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Old 12-30-2014, 09:49 AM   #29
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I'm not a full-timer-yet but more of a vacationer with my AS for now. Your question is certainly not a new one but for each the answer is different. Three years ago about this time I purchased my used AS. For nearly two years I shopped asking the size question. The dealer at first continually suggested a Flying Cloud 25 twin (new) then as I continued shopping the sales woman suggested the FC 20'. I gravitated toward one I found on my own, a 23C that suited me perfectly in its stow away table/ L Lounge form. Then I found this forum and posed the question to members who brought out many things to consider that were unknown to me. Their suggestions, even for my intended use of snow birding (part-time living) lead me to look for a used 25' model and now I am thankful for that advice.

The darndest thing though, each person has a different resolve as you are already reading. I liked the 25' sure but it was so BIG. The other factors of tank size and more width were things I had not considered. I eliminated the 20' personally after spending a half hour in it at a show realizing that I was limited with a hallway to walk in and a dinette to sit at- still liked it though. Another factor is that the 25 is a popular size but it requires a bit more hefty tow vehicle. It all depends what your camping plans require. Enjoy whatever you get!
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Old 12-30-2014, 11:09 AM   #30
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FC 20 is a great first choice ... otherwise, skip to a 25 ...
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Old 12-30-2014, 11:24 AM   #31
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FC 20 is a great first choice ... otherwise, skip to a 25 ...

Agree completely. We'd have the 25, but couldn't get it into Little Beaver Lake Campground in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore - my standard unit of measure for our 'go almost anywhere' goal. So hence the 20 for us. (Also, I didn't want to have to buy a dally/tandem/diesel/hemi/Hensley/propride/f350 TV needed when towing a 25 to protect the bus loads of orphans on the highway!)


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Old 12-30-2014, 11:44 AM   #32
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We went from a 20' narrow-body vintage Argosy to a 23' Safari SE. There was very, very, very little difference in ease of towing, and the trailer is still small enough to fit into the tight state park campsites that we frequent.

Personally, if I was full-timing, I'd rather own a tow vehicle that has a wide dealer network in rural areas. That's not a Land Rover.

If you are solo and full-timing, a 23' trailer would do the trick. The corner bed isn't really a hassle then, and the bathroom is big enough. Our trailer only starts to feel tight when the two of us want to do something in the back of the trailer. Pairing a 23' trailer with a short two-door pickup (like dkottum has) or a SUV (like ours) would be a fine balance of maneuverability (backing into a campsite is affected plenty by tow vehicle size as well as trailer length) and livability.

That said: it's a whole different world of luxury and room when you get to a 25' trailer. The added 6" of width doesn't sound like much, but it makes for a much more open feeling inside.

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Old 12-30-2014, 12:08 PM   #33
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"Pairing a 23' trailer with a short two-door pickup (like dkottum has) or a SUV (like ours) would be a fine balance of maneuverability (backing into a campsite is affected plenty by tow vehicle size as well as trailer length) and livability."

DKottum has a 25' trailer.
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Old 12-30-2014, 12:38 PM   #34
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"Pairing a 23' trailer with a short two-door pickup (like dkottum has) or a SUV (like ours) would be a fine balance of maneuverability (backing into a campsite is affected plenty by tow vehicle size as well as trailer length) and livability."

DKottum has a 25' trailer.
We find that or 2013 Dodge RAM 1500 Crew Cab 5.7L Hemi paired with our 2014 23D provides a perfect balance. Dogs in the backseat, nice amount of all weather cargo space under the bed shell, the towing benefits of a longish wheel based TV and plenty of power.
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Old 12-30-2014, 03:37 PM   #35
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DKottum has a 25' trailer.
Yep - I know. But Doug is also unique around these parts for towing with a relatively short truck, and that is the point I wanted to make.

I've towed my 23' with both my Durango and a crew cab truck. Backing into tight sites is easier with a shorter tow vehicle, especially as you have to watch where the front bumper winds up (tree!).

