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


Our kids are grown and gone and the wife and I are looking to downsize from our very large 1996 Starcraft pop-up camper. Out of curiosity we stopped in and took a close look at the Aliner A-Frame camper. As far as appropriate size and comfort we liked what we saw.

In researching these campers we would also like to consider models by Chalet but the closest dealer is in Boise, Idaho - a very long two-day drive from home.

Jayco has an A-Frame model coming out sometime this summer but from what I've seen of them I'm not sure they'll have off-road compatible upgrades (talking light off-roading only).

We tow our trailer with a Toyota FJ (rated @5,000#) so we don't necessarily want to go bigger/heavier.

I'd enjoy hearing any thoughts or opinions?



Expedition Leader
I love the Chalets and A liners, they are nearly the same IMO. Very nice in the PNW for not having a wet tent. Good in the snow also.

That being said, I haven't owned one. But have drooled on a few.



I have an A-Liner Ranger. In my opinion, it is way too low in stock form for any off road adventures. If you search, you will find numerous examples of lifted units that appear to work well.

My original 2K axel bent severely within months of purchase. I replaced it with a 3.5K axel with electric brakes that has done well for the last three years.

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

It's easy to heat and cool. Sets up in minutes. A little cramped when it's raining out. An awning is a challenge. We use a 10X10 push up. The door is narrow but sufficient. If you are over 6', the bed may be a little short. Ours has a small fridge, heater, 5K a/c, 20 gal fresh water tank and sink. No gray water or black water provisions.

Hope this helps.


I have never owned one but I love the design. I think it is a great compromise between a hard sided camper and a pop-up.


I have the Aliner Expedition "Platinum" model (largest), suppose to be off-road ready, haven't off-loaded it though, not sure I'd do that with this one. The Platinum model was a mistake, it gets really hot in the sun because of the grey finish, air conditioner is a must, when the temp was 78 outside on a sunny day it was 90 inside. Shading the windows with an awning would help. Most people make their own for these. I was thinking about painting it white. To get the refrigerator to work a blower fan (noisy) must be turned on to vent heat from the coils, that's a result of not having a roof vent as conventional trailers have. Great gas milage while towing though 16-17 towing at 65mph, 14mpg with that camper and trailer though. Fast setup only takes 2 minutes to raise the roof and sides. My wife, 5' 4", can set this up, but she needs a step stool.





I own a Chalet XL1920 and agree with most of the prior posts. I've owned a 5th Wheel, tent trailer, two FlipPacs, tents, and now the Chalet a-frame. It's the best of all. We camp with kids and it works out very well.

I'll add, organization is lacking from the factory. I'm working in a few additional storage features... This is a personal need which you'll figure out.


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Expedition Leader
My uncle has one of the Aliners. His is fairly small but still has a cassette toilet and a shower. The bed across the back isn't huge but he's pretty happy with it. He also had the axle problem not long after getting it and upgraded to a heavier axle with brakes. He used to tow it behind his MGB for a while and said it towed very well; of course the MG had a built Rover V8 in it. They've got a Honda Pilot they use as a tow vehicle now.

From my limited experience with his, I don't think it would hold up very well to much off-roading. The frame isn't rigid enough and I'd be worried it would get the popup part out of alignment.


I'm enjoying your comments....hope to hear more. Right now I'm favoring the Chalet but the several thousand $$ in difference between it an others is hard to justify...until you read about some of the axle problems on Aliners. I've read in other RV forums that Aliners had some water leaking problems that caused some rot in their floors. Those were early models and surely by now that problem has been resolved. My wife and I are visiting Portland in September and the Chalet manufacturer is a couple hours south of there. I'm maybe hoping they'll let us drop in and learn more about their products.

Thanks again for your input.


West slope, N. Ser. Nev.
I guess the hard side, TC folks have nothing to talk about. I too like the newer, more compact towable campers that have come out recently. I thought I was on the trailer page for a minute. Nah. The trailer builders on EXPO are the wild and craziest, think-outside-the-box people I know. It's too late for me. I'll keep my old wood frame Lance TC.
regards, as always, jefe


I hear you about the expedition trailers - nice rigs. We started out as tent campers and my wife insists (actually her words were something like, "Tent camping..you'll be by yourself"!) we have a hard-sided camper. So I'm thinking that a happy wife makes for a happy life. :wings:

The A-frames with limited off-road capabilities are a good compromise between a happy marriage and a sense of being a rugged outdoor kind of guy. :costumed-smiley-007
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Just bought one, 4 nights so far and love it. I love being able to sleep in all hungover as the sun comes out and not get roasted out like I did in a tent. Also to be able to heat it at night quickly and efficiently. So I guess I disagree with the above post, and that was without any shade. In the shade it's perfect. Would be even better if I had a roof fan, then I could open the windows on the shady side, close them on the sunny side and just pull shaded air in.



It's light enough that I plan to put a hitch on my Corvette so I can tow it to the racetrack and camp right in the parking lot.

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I love the Aliner, the offroad version we have at work is built amazingly tough. The sotck frame is 2x3 tubing the OR version is 2x6. They are easy to lift if you buy the non OR version, but you get what you pay for in their factory built unit.


Mine is a 1998, the frame is a little too light. I plan to reinforce it and lift it up high enough to install 30-31" tires. I think It would be overkill with the same size tires as my Tundra, 33" MTRs


Why is this thread not moved to the expedition trailer forum?

Before I posed the original question I took a look at the other sites on the forum but still wasn't real sure where to place the original post. Do you know who the Lord Overseer of the Forum is? Maybe he can move it. :costumed-smiley-007
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