When selecting the length of a cargo van ramp, it is important to consider how the length of the ramp you choose will determine (1) if it will fit in your van, (2) where and how easily the ramp can be deployed, and (3) the incline of the deployed ramp.
Why the Length and Incline of Your Cargo Van Ramp is Important
The first thing to consider is if the ramp you’ve chosen will actually fit in your vehicle! To answer this question you’ll need to gather a few measurements including the van’s rear door opening width and height, as well as the load height from the ground to the floor of the cargo area. To simplify this process, HandiRamp has created an easy-to-use Cargo Van Ramp Configurator that will show you which of our cargo van ramps will fit your van after providing us with the make, model, year, wheelbase, and roof height.
After you know what ramp lengths will fit in your cargo van, you can then consider how these lengths will impact the use and convenience of your ramp. One of the first things to consider is that longer ramps are heavier. While all of HandiRamp’s cargo van ramps are safely operable by just one person, it is still a good idea to consider how the weight of the ramp may impact your usage of it, especially if you will be deploying the ramp frequently throughout the day as with deliveries.
Second, you will also want to think about where you will use your cargo van ramp. For example, if you work in the downtown areas of a city, there may be limits to the amount of space you’ll have to load and unload cargo and equipment. When parking space is at a premium, a shorter ramp will allow you to maneuver in smaller spaces
Finally, it is important to consider how the incline of your ramp will affect the effort required to move cargo and equipment into and out of the vehicle. The incline of your deployed cargo van ramp will be determined by the load height of the van and the length of the ramp. Longer ramps will have a more gentle incline which reduces the amount of effort required to move objects up and down the ramp. If, for example, you will be using your cargo van ramp to transport large equipment like appliances, a longer ramp with a more gentle incline will make the job easier. On the other hand, if you will be walking up and down the ramp with smaller cargo on a hand truck, a shorter ramp with a steeper incline will be easier and quicker to deploy.
HandiRamp recommends a 1:4 slope ratio for cargo van ramps being used to transport equipment. This means that for every inch of rise, there should be 4 inches of ramp. This ratio converts to about a 14° angle that is created where the end of the ramp meets the ground. This ratio/angle can also vary depending upon your intended usage. For example, we may recommend an even gentler incline if the person unloading cargo is smaller than average, or if the cargo or equipment being transported is oversized. In the following section, we will compare the incline of our five ramp lengths with the load heights of popular cargo van models. This knowledge will help you confidently select the cargo van ramp that will work best for your vehicle and business.
Ford Transit and Mercedes Benz Sprinter Cargo Vans
The load height for Ford Transit and Mercedes Benz Sprinter cargo vans is around 28 inches (may slightly vary depending on the specific model). Below, we have demonstrated the incline of each of the 5 standard ramp lengths when installed onto a cargo van with a 28 inch load height.
Short ramp: 7 feet (19.47° slope | ~1:3)
At a 19.47° angle and a 1:3 incline, the short length ramp would be too steep to load and unload heavy cargo. We wouldn’t recommend this length of ramp for Ford Transit or Mercedes Benz Sprinter cargo vans.
Medium ramp: 9ft (15.03° slope | ~1:4)
The medium length ramp used with the Transit or Sprinter creates a roughly ~1:4 incline at a 15.03° angle. While it is not the most gentle incline when compared to the longer ramps, it can still get the job done safely and the shorter ramp allows it to be deployed in tighter spaces.
Long ramp: 10.5ft (12.84° slope | ~1:4)
The long ramp is our most popular length for the Ford Transit and Mercedes Sprinter. It has a 1:4 incline and creates a 12.84° angle. You will be able to safely load and unload heavy cargo. Note that as a bi-fold ramp, this is our tallest configuration and it will not fit in low roof models.
Extra long ramp: 12ft (11.21° slope | ~1:5)
The extra long ramp is a tri-fold ramp that will have a more gentle incline than the previously mentioned ramp lengths. It exceeds our recommended incline of 1:4 with a 1:5 slope ratio. It will also create a 11.21° angle that may be more helpful than shorter ramps when transporting heavy cargo. Tri-fold ramps have a shorter stowed height, but they do require an extra six inches of depth inside the vehicle.
Extra extra long ramp: 15ft (8.95° slope | ~1:6)
As it is the longest ramp in our standard cargo van ramp line up, the extra extra long length ramp will create the most gentle incline when deployed. With an incline of ~1:6 at an 8.95° angle, the extra extra long ramp is more than suitable for transporting large cargo and equipment. This is also a tri-fold ramp.
RAM Promaster Cargo Van
The RAM Promaster cargo van has the lowest load height on the market at 21 inches. With that load height, all 5 of our standard cargo van ramps will be able to operate safely with the Promaster. However, some lengths may create a more preferable slope for your business needs.
Short ramp: 7ft (14.48° | 1:4)
Because of the Promaster’s industry-leading load height, the short cargo van ramp at 7ft in length can be safely used with an approximate 1:4 incline at a 14.48° angle. However, ramps with a more gentle incline may better suit your business needs.
Medium ramp: 9ft (11.21° slope | ~1:5)
With an approximate 1:5 slope ratio at an 11.21° angle, the medium length cargo van ramp can be the ideal solution for transporting your business’s cargo. Since it is one of the shorter ramps in our standard lineup, it may be more helpful for businesses that make deliveries in cramped locations.
Long ramp: 10.5ft (9.59° slope | 1:6)
The long ramp will have a decently gentle incline with an approximate 1:6 slope ratio at a 9.59° angle. It exceeds our recommended incline, so employees can safely walk up and down the ramp with heavy cargo.
Extra long ramp: 12ft (8.39° slope | ~1:7)
At an approximate 1:7 slope ratio, this extra long ramp exceeds our incline recommendations. It is more than capable of assisting you move heavy cargo and equipment safely.
Extra extra long ramp: 15ft (6.7° slope | ~1:9)
The most gentle incline is provided by the extra extra long ramp with an approximate 1:9 slope ratio at a 6.7° angle. At this length, heavy and oversized cargo can be transported most easily.
Ford Transit Connect and RAM Promaster City Cargo Vans
The Transit Connect and Promaster City are Ford and RAM’s more compact cargo van offerings, respectively. Both vans have about a 23” load height with the Transit Connect at 23” and Promaster City at 23.3”. Because these are more compact cargo vans, the rear door specifications (width and height) are only able to accommodate the short bifold and extra long trifold ramps. As you can see below, each ramp will create a significantly different incline when deployed.
Short ramp: 7ft (15.89° slope | ~1:4)
The short length ramp meets our incline recommendations with an approximate 1:4 slope ratio, at a 15.89° angle. Since many businesses choose the Transit Connect or Promaster City for use in urban areas or city streets, the short ramp is perfect for use in areas with limited loading and unloading space.
Extra long ramp: 12ft (9.19° slope | ~1:6)
The extra long ramp will create the most gentle incline for the Transit Connect or Promaster City. With an approximate 1:6 slope ratio at a 9.19° angle, large cargo and equipment can be more easily transported up and down the ramp.
Find the Ramp Incline for Any Load Height
As explored above, the incline of your cargo van ramp can greatly impact your efficiency and safety. While we only explored the incline of our standard ramps with 5 popular cargo van models, you can use the table below to calculate the incline of each ramp with any load height. If you need something more particular for your cargo van, HandiRamp can create a custom cargo van ramp that fits your needs. Just give our friendly ramp experts a call at 866-833-0314!