Looking for a DIY solution for high-quality RV jack blocks? As passionate RV owners and full time RV travelers, we understand that sometimes the best solutions aren’t neccesarily the most complex or expensive ones. When it comes to stabilizing your RV or achieving the perfect level, sometimes a DIY approach can be as good if not better than more intricate products available on the market today. In this guide, we’ll dive into what RV jack blocks are, what they do, and walk you through an RV Jack Blocks DIY solution to help you craft your own perfect pairing for your RV adventures.
What are RV Jack Blocks?
RV jack blocks are a simple yet important RV accessory. These blocks, often made of rubber, wood, or hard plastic, help provide a larger and more stable footprint for your RV rather than your standard RV jacks alone. Their primary purpose is to enhance stability, assist in leveling, and reduce wear and tear on your jacks.
Stabilizer jacks are crucial components of your RV setup. They are designed to provide stability to your RV, creating a comfortable and secure space for traveling and camping.
Jacks typically come in manual, electric, or hydraulic systems. Hydraulic jacks are more common in larger RVs, while manual jacks are more common in smaller travel trailers (such as scissor jacks). More luxury fifth wheels can come with an auto-leveling system, while many types of RVs will have jacks that need to be manually operated.
In our DV fifth wheel, we can pull up to a site, put the jacks down, unhook from our truck, and press a simple button (AUTO-LEVEL) and have a fully level RV in a matter of less than a minute.
In other RVs, this might look like pressing a button that puts each jack down, but then having to shorten and lengthen each one until the RV shows level.
At the other end of the spectrum, you have RVs where you would be using a tool like a drill in order to extend scissor jacks by hand.
The number of stabilizer jacks varies based on RV’s sizes and weight.
How jack blocks help on soft ground
It can be nerve-wracking to pull into a muddy or grassy RV site after some heavy rain or poor weather conditions.
We have found ourselves in situations before where we pull in and immediately start to see our tires start sinking into the soft grass. It’s never a good feeling to watch your tires spin and your truck and RV go nowhere. With a 40-foot rig that weighs almost 20,000 pounds, we are more prone to getting stuck in the mud… and this can be a very costly mistake.
RV jack blocks play a pivotal role when dealing with soft ground conditions. Particularly for heavier RVs like ours, jack pads help disperse the weight of the RV more effectively, helping prevent the trailer, fifth wheel or motorhome from sinking on wet or soft surfaces.
It can also be a good idea to have some extra wood on hands for your tires as well as your stabilizer jacks… just in case!
How jack blocks help on paved RV sites
You might be thinking that if you only plan to camp at RV parks or campgrounds with paved sites, you might not need RV jack pads after all.
While you may not have to worry about soft ground, jack pads can still come in handy even on paved sites.
First, they can help protect the feet of your RV jacks from harm due to scraping on the pavement.
Second, they can serve as additional leverage should the RV pads be unlevel. Paved sites, even if they claim to be level, are not always so when you pull in! We have found that even driving up on one block with our tires helps get us closer to level and puts less strain on our jacks and makes a big difference in stabilization.
You don’t want to feel like you are walking around on a rocking boat while you are preparing a meal or trying to sleep in your RV. The more stable the better – especially if you run into any wind or adverse weather during your trips!
Utilization for different RV Types
For fifth wheels, leveling jacks are crucial. The front jacks hold up the nose or overhang of the RV (where it attaches to the fifth wheel hitch in the truck) and the leveling jacks help create more stability throughout the length of the RV.
Travel trailers on the other hand rely on a tongue jack that extends from the front of the trailer (where it has a coupler to attach to the towing ball) and scissor jacks at various stabilization points on the trailer, typically found in the corners of the RV.
Motorhomes have jacks that descend from the underneath of the RV, to help create additional stability and leveling capabilities in addition to the tires.
READ MORE: The RVer’s Guide To The Types of Fifth Wheel Hitches
DIY Jack Blocks: Step By Step
Creating your own handmade jack blocks can be a budget friendly way to customize and create jack blocks that meet the needs of your RV and are high quality for long lasting use.
We built our own jack blocks for our fifth wheel’s front jacks in order to craft a solution that would be sturdy and large enough for wet conditions, high enough to take some of the strain off of our front jacks, and have a large enough footprint and versaility to help us level our RV even in some of the really awkward and unlevel spots we can find ourselves in while boondocking.
With only a little work and a few supplies that you can pick up from your local home depot or hardware store you can have sturdy high quality jack blocks that will last a long time
Have some extra wood laying around? You might already have what you need to craft your own jack stand!
DIY jack blocks is an easy enough build to be done by just about anyone, and is really only a combination of 3 components:
Parts of a DIY Jack Block
- Base material
- Method for attaching the components
Materials You Will Need:
- Rubber or wood: First you will want to choose what material will serve as the main component of your DIY jack blocks, Wood is a common choice as it is the easiest to come by and typically the most inexpensive. We made our jack blocks out of 6X6 planks of wood
- Handle: Crafting a handle onto your jack pads adds an extra layer of conveniece for moving them around into and out of storage, while also making it easier to shif them and get them sitting level before lowering the RV jack on it. Common materials for this that are durable include rope, ratchet strap,
- Affixing materials: Large screws will be a sturdy way to attach your jack pads together for the long term. Remember, the larger surface area you create for your jacks, they more stability you will have. You will want your jack pads wider than the surface area of your jack feet and using materials that are weather resistant and will not corrode or deteriorate is also a good idea
Design & Execution
For each jack pad:
- (2) 6X6 planks of wood that are each 12 inches long
- (1) 2X12 that is also 12 inches long that sits on top of the 6X6
- These are fastened together using 3 and ½ exterior decking screws
- Handles were attached using lengths of ratchet straps, held down by a washer and bolt
Step By Step Instructions
- Source your supplies. We bought a 6X6 from Home Depot and had it cut into 4 12 inch lengths. The size and length can be modifeid for your RV. You may want smaller or larger, taller or shorter depending on your RV. For rear jacks, we would opt for a 4X4 with a 2X8 on top, where as we opted for something taller and larger for our front jacks which extend further and have a 9 inch in diameter size, where as our rear jacks are smaller at around 7 inches.
- Purchase screws. We chose decking screws that were built for the outdoors and would be long enough to bite into the 6X6s, fusing them together.
- Purchase bolts and washers for the handles. (We used a ratchet strap for the length of the handle, but you can choose your own material – whether that is something you have on hand or something you purchase. Examples below).
- Take (2) of your 6X6s and put them together so that they form a perfect square (12 inches wide, 12 inches long and 6 inches high). If you want to be extra precise, use wood clamps to clamp them together (link).
- Take (1) 2X12 and place it on top of the 6X6s so that it perfectly covers the square you built. We did not clamp this on, but you can do so.
- Drive in your screws. We put 1 screw in each corner of the 2X12 down into the 6X6 (4 total). We then put 2 additional screws in the center of the 2X12 so that they grab the isnide of each 6X6 underneath. Be careful not to put screws into the seam where the 6X6s meet. Now you have a nice solid block
- Turn the block on its side and prepare to install the handles.
- Get your handle material (7-8 inches long) and put it roughly in the center of the 6X6 side. Put a washer and bolt into one side of the ratcher strap and secure to the 6X6. Then, form the shape of the handle (creating an inverted U or loop) and fasten the other side down with the bolt and washer, creating a handle. The handle side will be the outside of your jack blocks when you set up your RV, making it easy to pick them up and set things up.
- Complete these same steps for the second, third, etc, jack blocks.
- Go camping and enjoy!!
Members of the RVing community take great pride in their ability to craft their own solutions and fixes for the challenges associated with RV ownership. Jumping into the world of full time RV living and travel, we have quickly built our skill set and learned many new things in the way of RV maintenance and fixes. We are no longer just a data scientist and a sleep coach, but also a carpenter, electrician, plumber and more (or atleast in training ).
With a few supplies, a touch of creativity and a bit of effort you can craft sturdy and dependable jack blocks that will help you have a greater ability for leveling out your RV, increased stability for a more stable and homey camping experience, and a buffer that allows you to prevent wear and tear on your stabilizer jacks and landing gear.
And if this article made you change your mind about the DIY route for your RV jack blocks, here are some popular options on the market that you can buy instead:
Blocks & Chocks
While campgrounds are many things, unless you are at an RV resort, most times one thing they are not is flat. If you plan to visit state parks, family-run campgrounds, harvest hosts, or boondock on public lands, you can almost guarantee you will require some help from blocks for leveling and chocks to help keep your rig sturdy.
Getting a set of stackable blocks is an RV essential as they can help you when leveling out on a site that is very uneven, as well as help with stability by preventing your jacks from having to extend too far.
In addition, chocks are an RV camping essential as they help to keep your RV more stable by limiting the movement of the tires, and can also help with security when unhooking from a tow vehicle. X Chocks are a quality choice among RVers and we also have a large chock that was actually once used by fire engines!
If you own a fifth wheel like us, you will also need want something to prop up your front jacks, as this helps limit the strain on the jacks and helps make the RV more stable You can create DIY blocks using wood or consider a popular option like the Andersen Jackstands:
Many RVers also choose to install RV snap pads to their jacks to further protect them from damage, the elements, and rust:
TIPS & GUIDES FOR ALL THINGS RVING
- Basic RV Camping Essentials
- Best 5th Wheel Accessories
- RV Tips 101: Education Guide For Beginner RVers
- Complete Guide to RV Boondocking & 51 Best Boondocking Tips
- Best RV Apps: Proven Reliable Resources & Best Apps For Boondocking
Finding Campgrounds & Free Camping
Our favorite resources for finding great campgrounds and campsites include :
- Harvest Host: For finding unique and convenient overnight stays at breweries, vineyards, farms, and more! Perfect for a fun weekend getaway or stopover during a long travel stretch.
- Campspot: For finding and booking great campgrounds and RV parks conveniently and easily all in one place!
- RV Life: RV safe GPS, RV Trip Wizard route planning, maintenance tracker, campground reviews and more. Everything any RVer needs, all in one place!
- Campendium & iOverlander: For finding free camping spots