Living and Traveling in a Pop-Up Aliner Trailer

The author originally pulled  the Aliner with this 2.4l Chevy Cobalt until this year when he switched to a F-250 in preparation to getting a bigger trailer. The Cobalt’s gas mileage drops from 31-34mpg to 22-25 when towing.

Ups and downs of an Aliner (pun intended)

(As you may know, I don’t recommend pop-up trailers or campers for full-timers because I believe their disadvantages outweigh their advantages. However, the Aliner pop-up trailer solves all the problems but has all the advantages. They’re highly recommended.  My friend Chip graciously agreed to write this review of his Aliner)

After Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast I decided to look for a bug-out camper that my family (2 adults, cat, dog and bird) could evacuate with and live in indefinitely. Since I only had a 4 cylinder car at the time I needed something small and lightweight that it could safely handle. On top of that, we didn’t like the idea of a pop-up tent camper – especially in foul weather (as in peripheral winds and rain associated with a hurricane.) This meant that it had to have hard (preferably well insulated) sides. It also had to be lightweight, with a small frontal area so it could be tow-able by my 4 cylinder car. We wanted a self-contained unit with a shower, potty, kitchen, and a big comfy bed. OK, we wanted a lot in a small package and I thought it unlikely I would find something that met all the above criteria that we could afford, as we only had a $10k budget.

That’s when providence stepped in AH-AH-AH (angel sounds) and I found a camper meeting all my stringent criteria and more – a barely used (protective plastic still on the stove and shower curtain – indicating they had never been used) 2006 Aliner LXE at a nearby dealer well within my budget.

My F250 diesel gets 17-19 mpg towing. The 125cc motorbikes in the bed get 100 mpg and will hit 60 mph.  Here you see me at a rest area along the road. The Aliner takes 30 seconds to pop-up on the side of the road for quick lunch and potty breaks. Setting up a complete camp takes longer, of course. Popping up and over-nighting in roadside rest areas is a piece of cake, something you would probably not want to do in a cloth sided pop-up that takes maybe 20-30 minutes to get fully set-up and break-down.

Aliners feel very safe and secure in foul weather and are more comfortable in extreme temperatures than a cloth sided pop-up. We found this out when Hurricane Gustav hit the coast and we evacuated the family to N. Alabama to escape the brunt of the storm. Though the wind still blew so hard it shook the trailer, we stayed safe and dry. The campground we stayed at was naturally overfilled due to the storm, so they only had one small campsite with 15 amp a/c power available (basically a tent site.) No problem! We fit in just fine and a small extension cord (Aliner normally uses a 30 amp pedestal) was enough to power our 5,000 Btu window air conditioner, fridge, and everything else in the camper, including our little TV/DVD player. Though the power did go off for a few hours during the storm, we had our camper battery and propane tank to fall back on.

Morning in the Smokies. With the high roof and abundance of windows, it “feels” much larger than it actually is.

We simply threw a rope over the top and secured it fore and aft (to prevent the roof halves from separating in high winds) and we were good to go. Though Aliner warns of erecting them in high winds, once up, they are sturdy. A simple rope cinched tightly with a motorcycle tie-down will keep the roof halves together in all but the worst conditions. There are several commercially available “wind kits” available that offer even more strength and protection, but our cheap rope has served us well so far, and we’ve been through some pretty high winds – especially on the top of Mt. Magazine, the highest peak in Arkansas that really rocked the camper with 50-60 mph gusts, yet we were safe and comfy inside.

There is very little room to move around inside our fully loaded LXE model, but you never feel claustrophobic because the ceiling is so high. I’m 5′ 11″ and I can’t even reach the peak inside even on tiptoes – and I have the low wall model. The high wall model has even more room inside, as do larger models with a dormer.

A typical campsite showing the little beak awning I designed and built. It uses a frame made of 1/2” plastic pipe that screws to the camper, pops together and erects in a couple minutes.

The frame for the awning. It’s not clear from this angle, but the beak comes out far enough to open the door.

