Open Roads Forum

Print  |  Close

Topic: Aliner Folding Camper

Posted By: Putzusa on 12/16/03 06:54am

Found the Aliner camper on the internet. It is a solid wall folding trailer. The solid wall interests me because I have had two pop-up campers and always had problems putting them down in wet weather. Has anyone had and experience with this camper.


Posted By: MICAMPER on 12/16/03 07:46am

Yes, There are a few of us wandering about that have either Aliners or Chalets. For a more in depth look at both go to the Yahoo Group.
http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/alinerchaleta-frames/


Marcy
98 Aliner LXE


Posted By: R N R on 12/16/03 07:49am

I've got the Chalet which is the Aliner twin brother. They have minor differences, but are pretty much the same trailer. If you want something for referecne, check out the Chalet website.
These trailers are pretty much a niche market item. If its just you and another person or maybe two, you'll be ok. Because there are no slide out beds, you're limited on floor space. But, NO you have no problem with head space.
Ok, having said that I'll say that we love ours. It does what we want as we are empty nesters and only travel with our dogs. We've got a 3 way fridge, fresh water w/ electric pump and water heater, stove and an out side shower. Didn't get A.C. because of where and how we camp. We got the Trail Boss off road package and high sides too. Soon, I'll be installing solar panels for our extended dry camping trips. While we don't use them, there's AC power outlets for when on shore power and a cable tv connection.
We've found the construction of the trailer to be excellent and haven't had any problems w/ our trailer. It tows like a dream w/ no sway at freeway speeds. One of the great parts is the 60 second or less set up. We can pull into a rest area, and be ready to eat in no time. I've set up and down in the rain and didn't get much water inside the trailer. You can reach the inside w/ the top down by just unlatching the door side and lifing the top enough to open the bottom half of the door. That's a nice thing too.
Check them out and if you fit the profile, you may just love one as much as we do. Hope this helps. I'm sure you'll get comment from a couple more people on their trailer.


Steve & Sharon + 2 dogs
'99 ZR2 Blazer
'03 Chalet Arrowhead w/ bunk bed option (makes a great dog house)
Pics of our adventures.



Posted By: caver on 12/16/03 08:23am

Quote:

I have had two pop-up campers and always had problems putting them down in wet weather.


This is a non-issue with an a-frame.
I've taken mine down during heavy downpours with wind blowing.
The only water that got inside was from my wet shoes

Other advantages,
You can set one up while attached to the tow vehicle.
Great for pulling over for breaks,naps since it takes less than 30 seconds to erect. Insulated for year round camping.

Disadvantages: Expensive compared to canvas units with equal floor area. Not really made for families. More suited for 1,2 or 2 adults and 1 child. 2 people would be crowded for me.
Less storage space compared to canvas pop-ups. Lack of dealer networks compared to canvas units

I enjoy mine and have no regrets about selling me previous canvas pop-ups.
Chalet has great customer service. They recently sent me two new bubble windows free of charge and my camper has been out of warranty for probably two years??
Subscribe to the forum mentioned in the above post.


Posted By: spldr on 12/16/03 01:41pm

I bounced back and forth between the Aliner (Alite 400) and a smaller pop up.

I agree wholeheartedly with Cavers comparisons. I made the same pro and con list and am STILL not sure I made the right decision ;-)

I went with a smaller pop up based on space vs. value for the dollar.

My tow Vehicle is a Honda Element, so my weight limit of 1500 lbs pretty much knocked anything else out of the water for towing.

I LOVED the Aliner, and really dug the idea of the all weather hard sides and quick set up, the quality seemed pretty good (Tho there are a couple wierd things for the price they could have improved on, like some exposed insulating material at the interior latches, the cabinetry isn't stellar etc) but the size turned me off, as well as the price per sq. foot of floor space.

A kind dealer suggested a Coleman Colorado would suit my needs, if I could find one. I did eventually, with one smaller pop up inbetween. I believe I made the correct decision. I have so much more room, I stay warm and have lots of storage. Because the Colorado is a soft top, and is vynil on the top with only one slide out bed, my set up and tear down time is only a couple more minutes than the aliner. A little soggier in the rain, but without the hard roof, teardown is pretty easy even in the rain. It's easy to dry out as well. A big tarp over it in the rain is easy to throw on and does really help with keeping the canvas/vynil dry too.

Everytime I see someone pop up an a-frame and have instant enjoyment tho, I kind of winge that I didn't get one.


