Caravans from Safari Condo reinvent the Teardrop
Caravan Times | 19th September 2014
by Hayley McCrystal
The Alto R series from Safari Condo raises the bar for teardrop campers
The popular teardrop camper, noticeable by its teardrop shaped profile and smaller size than the traditional touring caravan, has been reinvented by Canadian company, Safari Condo , in the form of the Alto R1713 and R1723.
The main feature that separates the Alto range from other trailers we’ve seen is its retractable roof made from aluminum which increases the size of the trailer. These models make conversion easy with the roof being operated by a pair of electric linear actuators.
With the retractable roof up, the trailer has a very stylish looking crescent shaped tinted window, the other side of which, is a comfortable living area. This area benefits from the large windows making it light and open.
The Alto range was designed to be as lightweight, aerodynamic and durable as possible. In order to achieve these standards, the Alto R series was developed in a virtual wind tunnel and the final product now creates 75 per cent less aerodynamic drag than a traditional caravan.
For any tree huggers out there, the Alto has the potential to be a greener alternative to your traditional tow-along. Because of the lightweight materials used, the trailer can be pulled by smaller cars, meaning you’ll leave a smaller carbon footprint in your wake. Because of the reduced drag, less petrol will also be used so your wallet may thank you as much as the environment.
With the roof down, this compact little caravan has an exterior height of only 83.5″ and 82″ interior height with the roof up – that’s just under 7ft meaning there is plenty of clearance in the living area.
Both models in the R series, the R 1713 and R 1723, feature a king size bed, one or two single beds, a dining area, and fixed flush toilet with the R 1723 offering an interior shower as well. Prices start at $26,900 CAD (approximately £15,000).
Sadly, these snazzy campers are only available to purchase in Canada and the US with Safari Condo planning to expand their market to Australia in Spring 2015. Hopefully we’ll see them come to UK shores in the not too distant future.
To find out more details, visit the official website here .
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She’s Finally Here!
After an 18-month wait, we finally picked up our brand-new travel trailer: a Safari Condo Alto F2414. And she’s beautiful!
In the spring of 2021, after much research, we ordered an Alto because of its light weight (2,947 dry weight) and Safari Condo’s reputation for quality. You can view all the specs on Safari Condo’s site .
Here are the options we chose for our camper:
- Light blue metallic exterior color
- Blue sky fabric
- White drops countertop
- Danish maple cabinet finish on lower cabinets
- White finish on sliding upper cabinets
- 440W Solar Panels
- Heated lithium batteries with monitor
- Tuson sway control system
- Upgraded roof-mounted Truma Aventa air conditioner
- Entry door with guillotine window
- Built-in microwave oven
- Dimmer for lights
- AM/FM radio with CD and 2 speakers (the unit we got also has Bluetooth)
- Rear privacy curtain
- Maxxfan with remote
- Fiamma deluxe awning
- LED strip under awning
- Driver side exterior light
- Front bike carrier
If you haven’t yet heard of Safari Condo, you’re not alone. They’re a small manufacturer based in Quebec, Canada. They’re becoming more popular in the U.S., but you won’t see many on the road or in campgrounds. In our travels, we’ve only seen two.
Unless you can find one used, buying a new Alto is an exercise in patience. Before the pandemic, the average lead time from ordering to completion was 18 months. Because of supply-chain challenges during the pandemic, some customers experienced delays.
We were lucky. Our Alto was ready to right on time.
For U.S. customers, there are other challenges when you buy an Alto directly from Safari Condo – the distance, the exchange rate, crossing the border, etc. I’ll go into more detail about the buying process in another post.
We named her “Mosey,” because we like to take our time traveling from place to place.
Right now, Mosey is in our driveway as we get her ready for her maiden voyage, a month-long trip to Florida in February. In a future post, I’ll share how we set up the camper, and all of our modifications and enhancements.
Contact us if you want to know more about Safari Condo or our Alto. And honk if you see us on the road!
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For owners, operators, team members, and anyone else interested in camping, glamping, or the rv industry., exploring the safari condo alto f2114: a comprehensive review and user experience insight.
- / October 9, 2023
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In a conversation about compact and efficient travel trailers, the Safari Condo Alto F2114 has emerged as a topic of discussion and curiosity among the nomadic and travel communities. With its lightweight design and a plethora of features, it promises a blend of comfort and practicality for adventurers on the road. But how does it fare in the real-world scenario, and is it worth the investment?
