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Old 01-23-2018, 07:24 PM   #1
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Sport 16RB vs 22FB w/ Highlander

I am considering the 16RB vs 22FB
I looked at them both briefly the other day and am trying to evaluate what would work best for me. The weight issue of the 22FB sits like a cloud as I hear conflicting info on the viability of my highlander as a two vehicle.
I need to study more, the hitch options add a dimension I knew nothing about.
Plus I am new the trailering and am a bit overwhelmed.

I like the 16RB layout but find it tight. I would like to use it in state parks and from what I understand it's size is more compatible with these types of sites.

I like the livable space aspect of the 22FB: everything seems a tad bit enhanced for not much more in price.

Lastly, I've never towed before, would I be better off learning the ropes with the smaller airstream?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 01-23-2018, 07:59 PM   #2
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In all honesty, you might be better off learning on a used brand other than an Airstream. It is a lot of money to spend if you really don't know what your doing. Work your way up and learn what works and what doesn't for you, then you can make an intelligent decision. Many people seem to get caught up in the AS glamour and make mistakes.
Something to think about... Good luck and safe travels!!
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Old 01-23-2018, 09:01 PM   #3
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The 16 would be pretty mindless to tow overall. However, I would go with the 22 for the extra room, non wet bath. Towing is not hard.. unless you're oblivious and not paying attention. Use common sense, give space, and you will be fine with a 22.. However, your tow vehicle is not really a tow vehicle.

If i were you, I would rent a couple trailers (Airstream or otherwise) to get used to towing and sizes. I rented for the first year or so, and it was a good experience to know what we want or dont want, and various dynamic changes in sizes (rented from 14' to 27' trailers).
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Old 01-23-2018, 09:25 PM   #4
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The 16 would be pretty mindless to tow overall. However, I would go with the 22 for the extra room, non wet bath. Towing is not hard.. unless you're oblivious and not paying attention. Use common sense, give space, and you will be fine with a 22.. However, your tow vehicle is not really a tow vehicle.

If i were you, I would rent a couple trailers (Airstream or otherwise) to get used to towing and sizes. I rented for the first year or so, and it was a good experience to know what we want or dont want, and various dynamic changes in sizes (rented from 14' to 27' trailers).
The 22 seems to be the sweet spot for all it offers.
I like your suggestion of renting.
With regard to towing, I remember my dad having a hard time leaving a restaurant parking spot...he had trouble backing up out of the space and the power steering caught on fire! So I'm a bit nervous about learning to back a trailer into spots or negotiating in turnarounds etc.
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Old 01-23-2018, 10:04 PM   #5
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It really depends on what Highlander you have. If you have a 2016+ Highlander V6 with the tow prep package it's SAE J2807 rated for 5000lbs w/ a 500lb tongue weight. Basically you should be fine with either trailer in that case.

The same is not true with the 2.7 or w/o the tow package. Figure that out before hooking up anything.

Having said that there are 2 "rules" you should follow:

1. Be sure you really want to go all in on this (either by renting or easing into it)
2. Don't buy a trailer based on your tow vehicle, buy the trailer that fits what you want to do.

Personally having done a 16, 23D, and now a 27 I can't recommend starting at the 16 unless you are true weekend warriors with no pets, and won't have any guests. Our 16' sport quite literally lasted us 3 months (April to July). We bought it based on what we could tow with our current vehicle at the time... a colossal mistake; trailers are not as easy to trade as cars.
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Old 01-24-2018, 02:03 AM   #6
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Go with the longer Airstream. We considered the 16’ because we thought it would be easier to tow. We decided on the 23’ International Serenity and we love it. Like anything else once you start towing, it’s like riding a bicycle.
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Old 01-24-2018, 05:27 AM   #7
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My wife has a Highlander (there can be only one!) and I put a tow hitch on it, but mostly for cargo trays and bike racks. Since it’s front wheel drive, it’s not really a good tow vehicle. Even with weight distribution, I wouldn’t really want to tow a travel trailer with it.

As others said, but the size trailer that’s right, then consider your TV
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Old 01-24-2018, 10:08 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Iansk View Post
My wife has a Highlander (there can be only one!) and I put a tow hitch on it, but mostly for cargo trays and bike racks. Since it’s front wheel drive, it’s not really a good tow vehicle. Even with weight distribution, I wouldn’t really want to tow a travel trailer with it.

As others said, but the size trailer that’s right, then consider your TV
We had a similar decision with our 4Runner. We went with 22fb as it has more usable space while *being narrower* and within tow specs.
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Old 01-24-2018, 10:54 AM   #9
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The 16' Sort is very high on the Cute scale, but very tight inside with limited storage space. For me, it'd be too small to function very well.

Like you, I'm new to the towing thing. I've towed lots of boats and the occasional farm trailer, but not tall and wide RV's. When I started looking at RV's, I kept moving up in order to buy my last trailer first. I wish I'd gotten the Sport 22 with rear bumper and front stone guards (a trailer that would have to be special ordered to get these). The FC25 that I got is super luxurious and has every amenity, and truly meets the "last trailer" definition, but it's too wide, too long and too heavy for my taste and only occasional use.

I wish I'd gotten a Sport 22 equipped as per above, and may sell the 25 and move in that direction. In your case (and probably me, too), I'd think about the 19' and 20', but not longer (again, unless you're going to take long trips for multiple weeks or months). The Sport 22 will max out your tow vehicle, if you're to stay with the Highlander.

I wouldn't start with a SOB. Get the minimum Airstream that will meet your needs and then equip it the way you want it. Unless your plans include weeks' long trips, a 22 should be perfect. In addition to its extra living space and dry shower, its being more narrow makes it a clear choice over the 16", IMO.

