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Old 11-06-2014, 03:40 PM   #1
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Rockwood/Forest River Dormers

Does anyone know if Rockwood/Forest River would add dormers with their Aframes? I would love to have one if they plan on building one.
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Old 11-07-2014, 08:23 AM   #2
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The idea of dormers is appealing under certain circumstances.

One would be that they are hard sided too. That is the dormer does not have pop up like fabric that must be dried later if the camper is folded down while damp.

The second design issue would be that the dormers don't impinge on the inside usability if not opened, other than the absence of the headroom provided by the bubble windows. So that if you don't need the additional headroom the camper is still pleasant to be in.

The last is that the set up and strike times must be only a few seconds. Something like release two buckles and they pop up with almost no effort. Pull down and the dormers fold away and are easily locked down.

I can see them as an option on the new 14 foot Aframes that already have a significant roof lift assist. It really comes down to how much people are willing to pay for a folding camper compared to a a small travel trailer. At some point it is cheaper and easier have the space of a fixed wall camper while not having to deal with the extra complexity of folding mechanisms.
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Old 11-07-2014, 01:16 PM   #3
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I compared the Aliner, with dormers, to the Flagstaff and they are a nice option I wish FR would offer. The one above the Aliner's dinette added a nice amount of space and made the trailer "feel" bigger than the dormer added.

Even without the FR's power lift, on some models, the Aliner's roof didn't feel heavy as most of the dormers weight is at the hinged end. But they do add about 60-70 pounds to the roof weight each. The front and sides are cloth, Aliner only did "hard dormers" on a few models and no longer offers them. I saw a used one with the "hard dormers" and I'd would rather have the cloth.

The dormer adds much more usable space than FR's "bubbles", even when closed, about 4-6 inches I'd guess. Open you just added a couple of feet! As long as the cloth sides and front is tucked in properly they do not impinge on space when not being used. Setup is as simple as releasing a couple buckles and pushing up a couple of corner poles to lock them in place. All the parts are hard mounted so nothing can get "lost".

The downside? Well, first FR doesn't offer them. Second, each dormer adds around $900 to the Aliner's cost.

Even at around $1K each if FR offered them I would have ordered a front dormer on our T21QBHW. The added space flexibility would be nice to have....
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Old 11-07-2014, 06:07 PM   #4
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Nice review.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RedLdr1 View Post
I saw a used one with the "hard dormers" and I'd would rather have the cloth.

Why do you like the cloth better?
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Old 11-08-2014, 12:46 AM   #5
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I would not like the cloth sides...that is one reason that I got an hard side rather than a pop up. Cloth lets in more noise and gets hot/cold faster than insulated hard walls. I have also heard that dormers are more prone to leak in rain because the water pools on the dormer top, rather than running off like the Aframe.
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Old 11-08-2014, 10:43 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pooneil View Post
Why do you like the cloth better?
First, the hard dormers adds even in more roof weight. Probably 10 or more pounds.

Second, when the dormer is not deployed the sides and fronts being stored in the roof panel cut in to the headroom the dormer added. You lose about three inches I'd guesstimate.

Third, and this is purely a personal knee jerk, it reminds me of an old Apache hard sided pop up. They were cool looking but just waiting for leaks and wind noise. Duct tape is your friend!


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I have also heard that dormers are more prone to leak in rain because the water pools on the dormer top, rather than running off like the Aframe.
I suspect that may be true. The Aliner's dormers appear to be designed to be setup parallel to the ground. When the salesman dropped the front dormer during his walk through some water ran off it even though the rest of the trailer was dry. Fairly easy to work around but an issue none the less...

For the record I am not a fan of cloth... Two Coleman pop ups and a hybrid TT were enough for me! But on those rigs I had to deploy the cloth sections to use the unit. A dormer is an option you can choose to use or not to use. If the weather looks iffy, don't use it...

In this case cloth is a lighter, cheaper, more functional choice than the hard option in my opinion.
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Old 11-08-2014, 06:15 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedLdr1 View Post
In this case cloth is a lighter, cheaper, more functional choice than the hard option in my opinion.
From your description, I can see where that would be the case.
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