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Old 06-06-2014, 04:55 PM   #85
Len and Jeanne
 
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2005 16' International CCD
2015 19' Flying Cloud
Creston Valley , British Columbia
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Sorry to take up so much air time (no pun intended) but you folks have had a lot to talk about while we were away...

PiggyBank, again, you might decide that a 16-footer isn't what you want. But here's more of my experience of camping in ours for 7 years-- some of it for weeks at a stretch.

Ours is an International. I don't know what years they made 16-footers with any options other than the basics ("Sport") model. We get Christopher Deem interior design with it (who cares?) a large fender with extra storage space (good idea), aluminum propane tank covers, and other stuff I forget. We got ours used, which did take the price down somewhat.

I am seriously into both glamping and heading to the back country. Glamping is a question of taste, not the size of one's RV. My idea of a good time is being in a remote and beautiful place-- while I enjoy a glass of decent Malbec in a Riedel crystal glass, gazing at scenery, not big white box campers galore.

We truly work at getting efficiencies down to a science. We're at the point now where we can boondock for 4 nights at a stretch on our two batteries without using the generator. We put as little waste water into the system as necessary (just recently confirming that a manual flush (via water bottles) uses less water and electricity than using the Bambi flush system. ) We husband our drinking water. Etc.

Many RVers wouldn't want to be bothered to be so efficient, but we kind of have fun with it. Think of people sailing long distances on a small yacht with tiny living spaces: it's a neat thing to be doing, but they have to know the drill.

Speaking of gazing at scenery, many of the more beautiful, wilder campgrounds have primarily or only back-in sites. I love having the Bambi picture-window in the back, because the view out the front window is apt to be the back end of our truck, if the site has a short driveway. A layout with a bathroom or kitchen in the back might improve the interior design, but you lose some of the view.

Any RV has advantages and disadvantages. Once you make a choice and drive out with your treasure, you will develop a routine that works for you.

(Photo is Bambi west of Banff National Park.)
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Old 06-06-2014, 05:55 PM   #86
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And the sometimes it just all comes together just right...like now!
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Old 06-06-2014, 08:20 PM   #87
'15 Flying Loud 20' Bambi
 
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small city outside a big one , south of some, north of some
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Agreed on the wrap window in the rear. I have often said here I think they should have reversed my floor plan. 2 wrappers would be super nice + more air circulation.
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Old 06-06-2014, 08:43 PM   #88
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Originally Posted by Len n Jeanne View Post
Sorry to take up so much air time (no pun intended) but you folks have had a lot to talk about while we were away...



PiggyBank, again, you might decide that a 16-footer isn't what you want. But here's more of my experience of camping in ours for 7 years-- some of it for weeks at a stretch.



Ours is an International. I don't know what years they made 16-footers with any options other than the basics ("Sport") model. We get Christopher Deem interior design with it (who cares?) a large fender with extra storage space (good idea), aluminum propane tank covers, and other stuff I forget. We got ours used, which did take the price down somewhat.



I am seriously into both glamping and heading to the back country. Glamping is a question of taste, not the size of one's RV. My idea of a good time is being in a remote and beautiful place-- while I enjoy a glass of decent Malbec in a Riedel crystal glass, gazing at scenery, not big white box campers galore.



We truly work at getting efficiencies down to a science. We're at the point now where we can boondock for 4 nights at a stretch on our two batteries without using the generator. We put as little waste water into the system as necessary (just recently confirming that a manual flush (via water bottles) uses less water and electricity than using the Bambi flush system. ) We husband our drinking water. Etc.



Many RVers wouldn't want to be bothered to be so efficient, but we kind of have fun with it. Think of people sailing long distances on a small yacht with tiny living spaces: it's a neat thing to be doing, but they have to know the drill.



Speaking of gazing at scenery, many of the more beautiful, wilder campgrounds have primarily or only back-in sites. I love having the Bambi picture-window in the back, because the view out the front window is apt to be the back end of our truck, if the site has a short driveway. A layout with a bathroom or kitchen in the back might improve the interior design, but you lose some of the view.



Any RV has advantages and disadvantages. Once you make a choice and drive out with your treasure, you will develop a routine that works for you.



