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Old 07-31-2013, 12:00 AM   #1
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Smile Bambi 16 for family of 4? can someone sleep on floor?

Hello! We are researching AS to see if obtaining one is even an option for us. I grew up RVing and have always wanted an AS, lately my interest has ramped up quite a bit!

We are a family of 4, our 2 kids are young (2 & 5). I realize they will grow (ALOT) in the time we have our AS. Right now they would fit on the 2nd bed. When they are older is there enough floorspace for someone to sleep on a mat?

We are used to little spaces. We live in a 1100sq.ft. house with no plans to move. We have limited space to park a trailer at our house and would need a new tow vehicle, don't want to buy a huge TV for the other 98% of the year that we have to drive it. Maybe a Toyota 4Runner or Honda Pilot.

We would mainly be doing weekend trips within a few hours of home, at campgrounds that have full bathrooms available, and exploring most of the day with wind-down & sleeping in the AS.

Anyone with a 16 ft. who has done it w/4 people? The other option would be a 23D, but after the extra purchase cost we would need to pay to store it year-round, plus need a bigger TV.

Why does AS say the 16 ft sleeps 3 & 19 ft sleeps 4 when the bed sizes are essentially the same?

THANKS SO MUCH for any advice!
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Old 07-31-2013, 12:30 AM   #2
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Go for the 16. They have great resale value. A 19 or 23 will require a truck or large suv. When the kids get into their early teens sell the 16 and buy a 23D and larger tv and have fun while the kids are still around. The 23D will last you guys for years.
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Old 07-31-2013, 12:57 AM   #3
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We have the petite Bambi, going on six years now. Once we stayed overnight as a foursome, with my son and daughter-in-law in the back bed. Len and I slept on the dinette-converted-to-bed, but had to put the wedge bolsters in the truck to make room for two "ample" people.

Once we camped for a couple of weeks as a threesome with my adult daughter. She started out in her own tent, then switched to sharing the back bed with Mom after a huge downpour one night. With just one person on the dinette/bed, you can keep the bolsters inside, arrayed next to the front window. This is probably where the 3-person capacity comes in.

The folding screen that creates a separate compartment for the back bed is a good option for some privacy.

When your children get too big to share a bed I don't think a mat on the floor is an option. It is hard to keep the floor that clean when you're camping, and you would have to step on them to use the toilet or start the morning coffee, in the 16-footer. Rather, older kids would often much rather stay in their own tent, and many campsites allow one RV and one tent. Alternatively, if you don't need a lot of gear, maybe they could have a bed in the back of the truck.

The "baby Bambi" has some advantages. At 3500 pounds, we can tow it easily with a Toyota Tacoma and get decent gas milage. At 16 feet, it fits into those smaller campsites that you find in a lot of national parks and forests, that were probably designed back in the CCC days. Many of them won't take RVs longer than 20 feet or so.

The disadvantages are not having a "dry bath" and a proper stove (ours has 2 burners only, though the new ones have a microwave, as well.) On the other hand, we have a useable "wet bath" and have not gone hungry through lack of cooking facilities, so far.

Small Is Beautiful.

Jeanne
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Old 07-31-2013, 05:53 AM   #4
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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.

We've got three kids and I could not imagine all of us in anything smaller than a 27' trailer, but if you're looking at this as a shelter for the night only it might well work.

We camp almost exclusively in Provincial Parks up here in Canada and have yet to be turned away for size, something I was concerned about when we first looked at the 34'.
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Old 07-31-2013, 01:26 PM   #5
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[QUOTE=andreasduess;1333864]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.
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Old 07-31-2013, 01:49 PM   #6
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I second the idea of moving the kids in to a tent when they get older.

We camped in a pop up when I was a kid and when my brother and I got older my parents bought the 13' Trillium. Kids in the tent, parents in the trailer worked very well, and we could sleep all 4 of us in the trailer incase of a bad storm. In a trailer that size we did all cooking outside and only ate inside incase of a bad storm since you get either a bed or a table, not both at the same time.

Small to medium size trailers give you many more vehicle options, and they are easy to sell. Check ebay or Kijiji and see what's for sale, I've only seen 2 23' safari's for sale since I bought mine, but there are always 31' trailers for sale.

