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Old 05-26-2014, 10:29 AM   #21
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We have a 19 bambi and just spent 40 nights camping in SW. My wife andI still talking..We had a great trip and all trailer accessories
Worked as designed. Seven nights off grid is about max for grey water plus fresh but still had decent battery power. We have put about 20,000 miles on the bambi in last four years and have never had a camp site to small for us. I pull with 4 runner so your tundra is more than enough.
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Old 05-26-2014, 11:06 AM   #22
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We bought our lightly used 20' and love it. We have traveled over 40,000 miles with it, and up to two months at a time. We boondock almost exclusively. The bigger kitchen area is what sold us on this model. We don't have a problem with the sizes of the tanks. We dump and fill whenever we have the chance, even if it has only been a couple of days. Lots of free dump stations out there. We also carry 1-3 seven gallon water containers in our tow vehicle dependeng on how long we plan to be in one spot. We love having the oven, no need for a microwave. We have upgraded to led lights to help extend battery life, and plan on installing solar this summer. We have also upgraded to 16" wheels and truck tires, and now have over 30K trouble free miles on them with many more miles left on them. I am also very religious about packing my wheel bearings on a regular basis and cheching the wheel lug nuts frequently because of the single axle concerns. We have been able to take our smaller AS into many beautiful places where a larger trailer might have been a problem. As my wife says frequently, we can make "U turns" to pull into some interesting spot we just drove past. Good luck finding the AS that is right for you.
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Old 05-26-2014, 12:16 PM   #23
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Piggy Bank,

We've had our sixteener for 7 years and think it's great. It gets us into National Parks and other public campgsites too small for the big fellas. We get 15 mpg towing it with a Toyota Tacoma if we watch our speed. We don't have space to park a bigger unit at home.

We have two beefy batteries that Len frequently monitors and we bring along a battery recharger, to be used when we have a hook-up and plan a long boondock the next day. With sparing use, our batteries have lasted 4 nights with no problem. We also carry a generator & gas can. We recharge the laptop, cell phone, & kindle via the truck cigarette lighter & carry a small portable innverter.

Our two propane tanks have never run dry. Many places like gas stations & RV parks will refill them.

We've not used the outdoor shower but I use the wet bath one periodically-- usually on a hot day (when most needed!) to minimize condensation inside. If you're boondocking for multiple nights, you might just want to capture much of the shower water in some plastic wash tubs & toss it outside, rather than letting it flow down the drain, to minimize filling the waste water tank.

Awning is fine. It creates a small outdoor living space. Don't leave it up when you're away, due to wind issues.

The sixteener doesn't come with an oven and our older model doesn't have a microwave. I cook around it. The major issue is minimal counter space for food prep, but I use the table a lot.

Fan and windows are fine. There is also a small roof vent in the loo.

The "trunk" in the back of the Bambi is used for towing equipment when not in use plus a few dirtier items like the hinged grill. The dog usually sleeps under the bed but when we travel without her, we keep gym bags with our clothes in this space. (The furnace vents here, so sometimes we move things around.)

Len gets claustrophobia and I need the potty periodically during the night, so our solution to the "east-west" bed is simply to make the table into a second bed each night.

Privacy isn't a problem. Our bed area can be partitioned off with a folding screen-type door that pulls across.

We have one sink in the galley area, and its fine. We keep baby-wipes in the loo for sanitary hand-cleaning. There is no mirror in the kitchen area, but a large one in the bathroom.

Water tank can get used up. We carry a jerry-can and funnel for refilling if we don't have a water hookup. We monitor the waste-water tank frequently, and use the public restrooms, where available, to spare it.

It would be nice to have a dry bath and more kitchen counter space, but hey-- we're camping. If one person is moving about the interior getting dressed, cooking, or whatnot, the other person usually sits still or goes outside. Having two people moving about simultanously requires a do-si do manoever.

The size really hasn't been an issue. In 2013 we spent 6 weeks in mostly National Park campgrounds in the Southwest, and just spent the month of April camping in southern Idaho/eastern Utah. Much of the time we were boondocking.

Small is beautiful.
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Old 05-26-2014, 01:50 PM   #24
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Aftermath is right on with his assessments. The refrigerator cools in about three hours on propane for us and runs very efficiently on it. I start it on propane and leave on propane for the duration of our usual 2 week trips... Flawless. Why anyone would bother switching over to electric is beyond me. Secondly the oven option is much more useful in my opinion than a reheater. I know others will disagree but, we use our oven all the time. It warms our 19' nicely when we're cooking on a cold morning or evening.