The foam seals and bungie cords holding the roof halves together need to be replaced every few years as they will weather and age over time. This is a simple and inexpensive procedure you can do yourself from foam weatherstripping and bungies from a big box hardware store. All campers develop small leaks over time that will need to be calked. The Aliner probably less than most. The older models have been known to leak at the corners, so if buying a used one check for this. After 2005 Aliner switched their flooring from plain luan (glued pressed wood) to Performax (a superior flooring substrate that is very water resistant) so models made in 2006 and later years don’t have the soft floor problems older models were plagued with.

Overall it has proven to be very durable and reliable. I have towed it for about 40,000 miles all over the country with few problems. Of course bearings have to be packed once or twice a year, brakes adjusted, the battery kept charged and watered – normal maintenance with any trailer.

Here’s a picture of the kitchen, galley area. Note microwave, 3 burner stove and 3-way freezer/fridge that runs off of propane, 12v d/c and 110 a/c power.

To the right is the shower/cassette toilet area seen here. The cassette is easily removable from outside and holds about 1 week’s of bodily waste. Its easy to clean and dump at any dump station or toilet (like in a rest area) – you don’t even need gloves like a typical RV, though washing your hands afterward is just good hygiene.

I made a few drawers to increase the usable storage space inside. Here’s a silver wear and frying pan drawer I built between the stove and microwave. There’s room for a flashlight, TV remote control and a few other things I like to keep handy.

Here’s a handy pull-out drawer I built under the sink for food and sundry storage as well as a pot, coffee pot, plastic bags, aluminum foil, etc.

Finally, a big drawer under the couch area for linens, a screen half door I built and other infrequently used items.

The couch and dinette folds out to make this huge king bed that DW and Ddog is laying on. I have since added a 1” memory foam topper and sewed 2 sheets together to make a giant “pillowcase” to keep it clean and tear free.

Here’s one with the bed folded up and the couch and dinette visible.

I attached quick removable Reflectix over all the windows with Velcro strips for insulation and privacy. I also installed the wire shelf (for bread, chips and other light weight items) and the small, portable florescent light in the picture for direct lighting over the stove area. It run off my camper’s house battery and has its own internal battery supply as well so I can unhook it and move it around as needed.

Here’s another shot of Reflectix just pushed into the bubble windows on the roof. You can also see a couple computer muffin fans I installed in the roof vents above the skylights to aid ventilation. You can get them with Fantastic Fans too, but that is pretty much overkill in such a small camper.

 

I added a small inverter to run the TV off of battery power.

 

I mounted this 19” TV/DVD player in the rear bubble over the couch. The bottom folds out for use and is secured with the curtains when in travel mode.

Times like this – Fall in the Smokies – makes it all worth it.

Overall we’ve been very happy with our choice of camper. Though for 2 people it gets a little crowded inside (my DW says cozy.) Compared to a van, it’s a mansion on wheels. If one were to pull it with a van, or truck with camper, utilizing both spaces, it would be a an ideal “marriage saving” solution to a full-timing couple’s privacy and mental health needs.

Now that the patent has run out there are other companies other than Columbia Northwest (the original Aliner folks) and Chalet (a high quality licensed A-frame clone) are producing their versions. So there are now plenty varieties and sizes on the market to choose from at different price points, so you are sure to find a model that suits your needs.

Chip

For more info about Aliners, go here:

http://www.aliner.com/

http://www.chaletrv.com/folding-trailers/

Bob
About

I've been a full-time VanDweller for 12 years and I love it. I hope to never live in a house again!

92 comments on “Living and Traveling in a Pop-Up Aliner Trailer
  1. Avatar Steve says:

    Thanks for the great review. I have considered A-Liner and Chalet in the past and after this review, they have move near the top of my list.
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    • Bob Bob says:

      You’re welcome Steve! Thanks mainly to Chip though!
      Bob

      • Avatar Steven Service says:

        Bob, Any advice on how to replace the foam seals on the roof’s peak? It looks like I’d need to take off the bungees, but I don’t see how to do that and get them back on and working. We have a 2007 Classic Aline. Thanks.

        • Bob Bob says:

          Steven, that’s not my A-liner, it belongs to a friend. I’ve never had one so I know little about them.

          But my friend is on my forum so if you ask the question there maybe someone can help you.
          Bob

  2. Avatar Ming says:

    thank you Bob for this series and Chip for the virtual tour. I always enjoy seeing what different people come up with for their living/ traveling rigs.

