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Old 05-11-2010, 07:46 AM   #1
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1995 30' Limited
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Living with an Argosy~Advice, please

We are thinking of downsizing from our 30' Classic Limited, considering an Argosy 20, Minuet. Quite a contrast in size and convenience, but if downsizing is our goal, then we need to be prepared to deal with a trailer that is smaller, more compact, etc. Would those of you with the small trailers such as the Argosy Minuet or AS GT or Caravel, please share your view of smaller quarters, how you handle storage, not having a dedicated bed, and so on? Can you be comfortable on a bed that folds down or is made from a dinette, and how--for example. Thanks, we are very interested, but somewhat apprehensive about what we'll face and how to handle the change. ~G
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1995 Airstream Classic Limited 30' ~ Gypsy
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Old 05-11-2010, 08:19 AM   #2
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G, how do you use your 30' Limited? I get the feeling that if you are used to taking long trips with lots of stuff, you'll feel cramped fast in the Minuet.

Also, why do you want to downsize? Would you get a smaller tow vehicle? Do you want the smaller trailer to fit in tighter campgrounds? Or is this a life-with-less-big-stuff change (nothing wrong with that)? Sorry for the questions, but I think that those answers can help here.

We own a Minuet 6.0Metre. We love it. But we upgraded from a T@B teardrop, so the Minuet is huge in comparsion.

Storage is surprisingly good, with lots of room under the gaucho and front dinette curbside. There is a wardrobe closet and more storage space in the bathroom than we can use. We also like that the kitchen countertop is longer than many newer, larger trailers.

To be fair, we've considered a larger trailer, but mostly to have dedicated beds. It isn't exactly a hassle to make the beds each night, but it does take 5 minutes at night and 5 minutes in the morning. You also need to stow that bedding, which cuts into the storage allotment.

The dinette is comfortable to sleep on, but since we're used to sleeping on a king bed at home, we sleep in separate beds in the Minuet.

I like towing a small trailer. It's the same width as our tow vehicle, which is confidence-inspiring. In the balance, for us, we'll keep the smaller trailer because we like towing with a non-truck tow vehicle.

As much as I like smaller trailers, I wonder if something like a 1990s 21' Sovereign or a 23' Safari with the fixed corner bed might be a better step-down compromise for you. Of course, a Minuet/Caravel/Globetrotter also raises the prospect of needing to do restoration work, especially compared to your 1995 trailer...

Tom
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Old 05-11-2010, 08:34 AM   #3
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Thank you, Tom, and to answer your questions, yes, we love the convenience and comfort of our 30', but our needs are changing. We are both retirement age, at and pushing 70, and smaller has great appeal to us now; for example, considering the annual polishing and clean up for summer--less sounds great. Anymore, we dread the pulling into stations to refill, and handling other cramped parking situations. We also would love to have the opportunity to choose sites that are very scenic or in mountains or coastlines but which are limited to the small trailers. We have a large diesel, and honestly, we'll probably keep it for the comfortable ride as well as other reasons though it seems overkill for certain with the small trailer. That can be changed later if we decide to try less tv. We too have a king bed at home, and that's one of the reasons I'm asking for tips or issues from experienced small trailer owners. Can we get good nights' sleep on let down or make up beds? What DO you do with the bedding in that small space? We'll have to redo upholstery for the gaucho and dinette seating, so what foam/covering does well for sleeping as well as seating? I'd appreciate all the tips and observations on this and other issues of living with a downsized trailer that you and other small trailer owners will share with us before we buy. Going to inspect it today... ~G
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1995 Airstream Classic Limited 30' ~ Gypsy
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Old 05-11-2010, 08:52 AM   #4
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We have 17 months in ours, yes, it was a challenge to fit into it. We've had enough of the "more is better" idea and after some careful work with ourselves about what was really needed to be happy, we're in.

I have to say however, that the full sized but "light" duty pickup (rebuilt '90 F-150) makes it all possible. The recumbent bikes (about 6 ft long) fit in the truck with a topper as well as tools, extras and other "garage" stuff. Yes, there is a storage unit (we have no real estate) here in Denver if we ever decide to "settle down" but we haven't any plans along those lines yet. Not bragging, but we are proud of making it work. All up weight 8800 lbs.

Carefully choose everything to be useful (versatile-good quality) or beautiful. If your willing to set up a bed every night how about a collection of sleeping bags? Roll them out and hit the sack. Do you really need a big screen TV? Will a laptop do for a TV and big stereo (high quality headphones)?

Hope this is helpful and please enjoy the journey, all of it.
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Old 05-11-2010, 08:56 AM   #5
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A lot of the bed comfort will depend on the foam in the cushions. We reused the (overly firm) cushions that our trailer came with so don't have much advice there. We used a mattress topper in the T@B and are now going to use them in the Argosy.

We just recovered the cushions with a mix of fabric and Ultraleather (there are pictures in the 3rd page of the linked thread in my above post.) Haven't slept on them yet, but since we use the mattress topper, it shouldn't matter.

