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.

16 Comments

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16 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”.

  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.

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