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Old 06-14-2015, 07:04 AM   #1
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2015 22' FB Sport
Kansas City , Missouri
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 708
22 vs 23 vs 25

Hi everyone,
We are still at the looking (saving up $$) and deciding stage.

We visited a dealer recently and looked at the 22 and liked it very much. IIt seemed to be very well laid out, and had the space we need. Currently we anticipate purchasing a 22 in about a year or so once we are ready.

I would like your thoughts on the 22 vs 23 vs 25. In reality we could tow any of these. (2014 Tundra V8).

Obviously the 22 if a new purchase is the lowest cost. But once you start looking at gently used models, all 3 are closer in price.

Here is what we anticipate for camping. And what we like about the 22.

Please chime in with you observations, opinions, and thoughts. THANKS

Like: large enough bed for 2 to sleep comfortably. Very good kitchen counter space. Lots of windows that open, including bathroom window. (for camping in mountains with no AC) Adequate storage. Good size for boon docking. Separate gray and black (unlike the 16).


We live in Kansas City so would often be going for our annual vacation to places like Rocky Mountain National Park or other places in Colorado where there are not hookups. 2 adults and no pets for camping. Possible adding along 1 or 2 adult daughters sometimes.


Would you pay more just to have a larger water holding capacity in a 23 or 25.

Is the exterior size difference when camping so insignificant that having a 23 or 25 is going to make little difference in campsite selections.

How much time do you really spend inside when camping for a week. Will we regret only having the dinette for a seating space vs. the additional lounge space in a 23 or 25. Or is this just going to be us dragging around more than is needed. Yes I know that it will rain every day in the mountains.

Any comments on the window differences between the 22 sport windows and the typical AS windows in the 23 or 25.

If the overall price difference is taken out of the consideration of factors, which would you choose to be light to travel in the mountains and comfortable once you get there?

We would prefer not to buy a second time!!

Thanks for your opinions and insight.


Piggy Bank
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Old 06-14-2015, 07:29 AM   #2
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2016 25' Flying Cloud
Venice , Florida
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There is an old saying in the boating world & it applies to the RV world also "buy that 3rd boat the first time". You have the truck so strong consideration should be given to the 25ft.
Every day in a camp will not be a perfect day, rain, wind, temperature drop any number of conditions that might cause you to just stay inside & play a board game of read a book. Most of us like a little adventure or we wouldn't be RVing but comfort & flexability are a major part of the enjoyment.
Every advance in size is a advance in all the amenities Airstream has to offer.

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Old 06-14-2015, 07:36 AM   #3
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According to my dealer, the biggest reason for trade in of the smaller units is to move up to larger one's. I had a good friend who mulled around buying a 25 or 27 and chose the 25. I advised her to go larger, especially with their two larger dogs, but she thought the 25 was more than adequate. They sold it a couple of years later and when asked I was told it was space.

This is especially important when you noted that you may have to accommodate 1 or 2 more adults at times. Pay special attention to interior storage space and bed sizes and their positioning. Those things will drive you nuts over time.

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Old 06-14-2015, 07:54 AM   #4
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2006 25' Safari
Fort Myers , Florida
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You are focused on the same models I was being directed to consider five years ago. I do not have extensive camping experience, especially out west but I can give you some things to consider and I am sure others will chime in as well.

First, the tow vehicle. This is a VERY touchy subject on the forum as many have their opinions but I will tell you to stay within your vehicle's specs. There are two critical factors on a pickup- payload capacity and towing capacity and neither should be compromised. They are not the same. Towing is the power to pull a particular amount of weight- usually way more than needed. The "tight" one is payload capacity and all Tundras, like any brand are not created equal. Your tongue weight must be subtracted from the payload capacity. I believe that the most capable Tundra maxes out at around 1700 lbs for tongue weight, people and cargo. Double check yours. My trailer's advertised weight is 860 lbs. The actual? 990 lbs. Basically I have a 1000 lb tongue weight on a truck with a 1540lb payload capacity.