(Photo is Bambi west of Banff National Park.)

Absolutely true. Laurie and I bought our 06 Bambi one year ago today (cheers!) and quickly figured it out. If you've tent camped a lot like we have, you're always conserving - water, batteries, 'wine'... Well we always seem to have plenty of that.

We just recently spent 4 nights in the Sierras in one campground w/out running our generator either. Led lights help of course but, the point is that it can be done. In fact my batteries still had plenty of charge. We like to use led candles at night inside along with a reading light if we're chillin' with a glass of wine and a book or something and we're not around the campfire.

I've never understood why the dinette isn't in the back on the 16' and 19' for the reasons you mentioned. In certain campgrounds I try to maneuver my rig so we have a view out of the front but, it's not always possible.

The bottom line is - once you decide on a model, you make it yours, develop a routine and love your rig!
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Old 06-07-2014, 04:12 AM   #89
'15 Flying Loud 20' Bambi
 
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And, again, the reversed floor plan would also reverse the suicide door, though not much of a problem for most, with that design it just takes once.

But in fairness to AS I don't think that would lead to a very useable trunk like we do have...You would have to use pass-thru side doors which on the rounded corners would be a pain.
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Old 06-07-2014, 07:20 AM   #90
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Considering your usage your concern is warranted. I would not buy a combined tank unit because of the emptying requirements for 7-10 day trips.

Recently I have found that many campers , if permitted, cycle their gray water tank (it fills first) by considering the length of their stay and leaving their gray tank drain open at the start then shutting it a few days before actually leaving. This allows them to not have to empty the sink, shower water tank during their stay (something not able to be done if black water was a part of the tanks contents) and then also use the last few days' build-up as a flush for the black tank. I have not done this- yet but I read about it and it makes sense, if permitted.

I purchased one of those tanks on wheels just to empty my gray water. For me, with two guests, it is every 3-4 days to make a gray water run. That in a 25' rig.

The floor plan is much a personal preference. When shopping I considered my lifestyle- I hang around the campsite, do computer work, go away some days, watch some TV at night- like at home. So, aside from bed, kitchen, etc., I needed something that I could work on computer, watch TV comfortably (most AS focus on a dinette for sitting) and provide an overall comfortable space to me. On newer models I like the 28' for the small rear window in the bedroom. Living in FL I notice heat transfer from windows and frankly I do not want a window wall in my bedroom. I say this to you only in case you look at a used smaller model. Some of them do not have wrap windows. Don't discount that too much as there are advantages too unless you look our windows a lot at home! The tank size is important. I would not look below a 20'. Here is my take on the sizes- here's my opinion as I looked at the 20-28 footers:

20'- great setup love the counterspace. Everything you need, shy on storage beyond kitchen- great for weeks. Alley-like floor plan makes for efficiency but a get-in get-out lifestyle. Liveability low.

22'- great setup nice bathroom. Everything you need, sparse kitchen. only slightly more livable than the 20'. Great for weeks.

23' Great setup. Recently saw a new model with a change in the commode where I can sit on it now without knees in the shower, kitchen more space, nice lounge area. Liveability much improved- can linger in here like a home. Could go months.

25' Great setup. Seems to provide overall decent livability. Very similar to 23' aside from bath. Could definitely go months.

27' and 28' Very similar to 25'. Twin models use one of the extra two feet for empty floor space at the foot of beds. Other footage in cabinet space or counter space. Bathroom almost identical to 25'. Biggest benefit is lounge option. Could go months for sure. Love the smaller rear window of the 28' for the bedroom.

Again, this is my opinion but a lot depends on your lifestyle and travel duration. For a two week jaunt I would get the smallest one that was comfortable to me AND met basic requirements. If you plan to be out and about most of the time when you are gone in your stream and only returning to sleep and eat, then a 20' would be great if all else meets comfort- bed size, etc., that or a 22'.

When you jump to a 23' you get the more livable divided up floor plan- bedroom/bathroom, kitchen/eatery. Personally I REALLY liked the 23C lounge model option that they discontinued- the one with the fold away table, no dinette and L lounge because to me it gave the most multi-function choices. See below with the optional L and free standing roll away table. The 23' and longer provide a bit more livability- comfort if you hang around the campsite as you would a home- again, lifestyle.

