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Old 10-03-2016, 08:49 PM   #1
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2017 16' Sport
Detroit , Michigan
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 23
Talking Close to Buying 16' Sport

Hey, everyone! I'll try to make this as succinct as possible as I know there have been other posts somewhat related to this.

My wife and I recently looked at the 16 Sport and really like it and are close to start the purchasing process. This would be our second camper together.

Our first camper is a Coachmen Freedom Express, aka "SOB" (lol), and it truly has been a SOB. On the bright side, we got a great deal on it brand new. Actually, the deal was really great to the point that my trade-in offers from dealers are very close to the price I paid for it. Unfortunately, in this one season, the hot water heater pilot/electrical wires in the back caught fire, the propane line under the camper (rubber, by the way) was somehow sliced when driving (something must have come up from the road), causing us to leak propane. Our almost 30-foot camper is frightening to tow with my GMC Sierra V8! Lastly, I'm less than impressed with the quality of the Coachmen. Everything, including cabinets, is 1/8" plywood. On the bright side, the coachmen offers everything: TV, power awning, power jack, power everything, etc., etc., including much more space that we need!

We are ready to seriously downsize, however. In fact, when viewing campers initially, we loved looking at the Airstreams, but were frightened by the price. For "much more bang for the buck", we ended up with a SOB. Only a few months later, here I am on airforums . In spite of all this, I'm starting to get "cold feet" with this purchase...

I guess I'm looking for advice from folks who understand what I'm going through, and why the switch to something smaller that offers seemingly "less features" was the best decision they made. I'm ready to purchase the 16 Sport, but don't want "buyer's remorse" at that amount of money.

What I do know: we want something smaller that is easier to tow, get-up-and-go, and higher quality. I also know that we don't need most of what our current 30-foot Coachmen offers. This alone makes the 16 Sport worth it for me, but what am I missing?

Any advice for us? Thanks!

*As a side note, I love the 16 International lines (2012, for example). It's such a shame these are discontinued. I think part of my "cold feet" is that the Sport is quite a different camper than these. Perhaps I'm overthinking this?
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Old 10-03-2016, 09:44 PM   #2
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2017 25' Flying Cloud
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I understand the desire for an older 16' and agree that it is a shame they are no longer building them. We purchased a 16' sport last year. We loved it, using it at least once a month. Easy to tow, easy to park, and a huge upgrade from the teardrop I had built the year before.

But you are coming from the other end. How do you like the smaller bed? Is the small toilet and bathroom an issue? How do you plan on using it? Long weekends or full timing? And yes, I know of someone listing a 16' on Craigslist that "realized a 16' was too small for two adults full time." Whaaaaaatt?

It is definitely built better. It's more "honest" in that. Every other trailer we've been in has felt like a dorm room. We wanted something we wanted to be in.

That said, we take delivery of a 25' FB in a couple weeks. We loved it so much that we wanted more of it. More bathroom and shower. More bed. We sold it privately and while we didn't get what we paid for it, I believe it was fair.

I hope others can jump in. I'd say if you're having cold feet to take a deep breath and step back. Airstreams aren't going anywhere and there's no rush. Unless you feel like you'd be missing out
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Old 10-03-2016, 10:26 PM   #3
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While the 16 ft Bambi's are awfully cute, they are too claustrophobic for me, let alone 2 of us. The only way I could make it work would be to extend our living space to include the outside, that is, utilize the awning space and around the campsite. If you have a pickup or trunk space, consider an ice chest. Use that space for packing what you need to keep the inside of the trailer as open and clutter free as possible.

Susan
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Old 10-03-2016, 10:51 PM   #4
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2015 25' FB Flying Cloud
Eugene , Oregon
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Good posts already with more coming, I would imagine. Even though I bought new I'm a big proponent of buying used. We had planned on going on a multi-month trip soon after purchase and being that I was new to RVs didn't want to deal with "used" problems while learning so much.

There are many smaller Airstreams for sale that have been only gently used that will save you significant money vs. new. If this route felt good to you and you decided after a while that bigger is what you want/need the depreciation on your used trailer wouldn't be anywhere near as steep as a new one. If the 16' works well for you, think of the money you saved!

