7 Most-Common Problems With Aliner Campers

The Aliner is said to be the first A-frame pop-up camper ever to have been invented.

This camper has been in production since the early 1970s, and many campers have gotten many hours of enjoyment out of them. 

However, this doesn’t mean Aliner campers are without their problems.

Here are the 7 most common problems with Aliner campers that you should consider before buying one:

They Don’t Offer Much Space

An Aliner has a tall center, but it gives up headroom on both sides of the camper.

This is much different from other popup campers that extend to the sides to add even more space.

It’s also different from standard campers, which provide the same amount of space throughout the camper.

Aliners aren’t very big either.



An Aliner is good for single campers, couples, and small families, but it won’t provide enough space for people who need more than two beds.

Setup Can Be Difficult

A traditional camper forces you to level the camper from front to back and from side-to-side.

Aliners also force you to level the camper from side-to-side and from front to back.

On top of this, you also have to manually raise the roof and the sides before you can use it.  When you’re done camping, you’ll then have to lower the roof as well as the sides before you can drive away with it. 

If you have to visit a dump station while camping, you’ll end up having to set up and break down your Aliner many times during your stay.

Aliners Don’t Always Seal Properly

For the most part, Aliners are leak and bug-free.

This being said, I’ve seen many reviews from owners that have had issues with the seals on their Aliners.  They complain that there are gaps around the areas where the roofing and the siding meet.

These owners did not keep up with the maintenance that these seals require from what I’ve seen.

To keep an Aliner’s seals working properly, yearly maintenance must be performed in these areas.

Another reason for the seals not sealing properly could be the result of improper leveling.

An Aliner must be leveled properly, or the walls and ceilings will not match up properly, and you’ll end up with a poor seal.

Aliners Are Expensive

An Aliner will usually cost more than a similarly sized camper.  In fact, it can often cost twice as much to buy.

Luckily, some of these costs are reduced over time as an Aliner will cost less to maintain than a canvas popup camper and less to tow than a more traditional camper.

You may even find that you’re able to choose a less expensive tow-vehicle, which can really increase the amount of money you save by going with an Aliner.

More Maintenance

Some people feel that Aliners have more maintenance associated with them.

They believe that the additional maintenance conducted on the seals each year is a big problem for them.

However, I’m not sure that this is really a problem when you compare it to the maintenance required of many other types of campers on the market.

For example, the canvas on a popup camper often needs to be repaired or replaced, and the roofs and sides of more traditional campers are exposed to road conditions that Aliners never experience.

As a result, many traditional campers need more maintenance on their roofs when compared to Aliners.

The Beds Aren’t Very Long

An Aliner is usually only seven feet wide.

This includes the sidewalls, which means you actually have much less than seven feet inside.  As a result, you can’t put a long bed inside this camper.

Tall campers may find that they have to sleep curled up or spread out diagonally along their bed.  This isn’t a deal-breaker for all tall campers, but it could be for some.

Uneven Roofs

An Aliner has an A-frame style roof that many people might not like.

In addition to the lack of space this type of roof creates, you also lose the ability to hang cabinets and other items along the walls and ceilings.

Some people have gotten around this issue by using shelves that can be taken down and put up during each trip.

However, people who do this end up with additional steps they have to take each time they set up or break down their Aliner camper.

General Pros and Cons For Aliner Campers

Pros:

While the Aliner does come with some problems, it also comes with many advantages.

Here are 7 advantages of owning an Aliner camper:

  • Easy to Tow
  • Easy to Store
  • Easier Setup (for a pop-up camper)
  • It Has Hard Sides
  • It Has Lexan Windows
  • Fully Self-Contained
  • The Air Conditioner Is Built Into The Side

Easy to Tow

Aliners are shorter and more narrow than most other campers.

On top of this, an Aliner is generally lighter than other campers as well.  This makes the Aliner much more comfortable to tow when compared to more traditional campers.