Buy a couple of walkie-talkies, use a spotter, get synchronized on what means left/right, practice a bit and backing should be a non-event. The Long Long Honeymoon website contains several great videos for us newcomers that are immensely helpful.
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Old 01-24-2018, 11:54 AM   #10
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I've never towed travel trailer before and bought 33 ft long Jayco. Actually, I drove from California to Indiana to pick it up from the factory... solo, i.e. without any spotter. Refueling was the most challenging part of the game, but this is really not a rocket science. I was planning to practice backing up in a big parking lot, etc., but at the end practicing backing up to the camp sites were enough. After a couple of camping trips, I can back up without a spotter, but it is always nice to have one, as this saves you getting out / in from the car to check what is going on in the back.

Before pulling a trigger to buy the travel trailer, I was camping very often with tent. I am not sure whether you have any experience with such kind of camping. If not, I would not buy travel trailer at all, in particular AS. This is huge investment and you do not know, if you like it.

If you do not have camping experience, rent a couple of time and make sure you like it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldExplorer View Post
(...)

Lastly, I've never towed before, would I be better off learning the ropes with the smaller airstream?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 01-24-2018, 12:03 PM   #11
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If you do not have camping experience, rent a couple of time and make sure you like it.
Excellent advice!
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Old 01-24-2018, 01:59 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldExplorer View Post
I am considering the 16RB vs 22FB
I looked at them both briefly the other day and am trying to evaluate what would work best for me. The weight issue of the 22FB sits like a cloud as I hear conflicting info on the viability of my highlander as a two vehicle.
I need to study more, the hitch options add a dimension I knew nothing about.
Plus I am new the trailering and am a bit overwhelmed.

I like the 16RB layout but find it tight. I would like to use it in state parks and from what I understand it's size is more compatible with these types of sites.

I like the livable space aspect of the 22FB: everything seems a tad bit enhanced for not much more in price.

Lastly, I've never towed before, would I be better off learning the ropes with the smaller airstream?

Thanks in advance!


The issue of trailer size in State and National Parks does not really come into play until you get to 25 and bigger. I have a 2015 Highlander and it is rated for 5000 lbs. There are plenty of discussions on trailer tongue weight, gross vehicle weight, payload etc. so you can search them up on this forum.

Worst case, I suspect, you would go slower up mountains than you would normally drive, but I go slower everywhere with my 22 foot Safari than I would drive anyway. I usually set the speed at 65 and the cruise control usually holds on moderate hills.

I can not conceive of a scenario where you wouldn't be selling the 16 foot unit after a year and taking a bath on depreciation.

If you are 'normal' I wouldn't recommend anything less than a 20 foot rear kitchen.

Different folks have different requirements, so you might be an exception, but I would wager that most people (51% OR MORE) move up from their 16 foot trailers to bigger ones within three years. Check with Dan at Holiday Trailer Sales in Albuquerque. He will tell you the true numbers.

Good Luck.
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Old 01-24-2018, 06:40 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldExplorer View Post
I am considering the 16RB vs 22FB
I looked at them both briefly the other day and am trying to evaluate what would work best for me. The weight issue of the 22FB sits like a cloud as I hear conflicting info on the viability of my highlander as a two vehicle.
I need to study more, the hitch options add a dimension I knew nothing about.
Plus I am new the trailering and am a bit overwhelmed.

I like the 16RB layout but find it tight. I would like to use it in state parks and from what I understand it's size is more compatible with these types of sites.

I like the livable space aspect of the 22FB: everything seems a tad bit enhanced for not much more in price.

Lastly, I've never towed before, would I be better off learning the ropes with the smaller airstream?

Thanks in advance!
OldExplorer you pose some interesting questions and dilemma! I can pass on my personal experience owning a 16' Sport. I have heard the shorter the trailer the more difficult it is to backup due to the wheel base from the rear wheels of the TV to the trailer, I can't speak to that except to say, it doesn't seem to be a problem for me, I worried about backing, but it turned out not to be a big deal and I wouldn't classify myself as an expert trailer person. In regard to the choice of trailer, that will largely be up to your perceived needs, there are people that I have seen posting on Air Forums that have dogs and two people that due just fine. BTW you can have a rear bumper and stone guards purchased and installed at your AS dealer as well as other enhancements but consider your weight limitations, you can adjust your payloads by not carrying full water water thats 288 pounds or shed half a load 144 pounds, if your staying at a campground with hookup’s you don’t need to carry any. In regard to people trading up within short ownership that would be across the spectrum of Airstreams, try trading in a car after one year of ownership. Want to gauge how popular 16' trailers are look on the classifieds on Air Forums, do a count as how many are for sale? Airstream is launching the 'NEST' Fiberglass this spring, guess what its 16' and how about the 'BASECAMP', you guessed it 16’. Lastly I wouldn’t depend solely on any salesman’s recommendation as to what model to buy be that an Airstream or vacuum cleaner. If your smitten with aluminum or fiberglass you are heading in the right direction. Lastly the Gross Weight of the 16’ Sport is 3500 lbs.
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Old 01-24-2018, 06:45 PM   #14
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If you do not have camping experience, rent a couple of time and make sure you like it.
I've done plenty of tent camping, but I'm at a point where I prefer having a more protected environment with more comfort (older now). Plenty of rainy soggy trips in Maine in Spring & late Fall

I need to rent a trailer to see how the camping experience differs.
I like a quiet setting and am not sure how rv style camping compares.
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