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Old 05-26-2014, 06:23 PM   #29
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2017 25' Flying Cloud
2015 22' FB Sport
Kansas City , Missouri
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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, 08:56 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!

TB & Greg and Abbey Schnauzer
AirForums #21900 . Prez & Membership Chair, 4CU/WBCCI
Travel Log: AZBambi...On the Road Again
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Old 05-26-2014, 11:01 PM   #31
Len and Jeanne
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Creston Valley , British Columbia
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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, 05:31 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.)

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 05-27-2014, 08:50 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, 09:14 AM   #34
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mt. Prospect , Illinois
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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, 01:34 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Len n Jeanne View Post
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, 02:49 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 05-27-2014, 11:27 PM   #37
Len and Jeanne
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Creston Valley , British Columbia
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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, 01:10 AM   #38
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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.

Today is a gift, that's why they call it the present.
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Old 05-28-2014, 08:04 PM   #39
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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, 10:16 AM   #40
Len and Jeanne
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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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Old 05-29-2014, 10:41 AM   #41
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Yes, we can make an u turn with 4 Runner and 19'on most road conditions.
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Old 05-30-2014, 01:09 PM   #42
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If this is a repeat, I apologize. My computer just had a conniption.

I'll be brief, and not even make most of my points, to highlight just a few:

a. The holding tanks thing is a serious limitation. We didn't appreciate it until this weekend. Even on our 22 Sport--with separate and larger tanks than the 16--we are going to have a real water economy problem. Don't overlook this, particularly if you have kids and dogs.

b. The thing about u-turns: I don't know that you can do a u-turn with any trailer that is set up with weight distribution and sway controls unless you're in the middle of an empty stadium parking lot. A tight turn can either bend the bars (and they ain't cheap) or screw up hitch, trailer or car. I keep imagining getting 1/2 way through a turn and having to go back and remove the bars while blocking 6 lanes of traffic, while some yahoo starts yelling about learning how to drive, etc. To me, it's an emergency manuever, not to be done unless absolutely necessary.

c. The bed thing: It's like sleeping with a rock under your sleeping bag when you're camping: if you accept the situation, you accept the consequences. The only ways to avoid it are to either sleep separately (see my next point) or to buy a trailer big enough to have those aisles on either side of the bed--what a waste of money and space and towing capacity! We crawl over each other, and try not to put knees anyplace knees oughtn't to go.

d. Sleeping separately: just be aware that on some of the smaller trailers, including the new Sport 22, and I believe the new 16 and the 19 or 20, those tables in the dinette don't fold down flush with the tops of the settees as they should. I don't know what AS was thinking about on this. So that means that when you fold the table down, it forms a bed in which that table portion of the bed is 3/4 of an inch higher than the rest of the bed. Maybe that wouldn't bother my dogs, and maybe it doesn't bother some of y'all, but I couldn't sleep that way, and neither could my wife.

e. Buy bigger than you think is your minimal need. Buy bigger than you think is your minimal need. Buy bigger than you think is your minimal need. Buy bigger than you think is your minimal need. Buy bigger than you think is your minimal need. Buy bigger than you think is your minimal need. (Have I said that enough times?)

sorry to be so windy

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