Considering Switching to A-Frame

TimAZ

Member
Oct 16, 2021
46
I’m not sure what a high wind kit is. Our Rockwood has been in some fierce, mighty winds out in Wyoming, but we were okay. It does have a really big rubber band type thing that connects the two roof panels. And our side walls hook over the roof panels as well. Would you please explain what that is?
The rubber bungees can stretch in high winds which can separate the roof latches and allow one or both of the side panels to fall inward. A wind kit mechanically locks the two halves of the roof together so they can’t separate. Some people also install a cross pole near the apex to keep the side panels up even if the latches disengage from the roof.
 

Tom and Teresa

Active Member
Jun 18, 2019
136
Shenandoah Valley, Virginia
I did a little research and found on the Forest River forum that the newer FR A-frames like mine have hooks that actually hold the roof panels down to the walls, whereas other brands sort of just put pressure up and hold the roof and wall together. But when there are high winds, they can separate when there is nothing actually hooking the two together. So I can see why some owners would want a wind kit. 👍
 

dcornelius

Member
Jun 25, 2012
29
Portland, OR
and the hard dormers give me much more usable floor space (that dormer over the bed makes the whole space more open
That's important--good to know!
Oh, and the hard side dormers are nice if you think you might want to do some cold weather camping. We camp in winter with a ceramic heater and stay nice and warm.
That's definitely a thought--I haven't done much cold winter camping yet but would like to, so that's something I'll keep in mind.

I was leaning toward soft dormers for the air flow and just a touch more "outdoor experience" but there are several things to consider. Then again, there aren't many A-frame campers for sale in my area so if I find a good deal, I'll probably just settle for what's available and see how I like it.
 

DanLee

Active Member
Apr 28, 2015
119
Virginia
I don't have a wind kit. From what I can see, it's mostly an aid for putting up the camper in high winds. Rather than a pole attached to the side of the roof, I use a metal adjustable closet pole with rubber caps on the ends to push up the roof. Once the camper is set up, the pole can be adjusted to fit in the groove that runs between the side walls and the roof. I put it above the roof/wall locks and it rests there. Makes a handy place to hang towels and such and it can be moved from the bed side to the dining side as needed.
 

TimAZ

Member
Oct 16, 2021
46
I did a little research and found on the Forest River forum that the newer FR A-frames like mine have hooks that actually hold the roof panels down to the walls, whereas other brands sort of just put pressure up and hold the roof and wall together. But when there are high winds, they can separate when there is nothing actually hooking the two together. So I can see why some owners would want a wind kit. 👍
All of the a-frames I’ve seen have four latches inside to lock the side walls to the roof panels. The problem is these latches are not anchored to any of the metal on the roof panels (mine have eight #6 screws into 1/8-inch plywood) , and a strong gust of wind could twist the roof enough to pull them loose.
 

Hilldweller

Super Active Member
Mar 2, 2021
1,057
Hog Waller, GA
I’m not sure what a high wind kit is. Our Rockwood has been in some fierce, mighty winds out in Wyoming, but we were okay. It does have a really big rubber band type thing that connects the two roof panels. And our side walls hook over the roof panels as well. Would you please explain what that is?
Aliner offers a high wind kit that consists of a long aluminum square rod that solidly connects the two roof panels. It's mounted on a swivel and also serves as an assist when you're hoisting up the roof.

IMG_20220409_075659972_HDR - Copy.jpg
 
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Papa Glenn

Member
Nov 24, 2020
58
All of the a-frames I’ve seen have four latches inside to lock the side walls to the roof panels. The problem is these latches are not anchored to any of the metal on the roof panels (mine have eight #6 screws into 1/8-inch plywood) , and a strong gust of wind could twist the roof enough to pull them loose.
Forest River A-frames have a hole on the A wall that engages a pin on the roof frame. This prevents the roof from lifting when the A walls are locked in place.
 

kudzu

Active Member
Gold Supporting Member
Oct 20, 2014
637
Knee deep in kudzu
Bought my Aliner very used and added DIY high wind protection. We get a lot of high wind just at my house and our very first camping trip included rather severe conditions. My camper came with 4 latches on the inside, but those weren't... um, confidence inspiring. I added mounts for closet rods inside and cut steel closet rods to size. These are not adjustable. I didn't want any give. The idea is to keep the side walls firmly in place and help keep the roof latches as secure as possible. The rods are removable for breakdown. On the exterior, someone installed hardware on both sides of the two roof panels. Basically, a length or multifilament rope runs from attachment points on the rear roof panel, through eye straps on either side of the topmost point of the front roof panel. (Top referring to when the roof is raised.) It is attached prior to raising the roof. That would hopefully prevent the roof panel from being blown open too far, or even off, if there is a gust of wind during set up. It's about the cheapest, easiest wind kit available. Thankfully, we never had to test it to it's fullest but it certainly worked in a couple of startling wind events.

