Katie Duncan
by Katie Duncan
Posted July 27, 2021

Have you ever needed to get to something on your RV or at your campsite that was just out of reach? If you don’t have an RV ladder, you might find yourself in this situation fairly often!

A ladder is by no means a new piece of technology, but it’s something that RVers may not think about when packing their rig. However, if you ever find yourself needing one, you’ll wish that you had put it on the checklist. 

In this article, we’ll break down everything you need to know about RV ladders including why you may need one, the different types on the market, and where you can find some good models for your RV. We’ll also discuss some frequently asked questions at the end. 

Let’s get to it!

Why do you need an RV ladder?

A ladder’s use is pretty obvious— it allows you to reach things that are far off of the ground or climb to the top of your rig. On an RV, your ladder will come in handy in a number of situations. 

  • Inspecting, cleaning, and troubleshooting issues on your roof: At one point or another, you’ll need to get up on the roof of your RV to inspect it, clean it, or troubleshoot potential problems. A ladder will allow you safely get up and down from the roof.
  • Cleaning other parts of your RV: Even the sides of your RV and the top of the windshield can be hard to reach and clean without an extra boost.
  • Reaching upper storage compartments: If you have a taller RV, such as a Class A motorhome or a fifth wheel, you may have some storage compartments or cabinets that are just outside of reach. A small step ladder can help you reach these.
  • Setting up decorations outside of the RV: If your campsite isn’t complete without some decorations and string lights, a small ladder can help you install those.
  • Getting on the second bunk: For RVs equipped with bunk beds, climbing onto the top bed can be challenging without a few extra steps.
  • Getting to a rooftop tent: Some campervans and overlanding vehicles are equipped with rooftop tents that require a ladder to reach.

With such a wide range of uses, it’s also likely that you will want to have more than one type of ladder on board.

Types of RV ladders

Several types of ladders can be used on an RV. 

Mounted RV ladders

This might be what you think of when we talk about RV ladders. This type is permanently mounted to the exterior of your rig. They typically aren’t adjustable and are made from a rust-resistant, lightweight material like aluminum alloy. 

Bunk bed ladders

Bunk bed ladders can be permanently affixed to the bunk bed or be removable. Either way, this ladder type is specifically designed for beds and will probably only serve that purpose. 

Portable RV ladders

Portable ladders aren’t permanently attached to any surface and can serve a variety of purposes, both in and outside of your rig. Examples of portable ladders include:

  • Multi-purpose ladders
  • Step ladders
  • Step stools

If you don’t have a mounted ladder outside of your RV, you might have two portable ladders: one that can be used to reach the roof of your RV and a smaller step stool for easier-to-reach tasks.

Best RV ladders 

If you don’t have a ladder already, you may be wondering where you can purchase a good one. Start your search with these eight highly-rated models. 

Best mounted RV ladders

1. Surco 103H Hook Over Ladder

best mounted rv ladder
Image source: amazon.com
Weight:6 lbs
Max height:53.5 inches
Weight limit:N/A
Price:$109.99 on Amazon
DescriptionThis ladder is designed for Class B RVs and fits most Dodge, Ford, Chevy, and GMC vans. It uses “over the door” hooks and is made from thick gauge aluminum tubing. 

2. Stromberg Carlson Universal Exterior RV Ladder

rv outside ladder
Image source: amazon.com
Weight:10 lbs
Max height:92.5”
Weight limit:250 lbs
Price:$132.45
DescriptionThis exterior aluminum ladder mounts to your RV subframe or backing using screws. It fits easily on many RV makes and models. 

3. Surco 501L Universal Motorhome Ladder

mounted rv ladder
Image source: amazon.com
Weight:5 lbs 
Max height:97 inches
Weight limit:300 lbs
Price:$135 on Amazon
DescriptionThis aluminum exterior ladder also can be adapted to fit many RV models. It is equipped with non-slip wide steps and unique hinges, which allow you to adjust the ladder to the contour of your RV.  

Best portable ladders

1. Little Giant Ladders: Velocity 

portable rv ladder
Dimensions:67 x 27 x 9 inches
Weight:30 lbs 
Max height:22 feet
Weight limit:300 lbs
Price:$240 on Amazon
DescriptionThis multi-purpose ladder can easily transform to an A-frame, extension, trestle-and-plank, 90-degree, or staircase if needed. 