Also, have you considered buying a vintage trailer? They are great value and you have the option of customizing to meet your needs.

Don't go too big too fast, My parents moved from the 13' trillium to a 34' 5th wheel and hated towing it, now the 5th wheel is for sale and they won't even consider owning another RV.
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Old 07-31-2013, 03:26 PM   #7
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we've had my mom sleep in the dinette and she was perfectly comfortable with room to spare. I would imagine the two kids would be as well..but only for another couple of years depending on how your kids grow. The floor..maybe not such a good idea but I have thought about using the floor also when dreaming of the day our adult kids would go with us. But i think we would probably give the trailer to the kids! (what we wouldn't do for them!)

Third "Aye" for the Bambi + tent. My suggestion: get your whole family to the Airstream dealer, drop the dinette and then simulate a night on the floor! If it's only for a rainy night - no problem.

and, btw, we will never get rid of the 16' even if we "move up"! We told the kids, that it comes with papers stating it must always stay in the family never to be sold!! It's perfect!
You'll also never find another A/S with the best accessible cargo storage in the fleet!

good luck!
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Old 07-31-2013, 03:51 PM   #8
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If you can camp in a four person tent, which many people do, then a Bambi 16 is living large!
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Old 07-31-2013, 05:24 PM   #9
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16 Bambi

JK,

We have a 2013 Bambi Sport and have had my 8 year old nephew and his friend sleep on the front dinette during a recent trip to our local mtns. They had plenty of room while we slept on the rear bed. I woudn't reccomend the floor since it just isn't big enough, anyway that's our Rough Coat Collie Jack's spot.

I tow it with a 2010 Jeep Liberty. One of the features I like about the Jeep is that the when the rear seats are folded down it makes an absolutely flat floor. I mention this because I have slept in the back with my backpacking air mattress and sleeping bag and slept like a baby. Keep that in mind when looking at a TV to buy since it gives you some flexibility.

As mentioned as the kids get older a nice large family stand up dome tent would give the kids their own place to sleep.

Earlier this year my brother and his wife came along with us and we let them have the AS while Lisa and I slept in our dome tent with a queen Aero bed and our camp chairs, lantern, heater etc.

Most times we are in RV parks with hook ups and most will still allow a tent set up next to your RV.

Although we like the extra room the larger AS's have we find our little tin can works for us. On our recent trip to the Oregon Coast we ecked out over 15 mpg on one tank of gas.

Good Luck
Jack Dog
in So Cal
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Old 07-31-2013, 06:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by panheaddale View Post
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.
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.
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Old 07-31-2013, 06:18 PM   #11
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I think the 16' Bambi is cool, and like others said, resale is great.

But to throw out a contrasting viewpoint: we tow our 23' very easily with a Dodge Durango. You could tow that 23D with a 2011+ V6-powered Durango or a Jeep Grand Cherokee, so you don't need something huge.

Given resale values and availability, you probably won't pay much more for a used 23D and they'll likely be easier to find. With 3 sleeping areas (dinette, lounge, corner bed), it will give more flexibility for your growing family.

Tom
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Old 07-31-2013, 07:00 PM   #12
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our new sport 16 accommodates our family of 5

me, my wife, and julie, grady, and laila our boxer pups!
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Old 07-31-2013, 08:37 PM   #13
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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 but we may be able to get to a dealer in another state in the next few months to see it in person. THANKS AGAIN!

eta: and yes, if we stumbled across a great deal on a 23D it would not take a lot of convincing to get that one either, once we are in the market!
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Old 07-31-2013, 08:54 PM   #14
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I am re-doing a vintage 17' Bambi II for our family of four...building bunkbeds for the girls where the closet once was (It is gutted...so I can do it how I like).

Although that is not an option for you., I would say your family will be very comfortable in a small trailer. Especially when it is a rainy night and your neighbors are in tents. All of you will be happy for your dry space.

Incidentally, we are going camping next week in our 13' (yes, thirteen-foot) Scotty camper. I built a "bunk" bed for our two year old that goes over our feet when sleeping. Oh...and the four of us are taking the two dogs in August with the same set up!
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