Hang It Up - RV Enthusiast Magazine

Hang It Up

by | May 24, 2023 | Cool Gadgets, RVEXPERT

Photos by Lynne Livingston and author
Just about all RVers carry oversize items, from a portable tote tank to patio chairs — but finding a good place to store them can be challenging, especially when exterior storage space is limited. Thetford’s Tote Storage System Ladder Mount is a good solution to an age-old dilemma.
RVers who frequent campgrounds or primitive areas without a dump station are well aware of the benefits of carrying a tote that allows for emptying some of the waste/gray water in the holding tanks. It can be a dirty job, but using one of the more modern products, like Thetford’s SmartTote2 LX, makes the job more palatable. Obviously, not something that most owners are comfortable storing in an exterior compartment, so hanging the tote on the ladder leading to the RVs rooftop makes the most sense.
When we carry our Thetford tote, it’s mounted using the company’s Tote Storage System Ladder Mount. This product works flawlessly, albeit we still have to hoist the tote on the ladder mount. Granted, it can be cumbersome, but it’s worth the effort to add extra days to our camping. We simply empty some of the holding-tank contents into the tote and haul it to the closest dump station.
The arms in the Thetford ladder mount are attached to the handrails that connect to the rungs. The brackets are installed using the provided Allen wrench or ratchet/socket and a backing wrench for the locking nut.
The arms in the Thetford kit are attached to the RV ladder handrails that connect to the rungs. The brackets are installed using the provided Allen wrench or ratchet/socket and a backing wrench for the locking nut.
While there are other, simple brackets aimed at RVers who want to hang chairs and bicycles on their ladder, the Thetford system plays multiple roles — and has a sturdy look and feel.
While there are other, simple brackets aimed at RVers who want to hang chairs and bicycles on their ladder, the Thetford system plays multiple roles — and has a sturdy look and feel.
Since we seldom overwhelm the capabilities of the holding tanks while parked in primitive settings these days, we’ve also converted this mounting system to hold our folding chairs. In the past we carried bag chairs, but lately we’ve turned to folding chairs stored on the ladder to save space in the outside compartments. Thetford’s ladder mount works perfectly for hanging four folding chairs on the aluminum arms, which are super light but can handle up to 50 pounds. Plus, the arms fold to the sides so the ladder can still be climbed, if the need arises, without obstructions or safety concerns.
A unique feature is to remove the locking pins from their respective holders, which release the arms and allow them to swing out of the way, freeing the ladder rungs from obstructions.
A unique feature is to remove the locking pins from their respective holders, which release the arms and allow them to swing out of the way, freeing the ladder rungs from obstructions.
A unique feature is to remove the locking pins from their respective holders, which release the arms and allow them to swing out of the way, freeing the ladder rungs from obstructions.
When the arms are turned to the sides, there is plenty of room to climb up the ladder safely. This feature allows the system to remain bolted to the ladder at all times.
When the arms are turned to the sides, there is plenty of room to climb up the ladder safely. This feature allows the system to remain bolted to the ladder at all times.
Moving the arms is accomplished by simply pulling the lock pin on each side from its holder. Of course, you’ll need some type of step stool or ladder to reach the locking pins if the arms are installed on the higher side. It’s safer to refrain from climbing up the RV ladder while hanging on with one hand and attempting to reach the pins.

Installing the mounting system is simple, with the only caveat to make sure you don’t cover the tail/brake light when it is loaded with chairs or the tank. The arms are specific to left and right positioning to accommodate the proper swing from the ladder rungs and are mounted with brackets that attach to the tubes that comprise the latter structure and serve as handrails. The entire job takes about 30 minutes if you have someone who can help hold the arms while you tighten the fasteners. An Allen wrench is provided, but a ratchet and appropriate socket, along with a backing wrench on the nut, work better. At that, the angles to reach the bolt heads may compromise a clear shot for tightening, which will require some maneuvering.

Folding chairs can be placed on the arm extensions in any practical opening between the frame and fabric. The grip on each arm extension provides a quasi-cradle for the chair frame to rest against. After making sure the chairs are tightly packed on the arm extensions, a strap is used to assure they will not move while on the road.
Folding chairs can be placed on the arm extensions in any practical opening between the frame and fabric. The grip on each arm extension provides a quasi-cradle for the chair frame to rest against. After making sure the chairs are tightly packed on the arm extensions, a strap is used to ensure they will not move while on the road.
Folding chairs can be placed on the arm extensions in any practical opening between the frame and fabric. The grip on each arm extension provides a quasi-cradle for the chair frame to rest against. After making sure the chairs are tightly packed on the arm extensions, a strap is used to assure they will not move while on the road.
If a tote tank is needed, it can be seated on the arm extensions for transport. Of course, you’ll need to find another place for the chairs. Shown is a Thetford SmartTote2 LX mounted on the company’s bracket system for RV ladders.
If a tote tank is needed, it can be seated on the arm extensions for transport. Of course, you’ll need to find another place for the chairs. Shown is a Thetford SmartTote2 LX mounted on the company’s bracket system for RV ladders.
If you load the tote, the bottom of the tank rests on the arms that have a rubber-type grip on each arm extension; the included strap (not shown) is used to secure the tote. When hanging the folding chairs, the arms extend through any practical opening between the frame and fabric and can be cradled by the detents in the arm grips. A strap can then be configured to hold the chairs in place.

The chairs hardly move while on the road and are easy to retrieve when setting up your patio in camp. If you take the tote, you’ll have to find another place for the folding chairs — or go to bag chairs.

This ladder mount can be found easily on the Internet and, last we checked, it was available at Camping World for less than $70. Having struggled with finding storage space for oversized equipment in the past, we found the convenience of having the Thetford ladder mount to be worth every penny.

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