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Author Topic: Aliner campers?  (Read 17709 times)
warwgn3
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« on: October 07, 2010, 09:04:29 AM »

Well, I'm starting to think about selling my pup, and replacing it with a TT or a hard sided Pup.  Reason:  Even though it literally takes 5-10 minutes to set up and tear down, it is not the standard "crank up" camper, but rather a push up / pull down roof with solid metal poles, hinges, and heavy springs.  And the side bed wings don't slide, they fold on hinges, therefore i have to put the mattresses on the floor when breaking camp, and I lose a lot of storage space.  Without any help, it is very difficult for one person to set up and tear down, as he has to hold the canvas away from the plywood to avoid damaging the canvas while folding the wings, and it may not look like it, but that fiberglass roof is really heavy, especially when tearing down.  One down side with Solo Camping is that you don't always have extra hands available to help you.

In the interest of easier set ups, I've been wondering if there are any small TT's in existence that my 2,000 lb limit TV would be able to safely tow with a Class I bumper hitch....

Then I gave it some thought, and I don't think a TT is right for me... Even the small 12 footers would kill my car's gas mileage with the wind resistance.  My Tow Vehicle averages 23 highway mpg with my SE.Woods.  So I thought about the combining the 2 aspects, and started researching A-Liner folding campers.  They look really easy to set up, and have more features than my SE.Woods.

As far as I know there are 6 different models of varying sizes if the A-liner. Can anyone here chime in with some personal experience with them?
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Doug Corrigan
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Tow Vehicles:
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beemerphile1
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« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2010, 09:48:17 AM »

I like mine, you can see it in my signature.  What do you want to know?

There is a very active Yahoo email group and club.  Lots of fans and events are organized several times a year.

Yahoo group;
http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/alinerchaleta-frames/

Aliner owner's club;
http://www.alinerclub.org/main_frame.html

Manufacturer;
http://www.aliner.com/design/
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Tim
19 nights camped in 2014
30 nights camped in 2013
33 nights camped in 2012
36 nights camped in 2011

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« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2010, 11:33:30 AM »

Don't know anything personally, except one brand is made nearby.  They will give factory tours, I think, if you are sent by the dealer.   

Keep an eye out in campgrounds.  When you see one, ask the owner what he likes/dislikes about it and ask for a tour.  Campers love to show off their toys!
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« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2010, 11:46:11 AM »

Not much help for you, but I looked in one at a dealer and liked what I saw.  Looks like an awesome little camper for a single or a couple.
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KristinU
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« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2010, 01:12:42 PM »

We have one and really like it.  Feel free to check out our blog, linked in my signature and over to the left.  We have the Scout model, so probably not all of the bells and whistles that you're looking at, but we do all of our cooking and stuff outside.  We did add a 3 way fridge this year that we love.

However, we as a family, are considering going up in size just a little based on a wish list we've started.  Here are some quotes from a few of my posts on a thread on the HybridExplorer board (we're considering a hybrid, obviously):

__________________________________________________________________

What we love about the Aliner:
 - Size: it is easy to tow and easy to get into small spots…we haven’t had to compromise on some of our favorite state park sites that we tent camped at.  We can also store it in the garage in the winter and driveway in the summer.

 - Our bed: we put in a real mattress for DH’s and my side (was a dinette that we made into a semi-permanent bed.)  This is a big factor for us since it is so comfy-cozy in there.  I haven’t been reading fabulous things about HTT mattresses – splits and stuff.

 - The speed of set-up: love that we can stop for an overnight on the way to somewhere else and be in bed literally 2 minutes after stopping.  We can stay hitched and just pop up and get in.  Not sure if you can do that in a HTT…or I’m guessing at least not while using the front bed, right?

 - Storage space: we find that we have plenty of storage space, and we get better and better with organization of the various cubbies every year.

 - We like that there is not a ton of interior space so it forces us to be outside more.

 - We also love the shelter from elements and the packed-and-ready-to-go aspect…we sure get out a lot more than when we tent camped!

 - And of course gas mileage while towing.


What we wish it had:
 - A small bathroom: we currently use a porta potti at night that stows away during the day.  It works fine for us now, but as DS gets older and wants to bring a buddy along we’ll need to come up with some other alternative to the porta-potti in the doorway at night.  We also use a shower tent and Zodi shower – works well for us, but a shower on board would be nice.  I also would like a small sink for brushing teeth, messing with contacts, etc.

