After a recent camping trip with rain every day, I’ve started to think more seriously about getting a pop-up type camper. Does anyone here have/use the Aliner or A-Liner camper? How do you like it? Can you attach a rack to it for hauling kayak(s)?
Aliners and Chalet
Chalet is the West Coast competition to the Aliner and just as good. I've been looking also at them but price has been the sticking point, even on the used ones. They seem to be well made, do set up in seconds and are reasonable to trailer. Im not sure how you would put a rack system on top of one to carry boats as for openers it would prvent you from opening it up un less you wanted to remove the boats every-time.
For years I've used soft top campers of the 50's and 60's vintage as they are the lightest rigs out there so very easy to tow. They were simple, had little to no amenities and had real canvas that lasted longer then synthetic canvas and breathed better then synthetic canvas. Unfortunately nobody is manufacturing something of the equivalent today minus Liv'N'Lite Quicksilvers, but if you can dig up sites for popups made in Europe or Australia you will see that they are light years ahead of us for producing a light well thought out trailer that can easily be towed by smaller 4cyl. vehicles and even offer more floor space when set up compared to an Aliner. Combi Kampers from Denmark and Kangaroo Outbacks from Australia are two examples and the Australian rigs could have boats attached to them when closed. Why somebody hasn't attempted versions of these over here surprises me as I think they could grow a market share. Particularly as people downsize their vehicles.
Haul your boat…
on the roof of the tow vehicle.
You don’t want to use the camper as a kayak trailer at your destination do you?
I’ve known two Aliner owners, and both were very pleased.
Unless you transfer the cradles from the pop up rack to the tow vehicle rack once you set up camp. I have to imagine you would get better gass milage with the yacks down low on the camper.
Lred: Aliner and Teardropping
Note in this video, the racks atop the aliner for saddles :
I think tongue length might be an issue--too short, kayak bumps vehicle. Would take seeing one and putting a kayak on it. MAybe have longer tongue welded on.
I thought long an hard about the Aliner, and the Teardorp style campers, of which there are more choices, less chance for leaking (I worry about the Aliner hinge leaking--I could be wrong)
I have thoroughly investigated teardrops, and yes, they can have a factory installed Thule or other rack on top. Or can buy and fit your own with a drill.
Excellent teardrop site, also with Aliner info, really nice people, plenty plenty of info on everything you can imagine--e.g. using a Petcool AC unit to cool the teardrop. They have gatherings all over IL and IN and WI and such.
eBay search teardrop trailer and teardrop camper and you will see many choices.
I know you well enough, Lred, to know that you;d love the independence of a teardrop or Aliner. Just think--Ladies of The Lake, southern IL, Wisconsin, heck even Lake Evergreen...and always have your own bed to sleep on. A winner!
Wal-marts allow camping in the parking lots (most do--google for exact locations), so really always have a place to use bathroom and such. Many teardroppers simply shower at campgour,d or truck stop pay shower. Some serious adavantages to carrying your own "gray and black water" tanks in an RV, dumping it, et cetera.
I was ready to buy a teardorp, but then got a condo instead. :-) I shoulda stuck to the teardrop idea. Oh well.
P.S. I wish you and I had hooked up earlier, this summer I sold the kayak trailer that you and I and Tmom used for Vermilion... I gave that sucker away on eBay for $1300, saddles and all, and you could easily have simply tarped it over the rails to camp on it, or pitched a tent over it. Oh well
You;re right not to get a pop up tent camper--the tent materia dampens and rots.
If you get a tear drop, get a good frame (not Harbor Freight other crappy frame--amazing how some people build theri own teardrops, spending dozens of hours, and putting it on a weak frame with tiny 12 inch tires. Why?) The Forum I gave you link to above is really really informational--sort of like Pnet for small campers. Look at the photos. And they link manufacturers, amny of which are in Indiana.
P.P.S. If you ever decide not to fool with a trailer altogether, consider a conversion van like I have. Fabulous! Little Red could go inside, you can sleep in it, ya da yada. EBay "conversion van" just for giggles to see the models--might make you rethink Aliner and Teardrop, and can install Quick N Easy rack and everything. Roadtrek makes a fancy conversion van, but cost prohibitive--then you could get a condo. But conversion vans only a few years old sell on eBay for the price of a good teardrop camper--and the van has an engine! Gas cost? Sure, but you get the van cheaply on eBay and plenty of extra $ for gasoline. Just a thought.
G'luck, my friend. Geez, I bet you wish you never asked. I wish this was on Advice column so it;d be Pnet archived. My fingers hurt. Bye bye.
Big Brother had one
He loved it and put many miles on it. He would carry his canoe on the pop up. No racks, just slide bolts with matching holes in the gunwales. He sold it after 7 years of heavy use and bought a travel trailer and did the Alaska tour like JackL.
I like the idea of a hard sided trailer, in th ecase of having to nod out in a rest area.
Overseas camper designs
Well thought out campers being made and sold overseas that are light enough for 4 cyl. vehicles, big enough to be comfortable in foul weather and small enough to be easily stored when not in use. I see on the Combi-Camper site they show a kayak being attached to it for transport option.
Was my tear drop…
Had it 4 years and the most fun camping I ever did. Drew lots of attention even from the motorcoach crowd. Sadly I had to sell because of divorce. BTW haul the boats on the vehicle,it goes to the water not the camper.
Teardop rally in Va.
Ex girlriend had 08 Aliner classic,was very nice camper,I’ll miss it. LOL
billinpa had the rolls royce of teardrop
small car towing
Does anyone know why some of the same small cars that have a towing spec in Europe/Australia (Mazda3, for example)are “towing will void your warranty” in this country? Liability? Final drive ratio? Cooling package? I can’t think of a good technical reason.
