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Old 11-21-2012, 07:17 AM   #1
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Moving from a 23' to a 27' or 28'

When we got our first AS a year ago we opted for the 23' as we liked the floor plan and also were intimidated by the size jump that occurs when going with a 25' or larger trailer (the wide bodies). I know it's only about 3 extra inches on each side but it looked a lot bigger to us.

Now that I am comfortable towing and backing-up, the 23', we are seriously considering either a 27' or a 28' model (I know that only about an inch divides them). My questions to those more knowledgeable than me are:
1. How different/difficult will towing and backing up a 27' or 28' be compared to a 23'?
2. How much more challenging will it be maneuvering a 27' or 28' into and out of gas stations, etc., than a 23'?
3. We are planning to go to Alaska and someone told us to do it in the 23' and not a longer 27' or 28'. Have any of you experiences that would either confirm or refute that recommendation?

We're pretty sure that a 27' or 28' will be OK in almost all of the campgrounds that we like to use, so that isn't a concern. I'm just a little anxious about the jump into wide body land!

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

John S.
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Old 11-21-2012, 07:32 AM   #2
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I moved from a 22' SOB to a 30' AS about 2 years ago. I was very comfortable with the 22' (have been towing for 37 years. The adjustment to the 30' widebody was just that....only an adjustment. Swing wider on turns, scrutinize gas stations a little more closely for access, and a little harder to back while turning to the right (larger blind spot...more than compensated by my co-pilot....just feels a little more blind). I have yet to find I cannot fit in a campground (have not been to some of the older CGs out west...I understand they can be troublesome).

All in all....not a big deal.
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Old 11-21-2012, 08:10 AM   #3
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I think maneuverability has a lot more to do with the wheelbase of the tow vehicle than the length of the trailer. We have towed a 20' and 25' with our truck and there was little difference. I then bought a 20" shorter wheelbase truck and it "turns on a dime" compared to the previous truck, the trailer itself just follows along.

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Old 11-21-2012, 09:39 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by JDS View Post
I know it's only about 3 extra inches on each side but it looked a lot bigger to us.
We went from a 19' Bambi to a 27FB and I initially called the new rig the 'Mary' because I thought it would be like towing the Queen Mary. With a little experience, it begins to shrink in size. Now it's no big deal. You'll find the same to be true.
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Old 11-21-2012, 10:34 AM   #5
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We went from a 19' Bambi to a 27FB and I initially called the new rig the 'Mary' because I thought it would be like towing the Queen Mary.
And isn't the 27' FB actually an inch shy of 29'? LOL

I've got the final exam of Airstream backing. We've got a driveway that involves backing through a subtle s-curve.

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Designed by the devil when he was having a bad day, eh? But I owned the house before I got an Airstream. And backing involves poor-visibility sighting along the right side as dznf0g notes.

Knew I was in good standing when a friend had me back in their 28' Classic when they used us for courtesy parking. Their TV was a Ford; mine's a GM. No difference.

The point is that you're most of the way there with your 23-footer. Double axle Airstreams behave about the same way if you exercise your normal caution. The learning curve isn't that long.
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Old 11-21-2012, 11:28 AM   #6
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They all look the same in the rear-view mirror.
The longer the trailer, the easier they are to back (assuming the space you are backing into is big enough)
Short, single-axle trailers are more difficult than long tandems.
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Old 11-30-2012, 10:34 AM   #7
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And isn't the 27' FB actually an inch shy of 29'? LOL

I've got the final exam of Airstream backing. We've got a driveway that involves backing through a subtle s-curve.

Attachment 173088

Designed by the devil when he was having a bad day, eh? But I owned the house before I got an Airstream. And backing involves poor-visibility sighting along the right side as dznf0g notes.

Knew I was in good standing when a friend had me back in their 28' Classic when they used us for courtesy parking. Their TV was a Ford; mine's a GM. No difference.

The point is that you're most of the way there with your 23-footer. Double axle Airstreams behave about the same way if you exercise your normal caution. The learning curve isn't that long.
Mount a front hitch on your tow vehicle. You havent lived till you've spotted a trailer in a tight spot without any second thoughts. I've had three trucks in the last 15 years and I had a front hitch on all of them.

You can see it on the front of my tundra here:


Trailer gets parked on the narrow apron on side of the garage, also a slight dogleg in from the driveway. I also have to go in on an angle since its a relatively steep incline and I don't want to grind the back of the trailer on the concrete.

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Old 11-30-2012, 11:53 AM   #8
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If you are completely comfortable with handling the 23', then the move to 27' or 28' would not be much of an issue.

I moved from a 20' SOB to a 30' Safari as well as moved from a Minivan as TV to a F150 Supercrew, 6.5' box in the last year. A much longer rig. No issues.

