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Old 03-02-2005, 12:48 AM   #1
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19' Bambi questions...

Hi all, I have a couple Questions...

I have a 2004 Expedition...5.4L 3.73 gears, HD Tow group, and it is rear wheel drive. 75% of max somewhere in the 6500 lb range.

I am very curious and interested in the 19' International
Bambi. I know my vehicle should tow this with ease...and hoping it will fulfill our needs while in the wilderness.

For a bit of background. There is my wife and I, our 2 year old son, and we have another baby due (a boy!) end of June/early July.

We would like to start camping toward the end of this summer again. We both grew up camping in either pop-ups, or trailers, and tents, and have camped in tents ourselves, but have not owned a trailer ourselves ever.

My question goes out to those with the 19' Bambi's...and those who have upgraded from one.

We will probably camp at most, 1 or 2 times per year up to a week at a time, and the rest of the use will be over long weekends throughout the year...so like, 2 nights at a time. We are young, so don't have the ability to leave our jobs much more than this.

Are we going to be annoyed by this trailer with two small children? Are the corner beds at 48" wide really annoying for two adults? Or will they be just fine for our usage?

Also, I would like to hear opinions on single vs dual axle trailer towing...if it matters that much, or if it really doesn't. My next choice would be a 25' Safari, as to me, a 22' International is too costly for us, and the 28' would be way too much trailer for our vehicle...

I appreciate all your answers!

Sam
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Old 03-02-2005, 01:20 AM   #2
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19' Bambi questions...

Greetings Sam!

Quote:
Originally Posted by yosemitesam
Hi all, I have a couple Questions...

Also, I would like to hear opinions on single vs dual axle trailer towing...if it matters that much, or if it really doesn't. My next choice would be a 25' Safari, as to me, a 22' International is too costly for us, and the 28' would be way too much trailer for our vehicle...

I appreciate all your answers!

Sam
As a Free Wheeler, I can't be of much help on most of your questions, but can add my thoughts regarding single vs. tandem axle. Prior to owning my Argosy Minuet (19' 3" - - single axle), I wouldn't have considered a single axle as my experience with box style single axle trailers was that they tend to be very prone to sway. The Minuet convinced me that a coach that was properly engineered with a properly setup hitch didn't need a tandem axle to reduce sway - - I am as comfortable towing the single axle Minuet as the tandem axle Overlander (26' 8").

The only observable difference between the behavior of the single axle coach vs. the tandem axle coach is in backing - - the Minuet with its single axle reacts MUCH more quickly to steering inputs than does the Overlander with its tandem axles. It took several months of practice before I was as comfortable backing the single axle coach as the tandem axle coach. For both of my coaches, I utilize the Reese Strait-Line hitch with Dual Cam Sway Control and have never had any issues with towing performance on either trailer once the hitch was adjusted and equipped with weight distribution bars of the appropriate weight rating.

I have had reservations about the behavior of the single axle coach in the event of a blow-out or flat tire, but have only had that experience with a box type 19' travel trailer. Most of the reports that I have heard or read regarding tire problems while underway with an Airstream product have been that there is so little disruption in the normal towing manners that it isn't always immediately clear that there is a tire problem on the coach.

Good luck with your investigation and research!

Kevin
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Old 03-02-2005, 08:43 AM   #3
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Kevin,

Great insight into the single vs dual questions...dual really sounds like the safer way to go for sure...I always thought about sway and backing into spots. Never really thought about the reality of tires going out suddenly. Makes spending an extra $3-5k on the trailer seem worth it!

Thanks for info!