A Year on the Road: Unveiling the User Experience
The video review, hosted on YouTube, provides an intimate look into the experiences of travelers who have spent a considerable amount of time with the Alto F2114. The hosts delve into a comprehensive exploration of the trailer, offering a full video tour and sharing their adventures and insights gained over the past year.
The narrative is not just a review but a story of adventures, challenges, and the lifestyle adopted while living on the wheels of the F2114.
Transparency and Honesty: A Critical Review
Ensuring transparency and an unbiased perspective, the reviewers clarify that while the trailer was loaned to them by Safari Condo, the manufacturer had zero editorial influence over their content. This autonomy allowed them to provide an open, honest, and critical review, ensuring that potential buyers get a genuine insight into the trailer’s performance, pros, and cons.
The reviewers also express gratitude towards Safari Condo for being receptive to community feedback and critical reviews, highlighting a healthy relationship between manufacturers and consumers.
Navigating Through Features and Practicality
The review is not merely a showcase but a practical guide and a resource for potential buyers and travel enthusiasts. It is complemented by additional resources , including written reviews and insights into other models like the Alto R1723 and Alto F1743, providing a broader perspective on Safari Condo’s offerings.
Furthermore, the hosts share their favorite apps for RVers and tips on how to work full-time from your RV, making the content not just a review, but a holistic guide for anyone looking to embark on a similar journey.
Engaging with the Community: A Platform for Shared Experiences
The video also serves as a platform for community engagement, inviting viewers to drop comments and questions about the Alto F2114, fostering a space for shared experiences, knowledge, and curiosity. This interactive element adds a layer of community-driven information exchange, where potential buyers and enthusiasts can learn from each other’s experiences and inquiries.
Weighing the Pros and Cons for Informed Decisions
The Safari Condo Alto F2114, with its compact design and feature-loaded offering, presents itself as a viable option for travelers seeking a mobile, comfortable, and practical living solution on the road.
Through transparent reviews and shared experiences, potential buyers and travel enthusiasts can navigate through the myriad of features, practicalities, and possible challenges that come with adopting a mobile living lifestyle.
The comprehensive insights and honest feedback provide a valuable resource, ensuring that the decision to invest in such a travel companion is well-informed and resonates with the individual’s needs and preferences.
Additional Resources and Continuous Journey
For those keen on exploring further, the review provides additional resources, including detailed written reviews, insights into other trailer models, and practical guides on living and working on the road, ensuring that the audience has a wealth of information to plan their adventures effectively.
In a world where travel and living solutions are continuously evolving, the Safari Condo Alto F2114 positions itself as a contender worth considering, especially for those who seek a blend of minimalism, practicality, and adventure on their journeys.
You are here, connect with us.
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For alto enthusiasts: factory options i recommend.
This post is targeted at those who are considering ordering a Safari Condo Alto . If that doesn’t describe you, this post may not be as interesting as reading about a SpaceX rocket launch or Elon Musk’s “Secret Master Plan”.
Perhaps you read the previous post about my Alto F1743 . I thought it would be helpful to describe the factory options I ordered and my reasoning. The company website does not provide an easily accessible list of options nor does it offer a description of them other than an often mysterious name, and I spent a great deal of time puzzling over the list and consulting with other owners online. The options list is mixed in with the standard features list in this PDF document which when we placed our order in 2017 was not up to date nor did it show items that I knew for certain could be special ordered.
The most useful option in my opinion is the amazing “Remote Controlled Trailer Mover” (CDN$2,895. I don’t see it listed in the current specifications document I linked to above). It is made by Kronings (Note: as of 2020 it is no longer offered as an option, it appears Kronings has stopped making it. They now offer a very different product that appears to achieve the same result, the Caravan Trolley )
What this Safari Condo video on YouTube to see how easy it is to use to move the trailer around.
When the roller is engaged you use the supplied remote control to move the trailer at about 1mph. It makes moving the trailer into a campsite and positioning it a simple task. It can move the trailer forwards or backwards, right or left, even rotate it 360 degrees. If you don’t get this option you have to learn to back up a trailer with precision. That is not an easily learned skill. With the Caravan Mover there is no need to learn it at all. Count me in!
