Have you ever seen an Aliner A-frame camper being towed down the road? Not sure?
Well, that’s probably because Aliner campers collapse into small, easy-to-tow flat-top campers that are aerodynamic on the road, but pop up at the camping destination to provide interior room for 2-4 people to sleep.
In this post, we’re taking a look at Aliner campers. We’ll talk about where they come from and how they’re built, and we’ll answer some important questions, such as whether Aliners have bathrooms and what kind of vehicle you need to tow one.
The answers might surprise you, so let’s get right to it!
What Is an Aliner Camper?
An Aliner camper is a unique type of pop-up travel trailer.
We’ve looked at some compact camper trailers on this blog before. (You may recall our recent post about TAXA Trailers.)
But while an Aliner collapses to provide a lightweight, compact towing experience like many other small travel trailers, it expands to become a more spacious camper, with its living space within an A-frame.
An Aliner camper provides many of the benefits of a larger, hard-sided travel trailer, but in a collapsible package that makes it lighter and more aerodynamic, making it easier to tow behind smaller vehicles.
Aliner proudly bills itself as the original A-frame camper, and the company offers 11 different models that vary in terms of size and features.
And they’ve got quite a following! You can sometimes meet up with loyal Aliner owners and recognize them immediately by things like this:
- If you love expressing your uniqueness, this Happy Camper Dog t-shirt is for you. With a vintage, retro-themed design inspired by the iconic fashions...
- This retro funny t-shirt is perfect for people who appreciate a good fashion throwback. Click the brand name "Catch Some Rays" to view similar...
- Featuring the A-Liner travel trailer
- Official sweatshirt of the happy camper
Aliner campers provide amenities such as Fantastic vent fans and even air conditioners on some models. But Aliner has still managed to keep the gross vehicle weight rating down, to offer towable campers that don’t require a heavy-duty pickup truck to pull them.
The expandable part of an Aliner camper is made of a tubular steel frame with powder coating on the front tongue and bumper for durability.
Aliner campers are constructed of high-grade components like Azdel lightweight thermoplastic composite interior wall and ceiling panels, and Performax 500 premium marine-grade flooring.
Depending on the model, you’ll find Aliners with 2 or 3 exterior bag doors with space to keep “wet” storage items isolated from the rest of the trailer. You can store whatever you choose here, of course, but many campers store hoses, grey water containers, extra water, fishing gear, etc.
Even the interior furniture of an Aliner boasts of some pretty high quality for a pop-up camper, offering things like high-density foam hypoallergenic cushions and mattresses.
So, the answer to “What Is an Aliner?” is a long one, because Aliner campers are somewhat deceiving as they roll down the road looking like any other pop-up trailer. Once expanded to reveal the living space, you may find more amenities than you expect from a compact, lightweight camper.
Who Manufactures Aliner Campers?
Aliner is an independent company that’s nearly 40 years old.
The company was founded by Ralph Tait, who started by building a collapsible travel trailer in his own garage in the State of Oregon.
The Tait family eventually moved the company to Pennsylvania, and Ralph worked with his sons to manufacture the little travel trailers one at a time. Two of the Tait boys would build a camper, and the third son would hitch the completed trailer to the back of the family station wagon and hit the road to sell it.
This process led to what eventually became the company we know today as Aliner.
Since 2014, Aliner’s current owner/CEO/president, Brett Randall, has moved the company into its most innovative phase, offering 11 models of the A-frame travel trailer.
Can You Pull an Aliner with a Car?
Yes – this is actually one of the coolest things about an Aliner.
With models ranging from 1180 pounds to 2300 pounds, owners don’t need a big pickup truck to tow the camper.
Aliners weigh around 1750 pounds on average, so most 6-cylinder vehicles can tow one, and certain models can even be towed by some 4-cylinder vehicles.
And get this: Aliner’s website introduced us to a couple named Devin & Gayle Thorpe who camp in an Aliner that they tow with there (wait for it)…. Chevy Bolt!
Yes, a Chevy Bolt is an electric vehicle. (For more information, see our post on electric vehicle towing capacity.) Don’t believe us? Check this out!
Do Aliner Campers Have Bathrooms?
Wellllllll… yes and no. Mostly no. But sort of yes.
So, here’s the thing:
These are small, lightweight, collapsible campers. They have limited space, and the weight needs to be kept down for safe towing by your next-door neighbor’s Subaru Forester or your Uncle Jimmy’s Nissan Pathfinder. (Or the Thorpe’s Chevy Bolt!)
Some Aliner models offer a sort of “makeshift” built-in shower with a cassette toilet.
Now frankly, if you saw our post entitled “Do RV Wet Baths Suck?” you may recall that (IOHO — in our humble opinions), they pretty much do.
Having acknowledged that, let’s just say that the “wet bath” in the Aliner LXE is probably pretty much the same, though we suppose it gets the job done. It probably does get extra brownie points for having ANY type of bathroom in such a compact rig!
How Big Are Aliner Campers?
Aliners come in several sizes and models. Let’s take a look at a small, medium, and large example of an Aliner camper.
Small Aliners are 10-foot cabins on 13-foot frames. These are great for solo campers or couples.
The Ranger 10 is an example of one of Aliner’s two small camper options.
It comes with either a dual bunk or a rear dinette that converts into a larger bed.
The Ranger 10 is 12’8″ long and weighs approximately 1,300 lbs, with a GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating) of 3,000 lbs. The dry tongue/hitch weight of the Ranger 10 is around 175 lbs.
This unit is available in a black and gray exterior package. Among its many amenities are 10″ electric brakes, dual propane tanks, a 2-burner stove, an indoor/outdoor 12V refrigerator/freezer, 4 stabilizer jacks, an 11-gallon fresh water tank, and an outside shower.
A medium Aliner camper is a 12-foot cabin built on a 15- foot frame.
These medium A-frame campers are best for couples or those with a pet or small children.
An example of one of Aliner’s four popular medium campers is the Evolution 12.
This unit has two beds… one that converts from a sofa to a 56″ x 76″ bed, and a second that converts the dinette into a 46″ x 76″ bed.
The Evolution 12 is 15′ long and weighs approximately 2,000 lbs. with a dry hitch weight of around 200 lbs. It has a GVWR of 3,000 lbs.
This little unit has 15″ off-road wheels and a Sunflare 185-Watt solar panel with a Victron charge controller.
Other standard amenities include a city water hookup, 4 stabilizer jacks, a 3.0 cu ft 2-way refrigerator/freezer, two exterior bag doors, an air conditioner/heat pump unit, and welded aluminum-framed cabinetry and furniture.
A large Aliner camper is a 15-foot cabin built on an 18-foot frame.
These rigs are able to accommodate a small family.
The Expedition is an example of one of Aliner’s three large-sized A-frame campers.
The Expedition is 18′ long and weighs around 1,850 pounds, with a GVWR of 3,500 lbs and a dry hitch weight of around 240 lbs.
Among the standard amenities included in all Expedition campers are a Command A/C heat pump, an outside shower, microwave, swivel cassette toilet, a 3.0 cu ft 2-way refrigerator/freezer, an 11-gallon fresh water tank, a furnace, dual propane tanks, a cable hookup, and an exterior propane connection for an optional outside grill or stove.
Have You Seen an Aliner Camper?
If you’ve owned or traveled in an Aliner camper, what was it like? We’d love to know your thoughts, which you can share in the comments below.
Meanwhile, here’s a video from “Rolling With the Parkers” with their list of the pros and cons of an Aliner camper from the perspective of a couple who’ve spent time camping in one.
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