Even though many use the 16' for long trips, it was designed with the weekender in mind. The 22' Sport is a nice unit that can be upgraded an has a 54" wide bed vs the 47" in the16', 19', 20' and 23'.

I highly recommend you spend some time (hours) at a dealer feeling out the different models - they all have their strong points and I think you'll fall in love with the one that's right for you... Then never look back - just forward to your next adventure!

Good Luck
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Old 05-26-2014, 01:55 PM   #25
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Thank you so much for all of the replies!

Ahab, nice to hear that you like the 22. We have not seen one in person yet, and hope to find one sometime this year to see.

Aftermath,
Thanks for the info on the pre-cooling using the propane. We might consider the 23 or 25 if we feel we can park it in the street on our block. Not sure about how that would go over with the neighbors. Don't have enough driveway space for that, even if we go diagonal across it (I just measured).

RFR36--we still haven't seen a 19 in person, and may get to see one in a few weeks. Can you do a "U turn" with the 19 hooked up to your vehicle?

48BOB--good info on the wheels and tires. I think that is something we would definitely consider as well. So you can do a U turn...how many lanes does that require and what is your tow vehicle?

Jeanne--thanks for the "do si do" explanation. It does rain a bit whenever you camp in the mountains so good to know that one person just sitting still gives you the room you need.

Maybe it's time to ask for more negative points....I love my trailer, but if I could change one thing about it, it would be_____
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Old 05-26-2014, 04:50 PM   #26
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Tinbender,
You mentioned that your 16 has 2 waste tanks. Do you or does anyone know what years the 16 would have 2 tanks instead of a combined gray and black. Or is a modification available that can get 2 waste tanks into a 16? Just curious.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 05-26-2014, 05:24 PM   #27
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Others will cover all the other stuff. As a new Sport 22 owner, let me just point out one thing.

This weekend we took our new baby out for it's second time. My wife looked around and said, "Gee. This feels kind'a small, don't you think?"

Buy the bigger one.
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Old 05-26-2014, 07:12 PM   #28
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2 tanks on 16'

Quote:
Originally Posted by Piggy Bank View Post
Tinbender,
You mentioned that your 16 has 2 waste tanks. Do you or does anyone know what years the 16 would have 2 tanks instead of a combined gray and black. Or is a modification available that can get 2 waste tanks into a 16? Just curious.

Thanks in advance.
Piggy, My 16' Bambi was built with the 2 tanks and to the best of my knowledge when they changed them to "'Sport", that is when the combined tank began. 2006/7/8 ish ????? I've never seen or heard of one that has been modified to 2 tanks since they became "Sport". Imagine that would involve way too many $$$$$$$ to be worth it. Also from all I have seen or read there were no 16 footers made in 2003, after it came back in 2001.
Good luck with your search.
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Old 05-26-2014, 07:23 PM   #29
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Markj55--Thanks for the confirmation. If propane is what we need to cool down the fridge that makes it easy, even if we do load from the storage facility.

Belbein--I hear you loud and clear. I think we like the Bambis, and are a bit intimidated by the larger units. Sounds like that may be something to look at from all angles. After all, if this is going to be my big vacation every year for more than a decade, I want to make the right choice.
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Old 05-26-2014, 09:56 PM   #30
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We have a 2006 19' and we have enjoyed it immensely. It is perfect for the way we travel and camp ... 2 adults and two dogs, and despite its holding tank limitations, etc, it has served us very well. You learn to deal with any limitations like smaller holding tanks, etc ... at the same time you can take advantage of the assets (like fitting into small sites and ease of storing at home).

Do we ever think it would be nice to have a larger unit? Sure. I don't think there's an Airstreamer alive who hasn't thought about going to a larger rig at one point or another ... and many do, eventually. So far, we have not taken that road. IF we were to upsize, we'd probably go for a 23' front bed. Or maybe a 25'. Oh, but wait, that 27' FB is REALLY nice. Get the drift?

We have had our rig for 7 years, have put about 40k miles on it, and have made several 2-3 week trips without choking one another. AND when we had a flood in our home, we literally lived in our Bambi in our front yard for 4 months while repairs were made. Fortunately, we do well in small spaces. Some don't.