Second, the tanks are more important than you may think. The 22 and 23 seem to have about the same size. The gray tank is always the first to need emptied. I have a 39 gal gray and mine will go about 3 days before emptying- that is with two people. With the tanks on the 22 and 23 you will be emptying them at two days or less. When the other two people join you, perhaps every day. I say this is a concern because you also mention boon docking.

As for towing, the 22 and 23 will be narrower so seeing around them is easier but how much- dunno. Camp sites? I have read where there are some parks out west that are limited to 24 feet or less. That is an issue but what alternatives are there? Dunno. In Florida where I live, I have geekishly studied the state parks and # of spots to size. I have found that there are sites for all sizes HOWEVER, the number of sites becomes vastly limited past the 28' mark, ex. 140 total spots- 80 fit up to 24', 50 fit up to 28', 20 fit up to 40' kinda thing. Personally, aside from the width, I cannot see pulling 3' longer an issue (the 25 is more 26' while 23 is 23').

Layout? The 23 and 25 are close in layout (23D). This part is personal and more a lifestyle question. I had to have a trailer with a lounge area. There is outside under the awning- yes but in the summer when I camp, that is a bug infested humid place to be at night. The lounge acts as a multipurpose office, TV watching, eating area. Look at each one and compare the differences only and what you do on a given night, day, etc. Sit on the commode in each model. The models are SO DIFFERENT. I remember looking at a 20' model with the giant kitchen. The 23, the corner bath, the 25 the sideways full bed. I prefer a twin arrangement but again personal taste. Some like a 27 or 28 just for the bed reposition. I will tell you that one foot of the two extra feet from the 25 to 27/28 is just in the bedroom plan. Look at a twin and you will find 1' of open space in the bedroom the other 1' is larger wardrobe and counter.

Light to travel in the mountains? 4500lbs versus 6000lbs. I would get the trailer I wanted and could pull. The more compromise you make, the more you may be making a second decision later. Consider too that the most popular model is the 25'. It is the smallest of the Wide body big trailers and the has the features of the bigger ones. If you go used like I did, Consider how important those windows are to you. I have the sport style windows that open the lower third or so. I like them. Some don't. I get non-obstructed view (no screen at top 2/3 of so of window) and I go outside to see more. Plus I do not have that hot/cold transfer. Of course I am talking 2008 or a bit older (Safari- part Sport-Flying Cloud-Classic). You gain a lot at the 25' mark with Airstream.
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Old 06-14-2015, 08:08 AM   #5
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2008 22' Safari
Oracle , Arizona
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Everything positive you listed about the 22 is why we bought ours. We also boondock a lot and have been to all the Rocky Mountain Parks. We spent six days in the Gunnison and water was never an issue. Some ideal camp sites would have been a problem with a larger trailer. We have never looked back and wished otherwise.
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Old 06-14-2015, 08:30 AM   #6
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1996 34' Excella
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Our 27 is perfect when it is just the two of us but add one more body to the arrangement and it tips the balance. With only 2 (almost) full size beds there is always shuffling for sleeping and lounging space when we have our daughter along. Our tanks fill faster much faster and in my opinion, bigger is definitely better in this department. It's not just about boondocking but many State parks in Florida don't have sewer hookups available. I like more time in between sewer dumps because I'd rather be relaxing an extra day than figuring out the next tank dump. I've hauled our 27' all over Florida without a problem but never in the mountains so I can't speak for navigating it there. The older we get we find we need a little more room around is to move around to ensure safety and stability on our feet. Elbow and knee room = increased comfort when cleaning, loading/unloading and lounging. My husband has a permanent back injury and him having to step over a blow up mattress in the dark or bags of groceries we didn't have room to stow, isn't a safe option. We won't all always be as agile and young as we are now but we still want to be able to GO so that is an important aspect to consider. Regardless of what you choose, you'll enjoy the ability to get out there and you should be able modify any camper to fit your needs.
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Florida Panhandle
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Old 06-14-2015, 08:48 AM   #7
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I have not camped in a 22 or the 23. I do know that we like our 25 and spend up to 3 months a year in it. Holding tank capacity has been more limiting for us than fresh water supply volume. And you can refill the fresh water tank with a bucket from the campground faucet if you are so inclined. Our 25 is older and is the narrow body. I think the new ones are 6" wider. It sounds like you could make the smaller trailers work for you.
We do not spend a huge about of time in the trailer. When we do I read and it takes little space. We like to drive around in the truck and look at things, even on rainy days. And with a truck bed there is lots of space to store stuff that is only used sometimes in the trailer. For instance when we go way north we have the extra clothing and some sleeping bags in a box in the truck. We keep some of our food and drinks in the truck. It would certainly be cheaper to carry 4 or 6 gallons of water in jugs in the truck than to buy a trailer with a larger tank. We do not really boondock, but do camp at forest service and state parks and other campgrounds without hookups for up to 10 days at the time. I am most comfortable pulling it out to the dump station every 5 days. I also dump and fill the fresh wter almost every time we leave a campground no matter how long we have been there.
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Old 06-14-2015, 08:56 AM   #8
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Santa Rosa Beach , Florida
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Our story is a little different. We started out with a brand new Safari 25FB. This is the trailer that we affectionately refer to as Old Lucy. We camped in old Lucy for 1,325 nights and towed her 114,000 miles all over the country. We camped in virtually every situation, and Old Lucy always worked well for us.

