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Old 07-14-2013, 10:13 AM   #1
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Advice for a Newbie

Taking delivery of my 2014 Interstate Extended on 7/17 and am looking for shortcuts to the good life.

QUESTION:
I am sure on the first trip I'll figure out lots of 'I wish I had' and "I should have done" issues, but this forum seems to be the place to get answers to all of that before I head out and minimize the headaches.

Pretty handy with electrical & networking etc - just need to know what others have found working for them.

Categories:
1) Modifications that Airstream & Mercedes didn't think of. . . .
2) Item that need to be included in packing list . . . . .
3) Warnings/Troubleshooting for things that WILL go wrong. . . . .

BACKGROUND:
- 49, self employed, still working 50-70 hr weeks (40 in office; 30 on web)

- Just Me, the wife and our 6yr old Labrador (three kids grown and gone)

- Live in Illinois; Kids in NC, CA

- Bought the RV for easier road trip to see the kids and in-laws; and to allow us to take the Lab on weekend trips out of town. (getting a dog setter was always a pain and good excuse for us not to travel.

- First trip out will be a 10 day Jaunt to NC; driveway camping a day or two; full hookup on 4-5 days, and road time the rest.

- I have camped with grandparents when I was a small child and was a Green Beret in the Army; so field craft isn't an issue.

- plan on taking a dual-purpose motorcycle on receiver rail for local transportation.

Thanks to everyone for their input; Hope to have a new network of friends in the Airstream community, and this board.
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Old 07-14-2013, 11:26 AM   #2
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The first decision is whether or not you are a boon docker or are an RV park camper. If you are a boon docker, you need a solar panel or a small generator (Ymaha or Honda I2000).

I always take a wireless router and Wi-Fi laser printer.

You'll want a couple of folding chairs and a folding table. Many members take an 8x12 outdoor carpet, but you need a pickup truck for that.

The bottom line is that there are so many variables that you need to suit yourself--before you go on a trip, camp in it in the driveway for two days and make a list of "needs" every time you go to the house. A real camper wouldn't need to go to the house.

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Old 07-14-2013, 11:46 AM   #3
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Some small items I have found invaluable are
  1. a dogbone with a 50 Amp male and 30 Amp female connector
  2. an adaptor with a 20 Amp male and 30 Amp female connectors
  3. a 50 foot self coiling water hose
  4. there are a lot of useful iOS (iPhone/iPad) apps. Some are more useful than others, but some I have found handy are…
    1. Diesel for locating the nearest filling station with diesel fuel (works best along the Interstates and major highways)
    2. Find Fuel locates nearby sources of propane and other "alternative" fuels
    3. RV Ref. It is pretty elementary, but as I had not camped on maybe 30 years it was a painless way to catch up on how camping and campers have evolved.
    4. All Stays Camp & RV for locating camp grounds in your vicinity and trip planning.
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Old 07-14-2013, 11:46 AM   #4
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Thanks Zeppelinium; the 2014s have 1 Solar Panel already installed, and of course it has the LP Genny; do I need a 2nd Genny? I plan to use a basket on the back; along with the motorbike - so may have room for the carpet; I like that idea.

Great List joemikeb; thanks.
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Old 07-14-2013, 02:45 PM   #5
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So - update: I started an Amazon List for anyone else that is looking. I'm sure I have LOTS of stuff that I'll never buy or actually need; but I add it to the list so I can find it again later!

Amazon.com: Mike Jackson: Airstream Interstate Camping
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Old 07-14-2013, 05:28 PM   #6
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Geez, I'm exposing my Vintage lack of knowledge of the new Airstreams! You have an included LP Genny? No, you don't need a second one.

Are the new frames designed with a hitch receiver on the back end of the Airstream? Holy cow, that is such a no-no in the Vintage world!!! And I do mean NO-NO. Any extra weight at the back end of the frame is a good way to get early rear end separation. If you have a receiver back there, make sure you stay within the published tongue weight limits for it.

The carpet will be light, maybe 25-40 lbs., depending on what fabric you get.