Sam
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Old 03-02-2005, 10:16 AM   #4
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Sam --- we just traded a 16' Bambi CCD last week for a 25' Classic after having the Bambi a little over a year . Here is some insite that may help. Single--Dual axle--A single axle trailer has 2 less tires to purchase, inflate , purchase covers for, etc. You have 2 less sets of wheel bearing to maintain. Single axle trailers are easer to level side to side on uneven ground and there is only 2 sets of brakes to maintain. I'm sure there are a few other advantages. Tandom axle trailers are slightly easier to back up, can be driven short distances on one wheel should you have no spare tire, has a second axle with added brakes, is easier to change a tire as you can drive onto a block with one wheel and lift the other wheel off the ground without a jack, are slightly more stable in a gusty side wind, and probably more stable should a blowout occure, however I have never had one nor spoke to anyone who has.
As to the 48" bed---The biggest problem with it is the person sleeping on the inside has to crawl over the other to get out. Our 16' was worse than the 19 as the bed is cross ways in it, still this is somewhat a problem with the 19 also. My wife and I are average size people so the 48" wasn't a problem but larger people would find it crowded. Two small children---Unless you get a really big trailer, no matter the brand 4 people in a trailer is always a test of ones patience. However I think you'll find you don't spend a great deal of time where all of you are inside at the same time anyway. Rainy days and bad weather are the only time this is likely to be a problem. When our kids were little we always kept a stash of games, comic books, and little toys that could be played on a table top for when little ones were confined or getting restless. One big advantage to the19' is the small trailers trade well. Most any dealer is anxious to trade for these models as there is a big demand for these both new and used. If you find after a year or so it's not what you want you'll have little trouble trading or selling it. We traded up as my wife is retiring in a few months and we'll have time for more extended travel and felt the added room will be more comfortable. Hope this is of some help.-----Pieman
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Old 03-02-2005, 10:35 AM   #5
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The bed in a 19' is not really big enough for two adults unless one is short and both sleep on their sides! Course it is camping, so you shouldn't but too much. I have the front sofa option, so you could do one adult and one child on the bed and sofa, respectively. That would work well, but you would have to do meals outside or on TV tables, which could get crowded. Four people, two of which are kids, is a lot in a 19', especially on a rainy day. Make sure you have alternatives planned for those days. If you dry camp, fresh water tank will empty fast and grey/black will fill up fast. Stay in parks that have free showers.

I love that mine tows so well. I never know its back there. Speaking of backing, it is so easy to park in those back in spaces (like my driveway). Easier to store, too! Also, at 19', there are very few parks that cannot accomodate it. At roughly 4,300 full, you don't need a Hummer to tow it. In short, I love it! What a great way for a family to travel!

Finally, I am planning on a 28' Classic as my up-grade. But, not till I get closer to retirement.
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Old 03-02-2005, 03:51 PM   #6
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Sam,

Having had a Bambi 19' and now a Safari 25' I will say that the Bambi will work, but I will tell you that you all will be very comfy in it meaning that eventually you will want to upgrade to the 25'. I know several folks round here that did it and a number that wish they would have.

The Bambi is a cute unit, and it's well within your tow vehicles range. A 25' Safari, if you take last years GVWR of 6300 you would quickly pass the rating on that SUV of yours. Could it do it? Sure. Would I suggest it in the long term? Prob not.

The 25' is a really good compromise between the larger units and the smaller ones. Storage in the 25' Six Sleeper is more than 2x that of the Bambi and it has far more breathing room. The rear bed, though also a bit awkward, is 4" wider, not much, but enough. The 25' has a couch and a dinette, the Babmi gets one or the other. The Safari 25' is a wide body, the 19' is not. The Safari has more water capacity than the Bambi which comes in handy when you boondock. The Safari SS also gets dual sinks and a MUCH larger fridge/freezer. If that isn't enough, the Safari has dual axles and I will tell you straight out from my direct exp, that the Safari, though larger, has far better road manners.

In the end, my suggestion to you would to look seriously at the 25' before making any final decsions. The reason we went with the Bambi in the first place was because of the tow vehicle, which now is a non issue. I know there is a 22' unit, but you need to keep in mind that interior space is approx 3' less than total space. So 19' would be around 16 and some change and down the line. 16-17 feet of space for a family of 4 (without even starting to add pets) is gonna be interesting in the long run.
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Old 03-02-2005, 04:51 PM   #7
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All very interesting points! I do think for me, the safety of the second axle is a bonus...I seem to have that odd luck sometimes! My luck, I'd blow a tire on the way home from the dealer!