We smoosh all of the blankets and comforters into several big packing cubes and stow them under the gaucho. We do the same thing with lots of our clothes.

Got to ask - did you think of a Class B moho? A Sprinter-based Roadtrek or Pleasure-Way or AS Interstate gets rid of a lot of the parking hassles and you can get them with fold-down nearly-king beds - of course, they're a lot more money than the Minuet with less space...

Good luck with the inspection!

Tom
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Old 05-11-2010, 09:16 AM   #6
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Couldn't agree more about the foam, a good night's sleep is essential for us. Get high quality, anybody know any brand and model names?

Have to say smaller size has allowed us into campgrounds that were out of space otherwise. U-turns, navigation errors, and parking lots are easier too. Trouble is, coming home late at night can't see it among the big rigs.
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Old 05-11-2010, 10:04 AM   #7
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We have a 1981 Airsteam 22' (19' of living space). This trailer is somewhat rare but very similar to the Argosy Minuets except for some more creature comforts and more windows.

Pros:
  • Lightweight and a breeze to pull with a half ton or SUV type vehicle
  • good for 2 people
  • access to almost any fuel station
  • easy to maneuver and back up
  • layout is usable
  • plenty of storage
  • we use sheets, blankets and store them in the cabinet under the dinette
  • fridge is 6 cu ft which is adequate (Argosy may be 4 cu ft.)

Cons:
  • small, cramped bathroom and shower
  • good for 2 people and our family is growing (1 yr old daughter and also like to take the dog)
  • making the beds each morning and evening stinks!
  • when we reupholstered the cushion we used firm foam which is too hard to sleep on so we use memory foam for each bed. This takes a lot of space and must be rolled up each day and put in the tow vehicle.
  • no outside storage (though many Airstream products lack this)
  • small gray water tank
  • Trailer is much narrower than the larger trailers
All in all in like my trailer I just wish it had the dedicated beds otherwise I can live with the smallness of the trailer as there is a lot of storage areas. If I could swing a bigger trailer right now I would do some trailer trading with you!
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Old 05-11-2010, 10:23 AM   #8
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retired

We retired and did just the opposite. We have the 6.7 m Argosy Minuet. We sleep in a king at home and make down both gauchos in the Minuet. Making up the beds morning and night when you are traveling is not fun every day. Getting older means it is more stressful for us to have to do the beds twice a day too.When we want a nap we want to nap and not have to get "unsleepy" putting down the bed. Stowing the bedding took up one closet for the most part. Long term travel means lots of clothing which has to be stowed under the two gauchos or stowing in the tv.. Rainy days stuck in the Minuet is just a little close and if the beds are down you don't have room to be at the galley to cook. Refrig. is wayyy too little so we took along a AC/DC. travel refrig. in the tv and transferred it to the trailer to augment food storage. Shower was just a tight squeeze since it is in the rear corner curve. Tanks are smaller and you will find that boondocking needs careful consideration and conservation.
Now we have had our 89 Excella 29 ft. Dedicated beds (even tho they are twins), bigger tanks, larger shower, more storage and spaaaaace! We thought we needed an intercom to communicate between the front and the back when it first came home with us! We love it! So far we have been out and about about 4 wks. straight and a few weekends here and there. No hassles with bedding, lots of refrig. space and bigger tanks...that's wonderful!!! Although we will probably never full time we are looking forward to long trips and more weekends.
Good luck with your decisions!
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Old 05-11-2010, 11:25 AM   #9
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We have a late model 20' Safari (dedicated bed (with mattress topper), large kitchen, full bath, dinette, and lots of storage) and just returned from a 5 month Southwest trip. We are also retired and really like the agility of the small trailer when traveling. The size has worked very well, except I miss the comfortable reclining chairs at home. If I could combine dinette and recliner space somehow, it would be close to perfect.

The other factor is lifestyle and weather. We moved from a camper van to this, so it seems spacious, and we look for warm weather and spend much time outdoors hiking, biking, or relaxing under the awning.
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Old 05-11-2010, 01:13 PM   #10
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1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
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Living with an Argosy~Advice, please

Greetings Georgia!

As much as I love my 6.0 Metre Minuet, if I had to choose one of my two coaches, it would be my Overlander. The Minuet is compact and fun for quick outings or trips where traveling will be near constant, but if longer stops are part of the plan, the Overlander is definitely going to receive the nod for the trip primarily due to its permanent beds that don't have to be made on a repeated basis.

Granted, I haven't changed tow vehicles, but I notice only 2 MPG more when towing the Minuet than when towing the Overlander. If I had a smaller vehicle with something less than a 7 liter motor, the Minuet might have a substantial fuel economy edge but with either of my current tow vehicles there isn't a huge difference between the coaches.

While a single axle it isn't the great detriment that I once thought it was, I still have a preference for the tandem axle layout. It is slightly easier to deal with a flat on a tandem axle coach, and the braking is much better when I am towing with my Cadillac.