  3. Avatar Calvin R says:

    The first folding hard-sided camper I remember was an Apache that I saw in a campground in College Station, Texas, in 1981. I never forgot that for the reason Bob gave: it solves the problems of having fabric sides without adding much weight or complication. I never saw another one for probably twenty years, but that has changed. Besides A-Liner and Chalet, Starcraft and Forest River are offering this format of camper. I looked up some numbers and I would have thought I’d need a little bigger car to tow it, but Chip has 40,000 miles of experience. Certainly a minivan or mini-truck would handle any of these just fine.

    • Bob Bob says:

      I agree Calvin, they are pretty appealing. But I’ll still stick with my cargo trailer, it has everything I could need and it’s cheap even brand new and it it’s tough as nails. You can’t hardly hurt it.
      Bob

    • Avatar Chip says:

      Calvin, I have an aluminum skinned Aliner that is very light weight. The data plate says it only wighs in at 1,050lbs without any amenities. With all appliances, water tank, AC, bathroom, battery, propane, etc. it weighs in around 1,550 lbs. empty – 1,700lbs loaded and ready to camp. It is constructed primarily of composite foam/aluminum. Even the counter top and shower stall is similarly foam core constructed, making the camper light but expensive. The Aliner and Chalet models skinned with fiberglass rather than aluminum are more dent resistant, but weigh 200-300 lbs more for an equivalent size camper. The cheaper Forest River clones are constructed more conventionally, thus are heavier – in the 2,000-3,000lb range unloaded, putting them outside the typical 4 cylinder tow range, but their low frontal area still let’s them be 6 cylinder towable. Both Aliner and Chalet makes larger and smaller models. Mine is about average as far as size and weight are concerned. Here’s a tiny one being towed with a Smart car. http://tinypic.com/m/e5qx08/1

      • Avatar Calvin R says:

        I’ll be honest, I would not tow anything with a “Smart” Car, even a motorcycle trailer.

        The only towing rating I could find for the Cobalt was the usual 1,000# that’s often assigned to smaller cars. That was on a UK site; sometimes it’s different here. In any case, I’ll take experience as an indication of reality. You towed your Aliner 40,000 miles with little or not trouble. That’s what I need to know.

        I have personal enthusiasm about minivans, and most of them are rated to tow 2,000#, some higher. That would cover most of the hard-side folders. The trade-off is that no minivan gets over 30 mpg as far as I know. Building a cargo trailer is an option, but a great deal of thought would be needed to build one that a smaller vehicle could tow. Building on a utility trailer would allow for less wind resistance if built a certain way but would require more work and planning.

        Much will come down to how much a given person plans to travel rather than stay in place. Fuel mileage and maneuverability become more important if you travel more, but comfort matters for staying in one location.

      • Avatar Offroad says:

        thanks for the further details chip. Have a six cylinder Toyota Avalon and was wondering about towing something like this. Do electric brakes help with dealing with the weight? am sure they would be an expensive option. Getting anything below the $10,000 price range is a sweet bargain. Or course you can also wheel-deal a 1ton van for that amount, but the aliner seems so much more practical a solution for those who have not gone full time; but are likely to and want to practice

        • Avatar Chip says:

          Offroad, I would not tow any trailer without brakes. When I got my Aliner it did not have electric brakes so I added them. As long as your axle has the rectangular backing plate for the brakes to bolt to it is a relatively inexpensive, yet essential mod. You can get a complete kit off of E-bay for under $200. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Add-Electric-Brakes-to-trailer-Complete-kit-2000-Axle-5-Lug-5×4-5-7-Drum-Axel-/350555782446 Give yourself a half a day to install them, run the wires, install the plug on your TV, etc. You will also need a proportional brake controller mounted in your TV. I chose a Tekonsha Primus brake controller (about $80). So for under $300 and a few hours work you will be able to stop safely – very important when using a minimal tow vehicle.

          Don’t forget to add a transmission cooler to your TV to keep things cool when pulling a heavy load. If you have an automatic transmission, I also recommend getting your ECM/TCM (engine and transmission computers) tow tuned like I did. Your shifts will be firmer and your transmission will slip less, generating less heat and will last longer. I have 300,000+ miles on my original transmission. Sure it’s about worn out now, but how many automatics last even half this mileage without a major overhaul? Not many, especially when towing at 170% of the manufacturer’s suggested tow rating (something I do not recommend, as you are 100% on your own if you decide to do this.)

