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Tiny Trailer: Safari Condo Alto R1723

Originally Published in Trailer Life Magazine

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.

Sideview line drawing of Alto R1723 trailerOne 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.

Living Area

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.

Window open above table in Alto trailer.

The big curved front window in the Alto R1723 provides a majestic view of wherever you are camped.

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.

Galley of Alto trailer with microwave, sink and counter

All Altos come with on-demand hot water and a reasonable amount of counter space for food prep. With the roof up, the Alto R1723 provides a comfortable living space with a 6-foot, 10-inch ceiling height. The fridge, beds and toilet are all usable even with the roof down.

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.

Interior of the Alto trailer with the roof extended and door open

This Canadian-made tiny trailer makes excellent use of space, providing a fixed toilet-and-shower combo by the entry door, lounge seating that converts to a single bed at the rear, and a dinette that transforms the front portion into a king-size bed. The curved roof, which is raised electrically, is aluminum with solid sides lined with tinted tempered-glass windows.

Special Features

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).

R Series Alto trailer in foreground on grassy field, and F Series Alto in background

Safari Condo offers F Series trailers with fixed roofs (background) and the R Series with retractable roofs, of which the R1723 is the largest. When the roof is closed, R Series Altos have an efficient profile to lessen wind drag while towing.

Line drawing floorplan of Alto R1723 trailerManufacturer’s Specifications

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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Bruce W. Smithlightweightlightweight RVslightweight travel trailersTiny TrailerTrailer ReviewsTravel Trailer Review

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