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Old 11-30-2019, 09:24 AM   #1
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Join Date: Nov 2019
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Coleman / Somerset Lineage quality vs. Others

We’re deep in a mire of variables for our first RV purchase and one of the two main contenders, Opus and Somerset, took some rally big shots to the face this weekend. I’ve had my heart set on an Opus for many, many years. Turns out, bafflingly, the beds are *very* small in an Air Opus. I’ve never heard anyone mention this between gushing breaths about how awesome the Opus is, “Hey, by the way, if you’re over around 5’4”, might want to look elsewhere.”

And... the Somerset. Cool enough, I guess, but the bullet proof quality everyone always beams sure doesn’t make it through from the frame to the interior. The dealer damn near broke the galley just deploying it. I don’t know. It was still fairly high on the list for the open air ambiance we like and the sleeping accommodations that actually fit, but the cabinets, interior wood... I mean the floor was sagging under our feet.

But I always heard, “oh my god, do NOT even consider a tent trailer that’s not part of the Coleman DNA”. On a goof stepped then, just to solidify how crappy anything out of Indiana must be, I stepped into one of those high wall Flagstaffs. Uhm... Drawer glides. Cabinets that actually lock. A real galley. A sort of real bathroom, storage space, same seating, etc...

Well, if that wasn’t a shock, what about Aliners? Everything I read says, OH, Aliners, don’t even THINK about buying an A frame that’s not an Aliner. And given how disastrous the Opus trial went, the Aliner had moved to the top of our list, and after kind of *meh* experience in the Somerset, it maintained that position. But, gosh darn it, Aliner doesn’t really sleep four, except in the new Family, and it’s “pull out” kitchen is pretty sad compared to the Opus et al. Too bad Aliner can’t figure out a decent floorplan for families with children.

So, again, on a lark, opened the door to a Chalet on the lot, glanced right and saw... BUNKS?! Stepped in, again, much better cabinets, a useable four person floor plan, real galley, better attempt at a make-believe bathroom, nice size dinette...

So, have I just spent years reading propaganda about Aliner / Somerset? I mean, I did see the vinyl tent covered risers on the Flagstaff I’ve been warned off, and I was so disillusioned I forgot to look at the frame on which it sat, but....

Ugh. I don’t know. Any thoughts? Is Somerset / Aliner quality *really* so prohibitively better other companies aren’t worth considering? Also, I’m not sure where I picked it up, but, it was after either the Flagstaff or the Chalet that I noticed I was getting a sore throat. This happened before at an RV show when I was in a Forest River A Frame. It smelled strange with a chemical over tone and almost immediately my throat started to hurt.

I’m rambling, I realize. Any Chalet owners care to challenge Aliner claims of supremacy? And Flagstaff wonder care to chime in with testimonials? I’m falling down a rabbit hole here, falling past my previous hopes and desires while new things I’d never considered of like Trail Manor and Chalet float by.

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Old 12-03-2019, 07:58 PM   #2
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Location: Phoenix, AZ
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Coleman / Somerset Lineage quality vs. Others

Our “current” (just gave to my son but still in our yard) p’up is a 2000 Coleman Tacoma, which has been great as a camper. While it is not an RV by any stretch of imagination, it satisfies the camping bug just fine. Previous p’ups have been a ‘69 Coleman 480 (parents), ‘82 Starcraft StarFlyer (parents then mine), and now the Tacoma. All three served their intended camping (not RVing) function superbly. But make no mistake, these were never made nor priced to be on par with a TT, interiors especially. Light weight is paramount and flimsyness is a consequence. That being said, the two Colemans held up better than the Starcraft with age. A number of the wood frame members started failing including the rear box top cross-member which supported the rear bunk. In this regard, the Colemans were superior. The interior and livability of the Starcraft was nicer/better than Coleman so showed nicer. It was well built as far as a wood-framed trailer can be, given the time, elements, and miles.

If I was looking for another popup, it would be Somerset for me. However, as I age when the time comes for shopping it will be a basic TT for less back-braking setup, proper supportive bed, true kitchen, and more storage. I don’t understand spending a lot of money for a heavy, wood-framed high wall popup that is trying to be more luxurious than what a popup started out being. IMHO, a well-sized (not tiny) pod type of TT is a better, lightweight, more aerodynamic compromise between a popup and a TT. There are several makers of these that will sleep 4 including at least two normal size adults, notably RPod by Forest River and MinnieDrop and some Micro Minnies from Winnebago. Also Satellite and Comet by Starcraft. Everyone is different; that why there are so many different kinds of campers/RVs...it’s just fun to get out there and enjoy this great country whether luxurious or frugal.
2000 Coleman Tacoma Pop-Up
2006 Ford Explorer XLT, 4.0L-V6, 4x2
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Old 05-15-2020, 03:15 PM   #3
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Location: Middle TN
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I have the Aliner Somerset Evolution E3 Front deck and its awesome.
Were selling ours only to get a gooseneck camper that can also haul our jeep.

I looked at several and did my homework. Found our 2018 brand new being unloaded from the semi at the dealer and snagged it.
Go for the somerset
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Old 10-11-2020, 02:55 PM   #4
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: London, Ontario
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I owned a older Coleman Sequoia and loved it! If you can find one in good shape, buy it, you won't look back. Queen pull out on one end, double on the other, stove, fridge, heater, pottie, power hard top lift, easy to use... wish I had kept it... lots of great memories

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Old 10-12-2020, 01:09 AM   #5
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Thanks for all the input back on this thread folks. We ended up getting taking advantage of a great $10k even deal on a 2016 Somerset E3 Box. The camper's fine, but the Mazda really gets wobbled around on the road, and tongue weight is a constant concern and hassle. In order to keep the Somerset legal (to say nothing of comfortable) is a continual exercise in micromanagement and min/maxing.

Can't say I regret the purchase as we can very likely get all or most of our $10k back whenever we want, but it has not been the easy avenue to multiple camping trips I had hoped.

Live and learn.
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Old 10-12-2020, 10:46 PM   #6
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Location: Phoenix, AZ
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Perhaps a stronger TV is in your future and then you can enjoy your Somerset again!? Many folks assume that if a vehicle can “tow”, then they can tow any pop-up because they are small and light, right? Not so. Many of the larger p’ups and especially the high-wall variants are pretty heavy, with dry weights approaching 4,000 lbs! That is heavier than some lightweight travel trailers and many pods. With your Evolution E3 with gross weight of 3,500lbs, I would not tow with a vehicle that has a tow rating of only 3,500 lbs like light duty CUVs and minivans. Step up to a larger CUV/SUV with at least 4,000 lbs tow rating (GMC Acadia) or 5,000 lbs (Traverse, Highlander, Pilot, Explorer, Jeep GC, etc). Plus, AWD usually gets you a stronger rear axle for hauling that hitch payload around.
2000 Coleman Tacoma Pop-Up
2006 Ford Explorer XLT, 4.0L-V6, 4x2
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