2. Yvan Telescoping Ladder

telescoping rv ladder
Image source: amazon.com
Weight:25.5 lbs
Max height:12.5 feet
Weight limit:330 lbs
Price:$134.99 on Amazon
DescriptionThis telescoping RV ladder extends from 33.5 inches to 12.5 feet with the push of a button. The compact collapsed size saves space in small RVs or campervans with rooftop tents.

3. Little Giant Flip-N-Lite

Image source: amazon.com
Dimensions:75” x 21” x 5.25” 
Weight:14 lbs
Max height:6 ft
Weight limit:300 lbs
Price:$94.00 on Amazon
DescriptionThis extra-tall step ladder can help you reach things inside and outside of the RV. It can fold up flat to fit against a wall, in a closet, or behind a door. 

4. HBTower 3 Step Ladder

Image source: amazon.com
Dimensions:44.5” x 20.1” x 1.6”
Weight:11.5 lbs
Max height:28.5”
Weight limit:500 lbs
Price:$50.99 on Amazon
DescriptionThis 3-step ladder is easy to store, carry, and use. It’s perfect to have inside for hard-to-reach places, but also works great outside if you need an extra boost. The handle on this ladder is also a great added safety feature.

5. Luisladders Folding Multi-purpose Ladder

best folding ladder for rv
Image source: amazon.com
Weight:17 lbs 
Max height:12.5 ft
Weight limit:330 lbs
Price:$103.99 on Amazon
DescriptionThis multipurpose ladder can be configured in a number of ways to meet any of your ladder needs.

RV ladder FAQ

Here are some frequently asked questions we get about RV ladders.

What are some ladder safety tips?

If you’re going to be using a ladder, you’ll want to follow some basic safety guidelines.

  • Always use the right ladder for the job you’re doing. It’s best if the ladder extends at least 3 feet past your working surface.
  • Make sure your ladder is on stable ground before climbing. If need be, use ladder levelers to stabilize an uneven leg. It’s also important to ensure that the ground is not too soft. 
  • Never use a metal ladder near electrical equipment or power lines. 
  • Don’t use a ladder in front of a door that can be opened.
  • Don’t try to reach too far to one side when on the ladder. Try to keep your body centered at all times.
  • Maintain three points of contact with the ladder at all times— either two feet and one hand or one foot and two hands.
  • Never stand on the top rungs of a ladder. 
  • Don’t use any bucket shelves as a step.  
  • Don’t use a ladder if you feel tired, dizzy, or have a history of balance problems. 

How much weight can an RV ladder hold?

Weight capacities vary by ladder type and model. Each ladder should have a weight capacity on the ladder itself or somewhere in the instructions.

How do you install a ladder on your RV?

An exterior mounted ladder should come with instructions on how to properly mount it. Usually, you will need a drill to screw mounting brackets onto your RV. It’s also a good idea to have a caulking gun and silicone on hand as well. Many times you will need to go over the screws with silicone or sealant to prevent water from seeping into the holes. 

How do you take care of a ladder?

It’s important to keep your ladder in good condition. Never use a ladder that is bent, broken, missing steps, or looks compromised in any other way. A weak ladder could spell disaster should you decide to use it and it gives out. Remember the following tips:

  • Keep ladders— especially wooden or fiberglass models— out of direct sunlight and rain. 
  • Don’t store anything on top of your ladder. This can warp the material. 
  • Secure ladders when in transit to prevent vibration and damage from hitting other objects. 
  • Any metal bearings or moving mechanisms should be lubricated periodically for optimal performance.
  • Keep ladders free of oil, grease, and slippery materials to prevent a slip. 

Following these tips will help keep your ladder in tip-top shape!

Keep reaching for new adventures

The right RV ladder will keep you and your RV’s renters reaching new heights and new adventures. Though your ladder may not be used every day, if you find yourself needing one, you’ll be glad that you have one on board. With today’s ladder selections, you can find one that fits in your rig and gets the job done.

Katie Duncan

Outdoorsy Author

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