Levelling ramps for campervans – Which are the Best? One of the exciting things about embracing our newfound vanlife, is that we can get all geeky about anything related to the newest member of the family – Irene. Although there’s no doubt that some nights I just want to curl up and watch an episode of setting sunsets with a glass of rose, instead of pouring over more Van mod videos, Dave is on another level. Sorry Dave!
There is though, something really exciting about building our own portable home. I want to put our own stamp on this campervan, which was built with love by Graham but isn’t exactly to our tastes – yet!
So, I’ll allow Dave a little grace on this front when I am watching the third video about integrating solar roofing to camper builds… (I draw the line at more than four though!!) I’m sure I’ve felt like Monty here on more than one occasion in the last few months! 😉
A place for everything and everything in its place
So, we’re discovering a lot about the mobile life that we just didn’t anticipate before Irene, and in this regard, Graham (Irene’s first owner) has been a really valuable source of support. There’s always seems to be a knick-knack for this job or that and when we went through everything initially it was tempting to look at some things and chuck them straight out.
However, life has a habit of seizing on these opportunities for fun, and if you don’t ask ‘What is this?’ it’s likely the first time you know the answer, is when you realise you really need it! A bit like these guys trying (and failing, to our great amusement) to build their own custom campervans!
Be ready to try, and fail!
All jokes aside, there’s no better way to learn than by making a ‘mistake’ – its how we’ve grown our location independent business, believe me! I think the great entrepreneur James Dyson says it best – “just realise, failing isn’t a negative, it’s the fastest way to get to where you want to be. Just make sure you learn what went wrong along the way”.
Ramping up the excitement!
So, today’s blog is on the sexy subject of levelling ramps. I know, it doesn’t sound too exciting, but I promise you when you’re lying in bed and the blood is rushing to your head, nothing dampens the mood faster than an uneven pitch.
Most sites these days will have extremely good pitches – ideally you want a nice firm flat surface. However, this isn’t a given, and especially with the nomadic lifestyle that is vanlife, sometimes you have to make do at short notice. Alternatively, you might be someone who likes to take a walk on the wild side – plotting up in random locations, ready for anything.
No matter. Read on for our easy to digest guide to levelling ramps for campervans. What to look out for, what are your options, and which are the best (in our humble opinion!)
Things to consider
I touched upon one of the main reasons you need a level surface – ensuring yourself a safe and comfortable night’s sleep. But why else do you need to use levelling ramps?
For some, sitting or sleeping on a slight slope might not really be an issue, but some items in your motorhome or campervan are much fussier. Portable fridges and toilets are the main culprits – both essential for life on the road – for very different reasons!
The last thing you would want is your campervan being on a slant. It takes away all the comfort and fun out of camping. You will find it impossible to eat at the table or have a good night’s sleep.
It’s also not uncommon for campervans to have a single shower drain (if you have a shower, that is!). And the last thing you want is the drain not working correctly because your motorhome is at an angle. That can get annoying. But leveling ramps can solve that problem making ramps an essential accessory of your caravan or motorhome. Feel free to check out the ones on the list for a better vanlife experience.
Portable fridges need level ground to ensure the cooling system liquid can circulate properly.
- You don’t want anything slopping out of your portable loo, especially in a confined space like your campervan
- Wastewater removal? Some sites offer grey wastewater removal, often achieved using a slight slope, which allows the water to drain off easily. In this instance you will definitely need to level your motorhome or camper when pitching up
- You need to balance all three issues.
There are a few options out there, with a variety of prices. It seems an innocuous bit of kit, but can be a real lifesaver. It’s definitely an essential item for Dave and I.
Firstly, this Fiamma Level System Magnum in gorgeous yellow.
- Cost: £25
- Item weight: 2.6kg
- Carry capacity: 4500kg (5 tons)
These ramps do not crack easily because the plastic used to make the ramps is flexible. Steer clear of the slightly cheaper Fiamma ramps, which look similar but do seem to crack much more easily. These aren’t infallible, but for the price they are super sturdy, and offer a max level of 130mm.
Next, these: Maypole MP4601 Level Ramp Set
- Cost: £14
- Item weight: 1kg
- Carry capacity: 2000kg (2.2 tons)
These offer great value for money. They will cover all your needs for minimum outlay and can ramp up to 80mm if required. For the money and weight, they are certainly sturdy, but might not hold up as well as more expensive options.
