If you own an Airstream or any RV, travel trailer or Motorhome you will need to access the roof at some time or another. The best way to get to the top of your rig is a trampoline – the safest is a ladder. These days there are many different ladder innovations that have greatly improved the function, usability and storage of this ancient tool.
While renovating and repairing our needy vintage Airstream trips to the upper half of the trailer were frequent. New fantastic fans, resealing plumbing stack vents, new marker lights and resealing windows meant we needed a ladder that would safely give us passage to this territory without damaging the exterior of the trailer.
There are many ladders that will do the job of reaching the peak of your trailer. However there is one that, in my opinion, is the best.
BEST LADDER FOR RENOVATIONS – Foldable Ladder
This fold-able 4 pivot ladder is like a transformer. It takes on many different shapes giving it much greater function and usability compared to the standard vertical ladder.
A few of its most useful positions are the scaffolding and the arm extension.
This ladder position is perfect for accessing an servicing the high side of the trailer. We used this setting for resealing windows, installing and sealing new marker lights and washing. We haven’t polished our trailer yet but this setting would work well for this chore too!
My favorite feature of this fold-able ladder that is perfectly suited for Airstreams is leaving 1/4th the ladder as an extended arm that reaches over the top and rests atop of the trailer. This position allows you to easily and safely get on the roof. With the radius of Airstreams other ladders would put you right above the curve which makes a sketchy mount to the top of your trailer. With the fold-able ladder you can easily get over this curve as the ladder arm rests securely on the trailers ribs.
To protect the aluminum skin of the Airstream as the ladder rested on the roof we wrapped the end of the ladder with shop towels and taped them into place. This worked well to keep scratches to a minimum.
The fold-able ladder is:
- Versatile with many positions
- Acts as scaffolding
- Arm Extension Perfect for Airstream Curves
- Compact for Easy Storage
BEST LADDER FOR ON THE ROAD – Telescoping Ladder
While the fold-able ladder does get fairly compact it can gobble up valuable real estate if storage space is limited. After we had done the bulk of our repairs we retired the fold-able ladder for a more compact option.
Telescoping ladders are a genius innovation! These slick tools condenses a 12′ ladder into a mere 3′. The combination of functionality and compactness is ideal for anyone that wants to maintain access to their roof without all the space.
Telescoping ladders are not cheap. While at a local Sherwinn Williams picking up paint for the Airstream I saw one of these ladders and bought one that day. The store was running a promotion of something like 20% off which made the $230 ladder $180. After our purchase I found our exact ladder at a pawnshop for $75. Needless to say I promptly returned the ladder for its secondhand sister.
TELESCOPIC LADDER – Cheaper Version
The telescoping ladder is made by many different companies and has many different price points. The one we have we are very pleased with but it is expensive. There are some cheaper versions available and while I have not used them personally some friends have and they seem to work well.
BUY CHEAPER TELESCOPIC LADDER!
Ladders are invaluable tools when you need to access the roof of your trailer. If you are making many roof repairs and storage is not a concern I highly recommend the fold-able ladder. If storage space is a concern and you weigh less than 250lbs I highly recommend the telescoping ladder.
Have any experience with these products? Thoughts or questions? Comment below!
Note the above links are affiliate links to Amazon. If you decide to purchase a ladder through the link I will earn a small comission. This does not affect my opinion of the products recommended or what you will pay. If you decide either the fold-able or telescoping ladder is right for you we appreciate you using these links!
Can the foldable ladder be situated closer to the trailer with the top arm folded to sit on top like in your photo? I have a nice ladder but I cannot get on and off of it without someone holding it steady for me. With the foldable one sitting out that far from the edge of the trailer I’m pretty sure I would have the same problem. (It’s mostly in my mind. lol) If it were closer and then laying across the top, it seems like it might feel sturdy enough for me to do it myself. Otherwise, I will just bribe a friend to come over and hold a ladder.
Not really…the point of having the foldable part sitting over the top is so you can climb directly up the ladder on to the roof. This way there doesn’t have to be a transition from the ladder to the roof – you can stay on the horizontal part of the ladder do do your work. The weight of the ladder (and you) is on top of the trailer. With a traditional ladder you would need to move past the radius of the trailer from your ladder on to the top of the roof. Hope this makes sense!
Hi, just got the ladder, just Iike yours’ and have a few questions. On my trailer it does not appear quite the same as yours. It seems about two feet taller. Not sure that I have done it right. Looking at your picture, it looks like the ladder reaches the top of my trailer about 2 feet higher than yours. The picture looks like your trailer is either elevated about 2 feet, or is 2 feet taller than mine. Mine is a 1962 airstream tradewind. I’ll try to send a photo. Thanks Bill B.
Hmmmm…a picture would be helpful. Maybe you need more of a angle? What length of ladder did you get?