For reasons that I can't fully explain, we decided to downsize. In November of 2013, we traded Old Lucy on a very gently used 2012 Flying Cloud 23FB. We refer to this Airstream as Little Lucy. We camped in Little Lucy for a total of 148 nights, and tow her 15,000 miles all over the country. We also enjoyed her immensely, but found her floor plan not as much to our liking. There were two things about Little Lucy that we did not particularly care for. One was the absence of any exhaust fan in the shower and the relatively small black tank (18 gallons). While on an extensive trip to the Pacific Northwest, we decided that we really preferred Old Lucy's features and layout.

In October of 2014, we traded Little Lucy on a 2015 Flying Cloud 25FB. This is New Lucy, and we have now camped in her for 92 nights, and have towed her 8,200 miles. We are back where we belong.

SuEllyn & Brian McCabe
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Old 06-14-2015, 09:19 AM   #9
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2006 23' Safari SE
Lexington , Kentucky
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We got a 23' mostly because of towing limitation but cost was also a consideration. I suggest you buy used, they are more affordable and in a year or two you'll probably want something else.

We like our 23' because it's easy to tow, hitch and unhitch. We can break camp quickly and move on down the road. Our 4Runner doesn't have any problems with it and the gas mileage is about what I get when I tow the boat. Cross winds haven't been a problem and stopping is not an issue either. The 25' is more weight, will use more fuel and slightly more difficult to tow.

We've talked about going bigger and if there weren't any towing limitation we'd probably go with the 25' for the extra room. The aisle in the 25' is wider, almost 2 can pass. You can get the twin bed arrangement, which we both like. Our 23' has the narrow double bed and if either one gets up the other knows about it. It's impossible to make that corner bed because you can't get to the sides With the 25' you can get the beds in the other end from the bathroom. If we have a comforter on the bed for cold nights we can't hardly get the bathroom door open wide enough.

Gray water fills up fast. We're getting a Blue Boy portable waste carrier to offload extra gray water. The black water tank is adequate as we mostly use the camp facilities except on dark, rainy nights. Fresh water lasts about a week if we're careful. I keep a 5 gallon container to refill from a potable water source if we run low.

In a nutshell, the 23' is just shy of comfortable, the 25' looks to be the right size and will be our next one. I will still buy used and let someone else take the depreciation hit.

