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Old 08-15-2015, 12:15 AM   #99
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You know, I'm starting to wonder with your needs for a large vehicle to haul your family and pet around will the 27' Airstream even be big enough to be half way comfortable? Maybe a 30' and a Ram Mega Cab Dulley.
Your a smart dude. That's the plan. If we buy 27', the Navigator appears a viable option, not absent of much consideration, but an option. Primary issue is I am pretty firm on the fact that I won't be able to put any gear whatsoever in the vehicle. That may work, but as many have cautioned, when camping with kids stuff adds up. I'm heeding that warning heavily.

If we buy a 30' bunk, which we will if I can get anyone to reply to my emails requesting twins. Airstream said no, but I contacted Ultimate Airstream in Oregon whom is a custom authorized by Airstream place. If they can modify a 30' bunk to have twins, that's what we are buying. In which case I am buying a Dodge Ram. So maybe I should apologize to PDonahue. Hmm.


Dan
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Old 08-15-2015, 12:23 AM   #100
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Seems to me your decision comes down to how you see your situation moving forward. If you have something like acreage and horses, then a truck is in order. If you live in the suburbs or the city then a truck is a hassle. Do you envision mostly hauling people or hay? The Navigator can capably haul the Airstream, that's settled, what else are you seeking?
Insightful and at the heart of much deliberation. We fish a lot, fly fishing namely. And have a kayak trailer we take off road on muddy and eroded trails. We run over to Johnson City,Tenn (4 hours) with raft trailer and float rivers in one of our whitewater rafts fly fishing. That's a part of lure of truck, we could carry unassembled raft and after unhooking Airstream, assemble raft and carry on truck racks, which I've been searching this past few hours. We also drive on beach at Outer Banks surf fishing and tent camping each Fall. We also mountain bike in the smokies, Tsali mainly, and hauling bikes in SUV sucks. Now we got a dog, I don't even have a plan. Kids too small to matter much at this point.


Dan
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Old 08-15-2015, 12:24 AM   #101
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Is it Dana the rock or Dan at the rock?


Sent from my iPhone using Airstream Forums


Fair enough
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Old 08-15-2015, 12:29 AM   #102
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It does seem that the Navigator represents the best compromise, given your particular set of circumstances. You can make either of the alternatives work, it's just a matter of determining what compromises you are willing to make to achieve your desired attributes.

As for pre-determining that this vehicle has to be THE one to carry you for a long-term period... why lock yourself into that. If needs or desires change, you can change the vehicle. No need to put yourself in a self-imposed sentence with any vehicle. Make the best decision you can for today's forseeable needs and go with it. When time comes that a change might be in order, make it. It's just a vehicle, not a marriage.

Thank you, and I agree. All the 10-15 year 'marriage' talk was when I was convinced I needed a 3/4-1 ton truck with a diesel. Momentum has shifted away from that a little, depending on how the wind blows. But as I narrow my search, I agree with you more. Big part of the need for a more flexible outlook, kids growing and my ability to add mountain bikes, kayaks, a whitewater raft, canoe, etc increases with each passing year. Lots of what we normally do has fell by wayside in favor of diapers, bottles, apple juice, and snacks. But in a few short years, that will change.


Dan
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Old 08-15-2015, 02:46 AM   #103
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Funny, just as I was thinking the Navigator would be the solution (and it may be the best solution for a few years), when you mentioned the 30' bunk house with twin beds, everything changes. And it sounds to me like you really need to start there, with an ample sized Airstream for a family of four and a growing large breed dog.

I'd say stick to your guns on getting the Airstream that meets your needs the most, laid out as you want it. Obviously, your financial resources seem to be reasonably ample to make that happen.

Get with a good Airstream dealer to see what they can do to convince JC to make the 30' bunk the way you want it. We did that with getting a 2016 30' Serenity with the recliner layout, except without recliners. AS had said they would make no more, but obviously, we were able to persuade them to make ours just as we wanted it. So, whether through JC, or after market, you CAN get your 30' bunk house with twins, one way or another. Then, your choice of TV is settled and it won't be a Navigator. You need space and cargo capacity for all the stuff that goes along with having two kids, as well as your outdoorsy activity gear.

Remember, you really need to go sit in the Airstreams and spend a good 1/2 hr to an hour contemplating and envisioning your entire family inside the trailer and how it would all work. Not that you would all be in there ALL the time, but you will all be in there SOME of the time, for sure.

So, it sounds like with two growing kids and a young and growing German Shepard, the 30' bunkhouse is a very smart move.

Heck, my wife and I decided we needed a 30' Serenity for just the two of us and our 100# Golden Lab. Space-wise, it has turned out to be the perfect choice for us. Plenty of floor space for the pup, plenty of space for each of our recliners, not feeling cramped at all. And coming from a 44' diesel pusher with 3 sildes (one being FULL LENGTH wall slide), we were accustomed to RVing with a LOT of space. We're surprised that the AS, with NO slides can feel open and spacious. The 30' Serenity with all the windows and 3 Vista View windows, and white wood work, really contribute toward having a bright, spacious feel.






