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Old 05-09-2016, 09:36 AM   #1
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Ramp for a Camper's Seasoned Body

I have a rare disease which has progressed to the point I can no longer easily walk up and down our step to get in and out of our trailer. I need a ramp. There are a number of folding ramps available which will support my accumulated weight; however, there are some concerns.The ramp will need to be fastened to the trailer for safety, I do not bend so it will need to be easily fastened. I do not use a wheel chair now but that is coming so a lip at the entrance is not something I wish to navigate. I do not have a lot of cash to put into this project. I do have a desire and will to continue camping in our beloved Airstream.
Our camping these days is pretty much limited to two months of camp-hosting during the summer so we do not move around to different sights but I still like to do things myself and want to be able to set the ramp up and take it down by myself. Below is a link to a ramp from Amazon, any ideas how I would attach it?
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EUITV6W/...I2FYSJDAN2UAFS
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Old 05-09-2016, 10:01 AM   #2
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I am not sure a 4-5 foot ramp would not be too steep to walk up up if you are significantly restricted.
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Old 05-09-2016, 10:13 AM   #3
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We have a handicap ramp in our home. The standard for a wheelchair ramp is one foot of ramp for every one inch of rise.

I hope that you are able to work this out. Please keep us posted on your progress.

Brian
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Old 05-09-2016, 10:57 AM   #4
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I understand the ADA requirement is one foot for one inch but using that I would need a 22' ramp and most campsites would not accommodate that length. We have been experimenting with several heavy cedar planks and found that the shortest length I could manage was 60". I have been in a wheel chair at times and understand that this steep ramp would not be usable for a wheel chair.
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Old 05-09-2016, 11:39 AM   #5
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Have you considered a lift like you may have seen on small van school buses. That would require less space and still be used for walking and future wheelchair.
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Old 05-09-2016, 11:51 AM   #6
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Just a thought but would a short flat area out the door then a 90 deg angle with a ramp along side the street side work? It would be under the awning and could be in several pieces to make moving it a little easier.

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Old 05-09-2016, 12:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaplain Kent View Post
I have a rare disease which has progressed to the point I can no longer easily walk up and down our step to get in and out of our trailer. I need a ramp. There are a number of folding ramps available which will support my accumulated weight; however, there are some concerns. The ramp will need to be fastened to the trailer for safety, I do not bend so it will need to be easily fastened. I do not use a wheel chair now but that is coming so a lip at the entrance is not something I wish to navigate. I do not have a lot of cash to put into this project. I do have a desire and will to continue camping in our beloved Airstream.
I understand your concerns, but you may be wishing for more than you can have. When I was still working for a living, I volunteered on the DART— Disability Awareness and Resource Team— to help find and/or develop reasonable accommodations for disabled employees, including those with mobility impairments. I also have a mobility impairment of my own that sometimes requires me to use a cane.

Unfortunately, your Airstream entrance door is not wide enough to accommodate even the smallest wheelchair. A small mobility scooter, maybe (I haven't measured to be sure) but not a wheelchair. So whatever ramp you get doesn't need to be any wider than the Airstream door. To get wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair, you'd need an Eddie Bauer model that has a rear hatch where you could enter on a wider ramp at the rear— and you'd need to use a pull-through campsite to allow you to enter at the rear.

But getting back to the ramp, if you can locate one that is narrow enough, one possibility is to deploy the steps, and then use the steps to support the ramp at the upper end. By placing a baulk of 8×8 timber on the top step, any ramp designed for use with a U-haul truck could be supported on the timber.

It's important to note, however, that if you still want to be able to close the Airstream's door, there will always need to be a bit of a lip at the top of the ramp, because the top of the ramp has to be low enough so that the door doesn't drag across it. Fortunately a mobility scooter should be able to handle a bump of about an inch or so because they can go over a residential door sill.
Quote:
Our camping these days is pretty much limited to two months of camp-hosting during the summer so we do not move around to different sights but I still like to do things myself and want to be able to set the ramp up and take it down by myself.
I applaud your determination to be as self-sufficient as possible, but as noted above I think a narrower ramp that could be supported on your existing steps (with timber cribbing if necessary) might be your best bet.

The narrowest ramp on this page is 28" wide, with a usable width of 26", and is 6' long. https://estore.sjf.com/sjf.nsf/vwAll..._vQxoCnszw_wcB Maybe not an exact fit for your Airstream door and steps, but closer than the ramp you linked to. And of course it's aluminum, because that's the Airstreamer way.