As for a 25' Safari, they range I see from 7,000 to 7300 lbs depending on layouts. One big thing I didn't notice before is wide body vs not...had no idea they came in different widths! Learning something new all the time...which is key. My GVWR is actually 8950...so even at 7300 lbs I'd still be at 80%. Question for you...and this is a nitpicky thing. Can you measure the distance from your receiver to the center of the rear axle for me? I just want to see something I've read before, about the TV wheelbase being at least half what I just asked for. Although, I'm planning on buying a Hensley anyway...so probably won't matter. Do you have the Safari SS? That is a COOL trailer!

We are bad weather people. We like going out in the rain, snow, etc. Probably spend more days camping in Tahoe in the winter than any other months. Another reason for a bit bigger trailer, being stuck inside in real bad weather...although it is beautiful up there in the summer as well.

Then there is the 22' CCD. The thing I really like about the 22' International that I don't see anywhere else is the front bed. Maybe the 25' Safari FB as well...but I like the huge wrap around glass around the bed...TOTALLY SWEET! But I digress, in the long run, it will be all what my DW likes (as long as it is an Airstream).

Great imput everyone! Keep it coming!!

Thanks

Sam
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Old 03-02-2005, 06:27 PM   #8
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I don't have the Airstream near me, but the next time I'm out there I'll measure it.

The wide bodies start at the 25' units. You can either get a CCD or a Safari Special Edition. The special edition comes in the six sleeper, but has the standard Safari interior with the CCD windows and inner exposed skins.

Our Safari has the lesser axle and is rated at 6300lbs. The only reason the coach now has a 7300GVWR is because Airstream upgraded the axles. A full 25' six sleeper loaded will usually tip the scales at about 6k-- more depending on what you haul with you.

Now what I'm about to say is a personal pref, I know there are folks that have this coach and love it, but for us, the 22' we thought was still too small and didn't have enough storage. Add to the fact that it had a wet bath, wasn't a wide body (a bit more room), the wheel well took up a quarter of the dinette leg room and at the time it had one battery and electric tank heaters (which I am not sure is still the case), made the 25' all that more interesting to us. Another personal pref is that I like the bed in the back. The reason I like this is because I notice traffic going by, headlights, etc and with the bed in back we notice less noise, headlights, etc. Again, it's a personal call. There are some that wouldn't be without a front bed.

If your truck has a tow rating of 8700lbs, then you'll be in great shape. I know that you and the fam will have a far better exp in the 25' than the 19'. If you do stay in often, the extra space will really come in handy...or at least it did for us on days when mother nature didn't feel like playing nice.

You can see our trailer at www.silvertwinkie.org and you can also see the factory tour pictures we took when we were there.
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Old 03-02-2005, 06:57 PM   #9
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Hi Yosemitesam,

The front bed, the wet bath and the new style decor is why I ended up getting the 22' CCD. It wasn't my first choice as I was researching on the floorplans on the Internet. The participants here have good arguments for why THEY went with the trailer that THEY have. Even myself. But we all have different needs and wants.

I went to a dealer here on the East Coast that had all the floorplans that I was interested in. I had narrowed it down to three (22' Safari, 25' Safari and 22' CCD), based on what I liked, could tow and afford. My family all walked through each, sat on the seats, laid on the beds, sat on the toilet and walked around to get a feel for the size. We also looked at the decor. We even looked at others (16' CCD, 19' Safari and CCD and 28' CCD), just to keep an open mind.

This is what I recommend to you. Find a dealer or dealers that have a good selection and go through them. Spend some time in them. Get a feel for your favorites. Check everything out. Try playing out scenarios that you might have in your trailer while camping (ie: rainy day, entertainment, etc). What will you do? Is this the right trailer? Only you and your family will be able to tell what is right for yourselves.

Best wishes on your decision. We'll all be excited to hear what you'll buy.
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Old 03-02-2005, 07:25 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertwinkie
I don't have the Airstream near me, but the next time I'm out there I'll measure it.

The wide bodies start at the 25' units. You can either get a CCD or a Safari Special Edition. The special edition comes in the six sleeper, but has the standard Safari interior with the CCD windows and inner exposed skins.