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Old 08-15-2015, 07:14 AM   #104
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In another Thred we discussed customizing the Airstream which my personally feeling is that Airstream would never do, but regardless, let me address twins in a bunkhouse.

That would be hard to do. You would need to gut the side wardrobes and change the master bed cabinetry. Then the storage space below the queen bed would be in in the isle between the beds, the exterior access door would open right into this space. I see this mod is costing a few dollars. Keep in mind the dinette and couch make beds as well.
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Old 08-15-2015, 09:51 AM   #105
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Ted,

Yeah, likely a lot involved with changing over to twins. Which is why I had really hoped Airstream would just make one. If Ultimate Airstreams ever contacts me back, will be curious to hear their ideas. From what I see, they get semi finished Airstream from factory and add their touches, rather than gutting a brand new 100% assembled unit. If Doug sees this, thanks for the suggestion man.



DHart, you guys got the sweetest setup I've seen.

And in case folks think I'm crazy looking at SUV with the recently posted outdoors interest. Rafting, kayaking, Mtn biking, etc. I get it and agree. All my thoughts are not on this thread though. What the plan would be is to make weekend tent camping trips carrying our kayak trailer or whitewater raft trailer. We also have an hitch adapter that allows us to put mountain bike rack (hitch mount Thule) on top outlet, and the kayak or raft trailer below. Long story short, if buying a Navigator and 27' twin, we would be also committing to many weekend tent camping trips each year towing the toys.




With the 30', while a great family layout, if we can get twins, it's not without some reservation. The main place we are using Airstream is Smoky Mountains and many campgrounds within it have max trailer length restrictions of 26-27'. With that said, if I could buy a 30' bunk with twins, it would probably still be worth it, as only 3-4 of the 12-13 campgrounds in the Smokies would be off limits, assuming they are actually enforced, or valid regarding length restriction.

I really value the thoughtful responses here. I'm overloaded on info, at my own doing. This is all I've thought about for over two months since finding this forum, although the Airstream dream is a 15 year old one. I think your advice to spend time in a few models should be my next move. We went to NC dealer last month but only had a few to see in the size range of interest. I spoke with Steven at RV Mart in Tampa, they have 30 or so on lot. Weekend trip soon perhaps, if my folks can watch kids and dog.


Anyways, I really appreciate the great, and not so great, advice here. I'm thinking about lots of issues I was not previously thinking about. That's a good thing. Double edged sword of sorts having complete purchase freedom on camper and truck. I'm not locked in, owning a camper, or nice truck, etc... already. Not being boxed in is good, but also means I've got a million choices to make at once. Which is tough when your the resident village idiot. I appreciate you guys and gals helping me address that deficiency.


Dan
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Old 08-15-2015, 11:10 AM   #106
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Sometimes the kids want to bring a friend camping. Mine did. More seats help there. As my kids grew older they preferred to sleep in a tent outside the trailer, especially if friends tagged along. I suggest not modifying the trailer to a bunk for awhile and see how it goes.
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Old 08-15-2015, 11:39 AM   #107
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Actual towing experience

Dan,
We have towed our 1969 31' International Sovereign with 3 Ford Expeditions, over 30,000 miles. We have used the Hensley Hitch for 10,000 miles. Our 2015 Expedition King Ranch with the 3.5 L Ecoboost is light years ahead of our previous Expeditions. We have the tow package with the 3.73 rear end and load leveler rear suspension. The owners manual gives instructions to set up the WD the first time, and then it is very simple thereafter.
We live at 10,000' elevation in Colorado, about 40 miles from the "Ike" towing test by the TFL Truck guys on Youtube. The Turbo V6 has fantastic power and torque, even at altitude. We can set the cruise control to climb Hoosier and Vail Pass and it will hold whatever speed desired over 12,000' and then with the tow/haul setting, maintain speed down the other side of the pass with only light braking.
We took the new rig on a 5,000 mile trip in May and June. With the Hensley (and maybe the anti-sway of the truck), even in the crosswinds of Wyoming, we were able to meet semis with no effect.
This truck, hitch, and Airstream combination is by far, the best setup we have had. I will recommend this truck to anyone towing an Airstream.
Later,
GR & Janice
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Old 08-15-2015, 12:02 PM   #108
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^^^ that's great to hear. What is your camper weight and tongue weight? Would be interested to hear if you have numbers handy.



Quote:
Originally Posted by kscherzi View Post
Sometimes the kids want to bring a friend camping. Mine did. More seats help there. As my kids grew older they preferred to sleep in a tent outside the trailer, especially if friends tagged along. I suggest not modifying the trailer to a bunk for awhile and see how it goes.

Good point about the inevitable tag along. Another check in the Navigator side of the spreadsheet in my head. A truck, any truck, will carry my family of four and dog. At best.

