Originally Posted by M and R
We are doing Alaska next summer and are discussing the options for more storage. We talked about trailer and hitch mounted pod, but had not considered roof mounted, because we did not have the ladder. We are very interested in your experience.
I wasn't going to pipe up here unless someone threw bait into the water, but there it is (sorry for the mixed metaphors).
I researched mounted ladders some time ago, and to make a long story short, the suggestion on the internet was that the ones that affix to sheet metal (rear door or side) are not necessarily good ideas. The Sprinter body just wasn't designed to take that kind of weight, and there were suggestions in the forum universe that the rear door sheet metal in particular can deform if subjected to those kinds of stresses.
I decided not to risk it. For roof access, we bought a Telesteps ladder which we keep inside our Interstate, rather than installing a ladder. We also went with a hitch carrier rather than formulating a plan to store anything on the roof (not that our solar system
affords us much extra space up there anyway).
Now, Aluminess makes this Sprinter ladder
which attaches to the gutter rather than to the sheet metal, and if I had an NCV3, I probably would not hesitate to use their product. I've seen some combo installations of theirs (ladder plus roof assembly) in which it appears that they might attach at least some of their ladders under the chassis as well, to help bear the weight. Also much better, IMO, than trying to anchor a ladder in sheet metal.
FWIW. I call Aluminess products "jewelry for Sprinters". Some of their installations are just beautiful, and of course the quality is reflected in their prices.