You are getting lots of good insights here ... but in the end, you need to do what your gut tells you is right for you. And remember ... nothing is forever. So if you make a move later down the road, that's OK, too ... it's not a crime!
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Old 05-27-2014, 12:01 AM   #31
Len and Jeanne
 
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We've never found our "little guy" to be cramped, space-wise: it's more that sometimes it would be nice to have more kitchen counter space, a dry bath, or a bigger closet. I would suggest you really think about what you would truly use. For us, also, we don't have space at home to park a bigger trailer, and we would have to buy a bigger truck as well, and get worse gas mileage. (Something to think of for long-distance trips.)

We don't have space for a lot of appliances, so we find things that work just fine: a drip coffee pot instead of an electric coffee maker. Simple foods that don't need elaborate cooking. A cap/canopy on the back of the truck to hold our camping gear (which often consists of canoe paddles, life jackets, a plastic barrel, an outdoor folding table, camp chairs, a portable waste water tank, a jerry can of water, and day packs.)

One thing I really like about our Bambi that I don't see on some of the bigger models is a nice large window in the rear. With back-in campsites, often the best view is out the back window. The bathroom or kitchen in the rear makes some sense for interior arrangements, but I truly like falling asleep overlooking a lake or mountain range, with our rear east-west bed arrangement.

Re: TBRich's post: there is such a thing as "two-foot-itis."

One word about the fridge. We may be in the minority, but we don't drive with the propane on out of safety considerations. Also, we boondock a lot and the fridge fan is a big user of electricity. We freeze 3-4 of those blue gel pacs in the freezer compartment when we are stationary and the fridge is on, then pop one or two of them in the fridge area when we turn it off. When boondocking, we often turn the power off at the main battery switch for hours; and then we have driven all day with the propane off, and all our food remains fresh and cold. We swap out the melting gel pacs and put them in the freezer to refreeze when the power is back on. Works great.

Re: the waste water tank. Like everything else in the Bambi, we just monitor what we do. If we worry about boondocking for 4 nights with the potential of the ick-water tank to fill up, we wash up in plastic wash tubs, and dump the water outside. For indoor showers, I put a plastic tub on the toilet seat and another on the floor, which capture most of the water. We use public restrooms during the day. (Think about it: with a bigger tank, how much raw sewage do you really want to be sitting on?) Only once did we have the waste tank overflow (it backs up into the shower drain) which was quite awful. Now we carry an emergency waste-water tank (aka biffy box) for long trips away from sani-dumps. But we've never had to use it. Just be aware of your water usage.
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Old 05-27-2014, 06:31 AM   #32
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Another data point: we own a 23' that we use for boondocking in state and national parks. Even with its bigger tanks and careful showers (using an efficient Oxygenics shower head), about 5-6 days is the limit on the tanks for the 2 of us. That's even with us dumping dishwasher down the park's drains rather than ours.

6-7 days at a park would require hitching up and towing to the park's dump, or using a blue boy tote. (Note that a blue boy would get you more time out of any trailer, even a 16', as well.) We also had to refill with water which you could manage to do without moving the trailer, using a large water container and funnel.

Finally, solar panels were a godsend for us. No hassle with battery power at all, even with all of the various little parasitic loads and running 2 Fantastic fans. (BTW, although it sounds frivolous, the remote-controlled Fantastic Vents allow you to adjust the speed for 14 settings, running it much slower than the 3-speeds on the other models. This reduces noise and saves power.)

Tom
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Old 05-27-2014, 09:50 AM   #33
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Piggy Bank ,
We have towed our 20' Safari with a Toyota Tacoma, but currently tow with a Dodge half-ton crew cab pickup because the V-8 does a much better job getting us at over the mountains here while keeping up with other traffic, and the fuel economy is about the same. As for the u-turns, we have done them on a two lane highway with wide shoulders or at a driveway entrance on a two lane.
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Old 05-27-2014, 10:14 AM   #34
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We have a 19' - great size and light weight. The corner bed is a bit tight fro two, but you can always make up the dinette for a second bed - we often do that. Speaking of the dinette, though, I'm in the process of replacing the table with a round one that you set up and take down when not needed. I've already removed the table and brackets, and I'm installing support rails and a two piece bench assembly that will support the cushions to make a bed, but also converts the existing dinette seats into a U shaped couch. Why? Because there is no place to sit and read or relax in a small trailer. The advantage of the larger units is that you have "living" area. You may want to consider that in making your choice. I'd love to move up to a 23' - used, with the NLA L shaped couch, and table you set up when needed. For now, I'm going to simply emulate that design in my own.
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Old 05-27-2014, 02:34 PM   #35
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Now we carry an emergency waste-water tank (aka biffy box) for long trips away from sani-dumps.
Would you please explain what this is and how it works?
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Old 05-27-2014, 03:49 PM   #36
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I am assuming he means a portable black water tank that you empty into and wheel that to the dump station.
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Old 05-28-2014, 12:27 AM   #37
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We got our "biffy box" at Camping World-- they are called portable waste tanks, or portable holding tanks. They come in different sizes. They look a bit like a hard-sided plastic suitcase on wheels. You attach it with a sewer hose to your trailer's waste tank outlet. The idea is that you can dump your "stuff" into this portable tank, then walk or even tow it to the nearby sani-dump. I have seen brave souls towing one behind their truck-- at a low speed.

