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Why Do You Need An RV Ladder?

RV ladders are one of those things you may not think about until you need them. If you find yourself at a campground needing to access your roof without a ladder, you’ll be stuck hoping a friendly neighbor has one you can borrow. Let’s look at why you need an RV ladder and a few good options to consider! 

What Are RV Ladders Used For?

As long as you’re in good physical condition, an RV ladder makes accessing your RV’s roof relatively easy. If your RV doesn’t have slide toppers, you’ll likely find yourself climbing on top of your RV after every adventure, especially if you parked under trees. 

cleaning slide out

Any remaining leaves, seeds, or twigs can cause damage to your RV’s seals when closing your slides. It’s essential to use your ladder to climb onto your roof and sweep the tops of your slides to keep your rubber seals in good condition.

While you should clear the tops of your slides before packing up, other instances aren’t so frequent. Inspecting the seals on your RV’s roof is an essential maintenance task. You should do this task every 60 to 90 days. Your roof warranty might even require it. Address any cracks or signs of aging as soon as possible.

While RV ladders are an excellent resource for RV roof maintenance, they can also aid in a bit of fun. For example, get off the ground and enjoy an epic sunset from the roof of your RV. But be careful–putting too much weight in one place can cause roof damage.

Is It Safe to Climb Onto the Roof of Your RV?

Not all RVs have a “walkable” roof. Before standing or walking on top of your RV, check with your manufacturer to determine its weight capacity. Walking on a non-walkable roof can cause damage to the RV and be incredibly unsafe. 

If you’ve confirmed that your roof is walkable, it’s safe to get on it as long as you use precautions. Watch where you go and always step forward. It’s easier to misstep and fall when walking backward!

Attached RV Ladders

You’ve likely seen RVs that have a permanently attached ladder. Let’s look at why this might be a good option for you. 

What Kind of RVs Have Attached Ladders?

Virtually any RV can have a ladder attached as long as there is adequate space and support. You can find attached ladders on motorhomes, travel trailers, fifth wheels, and toy haulers. 

However, shorter units such as teardrop trailers are less likely to have an attached ladder.  

The Benefits of Having an Attached Ladder

Having an attached ladder gives you one less thing to get out and pack away. You won’t have to dedicate any time or energy to pull out your ladder each time you need it. Additionally, you won’t need to set aside any storage space for your ladder. 

Having an attached ladder also makes it easy to check your roof while traveling. If you happen to pass under a low tree limb, it’s convenient to jump onto the roof to inspect any damages.

Can You Add a Ladder to Your RV?

Some RVs can have an after-market ladder added on. As with most additions, you will want to check with your dealer or manufacturer to verify unit compatibility. You can add a ladder if your RV has the appropriate blocks or studs built into the structure.

If you don’t have the appropriate setup to attach a ladder safely, some dealers can do the work to make it safe to add on. This can be an expensive and lengthy process, so you’ll need to decide if this is the right choice for you. 

Top Ladders for Mounting on Your RV

If you’ve decided to attach a ladder to your RV, you’ll need to choose which to purchase. Here are two of our top picks for ladders to mount on your RV. 

Stromberg Carlson Ladder

The Stromberg Carlson Ladder weighs 10 lbs with a 250-lb weight capacity, is 92.5 inches tall, and each ladder rung is 12 inches apart. There’s a 5-inch space between the ladder and the RV. It also features 1-inch diameter tubing. 

Stromberg Carlson 139.21 LA-401 Universal Exterior...
  • Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H) - 54.00 x 15.00 x 4.00...

This ladder has a portion that you can bend to accommodate an angle, functioning on both flat and curved RV backs. 

Surco 502L Universal Ladder

Surco 502L Universal Ladder only weighs 7 lbs, making it a great lightweight option. This ladder has hinges to fit RVs with a curved back wall. It’s constructed with heavy gauge 1-inch aluminum. 

SURCO | RV Motorhome Exterior Ladder | Universal |...
  • Manufactured from heavy gauge 1 inch aluminum
  • It has a bright dipped polished finish. Unique hinges adjust to...
  • Non-slip, wide steps for safety and 4 stand-offs provided can be...

It comes with four installable stand-offs giving users extra confidence and stability. There are 6 inches of space between the wall of the RV and the ladder. It has a weight capacity of 250 lbs. 

Pro Tip: Want to use your RV ladder for extra storage space? We took a closer look to discover Can I Strap a Honey Wagon (Or Anything Else) to My RV Ladder?

Portable RV Ladders

There are alternatives if you decide a mounted ladder isn’t right for you. While attached ladders have many benefits, portable ladders also have their place.

Portable RV ladder strapped to permanent ladder
Maybe you want both types!

The Benefits of Having a Portable Ladder

A portable ladder is a versatile choice for any RVer. It’s easy to move around and is ideal for getting a close look at the roof of your slide-outs and gutters. 