The bunks are not a priority as they will be outgrown soon enough anyway. The twins are what is needed, required. We can't sleep in a queen bed. Twins are a must and largely why we looked at 27' FB twin when Airstream refused to make a 30' bunk with twins, rather than queen.

The 28' and 30' twins caught our eye, but every report I found here said the L couches in those models was terrible. Every model we look at has something wrong with it. I know how that sounds, and normally consider myself a glass half full kind of guy.


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Old 08-15-2015, 12:15 PM   #109
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The 2016+ Classic is available with the twin bed option, but the kids would be relegated to the dinette and the sofa is just two recliner chairs or one lumpy sleeper. The 2014 Classic model 30 (like ours) can be found with twin beds (which we ordered along with the 50 amp service and dual air conditioners) and has a true hide-a-bed in the front that can sleep two. The dinette is still a sleeping option as well.

Maybe new might not be the best solution...

The kids may be small now, but ours grew like weeds and were soon crowding 100+ pounds each in a blinking of the eye.

Like the witches in McBeth, keep stirring the pot and eventually the random thoughts will gel into a coherent thought and plan of action.
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Old 08-15-2015, 12:23 PM   #110
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I hear you man. I'm a short step away from throwing bones and chicken blood in a wood bowl.

We like the classics, it's what my folks bought, a new 34' back in around 2000. They just kept it a few years then bought a vacation/retirement home at coast, Southport,NC.

The issue we are having is needing two separate sleeping areas for kids, assuming a tag along. So two of one sex in one area, odd man/woman in other sleeping area. This also being in an Airstream that has twins for me and Mrs Danattherock.

Anyone got any personal experience with the L couches in back of the 28-30' models?



Dan
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Old 08-15-2015, 02:48 PM   #111
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And Dan, while you're at it... consider that perhaps an Airstream isn't as well suited to your present situation as another brand of trailer or 5th wheel might be. While the Airstreams have undeniable charm and appeal, they have a particular set of somewhat severe limitations as well.

And, I suppose that there's a chance that a small motorhome might be your best choice for carrying all the people and dog(s) and stuff, and sleeping everyone comfortably. Just something to consider.

No choice will be even close to PERFECT. You're in a good position now to thoroughly look at all the possibilities!
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Old 08-15-2015, 02:57 PM   #112
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I barked up that tree. Made me feel cheap. Like walking out a motel lifting a short stack of twenties off the dresser cheap. Saw the Evergreen Element, discontinued Aviator, and a few other less boxy boxes. They would make decent prom dates if my girl broke a leg, but that's where their lure ends. One night stand vs marriage. That sums it up nicely.

Would tent camp before buying a box. Which is what I've done for last 25 years anyway. We love it, and will continue to do so periodically even after buying an Airstream. Having kids made me consider a camper.

Many things one thought they knew about life change when little me comes along. Buying an Airstream just seems the natural move. Added security, storage space for an AR-15, AC in summer, heater in winter, games and puzzles at the dinette, refuge when weather is down, etc.

Year round camping is main draw of buying a camper. Too hot here for tent camping 3-4 months during summer. We cancelled our cable TV and home phone last November. We have Amazon Fire TV on three TV's and selectively have more available between that, Netflix, Hulu, than we want. We have live Fox News, HGTV, Food Network, among 15-20 others as well.

Point being, we are not in a vacuum, just don't want TV and indoor stuff ruling their lives. That's all kids today seem to know. Digital baby sitters. No video games in my home. We got different plans for our kids. A simpler plan. Airstream isn't a camper to me, it's an investment in my kids future.

Tongue and cheek, my baseline, I know there are lots of decent campers on the market. There is just something special about an Airstream. My folks only had theirs three years, but a lasting impression was made. At this point, I'd be too ashamed to tell my folks or my wife we were buying a camper other than Airstream. Hah.

All joking aside, my parents are 5 miles away, but will retire in 2-3 years and move to beach house about 2.5 hours away. The Airstream will be set up in woods by my house (we have 8 acres in country) with full hook ups. Already got WiFi booster. Will have roof over it, basic landscaping. My parents will stay in it a few times a month visiting U.S. and the kiddos. They are as excited about me buying an Airstream as I am.

We want an Airstream. Seed was planted a long time ago. The 30' twin FC, or 30' Serenity ordered with twins, has my attention at moment. Local dealer has 30' Serenity on lot, sans twins of course, wife and I will take a look see Monday.

I was very impressed with quote I got on phone an hour ago at Out Of Doors Mart. MSRP was $105k on the 30' Serenity with 2nd AC, awnings, and 50 amp. I won't be driving out of state to buy which feels good.

With the agressive pricing I had got from Jersey and Tampa, I had wondered what my much smaller, local dealer could do. My parents bought their Airstream from OODM and had a great experience. Glad to have a good Airstream dealer and repair center 60 miles away.


Dan
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