When guests turn up to our caravan site and set up their caravan or motorhome, many come with their own levelling ramps. At Horton Common, we provide fully serviced pitches. Part of our fully serviced pitches is grey waste water removal, for this system to work the pitches are slightly sloped from back to front. Therefore guests with motorhomes typically drive either the front or rear wheels up onto ramps. Guests with caravans on some of the pitches use a ramp on one side.
However, over the years there something I’ve noticed, and its how frequently I see broken or snapped levelling ramps…
So with this post, I wanted to discuss caravan and motorhome levelling ramps currently on the market and the pros and cons of each. Using feedback from my guests and my own observations I’ll provide comments on why some levelling ramps appear to snap and break. I’ll also discuss how to reduce the chances of levelling ramps snapping to increase their usable life. Its also worth noting, that along with a caravan jack, levelling ramps can come in handy to change a flat tyre.
How to Pull a Caravan onto Levelling Ramps
So, below are the most popular ramps available on Amazon currently. I’ll provide some facts/specs about each one and also some of my own thoughts:
Fiamma 136/133 Ramp Level Pro
To start this product list I’m going to include a product I wouldn’t recommend. If you can’t tell the Fiamma are the levelling ramps from the image above. I’ve seen these ramps used by guests several times now, and more than once I’ve seen them snapped in the middle. I’m not sure if its user error (uneven/unsupported surface) or just low quality/thin plastic.
On the plus side, they are light (1.5kg each) and relatively cheap. Last time I checked they were under £15 on Amazon (30.06.19). They also have a 4.5/5 star rating from customers. Personally, they wouldn’t be my choice.
Fiamma Level System Magnum
Fiamma also offers the yellow magnum set of levelling ramps. These are more expensive (around £25) but they also have a higher load rating of an 8-ton axel compared to the 5-ton for the 136/133 ramps.
So your probably thinking another product from Fiamma, are these also prone to snapping? Well, I have seen these ramps break in the middle as well, but I will say I do see it less often than the cheaper grey 136/133 ramps from Fiamma. Then again, these are a more expensive product, practically double the price. So you would hope they are made from a thicker/better quality plastic, which does appear to be the case.
Fiamma Level Up Kit
The most expensive offering from Fiamma (around £32) is their grey level up kit, which also comes with a storage bag. You will notice these levelling ramps are stepped. The stepped design helps to hold the wheel at various stages. However, I also think it helps to provide a more sturdy design which is less prone to snapping and breaking in the centre.
Maypole MP4601 Level Ramp Set
The MP4601 ramps from Maypole are another budget offering (less than £15), rated at 2 tons per ramp. I’m aware that the Fiamma 136/133 are rated at 5 tons, but for spending less than £15 I would still choose the MP4601 ramps. They weigh less than 1kg per ramp, however, I think the plastic mould design is superior to the Fiamma.
Maypole MP4607 Multi-Level Ramp Set
The multi-level ramp set from Maypole weighs 3.2kg each, which is considerably more than the 1kg of the MP4601 ramps. However, the ramps actually have a lower weight rating of 1.2 tons which is odd. The stages are as follows 1st level height: 40mm; 2nd level height: 70mm; 3rd level height: 100mm. They come with their own carry bag and you’ll be looking spend around £30.
Milenco Levelling Ramps
Now, I’ve seen a lot of guests with the Milenco ramps over the last few years. I’ve also never seen (as yet) a Milenco ramp which is spilt or snapped in the middle. It probably has a lot to do with the lattice design which gives them increased strength and durability.
The downsides…well first there’s the price, you’ll have to spend around £55 for a set of Milenco ramps. Secondly, there is the weight which is 7.6kg which is obviously significantly more than any of the levelling ramps above. There is also their physical size, and they are also by far the largest. However, if you can cope with their weight, size and price I think these are the best levelling ramps you can currently buy.
Milenco Levelling Jack
The only levelling jack that I’m currently aware of is offered by Milenco. Made from aluminium the weight is not too bad at around 7.4kg. In fact, the Milenco aluminium levelling jack is actually lighter than their plastic levelling ramps!