          It is interesting to note that GM rates all their cars to only tow 1,000 lbs, even their large, V8 powered models, which are much more capable TVs than their modest tow ratings would suggest, certainly far better than my little Cobalt which has proven to greatly surpass their hedged tow numbers. What’s funny is that even the base model Cobalt was rated to tow 1,000 lbs, but my SS model with superior oversized 4 wheel, anti-lock disk brakes and superior suspension, anti-sway, etc. is rated to tow the exact same amount. I’m sure my SS could out stop and out handle an unladen softly sprung, no sway bar, drum braked, base Cobalt even with my Aliner in tow, yet GM does not recognize the differences in any of their car models for towing, steering you to their more profitable truck line if you want to tow virtually anything.

          Chip

  4. Avatar Naomi says:

    Love this. It looks large enough that I wouldn’t get claustrophobic. The fact that it can be towed by a smaller vehicle is wonderful.

    Thanks Bob and Chip.

    ~Naomi

  5. Avatar Leigh says:

    awesome! I’ve always wanted to see the inside of one of these. With our lifestyle, we still need a bigger rig (we’re in a 22ft bumper pull trailer) but someday when we retire we may be able to downsize further 🙂 thanks for sharing.

    • Avatar WTXCal says:

      Leigh,
      What type of 22′ are you all in? I’m in the process of researching that size for fulltiming(just myself and Loyal canine companion, Blanca) Any info. would be appreciated. Thanks Chip for the tour and you too Bob for the great site!
      Happy travels, WTXCal

    • Bob Bob says:

      Leigh, we all have different needs and priorities and it’s good yo know what you need.
      Bob

  6. Avatar Douglas says:

    I go either between just my super duty or towing my 20 foot enclosed trailer depending on if i’m working a lot or not. I like using my 20 footer mainly because of the 170 square feet and the fact i don’t have to set anything up outside to make coffee or cook.
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  7. Avatar Douglas says:

    These little rigs would reduce fuel consumption a lot over my 20 footer.
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  8. Avatar Jessy says:

    Are you able to set up and sleep for a few hours in a rest area? Thanks for the article! All the pictures are great.

    • Avatar Chip says:

      Yes, Jessy. We do it all the time. Both the first picture with my Aliner hitched to my yellow car and the second one where it is hooked to the white truck is at the same rest area, a few years apart on our way to Big Bend, NP. This is one of our favorite rest areas as there is a nice picnic table by a stream, it is out of the way so no on hardly ever stops and there is little traffic keeping you awake at night. It is located between Brackettville, TX and Uvalde TX on HWY-90. We stay all night, safely and hassle free, waking refreshed in the morning. Some rest areas are very noisy with lots of traffic, so are not suitable to getting a good night’s rest. There are lots of free campgrounds we like to stay at too, like this one – the Meriwether Lewis CG on the Natchez Trace – one of our favorite roads: http://tinypic.com/m/fk6652/1 Here we are at the same CG on another trip (at happy hour): http://tinypic.com/m/eups11/1 No need to unhook, for a fast get-away in the morning.

      Chip

  9. I have an Aliner I am anxious to use, but I’ve lost the keys! Aliner doesn’t make that kind of lock any more and I am having NO success getting new keys or a new lock. One day I will solve this, then hit the road.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Emilie, I’m sorry to hear about that problem, that must be frustrating! I would think a locksmith could just change out the lock or at least remove the one in there now so you could do something simple like a padlock.

      Good luck!
      Bob

      • Avatar Chip says:

        I replaced the doorknob style lock on my Aliner as the inside latch part kept getting hooked on my belt as I tried to exit. I installed a Fastec lock which uses a deadbolt too, so is more secure than the original.

        Here’s a couple pics: http://tinypic.com/m/ibcmmw/1 http://tinypic.com/m/ibcmpx/1 I had to make a wooden spacer to make it fit correctly as it is for a little thicker door. This is a common Aliner mod as the doors are narrow, and well, I’m not. 😉

        I’d just tow it over to a good locksmith and they can easily make you a new key – no worries.