Zep
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Old 07-14-2013, 10:29 PM   #7
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MILATV,

We also haven't gone camping in the last 30 or so years until we got our 2013 Interstate. The first thing we got was a mattress topper for the rear fold down "bed". Then we got things like an ice chest for extra food that needs refrigeration, lawn chairs, a small foldable outdoor table, a lightweight butane powered stove (because the Interstate doesn't have an exhaust fan over the built-in stove), an area mat for under the awning, LED flashlights and camp lights, a bath mat outside the shower, a small trash can, a small table for the rear captain's chairs (because the heavy table that AS includes doesn't let you pass between the front seats and the house - and get one that also fits in between the front captain's chairs), and a plastic utensil tray (because I didn't want to use the wood one AS provided). I'm sure I'm forgetting a lot of things, and I'm still planning on getting a silencer for the generator, installing s second remote switch for the propane, and replacing the existing 50w solar panel with a 100w solar panel and adding s second 100w solar panel in front of the Maxxfan. Hope this gets you going.
David
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Old 07-14-2013, 10:43 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeppelinium View Post
Geez, I'm exposing my Vintage lack of knowledge of the new Airstreams! You have an included LP Genny? No, you don't need a second one.

Are the new frames designed with a hitch receiver on the back end of the Airstream? Holy cow, that is such a no-no in the Vintage world!!! And I do mean NO-NO. Any extra weight at the back end of the frame is a good way to get early rear end separation. If you have a receiver back there, make sure you stay within the published tongue weight limits for it.

The carpet will be light, maybe 25-40 lbs., depending on what fabric you get.

Zep
The Interstate is on a Mercedes Sprinter, so with Extended Cab it has 5,000 lbs tow capacity. Shorty is 6,500 I think.
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Old 07-14-2013, 10:57 PM   #9
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Oh, and don't forget to pack the M4 with the TA31RCO-M4CP
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Old 07-15-2013, 12:38 AM   #10
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One thing I found useful was a Belkin mini surge protector which plugs into one of your AC outlets and it has three outlets plus two USB ports for charging all the many different electronic devices.

I found that by opening one of the rear windows and turning on the roof fan, you can exhaust most of the cooking fumes.
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Old 07-15-2013, 06:51 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by MILATV View Post
The Interstate is on a Mercedes Sprinter, so with Extended Cab it has 5,000 lbs tow capacity. Shorty is 6,500 I think.
Non-extended version's receiver is rated for 7,500 pounds as per the original Sprinter, but actual towing capacity will be less. Possibly much less.

Gross Combined Weight Rating is 15,250 pounds (Regular AND Extended models)
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating is 11,030 pounds (Regular AND Extended models)

So, if your Interstate is loaded all the way to GVWR, your effective towing capacity is (GCWR-GVRW=) 4,220 pounds.

I've never weighed my Interstate fully loaded (I should, though, but with just me and a week's worth of supplies I'm probably not overloaded), and the most I've towed so far is a Honda Fit hatchback with a GVWR of ~3,500# and curb weight of ~2,600 pounds.
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Old 07-15-2013, 09:03 AM   #12
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Oh, and don't forget to pack the M4 with the TA31RCO-M4CP
I figure for an RV; the Remington 870 Tactical; or M1911 is a better choice. . .

My background is actually out around 900 meters (.308 or 300WM); but it is hard to show self defense when the perp is that far out.

LOL: but that said - I'll have to do the research on carry laws in each state I travel too; I know they differ and I sure as heck don't want a felony for storing my fire arm wrong while rolling down the road.

the Mace / Bear Spray will probably be my 'Home Defense' but I'll have the other items for ranges and recreational shoots with buddies at El Paso Border Patrol, Ft. Bragg, Campbell & Lewis; as well as any other Warrior Foundation I can find along the way.
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Old 07-15-2013, 09:38 AM   #13
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the Mace / Bear Spray will probably be my 'Home Defense'.
Wasp spray. Never tried it on bears; hope never to have the chance. But an excellent alternative to Mace, with a range about equal to your Airstream's length, and it won't poke holes in the Airstream if you miss (not everyone can hit the 10-ring consistently with a firearm).

Plus, no jurisdiction in the United States classifies it as a weapon with regard to ownership and transport; it's a common household item, that only becomes a weapon if you use it as such.

And best of all, it still works on insects as well as perps.
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Old 07-15-2013, 09:44 AM   #14
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If you are parking in a campground, ask if your dog is welcome before you commit to stay. Some have a size and/or breed limit on pets.
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