My little trailer sits outside in all weather, set up with roof raised all the time. (except during towing) It has ridden out many a severe storm without incident, including a tropical storm, remnant of a hurricane. Admittedly, we weren't out there opening and closing the door to test results of wind suddenly entering the interior. For all the attention we give to the risk of winds, these trailers sure can handle those very well with proper precautions.
 

Karey

Active Member
Apr 3, 2021
102
Colorado
We have a Chalet Aframe. We love it. We keep the table area as table area and bought shoe shelves to line the back of that area for clothes and stuff. The other end has bunk beds. My husband at 6'3" can stretch across his top bunk all the way with room to spare (Chalets are wider than Aliners). We do not have dormers, but have the higher side walls so the counter is higher, which gives more room. We have a bathroom as well (needed for our stage in life). The Aframe feels so roomy. I'm always up early so make french press coffee and sit at the table in the dark mornings working at my camping journal on my iPad. If chilly, I turn the thermostat for the heater just before my husband gets out of bed. You want to have the trailer leveled before raising the roof, so it's going up even and not askew. It locks together once in place. Then we have 4 latches at the roof edge. We've camped in extreme winds in Wyoming. The roof bungees of the Chalet keep the roof from going anywhere. We camped in extreme rain, and we're dry and cozy inside. We camp mostly boondocking, since we often go with our family. So have been on many rough roads with no problems. Just need to go slower when a very bumpy road!
 

Susan Premo

Super Active Member
Nov 5, 2020
1,037
Minnesota
That sounds so luxurious
We have a Chalet Aframe. We love it. We keep the table area as table area and bought shoe shelves to line the back of that area for clothes and stuff. The other end has bunk beds. My husband at 6'3" can stretch across his top bunk all the way with room to spare (Chalets are wider than Aliners). We do not have dormers, but have the higher side walls so the counter is higher, which gives more room. We have a bathroom as well (needed for our stage in life). The Aframe feels so roomy. I'm always up early so make french press coffee and sit at the table in the dark mornings working at my camping journal on my iPad. If chilly, I turn the thermostat for the heater just before my husband gets out of bed. You want to have the trailer leveled before raising the roof, so it's going up even and not askew. It locks together once in place. Then we have 4 latches at the roof edge. We've camped in extreme winds in Wyoming. The roof bungees of the Chalet keep the roof from going anywhere. We camped in extreme rain, and we're dry and cozy inside. We camp mostly boondocking, since we often go with our family. So have been on many rough roads with no problems. Just need to go slower when a very bumpy road!
 

SAttridge

New Member
Aug 17, 2022
7
I'm 6'5" and fit just fine.


We went from tent to Conqueror (rooftop tent on a South African military trailer) to teardrop to Aliner. For ease of use the teardrop was king --- but not for overall comfort. In a teardrop you have to dress by doing "the worm", which gets really old as you age.

Our Aliner is an Expedition with a permanent bed. So the bed is a residential queen 60"x80" (replaced the mattress after one night on the stock mattress). We've got two hard dormers, offroad package, I swapped out the battery for a LiFePO4 and the converter for one with a lithium profile.

Read through some of my old posts for my list of nags. You'll have to work through them. Aliners ain't perfect. But we support each other and eventually you get it going. And we love the trailer now. Two adults, one of them tall, and a dog. Plenty of room.

Set-up is easy. Nothing special on the leveling except that you have to eyeball it since there are no two spots in the trailer that will be level at the same time. Bumpy roads make it fall apart. I can coach you on where to place pillows and what to reinforce.

But with the high wind kit in place, we've been hit by a tornado and no ill effect. The class A motorcoach next to us didn't fare as well.

The evolution

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I have to ask! What did you replace the mattress with? The one is comes with is stiff! We put a 3 inch topper on it and it’s still hard. Other than that, I love the expedition. So easy and comfortable for two people and dogs.
 

Hilldweller

Super Active Member
Mar 2, 2021
1,057
Hog Waller, GA
I have to ask! What did you replace the mattress with? The one is comes with is stiff! We put a 3 inch topper on it and it’s still hard. Other than that, I love the expedition. So easy and comfortable for two people and dogs.
We had just bought bedroom furniture and one of the drawers arrived broken from the shipper. The (really nice) sales guy/owner had a shop in his basement and offered to repair it. The trailer was out on its first trip (close to home, close to the furniture store) and the guy called me and said the drawer was ready. I had only spent one night on the OE mattress and knew it had to go; had spent the morning looking at mattresses online....

I ran over to the furniture store to pick up the drawer, made small talk with the dude. He'd been having a really hard time with getting stock due to the pandemic and the store was sorta empty. I mentioned that I was in the market for a 6" residential queen mattress and his jaw dropped. He said, "I got a truck in this morning. Whole truck, just one item. You know what that one item was?" And he pulled a box from the back room. It was a 6" memory foam queen mattress.

He considered it a sign from the Allmighty and I got it at his cost, $250. There are lots of similar ones on Amazon. Really comfy.
 