 - A little more sleeping space and privacy: we currently have enough sleeping space for three of us and our dog, but again as DS (6.5 currently) gets older and brings along a buddy we’ll need somewhere for them to sleep.  We may be camping with one of his friends for one night in a few weeks – at this point they’re small enough to fit on DS’s dinette bed, but even next year it might be a bit of a squish.  Not sure how often he’ll have friends along, but if it were up to him even at this point, we’d bring someone along every time.

 - A dinette set up all the time: DS’s bed turns into a dinette with not too much effort, but it would be nice to have a little table to sit at without messing with it and stowing bedding first.

_________________________________________________________________________

I wouldn't mind getting back under a bit of canvas.  My parents came up and went camping with us in July - we gave them the Aliner and DH and I slept in our old backpacking tent, I really liked hearing the owls and crickets and frogs at night. 

__________________________________________________________________________

We installed an awning last year on our Aliner and we love it.  But it is pretty much the single most time consuming part of setup.

___________________________________________________________________________

End of quotes. 

Please ask away if you have any specific questions.  If it were just me and DH, I don't think we'd be considering anything else at all since the privacy and the dinette items would be taken care of.  A mod we've considered is opening bubble windows, which another PUX member has (user name is Retrac...they have a family of 4), which would be sweet for cross ventilation and being able to hear the great outdoors.  It is something the factory can do and we're not all that far, so its an option for us...but not terribly inexpensive, so not something we want to do if we're going to sell in the next year or so.

You've probably seen the post that there's a third player in the Aframe market - so more to look at and choose from, although to be completely honest, there's only so many floor plans for these things!  no big surprises ;)
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Kristin

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« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2010, 02:55:41 PM »

Not answering your question but have you looked at teardrops?
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dkutz
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« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2010, 04:32:20 PM »

Well I can see the point of Aliners, but for me they don't make much sense.  They are expensive, and really don't have much room.  Easy to pop up, and take down, hard sides.  But so small on the inside.  Besides the loss of the windows in a standard PUP.  Sorry they just aren't for me...
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« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2010, 08:55:11 PM »

Chalet is another manufacturer making similar trailers to Aliner.
http://www.chaletrv.com/folding.php
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Dave Oregon - 1999 Coleman Cheyenne   2003.5 Coleman Utah  PopUp Grey  Pickup White ---->  2011 Ever-Lite 27RB TravTrl Long Green  Pickup White
warwgn3
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« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2010, 11:04:05 PM »

Thanks to all who responded so far.

Not answering your question but have you looked at teardrops?
I have looked at them, and I think they're too small for me.  Imagine the smallest Aliner (the Alite) with only a 4 ft high flat ceiling..  Trying to crawl into a small door to get into a teardrop, and having no room to stand up or move around would be a tad difficult. Not unlike my pre-pop up camping days.  Before I got my current pup up, I used to camp with nothing more than an air mattress in the back of my old Caprice station wagon, and it got pretty cramped after a few days.


Please ask away if you have any specific questions....
WOW!!!  That was an in-depth reply! LOL.

With my current camper, because of the set up method... one of my dislikes, is that I have to pick my mattresses off the floor, throw it onto the wing planks, and make the beds before I can hit the sack.  Usually I make the beds as soon as I set up camp, so that I don't have to do it when I'm ready for bed.  What I would like is to be able to make the bed, and leave it made when I pop down and break camp, so that when I go on my next trip, I can pop up the camper, and the bed is already made.  It would be perfect for long trips... if I'm too tired to drive anymore, (17 hours is my record... Janesville WI to S.S. Marie ON via Michigan's UP),  I can pull into a Wal-Mart parking lot, pop the trailer, and hop right in to bed.  I can't do that with my current camper.

My current pop up is nothing more than a tent in a box with 2 beds in it.  It's 6.5' x 12' but the bed wings open from the sides, so I got 2 48" x 72" beds, and a 4' x 6' floor space in the middle to move around in...

