By Tony Barthel
Sometimes some things in the RV industry really surprise me. You develop a certain expectation for something and then, Bam!, a company comes along and breaks the mold and makes you re-evaluate those preconceived notions. Such is the case with the Safari Condo Alto F2414 – specifically regarding the weight.
Seeing a trailer that’s 24 feet in length, you develop an assumption that something like this would weigh in at about 5,000 pounds or so. Not in this case. The Safari Condo Alto F2124 weighs in under 3,000 pounds, with a gross vehicle weight of just 4,500 pounds. Those ads you see for RVs that read “SUV towable” usually are a manufacturer’s pipe dream. You really should be tugging those around with a full-sized pickup.
The roof and walls of the Safari Condo Alto are made of a sandwich-type material with a plastic honeycomb core laminated with aluminum skin on one side, and AluFiber or aluminum on the other. AluFiber combines the lightness of aluminum with the durability of fiberglass.
The only materials used in building the Condo Alto are those on which water has little effect. These include aluminum, AluFiber, plastic, Formica and glass. Inside, the furniture consists largely of aluminum and composite materials. Rigid and ultra-light sandwich panels are integrated into the bed cushions. The entire bed structure is made of aluminum extrusions.
The frame, too, is aluminum with an independent Torflex torsion axle suspension at the heart of it all. Since the trailers are ordered from the company directly, you can have them set the suspension height. They can be set either to optimize aerodynamics (lower) or optimize the ability to travel on rougher roads (higher).
Water is heated by a Truma Combi system. This also heats the cabin of the trailer by circulating glycol in tubes. This provides wonderfully even radiant heat; however, it doesn’t heat up the interior as quickly as a fan-forced furnace might.
The grand tour of the Safari Condo Alto
Stepping inside, the first thing you’ll notice is that there’s a dinette at the front. It sits below a huge front window. This Lexan dual-pane window can be tilted upwards a full 90° for airflow and features day/night shades with screens. It’s delightful.
On either side of the dinette are round “porthole”-style windows which are fixed. To the left of the front door, you’ll find the galley which consists of a round sink with a glass cover. Flip the cover up, flip up the faucet and you have a functioning sink. Flip it all back down and you have more counter space. You can also add more counter/prep space by flipping up the tables at either side of the galley.
There’s a simple two-burner stove which, like the sink, is recessed beneath a glass cover. Above that is a microwave, but I don’t think it’s a convection microwave. Without any oven, I wish it were.
Across from the kitchen counter is a sizeable refrigerator that operates on three different energy sources: 120vac, propane and also 12-volt DC. It’s unusual to see a three-way fridge these days. I like these, as you can use the 12-volt option as you’re shuttling down the road without worrying about leaving the propane turned on. Part of the reason you rarely see three-way fridges any longer is that they’re expensive. So it’s nice that Safari went the extra mile on this.
The Condo Alto sleeps up to six
In the back are two twin beds that sit on extruded aluminum and sandwich panels. In fact, the entire interior is comprised of a more metallic-looking substance much like the interior of an Airstream, but this trailer is built very differently from an Airstream.
You can either rock the twin beds like Lucy and Desi did in I Love Lucy, or drop a panel between them to create king-sized bed. You could also leave this made up as a bed if you choose, of course, as you still have the front dinette. Furthermore, you could use this as a dinette and then have seating for eight in here.
If you really want to up the number of people you can accommodate, the Safari Condo Alto also offers a second king-sized bed that comes down from the ceiling, giving you two layers of sleeping surfaces. This brings the number of sleeping spots to six.
There is cabinet space overhead throughout the trailer but the only hanging wardrobe space is at the foot of the road-side bed.
The almost-public shower
Next to that closet is the shower and, rather than being in the bathroom, it exits right into the trailer. Considering that you can sleep six people in here, they had better be comfortable with freshly washed naked folks. This would make more sense if there were curtains or doors where you could more easily segregate portions of the trailer, but you could certainly accomplish that with tension rods and curtains. It’s not that big of a deal.
Next to that is the toilet, which has its own room along with a small sink. I was told the large window in the bathroom in the model that I saw was an option.
On the subject of windows, all the windows except the round ones up front open a full 90° and feature day/night shades and a screen. You could cook up something in the kitchen and hand it out the two large windows to people outside.
Lastly, I’ve talked about the type of positive latches used in this trailer in the past and I really like them. As someone whose drawers and cabinets have flung open on back roads, having these positive latches would be a good thing.
I think that the Safari Condo Alto points in a direction we may see other manufacturers forced to go. This is the first time I’ve ever seen anyone mention aerodynamic testing, but it’s going to become increasingly important, especially as electric trucks come on the scene.
There are certainly some folks who aren’t going to like the almost austere interior of these, but there are stick-on wallpapers that can address that. Also, the removable wallpapers at places like Spoonflower mean you don’t have to make a permanent choice.
I’d love to tow one of these behind my truck and see how differently it performs from my own trailer.
The one thing I would wish for is that they had a larger fresh water tank. Twenty gallons isn’t much considering that there are so many aspects of this rig that could be great for boondockers.
Considering how these trailers are built and the lightweight materials used, the number of sleeping and seating spaces and even the choice of upholstery colors other than brown, this trailer is intriguing. I’m hoping I can spend more time inside one to see how it “feels.” But, with the specs, there’s a lot to like about this model.
One interesting thing: Safari only sells this trailer directly from the manufacturer in Saint-Frédéric, Quebec, Canada. Heck, I’ve been wanting to visit Canada for a long time now – looks like I have yet another reason to do so.
We have also reviewed the Safari Condo R1713 travel trailer, which you can read here.
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.
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