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Old 12-26-2014, 06:39 PM   #1
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19' or 23' for Trailer Newbie?

Hi everyone,

Complete newbie here. I've been dreaming of living on the road for a few years and it looks like the stars may soon be aligning. Being here, I guess its noticeable that I've decided on an Airstream quite a while ago and I've been leaning towards a 19'.

I'll start by giving some quick background - live in Canada, 2015 hope to live on the road May to October, never owned a trailer, used to (and like) living in small spaces and close to the outdoors and would love if I eventually could full time in an Airstream. I don't see myself as constantly being on the road, if I find a place I like I can easily see myself setting up shop and staying for a year (connected).

Being new to the trailer thing, but feeling a 16 isn't enough for me, the 19 seemed like a reasonable balance between big enough and not too hard to tow. I'm a city guy and I'm worried about being a bit of a boob when it comes to towing. On the other hand, when I look at the 23's, the size is just perfect for me and don't seem a heck of a lot more money in the long run.

My question is for any other former boobs out there...is there a big difference between a 19' and a 23'? Assume the tow vehicle (Land Rover) is capable of the weight of course (GVWR 19'=4500lbs, 23'=6000lbs, tow=7000lbs). How quickly will I get used to it? I'm not a speed demon by any means. I just want to get there alive (and everyone behind me alive!).

I've read the shorter wheel base of the Land Rover can cause problems. Then I've also read of specialized hitches that can offset some of those problems (sway, etc). Is the longer wheelbase of a truck the main reason it is more stable a tow vehicle?

I guess it boils down to: Can a newbie comfortably tow a 23' AS with a Land Rover? Can a newbie comfortably tow a 23' AS with a truck?

Thanks!
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Old 12-26-2014, 06:50 PM   #2
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Ultimately it will all be your decision based on your needs and likes. However, if I were considering anything longer than weekend trips, I would get the biggest trailer I was comfortable with. There are also benefits of the tandem axle trailer over the single axle, and there are several threads here that you should read.

Whatever tow vehicle you use, I do recommend you get some experienced friend to help set up a good, anti-sway, weight distribution hitch. Do not rely only on the dealer, unless it is Can-Am in London, Ontario. You will not have any trouble getting used to towing, just take it easy and you will catch on quickly.
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Old 12-26-2014, 07:59 PM   #3
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For full time living the 23' is a much better choice. You can trade in your tow vehicle much easier than your living space. If you find the Land Rover to not be up to your requirements and driving stile you will have a much better idea of what you need when you have some experience.

Of course the same could be said about the trailer selection, learn and trade up if needed, but for full time living the 19' just is too small in my opinion.
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Old 12-26-2014, 08:06 PM   #4
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Agree, the 19 is pretty tight if you are in it for a year. Assuming you live alone, the 23 should give you enough space. The two of us travel with our 25 for 6 to 7 months each year, spend most of the day outdoors.
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Old 12-26-2014, 08:20 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gstreamer View Post
Hi everyone,.... I don't see myself as constantly being on the road, if I find a place I like I can easily see myself setting up shop and staying for a year (connected).

Being new to the trailer thing, but feeling a 16 isn't enough for me, the 19 seemed like a reasonable balance between big enough and not too hard to tow. I'm a city guy and I'm worried about being a bit of a boob when it comes to towing. ...

Thanks!
Gee, I must have sounded just like this back in 2005. Reader's Digest version of my story - bought a 22 CCD and a year later traded it in for a 2006 Safari 25 FB. If you're going to fulltime, a 23 is about as small as you'd ever want to go, and a 25 or even a 27 would not be "small". You might find that you'll just save a lot of money by NOT having to move up.

So - forget about not knowing how to tow, you learn with whatever you have to tow. Of course you could rent a big utility trailer and practice with that before you risk an expensive Airstream to the learning process.

Tow vehicles? Well people who really like their Airstreams keep them for 10 to 20 years... Tow vehicles come and go, so get the Airstream you need to live in, then find the tow vehicle that will pull it to your satisfaction.

Oh, and try to buy gently used for the first one if you can. Yet another $15K to $20K in your pocket.

Paula
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Old 12-26-2014, 08:35 PM   #6
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I was so settled on a 19', it just seems so efficient...no un-needed space, and there is enough space for my things... But I think you guys are right, the pros for a 23 seem to be adding up, I don't want to feel confined even though I do plan on spending a lot of time outdoors.

Then again, if I accept your arguments...I might as well get a 30'! Think I'll need to head to the dealership...

Thanks for your tips everyone!
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Old 12-26-2014, 09:14 PM   #7
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I use a 19' sets me just fine. I did see a great 27' in the classified, for 56k I would love to jump on, check it out. With taxes and such cheaper o just go big now,
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Old 12-26-2014, 09:27 PM   #8
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It doesn't take long to become very comfortable towing an AS. We started with an older Safari 25, then went to a new 25 Flying Cloud front bedroom. My opinion is that a 25 is the perfect length. We use a full size truck to pull our trailer, but half ton trucks and SUVs are equally appropriate. We often have a small camper on when we travel, so the bigger truck is best for us.

