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Old 07-31-2013, 09:46 PM   #15
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[QUOTE=panheaddale;1333995]
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Originally Posted by andreasduess View Post
Re, tow vehicle, we tow a 34' triple axle International from 1984 safely and efficiently with a Honda Odyssey. You do not need a truck or huge SUV for a small to medium sized trailer.

I am glad you are in canada towing that set up. If you come to the US please pm me so I can stay off whatever road you will be on. Go for the 16 ft if you are going to be towing with a new smaller suv or mini van. Will be a lot safer set up. REMEMBER JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN PULL DOESN'T MEAN YOU CAN CONTROL IT OR STOP IT.
Amen to that. I can't even think of a Honda of any kind towing a 34' AS, maybe tandum. Those Canadians are real jokers, HaHa!
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Old 08-01-2013, 01:41 AM   #16
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You may wish to review some numbers.

The Honda's payload of 1400lbs rivals, even exceeds, the payload of many 1/2 ton trucks, with a wider wheel-stance, a lower centre of gravity, a stiffer body and even, depending on trim, a more powerful engine. Additionally, neither the front GAWR of 2,833lbs nor the rear GAWR of 3,197lbs is ever exceeded.

It certainly exceeds the specs of any family vehicle available on the market in 1984, when the trailer was built.

The 1984 34' is far lighter than a comparable modern trailer, with a tongue weight of just above 600lbs empty, 700lbs loaded.

Fully loaded, my setup has a margin of 800lbs for passengers and gas - i.e. ample. It would not work were I to carry generators, a huge BBQ and a couple of gas cans, but I don't - we travel light.

There is absolutely no question that this is a safe, responsible setup. Your roads are quite safe.
We who live and travel in the Mountain West tend to go for stouter and more powerful TVs.
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Old 08-01-2013, 02:30 AM   #17
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We live in the mountains and have traveled extensively in the western states. With a Toyota Tacoma (first a 2007, now a 2011 w/ crew cab) towing our sixteener, we have never had trouble with mountain passes. Usually we get around 15 mpg provided we keep the speed at 60 mph or lower. With a cap on the truck bed, we also have room for a lot of gear-- or sleeping quarters for two.)

Having recommended the tent solution once the kids grow up a bit, my only caveats would be: (1) if you roll up at your campsite after dark in pouring rain, it would be nice to fit everyone into the trailer, pronto. (2) If you plan to come out West, hard-sided campers are recommended in bear country. Still, we see an awful lot of pop-up trailers and tents out here.

Also, just to ditto what others have said about finding a used AS. It sure brings down the price. Oftentimes you have to go where the trailer is, though.
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Old 08-01-2013, 04:34 AM   #18
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We who live and travel in the Mountain West tend to go for stouter and more powerful TVs.
Of course. And I'd do the same, were I in that position. Or fulltiming, or boondocking in the South-West where a generator would be handy.

Would I live in the Rockies, I'd tow with a diesel for sure. My next tow vehicle, once the kids are older, will be either a Mercedes 350 BlueTEC or the VW Touareg Diesel, with a lot more grunt so we can do that cross Canada trip without worrying what we'll encounter out west.

But for now, the Honda works just fine for our needs, which is short weekend trips and holidays in Ontario and out east. What many people don't seem to understand, despite the numbers being perfectly clear for anybody who cares to look them up, is that a modern minivan often exceeds the specs of many a 1/2 ton truck. People who claim that "you can't tow it with that" either haven't bothered understanding these numbers or, and this is just evil speculation on my part, just need a huge truck to prove to the world how much of a man they are.

I never understood the mentality that one needs a truck large enough to "not even feel that the trailer is there", which is an argument often heard on this forum. All that means is that the TV is total overkill 90% of the time. There's a guy posting here who actually measured engine power output during towing. The highest he could get it, during sharp acceleration, was 72hp, if I remember correctly.

There are a multitude of reasons why an overkill TV is a bad idea, financial, rational and also environmental. We camp, because we love nature and wish to be closer to it. I'd feel like a total hypocrite then driving a huge truck that is doing its best to destroy said nature.
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Old 08-01-2013, 05:46 AM   #19
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Andreassduess, good for you standing up against these big truck bullies. Big trucks and big SUV's are among the most unsafe vehicles on the planet not to mention the most inefficient as passenger vehicles as they are used most of the time. Thank you for your comments and you and your rig are welcome here in Michigan anytime.
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Old 08-01-2013, 06:54 AM   #20
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I live in Michigan. Two weekends ago an undersized truck almost took us out when his too large for his tow vehicle trailer started swaying and ended up with the truck upside down and the trailer at a 45 degree angle to it also tipped over. Yesterday an older 1/2 ton Chevy was towing a 30' or more trailer and the trailer was swaying all over. The guy couldn't keep it in his lane. I guess everyone has different experiences.
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Old 08-01-2013, 07:35 AM   #21
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Let me repeat this once more: Our trailer weight is well within the published capabilities of the tow vehicle.