Posted By: retiredtraveler on 12/16/03 09:33pm

I've been on the forum for a year reading everything and posting some questions. We have not yet bought our first camper, but we are currently torn between an Aliner and a 'regular' PU. The Yahoo forum (as mentioned) is really good for finding the same types of threads you find here, but limited to the A-frames.
I don't know if you have this concern, but we believe we will do camping primarily in colder climates or times (the south in the Spring), Canada in end of summer and early fall, and the Aliner would give you a little more cold-weather protection (so it would appear, anyway). I have not yet figured out how bad the condensation issue would be in cold-weather camping. I've posted the question, but get mixed answers.
Also, the hard sides would be an advantage in some parks in Canada where there are hard-side restrictions (actually, I believe some U.S. parks may have restrictions too due to bear activity).
Otherwise, as other people have stated, it's a lot more money for less space. You just have to decide if the advantages outweight the price and space. If you get any insights, I'd sure like to hear them. We're really struggling with this issue.


Pup: 2007 Jayco 1206 w/slide-out + shower
surge brakes, 54w solar panel
TV: 2005 Nissan Xterra 4X4, manual trans
25 years tent camping, 4000+ miles of hiking, lots of biking


Posted By: R N R on 12/17/03 10:06am

Quote:

I've been on the forum for a year reading everything and posting some questions.
I have not yet figured out how bad the condensation issue would be in cold-weather camping. I've posted the question, but get mixed answers.


rancelumsden:
My wife and I have had our Chalet since early this spring. It's always been too warm for a good 'cold' test. But we're thinking about condensation too.
Over the Christmas holiday we're heading up to the mountains for some snowshoeing. We expect the temps to be in the teens and even colder at nite. Since we're going to be out 2 nites we're going to try 2 different methods during the nite. In the summer, we slightly open a side window and open/turn on the Fantastic Fan. So for this trip we'll try just cracking the top vent open for one nite and then a side window and the top vent. Probably won't turn on the heater till it's time to get going in the morning.
We'll see how things go and post something here and on the PUX site.


Posted By: MT_aliner on 12/17/03 10:58am

We have an Aliner and have used it during winter. Condensation, no matter what anyone tells you, will be a problem. We had our skylight windows cracked and a 12-volt, oscillating fan running. We couldn't keep condensation from forming on the metal hinges and the roof peak. That said, it wasn't too bad. What size is your family? Aliners and Chalets are really small. If you want the space of a traditional popup, you might look at the base camp RV. It's like the old Apache hard sided popup. You might also check out the Apache popup forum to look at used Apaches for sale. Check out the following links:

http://www.basecamprv.com
http://www.apachepopups.net/modules.php?name=NukeC&op=ViewCatg&id_catg=170






Posted By: retiredtraveler on 12/17/03 11:56am

There are only 2 of us, so the space thing is not the issue (other than the space versus price issue as already mentioned).
What I failed to mention about the condensation issue is that we're looking to primarily camp without hookups. That means we would use a catalytic heater that does not vent to the outside (don't start on that, there are a 1000 responses about catalytic heaters on other threads!!!).
So, the condensation issue is a little greater with a cat rather than a built in heater. That's what I am getting mixed responses on --- how well the cat would actually heat, how much vapor I end up, how difficult it is/isn't to deal with the condensation.
If anyone has more responses to those issues, I sure would love to hear them.


Posted By: MT_aliner on 12/17/03 01:20pm

We were dry camping in the winter--using renewable, solar 12-volt and a portable generator. The temps we camped in dropped to the teens. We used both the propane heater in the trailer as well as a portable catalytic heater. You'll have more condensation with a catalytic heater; however, a big part of the condensation problem is the moisture you produce by breathing. That's why you'll never completely elimate condensation.

Using a catalytic heater, you'll definately want to use a 12-volt oscillating fan. Do you plan on getting a unit with the factory installed heater? We found it made the trailer more comfortable, temperature-wise, than the portable catalytic heater. Personally, I wouldn't want to try and heat only with a catalytic heater in very cold temps.


Posted By: Putzusa on 12/18/03 10:58am

Hi,

The price and space are going to be a nasty decision, but I am now asking myself what tow vehicle I am going to purchase. I have a old 1986 Chevy that I have used for the pop-ups. Now I am trying to choose between a pick-up (Ford 150 or Toyota Tundra) or a Toyota Sienna mini-van. What have you been using for your tow vehicle.

Thanks,

Frank


Posted By: MT_aliner on 12/18/03 12:38pm

We tow with a Dodge RAM 1500. However, many tow Aliners with vans. You might check out the aframe group in Yahoo groups.