Read over the threads to glean information about solar, common issues, weight distribution hitches, and other helpful information. There are tons of opinions, so ultimately it's your decision.
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Old 12-26-2014, 10:01 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gstreamer View Post
I was so settled on a 19', it just seems so efficient...no un-needed space, and there is enough space for my things... But I think you guys are right, the pros for a 23 seem to be adding up, I don't want to feel confined even though I do plan on spending a lot of time outdoors.

Then again, if I accept your arguments...I might as well get a 30'! Think I'll need to head to the dealership...


Thanks for your tips everyone!
Now you're talking! I like the version with the recliners! Even as a single, one does have company from time to time. And if you're working from the trailer - think of it as your mobile office too. Something that CAN BE presentable to an employer/customer or subject of a story?

Paula
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Old 12-26-2014, 10:16 PM   #10
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For whatever reason (trading up, etc) 19's reportedly have the highest rate of owner turnover and it seems to be reflected in lower resale values.

I'm stubborn and determined to get a 16' for adventure travel. But If I was looking to full time, I think I'd start by looking at at at 25' to 28'. Full Size beds, front and back panorama windows with the dinette in the window area. Close off the bedroom which you can't in a 22. Proper shower and bath, closet, lounge area with sofa. Big tanks. Great Kitchen and sleeps 5-6 (cozy).

When you're at 23 feet, what's 2-3 more ?

Actual Sale prices on the used Bigger trailers seem relatively reasonable too as the market is limited in who can tow and store, vs the 16's. Also, I think those who can afford the huge TV, often just buy new.

Past 28' is a mental barrier for me.
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Old 12-26-2014, 11:04 PM   #11
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Yeah, since posting this and rethinking things, the 25 is making more sense. The hesitation with towing something large was what drove my earlier decision. Over on the Land Rover forums they suggest something shorter, but you're right that I shouldn't let the tow vehicle be the deciding factor.

Actually now that I think of it, the 25' is 300lbs over the tow capacity of the Land Rover so I'd need to look at a different vehicle....

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,
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Old 12-26-2014, 11:28 PM   #12
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my girlfriend and I went back-and-forth on this very same thing and we are newbies as well. we opted for the 19th and are so happy. now we don't plan on spending seven months on the road and with us to two dogs and a baby we would've definitely got a larger one if that was our lifestyle so we just like to go camping for 3 to 5 days would you like to spend a lot of time outdoors for the 19 is perfect for us. let me add by saying that if you're going to be 23 get a 25 front bed instead. you will not notice the exit 2 feet that you have to toe and the bed configuration is way better than a 23
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Old 12-27-2014, 11:40 AM   #13
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If you've never towed anything before, make sure to:
  • ALWAYS SIGNAL! Remember, turn signals are to signal what you are going to do, not what you are doing or, in fact, have already done. (Don't you love it when someone puts on their signal when they already have a wheel in your lane or are actively turning?)
  • watch your clearance. Not all gas stations, trees etc. are tall enough to allow safe passage
  • watch your 'pull through' space. Gas stations, fast food etc don't always have the room to allow you to get around obstacles
  • get some good side view mirrors. Most car and SUV mirrors don't stick out far enough to allow you to see your AS sides, lanes, etc.
  • your travel partner will be your backup ground guide, or plan on a camera on the back of the AS
  • watch your speed, don't try to keep up with traffic and try not to get rattled. if you go slower on the Interstates it makes it easier for others to pass you. on 2-lane roads, use the slow lanes on hills, maybe plan on pulling over in a parking lot if you have a lot of cars behind you.
  • keep your distance from the vehicle in front of you, lots if possible
  • practice backing up. practice driving. practice turning. practice stopping
I pull a 23' AS with my 4Runner. I have pulled a LOT of boats, U-Haul trailers and a flat bed or two, with and without trailer brakes. The AS was somewhat scary at first but with a few trips under my belt, I'm feeling better. The biggest issue for me has been visibility. It's hard to see down the sides of the trailer and backing up (either to hitch up or park) is especially challenging. I think my next big purchase will be a couple of cameras for the TV.

For the trailer size, we've been happy with the 23' except for the rear corner bed. Next trailer will definitely have room on the sides instead of being up against the walls. Bathroom toilet is very tight too. I'm only 5'7" and my knees are up against the wall and door.

I think you have to determine what your travel plans are. Are you going somewhere and sit for a couple of months or are you going to be 'on the go' to see as much as you can on your journey. The 23' tows easily and has enough room for us. We plan on staying no more than 2-3 weeks in a single spot.

Lay on the bed, sit on the toilet, stand in the shower and try walking around the inside with your travel partner. Now think about living like that; comfortable?

Good luck, take your time and always be safe no matter what you do. Think things through. I've always found that the first solution is usually not the best one.
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Old 12-27-2014, 12:10 PM   #14
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If you decide to get a different towing vehicle, check out the Ford F150 with V-6 ecoboost engine and towing package. We have one and it totally out performs our earlier F150 (2008 with Triton V-8). On a flat road with minimal head wind, we can cruise at 65mph and tach about 1500rpm. This will achieve mpg of about 15, so really good for towing a 4500 lb + trailer. As for trailer size, we regret not going with the smallest double-axle, after buying a 19' single axle Bambi. It is an excellent trailer, but for two people, the added few feet and larger main bed would have been nicer.
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