Aliner vs Forest River...

Discussion in 'A-Frame PopUps' started by Andy Avram, Jun 3, 2020.

  1. Andy Avram

    Andy Avram New Member

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    New to the forum and looking for some advice.

    I've camped my whole life - growing up our family had traditional pop-ups, and for awhile I owned a hand-me-down. They are great campers, but I want something that is easier to put up, especially for stops during long travels (Walmarts, rest areas, etc...). I know there is so much space in those campers, especially since it is me, my wife, one kid, and a dog... but I just am not going back to traditional pop-ups, and I want something I can store in the garage at home. Currently we all squeeze into my 4-man tent.

    So... obviously, I am in the market for my first a-frame, but have some questions on the brands. My heart is set on an Aliner. They are lighter, have lay-outs I like better, and have optional soft dormers (which would be my preference). However they also cost WAAAY more than Forest River a-frames, which do not have dormers as an option (looks like the model either has it as a standard feature or it doesn’t, and only hard dormers).

    So my question is (especially for people that have owned theirs for more than a few years): how is the quality of Forest River (Rockwood or Flagstaff)? Looking at forums it seems there are many more posts about issues with Forest River than on the Aliner forums.

    Any insights to the Aliner vs Forest River options?

    Andy
     
  2. DiamondGirl

    DiamondGirl Well-Known Member

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    I’ve had my Aliner Classic for 6 years. A previous owner had it before me. I’ve had minimal issues. Yes, Aliners cost more because they are built differently using quality materials. Aliners have better resale value.

    All RV’s require annual maintenance no matter what brand you buy. Be sure to see videos on YouTube showing a Technician’s tour of Aliner models. They are very detailed with information and tips.

    We keep our Aliner in good shape so she will last us for years to come.

    Happy camping...[ALPU][PUT]
     
  3. A-Ranger12

    A-Ranger12 Active Member

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    The Forest River A-frame campers have more bells and whistles for the price. We looked at a new Forest River before plunging into a used Aliner. Decided we valued light weight over bells and whistles, and have yet to regret that decision in the short time we have owned ours.

    I'd open up your search to used campers as well. Aliner doesn't change options or configurations much. And, a used one means it can be modded without feeling bad. [:D]
     
  4. Rik Peery

    Rik Peery Well-Known Member

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    What are you gonna being pulling w/ vehicle wise, does it have a tow package etc...sold our Ranger10 back in January & went w/ a Nucamp Boondock Edge XL, loved the aliner & my Tacoma pulled it easily; have friends that have the Rockwood & love it, a solid camper perfect for them. You'll need to account for # of people/gear & overall weight as well...
     
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  5. WrkrBee

    WrkrBee Well-Known Member

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  6. BostonDad

    BostonDad Member

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    Unless you’re looking to gut it completely, I’d be more concerned with getting one with the interior space/layout that will best suit your needs.

    As DiamondGirl mentioned, Aliners are more expensive but will hold their value. However, as you mentioned brands like Forest River will cost way less on the used market and will eventually hit a plateau, especially if most of the depreciation has hit already. I’ll admit for me that I always thought Aliner was the “cooler” brand. I wasn’t only looking for Aliners, but once I found one with the layout that I wanted and price I could afford, it was easier for me to pull the trigger. I bought it sight unseen and I got lucky because the seller was somewhat honest about the overall condition.

    I’m not sure if I’d do that again, though. I really think I just got lucky with a decent seller.
     
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  7. Tom and Teresa

    Tom and Teresa Member

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    We bought our Rockwood 214 HW brand new in February of 2016. We absolutely love it. Have taken it across country and to many campgrounds. The only issue we have had is with the actuator that lifts the roof. It went out, we replaced it, and that one stopped working. My husband made a handle so that he and I can lift it by hand. Still, you pay for that added help and they go out way too easily on all brands seems like. We love the hard sided dormer which makes it possible to camp in national parks out west. We also love having a bathroom. We tow it with a 2016 Ram 1500. Have had no other issues at all. We also looked at A-liner, Coachman Clipper and Jayco. Liked the Rockwood the best by far because of finishes, hard-side dormer and layout...especially the way the bathroom sets up. We love that we don’t have to fold down our table to have a bed. It has a Queen size heated mattress that is very comfortable. Hope that info helps.
     
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  8. Old_Geezer

    Old_Geezer Well-Known Member

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    Forest River has close to 40% market share overall in the RV Industry. Take the best year for sales, 504,000 RVs sold overall. 40% of that is 201,600 RVs sold by Forest river. A Liner holds market share of less than 1% overall. When you look at how the sales numbers are classified by the RVIA and market statistics folks an A frame is grouped with popups as a folding camping trailer.

    Look at it from this perspective. In Jan 2020 the RV Industry sold 22678 classified as towable overall, 488 were classifed as folding camping trailer. Forest Rivers share of that 488 would have to be higher than 38%, they make both A frames and popops. Living close to Columbia NW's plant which is an old Pepsi bottling facility in Kecksburg PA, I know first hand it's not the busiest factory you have ever seen. I would guess out of the 488 mentioned above of folding camping trailers shipped in Jan 2020 less than 30 were Columbia NW products and that would include A Liner, Ascape, and Somerset popups. I would bet dollars to donuts their sales are less than 1200 total units per year combined from all 3 lines. The last time I was past there which was pre covid, they were forced to shutdown by PA for @ 12 weeks or longer, in the lot where they keep finished units they had 2 Aliners, 1 Somerset Utah, and maybe 5 Ascapes.

    The point is you're going to find tons more info on forums, good bad or indifferent, about Forest River than you will Aliner / Columbia NW.