The “Variable Speed Roof Vent 12V Automatic” option is actually this product, the Fantastic Fan . It offers features the standard Alto fan is missing: a thermostat so you can set it to come on if the inside temperature exceeds a set range, and a moisture sensor so that if the fan vent is rained and it starts to rain it will automatically close, and a remote control. Worth the extra CDN$125!
Air conditioner and heater: a “Heat Pump” does both
The “Heat Pump Air Conditioner” option, a Dometic Cool Cat 10,500BTU unit, requires 120V power (which for most people means you have to be plugged into shore power) and the fan is a bit on the loud side but we decided to get it anyway. It can work well, but like all heat pumps it has its limitations: if the outside air temperature is up into the 90’s it probably won’t cool the air as much as you might like, and at temperatures below freezing it certainly won’t warm the air up into the 70’s. But it will help, a lot! We’ve decided it was worth the CDN$1,395 we paid.
Note that the Alto comes standard with the Truma Combi eco space heater and water heater that can run on electric, electric and propane, or only propane. It works very well. Don’t expect instant hot water; it heats up the fastest using propane, on electric on the maximum setting, “Boost”, it takes a half hour or so to heat up the water tank and that is beyond the capacity of the stock battery. Most Alto owners probably run their heater on propane; I usually run it on electricity.
The optional microwave occupies some of the storage space above the kitchen counter, and it’s relatively small, but for the additional CDN$195 we are glad we have it. It also requires 120V power so it requires the optional inverter to run off the stock 12V battery. Because we had aftermarket lithium ion batteries and a 3000W inverter installed as part of our solar system we can use the microwave at any time.
Since the goal was to be 100% electric — no propane! — I got the Dometic 12V fridge that cannot be run on propane. It is CDN$225 less expensive than the fridge that can run on propane or electric. The advantages of the electric-only fridge are that it has slightly more interior capacity (4.1 cu ft vs. 3.7) and you don’t have to be concerned about getting the trailer level to operate it like you do when using propane to power the fridge. With our aftermarket solar/battery system I just leave the fridge on all the time, even when on the road, and don’t worry about it.
We dislike bright lights. When our friends are at our house in the evening they sometimes comment that we “live in a cave”. Safari Condo offers an optional master dimmer control for the interior lights. At CDN$129 it seemed a bit pricey, but it allows you to tone down the lighting intensity. It’s worth it to us.
Awnings: yes there is more than one
Items not shown on Safari Condo’s options list; you have to ask
I can’t explain why, but there are quite a few optional items that are not listed but that Safari Condo will do if you ask. Here’s what we got:
- Replaced the F-series door with the round porthole style window with the R-series style door with the screened openable half-height window (see the photos just above). The F-series door has a full height interior screen for maximum ventilation. Based on the fact that we occasionally walk right into the sliding glass door screens in our house, we decided that was not optimal for us. The R-series door seemed safer. 😉
- Instead of the standard 13” wheels, you can get 15″ wheels with Michelin Premier 205-65 R15 tires, which are passenger car tires that provide a smoother ride than the stock 13” Goodyear trailer tires.
- Added a 12V outlet on the front wall below the dinette table
- Added a 12V outlet on the starboard exterior wall in addition to the standard 120 volt outlet (visible in the photo just above)
- Added an external light on the port side of the trailer (to match the standard exterior light on the starboard side, visible in the photo just above). Have yet to use that added external light, but it would be handy when arriving at a campsite at night and connecting to shore power and the water supply.
- External hatch cover for the aft port side storage compartment, allows access from the outside for the storage area that is under the aft port side bench seat. Cost CDN$150. We leave the sleeping area made up all the time, so that added hatch cover is very helpful. It looks just like the aft hatch cover in the photo just above.
- Memory foam in the rear sleeping area cushions. Well worth the CDN$350 cost. The standard foam in the cushions was too firm for us.
- Keder rail on the port side so we can use the Pahaque Trailer Visor awning on that side (Keder rail is standard on the starboard side). Cost was CDN$175. Keder rail is a small metal tube, partially open, into which you slide Keder cord which is sewn into one side of the awning, thereby “attaching” the edge of the awing to the trailer roof.
