by six by one or two feet long blocks which I cut forty-five degree tapers on one end.” – Jeff Allen, 2000 Ford F350, 2001 Bigfoot 2500 10.6

“No.  We do not level each time.  We try to get close, but we do like the front up a little to enhance sleeping.” – Mike Chiles, 1999 Dodge 2500, 2004 Lance

“Yes.  We use wooden or plastic blocks under the tires.  I also have found in setting up my camper for a trip, like precooling the refrigerator, if I don’t level the truck the refrigerator will not cool down, whether it feels comfortable or not inside the camper. ” – Larry Petty, 2012 Ford F150, 2012 Hallmark Milner

“Yes.  Whether we back or pull in to our site, we either pull in our cord for shore power or start the generator and run down the two back jacks or the front jacks.  Then we run the slide-out which is a lot of weight hanging out and on to supper!  Running the generator helps the battery and it’s good maintenance for the unit.” – Neil Steirer, 2008 Ford F350, 2008 Lance 1181

“It depends.  I usually level the rig by feel.  If it feels too off I get out a graduated level.  I put the rig into refrigerator specs.  I use air bags if only a little is needed.  I use plastic wheel blocks for more range.  Now if we arrive for a stay exceeding two days the camper jacks will be employed.” – Neil Womack, 2007 GMC 2500HD, 2004 Lance 915

“No.” – Randall Rice, 2012 GMC 3500, 2002 Bigfoot 10.5C

“Yes.  When we stay at campgrounds or RV Parks and the site is grass or gravel and is not level, then we will level up the truck camper rig.  We use several one and a half foot one by eights and several two feet two by eights.  This combination seems to work very well for us.  I have used Lynx Levelers in the past, but have found them useless on grass and especially on gravel.  Once in a while we get lucky and have a nice asphalt or concrete site that we do not have to level at all. ” – John Patterson, 2009 Chevrolet Silverado 2500, 2012 Travel Lite 960RX

“Yes.  We have a short level that we use on the floor, and a round bubble level that we use in the freezer compartment. ” – Sal Warren, 2008 Dodge 1500, 1994 Starcraft Popup

“It depends.  I start by looking at the bubble level in the freezer.  I place blocks under the worst corner.  I check the outside levels and use jacks.” – Robert Ross Smith, 2003 Silverado 3500, 2014 Arctic Fox

“Yes.  We have leveling bubbles on the back and side of the camper.  If the site is near level, we use the camper jacks.  If the site isn’t very level, we first get near level with wheel blocks and then finish with camper jacks.  We aren’t so much interested in level as we are in a stable platform, especially at night.” – Jim Goodrich, 2006 Chevy 3500HD, 2008 Lance 1191

“No.  We do the same as the article.  We never level.  We just find a spot that feels level.  We don’t even own a level!” – Bev Stellges, 2007 Chevy Silverado 2500, 2007 Northstar

“It depends.  Usually, like you, we just look to find a fairly level spot.  No camper jacks, no blocks.  If we are in a campground for multiple nights, we may remove the camper and level it.  Otherwise it stays on the truck, ready to roll again.” – Barry Schoenwetter, 2006 GMC Sierra 2500HD, 2005 Lance 1030

“Yes.  We deflate the airbags and use the jacks.” – Tim Burk, 2005 Dodge 3500, 2010 Eagle Cap 950

“It depends.  I carry a couple pieces of two by eights that I can use for leveling or use as a base for a jack, but I usually don’t worry about some tilting.  I had a really old truck camper (yes, older than my 1987) where the refrigerator had to be absolutely perfectly level to work at all.  I had to keep re-leveling until it would finally work.  I remember one time I parked on the side of steep hill facing up-hill and no amount of two by eights would have helped.  When I opened the door in the morning to go outside I lost my balance and fell out and rolled under a fence.  I’m sure glad nobody was around to see that – HA!” – Jack Pavie, 1995 Ford F350, 1987 Real Lite 950

“Yes.  I always level.  I have replaced so much spoiled food from pilot flames going out (for whatever reason), poor thermostat regulation, etc.  At the campsite I always try to get the bubble half into the center ring on a one inch dial.  KOA type campgrounds take nothing more than a couple ramps, but four wheel camping may require logs, rocks and/or holes.  It’s a real chore, but that warm blooded cop is always out to get me!” – Jim Longthorne, 2005 GMC Sierra 2500HD, 2005 Four Wheel Camper

“Yes.  I installed a pair of levels, one on the underside of the cabover and one on the front of the camper just outside of the driver’s door.  This way I can just look up out of the driver’s cab window to check front to back level then look in the side mirror to check the side-to-side level.  If it’s close we’re good to go.  If it’s way off then I carry some plywood leveling ramps so I can get it close.” – Mike and Nancy Pohl, 1999 Ford F150, 1995 American Pilgrim 8.5 hardside

“Yes.  My husband, Mike, off-loads the camper and uses a cordless drill to lower the jacks, as our rig does not have electric ones.  He fabricated a socket to fit the jack crank socket.  He uses blocks under the jack feet and automotive jack stands with blocks under the front edge of the floor for extra support.  We only need three of the jacks as our rig balances on the front two and either of the rear jacks to keep it from walking as he raises and lowers it.  We have two bubble levels attached to the camper and he gets the rig as level as humanly possible, because it drives me nuts not having the camper absolutely level.  We have a three-step ladder with wide platform-style steps for sites that require the jacks being more extended.  It only takes him fifteen minutes to off-load and level the camper.  He does this every time we stop more than one night, as we like having the truck available.  I attach the hula skirt to the bottom edge of the camper, and we’re good to stay!” – Nancy Malicki, 1996 Dodge Ram 3500, 1998 Coachmen Sportsman

“Yes.  When we purchased our Lance I installed bubble levels on the passenger’s side and rear of camper.  When camping, whether it be boondocking or camping at a National Park, we try to get our rig as close to level using plastic blocks.  We don’t sweat the small stuff, meaning our rig is never completely level, but we generally will make sure the front of the rig is a little higher than the rear.  We find that we get a better night’s sleep when our heads are a little higher, so we try to make sure the front of our camper is either level or a bit taller.” – Mike Barrow, 2006 Dodge 3500, 2011 Lance 1191

“It depends.  If its within two inches, it’s close enough.  We like the front slightly higher, so don’t sleep with our heads downhill.  We do carry Lynx blocks just in case.  We never use blocks in paved lots.” – Rick Law, 2005 Ford F-550 Lariat Flatdeck, 2003 Bigfoot 30C1011SL

“Yes.  I level by lowering the jacks.  I need to because of the slide-out.” – Gregory Romig, 1996 Ford F250, Okanagan DB96


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