I ended up with a used 25' that has a lounge area like the 23' non-option pic below- fold away table and sofa. I like the option of the floor space and the seating to be able to watch TV view forward in the evenings. Whatever works for you will be the best choice!
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Old 06-07-2014, 07:33 AM   #91
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Whatever works for you will be the best choice!
Good analysis, we are going through the same decision process.
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Old 06-07-2014, 08:10 AM   #92
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Thanks mrpres. I just reread the post some errors and redundancy, please excuse. I should have drank some coffee first!
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Old 06-07-2014, 11:59 AM   #93
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2015 22' FB Sport
Kansas City , Missouri
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We are now back to thinking that the 16 is what we will want. Everyone's deep dive details on how they "work around" the water and storage issues has been very helpful. In particular Mark's floor mat, and Jeanne's peat moss trick. I think that between those 2 ideas we are comfortable that we could meet a long boondock with the ability to add water and use a biffy box to keep things under control.

The reality is that most outings will be 2-4 days, and probably some days with hookups and some without.

And we just really like the floor plan on the 16 so much better than any of the other bambis.

And the unit size will work so much better in our driveway for launching.

So now we want to get a budget together for tweaking the "entry level" 16 sport to get it up to the level of creature comforts that will make it a bit more fancy pants.

Hubs has asked about the mattress. Who has upgraded the mattress on their bambi? Did you add a topper, or go with a new one (we have a really awesome mattress factory in our area that can probably do a custom one at a reasonable cost. Hawn Bedding in Lees Summit MO FYI)

What is involved in time/$ in getting 2 batteries added? What are thoughts on the electric vs manual hitch and costs to change out? LED lighting? What else will I want?

Thanks
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Old 06-07-2014, 12:28 PM   #94
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I love the mattress, it's awesome compared to what came in our old trailer and quite comfy in it's own right. YMMV. But the wife wanted a memory foam topper, so we added one.

Tell the dealer to add a second battery before you buy. Because they need to be the same age/size/brand, etc. Or, get a couple of 6v golf cart batteries wired to give 12V. Very simple, lots of threads on it. Only added cost is for the battery, plastic box, and cable.

Keep in mind even the 30-foot classic is not as comfy/roomy as a 2000 square foot house. Get the trailer that speaks to you. Doesn't matter how big it is, it'll never match the comforts of the modern home. As long as you can avoid the basic human tendency to compare (because there'll always be a nicer trailer than yours), you will love the Sport 16.
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Old 06-07-2014, 04:35 PM   #95
Len and Jeanne
 
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Creston Valley , British Columbia
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PiggyBank-- Good luck and have fun with your new purchase!

rodsterinfla has some sensible arguments in favour of a larger unit. Although we've camped up to six weeks at a stretch in the Bambi, mostly boondocking; we've not stayed a week or longer in the same spot.

However, we do like to boondock in the Utah desert where BLM campgrounds come with no water (let alone hookups,) no sani-dump, and pit-toilets only. We make a game of creating new efficiencies (short of solar panels or composting toilet so far.) Not everyone would think this was fun, but the best things I can recommend if you care to follow suit:

1. Unless you are truly remote and can dig a big "cat hole" it's best not to dump out gray water at your trailer. Germs travel in various bodily effluents, hand-washing water post-lavatory use, and so on. Rather, you can try to minimize the waste water input to begin with. If public restrooms are available and clean, we use them a lot. When the weather is good, for example, we wash our dishes outside in plastic stacking dishpans, and dispose of the water well away from the campsite or in the utility sink or drain, if provided. We use a lot of Lysol wipes.

2. The 16-foot Bambi has just the one sink, so hygiene is a consideration. We keep a packet of baby-wipes in the wet bath for hand-washing.

3. Shower & toilet arrangements described in previous posts.

4. We travel with one or two large jerry cans plus a big funnel for fresh water top-ups.

5. We second Skooter's motion of getting two batteries, the beefiest one available. We started out with one, and it just wasn't sufficient. Len frequently monitors the batteries. He recently bought a battery recharger so that he can top them up at home or when we do have hookups. When we're camping and away from the Bambi for any length of time we shut off the main battery switch entirely.

