2018 Aliner Ascape: Firsthand Report

Aliner has been building hard sided pop up campers since 1984, and they’ve been generally accepted in the industry as the standard which other manufacturers follow in that category. In the late 2000’s, Aliner experimented with conventional small travel trailers with the Marco and the Amelia, which were short lived with minimal success. This year, Aliner has made a comeback in the small travel trailer segment with the introduction of the 13 foot Ascape.

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The Ascape is produced in Aliner’s Mt Pleasant, Pennsylvania’s plant. In these times where every manufacturer is copy-catting what everyone else is doing, it’s refreshing to see someone come out with something that no one else has. And despite its diminutive size, the Ascape is loaded with a lot of amenities.

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One of the unique features of the Ascape is the rear entry door, which includes a drop floor creating a generous 6’4″ of interior head room. When the dinette is converted into a bed formation, it creates a very roomy 64″ x 77″ sleeping area.

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The Ascape packs a lot of standard options, including outside shower, 40 watt front roof mounted solar panel, electric brakes, 13″ aluminum wheels, 3.0 cubic foot refrigerator with freezer, 6 gallon water heater, range hood with fan, Fantastic Fan, screen door, LED lighting throughout, 2 burner range top stove, deep stainless steel sink with pull out faucet, microwave oven, dual 20 lbs propane tanks,  and 16K BTU furnace.

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When it comes to options the Ascape offers, there are just a few and they come in one package: 9200 BTU roof mounted A/C, a 5 foot Carefree awning that mounts over the rear door, Thetford cassette toilet, and a 23′ flat screen TV with a Bluetooth sound bar.

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I did mention above that the optional air conditioner is a roof mount. However, for a period this year, Aliner was installing wall mounted units, which is how these units I looked over at Mount Comfort RV were equipped. I’ve been told that newer Ascapes being produced will have the roof mounted unit. If you go with option package that includes A/C, this will negate the standard Fantastic Fan. However, if you want both the wall mounted A/C and the Fantastic Fan, as you can see from these pics, there are some out there.

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As for the exterior, the Ascape is a smooth aluminum siding with a one piece of aluminum on the roof. Four stabilizer jacks are standard as is the front mounted spare tire. The graphics packages offers four different color options. The green pictured above is standard, but you can also pick from black, red, and blue.

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As for overall specs, the Ascape is 13 feet from hitch to tail, and fully optioned will weigh right around 1700 lbs. Exterior height is 7’5″ without A/C and 8’4″ with the roof top A/C. The box width is 66″ and the total width is 73″. The hitch weight is 170 lbs and the GVWR is 2500 lbs, giving you somewhere around 700-800 lbs of cargo capacity.

Ascape-Floorplan

So you might ask who is the Ascape made for? Several! It’s great if you have a tow vehicle with minimal tow capacity. It’s also a perfect fit for a growing segment of buyers, and that would be single females looking for something easy to tow with minimal effort to camp in. I also see this set up well for the adventure outdoors buyers looking for something they can use off the grid, as the standard solar panel and dual propane tanks can offer some extended boondocking. Or it’s also good for those of you who like unique, cool looking small trailers with good features. Overall, my opinion is positive on the Ascape. It would be nice if there was a wet bath feature, but given the small footprint of the Ascape, a wet bath would take away much of its storage, so it would take some creativity. However, Aliner has been pretty creative over the last 30 plus years they’ve been in business, so if it can be done, they’ll be able to.

While at Mount Comfort RV looking over the Ascape, I also did a little 10 minute walk thru video for you to get a little more up close look. A fully loaded Ascape has an MSRP of just over $20,000, so you should be able to fetch one somewhere in the mid teens range.

43 Comments

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43 Responses to 2018 Aliner Ascape: Firsthand Report

  1. Dean

    Another great small trailer option! I agree that a nice option for the solo traveler would be to use one side of the dinette as a “twin” bed keeping the table up and the other side of the dinette for sitting. Very nice.