Posted By: Sloney on 12/24/03 02:14pm

We have a pop up - but another serious contender for us was a fiberglass trailer, the type made by Casita/Scamp/Bigfoot. These are lightweight and owners of them often claim they hardly feel them when towing. Being regular hardsided trailers, they can give you the little extras such as bathrooms, overhead storage etc. I think the largest one they do is 17 foot long (Casita) - but there is a 13 foot long model. I would have one in a flash but having 2 teenagers to accommodate, we went with a pop-up, just for the extra room. I believe condensation in the fiberglass trailers is not so much of a problem because some (Casita) line the walls with carpet. Whatever you choose, you'll find shortcomings and advantages but half the fun of camping is making it work!


Posted By: spldr on 12/27/03 01:11pm

I tow with a Honda Element, and the small alite or sportliner was within the range of towing capacity for it.

The two smaller pop ups I have tow just fine with the Element, but I would look at a 6 banger for a larger aliner.


Posted By: Aliner-Rover on 12/14/04 11:56am

I've used my Aliner during two December hunting trips in the Mid-Atlantic Allegheny Mountains. I am finding that interior condensation on the aluminum extrusions is a real problem in cold weather camping. Especially if it's raining much, but only a bit less so if it's dry outdoors.

If no rain, then leaving a vent open at night helps some. But in rainy or foggy weather, even with furnace going, there's a lot of moisture build up. It even accumulates and runs down the plastic windows almost in sheets.

Haven't figured out what to do yet, but am toying with idea of some kind of small dehumidifier. Don't know yet if they make one that runs on 12V. Have thought about leaving the exhaust fan running, but that only seems to pull in damp air from the outside. Plus it means the furnace never will keep up. So far, wiping down the surfaces with paper towels every 4 hours or so is the only help.


Posted By: expeditionswest on 12/21/04 10:58pm

Quote:

I've got the Chalet which is the Aliner twin brother...We got the Trail Boss off road package and high sides too. Soon, I'll be installing solar panels for our extended dry camping trips....


I am curious of your success with the Trail Boss off-highway. Have you taken the trailer over any challenging terrain? I am researching a new trailer and am curious of your thoughts.

Thanks!


Scott Brady
expeditionswest.com
2004 Toyota Tacoma Double Cab 4x4
2006 Adventure Trailers Chaser



Posted By: R N R on 12/22/04 09:11am

Quote:

Quote:

I've got the Chalet which is the Aliner twin brother...We got the Trail Boss off road package and high sides too. Soon, I'll be installing solar panels for our extended dry camping trips....


I am curious of your success with the Trail Boss off-highway. Have you taken the trailer over any challenging terrain? I am researching a new trailer and am curious of your thoughts.

Thanks!


Yeah, we take it off road pretty often. It's got a good 11" of clearance and w/ the 14" tires it'll go a lot of places. We just take it slow and remember that we've got water, gear and etc in the trailer. Don't want it falling all over the place.
Check my webshot pics. There's a series of pics at the end that show me towing it thru a pretty good ditch. Even with the ball hitch I get pretty good articulation.

But, having said all that, it's not going to follow you down the Rubicon. If you want a trailer for that, I'd suggest you check out tentrax trailers. These are awesome for hard core off road.


Posted By: Zardozchalet on 12/22/04 11:21am

Quote:

Quote:

I've got the Chalet which is the Aliner twin brother...We got the Trail Boss off road package and high sides too. Soon, I'll be installing solar panels for our extended dry camping trips....


I am curious of your success with the Trail Boss off-highway. Have you taken the trailer over any challenging terrain? I am researching a new trailer and am curious of your thoughts.

Thanks!


I have a 2002 Chalet Aspen with tall sides, and trail boss. The only
problem is washboard roads. I added four monotube shocks and now the
trailer tracks and handles the same as the tow vehicle. Leaf springs
without shocks can be awful hard on the trailer. Add shocks. Like the
other person says you would not want to take it over the Rubicon but
for most bad road, simple trail use it works just fine. Lots of ground clearance and so nice to have a trailer in the boondocks when
the weather goes bad.

Zardoz


Posted By: R N R on 12/22/04 12:57pm

Hey Vernon.
I've been thinking of sticking some shocks on mine, too. Do you have any pictures??
I'm sure I could make something (u-bolt type) to connect to the axel, but how and where did you hook the top of the shock to the frame?
Wish Chalet would make a kit or something. That'd be great.
Thanks


Posted By: Zardozchalet on 12/22/04 01:42pm

Quote:

Hey Vernon.
I've been thinking of sticking some shocks on mine, too. Do you have any pictures??
I'm sure I could make something (u-bolt type) to connect to the axel, but how and where did you hook the top of the shock to the frame?
Wish Chalet would make a kit or something. That'd be great.
Thanks


Don't have a picture but I can describe it for you.

First I have a 2002 Chalet so it is not the new structural floor
panel that Chalet started last year.