Requests we had that Safari Condo would not implement
We didn’t get all the special requests we wanted. The biggest one for us was adding a small window in the port side wall to let light into the bathroom. We like natural light. The bathroom space is small and very dark until you turn the ceiling light on, which is very bright and not dimmable. But Safari Condo would not add a window in the bathroom wall, nor would they explain why they wouldn’t do it. It did not appear to be due to a concern about structural integrity or some wiring passing through that area.
We were amused to discover, a few months after we took delivery of our F1743, that some F2114 owners had requested a bathroom window and Safari Condo added it to their trailers. The F2114 bathroom location and size is the same as the F1743 and the exterior wall material is identical. So why was our bathroom window request refused just months earlier? I have no idea.
We also asked for all the external hatch covers and doors to be keyed identically (the Alto comes with 4 different keys!) but that isn’t possible, likely because the various pieces of hardware come from multiple manufacturers.
There were some minor countertop modifications we asked for but Safari Condo declined. The gap you have to slide through to sit in the port side dinette seat is just 7.25”. It’s a good thing we are both slender people and we can fit through, but we thought it would be nice if it was a few inches wider. We requested that the aft corners of the dinette be modified to a different radius, but no luck.
We also thought it would better for the sleeping area if the short section of kitchen countertop that overhangs the port side aft bench could be hinged so it could drop down. Again, no luck.
And speaking of the sleeping area…Safari Condo describes the F1743 aft sleeping space, which measures 81” (side to side) by 60” (front to back) as “King size”. Not in the real world, where a King size bed is 76” wide by 80” long. In the F1743, unless you are less than 5 ft tall, you have to sleep oriented side to side in the trailer, meaning the width of your bed is 60”. That’s Queen size.
Overall we are thrilled with our Alto!
We had never owned an RV or a camper trailer before. We waited 16 months after ordering to take delivery. We thought we would like camping with an Alto, but we are enjoying it even more than we imagined! It’s an ideal size for the two of us, it’s easy to tow, it’s very comfortable, and beautifully made. It doesn’t really feel like camping at all; it’s “glamping”.
Next: Flexible solar panels: how NOT to buy them for your Alto
22 thoughts on “ for alto enthusiasts: factory options i recommend ”.
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After looking and looking and looking….at all of the US made campers, I cannot understand why none of them follow a sensible floor plan like the new Safari Condo F21 or the F17. I’m also shocked at the lack of build quality on everything I’ve seen. Couple that with leaf spring suspension and ball bearing hubs? I paused when the salesman said that. I said “you mean like from the 1940’s?”. I’ve started looking past the decor, in my mind I’m thinking I would just “remodel”. Airstreams appear to fit what I’m after, but they lack some serious practical input. To sleep 4, you have to go to a 25ft monster. I just want a simple, well thought out, sleeps 4, well built, with the ability to camp a few days without hookups (larger water tanks, more onboard power). But it appears all the US makers do is add space, pop-outs, lazy boy chairs, & a bunch of stuff I see no benefit in. Meanwhile people are paying $150k for Sprinter Vans with less of the wasteful amenities. There is clearly a big hole in the US RV/Camper Trailer market. I’ve seriously considered digging up an old Canned Ham 19ft and paying to have it custom re-built. It would serve better than anything made by the typical US makers.
If you hadn’t purchased the Alto, what else were you considering?
Anyhow, thanks for posting all of this information regarding your Alto. Now I just need to see what their current turnaround time is for an F21. And how long it will take to drive from Sacramento to pick it up!
Curious, did you have to pay import taxes when you purchased yours? Any other wrinkles, financial or otherwise, associated with purchasing a Canadian product for US use?
After 13 month wait, expecting (fingers crossed) to pick up our f2414! Considering adding a small ceiling fan to distribute called air and heat and create a breeze in the interior. Any opinions out there on this addition appreciated
Hi Chris. Mounting a ceiling fan in an Alto seems problematic to me unless everyone who uses the trailer is less than 5 ft tall. And you will have to run power to it somehow.
I have a small Zippy fan that I can sit on the table or the kitchen counter. It’s a bit noisy but can be useful. See https://www.vornado.com/shop/circulators-fans/personal-compact/zippi-personal-fan
I find that I rarely use it. I set the Alto ceiling vent fan on low and that gives good airflow through the cabin.
