External ladders and safety

External ladder....
My wife and I were once attacked in Windhoek, Namibia, we were sitting in the front seats of our Land Rover series 111 expedition camper, parked in front of the post office in central downtown trying to desipher a fax we had just received when 4 guys jumped us, one at each front door and 2 guys used my rear ladder to scurry onto the roof to steal the stuff up there, luckily it was all secured very well for the bad roads and they were delayed freeing, anything, meanwhile, inside..
One of the downsides of the series 3 is that it only locks with the key from the outside, so I had to hold the door handle on the inside while the guys trying to jerk it open on the outside. My wife’s door was locked already so she only had to hold the window slider shut. So I’m holding the door latch with my right hand, I got a guys arm Reaching through the sliding window grabbing at me and I am reaching across to try to start the car with my left hand, the key switch was on the right side of the column as it was right hand drive vehicle. We succeeded in Reversing straight into oncoming traffic and the guys jumped off the roof. Safe but shaken.
Now, the lesson learned here is that while they could’ve also just jumped onto the hood to get onto the roof, if you have a taller vehicle and you can make it harder to get up there, its better. My plan is to build a permanent ladder along the rear of the vehicle, the ladder will be thinner metal tubing which will fold flat against the side and lock closed, When you want to use it you unlock it, open/ unfold it and use the locking mechanism to secure it open. An additional benefit is that tree branches won’t get caught between the step and risers if it’s a permanent/ open ladder.
Telescoping ladders are great and would probably work better for most domestic travel. I use a telescoping ladder daily in my work, they are great but a good one is not cheap and the bouncing/ dust on the corrugated roads I plan to travel would kill one very quickly.
 

Cowpig

new guy + questions
ladders.... there are advantages and disadvantages depending on your rig/intended uses/location/risk tolerance

:D
 

boxcar1

boxcar1
Well lets see . My geny runs at less than 50db. Your diesel? 10% efficiency is all you can expect from your panels in direct sun. 10% is the average for a 12 hour solar cycle Unless that is if you move your panels every hour. God forbid it be hazy , overcast, raining, snowing, or dark. I can run 4 weeks with the on board fuel in my propane tanks. And I park in the shade.
You on the other hand loose any benefit from solar by parking in direct sunlight . Thermal radiation being what it is . heats your coach at a greater degree . Your cooling system works harder as does your electrical system. Then there are the extra cells you carry.
My coach runs off a signal, used car battery, Non deep cycle . One that was just kicking around the shop. I used it as an experiment.
Now when I say I charge it every other day It's because it is the type of battery that it is. I run my geny for maybe 20 min. then I am done. Now If I ran Multiples of deep cycles as you do . I could probably run a month.
Quote: "
Obviously if your camper cannot support the weight of you on top, stay off. All the more reason for a hatch for access.
But not all campers are created equal. "?????? ( And even run of the mill campers now days are designed to be walk-able.) unquote: . Post up the run of the mill camper manufacturers that recommend you walk on their roofs.
You realize that the average foot attached to an average man exerts nearly 300lbs per square foot on the structure of your roof. Your arguments are classic " I have used it so must recommend it. Bad advice is just that. Bad advice. Most campers are not customs like yours or mine Idashow. Keep that in mind.
Your normal escape / roof hatch is 22" x 22" . Non insulated and no better constructed than a cheap roof vent. You have now designed in to your roof system 4 sq' of non insulated plastic.
Most RV failures are caused by leaks at windows and roof vents. We all know that.
Most RV's are not designed with steel truss roofs. Rather wood or aluminum is used and in most cases a single layer. Now , as most have done , start adding weight. 150 lb AC, 100 lbs of solar, vents fans Roof hatches , TV antenna's etc. Then drive 80 mph over pot holes and watch that roof flex. Get to camp and then what? A 200 pounder decides its OK to take a stole on the same roof. Bad idea at best..... again . Stay off the roof.



