Sometimes you come across a gadget that looks like a gimmick, but you decide to give it a go anyway. That's how I felt about the LevelMatePRO - but boy was I wrong! This simple item has revolutionized the way we park our RV.
If you own a travel trailer or fifth wheel, you know how important it is to get level. When you're staying at nice RV parks, you may get lucky and find the pads are level. But rarely are you so lucky when you boondock, as we often prefer.
In this article...
First, we would drive into the general vicinity of where we wanted to park. Together, we would walk around, looking to see we thought the ground was most level. As Diana watches (and yells at me through the window), I would then try and maneuver the trailer into that position.
We used to rely on the bubble gauge on our tongue jack, but one day the bubble disappeared (although it did return a few weeks later). To see how close we were, we'd use a 3ft level on the tongue to measure side-to-side.
So many people we've seen rely on the leveling blocks, but we purchased a set of Andersen Levelers early on. Even with these, it would take several minutes of me inching the trailer backwards and forwards, then jumping out to check the level whilst Diana was watching to make sure I didn't fall off the Andersen Levelers.
Not a difficult process, but not much fun in the rain and it felt like we could do better.
What is it?
The LevelMatePRO is a small box that you install in your RV and it communicates with an app on phone via Bluetooth. We bought ours through Amazon. Once it's installed and set up, it will tell you exactly how far off level you are, making it dead easy to get the trailer perfectly level!
How do you install it?
Given it's so precise, it uses electricity and communicates with your phone, you'd think it'd be a tricky install, right? Wrong!
Install the battery
The LevelMatePRO runs on a small coin battery. Although the battery is included (yay!), you do have to unscrew the cover and install it. Maybe in a future version this won't require a screwdriver, but for now make sure you have a small-ish Phillip's head screwdriver.
Download the app
The LevelMatePRO has no screen or display - the app on your phone is where you see everything. They have both an iOS and Android app, so head on over to the Apple App Store or Google Play Store and download the app.
Mount it in your RV
This is the important part. Make sure your RV is level. Not just fairly level - perfectly level. Take your time, as the LevelMatePRO will "remember" this as your level setting and try and guide you back to this in future.
Once your RV is level, you have to mount the little box on a wall. There are some specific instructions on this in the manual, but essentially it needs to be on a vertical wall in your RV, facing either the back, front or side - no diagonal or curved walls.
You want to get it close to level, but it doesn't need to be precise - it will compensate automatically. Bear in mind there is a little power switch on the device so put it somewhere you can easily get to.
And then the instructions tell you to screw it to the wall. Wait, what?! We're not putting screws in our walls - who do you think we are?! Ha!
We used what every good RVer knows is the best solution for attaching things to walls - Command Strips! Ours hasn't budged at all in months, and it still gets our trailer level!
When you open the app, it will guide you through a series of steps to measure various lengths on the RV, as well as some settings in the app itself. This only takes a few minutes, but is an important step.
The app uses these measurements to tell you not just whether you're level or not, but by how much you need to raise or lower your vehicle wheels and jacks.
And that's it - you're ready to go! Carefully following the step-by-step instructions that come with it shouldn't take more than 10 minutes.
How do we use it?
The LevelMatePRO has a small switch on the bottom to turn it on and off. Old versions didn't have this so the battery wouldn't last long. We've added turning it on and off to our departure and arrival checklists.
Now, when we arrive at a new boondocking site, we still do scout out the area to find a level-looking spot. But then I load up the LevelMatePRO app on my phone, mounted on my dashboard, and maneuver the trailer whilst watching the app at the same time - this helps us find the most level spot we can.
If we haven't been able to get the trailer completely level side-to-side (I live in hope!), Diana puts the Andersen Levelers under the wheels of the trailer on the low side. I then just move the trailer slowly onto the levelers until the LevelMatePRO app rewards me with a little green dot to say I'm level side-to-side.
We then chock the Andersen Levelers as well as the wheels on the opposite side to make sure the trailer doesn't move while we disconnect. When it's disconnected, we use the LevelMatePRO app once more to raise or lower the tongue jack until we get the 2nd green dot!
That's it! Our trailer is now completely level both side-to-side and front-to-back. It's much quicker, and being able to see everything on my phone makes it so easy to do!
As a bonus feature, you can also get the app to save the height that you had to raise the tongue jack to when you disconnected it from the tow ball. In theory this makes hooking up to leave a little easier, but in reality I tend to just eyeball that.
Especially when used in conjunction with the Andersen Levelers, the LevelMatePRO makes it so easy to level our trailer. Not only does it help us find the most level spot, it also tells us in advance how much we'll need to raise the tires or tongue by in order to get level. More than once this has saved us unhooking in a spot where our Andersen Levelers wouldn't have reached, or our tongue jack would have been maxed out.
So if you don't have one of these already, be sure to pick one up today!