Chris I

Member
Sep 2, 2020
94
Portland, OR
Bought my Aliner very used and added DIY high wind protection. We get a lot of high wind just at my house and our very first camping trip included rather severe conditions. My camper came with 4 latches on the inside, but those weren't... um, confidence inspiring. I added mounts for closet rods inside and cut steel closet rods to size. These are not adjustable. I didn't want any give. The idea is to keep the side walls firmly in place and help keep the roof latches as secure as possible. The rods are removable for breakdown. On the exterior, someone installed hardware on both sides of the two roof panels. Basically, a length or multifilament rope runs from attachment points on the rear roof panel, through eye straps on either side of the topmost point of the front roof panel. (Top referring to when the roof is raised.) It is attached prior to raising the roof. That would hopefully prevent the roof panel from being blown open too far, or even off, if there is a gust of wind during set up. It's about the cheapest, easiest wind kit available. Thankfully, we never had to test it to it's fullest but it certainly worked in a couple of startling wind events.

My little trailer sits outside in all weather, set up with roof raised all the time. (except during towing) It has ridden out many a severe storm without incident, including a tropical storm, remnant of a hurricane. Admittedly, we weren't out there opening and closing the door to test results of wind suddenly entering the interior. For all the attention we give to the risk of winds, these trailers sure can handle those very well with proper precautions.
I use a load bar from Harbor Freight up at the peak to keep the side walls pushed out (and it doubles as a coat rack/drying rack). I made a DIY high-wind kit with stainless steel aircraft cable. Hook the peak prior to raising it, then attach to the lower anchor point and tighten the turnbuckles. Maybe adds a minute to setup.
 
Add another vote for hard dormers! That would be the only thing I'd change in ours. We have the canvas ones and although they open the space up, it turns the trailer into a glorified easier to setup pop-up and you lose the benefits from hard walls such as security (from bears / people) and weather and noise insulation. We camp in the mountains in bear country so we are always putting the dormers down when we leave or sleep to keep the bears & noise out and the heat in. I wish Aliner made a retrofit kit to replace the canvas w/hard wall dormers but when I called them they said the openings are different sizes and wouldn't work. Seems a missed opportunity for them IMO. We do love our wet bath, high walls and tons of storage though! If I was going solo, I would be leaning towards their LXE (Wet bath) or Classic models (Larger dining but no bath) as they look easier to manage for 1 person. Cheers!
 

kudzu

Active Member
Gold Supporting Member
Oct 20, 2014
637
Knee deep in kudzu
I use a load bar from Harbor Freight up at the peak to keep the side walls pushed out (and it doubles as a coat rack/drying rack).
A good idea but... how would someone 4'10" put a bar up at the peak? [LOL] I had to use a pole to push the roof walls into place since we always seemed to be parking on a decline, leaving me with zero leverage. Pole did work quite well; was fast and easy. Seriously, yours is a very good approach but I had to settle for two rods, down lower, and I still had to stand on a bed to put those in place. On the plus side, we got his & hers clothes racks. On the down side, things you hang are down lower and took up more visual space.

In case anyone thinks it would be hard for a very short person to set up an A-frame, it isn't. I can erect it in under 2 minutes. Leveling, lowering the stabilizers, plugging in electric and connecting gray water tote takes another 10 minutes. Though, breakdown in a campground takes a lot longer because you always get spectators asking questions and waiting to see it fold up in 30 seconds.:grin:
 

Chris I

Member
Sep 2, 2020
94
Portland, OR
A good idea but... how would someone 4'10" put a bar up at the peak? [LOL] I had to use a pole to push the roof walls into place since we always seemed to be parking on a decline, leaving me with zero leverage. Pole did work quite well; was fast and easy. Seriously, yours is a very good approach but I had to settle for two rods, down lower, and I still had to stand on a bed to put those in place. On the plus side, we got his & hers clothes racks. On the down side, things you hang are down lower and took up more visual space.

In case anyone thinks it would be hard for a very short person to set up an A-frame, it isn't. I can erect it in under 2 minutes. Leveling, lowering the stabilizers, plugging in electric and connecting gray water tote takes another 10 minutes. Though, breakdown in a campground takes a lot longer because you always get spectators asking questions and waiting to see it fold up in 30 seconds.:grin:
6'5" over here, so it sounds like we are at the opposite ends of the spectrum. I can barely fit on the bed, but setup and take down is a breeze...
 

Susan Premo

Super Active Member
Nov 5, 2020
1,037
Minnesota
We can't reach the vent dial on our aliner we need a step stool, but when a friend of ours went to open it he just reached up and turned it, we just looked at at each other like???? Geez.
 

TimAZ

Member
Oct 16, 2021
46
We can't reach the vent dial on our aliner we need a step stool, but when a friend of ours went to open it he just reached up and turned it, we just looked at at each other like???? Geez.
I can barely reach that t-handle knob (I’m 5’11”). To make it easier for me and my wife to open/close, I took a 2-foot piece of 1” PVC pipe and cut slots on the end that fit over the t-handle.
 




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