To be fair, I have to apologies to all for being so damn opinionated. It stems from having a totally different philosophy when it comes to camping and camp vehicles I guess. I built mine to be as trouble free as is possible. ( Bomb proof ) No ( as I see it ) un needed systems. I heat, cook and refrigerate ( three way) mostly with propane. The tech has been proven for better than a century. I have a 1921 GE ammonia cooled refrigerator in my shop that has been keeping beer cold for nearly 100 years. Now that is reliable tech. I carry enough on board for a 30 day stay. It is efficient light weight and inexpensive. I don't run solar because I don't need to.
The added weight, cost and complexity of the system and style of running I do, prevent it from penciling out. No big screens , amplifiers or satellite systems in the woods.
My rig draws fewer watts at full use than most incandescent light bulbs.
For others I am sure solar works.
As to the roof question. I have been involved with this industry one way or another for 40 years. I have seen every kind of preventable failures one can see in a life time. The most glairing are roof leaks and failures caused by overloading, flex, poor maintenance and yes improper use. ( roof walkers) . I am sorry if I have offended anyone . In the end. My stay off the roof advice is generic at best. You do what you want with your rig. Hell, RV tech's deserve to make a good living.
 
Last edited:

BritKLR

Explorer
Interesting topic. Can't say I ever gave it much thought, but now thinking back, I do remember working cases of trespassing/vehicle tampering when people would break into storage facilities and climb the RV ladders to kick in the skylights/hatches to either steal items (clothes, food, guns, electronics, stuff......) or live in the RV for a couple of days. The RV storage sites along the highway seemed to be hit more then the rural sites due to the transient traffic.
As for my truck, I just keep the MaxTrax locked to the ladder to make it very difficult to climb. Good luck. Be safe.
 

Badmiker

Member
For fixed ladders could you not just do like they do in all the cities around the world and have a padlocked shield on hinges? Make it 2m tall and you'll stop just about everyone. Bonus if the first rung is high enough off the ground to make the top of the shield out of reach.

Think like a fire-escape or roof access in an industrial building.
 

boxcar1

boxcar1
This is a perfect example as to why rear ladders and rails are a bad idea at best. There are no less than 34 screws shot through the skin of this poor camper to support the ladder and rail system. 34...... This is typical of the majority of ladder installations. Now the average adult human stands on this aluminum structure and it flexes. Try it if you doubt this scenario. Then at some point down the road that same average adult owner complains that his camper is leaking . A guaranteed service problem that is totally avoidable.
 

boxcar1

boxcar1
[U]Verkstad[/U] Any legitimate Expoguy knows this???????? Just a bit arrogant wouldn't you say. Not to seem argumentative or point any fingers. But Just what makes you think that you are any more """"" legitimate""""" Than anyone else? Some of the most well traveled and respected members on this sight seem to be hauling what you call """""Massmarket RVs of typical craptacular, medicore at best material/construction"""""" RV's. Not that I disagree with you as to most mainstream rv's and there lack of quality. I did recommend staying off the roof's after all. That is the point. And who the advice was pointed to. The Legitimate Expo Guy's............
 

s.e.charles

Well-known member
This is a perfect example as to why rear ladders and rails are a bad idea at best. There are no less than 34 screws shot through the skin of this poor camper to support the ladder and rail system. 34...... This is typical of the majority of ladder installations. Now the average adult human stands on this aluminum structure and it flexes. Try it if you doubt this scenario. Then at some point down the road that same average adult owner complains that his camper is leaking . A guaranteed service problem that is totally avoidable.
I would simply light that bucket of twigs and smoke the forkers out!
 

Chorky

Observer
Well lets see . My geny runs at less than 50db. Your diesel? 10% efficiency is all you can expect from your panels in direct sun. 10% is the average for a 12 hour solar cycle Unless that is if you move your panels every hour. God forbid it be hazy , overcast, raining, snowing, or dark. I can run 4 weeks with the on board fuel in my propane tanks. And I park in the shade.
You on the other hand loose any benefit from solar by parking in direct sunlight . Thermal radiation being what it is . heats your coach at a greater degree . Your cooling system works harder as does your electrical system. Then there are the extra cells you carry.
My coach runs off a signal, used car battery, Non deep cycle . One that was just kicking around the shop. I used it as an experiment.
Now when I say I charge it every other day It's because it is the type of battery that it is. I run my geny for maybe 20 min. then I am done. Now If I ran Multiples of deep cycles as you do . I could probably run a month.
Quote: "
Obviously if your camper cannot support the weight of you on top, stay off. All the more reason for a hatch for access.
But not all campers are created equal. "?????? ( And even run of the mill campers now days are designed to be walk-able.) unquote: . Post up the run of the mill camper manufacturers that recommend you walk on their roofs.
You realize that the average foot attached to an average man exerts nearly 300lbs per square foot on the structure of your roof. Your arguments are classic " I have used it so must recommend it. Bad advice is just that. Bad advice. Most campers are not customs like yours or mine Idashow. Keep that in mind.
Your normal escape / roof hatch is 22" x 22" . Non insulated and no better constructed than a cheap roof vent. You have now designed in to your roof system 4 sq' of non insulated plastic.
Most RV failures are caused by leaks at windows and roof vents. We all know that.
Most RV's are not designed with steel truss roofs. Rather wood or aluminum is used and in most cases a single layer. Now , as most have done , start adding weight. 150 lb AC, 100 lbs of solar, vents fans Roof hatches , TV antenna's etc. Then drive 80 mph over pot holes and watch that roof flex. Get to camp and then what? A 200 pounder decides its OK to take a stole on the same roof. Bad idea at best..... again . Stay off the roof.



