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Adding a step or steps to an RV simply requires very basic mechanical skills or a bit of imagination. The hardest part of adding a single step to the bottom of the retractable stairs on your RV may be deciding which option suits you.
Adding a step with a kit
Purchase a single step with mounting brackets that attach to the lowest existing step. There are minor differences across manufacturers, so you should follow their instructions, but basically the new step bolts to the underside of the lowest step. Choose a step that’s the right width and depth for your RV, and, if your RV isn’t already equipped with them, choose one with glow-in-the-dark strips so no one stumbles over the stairs in the dark. Make sure your replacement step matches the bolt pattern on the existing step.
Scissor steps are a complete replacement for your existing stairs. They bolt to your RV at the top with a mounting bracket and unfold when you need to use them. The steps come in different lengths and most have non-slip treads.
If your steps seem unsteady after you’ve added a new step or steps, add a stabilizing jack or, if needed, a pair of stabilizing jacks. This will keep the steps steady, reduce wear and tear on the step’s hinges and cut down on some of the rocking that happens in many RVs when someone goes up or down the stairs.
Other ways to add a step
Perhaps the simplest way to add a step to an RV is with a small folding stool that can be stowed when the RV is on the move. Retailers sell stools specifically designed for this purpose, but almost any stool will do. If you decide that an inexpensive stool is the way to go, make sure it’s sturdy and will hold your weight. It should have a non-slip surface for rainy or icy days, and the legs should be thick enough to prevent the stool from sinking into the earth when in use.
If you find the perfect stool, but it’s not non-slip, or if the legs aren’t thick, use anti-slip tape on the surface or surfaces you’ll be stepping on and buy a rug to place under the stool. It’ll do double duty by keeping your stool from sinking into the earth and providing a place to wipe your feet before you enter the RV.
Some manufacturers sell all-in-one, free-standing replacements for RV stairs with adjustable feet for leveling. Others sell a more traditional option that resembles porch steps with a wide landing on the top stair and a handrail. These models usually come pre-assembled, so no mechanical skills are required.
Native New Yorker Meg Jernigan stayed in Washington, D.C. after attending the George Washington University, and worked in the tourism industry with the National Park Service for many years. She has extensive experience in tent and RV camping, hiking, backcountry exploration and cycling.