This gets into our fridge use, because a big user of electricity seems to be the fridge fan. We now have it on a manual switch; but the Dometics are so well insulated that we turn the fridge on at night, and keep 3-4 blue gel ice pacs in the freezer. During the day, one or two go in with the food, and we turn off the fridge, essentially converting it into an ice chest. We refreeze the ice pacs at night: most times they're still well frozen by nightfall. We've never had any food spoil with this system, the beer stays nice and cold, nor do we need to drive with the fridge on. (Other folks use sturdy plastic water bottles the same way.)

Our 2005 unit came with halogen lights, which we mostly converted to LEDs.

We do travel with a Honda generator but lately we haven't had to use it.

We don't need to watch TV. Between a radio, lap-top with DVDs, a smart phone (that sometimes is within range,) and books, we're sufficiently entertained. The dinette with the table down, set up as a second bed, makes a passable couch if you carry enough pillows.

The logistics for extended stays really require little more than some camping experience & ingenuity if you decide to go for the Bamster.
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Old 06-08-2014, 06:45 AM   #96
'15 Flying Loud 20' Bambi
 
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The dealership threw in the second battery for us for less than $200 hooked up with an almost matching box.

I would suggest paying a little bit extra for the electric tongue jack. The number of times you have to wind that dang thing they put on it particularly if you use a WD hitch your shoulder will fall off. I say YOUR because your hubby's shoulder already fell off...

A couple of good stick on leveling bubbles. There will be an adjustable one on the electric tongue jack, but some a__ will steal it because theirs drained.

A good inside outside thermometer. I get to the site and put the outside unit on the back of the propane tanks.

A good freezer/fridge dual temp remote thermometer.

Your bed won't fit, really think about getting a new mattress made much smaller. It will make it much easier to make the bed as well.

Things on a 16 to check and complain about while making your deal:

Look at all formica edges. Not the finished edge, but the one butting up against it. Most I have seen are painted because they chipped the heck out of them with crappy router bits, or they are just crappy material.

Inspect bed fit, it won't.

Try the SCREEN DOOR ALONE. It won't fit worth a darn. Complain loudly.

Have them fill it up and check for leaks. Mine worked great and this is probably the most major thing there.

The combined tank sensor is a farce. Mine never worked, but I read too many threads about how they butcher your unit replacing them to get it done.

Over all we love ours. It is made better than most. Believe it or not....
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Old 06-08-2014, 03:41 PM   #97
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Something you might consider as you're loading options onto the front end of the trailer: AS recommends that the tongue weight NEVER exceeds 15% of the GVWR or 525 lbs. in our case. A full-tank of fresh water raises the tongue weight significantly. Then add the power jack (which is a must have if you ask me), the huge battery (or batteries), the mount for your generator, the appearance package, etc. Needless to say it is very easy to exceed 525 lbs. on the tongue. Even two batteries might be pushing it - especially if you go bigger than the factory Group 24s.

We don't fill the fresh water tank until we arrive at (or near) our destination unless we have no other choice.

You'll want to get a good generator - there are many threads on the topic. Suffice it to say that if you don't need to run your AC then a 2000 watt inverter from Honda or Yamaha is the right choice. If you do want to run the AC you'll probably want to buy two of these generators and tie them together with an optional kit.

You're going to love your little Bambi!
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Old 06-08-2014, 05:28 PM   #98
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Completely off topic, but Renderit and Airrogant, your avatar pictures make a great combo!

Our vacation time (and money) is already spoken for this year, and next, due to a child's schooling and (assumed!) out of town graduation. And 2016 is when I get an additional week of vacation with my job.

So, as we save up and do our dreaming and research, if you are going to buy new (not sure that we are) when is the best time of year to get the best deal?

How far would you drive to get a better deal?

How far would you drive to get a nice used unit (i.e. would it be crazy to drive from Missouri to New Jersey?)

Financing options on used?

What is the best age of used unit to buy? (remember we live 3 hours from a dealer)

How do you mark time while you are twitching to get one? Any great books on RVing, National Parks/areas and camping, how to drive with a trailer, boon docking tips?, etc? I haven't really camped much in 20 years, so I am sure that things have changed a bit.
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