Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 09-10-2011, 12:25 PM   #1
Happy Campers
B&J's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 44
Images: 20
Blog Entries: 1
Safest ladder

I have the need to get on my Airstream roof. What is the best and safest way to do this? What type of ladder is the best/safest (three legged, extension ladder, step ladder, etc.)?

B&J - Happy Campers
2008 GMC 2500 4WD CC, Duramax/Allison
Hensley Hitch
2005 CCD International 28 foot
B&J is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-10-2011, 12:31 PM   #2
Rivet Master
Airstream Dealer
Inland RV Center, In's Avatar
Corona , California
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 16,281
Images: 1
Originally Posted by B&J View Post
I have the need to get on my Airstream roof. What is the best and safest way to do this? What type of ladder is the best/safest (three legged, extension ladder, step ladder, etc.)?
A regular ladder works just fine.

Lean the ladder against the top of the window frame so that it rests on the drip cap. That works from 1969 until present.

If you have a 68 or older, place a small piece of carpet against the shell where the carpet meets the shell. That prevents scratches.

When your on the roof, DO NOT walk forward of the first main bow, or rearward of the last main bow. You can also use the awning rail as a guide.


Andy Rogozinski
Inland RV Center
Corona, CA
Inland RV Center, In is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-10-2011, 12:33 PM   #3
1975 25' Tradewind
Dewey , Arizona
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 11,999
Images: 62
Blog Entries: 1
Safest ladder is an oxymoron.

I used this setup when replacing the air conditioner on my trailer a few years ago. It is the creation of Zeppelinium and worked out very well. Any journey to the roof of the trailer is an adventure. There are places you can step (rivet lines) and places you should not (end caps). Any mistakes can be costly to your trailer and to you.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00407.jpg
Views:	159
Size:	127.0 KB
ID:	139873  
Charter Member Four Corners Unit
azflycaster is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-10-2011, 12:42 PM   #4
Full Timers/Diesel power.
Mike Leary's Avatar

1983 31' Airstream310
Cactus Hug , Arizona
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 2,540
Images: 11
As Richard says, there is NO safe ladder, especially around Airstreams. I have a set of wooden tripod ladders up north that I feel best on, but down south I borrow what is available, wrap towels around the ends and GO EASY. Best to use any of those devices before toddy time.
"A settled wisdom, plus the itch to be elsewhere"
Mike Leary is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-10-2011, 01:17 PM   #5
3 Rivet Member
darlingbooks's Avatar
2006 34' Classic S/O
Parkdale , Oregon
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 144
Images: 51
Blog Entries: 43
You are going to get a lot of answers on what is the best ladder. If you are home, and your use is at home only, Richards solution is ideal, or a ladder system that can do double duty around the house.

My shop ladders at home in storage were too long in the stored position to fit into our van, and we have been on the road for two years, away from the storage unit.

Our solution for roof access is with a multi position Werner 13 foot ladder, and it fits in the back of the van easily. A ladder of this multi position design, can be carried when traveling, and be used at home also.

Buy a ladder that is long enough to fit the job, strong enough (300lb), and short enough to fit in your tow vehicle if needed.
darlingbooks is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-11-2011, 05:50 AM   #6
Rivet Master
noreen&sal's Avatar
1981 27' Excella II
mays landing , New Jersey
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 1,137
Images: 9
No safe ladder

Ladders are unstable when leaned 15 ft. up an apple tree. Ask mehow I know this. Also 2 wks ago, while hanging the extension ladder up on the garage wall it slipped and came down the top of my forearm leaving a very nasty cut. Sal.
Sal & Nora
Let us live so that when we die even the undertaker will be sorry. Mark Twain
AIR 42483
TAC N.J. 17
WBCCI 24740
noreen&sal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-11-2011, 06:23 AM   #7
4 Rivet Member
Cantrell's Avatar
1988 34' Limited
1960 24' Tradewind
Mt. Pleasant , South Carolina
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 379
As a painting contractor I spend countless hours on ladders, often 40 footers. The trick is to be extremely focused on what you are doing and always take just a moment and think before you make your next move. Take your time.
When on my Airstream roof, I wear non slip boat shoes and lean the ladder against the awning rail. The non-skid stuff people use to line cabinets or put under rugs to prevent slippage is a good thing to put between the ladder and the Airstream to reduce the possibility of the ladder sliding side to side as you exit or get back onto the ladder. Coming off the roof back onto the ladder is the most dangerous part--take your time and have a helper on the ground holding the ladder stable.
I would also suggest that you park the trailer in the grass so that if you should happen to come off the roof you at least land on something softer than concrete and chances of injury are reduced.
Bill Cantrell
AIR 24338
Easily distracted by shiny objects.
Cantrell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-11-2011, 08:05 AM   #8
Well Preserved
overlander63's Avatar

