Are you on the search for the best RV folding ladders so you can reach that RV roof of yours? Look no further. We’re sharing our top pick based on our experience, plus other options so you can find the perfect space-saving RV ladder option for you.
RV Maintenance and Ladders Go Hand in Hand
It didn’t take long after we embarked on our full-time RV adventure for Todd to realize he needed a ladder for a few crucial RV maintenance tasks. But which ladder was the big question?
It’s incredibly important to keep an eye on the roof of your RV. From making sure all the seals are good to go to regularly removing any debris that has built up to avoid deterioration of the roof, regular RV roof maintenance can help keep some major problems from happening down the road. (Can you say L-E-A-K?)
Another task the ladder came in handy for was cleaning off the slides before pulling them in for a travel day. We camped under trees quite often and those trees dumped a lot of leaves, acorns and other things. You definitely do not want to leave that debris on your slides. Keeping the slides clean and well serviced is just one of the many ways to make sure you’re keeping up with RV maintenance and taking great care of your rig.
Your RV Folding Ladder Guide
Not all RVs come with a ladder attached at the back so you can access the roof. I’ll admit we were a tad bit jealous a time or two watching owners of large class As step quickly up the ladder, step on their roof and take care of what needed to be done. If we were to try and walk on the roof of our travel trailer, well, I can only imagine the damage that might cause because it did not have a walkable roof.
But just because the roof was not walkable didn’t mean we could get away with not inspecting it and cleaning it regularly. We just had to get a little more creative with our approach.
So the search for a ladder began. But not just any ladder! There were a few things we had to consider:
The ladder had to be lightweight
There were two reasons we needed the ladder we were going to purchase to be lightweight.
First, we were always trying to keep our cargo weight as low as possible. And the more you RV, the more stuff you accumulate. (Such is life…even on the road.) A ladder was an RVing essential for us, but it had to be as light as possible.
Second, the ladder needed to be easy to move around our travel trailer so we could reach all parts of the roof. The one we ended up purchasing could easily be moved by our teenage son.
The ladder had to fold or collapse as small as possible
Not only is weight an issue while traveling by RV, but so is space. And space is probably the more pressing issue on a daily basis. We had one pass-through storage compartment on our travel trailer, plus the bed of our truck for storage (we had a nice truck bed cover that served us very well and made this possible). That was it.
Since we were traveling full-time with four (sometimes five) full-sized people, you can only imagine how much stuff we had in that 26-foot travel trailer. So that ladder needed to easily fit in the pass-through or in the bed of the truck.
The ladder had to be tall enough to reach the roof
This is kind of a given, but we wanted to point it out to make sure we’re covering our bases here.
It’s important to make sure you know the height of your roof. Travel trailers tend to be shorter (10-11 ft), while motorhomes and 5th wheels roof’s are higher (13-14 ft). Just measure the height of your roof to be safe so you’ll know you’re purchasing a ladder that will safely and comfortably reach and still provide you with plenty of stability.
The ladder needed to be durable
Was it possible to find a ladder that was lightweight, collapsible and durable? We wondered if that even existed, but we’re happy to report – it does.
We knew the ladder we purchased would be used a lot and we wanted it to last. Obviously, we took a good, hard look at customer reviews related to durability and quality construction before making a purchase decision.
Two Types of Portable Ladders for Your RV to Consider
Although we called this buying guide the best “RV folding ladders”, there are actually two different kinds of ladders to consider for your RV: RV folding ladders and telescoping ladders. They both fall under the collapsible ladder category, but they are bit different.
A folding ladder is just what it sounds like. It folds flat.
A telescoping ladder slides in and out, with overlapping sections.
The type of portable ladder you need will depend on your rig size, storage, and just personal preference. We did see many RVs with a standard 8 or 10-ft aluminum ladder strapped to the back of their rig. So that’s always an option to consider…but not one we would personally choose or recommend.
Best RV Folding Ladders for 2020
One quick note before we dive in: With telescoping ladders in general like we will mostly cover here, you are dealing with collapsible parts and locking mechanisms that are more prone to failure than components in a standard ladder or even a folding ladder. You will see some product reviews to that effect. Please consider this factor before choosing to purchase and use at your own risk.
Alright, let’s cover the ladders, shall we? Starting with our top pick and the one that traveled all over the United States and Canada with us.
TREKKN’s #1 Portable RV Ladder Choice…
Description: This telescopic ladder by OxGord extends to a height of 12.5 ft, has a safety locking feature, non-slip foot grips, and comes with a carrying bag that kept it well-protected and in good condition after 17 months on the road.