I was looking at pics and specs of the different Aliner models, and have already determined that the Expedition is too big for my car's 2,000 lb towing limit.  I want to have a bigger camper, but one that's light enough that I can throw my gear in without going over the limit.  So the next ones I looked at were the Classic, Ranger and Scout.  All of them are 6.5' x 12'. So that's the same amount of space my current camper is when popped up... That's perfect!  The Classic weighs 1,530 lbs empty...  It is within the limits, but it might be cutting it a bit too close if I want to load up the trailer.  Next ones in line are the Ranger at 1,320 lbs, and the Scout at 1,175 lbs.

Most of the time I camp Solo, so I would only need one bed.  I would probably sleep on the dinette, as I would more than likely have no problems eating at the CG provided picnic table, I'd just move it closer to the camper, and shelter it with my 10' x 10' E-Z up gazebo.

I'd ideally like to have a couch to sit on and watch T.V. during bad weather, with the T.V. sitting on a counter space. If I have a guest, I'd have no problems pulling the couch out to make the 2nd bed.  

The A/C would be a nice touch, but I can do without it.

The Furnace would be an asset though, and would lengthen my camping season.  At the beginning of the 2010 season, I slept in camp driveway, and temps went as low as -2*C (28*F), and the little in-car heater, I had couldn't keep up.  

Another thing I can do without is the on-board toilet.  It's just another thing to clean and look after, when I could just as easily walk to the nearest comfort station in the CG.  

A sink with running water would be nice as well and would make it easier to wash my dishes.  

The stove and fridge is a no-brainer, but I could for-go the microwave.  I can picture myself at a camp site, nuking a Swanson's Hungry Man TV dinner...  I eat enough of those at work.  

I do like the idea of the Cable TV connection.  I'd never get a site that has cable, as I much prefer rabbit ear antenna's, but having that cable connection would help me increase my signal strength by allowing me to set my antenna on the camper's roof.


I guess that's it for what I'm looking for, so onto the questions:

How do you find the head room in the Aliner?  Do you have a habit of konking your head on the sloped ceiling when you move to either end of the trailer?

How's the stability, and noise reduction with all the windows and doors closed? Referring to my camp driveway experience earlier this year, one night was really windy, and my camper was shaking so much that I was worried about the wind blowing the camper off the leveling blocks. Also that night I could hear a soda-pop can rolling up and down the street. And then the crows... OH god, the CROWS!!!  If there were any other time I wish I had a shotgun under my pillow, that would take the cake!

That's all I can think of for now. If I can come up with anything else, I'll let you know, but for now, it's 3am, and I gotta get to sleep.

Thanks for all your input.

« Last Edit: October 07, 2010, 11:25:08 PM by warwgn3 » Logged

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Doug Corrigan
1971 SE.Woods Adventurer

Tow Vehicles:
2002 Chevrolet Astro LT. TL: 4,800 lbs
1990 Lincoln Continental Mark VII. TL: 2,000 lbs
1999 Suzuki Grand Vitara J2 4x4. TL: 1,500 lbs
beemerphile1
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« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2010, 05:07:20 AM »

All of the Aliners are extremely well insulated.  The walls and roof panel are made of 1 & 1/2" foam between a fiberglass exterior and wood panel interior.  Because of that they are extremely quiet, easy to cool, and easy to heat.  The factory ac is 5,000 BTU which I can run with my 800 watt generator.  I use either a 1,200 watt electric heater or 9,000 BTU Buddy heater in cold weather.  Mine doesn't have the optional furnace but I do have a water heater and outside shower.

We have had canvas pups in the past and won't likely ever go back.  One big selling point for us was being able to stay in parking lots, rest areas, truckstops, and on public streets with no security issues.  We have done it all.  We can find a parking spot and in less than two minutes be in bed for the night with solid walls and a deadbolt lock on the door.

Ceiling height is a non-issue.  Plenty of room.  We have the Sport model which is shorter than the ones you mentioned.  I will warn you that the Sport has a heavy tongue and exceeds the rating of a class one hitch.  The Classic and Scout have less weight on the tongue because they are better balanced.  On our most recent trip of nine days we had a total weight of 1,950 with 270 of those pounds on the tongue.

The trailers are heavier than the brochure weights.  This is true for all camping trailers.  Even if the baseline weight is correct it does not include the LP gas, the battery, options, or accessories.