        Chip

    • Avatar Offroad says:

      Bob is right, any good locksmith can drill out the whole lock core assembly and put in something different. or course that just shows you how easy it is to break into anything. Maybe get a furry fanged four footed alarm system after the lock is fixed?

    • Avatar Gregory says:

      Google “Danny’s Campers” for help with your lock, : )

  10. Avatar MN2MX says:

    Bob…or anyone…what do you think of the small teardrop trailers, which have an open galley in the back…a small car can pull them easily because they weigh around 750 to 1000 pounds. I’m thinking more of boondocking in the AZ desert or along Mexican beaches. We’ve traveled all our lives in winters in VW campers (I courted my wife in a 61 westfalia)…finding one that would suit us is expensive these days and my wife doesn’t even like to hear the word Volkswagen any more. We have a 2005 Subaru Forester we keep in good shape which we’d use as our tow vehicle. Basically, a teardrop is hard sided tenting up off the ground, easy set up and tear down…I’ve always liked living in the van for safety’s sake…if someone were to roust us (only happened once) I just leave the keys in the ignition and if telling them to get lost doesn’t work I just drove off.

    • Bob Bob says:

      MN2MX, I’m a big fan of the tear drop trailers and they should serve you well. But I think it would be for trips only and not for living in for a couple. One person could do it fine, but not a couple.
      Bob

  11. Avatar Nancy Stein says:

    Hi Chip,
    We have been back and forth whether we can pull an Aliner Scout with a Kia Soul 4 cylinder 1.6 liter. Everywhere we check some say yes and others say no its dangerous. We would really like to have our own camper instead of all the costly hotels we are staying at as we are also plant based vegan and have to cook our meals while being gone a month at a time. We are tying to see all of the national parks which is our goal. It is just myself and my husband. Any input would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks!

    • Bob Bob says:

      Nancy, I’m not Chip, I doubt if he will answer, but the question for me is how much will you do it. A few hundred miles a year won’t do much at all, but driving it 15000 miles a year could. It will certainly cause premature damage to several of the cars systems causing you to repair or replace them much earlier and much more often.

      I’d suggest you join the forum and ask this question there. Chip is on the forum and there are many members more knowledgabe than I.
      Bob

    • Avatar sushidog says:

      Hi, Nancy.

      I just read your post, but I think Bob nailed it. The only thing I would add is that if you do decide to use your Kia for towing a Scout be sure and add a transmission cooler (if you have an automatic transmission). I also got my engine and transmission computers tow tuned to reduce heat and stress. I don’t know if anyone is doing tow-tunes for Kia’s though.

      If you have a 2013 Kia it appears from the article that it has a 2000 lb tow rating (twice the 1,000 lb tow rating on my Chevy Cobalt) so you should be fine. https://rideapart.com/articles/top-five-small-and-inexpensive-cars-that-can-towhaul

      Good luck.

      Chip

  12. Avatar Mike says:

    So, I’m the disaster preparedness assistant for a large Navy command on the Gulf Coast, and saw y’all mention that you bought this in part to be a “bugout” vehicle in case of hurricanes. Not sure if you know, but if you try to take that thing once the actual evacuation/traffic redirect begins, the highway patrol is going to stop you and FORCE you to drop it on the side of the highway, no questions asked, as it’s now the law for all vehicles towing trailers during official evacuations in the gulf states. Just wanted to give you a heads up, might want to leave a day or two early if indications are that a sizeable storm is likely to impact your local area, or else you may be stuck without your camper.
    Anyway, reason I stopped by is that my base rents A-liners out, and my wife and I are thinking about starting to take our kids camping, and your page is full of great information/tidbits about living with an A-liner; thanks for taking the time to set it up, and hope y’all have safe travels always!

    • Bob Bob says:

      Mike, that’s very good information on evacuating–we’ll have to keep that in mind. The trailer isn’t mine but Chip did a superb job of sharing how great they are.

      I’ve been exploring Wyoming this summer and I’ve been to several places where soft-sided campers of any kind, including pop-ups or tents were forbidden. You’d be very glad you had an Aliner there!
      Bob

  13. Avatar box trailer says:

    Living and traveling is not an easy way, if you are good in adapting the climate then you are certainly gotta pass at it.