1974 31' Sovereign
Colfax , North Carolina
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 19,065
If you're going to take the ladder on the road with you, take a look at Tele-Steps extension ladders. The one I got goes from about 30" tall collapsed to over 8' tall extended. It fits in a storage compartment for travel.
Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy, and taste good with ketchup.
overlander63 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-11-2011, 09:47 AM   #9
Rivet Master
wheel interested's Avatar
2007 23' International CCD
Lapeer , Michigan
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 7,039
Anybody rig up a pulley and harness like the factory service center uses? I wonder if something outdoors could be fashioned for safety, perhaps some sort of permanent guide mounted on the Airstream to attach to or cross over?? I can't see me ever risking the aerial walk without a strap or net. Leaving the security of a ladder rung to climb a tall slippery slope scares the dickens out of me. I would love to have a platform that would enable easy access but that isn't going to happen.
wheel interested is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-11-2011, 04:11 PM   #10
Rivet Master
Soyboy's Avatar

1999 28' Excella
Frederick , Maryland
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 582
Images: 26
Cantrell that was some great advice.

I have a 24' extension ladder. I generally keep it separated as I don't always need the length and it is easier and more stable (to me) to just use the lower section if that is all you need. I lean that section up against the awning cover and since my trailer is nest to a concrete block building the bottom goes against that. Very stable. But like Cantrell said, you have to stay aware of your every move. Also like he said getting back on the ladder to come down is the most dangerous part. All in all, I am a pretty big guy (220# 6'1") and I don't have many problems on the roof. I just carefully plan where to walk and stay on the ribs. I also wear good non-slip shoes.
1999 28' Safari
2012 F150 Platinum Max Tow 7650 GVWR 3.73 Elec. Locking Diff.(Prev 2003 Dmax).
Honda EU2000i, Equalizer Hitch
AM Solar Panels
AIR 4534

On internet forums, please research and separate the wheat from the chaff (including mine!)
Soyboy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-11-2011, 04:25 PM   #11
Rivet Master
DaveFL's Avatar
2000 31' Land Yacht
Central , Florida
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 1,405
Images: 15
My MH has built in ladder but for roof work I have found it is now important to have more ladder above the roof line than I used to use, if it is at least 4 foot above, it is easier to hold and align that first step down.
DaveFL is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2011, 03:29 PM   #12
Rivet Master
worldinchaos's Avatar
1959 17' Pacer
Long Beach , California
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 920
This has been discussed before, but in my opinion, something way more importantly than having one really safe extremely stable ladder is having a second ladder or point of egress. I feel comfortable going up many types of ladders and using many methods to climb up something, but what happens if the ladder gets kicked away, or the wind knocks it down while you are up there? Do you have another way to get down other than jump? Ultimately tou could slide down the endcap, but I'm betting over 95% of the people on these forums (incl. myself) would probably risk our bodies rather than dent our trailer.

just some food for thought.

- Peter
- Peter (and Marie)

1959 Pacer 18' Renovation - Knight in Shining Armor

Our Adventure Blog - Documenting our backpacking, hiking, camping, and Airstreaming
(still updating, haven't gotten to the Airstream trips yet)
worldinchaos is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2011, 04:45 PM   #13
2 Rivet Member
oleschool's Avatar
1973 31' Sovereign
chapin , South Carolina
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 56
Originally Posted by DaveFL View Post
My MH has built in ladder but for roof work I have found it is now important to have more ladder above the roof line than I used to use, if it is at least 4 foot above, it is easier to hold and align that first step down.

Just make sure your first step down is at or below the point it contacts the trailer or it may kick out and then your in for a ride

watching the stars through the vista view windows= priceless

AIR# 41283
oleschool is offline   Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Clipper, Emergency Exit, Land Yacht, Emergency Ladder masseyfarm Flat-Front (Cutter, Clipper, XC, XL & Skydeck) Motorhomes 9 03-05-2015 10:34 PM
What Kind of Folding Ladder to Buy? Jim Pona Our Community 10 07-20-2013 08:20 PM
1500 or 2500 HD? alp6783 Tow Vehicles 39 02-18-2011 10:25 AM
Telescoping ladder - Werner 11 footer JBinKC General Repair Forum 20 12-29-2010 03:50 PM

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities

Copyright 2002-2015 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:34 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.