Maypole bigger brother: Maypole MP4607 Multi-Level Ramp Set (Twin Pack)
- Cost: £29.15
- Item weight: 3.2kg
- Carry capacity: 1250kg per wheel – 5000kg in total (5.5 tons)
They may be double the price, but you make up for that with quality. Offering great grip and solid construction, these are for heavy duty use – more of a motorhome levelling ramp. With ramp heights of 40, 70 and 100mm they are versatile, but a negative might be their size – Reports that they are quite narrow and thus limit use on larger wheels.
Next a brand synonymous with portable travel, but how do they stack up?
These also offer 3 different ramp heights – 44, 78, and 112mm. These ramps are very sturdy and will take a heavy weight, suitable for your motorhome or caravan if necessary. Some reviewers noted that the lattice design underneath is not a great fit with hard standing surfaces.
This is a fairly general problem with ramps – the lattice can crack when resting on them, especially if the ground has small rocks/pebbles. Mud and dirt can also get stuck up in the lattice on softer ground. Both things to consider – but can apply to any ramp of that design.
Another Milenco – CARAVAN MOTORHOME MILENCO QUATTRO HUGE LEVEL RAMP (Pair)
- Cost: £64.10
- Item weight: 7.6kg
- Carry capacity: 1500kg per wheel – 6000kg motorhome or 3000kg Caravan
Big in all regards. The most expensive so far, they are designed to be larger and sturdier, to support both heavier lifts and softer, more muddy surfaces – the wider sizing supposedly spreads the load better. They are the only ramp on the market with four different ramp heights – 40, 90, 130 and a massive 180mm option. They offer an innovative curved edge on the ramp to ensure you don’t need to fit chocks when securing the camper or motorhome. These are definitely motorhome levelling ramps and might be overkill for vanlife.
A different option – Milenco 2776 Motor Home Caravan Trailer Aluminium Leveller
- Cost: £98.96
- Item weight: 4.8kg per leveller
- Carry limit: 4000kg (4.4 tons) Motorhome or 2000kg (2.2 tons) Caravan – using one leveller per wheel set
Here’s a slightly different option – and what a great one. This leveller clamps around the wheel, then simply rotate the chuck to raise the vehicle to the desired level – max 150mm. This option is great for those less confident moving their campervan or motorhome, especially if it’s really big and heavy. You don’t need to move the vehicle at all – see here.
While this is by far the most expensive option, it isn’t suitable for all. Firstly, you need to make sure your wheel size and depth fit (especially if you have double wheels). Secondly, it’s a real no-no on soft ground. In those conditions the aluminium stays will simply sink into the ground or won’t be stable.
Given the weight and stress, most ramps will be susceptible to some kind of damage over time, but these are some solid options. You could also use good old traditional planks or slabs but these really are heavy and take up a lot of space. Vanlife is supposed to give you a lighter life!
To Chock or not to chock?
We purposefully didn’t include any chock-specific ramp systems due to safety concerns. When levelling a campervan or motorhome, be very careful. Chocks might be essential to hold the ramp, but they can be dangerous to apply and remove. The weight can also exert too much pressure on the chock if the motorhome or campervan readjusts or resettles over time (kinda inevitable, however much you try to prevent it).
If you do use a chock, always kick it into place with your feet – never use your hands! They’re kinda important.
If you are interested, here’s one levelling ramp system which uses an innovative design to make levelling easier – but proceed with caution – I’m sure its not quite as simple as the video makes out!
But how do you…
So there it is, your guide to levelling ramps. All that remains is to actually level your campervan or motorhome. I won’t go into detail here, as there are many sources on the internet which offer great instructional videos and advice and tips. The two I have linked to are very useful but there are plenty others available.
Finally, one last thing.
To achieve a level pitch, you need some sort of spirit level to guide you. Instead of actually buying another tool which you need to store, what about a levelling app? I use this awesome Bubble level app on my phone (android version, apple also has some great options).
It works extremely well if you have an iPad or tablet – the screen size really makes a difference. Just lie it on the floor of the camper and away you go!