    • Bob Bob says:

      box trailer, I’m not sure what you mean. I love living and traveling and as a snowbird I can move with the weather and stay in good temps. The big advantage of the A-Liner is it’s hard sided so it is much warmer in the cold than soft-sided pop-ups.

      Bob

  14. Avatar Seth says:

    Hey Bob, how did you build that shelf? I’m looking to do one with minimal holes in the wall/trim.

    Seth

    • Bob Bob says:

      Seth, I’m sorry but that isn’t my trailer it belongs to a friend of mine and I don’t really know anything about it. Wish I could be more helpful.
      Bob

  15. Avatar Terri says:

    I loved reading this review as I have seriously begun thinking of getting one and am planning on doing workamping starting next summer. I love all the windows and openness of the a-frames, and how easy they are to set up, even for one person to do it on their own. And the lightness is a big factor, as I have a four cylinder car (but might consider getting a mini truck instead as I don’t think my car has any towing capacity, according to the owner’s manual.) Please thank your friend Chip for his wonderful photos and write up.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Glad to help Terri! I think you’d be better off in the long run with the mini truck but it won’t get the MPG you car will. Everything is a trade-off in this life! The A-Liner will work great for workcamping.
      Bob

  16. Avatar Bill Wright says:

    Have a 2010 Dodge Caravan SXT – was considering buying the Aline scout which weighs about 1200 pounds. Do you it will pull it OK. have gotten mixed answers. Thanks

    • Bob Bob says:

      Bill, I think it will. I know people who tow them with 4 cylinder cars and hey do okay.

      I’d suggest
      1) being ultra careful to minimize your weight in every way you can and
      2) add a transmission cooler and oil cooler to it.
      3) If it doesn’t already have it, add electric brakes to it.
      4) look for a route with the fewest hills and
      5) drive cautiously with the weight, gearing up and down with the hills.
      6) Finally drive it as few miles as you can–use it as a home base and take longer trips in the caravan leaving it behind.

      Hop that helps.
      Bob

  17. Avatar sushidog says:

    Bill, Trailer Life’s tow guide says a 2010 Dodge Caravan has a tow rating of 3,800 lbs (with either engine).

    Based on that, you’ll be fine.

    Terri, they are very easy to erect with one person. The sales person at the dealership who was showing us one was a small framed woman and she put it up in a heartbeat. There are spring assists that help lifting the roof halves. The sidewalls are lightweight foam core and lift easily as well. The larger Chalet models are too tall to lift without a pole to help, so most of these taller models come with an electric lift kit. Just flip the switch and the battery does the work. These models are too heavy for a little car though with a GVWR of 3,500 lbs. If you are still planning on getting a mini truck it would easily pull the largest A-frames made.

    Chip

    Chip

  18. Avatar Liz Parrott says:

    We are trying to decide between an rpod and an aliner ……any thoughts about which one? We will be using an Acura MDX to tow also and I am hoping that car will work fine for a cross country trip. Also, not that we watch much TV, but what do you use for that? Some models of campers have bathrooms…..I think I’m Ok using a bathhouse, as like them without a bathroom…at least I think.
    Appreciate your input.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Liz, they are both great and you won’t regret them. The A-liner will be easier to tow but the Rpod wont have to be set up and taken down all the time. Whichever is most important to you, get that one. If it were me, I’d get the Rpod.
      Bob

  19. Avatar Tom says:

    I have an Aliner Ranger and have replaced the air conditioner 4 times. They don’t last for more than a few outings. Does anyone have this problem with the AC’s. I’ve tried Haier, GE and LG. I believe they are all made by the same manufacturer.

