How Stairs and Steps Work

Sometimes steps are necessary to climb into really large vehicles -- like this truck or an RV.
Sometimes steps are necessary to climb into really large vehicles -- like this truck or an RV.
Hannu Liivaar/iStockphoto

Most people wouldn't associate stairs and steps with towing. After all, how could a set of stairs or steps possibly help you when you're hauling a boat trailer to the lake or if you're driving an RV across the country? Well, have you ever tried to climb into a boat that's on a trailer? Have you ever attempted to climb up into an RV the size of a large tour bus without using the stairs? You'd have to have pretty long legs to make the leap into the RV, and depending on the type of boat you're hauling, you may be facing a five- or six- foot climb (or more) before you reach the top edge of the hull of the boat.

Of course, those two examples are a little extreme, but a lot of trailers present a challenge when it comes to climbing up onto the deck. Some construction trailers -- those that you see on the highway carrying heavy, oversize equipment -- are often several feet off of the ground. Flatbed trailers, the ones designed to haul cars and trucks behind other vehicles, may not look very tall from a distance; however, if you've ever tried to step up onto the deck of one of these trailers, you'd realize that it's still a good stretch. Some can be a few feet high -- roughly the height of two or three stairs.

Excess weight can be a concern when you're hauling a trailer behind your tow vehicle. You normally don't want to carry anything that's just unnecessary weight. There's no doubt that when you're towing, stairs are not simply extra weight -- they truly do serve a purpose. It really doesn't matter what you're hauling, there's always going to be the need to climb up on to the trailer (or into it) to load and unload cargo. Unless you're the type of person that never tires of the balancing game that you have to play when you're climbing on your boat trailer like a set of monkey bars at the local playground, a well-placed step -- or even a small set of stairs -- can make the whole process much easier.

So, let's say that you've decided that when you're towing, steps can be a rather useful addition to your trailer. You may be right, but it's likely that you'll still have a few questions: Where can you buy a step (or two) for your trailer? How do you know which one is the right choice for you? And once you have them, how will you install them? Can you do it yourself or does this job require a professional? Read the next page to find out.