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Old 12-30-2014, 05:28 PM   #36
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I still need to figure out about winter. Do any Canadians live in their A/S through the winter in sub-zero parts of the country (anywhere except BC)? A bit off topic,
While some people undoubtedly live in their Airstreams "up north" (and I mean Ontario and not BC ) all winter long, I think you would find that an AS is really a "three season" trailer and that it would be a hassle and not particularly comfortable when the outside temperatures are consistently below freezing. If that is really your intention, then I suggest that you reconsider your whole plan.

I would definitely go visit Andy Thompson at Can Am in London. He is very knowledgeable about towing AS' with "smaller" vehicles and he usually has several models to look at so you can get a feeling for the size issue that you first brought up. Also, Andy can give you an assessment of spending a Canadian winter in one of those things.

Good luck and happy shopping!
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Old 01-02-2015, 01:19 AM   #37
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Just to go back to tpot's points... in what types of places do you intend to camp? We really enjoy camping in the southern Utah desert areas, as well as nearby parks in Montana (Glacier NP,) northern Idaho, and BC. Many of the older parks campgrounds weren't designed for long trailers. Short back-in sites are the norm. 20' is the limit some of these campgrounds will accept.

Bambi #1 got totalled in an accident, so when we shopped for #2, we did look at a gently-used 23-footer that was significantly cheaper than the new 19-foot Bambi we decided to buy. For our purposes, we didn't see that the extra interior space (the sofa, basically) was worth the loss of access to the places where we really like to camp.

We would probably rethink this were we full-timing, but have happily spent 6 weeks in a 16' Bambi.

One other consideration is the interior lay-out. We really like having a back window (where the best view often is) vs. the longer Sport where the bathroom takes up the entire back end. You might think about what features you really want in a camper rather than the length itself.

Then for many people, the cost of the longer units is a consideration.

But a big shout-out to the folks at Can-Am. We were living in Ontario, as well, when we first got our first AS-- which was our first RVing experience, as well. They were really helpful.
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Old 01-02-2015, 07:25 AM   #38
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There are lots of interesting point of views here ,# 1 you must ask yourself why did you pick a 19 foot airstream as your first choice ? This says a lot about you ,All people are different and most of us want more , I'm a bit different as i'm at a point in my life were I want less toys ,less cleaning ,less maintenance , less hard time to backup a trailer ,less hassle in getting into provincial parks ( reservation fees , driving into provincial parks were they try and leave the natural environment and not trim the trees ,that scratch the side of your new $55 to $150 thousand dollar airstream. Less trailer to wash and wax, less insurance to pay,less fuel to pay ( in Canada we get soaked ) we pay on average 35 -40 % more in fuel cost. Smaller propane tanks to lift and less cost ,as with a smaller trailer you have less to heat , less money invested in trailer and tow vehicle so there are a lot of things to think about, I had a 19 foot airstream realy liked it but I like MORE my 16 foot airstream , And Now I Have MORE of what I want camping and traveling in my airstream!

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Old 01-03-2015, 12:26 AM   #39
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Good for you, Don!

We were really sorry to see the 16-foot Bambi go. Before we bought it we had been tent camping for a long time, so it really seemed palatial. Plus, while camping in those places where the big rigs don't go, we met people with Casitas, Scamps, and other "sub-compacts," who spent months at a time in them, and who are proud of their light footprint. Our son and daughter-in-law have a 1971 fiberglass Trillium that we found for them and they really like it.

We do feel that "small is beautiful," and that spaciousness is as much in the mind as it is in the rig.

When we learned that Bambi I wasn't repairable and that we would be getting a new one once the insurance company paid up, the decision to go up a notch was to have a regular bathroom (vs. just the toilet cubicle wet bath in the 16-footer,) and a little more kitchen. We've always tried to have a healthy diet; but these days we are mostly vegan. On longer trips, this means less eating out or unhealthy snacking; more in-house food preparation, and more food storage needs where distances are long between health food stores or enlightened supermarkets.

Also, our 2005 16-foot International came with a rear bumper, stone guards, and better screen door, but AS no longer makes the 16-footers with these upgrades. We could have had them added on to the small-sized Sport, but they are standard with the 19-foot Flying Cloud.

