As an RVer owner, having a collapsible ladder is pretty much a necessity. First, most homeowners have a step ladder, and when you’re on the road, your RV is your home. And for anyone serious about being a DIY’er, you really couldn’t be without one. Our ladder assists us frequently with all of the regular maintenance of our motorhome, with upgrades and “home improvement” type chores, and with many repair tasks as well.
But the term “collapsible ladder” can have different meanings.
Our RV is a 43’ diesel pusher with very large basement storage areas. Lots of RVers who have Class A RVs have plenty of room to store a long ladder like ours. But as compact as it is, not every RV has room for something that’s seven feet long. Fortunately, there are other options available.
Today we’re taking a look at three of the most popular types of collapsible ladders for RVs. We’ll cover something for everyone, including one with a 330-pound load capacity that a Class B RVer or van camper can carry!
Without further ado, let’s take a look at three high-quality collapsible ladders for RVers.
- 1) What Is a Collapsible Ladder?
- 2) What to Look For in a Collapsible Ladder
- 3) 3 of the Best Collapsible Ladders for RVs
- 4) Do You Carry a Collapsible Ladder?
What Is a Collapsible Ladder?
A collapsible ladder is a ladder that can fold or retract in some manner (usually manually or with a button release feature), so that it’s smaller and more easily stored than it would be at full size.
Some collapsible ladder types are telescoping extension ladders while others, like ours, are folding step ladders that collapse compactly, making them capable of being more easily stored.
Some collapsible ladders can extend to varying heights. When fully extended, most collapsible ladders (unless they’re intended to be small ladders) can reach heights that any normal home maintenance ladder is capable of reaching.
What to Look For in a Collapsible Ladder
Besides the ability to collapse it to a more storable size, there are a number of features you’ll want in any collapsible ladder. Let’s take a look at what we think are the most important features:
Easy Extension and Retraction
It’s important that a collapsible ladder is capable of being easily extended and retracted. No one wants to mess around with a ladder that’s difficult to use. More importantly, no one wants to catch fingers in areas of a ladder that weren’t intended for fingers, because that’s a good way to end up with fewer fingers!
Easy manual extension and retraction, or easy button retraction and extension, are important features. When you’re shopping for a collapsible ladder, this is something to watch for in reviews from users who’ve already purchased it.
Heavy-duty construction is important for any ladder, and a collapsible ladder is certainly no exception. Safety is the number one concern when using a ladder. A high-quality ladder made of high-grade aluminum serves the purpose well.
Speaking of aluminum…
All RVers understand the importance of keeping the weight of the rig’s contents to a minimum. When looking for a ladder for your RV, be sure to keep the weight of the ladder in mind.
Aluminum alloy is a good material for a collapsible ladder because it’s a material that is not only lightweight for the benefit of the RV, but also easy to maneuver as you carry it around the outside of the RV.
Aluminum alloy is also durable and sturdy and it won’t corrode. This means that a ladder made of aluminum alloy could be stored or carried outside in the elements (for example, on the back of a van or RV).
Load Capacity/Weight Capacity
This refers to the weight capacity that the ladder can safely handle.
Many household ladders are rated as “type 3” which means up to 200 pounds. If you or anyone else who may be using the ladder is anywhere close to 200 pounds, you’ll want a ladder capable of a higher load or weight capacity.
Type 1 commercial ladders are rated to 250 pounds, while type 1A industrial ladders have a duty rating of up to 300 pounds.
This gives you a general idea of what you’re looking at when you see terms related to a ladder’s weight capacity. Keep this information in mind when shopping for a collapsible ladder for your RV.
Duty rating is the maximum safe load capacity of the ladder. This not only includes the fully clothed ladder climber, but also any tools, paint, or other materials you may carry up the ladder.
The maximum height of your collapsible ladder is important based on how much height you need for your RV. For example, if you need a ladder to get up onto the roof of your rig, then you’ll need to make sure that your collapsible ladder can safely take you to that height.
3 of the Best Collapsible Ladders for RVs
Now let’s take a look at three of the best collapsible ladders for RVs and the features that make them worth having.
GP Logistics 7′ Compact Folding Ladder
This is the ladder we carry and it has worked very well for us, so we can testify to its usefulness and durability. We’ve had this ladder on board our RV for more than 15 years and we’ve used it regularly. Not only has it served our needs well, but it’s still in great shape after all those years!
Now, we remind you that we have a Class A RV with large basement compartments. In fact, our ladder is on our full-width pull-out tray, so access is super simple.
With all of that said, while this may be the perfect ladder for us, it wouldn’t be the right ladder for everyone. At its most compact, this ladder is roughly 7’ long and 5” square, (exact dimensions: 87″ x 3.5″ x 4.5″). It’s definitely compact, but you’ve gotta have 7 foot long storage available to consider this GP Logistics compact folding ladder for your RV.
There are many reasons why this is such a popular ladder for RVers:
- The ladder is made of alloy steel and is lightweight at only 14 pounds.
- It’s easy to move and store and is rated for a load capacity of 225 pounds.
- It’s very easy to open and close and includes straps to hold the legs of the ladder closed for storage and carrying.
You’ll see that reviews from motorhome and travel trailer owners are very good. This ladder essentially folds up into a long stick and is very well-made. All of the steps and step supports are strongly bolted together (as opposed to being riveted).
