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A beginners guide to getting level on site without making a fool of yourself....

So, why do I need to level my van?

Well, first of all Its not compulsory, some don't bother and are happy to park as they are and theres nothing wrong with that, but taking a little time to level up can make your stay more pleasant. I find it uncomfortable to sleep on a sloping bed and dislike having to walk uphill to the fridge to get a beer. On some models if the van isn't level there can be drainage problems with some sinks and/or shower trays. Its also worth pointing out that some earlier vans fitted with older type fridges won't function to full efficiency unless they are level but having said that most modern ones are more 'tilt tolerant'. The decision is yours.

So, from here on, we'll assume you want to get level...

As long as the incline isn't too extreme, getting level shouldn't be too big a deal.

First thing is to buy an easily viewable levelling device, ie, a 2 way or circular spirit level, cost, a few quid from most good accesory shops...

Then, take some time to mount it perfectly level in a permanent position in the cab, easily visible by the driver, but not in a position where it is going to be knocked every time you move to and from the cab area, here is an example.......

Before you drive onto your pitch, have a look at the lie of the land and try and pick a visibly level plot if possible and avoid any dips or bumps then drive onto your preferred position. As you get more experienced you will find you can use the dips and bumps to your advantage, in some instances negating the use of chocks but for now we'll assume you are going to need chocks to level up...

Once in your preferred position, have a look at the spirit level, you might have a good 'eye' and its already level but if not...

First, it will help if you get someone to see you up the chocks, they are not always visible from the driving postion.

A quick tip for icy or slippery conditions; If on a hard, icy surface, it is sometimes beneficial to sprinkle a bit of coarse grit on the area where the chock is placed to prevent the chock slipping as you attempt to drive up it. On wet grass it can also help to drive an awning peg or similar into the ground in front of the chock to prevent forward movement of the chock.

Easy bit.....

If the bubble is predominantly to the right of the vehicle then place both chocks in front of the front and rear left hand wheels and drive up to the top of the chock (or until partner screams STOP!! Or whichever comes first**), then let the vehicle run back down the chocks controlled by your brake until the bubbles reaches the central level postion. Reverse procedure if bubble is to the left.

If the bubble is predominantly to the front of the vehicle, then place both chocks in front of both rear wheels and similarly drive up to the top of the chocks, then roll back down until the bubble reaches the central level postion. Reverse procedure if bubble is at rear.

** On no account ignore partners articulate instructions as this can result in extreme campsite embarrasment and an 'overshoot', the last thing you want is for all the onlooking experienced campingcaristes to think you don't know what you're doing

Tricky bit...

You're facing slightly downhill and a little bit down to the left as well, as indicated by the bubble being both on the right and to the rear of your device.
No problems, seriously impress onlookers by only placing one chock in front of the left hand front wheel and driving up until a shreik is heard.
Adjust procedure slightly if you're facing downhill and a little bit to the right by placing the chock under the right hand front wheel, no probs.

If you're facing uphill and to the left, then just put the chock under the rear right hand wheel and drive up it and similarly if you're facing uphill and to the right, just put the chock under the rear left hand wheel and drive up it.

I have mentioned driving forwards up the chocks but some may prefer to reverse up the chocks instead. This can sometimes be beneficial if the surface is wet and there are potential traction problems or you need to vacate the pitch in a hurry. You can then drive straight off the chocks and onto hard ground and retrieve your chocks afterwards, make sure you turn slightly to the right or left after clearing the chocks though to avoid driving over them with the other wheels :roll: .

There are of course, some less usual, but more complicated situations, like where once you're half way up the left hand chock and the front is nearly level but the side to side adjustment isn't quite right and half the campsite is watching you, in this situation, just pretend that you're level and your street cred should remain intact.

Another quicker option is to just drive up, sod the spirit level and open a bottle or two of red and share with partner until you couldn't give a monkeys whether you're level or not, thats always been a great leveller. :wink:
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