Chris, I am heading over to Safari condo this June to order a F2414, last I checked the delivery dates stand to Summer 2025 currently. So curious if you can share your build sheet or mods. I am in the process of biulding out my wish list. So far: Truma Aventa roof mounted AC (hoping they can do that), Shower mizer, also hoping to find a suitable all in one microwave (microwave, convect, air fry)..Thanks, PierreH
Thanks for your post. We clearly think alike when it comes to travel trailers. If you want to sleep 4 comfortably then the F2114 seems like the best choice as long as 2 of the 4 are children who are okay sharing a sleeping area that is 60” x 81” (queen size bed). The F1743 dining table converts to a 36” x 81” bed; suitable for two very small children, I suppose.
Before I knew about the Safari Condo Alto trailers, I had never given a moment’s thought to owning a camper of any kind. Maybe that was because none of the campers I was aware of appealed to me and they all seemed technologically behind the times. But once I discovered the Alto, quite by chance, I could not get it out of my mind. After a few weeks rolling the idea around in my mind, I shared my thoughts, and the safaricondo.com website, with my spouse and she instantly got excited about the idea.
I think the current Safari Condo wait time for an Alto is about a year. It’s worth it. We had no difficulty with our purchase. We paid no Canadian sales tax because the Alto was marked “for export”, and there is no US “import” tax (at least not in February 2018). The Alto dealership will provide you with the necessary paperwork to present to US customs at the border. Of course when we registered the Alto trailer in California we paid sales tax on the purchase price, just like you would when registering a new car.
Geoff How did you get the option without the logo stickers. SC makes a great product but the logo needs an update. I’d rather not have it. Tips? RAW
Simple: I asked Safari Condo not to put any of the logo stickers on my Alto. So they didn’t. 🙂
Hi Barry, Just got off the phone with Alto and will be purchasing a 1743 (one year wait). They do now have options to have a foldable countertop for the bed area (200 bucks). The question I have for you is the 15″ rims. They told me that it can only come with a “low profile” tire. As we plan to do a lot of traveling….gravel roads as well, what kind of tires are on your rims.? It makes sense to go with the 15″, but they said if I use anything besides the low profile tire, the tires would hit the wheel well. Right now I’m going with the 13″. Your thoughts.? Love what you wrote and will look into that visor for the entrance. Has it been up in rain? Thanx for getting back to me…
Hi Shelly. Congratulations on your Alto order! I am amused that a foldable kitchen countertop is now available as an option. I am amused that some items we asked for but were told were not possible —a window in the bathroom, foldable kitchen countertop — are now available. 🙂
Regarding the 15” wheels, we have the Michelin Premier 205-65 R15 tires that the factory installed on that size wheel (I do not know if Safari Condo still uses that particular tire, however). I have no complaints about them after several thousand miles of use. There is one odd thing about them; even when fully inflated at the maximum PSI of 45, visually they appear to be underinflated. People often comment to me “I think you need some air in your tires” and I have to inform them that I check them regular and keep them at the maximum pressure as stated on the sidewall. I think the standard tires that come on the 13” wheels are specifically for trailer use and I suspect they have stiffer sidewalls.
Thank you Barry…Very helpful…especially about the tires….Yeah, I’ve seen those low profile tires and think the same thing about “do you need more air.” I did place my order and also getting the rear camera. Its wireless. I got it just to know what’s behind me when traveling. Also might help when backing in to campsite when traveling solo. All the best and again you’ve been very helpful. Keep enjoying the Alto and camping, Shelly
Geoff (& Shelly)- Shelly, which did you go with… 13” or 15”? I too am concerned driving low profile tire on gravel road and many pot holes…. but I have heard the 15” are better for breaking. Hmmmm
Thank you for all your info and mods of your Alto 1743. We picked up ours back this January in BC and love it so far! Ours was their Demo model (which we purchased mid summer of ’18), which is great because when we found out it was an 18 month wait to get a new one, five months seemed like nothing! Lots of upgrades on the demo too, 15″ wheels, micro, solar, bike rack, and HVAC. I ordered another rear hatch for the port side (but haven’t installed yet) and now that I know that a bathroom window is an option, I’ll be calling the factory for one of those too. We also wish the counter over the bed hinged, but even if I can source hardware (and figure out some way of reinforcing the cabinet for where the, I’m assuming here, one end of the foldable support would rest), cutting the countertop in place cleanly, because it butts right up to the window frame and trailer “skin”, is going to be an interesting project! While removing the entire countertop for that cut might be possible, I don’t want to go there. I also plan on modifying the dinette table. We’re not big people either, but I’ve already started to peel the veneer off the cupboard edge over the fridge from squeezing into the seat. A good factory mod would be an aluminum edge here to protect it, similar but smaller, than the one that comes stock on the rear corner of the bathroom. I’m going to Gorilla glue some aluminum angle stock on there to protect the cabinet door from further wear. I removed all the outside decals too (which on a hot day came off easily). I have nothing against snails, but I’d prefer anything I own not sport huge cartoonish logos!