Rich & Yvonne
2006 Safari SE -Dora-
2004 4Runner SE

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Old 06-14-2015, 09:41 AM   #10
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2012 25' Flying Cloud
Battle Lake , Minnesota
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We bought a 20 first, then shortly a 25 which has plenty of everything to take us through our retirement years. The 20 was missing a living room and this could not be fixed. The 25 is quite adaptable to alterations and we altered the living room for better seating.

If looking at new Airstreams in the mid-size range (and this is probably where you ought to be looking for the long term), don't buy anything until you evaluate the new 2016 Flying Cloud 26U.
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Old 06-14-2015, 09:54 AM   #11
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2015 22' FB Sport
Kansas City , Missouri
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All very good information.

To further clarify our thinking/rationalization at this point.

It seems to me generally, no one is unhappy with a 25. (unless snow bird or full-time, which we will not be doing)
We think we would be happy with a 22 when just DH and myself. And it is smaller to tow, no doubt.

We don't want to encumber ourselves with more to drag around than necessary.

We DO want to have extra bedroom capacity if the daughters come along. This is where you get into that gray area of are you buying for your actual usage, or your imaginary usage?
In those instances, with more than the 2 of us, we would anticipate that this would be at CGs with showers/toilets so that the water issue of 2 people vs 4 people would be not much of an issue. Clearly the 22 is not designed for full water usage for 3-4 people for very long.

Also if getting to the 23, we would probably be most interested in the front bed for 2 issues. Still has the operable bathroom window, and has lower tongue weight which helps with the payload on the TV. And we don't care for the corner bed.

If we got a 25 we would probably get the twin.

If you're still with me, please continue to chime in! Thanks for all the viewpoints.

Piggy Bank
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Old 06-14-2015, 10:15 AM   #12
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2007 23' Safari SE
Central , Connecticut
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It's taken a while to write this reply, because I alternate between two different philosophies:

- The engineer in me says that there is something so satisfying in the concept of "enough is enough." From what you wrote, the 22' Sport fits that bill. You could even downsize from the Tundra and still tow it, if you wanted.

- The flip side: The 25' floor plans have very few compromises. No hassles with corner beds, or half-opening windows, or small tanks. The extra width makes a huge difference in perceived interior space.

Honestly, the 23' trailers are an odd in-between point - and this comes from an owner who loves his. You get fully opening windows, the added foot in width, and the tandem axles - all big deals to us. The trailer is easy to tow; we owned a Sport-width trailer, and noticed little difference. I think they're pretty good values on the used market for their size, because people tend to either go smaller or bigger. But all of the 23' floor plans are compromised - the 23FB feels tight inside to us, and the 23D (and our L-Lounge) have the issues of the rear corner bed and small bathroom.

If we were starting this journey anew, knowing at the beginning everything we've learned - that I'd wind up owning a V8-powered tow beast, or that we'd camp 25+ nights a year, or that we'd still be doing this 6 years and 3 different trailers later - we probably would buy a 25' twin. (Or a Winnebago Travato Class B moho for the efficiency-seeker in me....)

Now: 2007 Safari SE 23' "Anne" towed by 2011 Dodge Durango "Herman"
Before: Argosy Minuet and T@B, towed by various Honda Odysseys
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Old 06-14-2015, 10:49 AM   #13
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2015 22' FB Sport
Kansas City , Missouri
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THANK YOU. Yes, I am not an actual engineer, but lean that way in my analysis. So if I were writing specs for my requirements, the 22 seems to fill them. But you can't specify the feeling of extra room, if you know what I mean.

Thanks for the insight.

I do think that, in the end, the decision may need to include our kids touring the options with us. Has anyone else let their kids weigh in on these decisions?

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Old 06-14-2015, 11:09 AM   #14
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2012 25' Flying Cloud
Fort Worth , Texas
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We have had a 19 for 17 years. Worked great for 2 week vacations and long weekend trips for 2 people. When I retired we bought a 25RB twin because now we are doing 2 & 3 month trips.

Think long term and how you will use it over the years. If you make the right choice you can keep the same trailor for many many years.

Good luck on your new adventure!

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