We intend on replacing ours with a Classic this winter.  We need more floor area because there are two of us.  A Sport would be okay for one person.

Someone mentioned windows, due to the skylights and sidewall windows we have nearly a 360 degree view.  The view is only obstructed in the corners.  My Aliner has more window area than my Toy Hauler.

Because the Aliner mostly depends on gravity to hold the roof down, (there are latches though) there are issues with high winds but primarily only during setup and folding.  There are simple but effective solutions to the wind issues though and the factory does offer a high wind kit.
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Tim
19 nights camped in 2014
30 nights camped in 2013
33 nights camped in 2012
36 nights camped in 2011

Momma said; "If you argue with a fool, it makes it hard to tell which one is the fool".


2009 Pontiac Vibe 1.8L towing 2009 Aliner Sport  Chalet/AlinerCar Blue
1998 Ford E150 towing 2006 Weekend Warrior FK1900 TravTrl Long Blue Van Blue
1996 BMW R1100GS
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« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2010, 05:57:56 AM »

Thanks to all who responded so far.

I guess that's it for what I'm looking for, so onto the questions:

How do you find the head room in the Aliner?  Do you have a habit of konking your head on the sloped ceiling when you move to either end of the trailer? 

Head room was never an issue, the only time I ever hit my head was after looking in the fridge once or twice in the 11 years we camped in the Aliner. Now my 6'2" son has it and has no problems either

How's the stability, and noise reduction with all the windows and doors closed? Referring to my camp driveway experience earlier this year, one night was really windy, and my camper was shaking so much that I was worried about the wind blowing the camper off the leveling blocks. Also that night I could hear a soda-pop can rolling up and down the street. And then the crows... OH god, the CROWS!!!  If there were any other time I wish I had a shotgun under my pillow, that would take the cake!
 We camped in 45 mph winds and literally felt nothing. They do sell high wind kits for extra protection from the walls falling in high winds

That's all I can think of for now. If I can come up with anything else, I'll let you know, but for now, it's 3am, and I gotta get to sleep.

Thanks for all your input.


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Dave L
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« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2010, 02:55:40 PM »

One of the reasons I ended up on this forum is because of my findings concerning A-Frame campers. It seems the one common weakness is the frame bending on the door side. The axle acts as a pipe bender when you hit bumps in the road. This causes a drooping rear and misalignment of the panels and door latch. People who try to carry weight on the rear, whether internally or with bike racks, are more vulnerable to this. I would suggest joining one of the A-Frame forums and searching this out before you invest. I'm still tent camping yet to find a better alternative.
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« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2010, 05:46:56 AM »

One of the reasons I ended up on this forum is because of my findings concerning A-Frame campers.

I'm still tent camping yet to find a better alternative.

That better alternative could be the hard wall 2008 Fleetwood Tacoma ... unfortunately not many were produced and it's no longer being manufactured but there are still a few out there in the used market.
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« Reply #13 on: October 21, 2010, 08:36:40 AM »

...It seems the one common weakness is the frame bending on the door side. The axle acts as a pipe bender when you hit bumps in the road...

Although rare, some people have experienced bent frames.  It appears to only be an issue with the larger units.  I've never heard of a smaller model like mine bending.  I imagine the ones that have experienced bent frames also were overloaded and/or improperly balanced.  If you are looking at buying new be aware that 2010 and 2011 model years use 1" larger frame rails.
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Tim
19 nights camped in 2014
30 nights camped in 2013
33 nights camped in 2012
36 nights camped in 2011

Momma said; "If you argue with a fool, it makes it hard to tell which one is the fool".


2009 Pontiac Vibe 1.8L towing 2009 Aliner Sport  Chalet/AlinerCar Blue
1998 Ford E150 towing 2006 Weekend Warrior FK1900 TravTrl Long Blue Van Blue
1996 BMW R1100GS
2005 Trek Madone
1994 Burley tandem
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« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2010, 07:02:03 AM »

The frame issue is an Aliner one. Having seen the Aliner camper owned by the guy who started all this frame deformation chit chat.....well it's no wonder the frame bent. Loaded with every mod do-dad knick knack you could imagine.
Since Aliner was bought out the quality control seems to have improved. Chalet has also had issues but not with frames.
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