Always good to hear from another happy Alto owner! Will be interested to hear how your dinette table modification goes.
Hi Barry, We are very interested in the Alto F2114, however I could not find the heating and cooling information on the website. Also, since we are sometimes in areas that can drop to about 25 degrees at night, how good is the insulation? Thanks, Linda
Hey Barry, so glad I found your webpage…like you, I find it very odd that the Safari Condo people don’t list their optional features. Just wondering if you know whether they offer a composting toilet option instead of flush?
are any windows openable? what about ventilation besides the small back window by the bed and the fan above the kitchen? can you get a screen door or screen windows for opening the windows.?
Rick, all the windows in my F1743 open and are screened, including in the door.
And I added a small ceiling vent fan in the bathroom, which is not an option available from Safari Condo. See https://electrictravels.blog/2018/09/13/improving-the-already-impressive-alto-trailer/
Safari Condo doesn’t make it easy to figure out what options are available, you have to check this PDF https://safaricondo.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/fiches_safari_condo-ALto-ANG_2021.pdf
I don’t see a composting toilet listed.
“The F2114 bathroom location and size is the same as the F1743 and the exterior wall material is identical. So why was our bathroom window request refused just months earlier? I have no idea.”
Probably because they didn’t have the TOOLING needed to make that mod an efficient, no-brain production step, namely a template they could slap down over the port side wall to guide the router cut. Without a template, laying out and cutting would be very time consuming and then somebody would still screw it up, making the wall a piece of scrap. I bet these walls aren’t cheap.
If so, they introduced the option in the F2114 because they had developed a template for it. Potentially the same template would work for both F2114 and F2314 since both walls have straight horizontal upper chords in that vicinity. The F1743 wall is curved throughout.
To PierreH: based on the current Alto spec sheet at https://safaricondo.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/04/fiches_safari_condo-ALto-ANG_avril_2023.pdf it appears that there is an optional roof mounted AC unit for the F2414 but not for any other Alto models. As for a combo microwave/oven, I don’t see anything on the spec sheet. It would likely require more power than a 2000W inverter (which is an option) could handle and the existing space for the microwave it tiny. I would not expect Safari Condo to be able to meet that request.
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Safari Condo Alto
The Alto, by Safari Condo, is one of the lightest, most aerodynamic travel trailers you will ever meet. Hand-crafted in Quebec, with all-aluminium material, seamless roof and independent “Flexiride” suspension, the Alto is a unique travel trailer, with a large fan following.
Alto is available in two designs: the R-series featuring a retractable roof, that allows the trailer to fit easily into most garages, and F-series, featuring a fixed roof, an enclosed bathroom and extra storage.
As for towing, it doesn't get any easier! The super-aerodynamic design and low centre of gravity deliver great stability on the road. You can pull an Alto with most current vehicles, even most 4-cylinder vehicles! Please call Can-Am RV Centre for more details.
Can-Am RV Centre sells Altos throughout Canada, New York, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana and Illinois. If you live outside these areas please visit the Safari Condo website .
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Dec 26 RV review: Safari Condo Alto A2124 - aerodynamic star
Today’s RV review is of the Safari Condo Alto A2124. I wanted to share this travel trailer because so many of you wrote in with questions about RV aerodynamics in response to my review of the Snoozy II .
In fact the Safari Condo Alto A2124 has been tested for aerodynamics as well with 11 tests for aerodynamics. According to the company, this trailer has 47 percent less aerodynamic drag than some of their other offerings which is saying a lot as those other offerings are not bad as far as trailers go.
As just about anyone who tows a traditional travel trailer what kind of fuel mileage they get and the answer is almost invariably the same: 11-14 miles per gallon. This could be a big trailer or something smaller. The problem isn’t as much the weight as the aerodynamics.
