A fellow camper recently fell and broke her arm. It happened on her RV entry steps at night. She simply tripped over the bottom step and the next thing you know, she’s on her way to the local ER. The incident got me thinking about tips for safe RV entry steps.
RV entry steps come in various configurations. There are three main types.
- Platform step. This is basically a small step stool that gives you a step up into your RV. Some platform steps feature fold-away legs for ease of storage.
- Foldable or scissor steps. This kind of RV step is housed underneath the entry door. You pull them out for use, and tuck them away when you’re on the road. Some foldable steps are manual, while others are electric.
- Pull-down solid steps. This stair type locks into the door frame of your camper. When you open the entry door, you unlock the pull-down steps. With a gentle pull, the steps extend out of the camper to the ground. Some pull-down steps can be adjusted to allow for uneven terrain.
Best entry steps?
Everyone has their own preference for RV entry steps. Our first RV featured foldable steps. I liked how easy they were to manipulate, but didn’t really feel secure because of the “bounce” when my foot hit the treads.
Our current RV has the pull-down solid step configuration. I love how sturdy these steps feel underfoot, but I’ve learned to thoroughly sweep the treads before placing the step system back into the door frame for travel. If I forget to sweep, sand, leaves, and debris drop off the steps right onto the floor!
No matter what type of step system your RV has, you may be able to make them safer—for you, your family, and pets. Many of the tips I’ll share cost very little, compared to what an ER visit may set you back.
Make steps non-slip
- Step covers. Rain, sand, dew, and even leaves can make entry steps slippery. Combat the “slip” by covering your metal steps with a traction-friendly material, like carpet or non-slip rubber. Wraparound coverings attach via tension springs or zip ties. Partial-tread coverings feature an adhesive backing and easily attach to the steps. (Follow directions for prepping the tread surface.) When purchasing tread covers measure carefully, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Traction strips. This non-slip step application covers a smaller portion of the tread, but still provides great traction. Traction strips have an adhesive backing for easy application, or you can purchase traction tape that you cut to fit the size of your tread. Try this roll of traction tape.
- Broom. Low tech, for sure, but sweeping your steps can also prevent falls. A well-placed acorn can cause you to slip even if you’ve added step covers. Hint: My husband can “sweep” our steps in under 7 seconds with his leaf blower. Noisy, but fast! (Oh, the things you can do with leaf blowers…)
Make steps sturdy
- DIY. We used blocks of wood to better stabilize the foldable steps on our former RV. We simply stacked layers of wood under the bottom step. The wood helped firm up the feel of the stairs when stepping on them.
- Manufactured stair stabilizers. There are products on the market that are much handier and provide greater flexibility than our stacks of wood. For example, Camco’s adjustable step brace.
- Replace steps. If you’ve tried the step stabilizers and still feel uneasy using your entry steps, you may want to see what it takes to replace your step system altogether. Ask your local RV dealer for suggestions or research your options online.
Easily make steps more visible
- Pool noodles. Yes, yet another use for pool noodles! (For some step configurations, anyway.) Much like RVers put pool noodles on slide-out corners to prevent head-knocks, you can cut a section of a pool noodle the depth of the stair tread. Make a slit in the noodle and place it on the sides of your entry steps where you’ll be sure to see them as you work and play outside.
- Glow-in-the-dark tape. Apply this tape to the sides and top of your steps so you’ll see them in the dark. (More on this very cool tape here.)
- Step lights. MORryde makes LED stair lights that are motion activated. I like that the steps are very well lit, while not having to have the RV porch light on all the time. (Your neighbors will also thank you.)
- Solar lights. You can stake solar lights along the perimeter of your outdoor mat. The lights will help safely guide you to your steps.
RVs usually feature a grab bar, positioned at the top of the steps. It’s great, but just getting to the top can be challenging for some folks. Here’s a way to fix that.
Add a stair rail. Entry assist handrails can be a game-changer. There are different configurations available from reputable manufacturers. Search Google for RV handrails and you’ll likely find one that fits your steps. Hint: I’ve seen people apply that same glow-in-the-dark tape from above to the handrail for added visibility and safety.
How do you make your RV entry steps safer? Please share your ideas in the comments below.