The obvious advantage of the Milenco jack is that you don’t have to use your car to pull the caravan up onto ramps. However, you do have to be pretty patient while you turn, and turn, and turn…… . There is also the price, you will have to spend close to £100 for the aluminium levelling jack. I’ve had one guest who had one of these jacks and he was quite happy with it. However, the reviews on Amazon are a mixed bag. Some people have noted that if the ground underneath the jack isn’t hard and smooth, it’s not the easiest to use.
Why do you need to Level Up?
When you visit some sites with a significant slope to their pitches it’s pretty obvious that you would need to level your caravan or level your motorhome. However, at Horton Common, our pitches are only sloping very slightly. Therefore you may be wondering do our guests actually need to use levelling ramps or blocks?
You wouldn’t notice the slope while sitting or sleeping, it wouldn’t be noticeable in those cases. However, your appliances may notice. Your fridge may stop working properly if it’s not level. Some fridges will stop working altogether if they are significantly off level. With others, you may hear the compressor making some very strange noises. So, making sure your caravan or motorhome is level is more comfortable for you and your appliances.
The Surface You’re Trying to Level On
So as you can probably guess, how easy it is to level your caravan or motorhome depends a lot on the surface. All our pitches are hardstanding, so your levelling ramp, block or jack will not sink. However, if you’re visiting other sites with grass pitches you need to think about the potential of soft ground. Therefore, levelling ramps and jacks with a wide footprint will serve you best in these conditions.
Always Pull a Caravan onto Levelling Ramps
When you want to level your caravan it’s important to pull the caravan onto the ramps and not to reverse on to the ramps. The reason is to do with your caravans brakes.
In reverse, you are pushing the caravan’s brakes into ‘over-run‘, which effectively means the brakes on the caravan are no longer working. So by pulling a caravan onto levelling ramps, you have much more control. Also, once the caravan is level and you apply the handbrake it will be properly engaged to hold the caravan in position.
Another reason to only pull your caravan onto levelling ramps is to protect your clutch. Getting a van up on to ramps is a slow a steady process which requires feathering the clutch (obviously not in an automatic). I have often come across guests on their first time towing and reversing a van having some experience with that nasty clutch smell.
Using a Motor Mover to Level a Caravan
I would say over 50% of our guests now have a motor mover fitted to their caravan. When those guests arrive they generally pull up on the road in front of their pitch and unhook their caravan. They then engage their motor mover to reverse the caravan into the pitch and up onto levelling ramps when required.
To say that using motor movers is easier for most people than using a car to get the caravan into position and onto levelling ramps would be a massive understatement. I’ve noticed guests who follow this approach also appear much more relaxed when I come to meet them.
With a caravan motor mover, you are able to adjust the position of the levelling ramps if the van is riding up off centre. Trying to pull a caravan up onto the levelling ramps with a car is more tricky, especially on your own.
Which are better, Levelling Ramps or Jacks?
There is no one size fits all, it depends on how long you have been towing your caravan. If you are not confident pulling your caravan up onto ramps with your car, a jack may be the better option. However, if you have a motor mover, you’ll be fine with ramps. The problem with jacks is they generally take up more space and can it take quite a while to get the axel high enough.
Is there any issues Leveling a Caravan and Wheel Clamps?
Potentially yes, you can experience issues properly levelling your caravan and fitting your caravans wheel clamp. This can be especially true when it comes to fitting an AL-KO lock. If you want to fit an AL-KO wheel lock you may fit it easier to use a levelling jack or the airbag system from Lock n Level.
What about DIY Levelling Ramps for Caravans and Motorhomes?
For each pitch at our caravan site, I provide some blocks of wood and a few boards. Guests use these boards mainly for putting under the feet of their corner steadies, however, some also use them as levelling ramps.
I have had other guests who have made their own levelling ramps which they bring with them. Typically made from 3 or 4 pieces of plywood screwed together in a step arrangement. These forms of DIY levelling ramps are very durable and don’t snap easily like some of the plastic levelling ramps above. They are also easy and relatively cheap to make. The only really downside is their weight.
A DIY levelling ramp made of plywood could weigh between 5-10kg each. If you are close on your caravans payload weight, every kg comes under scrutiny. However, you are ok with the extra weight, by all means, make yourself some DIY levelling ramps.