When you look at race cars or electric cars or even your garden-variety sedan they all have one thing in common - there was a lot of time spent in a wind tunnel to optimize their shape to cheat the wind as much as possible.
Surprisingly if you have a large pickup truck it, too, was tested and re-tested for its ability to cheat the wind and use as few resources as possible to shuttle down the road. And then you go and hook a barn to the back and that’s the end of the efficiency story.
There are a very few travel trailer companies that I come across who actually do anything more than pay lip service to the sciences of aerodynamics, or the study of how an object moves through the air. Oh, you can bet that most brochures for RVs talk about their efficiency but the gap between truth and claim is as wide as the Grand Canyon.
That’s a very different story here with Safari having tested its Alto A2124 Series for aerodynamic efficiency. They didn’t do it in an actual wind tunnel but did do it with software which is how most wind tunnel testing is done nowadays.
As such you get a really, really unusual-looking trailer but the trailer’s build is unusual too.
Roof and walls 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 lightweight of aluminum with the durability of fiberglass. The only materials used in building the Alto are those on which water has little effect such as 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, while the entire bed structure is made of aluminum extrusions.
The frame, too, is aluminum with an independent Toriflex 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 either to optimize aerodynamics (lower) or optimize the ability to travel on rougher roads.
Water is heated by a Truma Combi system that also serves to heat the cabin of the trailer by circulating glycol in tubes. This provides a wonderfully even radiant heat but doesn’t heat up the interior as quickly as a fan-forced furnace might.
The grand tour
While the odd exterior shape, which I actually dig, is completely stand-out the interior is much more like what we humans are used to.
At the front you start with a wedge-shaped dinette which can be converted into a 52” X 74” double bed. While I’m not sure I’d want to sleep in this wedge shape it is a nice place to sit surrounded by windows. The table is a Lagun model which would facility ingress and egress, especially for folks like me who displace a lot of water in the pool.
On the road side of the trailer is a wet bath and there’s another big window in here. I saw several owner videos, some with a sink in the bathroom, some without. In a small bathroom where there is a sink right across the hallway in the galley I can see the logic of not having a sink and it’s cool that you’re given the choice. I would imagine that it definitely affords you more room for showering.
All the windows on these are the European composite type that swing upwards up to 90° and feature day/night shades as well as screens built right in. These are a premium window and follow other high-end components being used in this trailer.
Out back are two benches that can be used by day with a table between as a large dinette, a seating area or to sleep on at night. You can also lower the table and use the area as a large sleeping surface measuring 75” X 81”. It’s not a totally square surface so that’s something to get used to.
A few owners I came across on the Internet had the same complaint with this type of bed as almost every other RV owner and that’s that the cushions don’t make for the most comfortable bed. A few had added a memory foam topper but they had to cut theirs to fit the somewhat wedge-like shape. This would be another be where an RV Superbag would be a must.
Several of those owners choose to leave the bed down in bed mode during the day and just use the seating at the front, others switch between bed and seat depending on demand.
Lastly, the galley consists of a two-burner propane stove top and a round sink along with a microwave, although you can delete the microwave if you choose to. The two burner stove features an electronic ignition and seems to be much higher in quality than what you’d normally expect of this design. The sink is one I’ve seen in a lot of Class B RVs where the top features a round glass cover that swings up and a faucet that sort of tilts upward with a stainless steel bowl.
For this small a trailer there is a tremendous amount of storage, relatively speaking. There’s storage up front under the wedge-shaped dinette, and storage out back under the twin-sized seat benches. That storage is accessible from both inside and outside the trailer.
There is a halo of cabinets all around the trailer and even a hanging closet behind the bathroom on the road side. The use of space in this is as impressive as the aerodynamics.
I like that the two standard propane tanks are up front inside a compartment. There’s a sliding screen door for the main entrance as opposed to the typical screen door though if you have pets you might want to protect the lower section of this. There’s also a three-speed fan near the door to move air in the trailer.
I love, love that they’re using SeeLevel tank monitors. The SeeLevel monitors are external to the tank and give readings in one percent increments. Typically you’ll see tank levels displayed as a small number of LEDs - is the lowest level 10 gallons or just one? The SeeLevel gives you much more reliable readings.
I also like that the fridge is three-way so you can run on propane, 120vac or 12vdc so it’s perfectly safe to use it on 12 volt when rolling down the road.
