The most able-bodied among us have struggled to get in out of a caravan at least once, and for those with mobility challenges, this can be a difficult task. Investing in a sturdy and reliable set of steps will help reduce the risk to all of stumbling or slipping and falling. The great advantage of a set of portable steps is that they can be moved as necessary and can be used for more than one caravan.
Single platform steps
Caravan steps come in a choice of one or two platforms (steps). While a single step will be more compact and therefore the obvious choice for storage within or under smaller caravans, they may not be as stable or sturdy for older holidaymakers, because the area of the base will be smaller than that of a double platform set of steps. As the step on a single platform is higher, it can cause extra strain on hips, knees and joints too.
Double platform steps
Being larger than single steps, double platform steps are harder to lift in and out of the caravan, but there are foldable versions available. If a double platform can’t be stored under your caravan when not in use and they need to be left out, for example if you are going out for the day, care must be taken on your return that you can see them in your vehicle mirrors, to avoid running over them. Thought should also be given to how level the pitch is. On uneven pitches, your double platform steps could reach up higher than the caravan door (particularly if your tourer is small), causing an obstruction. The step up on a double platform is shallower, an advantage to people with reduced mobility or pain issues, young children or older dogs. Also, as double platform steps tend to have a larger surface area, they are easier to negotiate and less stress will be placed on joints.
Step material – metal or plastic
Most metal caravan steps are made from steel or aluminium alloy making them the more expensive option. However, metal steps can be made to fold down (see above re storage) and can be lighter weight than larger plastic steps. Of the two types of metal step, aluminium alloy will usually be slightly more expensive, as it offers a rust-free solution while being lightweight and durable. Steel steps are heavier and will rust over time.
Plastic caravan steps are ideal for those on a budget or when they will not be used too often. Lightweight and easy to clean, plastic steps will remain free from rust. Due to their construction, however, plastic steps will not normally collapse down for storage, which may be a consideration in smaller caravans.
The tread on your step/s is important and from a safety perspective, a non-slip tread surface is preferable. Anti-slip surfaces come in many forms; rubber tread plates, moulded treads or metal mesh are the best options. For optimum slip resistance, ensure your steps have drain holes for surplus rain water to run away, or a rubber surface. Whatever your tread surface, make you are extra vigilant when using steps in bad weather, particularly freezing conditions.
At Bec, we stock a selection of touring caravan steps, including the Milenco MGI Extrasafe Double Step. This is a great choice of step, manufactured from recycled materials and fully accredited to BS EN1645. The step also features peg holes for use on grass – simply secure the steps into the ground with pegs to increase stability.