There was recently a debate in a large online RV group about whether or not it’s safe to stand on an RV slide. If you’ve ever seen one of these discussions, you know it doesn’t take long before the egos and name-calling get out of control.
As one might expect, moderators stepped in and shut the post down. However, the original poster received no answer to their valid and important question.
Today, we’re discovering if you can stand on an RV slide.
Let’s get started!
What Is an RV Slide?
An RV slide is a design element manufacturers use in RVs to maximize the livable space in the camper. It retracts into the inside of the RV for storage and transport purposes but extends out over the RV’s frame when in use.
The slide spaces typically contain sleeping or sitting areas. Smaller RVs usually have one or two, but larger units can easily have four or five. Having multiple slides in an RV can dramatically increase room inside the unit and create a more open and residential feel to the camper.
Depending on the layout of the RV, some areas may not be accessible with the slides retracted. If you’re shopping for an RV, it’s essential to consider this, especially if you’d like to access a bedroom, bathroom, or refrigerator during stops while traveling.
The Benefits of RV Slides
Many RVers seek out RVs with slides because of their many benefits. They can make it easier to be comfortable and organized while enjoying your RV. It maximizes the usable space, which is typically lacking in many RVs.
Mother Nature isn’t always going to care that you’re on an adventure in your RV. It could rain, snow, or turn cold during your travels, so you’ll need to spend time inside. Having an RV with slides can allow you to spend time inside your RV without feeling like you and anyone else camping with you’re constantly on top of each other.
The Disadvantages of RV Slides
While RV slides have benefits, they’re far from perfect and have some disadvantages. Like many other things on an RV, they can break or stop working. Unfortunately, if one malfunctions, it could leave you stranded until you can fix it because you should never travel with the slide not fully retracted.
You must regularly maintain your slides to avoid issues that cause one to fail. Keeping the gears and various components clean and lubricated is essential. So while you may love the space slides create, they can be a pain to maintain.
In addition to maintaining the many moving parts, you must consider the seals and other materials that keep water and other items out of your RV. Water will penetrate the slide if there are holes or gaps in the materials. This can cause severe damage, and mold can grow if left unaddressed.
What Are the Most Common Types of RV Slides?
Manufacturers use a handful of different types of slides when constructing RVs. That’s because each style has its benefits and strengths. Let’s look at the most common RV slides you’ll find on campers.
Rack and Pinion
The rack and pinion system is one of the most common that manufacturers use. It may not be flashy or impressive, but it gets the job done. It allows the slide box to sit flush with the floor and is one of the least expensive options. In addition, it can be almost entirely flush along the wall, which helps ensure a tight seal and maximizes space.
You can recognize these by the extensive steel supports under the slide. They use a complex set of gears to turn the system to help the box move in and out efficiently. If you keep them clean and maintained, this is an incredibly reliable system.
Cable systems have been around for years and are incredibly common. They’re lightweight and highly effective at moving an RV slide in and out over time. They have some of the best service records of any option and rarely require adjustment.
Cable slides are easily identifiable as they have cables at the top and bottom on the outside of the box. They’re the go-to choice for many of the largest slides, especially the deepest ones. In fact, they handle the weight better than most other slide mechanisms.
However, they’re some of the most expensive despite their less-than-quality look. In addition, they also tend to take up more space inside the RV. It may only be a few inches, but space inside an RV is typically lacking in most rigs.
The Schwintek system is ideal for lightweight slides that don’t need to be flush with the flooring. You’ll commonly see these for closets or smaller spaces. You can identify them by the worm-like guides on the side of the box that help it extend and retract.
When installed and used correctly, these are some fantastic slides. However, they have a lousy reputation as manufacturers and owners pushed them past their weight limits.
When too much weight is applied to these systems, the motors experience a drastically shorter life expectancy. Many RV owners had to replace their motors prematurely, which isn’t an expense many enjoy paying.
Some RVs use hydraulics to control their landing gear and slides. Hydraulics are incredibly powerful and typically only found on the largest of rigs. You’ll typically find them on fifth wheels and motorhomes.
These are fantastic options for a slide mechanism because they get the job done two or three times faster. Setting up your campsite as quickly as possible means spending more time doing the things you enjoy.
Can You Stand on an RV Slide?
Now that you have a little bit of knowledge when it comes to RV slides, it’s time to get back to our debate. Can you stand on an RV slide?
The reason for the debate is understandable because whether you can safely stand on an RV slide or not depends on the RV. Some RV manufacturers state that their rigs can handle walking on them, and others forbid it.
Most RV roofs have a 250 to 300-pound weight limit. Exceeding this limit can cause serious damage to the roof and the internal supports. If you plan to walk on your slides, read your owner’s manual or check with your manufacturer before doing so.
Because RV slides extend out for your RV, they can feel loose or lack support. There are RV stabilizers that can help minimize these feelings, but we don’t recommend using them.
Stabilizers sit on the ground and support the slide and any weight placed on it. However, the trailer will settle as it sits in a spot, which could put too much pressure on the mechanisms. If you experience a flat tire, any weight shift will go directly to the stabilizers, potentially damaging your slide and knocking it out of alignment.
Check With Your Manufacturer About Standing on Your RV Slide
Whether you should stand on your RV slides is entirely up to you. Some people refuse to do it because of the potential risks, and others have no problem doing so. However, we recommend you check with your manufacturer before making up your mind. You don’t want to assume they’re fine and cause severe damage to them.
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