For more remote campgrounds with no dump station, obviously this wouldn't be a good option, but after our one waste-tank back-up experience, we got one as an emergency measure.

Thetford, Holding Tanks, Sewer Vents - Camping World

One recently-tested system in our Bambi for black water was lining the dry toilet bowl with two new kitchen-size garbage bags, and adding a little garden peat moss to it. (Very light and highly absorbant.) After a few uses or aesthetic considerations, which ever comes first, just close the outer bag securely and walk it over to the dumpster. This is probably just as sanitary as disposing of baby diapers in the CG trash. Now we just travel with a big freezer bag of peat moss, to use in campgrounds with no hook-ups and no dump stations, if we'll be there longer than a couple of nights.
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Old 05-28-2014, 02:10 AM   #38
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Evaporation

Dumping gray water in a crowded campground is a big no-no. It's a cumulative thing. In the woods, who knows, who cares may apply - OR NOT.

My gray water can get nasty. I cook and drink quite a bit of coffee. Gray water contains grease, dirt, food scraps, dead skin cells and nasty sub-DNA stuff called prions. Where your water goes when you dump it on the ground is important. If you contaminate a well, it's not a simple or cheap fix.

There is another option for disposing of gray water - an evaporation pool. This can literally be one of those children's swimming pools. You've got to be a BIT careful - you don't want greasy water from cooking bacon in the pool, but bath water is generally fine. Leave the pool in a sunny spot and dump into it. An inch or more will evaporate on a sunny day.

Paula
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Old 05-28-2014, 09:04 PM   #39
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Belbien,

Really hate to hear your comment. It scares me bad. Is everyone lying/kidding themselves -- do they really wish in their heart of hearts they had the 23 or 25? We don't want a do-over, we want the right model the first time.

TBRich, Thanks for the comments. It is true that we wish our decisions were permanent, but that is just wishful thinking.

Paula, If I ever get to meet you on the road, you are welcome for coffee. It is my joy. Coffee on a lazy morning with the sun and the birds is about as good as it gets.

Jeanne, I like the "natural absorb" solution. Would you believe my son's friend who is a college student in environment studies told his mom that when they are in the wilderness, that they use adult ....yes....diapers...and then pack them out.

Mutcth, thanks for the info on your experience with the 23, and definitely on the fan remote.

48Bob, thanks for the U turn info. As Colorado is our closest August-cool-off state, we appreciate that info. Also we have a daughter in Denver, so another reason to visit. Glad to hear you like the V8 pickup for mountain towing. That was our main reason for getting our Tundra V8. We figured that we are probably more likely to go to Colorado or Wyoming than just about anywhere else for an extended vacation.

Robert Claus, interesting mods to the table area. Sounds like a coffeehouse or cocktail lounge! Pictures when you are done I hope.
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Old 05-29-2014, 11:16 AM   #40
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Foiled Again, I hear you. Gray water should also be considered black water where people wash their hands in it, post-pit stop. On the other hand, tent campers routinely ditch their soapy water in the bushes. A few enlightened campgrounds have special waste-water drains or tent-camper utility sinks for this purpose.

Piggy Bank, the "pack out what you pack in" philosophy has gotten very serious in some heavily-used fragile desert environments, and they are not all in the back-country! Some desert and river campsites require jeep-campers and rrafters to carry a portable toilet or biffy bag to remove their waste. It sounds icky-- until you camp somewhere where people just did what and where they felt like. We always carry a shovel.

Don't mean to veer off-topic. I started with the idea that there are some advantages to owning a Bambi, and some of the disadvantages (like a small waste-water tank) have work-arounds.
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