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Old 07-21-2016, 05:20 PM   #1
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Wheelchair accessible best trailer?

I require 30 inches to 36 for my wheelchair, is there an airstream vintage or newer which would be best suited? Just back into camping now, and looking for a trailer between 18 and 24 feet with a good layout for a wheelchair/power chair.
Thanks for any feedback, happy trails
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Old 07-21-2016, 05:44 PM   #2
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Hi BC. The standard entrance door width for current Airstreams is about 26 inches (interior clearance). The recent hatch back models (Eddie Bauer (25 and 27 foot) and Pendleton (27 foot)) have a rear hatch about 48 inches wide and may be better suited to your needs. Neither are made anymore, but they come up for sale from time to time. (AS also made a hatchback called a Panamerican, but they are rare, and longer than you desire.) A used 25' Eddie Bauer may be closest to your needs.
Best regards,
Joe
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Old 07-22-2016, 11:14 AM   #3
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Excellent, now the hunt begins! Appreciate your kindness
Be well,
BC Bubba
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Old 07-22-2016, 11:39 AM   #4
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I believe a rear entry Airstream would be a great choice as well. The door could be made power lift by a good van modification shop. Best wishes in your travels. BTW, I had a friend who was a triple amputee who drove a dualie pulling his modified trailer. Never saw the trailer but he was in a power chair.
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Old 07-23-2016, 11:48 AM   #5
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Rear hatch options-

Quote:
Originally Posted by BC Bubba View Post
I require 30 inches to 36 for my wheelchair, is there an airstream vintage or newer which would be best suited? Just back into camping now, and looking for a trailer between 18 and 24 feet with a good layout for a wheelchair/power chair.
Thanks for any feedback, happy trails
http://www.eddiebauer.com/static/img...hure_Dec10.pdf
Good for you!!! I agree with the aforementioned Eddie Bauer. Here's the literature on that. It's actually 26 feet long from the tongue to the tail. We own a Pendleton and I love it. Really love it. Just finishing the installation of 50 amp service at home so we can run both A/C units at home.

Here's a couple of observations:

1) The Pendleton is actually 28 ft. stem to stern. So a bit longer.
2) The dinette area in the EB folds up to allow for a wider entry path. The Pendleton has fixed benches in the dinette area, wide enough for 36 inches but may be a bit tight at 40". I'd measure ours but it's not at home right now.
3)The Pendleton comes standard w/ 2 AC units, and has a 50 amp cord. Very heavy and hard to handle. I'm in good shape and still have to wrestle with it. The EB has one AC unit and is 30 amp and the electrical hook-up cable is much lighter. Don't need two AC units unless you live and/or travel to super hot places (like central TX!)
4) The floorplan in the EB may be slightly easier for a wheelchair.
5) Price- The EB, as far as I know was last built for the 2015 model year and the Pendleton, although a 2016 is most likely sold out. Used Eddie B's will cost a whole bunch less. You would probably want power stabilizers added to the EB.

Have fun. Either way, a ramp or lift for the rear would be ideal.

Mark
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Old 07-23-2016, 01:16 PM   #6
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This may be a case where a SOB toy hauler type trailer would be a lot better to start with due to the flat walls and existing ramp/door. Airstream design is good for some things but not all things!
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Old 07-23-2016, 01:42 PM   #7
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WC accessibility / 2009 25 ft FB FC

Hi BC Bubba,

We did a partial interior removal during the clean-up process that involved removing the bathroom walls. I was amazed how that opened up the entire trailer. So, I just took some measurements, out of curiosity, to see if this is a possibility for you. The tightest spot was by the lobster-pot sink--only 24.5 inches to the lounge / couch. The next tightest was from the shower door to the toilet-- hall width was 29.5 inches and to have that, you'd have to reroute the black tank vent. Of course, to make that work you'd also have to modify the bathroom walls. Fiddly, but doable.
Good luck!
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Old 07-23-2016, 02:32 PM   #8
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FIRST of all, check with your local Physical Therapy Department to see if they have a list of vendors that do this type of modification.
I have seen several clients that have used "toy Haulers" for this purpose. Airstream models have been listed, but check other manufacturers. This type has a more open floor plan and require less mods.
Good luck, and enjoy the outdoors.
mike
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Old 07-23-2016, 03:05 PM   #9
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BC Bubba: We bought our Eddie Bauer specifically because it was the only Airstream we could find that could allow our disabled son (manual wheelchair user with no ability to walk) to share the Airstream experience. Since I am ambulatory, when he comes I set up two, one-piece ramps spaced at his chair wheel width (about 28" wheel-to-wheel on his TiLite). We throw all of the cushions on the front bed and fold up both dinette seats. We stow the dinette table legs and top in the stowage locations which are standard on the EB (legs in wardrobe, top under the bed). It works great for the occasional day trip.

However... the spacing between the shower and the door to the bathroom is too narrow for him. Your specific mobility needs may not be the same as his, but entering the trailer is just the first step to accessible living. A typical sized wheelchair can access the living area, but nothing else on our EB.

Other posters have noted the other Airstream models with hatches. I'm not familiar enough with their floor plans to tell you if they are more accessible internally than is our Eddie Bauer.

If you google "accessible travel trailer" you may get ideas on options that would meet your needs, including ways to use or modify an Airstream floor plan.
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Old 07-23-2016, 06:43 PM   #10
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Welcome, BC Bubba! I like your can-do attitude. As part of your research, I'd suggest that you join a couple of other forums, RV-Dreams (http://rv-dreams.activeboard.com/for...?forumID=91511), IRV2 (irv2.com), and Escapees (http://www.rvnetwork.com/). In each case, ask about what RV models are good for accessibility issues. You mention needing 30 to 36 inches for your wheelchair. That's a big difference. Do you mean that you can squeeze by with a 30" space, and 36" may as well be a mile? Also, as I'm sure you're aware, turning around space can also be a concern.

As others have mentioned, an Airstream might not be your best choice. A toyhauler fifth wheel (aka 5'er) might be better. They require a pickup, though, and it sounds like you may be using a van. There are some toy hauler travel trailers, but they are rare. You might start by finding out exactly what the capacity of your van is. If you have a power lift on your van it might be pretty close to weight capacity already if you are using something like an E150 as a base. If you have an E350 you might be in great shape. If you have something other than Ford just switch the numbers.
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Old 07-23-2016, 08:12 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ijustlee View Post
This may be a case where a SOB toy hauler type trailer would be a lot better to start with due to the flat walls and existing ramp/door. Airstream design is good for some things but not all things!
I agree with 'ijustlee', take. Serious look at SOB toy hauler trailers. Having lived at motorcycle tracks while my son grew up, me too, there are some descent toy hauler trailers that might fit the bill.

Also any other alterations you might have to make will be far less complicated on SOB. A far less expensive experiment too.
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Old 07-23-2016, 08:15 PM   #12
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You could also buy an older model and have it customized to fit your needs. It would be expensive unfortunately
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Old 07-24-2016, 03:49 PM   #13
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I use a power chair for long distance and independant cruise but it is big, 36 inches and heavy 250 pounds. Complicates things but 2 chairs are helpful.
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Old 07-24-2016, 04:52 PM   #14
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It may be easier to find a narrower chair than to modify a trailer (Airstream or SOB) to accommodate your existing chair. For example, here is a lightweight power chair that is only 23" wide:
http://www.1800wheelchair.com/product/move-lite/
It does have the drawback that with the small wheels you can't move it manually if the battery runs out (making it more like a mobility scooter than a wheelchair in that regard).
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