I would have no hesitation in this move if you want the space.
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Old 11-30-2012, 03:13 PM   #9
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3. We are planning to go to Alaska and someone told us to do it in the 23' and not a longer 27' or 28'. Have any of you experiences that would either confirm or refute that recommendation?
Well for everything else it's not a big deal, the only thing I would say about the trip to Alaska is you might be better getting the new trailer afterwards.
Then sell the 23' with the road rash.
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Old 11-30-2012, 03:43 PM   #10
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The Longer The Better :)

You'll be fine JDS! I started out with a 34 footer! Was scared to death at first, but on the 700 mile tow home got to love it.

The longer ones do seem to track better, and are easier to back up. You'll be fine. Heck, get yourself a 30 footer!

See ya on the road,
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Old 12-01-2012, 07:28 AM   #11
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You'll be fine JDS! I started out with a 34 footer! Was scared to death at first, but on the 700 mile tow home got to love it.

The longer ones do seem to track better, and are easier to back up. You'll be fine. Heck, get yourself a 30 footer!

See ya on the road,
Hi Jim,

Funny you should mention the 30'. Just got back from window shopping AS yesterday and fell in love with a 30' Classic! My better half is a bit concerned about fitting a 30 footer in camp sites as we like to go to state & national parks, but I'm not sure that would be much of a problem. Any insight you can share on that issue will be appreciated.

Thanks,

John S.
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Old 12-01-2012, 07:34 AM   #12
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I have had zero problems thus far. Some on the forums say that out west, in older campgrounds, sites can be smaller. I have not been out west in my 30'er yet, so I can't say. BUT, I wouldn't give up my 30 feet for the rare instance of possible site issues.
It would be like the 99/1% rule. Sacrifice 99% of the time for the 1% difficulty. JMHO.
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Old 12-01-2012, 09:17 AM   #13
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I have had zero problems thus far. Some on the forums say that out west, in older campgrounds, sites can be smaller. I have not been out west in my 30'er yet, so I can't say. BUT, I wouldn't give up my 30 feet for the rare instance of possible site issues.
It would be like the 99/1% rule. Sacrifice 99% of the time for the 1% difficulty. JMHO.
There's lots of traffic on this forum about concerns over the length of 30+ft Airstreams. Perhaps this is an issue out west, but I don't see this as much of an issue in the North-East.

We've just moved up from a 20' SOB to a 30' AS. Thinking back to all the places that we have camped over the last two to three years, I can only think of maybe one or two sites where the new 30' AS would not fit. And in all these places, we were picking sites designed for smaller trailers - at least accoding to the reservation web sites.

Remember - while a 30' AS is regarded as a long trailer in the AS world - in the RV world, this is short. It seems that most of the SOB offerings are between 30' and 36'.
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Old 12-11-2012, 07:23 AM   #14
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They all look the same in the rear-view mirror.
The longer the trailer, the easier they are to back (assuming the space you are backing into is big enough)
Short, single-axle trailers are more difficult than long tandems.
Having pulled and backed both long and short single and multiple axle trailers, I would respectfuly disagree with your assertion.

The easiest way to simplify really difficult backing scenarios (especially if you have a TV with a frame) is to mount a front receiver hitch - suspension allowing.
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Old 12-11-2012, 07:33 AM   #15
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Simular story here.....in recent years we've gone from a vintage 23' to a 25' wide body, to a 28' wide body, to now a 31' wide body.

The move from the 23 to the 25 was what I would call "significant", but hardly noticed the other two increases.

My dad used to tell me, "if you're going to pull a trailer, it might as well be 40' long, because you won't know the difference". He was right, you won't know the difference in length, but you will notice the difference in weight.
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Old 12-11-2012, 07:39 AM   #16
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The only issue I had was due to my inattentiveness and old habits. I had my "marks" when backing into MY DRIVEWAY with my 22'er. Thinking about something else while backing in my 30'er shortly after getting it, I went to hit my "marks" and the house moved!

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ALWAYS KEEP YOUR HEAD IN THE GAME!!!!!
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Old 12-11-2012, 07:40 AM   #17
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Simular story here.....in recent years we've gone from a vintage 23' to a 25' wide body, to a 28' wide body, to now a 31' wide body.

The move from the 23 to the 25 was what I would call "significant", but hardly noticed the other two increases.

My dad used to tell me, "if you're going to pull a trailer, it might as well be 40' long, because you won't know the difference". He was right, you won't know the difference in length, but you will notice the difference in weight.
Thanks, Steve. That's just what I was thinking (based on no real life experience!). To me, the big jump seems to be the move to a wide body and once you've done that, it's less of an issue to go to the 30'/31' AS.

John S.
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Old 12-11-2012, 08:24 AM   #18
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JDS,
I'll be surprised if you notice the difference in length, or in backing maneuvers. But the wide body does have one instance where it can raise your blood pressure a point or two, and this in driving through construction zones.