For me, the advantages of the Minuet 6.0 Metre are as follows:
  • The narrower coach is so much less stressful to tow in traffic since it is only slightly wider than the tow vehicle.
  • Registration is significantly less expensive than the heavier Overlander.
  • It is easier to pick up and go for a spur-of-the-moment weekend away.
  • It is less time consuming to wash and wax the smaller coach.
  • Larger selection of tow vehicles to choose from when time to purchase a new tow vehicle rolls around.
  • No need to worry about campsites that are too short for the coach.
  • Even the smallest air conditioner can keep the coach walk-in-refrigerator cold.
  • Furnace can quickly chase you out of the coach in late fall or early spring camping.
  • Composite aluminum floor means no worry about floor rot.
For me, the disadvantages of the Minuet 6.0 Metre are as follows:
  • There isn't a permanent bed so the bed(s) must be cycled between lounge and bed use every day.
  • Even with the highest quality foam in the cushions, the pull-out lounges still aren't as comfortable as the custom-made mattresses that I have in my Overlander.
  • There is a severe lack of privacy in the bathroom, and the kitchen range is on the opposite side of the shower wall.
  • Lacks the option of an area for the insomniac who wants to read or watch television while his/her partner sleeps.
If I were looking for a compromise coach between my Minuet and Overlander, there is only one coach that I might consider. That coach would be the rear door Argosy 24. With the rear door Argosy 24, the front bedroom can be separated from the balance of the living area with a heavy drape. While the coach was originally designed with twin lounges in front, it would be easy enough to make it strictly a bedroom by replacing the multi-piece pull-out lounges with a pair of custom twin mattresses.




Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin
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Old 05-11-2010, 01:48 PM   #11
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23 foot Flying Cloud was our answer

We too wanted a smaller trailer for ease of towing as well as fitting into smaller sites but the one feature we were not willing to do without was a fixed bed.

We bought a 23 foot Flying Cloud (formerly Safari line) which has a large bath across the back and a queen bed up front. We have since added a queen memory foam topper to the bed and it's perfect. On top we have a queen size sleeping bag with sheet liners that pop out for easy washing.

Every trailer it a series of trade offs but from the responses above you can see that not many people like having to make up and take down beds on a daily basis. Our choice was the smallest trailer we could get that had at least a queen size bed; the big bathroom was an added bonus.

Storage on the 23 is excellent and includes under bed with plastic containers as well as outside access, plus two closets, drawers, and many overhead cabinets. We've never come close to running out of storage for the two of us. Hope all this helps.
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Old 05-11-2010, 02:24 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander64 View Post
If I were looking for a compromise coach between my Minuet and Overlander, there is only one coach that I might consider. That coach would be the rear door Argosy 24. With the rear door Argosy 24, the front bedroom can be separated from the balance of the living area with a heavy drape. While the coach was originally designed with twin lounges in front, it would be easy enough to make it strictly a bedroom by replacing the multi-piece pull-out lounges with a pair of custom twin mattresses.


Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin
This is exactly what we have done. While I love the tiny minuet for an occasional weekend camping, it is too tiny for long term use. For us, storage space is not an issue in the minuet - there is a lot. But the bed is a deal breaker. We have found that instead of making up the gaucho, we prefer the dinette bed. It's the same size and allows the kitchen to be used while the bed is made (if one of you gets up early). Also - when the gaucho is made into a bed, there is no path to the bathroom, you will have to climb over your bunk mate. Someone has to do this using the dinette bed, but at least you can use the rest of the trailer ....

For the last 2 years, we have taken a 1 month trip in the minuet and that bed routine gets old. The fridge size we found manageable but had a cooler in the truck with drinks and salad fixins....

Have you considered a 25 ft rear door? The layout is similar to the argosy 24 reardoor and the Argosy 24s are hard to find and will prolly need repair given age.
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Old 05-11-2010, 08:51 PM   #13
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Thanks to all of you who responded so quickly and honestly, giving us insight about usage based on your experience. We're worn slick after our day outing to check out the Argosy. She seems a cream puff for her age, but we need to think hard before making a decision, and we need to get a good night's sleep. If that's possible, ha!, considering I'll probably spend the night imagining that I'm making and unmaking dinettes and choosing color schemes and flooring... More tomorrow...zzzzzzzzzzzzzz ~G
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1995 Airstream Classic Limited 30' ~ Gypsy
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Chev Silverado 2500HD Duramax/Allison, 4X4, Crew Cab
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Old 05-12-2010, 02:09 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by scotttho View Post
We bought a 23 foot Flying Cloud (formerly Safari line) which has a large bath across the back and a queen bed up front.
When I mentioned this thread to my wife, she came up with suggesting that exact trailer. We've looked at one ourselves.

Do you find the 23FB's countertop space adequate - it's a worry for us since we like to cook. I like that the 23 is the last trailer before you go to the "wide-body."

Thanks
Tom
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