*Note: This 12.5 ft height will easily reach just about any travel trailer roof, but for fifth wheels and class As you will probably need to look at 14-15 ft ladder options instead.*
Weight: Weighs 24 pounds, can hold up to 330 pounds, and it can be used at an angle of 75 degrees.
Dimensions: 3.3 ft x 20 in x 3 in (fully retracted)
This was the perfect ladder for our travel trailer maintenance needs and almost daily use on our 17 months of full-time travel. It easily fit into our travel trailer pass-through and was lightweight enough not to be a huge burden. We placed it flat on the bottom in the pass-through storage so that multiple other items could be placed on top of it, maximizing our available storage space.
The safety locking feature never failed us, plus it was easy to extend and collapse, and we simply could not have been more satisfied with the purchase.
On Amazon, it has 4+ stars on more than 1,200 reviews. (Yes, you will see some negative reviews as with any product. Read them and just do your due diligence before purchasing.)
Description: This ladder has many of the same features as the OxGord pick above. However, from what I can tell it does not come with the handy carrying bag like the OxGord does. You probably know that your equipment can take quite a beating while you are on the road, and I feel like our ladder would not have performed as well without that carrying bag to provide some protection from elements and the generally dirty environment. If the ladder you choose does not have a carrying bag, I recommend finding some type of protective bag separately to store it in.
This ladder features:
- Spring-loaded Locking Mechanism
- Release buttons on side of steps so fingers don’t get pinched or crushed (this was the only drawback of the OxGord ladder we had)
- Non-slip rubber feet for added grip and stability
Weight: 24.2 pounds
Dimensions: 35.2 in x 19.5 in x 3.5 in (fully retracted)
Description: This ladder is constructed of a special alloy that makes it 20 percent lighter than comparable ladders. It has so many innovative features including the dual-pin hinge and the easy-to-use Rock Locks for quick adjustment.
For those of you with taller rigs (Class A, Fifth Wheel, etc.), this option is going to be more up your alley. Since those rigs are 12-13.5 ft tall, this ladder will give you enough height to safely reach past the edge of your roof and not potentially damage the side of your rig by leaning the top of the ladder against it. (That can happen…especially if you have a mobile RV repair tech come work on a roof issue and use your ladder. Ask me how I know.)
It obviously does not collapse down nearly as far as the telescoping ladders we have looked at so far. But if you have a larger rig with more storage, this may not be much of an issue. You definitely gain a great deal in overall stability and quality with this beauty, no doubt about it.
The Little Giant Velocity ladder can be used in many different configurations:
- 90-degree ladder
- With Velocity Trestle Brackets (sold separately) to form a trestle-and-plank scaffolding system
This ladder comes in several different sizes: 13, 17, 22, and 26-foot.
The following weight and dimensions are for the 17-foot version.
Weight and Height: The 17-foot version reaches a full 15 feet, weighs 30.5 pounds and can hold up to 300 pounds.
Dimensions: 8 in x 24 in x 55 in (fully retracted)
Description: This ladder appears to be one of the highest rated 15.5 feet telescoping ladders available. If you are really hoping to stay with the compact storage size of the telescoping ladders but would like that added stability factor, this option with a stabilizer bar may be perfect for you. It’s kind of the best of both worlds, though it will obviously require a bit more storage space than other telescoping ladders because of that stabilizer bar. A small hassle for added safety.
This ladder features easy one button retraction, is crafted from high-quality aluminum alloy, lightweight and easy to carry. It expands and retracts safely, meaning no pinched fingers.
Weight: It weighs 35.3 pounds and can hold up to 330 pounds.
Dimensions: 19 in x 39 in x 2 in (fully retracted, but I don’t believe that 19 in width includes the stabilizer bar…I’m guessing it adds 8-10 inches in width)
If you RV full-time like we have, or plan to make multiple road trips this year, we would highly recommend one of the telescoping ladders for ease of use and its space-saving capabilities. It’s definitely one of the best purchases we made when it came to being able to perform maintenance tasks on those hard to reach areas.
RV travel can be unpredictable! Roofs leak, tires blow, and bad weather comes out of nowhere. So having a few products on hand to help with maintenance is important.
As you know, RVs aren’t cheap, so it’s important we take extra good care of them so they’ll stand the test of time. Purchasing a portable ladder for your RV is an investment you’ll be thankful you made. I know we were!
Julie Bonner is one-half of the TREKKN team. She specializes in helping you whip up delicious meals in your tiny RV kitchen, as well as RV organization tips and helping fellow RVers make their RV feel like home. Her favorite RVing spot is in Banff National Park in Canada where yes, the water really is that blue and the people really are that nice.