  20. Avatar Carol says:

    Having trouble finding information on best way to change a tire

  21. Avatar Steve Ezinga says:

    Hello Bob. Thanks for the tour and your words of experience. The toilet- shower base that you set outside would be perfect for use with my slide in pop up camper. Is this available commercially? Thanks Steve

    • Bob Bob says:

      Steve, that isn’t my rig, I just posted the pictures and article so I’m afraid I don’t know much about the toilet. Sorry about that.
      Bob

  22. Avatar Tina says:

    For those who are traveling for long periods of time, or living in an Aliner, or other “trailer”…how do you receive your mail? Or deliveries? I am looking to possibly purchase a 2010 Aliner sport for $6800 (private party), no AC, no awning. I am a single 56-year old woman, retired and disabled. I drive a Rav4 6-cylinder. Is this a good price? It does not have electric lift. No stereo, tv….I want to travel and see some states I’ve never seen, parking and resting, as needed. I am in CA, and want to see Oregon, Washington, and North Carolina. I want to make a good decision as its only me and I want to travel while I’m able. It’s time for me to have some fun. I have a state park pass and fishing license…ready to play. Any and all comments would be most appreciated. Thank you!!

    • Bob Bob says:

      Tina, that sounds like a very good price on the Aliner and my guess is the rav 4 can pull it. But, I’d strongly suggest you join my forum, you’ll get all the ideas, help, encouragement and friends you could ever need. Find it here:
      https://www.cheaprvliving.com/forums
      Bob

    • Avatar Charlotte Beadles says:

      Hi Tina,
      I was just perusing this article & saw your post. I hope you bought that Aliner! That is a terrific price!
      I have a 2006 Chalet I purchased 2 yrs ago (2014) for $6500 and I had looked for a long while!
      It does have A/C but it didn’t cool. I just replaced it with a brand new 8,050 BTU GE from Sam’s Club for $136 on clearance. IF you have a space for one, you might get someone to install one for you. My hubby can do anything! It took him a couple of hours to change out the units. So far the new one works great!
      I LOVE my little A-frame camper & so does everyone else! I can set it up by myself in just a few minutes!
      I do have a larger vehicle, an ’02 diesel Excursion, which I also LOVE! I even took all but the 2 front seats out of it and put in a Full sized foam mattress & have enough room to carry a cooler & all my other needed stuff to do “overnight” trips!
      I am a 62 y/o woman, who LOVES to travel and am very independent! My hubby still works FT; so, he only goes when he can.
      We started out with the canvas p-up & then went to a 32 ft. bumper pull. The A-frame is by far both of our favs as far as camping!

  23. Avatar Tina says:

    According to seller it has had 3 owners, used less than a dozen times, and “everything is in excellent condition”. How can she know that if there have been two other owners…like damage to the frame, or sny water leaks. Can my Rav pull it? In sketchy areas, I could sleep in the RAV…and drive off, if bothered. It does have pull down blinds, no toilet, outside shower. Tire is mounted on back. Sorry if I repeated anything. Thanks again.

  24. Avatar Tina says:

    Thank you, Bob! Making my decision this weekend. Bummed there’s no AC as I don’t tolerate heat and it gets hot inside (bring hammock)…as far as bathroom, no septic to worry about and can buy portable toilet. I

  25. Avatar Tina says:

    Bob, how do I join your forum. I’m going to be needing help if I go through with this…thank you!

    • Bob Bob says:

      Tina, go to the forum here: https://www.cheaprvliving.com/forums/ I honestly don’t know where the “sign-up” button is but look around and you’ll see it. Then just join with a user name and password. You’ll get an email you have to respond to. Most people find it very simple. If you have any problems email me and I’ll help you. akrvbob @ gamil. com Bob

  26. Avatar Mike Montague says:

    We just bought a brand new Forest River Clipper Classic A-frame trailer. Haven’t used it yet…were making sure everything was ready to go and decided to water test it. Putting the hose nozzle on the shower/sprinkler setting and spraying the top like rain, there was quite a bit of leaking from the top. Do you know if this is a common issue on a new unit or did we get a lemon? Thanks for all the great tips.

  27. Avatar stephen says:

    I have never live in a truck before but I love travel around like this gonna try with my trailer. Thanks for many great tips.

  28. Avatar Robin says:

    Putting the hose nozzle on the shower/sprinkler setting and spraying the top like rain, there was quite a bit of leaking from the top. Do you know if this is a common issue on a new unit or did we get a lemon? Thanks for all the great tips.

    • Avatar sushidog says:

      Chris this is not normal. Bring it back to the dealer for warranty repair, as it sounds like the top seal is leaking. It’s an easy fix, but they should do it for you, if that is convenient.