Sway comes from a bad hitch setup. You can get sway with a 3/4 ton truck and a 16' Bambi. We tow with a Hensley hitch, making our rig as stable as stable can be.
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Old 08-02-2013, 11:56 AM   #22
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jk2006, I was just in our Bambi yesterday (in preparation for our upcoming trip to Glacier NP ) and thought about your question. My response is still basically "No, it won't work to have someone sleep on the floor."

Our model has the bathroom door opening into the cabin right by the outside door, but the newer models (I believe) have the bathroom door opening out by the kitchenette. Opening this door would be difficult to do with a body in the way. With our 2005 model, there is an air quality detector by the wall that sets off an unholy racket when it is blocked (as in, by a sleeping body.) Also, the length just isn't that great. The person would have to sleep with their legs partly under one of the beds, but this is where we store our gym bags (for clothing) as the closet is pretty small, let alone for four people.

If your heart is set on one of the "little guys" (as ours was) I think your best bet is to sleep 2 and 2 on the beds till your children get too big for that, and then either look to an auxilliary tent, a tow vehicle that will sleep a person or two, or a bigger AS.

In terms of the tow vehicle (funny, my eyes kept reading "TV" as "television" and I wondered why you might need a big TV) we are a one-vehicle couple with a medium-sized dog. We found the 2011 Tacoma crew cab (which gets over 20 mpg without towing) to be a good all-around vehicle for our uses. No problems driving with Bambi in the mountains, which is the only way we get out of here.

Unfortunately I just checked the specs on the 2013 Tacoma, and it looks like Toyota has really dumbed down its towing capacity, to a marginal 3500 lbs, which is the weight of our Bambi. I guess they want you to buy their beefier Tundra for towing purposes.
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Old 08-02-2013, 02:12 PM   #23
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Thank you all for your responses. I sincerely appreciate it!
We are going to review our budget to see if any AS is in reach in the next few years but at least now I have confidence that a 16 would work for our needs. Our local dealer doesn't have any 16's in stock ...
Have you considered an Airstream that is a couple of years old? The price would come down quite a bit if it is 3-5 years old rather than brand new. You may be able to realize your dream sooner...and stay within your budget.

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Old 08-02-2013, 10:31 PM   #24
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Find floor plan you like. Lay it out with tape then see how y'all "fit"..

If I could have done it, we would have many more camping memories. Instead we had tents and miserable popups which were rarely used and ended up selling or rotting in storage.

Do it.
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Old 08-02-2013, 11:03 PM   #25
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Light hearted response, ok?...

I cant imagine how 4 folks could enjoy a long adventure in a 16' camper. My buddy says 'we spend all of our time out side and only sleep inside...'

Gee, buy a Home Depot cargo trailer and install 4 bunks...

6 for cocktails, 4 for dinner, 2 for sleeping applies to our 34'....

We were 'stuck' in a Florida campground for 5 days, 2 of us in a 34'er, when a storm cut us off from the mainland. We were on the local news..
Had there been 4 of us in a 16' Airstream, we would have also made the news in a much different manner....

You mileage may vary....
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Old 08-02-2013, 11:16 PM   #26
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This would be absolutely horrible. A pop-up would be more enjoyable.
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Old 08-02-2013, 11:31 PM   #27
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Smile

LOL...well there are certainly varied opinions on this matter, and I appreciate all of your responses!!

We are going to put this on the "back burner" for now. There are almost no used 16's out there in the 3-10 year old range, and since we are towing virgins I don't want to jump right into something long/heavy (and very expensive too)
We can stay in hotels for our weekend adventures and be ahead financially at this point based on cost of ownership & how often we'd get out, mileage, storage, insurance, etc.

I've been officially scared away from owning an AS with my research. Maybe when the kids are older, when we are done paying an arm & leg for daycare, it will be in the cards but not now. We will rent one to get our Airstream fix but will focus on owning one way down the line, maybe in 10-15 years, unless we win a lottery...

Thank you all again for your advice & taking the time to respond to my questions....I really do appreciate it!!
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Old 08-03-2013, 05:40 PM   #28
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If you have a dream that is good and true, never give up on it.

If you keep your eyes open on the classifieds, RV dealers' sites, and even stop and ask when you see one parked in a driveway, your Airstream will find you.

Ours did.

Jeanne
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