I could not find a short enough shock to go between the top of the
axle and the bottom of the frame so I went with a pair of shocks for
each side mounting the shocks in front of the axle and behind the axle. This allowed a longer shock without lowering ground clearance.
Now I have access to a primo welder so don't try this yourself on
the axle tube unless you really know what you are doing or you will
put a hole in your axle or ruin it.

Welded a piece of V channel on the bottom of the axle sticking out
forward and back of the axle. This gives you your mount points for
the bottom of the shock. Repeat this for the other side. I mounted
the V stock about 5 inches in from back of brake drum.

Welded another piece of V channel between two of the cross members
on the Chalet frame. This gives you your upper shock mounting point.
Mount this piece a few inches farther towards the center than the
bottom mounts so the shocks tilt in toward the center. This allows
you to use a longer shock than a vertical mount.

Now the hard part. Finding the right shocks. I wanted a monotube
shock as these do much better on washboard since they cool better.
I looked at Bilstein but they are way to stiff. I finally found some
monotube shocks at a place like autozone that were soft enough for
trailer work. Now if you look at your shackles on the leaf spring
you can see really only one end goes up and down so after a few years
you should swap the front shock to the back and the backs to the fronts and it will keep the wear even on the shocks. This setup should tolerate long washboard road and not wear out and overheat
and also keep the bouncing under control.

How much did it cost well I had my welder do the work and it was
around $400 for 4 shocks and all the metal and welding. It works
great. I use to go over bad railroad tracks and the trailer would
bounce 4 or 5 cycles and stop. Now it does one cycle and stops. It
also stops the feedback to the tow rig while bouncing. On washboard
roads it stops the bouncing and the trailer rides just like the
tow vehicle.

Disclaimer: You don't have to go to excess like me but if you do
have leaf springs on your trailer. Get shocks. It will extend the
life of your trailer and contents. Better for your appliances also.
I believe Dexter has a shock kit for some of there axles but I really
think for bad road use a full size shock is a better solution.

I will try to find a picture tonight but hope this helped.

Zardoz


Posted By: expeditionswest on 12/22/04 02:50pm

Thank you for the feedback on the Aliners. I already have two smaller and more basic trailers. It was more out of curiousity, as I have always liked the hard side, pop-up option.

Here are my trailers:
1997 VenturCraft Sportsman (this one could be pulled across the Rubicon



And our new Jumping Jack Trailer


* This post was edited 12/22/04 06:49pm by an administrator/moderator *


Posted By: R N R on 12/23/04 08:35am

Thanks Vernon.

I'll give this a try.


Posted By: R N R on 12/27/03 08:06pm

We just got back from our winter camping trip for snowshoeing. We went to an area north of Granby, Co.

We drove up Christmas evening and stayed over nite. As we were driving up the thermometer on the truck read 17* F. We set up and cooked dinner and went to bed. We didn't turn the heater on during the nite and when we woke up in the morning, the outside temp was +1 according to our indoor/outdoor thermometer. We both think it got colder than that, because we woke up in the nite and it felt much colder than when we woke up, but I never turned on the light to look. After we woke up in the morning, I sat up and turned on the heater and crawled back into the sleeping bag. It took about an hour (1* per minute) to heat the inside to about 60*; warm enough to get up and get dressed.

There was condensation (frozen) on the hinges and roof peak as was posted earlier. The windows were also frosted over. Everything thawed as the temperature rose. We also saw condensation on the curtains. But there was no real problems. There was a little dripping, but nothing really got wet.

After snowshoeing all day, we came back exhausted and wet. The dogs were ice covered too. Because it was snowing about an inch an hour and projected to snow for the next 3 days, we decided to head back home as we had to cross Loveland Pass. It would have been a chore to get everything dry again, but I think the heater and batteries would have been up to the task.

Space was a little bit of a problem, but we could have handled it. All in all, it was fun. Although I found out the a GPS doesn't work at 10*. Had it in the inside pocket of my parka and when it took it out, it acquired the satelites ok, but as it got colder it quit working. I had to put it back in the pocket.


Posted By: caver on 12/28/03 10:24am

Did you have to shovel out a campsite?


Posted By: R N R on 12/29/03 08:02am

Camp site? Nope. The area has several summer trail heads and in the winter is used for snowmobiling too. So there's a couple areas for parking. Since it was Christmas, there wasn't anyone else around. So we just used a wide spot in the road slash parking area to park the trailer. Had to level right/left, but not bad. There is a dude ranch a couple miles up another road so we saw some snow mobiles, but they stayed to the road. We were in the trees. I'll find a place to post some pics as soon as I get em developed.
Any one know of a good hosting site? Free.?


Print  |  Close