Portable ladders are also a good investment if you change RVs or for other non-RV-related tasks. They can also be useful for helping a fellow camper that needs assistance. 

What to Consider When Buying a Ladder for Your RV

Each RVer will have varying needs when it comes to accessories such as a ladder. Thankfully, there are ladders to fit your specific needs. Here are a few things to consider when purchasing your RV ladder. 

Perfect Ladder For RVers!


Consider the weight of the ladder and its weight capacity. Find a lightweight option if you worry about adding too much weight to your RV. Additionally, you want to have confidence that the ladder will safely support you. Know the weight ratings to avoid putting yourself or others at risk. 

Folding or Telescoping

Generally, two available options are a folding or telescoping ladder. Standard folding ladders take up a bit more space but are well-known and trusted. 

A telescoping ladder is perfect for saving valuable space. These ladders telescope into themselves to take up less room in under-storage compartments or a truck bed. 

Maximum Height

A ladder does you no good if it’s not tall enough. Measure your RV top to bottom before buying. Keep in mind that if the ladder is not an A-frame ladder, it will need to lean on the RV at an angle, requiring a little extra length. 


Ladders get banged around during towing and knock into other storage items. They can also hit objects while being unloaded. You want a ladder that can take a beating. Check reviews to see how the RV ladder holds up for other users before making your purchase. 

Top Portable RV Ladders

Once you’ve decided a portable ladder is the best choice for you, weed through the many on the market. We’ve helped narrow down the search for you. Here are our top two picks for portable RV ladders.  

WolfWise 15.5FT Aluminum Telescoping Ladder

The stable base of the WolfWise 15.5FT Aluminum Telescoping Ladder stands out. This horizontal base at the bottom of the ladder gives you confidence that it won’t move around while in use. You may come to appreciate this great addition. 

WolfWise 15.5FT Aluminum Telescoping Ladder with...
  • Safety: Stabilizer bar and non-slip mat improve the stability of...
  • One-Button Retraction: New upgraded internal structure, no more...
  • Selected Material: The telescoping ladder is made of premium...

The WolfWise Aluminum Telescoping Ladder is 15.5 ft long, making it usable for many RVs. It’s only 39.3 inches long when compacted with a 37.4-inch-wide base. It’s easy to carry with its heavy-duty strap and has a weight capacity of 330 lbs. 

Oxgord Aluminium Telescoping Ladder

Those seeking a smaller but still impressive telescoping ladder will appreciate the Oxgord Aluminium Telescoping Ladder. This RV ladder takes up a small space but helps you with those big jobs. 

Telescoping Ladder 12.5 FT Extension Telescopic...
  • RETRACTS WITH ONE BUTTON: Introducing the most user-friendly...
  • RETRACTS WITH ONE BUTTON: Introducing the most user-friendly...
  • RETRACTS WITH ONE BUTTON: Introducing the most user-friendly...

Oxgord Aluminium Telescoping Ladder is 12.5 ft long when extended with a 250-lb weight capacity. Users will appreciate its durability and small size when compact at 2.8 ft long and only 20 inches wide. It’s perfect for sliding in and out of an under-storage compartment without taking up precious storage space. 

All in all, you never want to neglect your RV roof. It’s vital to have a ladder to check for damage, clean the roof’s surface, and perform routine maintenance. It’s also nice to climb up on your roof and enjoy the view from time to time!

Do you have an RV ladder preference: attached or portable? Let us know in the comments!

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About Cait Morton

Co-Founder, Logistics Queen, Business & Content Manager, and Animal Lover

An Upper Peninsula of Michigan native (aka a Yooper), Caitlin is the organization, big-picture, and content strategy queen of our operation. She keeps everything orderly and on track.

With a background in Business Management, she supports and helps channel Tom’s technical prowess into the helpful content our readers and viewers expect. That’s not to say you won’t find her turning wrenches and talking shop – RV life is a team effort. She keeps the business and the blog moving forward with a variety of topics and resources for our audience.

Believe it or not, she is rather camera shy, though she co-hosts the Mortons’ personal videos and The RVers TV show.

Caitlin’s passion lies in outdoor recreation and with animals. Some of her favorite things to do are hiking, biking, and getting out on the water via kayak, SUP, or boat.

She also loves the RV life due to the fact that you can bring your pets along. Sharing information about safely recreating outdoors with your whole family – pets included! – is very important to her. Because of this, Caitlin spearheaded the launch of HypePets in 2023.

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Samantha Nichols

Monday 10th of January 2022

My RV ladder was damaged by backing into some tree branches and I thought Stromberg Carlson replacement would allow for a retrofit. It is allot cheaper than it's competition the lovely thing about this ladder is that you can literally customize it for any vehicle it took me about 30mins to install, I have tested this ladder with many of my family and friends and it can definitely hold weight that's not a concern!