My Aliner and Towing Vehicles
Towing Vehicles – 2013 Subaru Outback and 2015 Toyota Highlander
For 2013 and 2014, I used a 2013 Subaru Outback as my tow vehicle. It had a 2700 pound towing capacity and a 200 pound tongue limit. I went to Oklahoma and back and it worked fine, although I noticed it working a little hard in West Virginia. It was only a 4 cylinder, and I became worried about over heating if I was going to travel in the Rockies. Reading the manual more closely, I found out that the Outback was rated for a 2700 pound towing capacity under normal conditions but, if it was hot and you were going uphill for a ways, the towing capacity dropped to 1500 pounds, which was less than my loaded Aliner. I was particularly concerned about over heating the CVT transmission and I was not able to get the dealer or a transmission place to add a transmission cooler. I didn’t want to be stranded at the side of the road with a cooked transmission so in 2015 I bit the bullet and moved up to a Toyota Highlander with 5,000 pound towing capacity. Now, it’s no worries, mate. This also allowed me to put more weight on the tongue.
My Aliner was a 2013 Scout (the simplest model for about $11,000) with an empty weight of 1340 lbs and the following options:
1) Parks and Woods Package (sink, refrigerator, higher clearance with 14 inch tires, 3,000 lb axle, electric brakes)
2) Air Conditioner
3) Lift Assist High Wind Kit
4) Fantastic Fan
5) LED Lighting
6) Window in Entry Door (This broke in short order and wasn’t worth it. )
7) 3 baggage doors
8) Skylight over couch
Opinions rampant after this point so if you read on, take it with a grain of salt and call me in the morning.
Comparison of my Aliner Scout with other Aliners
Cheaper – some Aliners fully loaded can be more than $20,000.
Lighter (1340 pound before loading, 1800 fully loaded) – no propane, no water tanks. These weights are based on actually being weighed. (I was concerned that the larger models would be too heavy for my first tow vehicle).
Lighter tongue weight – no propane, no water tanks.
(My first tow vehicle had a 200 pound tongue weight limit and that influenced the decision to not have propane.)
Only 17 feet long – Shorter than some of the other models (fits in more camping spaces.)
Allows the dinette to be converted to a bed – not a feature available on all Aliner models. This has been very useful.
Less complex – no water lines except for the sink, no water tanks, no propane lines, no propane leak detector, no carbon monoxide detector.
Fuel for cooking takes up less space (I use a white gas stove and a gallon can last me for a month).
No hot water and no cooking inside avoids moisture build up.
No furnace – no propane (this is the strongest disadvantage, although I slept quite comfy at night when it was below freezing). I do use a space heater if I have electricity and it is very cold.
No hot water – no hot water heater (I usually camp where there are showers but this would be useful when boon docking).
No Inside Stove – no propane (I cook outside mostly anyway, cooking outside is recommended in bear country)
No outside grill – no propane. However, my white gas stove covers this function.
Longer than some Aliners but the shorter Aliners may not have the option for two beds.
No Shower – no fresh water tanks and no hot water. A shower would definitely have been useful sometimes.
No toilet – no black water tanks (only available on some Aliners)(I do have a Porta Potty)
No Grey water tank (I use a 6 gal tot n stor outside which works fine).
I sold the Aliner on August 15, 2020 to a nice young couple in Pennsylvania (we wore masks). The trips I plan to take in the future are far out west and it takes a week just to get beyond the Mississippi river. I don’t use the camper much for local trips and I was not using it enough to warrant the maintenance. I traded in my 2015 Toyota Highlander for a 2020 Subaru Outback at the end of September 2020. I hope to car camp and continue visiting the National Parks. My wife and I had plans to visit 9 different National Parks (Alaska and U.S. Southwest) in 2020 by air travel and rented autos but Covid19 prevented this. My current plan is to drive without the Aliner to see 12 national parks in October and November of 2021. My wife will meet me in Albuquerque for part of the trip. Even though I no longer have the Aliner I plan to continue sharing my travels to National Parks.