You can get this same benefit from a canvas popup camper, but then you miss out on all of the benefits that hard-sided campers have to offer.

With an Aliner, you end up getting the benefits of both.

Easy to Store

Another advantage of the Aliner’s folding roof is that it makes the Aliner easy to store.

Many homeowners will find that they can leave the Aliner in the yard with a tarp over it. Homeowners with garages will find that the Aliner fits in the garage just as easily as any of their other vehicles.

Even people without their own homes will still find storing an Aliner easier.

The small footprint of the Aliner means they’ll be able to rent a less-expensive storage container compared to the storage space they’d need to rent for other hard-sided campers.

Easier Setup (for a pop-up camper)

While an Aliner might be more challenging to set up than a camper without a folding roof, an Aliner is more comfortable to set up than other popup campers.

Hi-Lo campers rely on electric systems that can break down over time, and canvas popup campers rely on springs or pulleys that are also prone to breaking down.

When these systems do break down, they can often be expensive to repair.

It Has Hard Sides

Classic popup campers rely on canvas or synthetic fabrics.

These soft materials do not provide any protection from animals, or people like hard side campers do.

They also don’t provide much of a noise barrier, either.  On top of this, a hard side camper offers better control over the camper’s interior climate.

This means you’ll use less fuel when heating or cooling your Aliner camper.

It Has Lexan Windows

Lexan is a strong, durable plastic that is unlikely to break upon impact.  Aliner has been known to use it on their roofs as well as their window sides.

This lightweight and durable material hold up well on and off the road, and it can easily last a lifetime.

Fully Self-Contained

Aliners come in fully self-contained models.

This means you have a full kitchen, a sleeping area, a dining area, a toilet, and a shower.

With a fully self-contained Aliner, you can head off-grid without having to worry about what facilities the campground you’re visiting may or may not have.

The Air Conditioner Is Built Into The Side

Rooftop air conditioners can cause roof leaks.

These same air conditioners are also expensive to replace.  Aliner has decided to go with a standard wall-mounted-air conditioner.  This type of air conditioner drains well and doesn’t cause any unnecessary issues. 

As a bonus, if this kind of air conditioner ever breaks down, it can be replaced at a low cost.

Cons:

Here is a quick list of the cons of Aliner campers that we discussed earlier:

  • Aliners Don’t Offer Much Space
  • It Can Be Difficult to Set Up An Aliner
  • Aliners Don’t Always Seal Properly
  • Aliners Can Be Expensive to Buy
  • Aliners Require Maintenance
  • Aliner Beds Aren’t Very Long
  • Aliners Have Uneven Roofs

What do the Reviews Say?

Here is what an owner from the RV.net forums had to say about his Aliner.

“For me, it is a “travel trailer” for two, not a “family camping trailer.”

Here is what they had to say over on the ExpeditionPortal.com forums.

“I have pulled it with a 4 cylinder Nissan Frontier, a full-size Dodge van and a minivan. Cost about 4 mpg on each.”

Here is what users said over at PopUpExplorer.com.

“It is easy to tow and easy to get into small spots.”

This is another one of those campers where its size seems to be its biggest advantage and its most significant disadvantage.

Resale Pricing for Aliners:

An Aliner will lose about half of its value over the first five years.  This is about what you’d see with most campers.

Here are a few examples for you.

Camper Model New Price Price after 3 years Price after 5 years
Aliner Classic $17,715.00 $12,450.00 $10,750.00
Aliner Scout $11,295.00 $8,350 $6,350.00
Aliner Expedition $20,660.00 $14,300.00 $12,100.00

Final Thoughts

The Aliner is an excellent camper for people looking for a hard-sided camper that’s easy to tow.

However, it might not be the most outstanding camper for looking for a lot of space.

References:

popupexplorer.com

RV.net forums

A-Frame Campers: Chalet, Aliner, Jayco – Anyone?

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