Many RVers have mounted a piece of 5” square vinyl fence post to their bumper to carry this ladder.
Just note that the steps are a bit narrower than you might find on a traditional ladder. This hasn’t bothered us or hampered any of our projects, but you’ll see it noted in reviews from other users, all of whom agreed that the trade-off for the compactness of this well-made ladder is worth the slightly narrow steps.
PEAYLI Telescoping Extension Ladder
This 16.5-foot (fully extended) aluminum alloy folding telescopic ladder is also very popular among RVers. Each layer of the ladder has two buttons that extend, retract, or lock the ladder in place securely.
The load capacity of this ladder is pretty amazing at 330 pounds, while the ladder itself weighs just under 30 pounds.
Fully retracted, the ladder is only 3.1 feet long, making it very compact to store and carry on/in your RV or camper, or even in the trunk of your car.
PEAYLI also makes an aluminum telescoping ladder that weighs only 20 pounds and collapses down to 2.8 feet in length. The fully extended aluminum telescopic extension length of this ladder is 12.5 ft., but it also has a load capacity of 330 pounds.
The only drawback of this type of telescoping ladder is that it needs to lean on something. This is fine if you’re trying to reach a high area of your RV, of course. But if you need to tend to an item such as a ceiling fan right in the middle of a room, this would not be the type of ladder you’d need because there’s nothing to lean the ladder against for climbing purposes.
Depending on why you want to carry a ladder with you when you travel, and how much room you have to store it, this could be just the perfect ladder for your needs.
We don’t own one, but our friends Tom & Caitlin Morton (of Mortons on the Move) have this ladder and we’ve used it and liked it.
- 16.5FT Telescoping Ladder: The 16.5 ft extension ladder is made of high quality aluminum alloy. Plastic parts are reinforced with nylon fiber to...
- Locking Mechanism: The independent locking mechanism allows the aluminum 16.5FT telescoping ladder to be locked at every step. Using the inward...
Little Giant Ladders “Velocity” M17 Multi-Position Ladder
This 17-foot multi-position ladder easily converts to an extension ladder or A-frame, a 90-degree ladder, a staircase ladder, a step ladder, or a trestle-and-plank (Velocity Trestle Brackets sold separately).
It has tip-and-glide wheels for easy movement from place to place.
The Velocity is a type 1A ladder rated for a load capacity of 300 pounds. This 17-foot version of the Little Giant Ladders multi-position ladder weighs 32 pounds and requires a storage height of 4’7” and a storage depth of 9”.
Little Giant also makes a 13-foot (25-pound) version, a 22-foot (39-pound) version, and a 26’ (50-pound) version of these Velocity multi-position ladders.
Made of an aerospace-grade alloy that leaves it weighing 20% less than comparable industrial ladders, the Velocity has wide-flared legs for extra stability.
While definitely not as portable as the other two option, this is a great ladder for anyone who needs the higher rating for doing work while traveling in their RV. It’s extremely stable and very versatile. In fact, our friend Tyler from Tough Top Awnings uses these heavy-duty ladders to install slide toppers.
- Multi-position ladder converts to A-frame, extension, trestle-and-plank, 90-degree and staircase with ease
- Rock Lock adjusters quickly alter your ladder into different configurations
Do You Carry a Collapsible Ladder?
If you carry a compact or collapsible ladder, we’d love to hear about it. How compact is it, how heavy, and how has it worked for you? And while you’re at it, tell us the type of RV you’re using to carry it!
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Friday 23rd of September 2022
Thanks for the article, guys. I have the GP Logistics 7', carried in the rear pass-thru bay on our Newmar Bay Star 3414 (35'). Somewhat awkward to set up and break down, but it works.
WARNING! MAKE SURE THE FEET ARE ON LEVEL GROUND AND SECURE. STAY CENTERED ON THE LADDER. I used my first (GP) ladder on slightly uneven ground and as I moved near the top of the ladder the entire unit twisted, spiraling under me and collapsed into a heap. I wasn't seriously injured... more embarrassed (I'm a retired safety officer). CampingWorld said they would have replaced it at no charge if I'd kept any parts of it, but I was so mad at the unit and myself I'd already tossed it into the trash, so paid full price for a new one.
Saturday 24th of September 2022
OMG, Alan! Glad you're OK, but bet that must've been a scary experience. Thanks for sharing it as a warning to others!
Allan Richards Sr
Tuesday 23rd of August 2022
I've used an ARCHOM EN131 Aluminum Foldable Telescopic Ladder (4.5M/15Ft) since we bought our 2006 TREK and it didn't have a ladder. It has worked well, just be careful when retracting as it can pinch.
Monday 22nd of August 2022
This is similar to the one I bought. When looking at these ladders as a means to get on the roof, take note of the difference between extended length vs reach. https://amzn.to/3dRow6c
Monday 22nd of August 2022
I carry all three of the ladders you reviewed. My 38 foot Monaco has plenty of basemen storage for them. I do leave the little giant at home except for long trips. These have saved me from maintenance challenges I would d have faced without them. Thank you for your reviews.
Monday 22nd of August 2022
Hey Scott. We're so jealous you have the room to store all three! 😉
Sunday 21st of August 2022
I've had good luck with a Telesteps 12ES.
Monday 22nd of August 2022
Glad to hear.