To be fair, I have to apologies to all for being so damn opinionated. It stems from having a totally different philosophy when it comes to camping and camp vehicles I guess. I built mine to be as trouble free as is possible. ( Bomb proof ) No ( as I see it ) un needed systems. I heat, cook and refrigerate ( three way) mostly with propane. The tech has been proven for better than a century. I have a 1921 GE ammonia cooled refrigerator in my shop that has been keeping beer cold for nearly 100 years. Now that is reliable tech. I carry enough on board for a 30 day stay. It is efficient light weight and inexpensive. I don't run solar because I don't need to.
The added weight, cost and complexity of the system and style of running I do, prevent it from penciling out. No big screens , amplifiers or satellite systems in the woods.
My rig draws fewer watts at full use than most incandescent light bulbs.
For others I am sure solar works.
As to the roof question. I have been involved with this industry one way or another for 40 years. I have seen every kind of preventable failures one can see in a life time. The most glairing are roof leaks and failures caused by overloading, flex, poor maintenance and yes improper use. ( roof walkers) . I am sorry if I have offended anyone . In the end. My stay off the roof advice is generic at best. You do what you want with your rig. Hell, RV tech's deserve to make a good living.
Ok, I'll stir the pot here. 300#'s per square foot for the average human!?! Um....I think you have made an awful lot of assumptions in this post without realizing it.

That being said. I also agree that a permanent ladder is not the best of ideas. It obviously adds possibilities for water intrusion and other issues down the road. I carry a collapsible ladder with my trailer, but am not afraid at all to walk on the roof. Frequently. After all, checking for roof and equipment damage is way more important than possible damage by just not checking anything ever.... And most roof hatches do have the ability to be sealed better and insulated - just takes some additional work as most other things. I think the benefits of a hatch or two far outweigh not having any at all. Both for security and airflow. Things can always be made to be secured from possible intrusion as well. It all depends on how much effort and work you want to put into something after doing some risk analysis.
 

boxcar1

boxcar1
Ok, I'll stir the pot here. 300#'s per square foot for the average human!?! Um....I think you have made an awful lot of assumptions in this post without realizing it.

That being said. I also agree that a permanent ladder is not the best of ideas. It obviously adds possibilities for water intrusion and other issues down the road. I carry a collapsible ladder with my trailer, but am not afraid at all to walk on the roof. Frequently. After all, checking for roof and equipment damage is way more important than possible damage by just not checking anything ever.... And most roof hatches do have the ability to be sealed better and insulated - just takes some additional work as most other things. I think the benefits of a hatch or two far outweigh not having any at all. Both for security and airflow. Things can always be made to be secured from possible intrusion as well. It all depends on how much effort and work you want to put into something after doing some risk analysis.

Sorry for the 300# typo. 200# was what I was attempting to convey. Fat fingers.
Measure your foot, Then stand on a bathroom scale on one foot. You will get the idea. A lot of weight focused in one small aria of your roof. As to equipment on your roof and examining it for damage. Yes , you are correct . If you have equipment on your roof, it should be maintained. Doing so with spreaders is a good idea for such examinations. Spreaders are 2 small sheets of plywood , say 36" x 36" .
Air flow can be accomplished, and usually is, with a 14" vent. I like fantastic fans myself. No need for a hatch that is better than twice the surface aria. Small hole vs. large. It's not just an insulation issue but a strength issue as well.
I find it funny that most issues with RV's and leaks are caused by leaks in the roof. Yet there are those that still recommend taking strolls on their roofs. Hey, if that's your idea of taking care of your investment then by all means walk that roof. RV techs deserve to make a living too.
 
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