A-frame campers are arguably the cutest-looking RVs available.
They have an old-school-inspired design that gained popularity in the ‘70s. They also offer an easy and fast setup based on how they are built.
As great as A-frame campers sound, they might not be practical for every camping party or trip.
Using customer reviews, this article sheds more light on the shortcomings of an A-frame camper to further help you make decisions about purchasing or even camping with an A-frame camper:
1. Small Interior and Living Space
A-Frame campers are built to have a triangular shape giving it the quaint, old-school look.
This means that the interior is limited in capacity.
You will have to consider how many people are included in your camping party when an A-liner is involved.
Listed below are some issues to consider:
– Reduced Number of Guests
The A-frame camper is not ideal for a large family.
Most A-frames have a reasonable limit of three adults. You could also have two adults and a child, or two adults with two if you really can manage the space.
Fitting more people is never going to be comfortable during active hours.
– Bed Space and Usage
Practically, an A-frame camper could have a bed on either end.
A larger bed on one end for two adults and a single bed on the other end. If you have kids who do not like sharing beds, this would not be a great choice.
In place of this single bed, you could have a transformed dinette.
– Dinette Beds are Not Comfortable
Combatting the space issue, you could opt for campers with dinette beds.
These dinettes are not always comfortable, especially for adults, unless you add foam toppers.
If you add foam toppers, you will now have to deal with the inconvenience of converting them back and forth from bed to table.
2. Height Restrictions
A-frame campers offer limited room space with the center as the maximum height.
This means that people only get to stand the tallest in the part where the roof meets. Users would often have to sit or lie down more often in most A-frame campers.
This could be a merit as you would be forced to experience the outdoors more. If you are tall, sleeping straight might be an issue.
You would have to sleep diagonally on a large bed, robbing one more person of available sleeping space.
3. Limited or Insufficient Ventilation
Some models of A-frame campers do not offer excellent ventilation.
Although they feature numerous windows, there is a need for air circulation to cool the interior as most of those windows do not open. Even when the temperature is low, the lack of moving air is obvious.
Air does not flow efficiently because A-frames are quite small.
This makes it a bit hard to want to stay indoors for long periods; however, this can be solved with a fan or air conditioner.
Having an embedded AC recommended for RVs or a fan is necessary for great ventilation in an A-frame camper.
4. Inconvenient Shelving and Storage
Convenient shelving is almost impossible with A-frame campers.
A-frame campers have roofs that fold down, making overhead storage impossible. You cannot have shelving located high. So, you will have to make do with the shelving and storage near the floor of the camper.
This means you might always need to bend low or crouch when you need to get stuff from them.
Items needed for cooking or general living that needs to be kept away will always be in the low placed storage. This might pose difficulty in retrieving and returning them as you please.
Low storages are not practical for daily usage, especially when you consider the age of users. You could get some temporary storage that you can place, but it is not practical unless it is just a single user.
Generally, you should carry only the things you really need to avoid clutter in your a-frame.
5. Not-So-Solid Assembling
A-frames are constructed with easy assembling and disassembling in mind.
This means you will find gaps and holes in them where the assemblage of the parts meet. However, these gaps and holes are pretty small and can be quickly covered or stuffed in an emergency.
The problem this could pose is that your RV is susceptible to uninvited bugs and insects. The light in your RV attracts some insects, and they can creep in through the holes if holes are not properly covered.
The holes also mean that cooling or heating the vehicle might be a bit hard.
The gaps will leak in different climates, and your heater or the air conditioner or fan might have to do a little more trying to regulate the temperature.
This might not be an issue until the weather offers extreme temperatures.
6. Seals Do Not Stay
Because it is portable and meant for quick and fast setup, A-frame campers are characterized by many seals.
However, these seals get undone frequently and would not stay in place for long. You would often have to adjust the seals whenever they get undone.
Keep in mind, if you move an A-frame a lot for usage, the seals on its walls will surely grow thinner, which will lead to leaks.
Screws, too, might get undone.
When leaks happen, it might make the experience a little less enjoyable. So it is best to always look out for leaks.
That way, you can adjust them quickly and have little to worry about.
7. Use of Electronics and Appliances are Limited
Most A-frame campers do not encourage the use of excessive electronics.
You should not expect to have a big television or an impressive entertainment set in there. Gadgets are limited to the necessary ones.
Newer models may offer more appliances and gadgets, but they are less than the standard configurations. Minimal refrigerators and small microwaves could be fitted.
A dehumidifier or a mini music system could also be incorporated.
Nothing larger should be expected, though.
General Pros and Cons of A-Frame Campers
A-frame campers are lightweight, which makes towing really easy. They are also pretty easy to set up.
They are perfect for singles and couples!
The glass windows are numerous, and they allow entry of natural light, and they have hard sides and walls for protection from rain, snow, and wind.
A-frame campers allow for economical camping. If you are looking to camp without breaking the bank, A-framers are great for you.
They are also great for boondocking. These A-frame campers allow for dry-camping as you don’t have to shore up power and water.
A-framed campers also offer roofs that are tough, resistant, and generally durable.
Since the major reason for camping is to experience nature, the A-framer’s minimalist nature encourages you to spend more time outdoors.
Finally, A-framers are very compact and can be easily parked in your driveway or garage.
- Small interior and living space
- Ventilation is not sufficient and would always have to be augmented
- Shelving is not convenient, and storage is limited
- The construction is not very solid in some models
- Seals that are not consistent and possibilities of leaking
- A-framers are not electronics friendly.
- If you want awnings, you won’t have them with A-framers
- Condensation could also be an issue
What do the Reviews Say?
A-frame campers offer a charming design with solid falls on wheels.
The modern models come with a lot more luxury than the initial models, and as for cozy, it means you cannot really have a crowd in an A-frame camper.
“You can just imagine sitting inside one of these beauties sipping a steaming cup of coffee, wrapped up in a soft blanket, gazing at a lush pine forest outside the window. It’s the definition of cozy! The best A-frame campers aren’t just cute, though – they’re extremely practical and quick to set up.”[www.thewaywardhome.com]
If you are expecting to have a party or a blow-out in a camper, you will have to look for other options.
“Compared to some campers, they might feel a little cramped, especially because the only place that tall people can really stand up is right in the very center.”[vanclan.co]
This is expected when you consider the camper’s shape and that it is built to be lightweight and portable.
If you consider a camper for living off the grid for a longer period, then the A-frame camper is not for you.
What’s the Resale Value On A-Frame Campers?
|Model||Year||New Price ($)||Used Price ($)|
|FOREST RIVER ROCKWOOD A122S||2018||Not Available||12,911|
|Forest River RV Rockwood A194HW||2015||Not Available||12,991|
|Aliner Limited Edition||2017||Not Available||16,764|
Campers can find it a bit stressful if they want to do full-time camping in an A-frame camper with many guests.
It is pretty small, and campers would have to set up every time they stop.
However, if you are a solo-camper who enjoys a cozy space, this one is for you!
Morten is the founder of GoDownsize. He has filmed and interviewed people living in tiny houses and RVs since 2011. He grew up on the coast where his dad took him boating from a young age. He has completely rebuilt two RVs in which he travels with his family for months at the time. Read more about Morten here.