I’ll probably put a hitch on once the warranty expires, and just drive carefully and watch the gauges. As long as the combined weight with the trailer is below the max gross for the vehicle, and the frontal area is reasonably small, I don’t forsee a problem.
Too many lawyers in this country waiting to sue a manufacturer every time a customer does something stupid and gets hurt.
In Quebec last summer way up in the bush we saw an old Suzuki Samari towing a popup camper larger than it, followed by a boat trailer. The popup had an ATV on top of it. Self-contained expedition into the bush on dirt roads and logging trails. He wasn’t worried towing a trailer behind a trailer; it was doing the job he needed done.
always wanted a
teardrop…actually i would love to build one. ahhh, my dream. pack the yak, grap the bitty teardrop and roll.
and our litigative society.
You can build one…
for less then $1200 if you are handy. A harbor freight trailer,plywood and sheet aluminium ,some wire & lights ,foam for a bed,used trailer windows,and an old kitchen counter & sink.
The red toyota is pulling a home made for less then $1200. and only 550 lbs,easily towable by a Civic,or Corolla.
Go here for help ,ideas,and plans. Many interesting designs by builders there.Nice folks all. I have seen most of the ones on the board,and with imagination,and skill there are ones that disgraced my high end unit.
About 1/2 of Americas tear drop where here.Other meets in California,Wisconsin,South Carolina,New York & Flordia.The one that was voted top tear drop build was from Canada and towed by a Honda civic.
Not Lawyers, but Auto Industry
I’ve been told by some who are knowledgeable about the auto industry who said it was the industry itself that rated cars here in the U.S. as not being able to tow when those same vehicles are accepted for towing in Europe. The reason? Greed because it was decided by the marketing side of the industry and not the engineering side to rate them unacceptable for towing inorder to force buyers to buy the bigger SUV or truck like vehicles where there is the big markup and that is the reason.
Probably true, but…
it’s also the case that some cars are not suitable for towing. Some of them can barely make it up the grades here with NO trailer.
Be careful about what your needs are. I’ve seen a fair number of smoking cars being detached from their trailers, while a commercial tow truck waits to take the car to the repair shop. Some of these are lightweight pop-up trailers.
The terrain, the speeds traveled, the other payload factors (how many passengers and their in-car luggage), the car’s suspension, and yes its engine output, gearing, and transmission do factor into the equation. It’s not all hot air blown by greedy automakers and lawyers.
Warning: I heard from at least two people who were researching suitable towing cars that CVT transmission are not robust enough for towing. Because I can’t quote an authority on that, check it out for yourself.
New Subaru 2010 Outback
Their new CVT transmission Outback is rated to tow up to 3000lbs. or 300lbs. more then the same car outfitted with their traditional transmission. Supposedly why it might be able to handle this tow rating is that they are using a chain rather thena belt that other manufacturers use in their CVT’s. I’ve heard the belt drive CVT that Ford used for a couple of years in their Freestyle now re-badged as the Tarus X was a disaster and prone to fail out of the blue.
Of course the other side of the coin is that many camping trailers are made with heavy (not necessarily durable) materials and loaded up with amenities thus creating heavy units to tow. In the late 50’s, 60’ and early 70’s there were several camping trailer manufacturer’s like Apache or Nimrod that made much lighter and for my money better built units that were easier to tow then what is being made available today.
Still comes back to lawyers.
Cars not engineered for extra loads will undoubtly be hooked up for trailering by anyone disregarding the manufacturers weight ratings towing limits,engine ratings,brake rating,structural limits. Those who do, exceed mechanical limits of the Vehicle,destroy the engine,etc,endanger their lives as well as others. When the unfortunate eventually does happen, someone sues.
You can trailer hitch a Smart Car. Hitches are made for it by hitch manufactures. As long as their hitches test to loads designed for,they are exempt from how it is installed or used in exceeding the design limits of the vehicle. If the hitch does not fail,but the vehicle does because of the owners negligence, someone gets sued. You can exceed limits of even any SUV,Truck,Car,doesn’t matter. Lowering the weight ratings of the vehicle is a way the car manufacturers try to control their responsilility in a law suit.If you intentionally exceed the limits,you are at fault,because the manufacture states their design limits. How many times have you seen the guy towing something with the vehicle, nose in the air bumper almost on the ground,and what IF he hits you and hurt your kids in the back seat??
Bow-up, stern-down towing
Yup, I’ve seen a few of those vehicles with the rear end dragging on the road and the front end dangerously “unweighted” way up in the air. At least the ones I saw were RWD trucks. Hate to think what this does to a FWD car.
If one of those idiots GETS sued, I’m all for it; he’s endangering other people. But if one of those idiots SUES the automaker or trailer company for his own stupidity, they should bounce him right onto his presumptuous @ss. It’s like consumers think they have no obligation to use common sense or follow manufacturers’ guidelines.
I used to work on cooling systems for the automotive industry, and logged a lot of hours towing trailers through the summer desert.(Death Valley in July, anyone?)
Lots of runs up long grades watching the instrumentation to see which temperature would hit the limit first first – trans oil, engine oil, or radiator top tank? Interesting work. The Davis Dam grade in AZ or the Baker grade outside Baker, CA were two standard test sites.
It’s impressive how much heat the A/C condenser dumps into the radiator, and how turning it off and running the heater can help with engine cooling in a pinch.
It would be nice to have more options for travel/camping trailers for small cars.