Our Safari has the lesser axle and is rated at 6300lbs. The only reason the coach now has a 7300GVWR is because Airstream upgraded the axles. A full 25' six sleeper loaded will usually tip the scales at about 6k-- more depending on what you haul with you.

Now what I'm about to say is a personal pref, I know there are folks that have this coach and love it, but for us, the 22' we thought was still too small and didn't have enough storage. Add to the fact that it had a wet bath, wasn't a wide body (a bit more room), the wheel well took up a quarter of the dinette leg room and at the time it had one battery and electric tank heaters (which I am not sure is still the case), made the 25' all that more interesting to us. Another personal pref is that I like the bed in the back. The reason I like this is because I notice traffic going by, headlights, etc and with the bed in back we notice less noise, headlights, etc. Again, it's a personal call. There are some that wouldn't be without a front bed.

If your truck has a tow rating of 8700lbs, then you'll be in great shape. I know that you and the fam will have a far better exp in the 25' than the 19'. If you do stay in often, the extra space will really come in handy...or at least it did for us on days when mother nature didn't feel like playing nice.

You can see our trailer at www.silvertwinkie.org and you can also see the factory tour pictures we took when we were there.
So...the Safari Special Edition has the wrap around windows??? Interesting! VERY interesting!!! Is that the Safari 25' SS per chance? Interesting point of view on the bed being in back...and now that I look at the 25', it is nice having the shower across the hall!

BTW...my official favorite picture of your tour is by far the Bambi bar equiped with Airstream tap topper!

Thanks!

Sam
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Old 03-02-2005, 07:30 PM   #11
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Yup. The Special Edition does have the front wrap around windows and it is the six sleeper. rseagle is right though, you gotta see the models in person. I'll give you an example, I was all happy with the 31' Classic dinette. We saw one at the show and didn't like it...it was too cramped up front. I would never have thought that by lookin' at the floorplans and pics. Getting up in there can make a world of difference.
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Old 03-02-2005, 07:32 PM   #12
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Here is a site that has a 25' Special Edition six sleeper:

http://www.colonialairstream.com/newinventory/7633.html

There are a number of things I like about this unit (one is that it's the same floorplain I have ), but also this unit gets the vista views like the CCDs and Classics. Granted not as many or as big, but still nice.
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Old 03-02-2005, 07:34 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rseagle
Hi Yosemitesam,

The front bed, the wet bath and the new style decor is why I ended up getting the 22' CCD. It wasn't my first choice as I was researching on the floorplans on the Internet. The participants here have good arguments for why THEY went with the trailer that THEY have. Even myself. But we all have different needs and wants.

I went to a dealer here on the East Coast that had all the floorplans that I was interested in. I had narrowed it down to three (22' Safari, 25' Safari and 22' CCD), based on what I liked, could tow and afford. My family all walked through each, sat on the seats, laid on the beds, sat on the toilet and walked around to get a feel for the size. We also looked at the decor. We even looked at others (16' CCD, 19' Safari and CCD and 28' CCD), just to keep an open mind.

This is what I recommend to you. Find a dealer or dealers that have a good selection and go through them. Spend some time in them. Get a feel for your favorites. Check everything out. Try playing out scenarios that you might have in your trailer while camping (ie: rainy day, entertainment, etc). What will you do? Is this the right trailer? Only you and your family will be able to tell what is right for yourselves.

Best wishes on your decision. We'll all be excited to hear what you'll buy.
Thanks! I'll be excited to tell what we bought, too!!!

ha...did you say you tried out the toilet?
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Old 03-02-2005, 07:43 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertwinkie
Here is a site that has a 25' Special Edition six sleeper:

http://www.colonialairstream.com/newinventory/7633.html

There are a number of things I like about this unit (one is that it's the same floorplain I have ), but also this unit gets the vista views like the CCDs and Classics. Granted not as many or as big, but still nice.
Thanks! Been to their website! Very very nice!

BTW...your signature alone makes me want to meet you.

-Sam

17" powerbook, wife owns a 12" powerbook...been Mac users for 10 years.
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