    Thx,

    Dean

  2. Lance

    It’s always nice to see a manufacturer being creative and coming up with new ideas. Storage is always a problem in small trailers. Can it be ordered without the microwave to allow for another kitchen cupboard?

  3. Donald Raver

    Nice review. My wife and I love this little camper. This fits the bill perfectly for us. Some options I would like to see. A front window, a longer tongue with a storage box, or platform. A longer version with a side entrance and wet bath. Great job on your blog.

  4. Patrick O'Flaherty

    The bed is only 64″ wide, so unless you are shorter than that, you would be uncomfortably cramped if not impossible to sleep on just the twin bed.

    • Cathy P.

      The bed is 77″ long running front to back, so you could have a narrow twin bed setup sleeping in that direction.

      It is an interesting setup, and I have been looking at it online. Around 2006, Aliner was making something similar as every once in awhile, I see one used being sold, it was called the “Cabin A”. Also, I believe the Amelia was a Chalet product. I am a little “RV obsessed”.

    • Brian C

      You sleep end to end,….not side to side.

  5. Daphne

    Great article and photos! We are the brand new & proud! owners of an Ascape. She’s had many admirers and we’ve given many tours.

    We’ve taken a couple of short trips–so easy to tow with a Subaru Outback (6 cylinder). I’m a novice tow-er, so I appreciate the fact that the camper is narrower than the car. We’re glad we got the version with the wall AC AND the fan. The “Fantastic Fan” really moves air, either into or out of the camper. It’s great to have the screened door and windows open for fresh air when the outside air is cool enough. In terms of design, we’re still figuring out the best places to stow things, but I am certain we’ll work that out. (We love the workspace provided by the counter over the toilet.)

    In terms of appliances, the stove and microwave work well, but the fridge takes a long time to get cold. on “shore power.” A friend has suggested that using the propane option will make it get cold faster, but we haven’t tested that hypothesis yet. (It is great that the fridge can be fueled by AC, DC, or propane.) Southland RV in north Atlanta installed a “Jack-It’ bike rack on the tongue, and it works well. Two road bikes WILL fit in the camper, but that’s not our first choice. We ordered a custom-fit mattress pad from Advanced Bedding and chose the anchor strap version (as opposed to elastic wrap-around) as a way that makes it easier to make the bed. (Yes, we’re spoiled. Don’t want to use a sleeping bag.)

    There are a few small construction details that are disappointing. The cabinets (beside the TV) hinge up to open but there is nothing to make them stay up while you rummage around except our jerry-rigged bungee cords. Also, the side rails for the open shelves on both sides over the windows are quite handy, but the glue used to hold them to the shelf melted/loosened/came unstuck and fell off when the camper was parked in the sun. I am sure that glue is cheaper than screws, but screws would make more sense and prevent the rails from falling off. The door can be locked with a deadbolt or the latch closure, but the deadbolt cylinder pulled right out of the door during our second trip. Finally, and only as a personal preference, we would like to have a lighter-c0lored wood for the cabinets and inside wood detail.

    All in all, while there have been these few relatively small disappointments, we are looking forward to taking the Ascape on many more trips. It’s easy to stock and prep for short trips, and I think it will be just as easy to take on longer trips when we have the time and feel more confident. Happy camping!

  6. Rhonda

    Another super review! The price point seems steep but it looks like a great little camper for a niche population. Thanks for your continued effort to bring new small trailers to the attention of those of us out here who are looking for the “perfect” one to suit individual needs. If there IS such an animal I hope to find it someday. Until then I’ll keep draggin’ my ’69 Shasta Compact behind me. :-)

  7. Crystal

    Although Ascape is shorter, the floor plan reminds me a lot of Lil Snoozy, which I’ve always admired. Lil Snoozy doesn’t have propane, which is a shame.

  8. Kathy

    How tall is this?

  9. Nelson

    You probably mean a “40 Watt” solar panel!! A 40 Amp solar panel would be monstrous!

  10. DIDO

    Note liking it – looks like they cut a regular travel trailer in half in an attempt to create a small trailer.

