An innovative teardrop trailer not only raises its roof, it raises the bar on amenities for small, lightweight RVs that are easy to tow
European “caravan” manufacturers have a knack for designing and building lightweight trailers with features that make living in them both comfortable and efficient. Over the past decade, a number of RV manufacturers on this side of the pond have introduced Euro-style features in small camping trailers so North Americans can have the opportunity to enjoy these benefits.
One of the most innovative, aerodynamic and stylish of these is the Alto R1723, the larger of two R Series models with retractable roofs from Quebec-based manufacturer Safari Condo. Both models have the unique feature of a seamless aluminum roof and side walls that rise vertically to expand interior headroom to an airy 6 feet, 10 inches. For travel and storage, the roof closes down for an exterior height just under 7 feet, which allows these trailers to be parked in standard two-car garages.
The interior of the Alto R1723 is spacious and nicely equipped, and the retractable roof makes it easy to walk around. The dinette, which converts into a 36-by-81-inch single bed, is bathed in light from a huge curved front window that has a built-in shade system. The rear of the living area easily turns from a lounge into a 60-by-76-inch king bed. And the windows all along the raised portion of the roof provide plenty of light, with curtains for privacy.
Galley & Options
The Alto R1723 comes fully equipped with a 3.1-cubic-foot two-way refrigerator, two-burner LP-gas stove, and plenty of storage in the aluminum-and-composite cabinets’ sliding drawers and shelves. A nice feature is that the table can be moved to create two separate dining areas: one seats two, the other five.
The long list of interior options includes a microwave, a larger refrigerator, a front-opening window and an HDTV.
Bathroom & Utilities
The trailer also comes with a flush toilet and stand-up shower. Freshwater is supplied by the 15.8-gallon tank, and a 12-gallon black tank and 15.8-gallon gray tank provide wastewater storage. The compact German-made hot-water/space heater, which runs on LP-gas or shore power, keeps everything toasty on demand.
Another aspect that’s intriguing about these lightweight, four-season Alto trailers is that they are constructed entirely from composite materials and aluminum. The walls and roof are a sandwich construction of a honeycomb core laminated with an aluminum skin on one side and an aluminum or AluFiber skin on the other.
The 1,867-pound (dry) Alto R1723 rides on an independent Flexiride suspension. The trailer’s low center of gravity, light weight and aerodynamic shape make it a good choice for towing behind SUVs and other vehicles with a tow rating at or above the Alto’s 2,700-pound gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR).
Safari Condo Alto R1723
Exterior Length: 17′ 4″
Exterior Width: 7′
Exterior Height: 6′ 11” (roof retracted)
8′ 5″ (roof extended)
Freshwater Capacity: 15.8 gal.
Gray-Water Capacity: 15.8 gal.
Black-Water Cap.: 12 gal.
LP-Gas Capacity: 5 gal.
UVW: 1,867 lbs.
Hitch Weight: 210 lbs.
GVWR: 2,700 lbs.
MSRP, Base: $30,469 USD (plus import fees of about $1,150)
A respected automotive and RV journalist and longtime Trailer Life contributor, Bruce W. Smith has held numerous editorial titles at automotive and boating magazines, and authored more than 1,000 articles, from tech to trailering. He considers his home state of Oregon a paradise for RVing and outdoor adventure.
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