    That said and not knocking them but the Somersets were / are a debacle. Numerous problems and quality issues since day one. I am sure you can find old posts on these boards from folks who bought those and were totally dissatisfied. The same workers build those as build Aliners and the Ascapes, not very many workers are employed at that plant. You might see 25 or less cars there on a given day at the most.

    I think youre going to have the same types of or different issues either Aliner or Forest River and will not find a problem or issue free unit from either. It's the nature of the beast. I would also avoid a unit with a build date between March 2020 to something like August 2020 like a plague due to their forced shutdown.

    I ordered, had delivered, and then refused to buy a Rockwood Roo hybrid which was a hastily assembled piece of poop. I made them build me another which was night and day better than the first which I purchased, but still not perfect. Perfection only exists if you do not know what to look for.

    I would tell you to look at either one more by the individual unit. You could have 2 or 3 each on a dealers lot of either brand, and one could be put together much better than the other 2 or vice versa.
     
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  9. Andy Avram

    Andy Avram New Member

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    Thanks for the replies everyone. This gave me a lot to think about.

    To everyone suggesting a used model… I am certainly not opposed to it, I just don’t really want to make tons of modifications and repairs (I am not terribly handy), but I understand that no matter what route I take there will always be maintenance headaches. For me the soft dormers are a HUGE plus, so finding a used model with duel soft dormers presents the challenge. True be told, the soft dormers might be one of biggest selling points for me.

    As for Old_Geezer’s comments… now that is a lot to chew on. I would say that when I mentioned “Looking at forums it seems there are many more posts about issues with Forest River than on the Aliner forums.” I was specifically only researching a-frame posts and forums, so even if we take your 488 folding camper numbers, deduct the traditional popups, then I think there is a much better comparison for the highly niche a-frame market between the brands – although I too would imagine FR still way outnumber Aliner. But your point is well taken. To add to your defense, Aliner is more of the “cool” brand and I imagine people are less likely knock something they paid premium for, thus invalidating their decision (think people who love Apple products).

    I never thought about build quality during the pandemic…

    Overall, I still really like the versatility of an a-frame, and outside of a fiberglass egg unit (it’s storing the darn things), I can’t imagine something more perfect for my needs.
     
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  10. A-Ranger12

    A-Ranger12 Active Member

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    You really can't go wrong with either brand. They both have their pluses. It comes down to what is available and how far you'll have to travel to get it. I took a 300 mile trip to get our Aliner, which is not unheard of. They're a specialty item, not that many are out there and people know what they have.
     
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  11. jeicher

    jeicher Member

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    Keep in mind that Aliner is a small company and the Aliner is the bread and butter product. For Forest River its just a sideline model so its easy to push any issues aside. My inclination is to go with the company that has more incentive to get it right.
     
  12. BostonDad

    BostonDad Member

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    If I had to go with a Forest River, I’d go with a A214HW. It has a lot of things that I like over my Aliner Expedition. I like that the kitchen and bathroom/shower are located in the front, away from everything else. However, I don’t like the narrow and short dinette bed (33x64... ridiculous). I also like the front storage compartment that is accessible outside of the trailer. That’s huge. I believe at some point the Expedition also had thst option but mine (and most I’ve seen) does not.
    One thing I disliked about the Forest River was the entry door clip that locks the top and bottom half of the door together. Seemed very cheap in construction to me and I’m surprised that is where they decided to penny pinch. I mean, it’s a place that everyone is going to notice...
     
  13. threebeachboys

    threebeachboys Active Member

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    Having owned several pop-ups, we switched to an Aliner after the kids grew up. I don't want to be a Negative Nancy and I do love camping in my Aliner. But if I had to do it over again, for what I paid for a used Aliner, I'd spend a little more and get a new or newer Forest River. I'm just not thrilled with the quality of the Aliner . . . Now from what I've read, FR isn't going to win any super quality awards either. But I've not read anything about the scale of repairs for FR that I may be facing with the Aliner. And easier to swallow repairs if the price point is lower to start with. I also like the FR floor plan with the front bathroom. Please note that the Forest River products tend to weigh more than the Aliners.
     
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  14. ToniB

    ToniB New Member

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    We shopped for an aframe in the pouring rain. The dealer had 4 set up - 2 A-Liners and 2 Rockwoods. BOTH the Rockwoods had water puddled on the counters. Both the A-Liners were perfectly dry inside. We bought an A-Liner after seeing that!
     
  15. Lost in Space

    Lost in Space Active Member

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    I have a 2019 Expedition with the dual soft dormers, and it is a wonderful feature to have! We absolutely would not have bought one with out the soft dormers.We had pop-ups for many years, and the soft dormers give us that openness, view, and ventilation that we loved so much in our pop-ups.
    Now the only negative with them is that in 85 degree plus weather the small AC unit in our Expedition, the biggest Aliner, struggles to keep the temperature below about 73 degrees when we have both dormers up. We could put down the dormer over the bed, which helps a lot, or hang a blanket over the window to keep the sun from heating it up quite so much. Still wouldn't trade it for the world, as regardless of weather, we are seldom inside except for sleeping and real rainy weather.
     
  16. Blackripley

    Blackripley Active Member

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    We lucked into a barely use Forest River for the price we were looking to spend, all of A-liners I looked at were too beat up and selling for too much money in my area. I agree that Forest River seems to want to be the fancy A-frame out there, but we are happy with our trailer.

    New or used there are going to be issues, that is the thing with all campers. If you do get a new one be sure that there is a dealer near enough with a service department you will use, again there will be issues and warranty work (count on it).
     

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