      Chip

  29. Avatar Chris says:

    Bob, what was the size of the Aliner that you pulled with the 4 cylinder Cobalt? We looked at an 8 ft Aliner Scout but it looked awfully small. Thanks. Chris

  30. Avatar sushidog says:

    I pull an LXE which is the size of the Aliner Classic. The new 2017 LXE Aliner has a dormer which makes it a little heavier, as does their all fiberglass construction. My 06 LXE is skinned with aluminum on the outside making it about 100 lbs lighter than the newer ones. Here’s a link to the new ones: http://aliner.com/campers/lxe/

    With the dormer the LXE model now weighs 1795 dry, whereas mine weighs about 1550 dry. I don’t think I’d try to pull a new LXE with my 2.4l Cobalt SS. However if I wouldn’t hesitate to tow it with a Subaru Outback or Impreza or if I had a Mazda 3 or Kia Soul, all of which have at least double my towing capacity.

    Chip

  31. Avatar mike says:

    hey Bob.

    advise please. i want to buy an ALiner to sleep in when i travel cross country this next winter / December, 2017. i’ll be driving my 4 cyl , automatic Ford Ranger pickup full of tools.
    i had thought that only the ALiner Scout would be light enough to tow with the heavy tools in the truck bed. question 1. where do i find a used Aliner. question 2. do you think the Ranger will pull a ‘ Classic ‘ ALiner without a problem. not going off road. not in a hurry .
    thank you
    mike

  32. Avatar Jim Hughes says:

    We have a 2016 Aliner Classic and pulled it from MN to Maine then MN to Oregon in 1 year. Only issue was cupping on tires. Wondering what wind kit to add but from what I’ve been reading the Wind Cheetah is the way to go. We have a porta-potty that we store and take out at night and keep it under the table. Fits my wife’s needs. I don’t mind walking to the campground toilet great time to star gaze. Great camper.

    • Avatar sushidog says:

      Jim I bought some cheap Chinese tires from Walmart once and experienced the same cupping problem you did. I got rid of them and replaced them with better, American made rubber and haven’t had the problem since. Just make sure the bearings are in good shape and tightened correctly. If left too loose this can cause cupping.

      Chip

  33. Kitchen should be outside as a slide out, too small to cook inside. don’t understand this thinking. otherwise brilliant design.

    • Avatar sushidog says:

      It’s nice being able to sit on your bed in your underwear and cook breakfast when it’s cold or rainy outside. The kitchen does take up some room, but it’s sure handy. Sometimes we just grab some BBQ or burgers out of the handy fridge that we cooked a day or two ago, pop them in the microwave and in a few minutes have hot food with minimal hassle, regardless of the weather out or time of day. The cassette toilet/shower stall takes up some room too, but when you get a little older having a toilet close by in the middle of the night is more than handy, it’s a necessity. Same goes for the king sized bed. While not quite a necessity, I think the floor space sacrificed for the bigger bed is a good trade. Besides we can always fold it up out of the way, to make a couch and dinette, though we seldom do.

      Chip

  34. Avatar CKiefer045 says:

    Great website and forum, Bob.
    Thanks for the great information about the Aliner and towing with a smaller vehicle @shushidog. I’ve been considering an Aliner to be towed with a 2012 Toyota Tacoma (max tow rating 3500lbs)after I add a tow hitch, electric brake, and transmission cooler I’ve been trying to decide between the Classic (with dormers), LXE (if I can find one), or Ranger 12. The Expedition would be nice, but I’m worried it would be too heavy. Any advice?

  35. Avatar Edward says:

    It really looks bigger from inside. Amazing that it can fit 2 people, a kitchen and a toilet too. I wonder how many square feet is this trailer?

  36. This is an excellent post. I am so impressed! You’ve shared the post just awesome. Your every picture is looking so pretty and your article is very helpful. I’ve benefited from your blog.
    Thanks for sharing the informative post!

  37. Avatar Becky says:

    Hi, we would love to know how to buy one of those toilet/shower combos. Is there any way to get in touch with Chip? Did he build that himself?
    Thank you, Becky

  38. Avatar Félix Acuna says:

    Thank for your excellent post. I am looking at the possibility of buying an aliner in the coming weeks.
    I have a question: is it possible to rest a few hours in a rest area with the RV deployed?
    Thanks for sharing

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