On Edit— An aluminum boat boarding ramp might be even better. This one is particularly interesting because it rolls up for transport…
http://www.rollaramp.com/portable-ramps
Their narrowest model has a 26" width.
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Old 05-09-2016, 01:05 PM   #8
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My wife can't negotiate more than a 4" rise. We tried the ramp idea but were not successful. So I made her a set of 4" high blocks out of light weight wood with a suitcase handle on each for easy stowing away. By moving the blocks on each step as we go, she can make her way up into the Airstream, 4" at a time. We also installed hand grip bars which help stability a lot. This works well for us, but I understand you would like to be able to accomplish this on your own without assistance. Hope you find a good solution.
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Old 05-09-2016, 01:06 PM   #9
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I have seen several times motorhomes that have a small seat mounted right out side the door that is motorized to raise or lower a person for easy of entrance or egress, the seat folds up when not in use. I do not know who makes them or cost but it seemed to work great for the people, 2 who were wheel chair bound.
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Old 05-09-2016, 02:59 PM   #10
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http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00XCQMUYS?psc=1

I'd remove the wooden threshold inside and use this. Outside if you could get some kind of LANDING with adjustable legs you could level it to the door height which can vary slightly depending on the slope of the campground. Then you could add a ramp going forward or backward parallel to the Airstream - so it doesn't lop over into someone else's campsite. Those 5 or 6 foot long ramps are designed for motorized chairs, not walking up and down. Since your trailer is so much lower it might be doable, but 8 feet would probably be better.

They ought to make a lift something like a FLOOR JACK with a handle you could pump or an electric motor right?

Paula
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Old 05-09-2016, 06:42 PM   #11
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To allow the door to close you are pretty much limited to something that mounts to the steps and will have a small lip or step to get into the trailer. I can't see a way to do this that doesn't require a little bit of complication. Maybe a block of wood that sits on the top step and then some type of clamping mechanism that holds the ramp and block to the step. A challenge to keep it simple.
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Old 05-09-2016, 07:10 PM   #12
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Saw this on You Tube.
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Old 05-10-2016, 05:50 AM   #13
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Excellent Find on that roll-up ramp!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Protagonist View Post
I understand your concerns, but you may be wishing for more than you can have. When I was still working for a living, I volunteered on the DART— Disability Awareness and Resource Team— to help find and/or develop reasonable accommodations for disabled employees, including those with mobility impairments. I also have a mobility impairment of my own that sometimes requires me to use a cane.

Unfortunately, your Airstream entrance door is not wide enough to accommodate even the smallest wheelchair. A small mobility scooter, maybe (I haven't measured to be sure) but not a wheelchair. So whatever ramp you get doesn't need to be any wider than the Airstream door. To get wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair, you'd need an Eddie Bauer model that has a rear hatch where you could enter on a wider ramp at the rear— and you'd need to use a pull-through campsite to allow you to enter at the rear.

But getting back to the ramp, if you can locate one that is narrow enough, one possibility is to deploy the steps, and then use the steps to support the ramp at the upper end. By placing a baulk of 8×8 timber on the top step, any ramp designed for use with a U-haul truck could be supported on the timber.

It's important to note, however, that if you still want to be able to close the Airstream's door, there will always need to be a bit of a lip at the top of the ramp, because the top of the ramp has to be low enough so that the door doesn't drag across it. Fortunately a mobility scooter should be able to handle a bump of about an inch or so because they can go over a residential door sill.I applaud your determination to be as self-sufficient as possible, but as noted above I think a narrower ramp that could be supported on your existing steps (with timber cribbing if necessary) might be your best bet.

The narrowest ramp on this page is 28" wide, with a usable width of 26", and is 6' long. https://estore.sjf.com/sjf.nsf/vwAll..._vQxoCnszw_wcB Maybe not an exact fit for your Airstream door and steps, but closer than the ramp you linked to. And of course it's aluminum, because that's the Airstreamer way.

On Edit— An aluminum boat boarding ramp might be even better. This one is particularly interesting because it rolls up for transport…
http://www.rollaramp.com/portable-ramps
Their narrowest model has a 26" width.

Can't edit quote to shorten it, but the On Edit is an excellent find!
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Old 05-10-2016, 06:23 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaplain Kent View Post
I have a rare disease which has progressed to the point I can no longer easily walk up and down our step to get in and out of our trailer. I need a ramp. There are a number of folding ramps available which will support my accumulated weight; however, there are some concerns.The ramp will need to be fastened to the trailer for safety, I do not bend so it will need to be easily fastened. I do not use a wheel chair now but that is coming so a lip at the entrance is not something I wish to navigate. I do not have a lot of cash to put into this project. I do have a desire and will to continue camping in our beloved Airstream.
Our camping these days is pretty much limited to two months of camp-hosting during the summer so we do not move around to different sights but I still like to do things myself and want to be able to set the ramp up and take it down by myself. Below is a link to a ramp from Amazon, any ideas how I would attach it?
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EUITV6W/...I2FYSJDAN2UAFS
Be sure to be asking for handicapped sites, as they are usually larger and on a cement pad which is easier under foot.

I am concerned that you not only need a ramp, but also a rail, and that if you walk but cannot bend, navigating anything upward to the height of your trailer door will be treacherous for you.

I think that a powered lift of some sort, that you can deploy at your door and use existing handholds would be better and safer than a ramp.

There are all kinds of clever things done for handicapped kds and wounded warriors these days. I wonder if you could find someone to help you creatively, who builds for these organizations?

I don't know where to send you, but you might start by going into a few places that rent/sell wheelchairs and other adaptive devices, and ask some questions.

Someone will know who you should speak with.

I'm sad for you, with a disability that is going to make travel more difficult, and wish you all the best as you navigate this change in your life.

Maggie
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