My first trailer was a narrow SOB. I noticed when we got the AS 25 Flying Cloud wide body that in those segments of freeway construction which are guarded left and right by K-rail (we call it the "chutes") you can feel nervous when looking in the mirrors and seeing how close you seem to be to the K-rails. I know there is room, but it is an optical illusion of sorts of seeing that aluminum well out past your car body.

Of course 8'-5-1/2" does fit easily into 12' minimum lane, but when that 12' is bounded by concrete, it sure don't seem like it sometimes!

All in all, I don't think you should give it any concern. The day before we picked up our 25 FC I was really nervous about towing it. I had a lot of nightmares and concerns coming from a 17' x 7' SOB. I had not towed anything that big. 15 minutes after crawling out of the lot, we were rolling up the 4 passes out of Eugene on Interstate 5 and I was as confident as could be. It was towing far easier than our SOB and frankly, I could barely tell I had a trailer. My wife and I were smiling ear to ear.

Actually, had we known it was that painless to tow, we probably would have bought the 28 Int'l - which was our favorite trailer. Going in, we both wrongly correlated "length" with "difficulty of towing" as a criterion for selecting a trailer. We kept saying, 'yeah - but it's 28-feet and maybe that's too long to tow easily. We don't want to get in over our heads.' The salesman offered, "don't worry about that," but I figured it was just, you know, sales talk! We settled on the 25. We love it, but I know someday we'll be looking at a 28 or 30.

There's a few fair complaints people have about Airstreams, but towing is not one of them. These things really DO tow like a dream. Good luck!
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Old 12-11-2012, 08:32 AM   #19
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JDS,
I'll be surprised if you notice the difference in length, or in backing maneuvers. But the wide body does have one instance where it can raise your blood pressure a point or two, and this in driving through construction zones.

My first trailer was a narrow SOB. I noticed when we got the AS 25 Flying Cloud wide body that in those segments of freeway construction which are guarded left and right by K-rail (we call it the "chutes") you can feel nervous when looking in the mirrors and seeing how close you seem to be to the K-rails. I know there is room, but it is an optical illusion of sorts of seeing that aluminum well out past your car body.

Of course 8'-5-1/2" does fit easily into 12' minimum lane, but when that 12' is bounded by concrete, it sure don't seem like it sometimes!

All in all, I don't think you should give it any concern. The day before we picked up our 25 FC I was really nervous about towing it. I had a lot of nightmares and concerns coming from a 17' x 7' SOB. I had not towed anything that big. 15 minutes after crawling out of the lot, we were rolling up the 4 passes out of Eugene on Interstate 5 and I was as confident as could be. It was towing far easier than our SOB and frankly, I could barely tell I had a trailer. My wife and I were smiling ear to ear.

Actually, had we known it was that painless to tow, we probably would have bought the 28 Int'l - which was our favorite trailer. Going in, we both wrongly correlated "length" with "difficulty of towing" as a criterion for selecting a trailer. We kept saying, 'yeah - but it's 28-feet and maybe that's too long to tow easily. We don't want to get in over our heads.' The salesman offered, "don't worry about that," but I figured it was just, you know, sales talk! We settled on the 25. We love it, but I know someday we'll be looking at a 28 or 30.

There's a few fair complaints people have about Airstreams, but towing is not one of them. These things really DO tow like a dream. Good luck!
Mstephens,

Intersting you should mention that. When we picked up our 23' from Colonial in August 2011, there was a LOT of construction on the highways with numerous stretches where there were what we call New Jersey barriers on both sides of the lane. I had never towed anything before and I was a little concerned, to put it mildly. Everything went well but I will say that the increase to a wide body did cross my mind. I did not know that lane width was 12'; that's reassuring in that I am fairly confident that I can navigate those restricted lanes OK. Just aim for the middle and go!

John S.
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Old 12-11-2012, 08:58 AM   #20
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The second thing I ever towed was 34' triple axle, with a Cadillac sedan, too, and it was no different from the 28' FC I'd just run out with, towed with a Lexus SUV.

My width story, though, comes from construction work on the I59 between Birmingham and Chatanooga. It was in what we Brits call 'Contraflow', all traffic squeezed onto the Northbound side. The pavement had been extended slightly in the right hand lane to take two lanes in each direction but there was a step of about two or three inches down from the edge of the extended pavement to the original pavement and the door side wheels of my wide-bodied Airstream kept dropping down and back up again, causing all sorts of problems at 50 mph. Checking my mirrors, I noticed that all the semis were in the left hand lane, narrow though it was, tucked up against the concrete wall. I reckoned that they must have been having the same problem so I moved left, too, and whilst I seemed to be almost touching that concrete wall sometimes, at least I was running straight and true. That construction went on for 15 miles but we emerged unscathed and me with a better experience of judging that extra width.
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