  11. Donald Raver

    Nice review. My wife and I have looked at this extensively online. We like the size and the features. A a couple of improvements I would like to see. A optional front window would be nice. I would rather see windows that have integrated Shades and screens and open fully. Does a camper this small really need two propane tanks. A longer tongue would allow for external storage box or bike storage. A internal shower yes I know this will be nothing more than a shower curtain it looks like the galley bathroom area could be easily converted for such use. Some great features on this RV for it’s size. Could you store a bicycle or two on the inside. Thanks for a great video and review

    • Pat

      I don’t think a couple of bike down the center would be an issue. You could always pull the table during transit for a little extra length.

    • Daphne

      Our two road bikes fit fairly easily inside with the table removed. However, we did have a “Jack It” hitch-mount bicycle rack installed. It works well, though if I were an inch shorter than 5’2″ I wouldn’t be able to put the bikes up without a stepstool.

  12. I purchased a 2018 Ascape earlier this year (in May). It’s been a great little camper. Has everything I need, and then some, and sleeps me, my 15 year old son, and my 60 lb dog just fine in the queen size bed. We just had to learn (including the dog) that only one person can be up and about inside the camper at a time.

    I have the model with the wall mounted A/C unit. It sits inside one of the benches. I think I would have preferred the roof mounted one, as the wall mounted takes up some storage space, which could be nice to have. But I do like the fan on those days that it’s not warm enough for A/C, but warm enough to have it running to move the air around. And I’ve been doing OK with the storage I have with the A/C in bench, so I’m complaining.

    Overall, it’s a very nice little camper. I’ve had several camping trips in it already, and plan on many, many more int he years to come. And one other big feature that I like that you can’t build into the camper – It’s a real conversation starter!

  13. Gerry

    This looks like a great option for a smaller camper. We looked at the Tab and the Lil’Guy but those don’t even allow you to stand up in them fully. However, they do have a wet bath which is the main reason that might keep some of us from springing for this. A wet bath would synch the deal. This has so many nice features. I might be one of the rare people that like the cheaper side air conditioner. If it craps out it’s $200 and a nearby Walmart and it’s replaced. A roof air conditioner can add to potential leaks in the future, a failure would be outrageously expensive and only fixable and replaceable at the dealer. So that would be a huge savings and convenience. I just wish it had a full wet bath. It certainly seems doable.

  14. Dave Langley

    I bought an 18 Ascape without the roof a/c. The cube unit in the side works ok but I find having a small fan to help circulate air when the bed is set up is helpful. It is a little heavier towing than I expected (I drive a 17 Escape) but the small torqued motor seems to do ok. I do notice the wind drag difference but that is to be expected. The bed opens to queen-size and it is very comfortable (although we utilize one of those foam, coned shaped mattress pads, which helps a lot). We just roll it up towards the front when done and it doesn’t really cost us any space. Bottom line is thus far we are very happy with our purchase. See you out there in the campsites!

    • J K Rector

      Is your 17 Escape a 4 or 6 cylinder and 4 wheel drive? I love the idea of pulling this cool looking Ascape with my 02 Escape… so glad it’s working out well for you! (I’m very jealous 😟)

      • William

        I can’t comment on the Escape, but I have a 2.4L (4-cyl) Jeep Patriot that pulls my Ascape just fine. It’s a little sluggish on hills, but not that much.

  15. conie

    why not post a price?

  16. Thomas Allen

    Price without toilet and ac?

    • Pat

      The way Aliner has the options set up, the toiler and AC are part of a single options package that also includes the rear awning, and the 23″ TV and sound bar. From an MSRP sheet I have, the option package is $1500, so that should give you an idea what that brings your price down to.

