How to set your caravan level

Caravan Times' Chris Jeffries and Neil Greentree of "Greentrees Adventure Stores" explain how to get your caravan level on an uneven pitch using some useful gadgets.

Setting your caravan level on a pitch

Levelling Your Caravan On A Pitch Transcript

Chris Jefferies: These days caravan sites are mostly flat and level but from time to time you can find yourself on uneven pitch and that can cause numerous problems.

Today I'm joined by Neil Greentree from Greentree's Adventure Store to take a closer look at this issue. So Neil - why is having a level pitch so important for our caravan?

Neil Greentree: With caravanning it's all about getting out into the great outdoors so therefore you don't know where you are gonna go - so you never know how level the pitch is going to be and with caravans of all ages they do require a pitch or the caravan to be relatively level within about 10 degrees.

Obviously for comfort you wanna be level so there's a few tips you can basically take on board to get a caravan super level so you can be comfortable.

Chris Jefferies: And what are the specific problems that can be caused by an uneven caravan?

Neil Greentree: Certain appliances - fridges rely on the caravan, within a certain degree, level so they can function properly. There's more factors than just comfort about getting that caravan nice and level.

Chris Jefferies: And what are the different products on the market that can help remedy this problem? Talk me through them.

Neil Greentree: There's quite a selection of products out there, although customers also do choose to make their own devices to keep that caravan level.

If we kick off with the level ramps which are ramps effectively you drive one wheel of the caravan up and it therefore levels the caravan.

Other alternatives - you can have like jack devices that you actually put underneath the wheel and you then screw-up and it then jacks that side up. That's preferred for those that want that better level of control and are not that confident in towing their caravan on what is quite a small level.

With all these levelling devices, of which I've got two here - essentially the main thing with the more modern types you can actually see that it's not just a ramp - it's actually carved out so there are predetermined levels at which the caravan will then come to rest.

With all ramps you must pull forward onto the ramp. Basically - if you were to reverse onto a level ramp when you reverse a caravan the brakes essentially - they overrun. The brake shoes drop inside to allow the caravan to reverse.

So when you reverse the caravan up onto a ramp you effectively have no braking so if you pull forward your braking system is active, fully operational and so therefore when you pull your hand brake on you have full grip.

We can now see that the caravan is now supported by the ramp and the consideration really is - is here we're fortunate we are shingle surface, nice and solid but if you're on soft grass ideally you really want as wide a ramp as you can get to spread that load and to avoid the potential of the ramp just sinking straight into the grass underneath the caravan which doesn't achieve the objective.

Now with this particular device what we've basically got is a cradle that you slip in next to the wheel and then from there we have, with this spanner, we basically, effectively wind it up and we're basically going to jack the caravan up as high as we want.

Now the beauty of this one is you can get it some 8-9 inches off the ground. Nice and light - made of aluminium so it's not too heavy to carry about. So essentially you're putting this onto there and you're scoring that down. The customers who don't have the confidence to do that precision towing to get the wheel onto a level ramp This device you can pull the handbrake on - the caravan's going nowhere and you're nice and secure - it's gonna jack it up.

What we need to do is we need to increase the leverage grissom and by doing that we have this additional, while we slip over the top there, and it just makes pulling around a lot easier.

Now the only downside with this piece of kit - it does take a little time so do make sure you have a few minutes to be able to lift that up. But as you can see - very easy to do, very simple and there's no chance of your caravan rolling away anywhere.

Chris Jefferies: How can you test to make sure it is exactly flat and level?

Neil Greentree: There's a number of ways - there are people who have put a glass of water on a surface or something else in some cases.

Chris Jefferies: And some people would tell you that you can level the caravan using the corner steadies. Now is this correct?

Neil Greentree: Well Chris - as a rule of thumb take it that you can't. My advice - if you want to make a blanket rule, say you can't and unless you know for a fact and that your dealer has told you that you can - take it as a rule that you can't.

But the twin spirit level with a small triangle with spirit levels built into them - you put them on a surface and then you can basically level the caravan off that.

Chris Jefferies: Brilliant - Neil Greentree thanks for your time today.

Neil Greentree: No problem.

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