Air conditioning on these is an option and the AC sits below the front dinette if you choose the option, rather than sticking up above the roof of the trailer.
On the flip side
While the Safari Condo’s construction method results in waterproof materials, definitely a plus, I spoke with several owners who said the insulation factor of the walls are not as good as typical RV walls. And that’s saying a lot.
These are built up in Canada and more than one owner said that the combination of the wall construction and the less-capable air conditioner meant that these things got pretty hot in the summer time. So if you camp where the temperatures are warmer, that would be something to be aware of.
I’ve been really, really intrigued with Safari’s line of trailers as you may have guessed reading my reviews of them. I like the materials used in construction and the way they see things. Rather than building rolling houses they’re building vehicles so they feel a bit different but will likely serve their owners better over the long haul.
For folks with mid-sized trucks and some SUVs or even an electric tow vehicle like a Tesla this trailer makes a huge amount of sense. By significantly reducing the aerodynamic hit of a traditional trailer you offer much better tow ability without such a dramatic drop in energy consumption, whether you’re using a liquid fuel to move your tow vehicle or electricity.
In terms of usability the Alta A2124 offers just about everything you could want in a travel trailer. While some compromises between interior space and usable space have to exist because of physics, Safari has really done a great job of putting together a design that really works and may actually be more of a sign of things to come than we realize today.
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R1723 About the Alto
Indoor shower with curtain
Large bed 60 x 76 in.
Dining area converts to 36” x 81” single bed
Front dining area can be used even when rear bed is deployed
Ability to set up two separate dining areas by moving the table
Flush toilet with black water tank
the trailer that goes anywhere
- Electric retractable roof allows for a spacious interior
- 60” x 76” queen bed
- 36” x 81” front single bed
- Portable front table
- Kitchenette with pull-out shelves
- Front storage
- Toilet/shower compartment with curtain
- Two-burner flush-mounted LPG stove
- Propane tank with gauge
- Ultra-quiet combined heating and water heater system. German design. Runs on LPG and electricity
- 3.1-cu. ft. fridge (LPG and 120 V)
- Variable-speed automatic roof vent
- Heated lithium auxiliary battery (1)
- Lithium battery monitor
- 30-A, 120-V inlet
- 45-A converter/charger with three-stage charging
- LED lighting
- Outdoor light
- Two ground fault-protected 120-V indoor duplex outlets
- One ground fault-protected 120-V outdoor duplex outlet
- One 12-V outlet (car cigarette lighter type) powered by auxiliary battery
- Four USB outlets
- Fresh water inlet
- 12-V water pump
- 100 L drinking water tank
- 92-L grey water tank
- 54-L black water tank
- Electronic voltage indicator and probeless tank level indicators
- Installed flush toilet
- Toilet wash-down sprayer
- Indoor shower
- Outdoor hand shower
- Rear screen
- Side door window screen
- Rear side window screens
- Pull-out step
- Aluminum frame and floor
- Aluminum interior and exterior walls
- Seamless roof with AulFiber exterior and aluminum interior
- Sides of electric retractable roof in black tinted tempered glass
- Lightweight furnishings that optimize the use of aluminum and composite materials
- Bed cushions with integrated ultra-light rigid sandwich panels
- Bed frames made entirely from aluminum extrusions
- Vehicle certified by QAI Laboratories to meet CSA Standard Z240 RV – Recreational Vehicles
- Limited two-year warranty on the vehicle and appliances
- Electric brakes
- Galvanized steel axle and Flexiride independent suspension
- 15” aluminum wheels with radial tires (13” option to fit trailer inside a garage)
- Grab handle next to door
- LPG and CO 2 detectors
- Smoke detector
- Fire extinguisher
Technology Alto R series
Alto r series technology.
- Aluminum frame, walls and floor
- Featherweight of 1,991 lb (903 kg)
- Towable by most compact cars and small SUVs
- Electric retractable roof reduces aerodynamic drag and lowers center of gravity
- Can fit inside most garages
- Shape Aerodynamic developed in a virtual wind tunnel
- Drag coefficient 75% lower than that of a traditional 16’ travel trailer
- Aerodynamic holding tanks built into the frame
- Optional flexible solar panels (220 W or 440 W)
- Very low center of gravity for optimal stability
travel longer and farther
Choose your safari alto.