| | |

How to keep a camper from rocking side to side

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Living the RV life brings the promise of freedom, adventure, and unparalleled views from your doorstep. Yet, a constantly rocking camper can dampen the whole experience. Not only does it pose a discomfort, but it can also be a sign of underlying setup issues. By ensuring your camper is stable, you’re guaranteeing a peaceful sleep, safer living conditions, and an overall better RV experience. Let’s delve into how you can achieve this stability and why it’s paramount for every camper out there. With this article you should get a good idea of how to keep your camper from rocking side to side.

Table of Contents

What Causes a Camper to Rock From Side to Side?

Understanding the Culprits

Often, the swaying or rocking of a camper is down to a few common reasons. It might be environmental factors, like strong winds or uneven terrain, but sometimes, it’s down to how the camper has been set up.

  1. Uneven Ground: This is the usual suspect. Parking on uneven ground without proper leveling can lead to the camper tilting to one side, causing instability.
  2. Weight Distribution: Uneven distribution of weight inside the camper can cause it to sway, especially when there’s more weight on one side.
  3. External Forces: Strong winds, nearby traffic, or even people moving around inside the camper can lead to rocking.

Understanding these factors is the first step to preventing them.

Are Your Tires and Leveling Systems Up to the Task?

The foundation of any stable structure begins at its base, and for an RV, that foundation is its tires and leveling systems. These components are crucial in ensuring a balanced, rock-free experience inside your camper. Just like you wouldn’t build a house on shaky ground, you wouldn’t want your camper teetering on poorly maintained tires or an ineffective leveling system. Both these elements require consistent attention and maintenance. Overlooking them can not only lead to a rocking RV but can also pose significant safety risks while on the move. Ensuring they’re up to the task is your first line of defense against an unstable camper experience.

Tire Talk

Tires play a pivotal role in the overall stability of your camper. They form the very foundation of your RV life. An uneven or under-inflated tire can not only lead to swaying but also poses a safety risk.

  • Check Tire Pressure: Regularly ensure all tires are inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended PSI. A tire pressure monitoring system can be a valuable investment.
  • Inspect for Wear: Uneven wear on your tires can lead to balance issues. Rotate them as recommended and replace when necessary.

Leveling Systems: The Unsung Hero

A good leveling system can work wonders to eliminate any sway or rock:

  • Manual vs. Automatic: While manual leveling can be more labor-intensive, it offers control. Automatic systems offer convenience but might require periodic recalibrations.
  • Regular Checks: Over time, even the best leveling systems can get out of sync. Regular checks ensure you’re always on level ground.

How Can Stabilizer Jacks Make a Difference?

Stabilizer jacks are often the unsung heroes in the quest for a rock-steady camper. When properly installed and used, they can significantly reduce or even eliminate the unwanted movement.

Basic stabilizer jacks can help remove the rock from your camper

Setting Up Your Jacks

  • Placement Matters: Ensure the jacks are placed on solid ground. Using pads can offer added stability, especially on soft terrains.
  • Even Pressure: When lowering the jacks, ensure they touch the ground at the same time and apply even pressure. This prevents any tilt or imbalance.

Is the camper rocking side to side due to your RV slide outs?

RVs are weight-balanced by design so they don’t lean to one side while driving down the road. However, when the RV is parked and the slide-outs come out, the RV becomes imbalanced. A lot of slide outs are peoples’ dining rooms, couches and beds – places where people go. When the people move in these spaces, it rocks the whole camper that is already leaning because the camper is out of balance. This is a normal experience if you’re there for one night, but anything longer can get annoying.

How to fix the slide out rocking in your RV

A few years ago my youngest son jumped out of his bed because he thought the whole camper was rocking and going to tip over. In fact, the rest of the family was shuffling in around the dining room table which is on a slide-out. After some research, I found these slide-out stabilizers that go under the slide outs to take out the rock. They’re portable so you can take them on the road, and they made a huge difference. I have two pairs (one for each slide out), and I put them on wooden blocks since our home site is dirt.

Should You Consider Upgrading Your Suspension?

A quality suspension system acts as the backbone of your camper’s stability. While stock suspensions are generally decent, there’s always room for improvement.

Why Upgrade?

  1. Improved Ride: A better suspension offers smoother rides, reducing the wear and tear on your camper.
  2. Greater Stability: Enhanced suspensions can better absorb road shocks, leading to less swaying.
  3. Longevity: Upgraded systems often last longer, requiring less frequent replacements or repairs.

Choosing the Right System

Every RV and its usage are unique. It’s crucial to pick a suspension that matches your camper’s weight, size, and your travel habits. ETrailer is a great place to shop for upgrades if you’re a DIYer, or visit your local RV Center to discuss options.

Why is the Distribution of Weight in Your Camper Key?

The weight distribution inside your camper plays a pivotal role in its overall stability. Imagine placing all your belongings on one side; naturally, it would lean or tilt, leading to potential structural stress and an uneven living experience. Properly balancing the weight ensures that no single part of your camper is under undue strain, minimizing the risk of wear and tear. Furthermore, balanced weight distribution can improve the camper’s handling on the road, making driving safer and more comfortable. In essence, understanding and managing the weight placement within your RV is as vital as ensuring its external setup is robust.

Balancing Act

Imagine placing all your heavy appliances, tools, and items on one side of your camper. This imbalance can lead to excessive strain on one side, causing the camper to rock or tilt.

  • Centralize Heavy Items: Aim to place heavier items near the center of the camper.
  • Spread Out: Distribute belongings evenly throughout the camper. It’s a simple yet effective way to maintain balance.

Regular Checkups

Every time you load up for a trip, it’s a good idea to do a quick balance check. Ensure no side feels heavier and adjust as needed.

Final Thoughts: Are There Other Habits to Keep Your Camper From Rocking?

A stable camper is the sum of multiple habits and checks. Beyond the technical aspects, being mindful of your camper’s environment and its reactions to it is crucial. A slight rock when someone walks might be okay, but if your camper sways with every slight breeze, it’s time for a checkup. Cultivate a routine: inspect your tires, check your leveling, and periodically assess your weight distribution. These practices ensure that your RV remains a safe, comfortable haven no matter where the road takes you.

Affiliate Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


  • Dan Mitchell

    Dan Mitchell is a writer and RV enthusiast. He started camping in 2014 with his family in the Catskills and has had a seasonal site there ever since. Dan is married with 4 adult children, and works as a product manager.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *