Rivian’s New Camp Mode Levels Your Truck, Helps In Other Ways

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Anyone who’s done a lot of RVing without a really high-end camper or motorhome knows about leveling blocks, or “Legos.” They’re the little blocks that you can build a little ramp with to level your camper. Some campers have a built-in electronic or bubble level, but in some cases, you have to bring your own bubble level along to make sure the camper is level.

Failure to do this can lead to an uncomfortable night sleeping if the ground you’re camping on isn’t level already. Having your head lower than your feet can give you digestive problems and blood running to your head, and having one side higher than the other can make it feel like you’re going to roll off your bed.  It can also lead to problems with the camper itself, such as the fridge not working right if it’s not level. So, leveling is a must, and it can be a time-consuming process.

But, nicer campers and motorhomes come with automatic leveling. With the press of a button, you can have your camper level in no time. This is a great feature to have, but it doesn’t come cheap. And, if you’re using something like a rooftop tent, few non-camper vehicles have any kind of an auto-leveling feature.

Fortunately, if you’ve mounted your rooftop tent on a Rivian, the company figured out how to make the process just like an expensive RV or motorhome. The latest software upgrade for its R1T and R1S models adds a slew of new capabilities to make camping inside your vehicle even more pleasant and convenient, including the option to level it when parked on uneven or sloping terrain.

Rivian’s Camp Mode

The new Camp mode can be accessed by tapping the ‘More’ icon in the lower right corner of the Center Display and looking for the tent icon. Once selected, you’ll see a variety of settings that will improve your camping experience.

Camp Leveling uses air suspension, algorithms, and sensors to determine how much adjusting needs to happen at each corner of the truck or SUV to make a level surface. Depending on the unevenness of the terrain, leveling can take anywhere from 20 seconds to a few minutes. When finished, the vehicle will let you know with a short chime.

Camp Leveling prevents your vehicle from rocking or tilting by making custom adjustments at each wheel. This leaves you with a level and even surface for sleeping, cooking, or just hanging out.

On top of leveling your vehicle (which is a big deal), Camp Mode also lets you modify the vehicles’ energy use while parked, establish charging port and outlet timers, turn off the vehicle’s interior displays, activate a specific Camp courtesy mode, and light up your campsite with flood lights in the side mirrors. Keep reading to learn more about all of these features!

In addition to your truck or SUV’s normal energy setting, Camp mode offers two more: ‘Stay off’ and ‘Stay on.’ The latter keeps the vehicle fully awake so you can use climate control, play music, and use other features while inside. Turning ‘Off’ all outlets, Gear Guard video, and most other features, including the Center display, conserves even more power. That way, if you’re concerned about range and don’t need the vehicle’s features or power, you can be sure you can get back to civilization.

If you ever find yourself camping close to others and want to reduce potential disruptions, ‘Camp courtesy’ is your solution. It shuts off all exterior lights, sounds, and proximity locking. Additionally, once it’s engaged, climate controls will function at a lower volume so as not to disturb those around you.

How Rivian Recommends Using These Features

The R1’s additional capabilities, such as cooking and sleeping in or on it, were created with camping in mind, according to Rivian. However, they may be useful in a variety of circumstances. Camp leveling, for example, doesn’t just make sleeping inside or on the R1S or R1T more pleasant and convenient; it’s also excellent for any activity that needs an even surface, such as food preparation or cooking.

There are several strategies to lower your car’s energy use while camping. The ‘Stay on’ option is the most effective if you want a more hotel-like vehicle camping experience within your Rivian. This allows you unlimited access to all of the comfort and convenience amenities inside the car, including climate controls, music, and Wi-Fi hotspot accessibility. You can also choose to turn off all interior displays if you want convenient access to these features but plan on sleeping inside your R1.

To preserve the battery and reduce some of the default lighting and sounds that turn on every time you open the door, for those situations where you want to use your R1T or R1S more like a storage locker, ‘Stay off’ allows you to disable these features.

The flood lights on the side view mirrors come in handy too. They can be controlled individually and still work even when the mirrors are folded in. If you’re parallel parked next to your campsite, for example, you can fold in the mirrors and light up the side of your campground without having to aim your R1 directly at it.

Limitations (& How To Get Around Them)

The majority of the settings and controls in Camp mode are only accessible while your R1 is parked, including the flood lights. For safety reasons, Rivian also included some further software limitations. If your R1T or R1S is parked on a steep slope or decline, camp leveling may not function correctly. While charging your car or if the Gear Tunnel doors or tailgate are open, camp leveling will not be available.

If you’re looking to charge your car at a campground, Rivian suggests that you level the vehicle first. Also, remember to reset your ride height before driving off again. If you fail to press the ‘Reset Ride Height’ button after leveling and begin driving, the speed of your R1T and R1S will be limited until it has time return to its original suspension ride height.

So, no, you can’t use Camp Mode to trick your Rivian into doing the “Carolina Squat” unless you want to drive really slow. Sorry.

There’s More Where That Came From

Rivian says it plans to release many new standalone apps for the R1T and R1S via software updates, including Camp mode. These updates not only bring new capabilities, apps, and features to its vehicles but also refinements to existing ones. Thanks to Rivian’s custom hardware and software platforms, they’re able quickly respond customer feedback and enhance both driving and non-driving experiences throughout the lifetime of the vehicle.

All images/videos provided by Rivian.

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Jennifer Sensiba

Jennifer Sensiba is a long time efficient vehicle enthusiast, writer, and photographer. She grew up around a transmission shop, and has been experimenting with vehicle efficiency since she was 16 and drove a Pontiac Fiero. She likes to get off the beaten path in her "Bolt EAV" and any other EVs she can get behind the wheel or handlebars of with her wife and kids. You can find her on Twitter here, Facebook here, and YouTube here.

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