We just really liked the Flying Cloud interior better than the 16-foot Sport: the storage bins are sturdier, the dťcor is light and bright, and the separate bathroom sink is a plus, hygiene-wise.

Having said that, we would be happy in a 16-foot Sport with a few exterior upgrades, as well. We would have kept Bambi I indefinitely if it weren't totaled.

On the ecology side, we are extremely frugal in our use of propane, water (when desert camping,) and gas while driving, and these habits will continue. Maybe we should start a thread on who's got the best resource-saving habits on the forum!

At 19 feet, Bambi II is still within the usual 20-foot outer limit for many of the sites in more "primitive" campgrounds. It is just such a different camping experience without all those Class A motor homes and monster 5th wheels around.

We would happily bunk next to another AS of any length , but it was just nice, in Jasper NP in 2013, to camp with the other "little guys" and tenters, watching the elk stroll through the wooded campground along the river bluffs......without having the ambience blocked by a behemoth 5th wheel with 5 slide-outs; or a combo RV-toy-hauler capable of transporting 2 jeeps. (No kidding, we camped next to one once in Death Valley, and it totally blocked the view.)

Happy camping!
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Old 01-03-2015, 07:41 AM   #40
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Full disclosure here, I haven't read the other responses here and I AM newbie myself but now that I've owned my 25FB for a month and towed it 125 miles from the dealership, FEEL like a pro. . Actually, I'm weighing in because I was where you are about six months ago and searched here and other online resources for advice. My way of "giving back" I guess.

Regarding towing; this was my biggest concern. I have a Chevy Avalanche 1500 with a tow package with transmission cooler. It's rated to tow up to 7200 lbs and my 2015 25FB International Signature weighs in at 5400lbs. A little less I think. The two topped off propane tanks that sit on the tongue add 140lbs though and add all that weight to the tongue.

I struggled with the decision between a 25 and a 27 that weighed 200lbs and cost $4000 more. The only thing it got me though was larger interior closet space and literally nothing else. A longer hallway I guess. (Yay)

Since I'm planning on doing some towing over the Blue Ridge Mountains I wanted to leave a good margin of excess power and chose 5400 vs 5600. I haven't towed over those mountains yet but did hit some pretty large hills by SC standards and will say that while the RPM's got much higher than I'm used to hearing, the AS towed like a dream. Braking was completely a non-issue. Transmission temp never hit 190 and without towing anything it usually rides about 185 degree anyway.

I'm considering buying a Land Rover HSE to tow with and know the engine and transmission can handle it, I'm just worried about the rear suspension being able to. Those airbags are about $10,000 a side to replace so more research needs to be done here for sure. You should consider your tongue weight on your Land Rover. You'll have two numbers and you'll want to look at your capacity with a weight distributing hitch. It's usually twice as much as without one.

Predicting my future, I think I'm going to wish I bought the 27ft so I would strongly encourage you to consider that larger option as well. Also, the 25 and larger have the ducted AC which I've been told is the best thing to happen to an Airstream since it was invented. Models without have "very loud" units I've been told.
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Old 01-19-2015, 07:58 AM   #41
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I am considering moving up from our 19' Bambi to a 23FB, mostly due to the bed access from three sides and additional storage space. my one concern are the tires and wheels; it has 15" wheels. Can the tires and wheels be upgraded to 16" Michelins?

We have fixed up the Bambi and really reluctant to part with it, but he extra space and bed access is a big consideration.
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Old 01-19-2015, 08:11 AM   #42
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I am considering moving up from our 19' Bambi to a 23FB, mostly due to the bed access from three sides and additional storage space. my one concern are the tires and wheels; it has 15" wheels. Can the tires and wheels be upgraded to 16" Michelins?
IIRC, the 23FB has a 14" wheel and five-bolt hub like my 23' front L-lounge. When I upgraded my trailer's rolling stock, I wasn't able to find 16" trailer wheels with a five-bolt pattern; they are six-bolters.

This doesn't mean you can't upgrade. I went to 15" wheels and a set of Nokian tires made for European delivery vans with an increased load rating. No issues in 15,000 miles.

Tom
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