  17. Randy Phillips

    I have a 2017 T@B 320 Max S at this point. I am 6ft. tall and have to bend over and can not stand straight up which is tough on my back. I am considering the Ascape in the next year or so, but would like a wet bath inside along in addition to the exterior shower now available. I love the rear door entrance as it gives me room to stand and also is near the rear door for cooking which allows for a nice breeze through the camper while cooking, etc. If you add a wet bath that a 6ft. guy can stand in, then I will be trading in my T@B very soon. I have ALiners in the past and I have been very happy with the product. Thanks Aliner for creating a more European camper which is affordable and easy to maintain and tow !

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  19. Joyce Cappolella

    I have a 4 cylinder Hyundai elantra. Towing cap is 2000 lbs can I tow this?
    Thanks

    • William

      I have a 2.4L (4-cyl) Jeep patriot with a 2000 lb capacity. I can tow it fine. Just be careful about not loading too much inside and going over the 2000 lbs. Also, watch your tongue weight. Just filling the water tank on mine put too much weight on the tongue, and I could really feel it wanting to sway (it was a short trip, but I’m not doing that again until I get a different tow vehicle that can handle it).

  20. Bob Norman

    Can it except bigger wheels and tires? I would really prefer 14″ or 15″ if they will fit in the wheel wheels. I do some long distance driving and lite off-roading, (perhaps I should say dirt- roading). A bigger wheel and tire and little more ground clearance is always a good thing.

  21. Loren

    After lots of hours of research into small campers – and a few trips to dealerships in the area – I finally purchased the Ascape in May 2017. It had the best combination of factors that I considered important. Since then, I have used it on two short camping trips. It is very comfortable for one person and a small dog, even using just one side of the bed. The heater and A/C work well, as do most other appliances. However, the trailer is in the shop for the third time, and I’m beginning to wonder about quality control. Most recently, I couldn’t use the trailer as planned after a 200-mile drive. There are currently three issues: 1) the 12v water pump won’t build up pressure in the system and runs every 8 to 10 seconds trying to do so, 2) the propane alarm goes off randomly (it’s very loud) even though there’s no propane smell that I can detect inside, 3) the “auxiliary” LP tank has a leak when turned on and, therefore, cannot be used (this is NOT the reason for the inside alarm). Today, I left it at the dealership, hoping they can get it to function reliably enough to take on an extended road trip in a few months. This is my third small camping trailer, but the first Aliner.

    • Pat

      Thanks for the update, Loren. Always hate to read things like this. RV ownership should be a time of happiness and not frustration. I don’t think consumers would be too upset for manufacturers to slow down a bit and make sure it’s done right. Hopefully things will get smoothed out for you soon.

      • Loren

        I very much agree that we’d prefer manufacturers take the time needed during the build to get it right. The Ascape is a great design and I’ve had many people ask about it, wanting to see the interior. They often comment about how “spacious” it feels inside. I still have high hopes this will be my travel and adventure vehicle for trips being planned. Thanks!

    • Loren

      UPDATE (10/20/2017): The Ascape was repaired at the dealership and is now working well. The original battery was defective and wouldn’t hold a sufficient charge. That’s what caused the problem with propane alarm which is, apparently, sensitive to low voltage from the battery. The battery was replaced. The water pump was not adjusted correctly and two of the fittings weren’t tight enough. With an adjustment and some tightening, it now works fine. For the propane problem, an exterior propane line was replaced and the auxiliary tank can now be used.

    • William

      I’ve only had mine in the shop once, and that was for the recall on the propane tank tray. But just before that, I noticed that teh USB ports weren’t providing any power, so I mentioned that and they replaced it. Other than that, I’ve only had very minor issues (leaky plumbing connection that I wrapped with Teflon tape, and the board along the back of the toilet that the counter top hinge was connected to was loose).

  22. Lana

    I love my Aliner Ascape :) Only cons I have are the blinds, most new campers are standard with same blinds, but I will change to pull down shades sometime. I don’t like where the LED light buttons and pump/hot water heater controls are located. Too easy to just hit with hip and turn on. Needs moved to another location or a plastic cover like on frig controls to prevent turning on accidently.

  23. country

    i wouldnt pay that price for thats double to triple mark up !

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