By Tony Barthel
When I was a wee lad one of my favorite things about the circus was the clown car, where some tiny car would stop and a ton of clowns would get out of it. It’s no joke that you can almost liken the Aliner Ascape trailer to that car. Minus the whole circus reference, this trailer is almost twice as big inside as its exterior proportions seem to exhibit.
For example, you can get an Aliner Ascape with a full kitchen, bathroom, shower and dinette. All this in a package that looks like it’s big enough to fit inside the storage bays of some larger fifth wheels.
Seriously – this thing is packaging magic! A commenter on a social media forum indicated that the biggest challenge he has with the trailer is that every time he stops he has to give tours, whether that be at the filling station or at a campground.
There are actually three models of the Ascape – the Plus, the Grand Ascape ST and the Grand Ascape Plus. The principal difference is that the Plus is 71” wide and the Grand models are 79” wide. There are a few floor plan differences as well, but all three models are well below 2,000 lbs. in total and under 250 lbs. of tongue weight, which makes them towable by a wide range of vehicles.
Looking at the smallest member of the family, the Aliner Ascape Plus, you might be surprised to find that there’s a full 6’4” of interior headroom at the peak as you step into the back. Clearly the wedge shape of this dictates an ever-decreasing amount of headroom but there is enough at the back that you could stand at the kitchen, which features a two-burner stovetop and sink, along with a three-cubic-foot three-way refrigerator.
Just behind you is a storage cabinet. There is an optional cartridge toilet in the cabinet. Larger models will feature a toilet and wet bath, so that would be a reason to choose one of those if that’s a priority to you.
A lot of the thinking that went into this is focused on the build features and components. You’ll find the exterior built with Azdel-backed fiberglass along with an Azdel-backed aluminum roof and even an Azdel-backed plywood floor.
The windows are the European two-pane flip-up variety, and cabinetry is caraway hardwood.
One of the things I liked, and I’m seeing this more and more, is that the spare tire is mounted under the A-frame tongue of the trailer. Yeah, it’s inconvenient when you have a flat, but I can only hope this helps people recognize that tire maintenance is an important aspect of RV life.
That wedge-shaped front is a great place to put a solar panel, and Aliner has done just that – incorporating a 50-watt solar panel as standard equipment. To be honest, this is a pretty small panel but would be a good addition to having a solar suitcase on the ground.
Out back, there’s a 4-foot awning over the rear of the trailer – which makes sense since that’s where the door is located.
While you might say this is essentially a step above tent camping, and I wouldn’t totally argue the point, there is a lot more going on here than the size portrays.
Inside the wedge at the front of the trailer is what starts as the dinette, which is of the U-shaped variety. You and your fellow camper can sit on those benches facing the front of the trailer where you’ll find a 23” TV. On either side of that is a cabinet that extends across the whole front of the trailer, despite the doors implying individual spaces.
There’s additional storage beneath the seats but you’ll have to lift up the cushions for the seats and lift up the plywood beneath that, which is basically unfinished and attached with Velcro to the welded aluminum structure. Inside that storage, you’ll have access to the plumbing and wiring. You should be careful when packing that your stuff doesn’t bump said plumbing and wiring loose in travel.
There’s a small table on a pole between the two banks of cushions which could be used to make up for almost no counter space in the kitchen or, of course, the dining table. Take out the pole and slide a frame assembly across the space and the entire front of the trailer becomes one big cushioned area that measures 77” X 64”.
This is an oddly sized bed to be sure but you gotta do what you gotta do when your camper is essentially a wedge.
Of course, this camper is certainly not for everybody – but for those looking for a smaller trailer, this might be a great choice. I still can’t get over how many usable features Aliner is able to get inside this diminutive wedge-shaped trailer. While some might describe it as one step above tent camping it’s more like a giant leap as you get both heat and air conditioning and, yes, there is an outdoor shower with both hot and cold water… although one of those shower tents might help you avoid getting arrested for indecent exposure.
I guess Aliner wasn’t clowning around when they saw how much they were able to package in such a small space.
These RV reviews are written based on information provided by the manufacturers along with our writer’s own research. We receive no money or other financial benefits from these reviews. They are intended only as a brief overview of the vehicle, not a comprehensive critique, which would require a thorough inspection and/or test drive.