Size of trailer is so difficult to answer for another person. A 16', or any size, can be great for one person and intolerable to another.

I would encourage you to take your time if at all possible. It's a big financial decision. And have fun with the process!
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Old 10-03-2016, 11:19 PM   #5
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2005 16' International CCD
2015 19' Flying Cloud
Creston Valley , British Columbia
Join Date: Jun 2012
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Samll is beautiful! Especially if you like to camp in older public campgrounds designed back when RVs were a lot smaller on average, like in a lot of western National Parks and BLM lands. Generally they have some larger sites, but these tend to fill up first.

We had a great time in our 16' Bambi. We're also having a great time in our 19' Bambi. We've never felt claustophobic in either one, and had a medium size dog, as well, till last year. We live outside a lot, generally, when we camp, anyhow.

The 2005 International 16' model that we had came with standard front stone guards and a rear fender with a little extra storage room in it. We'd highly recommend getting your dealer to add the stone guards if you drive off-pavement. The rear fender is also handy for mounting a bicycle rack.

We pulled the 16-footer with a Tacoma, but got a Tundra for the 19'. The big advantage of a truck with a cap (topper, canopy) over the truck bed is that it gives us more storage space than we need for all kinds of camping gear and extra luggage. The smaller the trailer the less interior storage space. We also don't like living with a lot of interior clutter.

If you can find a used AS, that will bring down the price, for sure.

The petite Bambi has a few work-arounds.

1. We decided that only one person could be up and moving around at a time, to avoid the do-si-do maneuver. The other person had to sit still or go outside.

2. The sixteener has just the one sink, to be used for everything from post-potty hand-washing to tooth-brushing to dish-washing. To solve the hygiene issue we kept a package of baby wipes in the loo, and frequently cleaned out the sink with Lysol wipes.

3. There is one waste water tank for gray and black water in the little guy, and it does have limited capacity. Frequent monitoring of its level is important on boondocking sites if you're staying any length of time. We bring along a bucket or a blue plastic portable waste water tank ("biffy box") for longer outings with no hookups.

4. The "wet bath" isn't such a challenge for showering as some make out, but to avoid filling up said waste water tank we would put a couple of plastic stackable rectangular dish pans on the floor and toilet lid to catch the shower water and reuse it where reasonable, then toss it outside. The main issue is that the shower area is very slow to dry out in damp cool weather. Jeanne used it a fair bit, but Len preferred the campground showers, where available. There is also a fun outdoor shower on the Bambi for those private sites off in the wilds.

Especially with the small Bambi, be prepared for all kinds of questions from curious on-lookers, ranging from guys in supermarket parking lots to car ferry deck hands to National Monument superintendents.

There are joyous adventures out there. Good luck with your purchase.
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Old 10-04-2016, 03:19 AM   #6
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2012 19' International
Southeastern MI , Michigan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NorCal Matt View Post
I understand the desire for an older 16' and agree that it is a shame they are no longer building them. We purchased a 16' sport last year. We loved it, using it at least once a month. Easy to tow, easy to park, and a huge upgrade from the teardrop I had built the year before.

But you are coming from the other end. How do you like the smaller bed? Is the small toilet and bathroom an issue? How do you plan on using it? Long weekends or full timing? And yes, I know of someone listing a 16' on Craigslist that "realized a 16' was too small for two adults full time." Whaaaaaatt?

It is definitely built better. It's more "honest" in that. Every other trailer we've been in has felt like a dorm room. We wanted something we wanted to be in.

That said, we take delivery of a 25' FB in a couple weeks. We loved it so much that we wanted more of it. More bathroom and shower. More bed. We sold it privately and while we didn't get what we paid for it, I believe it was fair.

I hope others can jump in. I'd say if you're having cold feet to take a deep breath and step back. Airstreams aren't going anywhere and there's no rush. Unless you feel like you'd be missing out
Be sure to look at the 19 and 22 as well. The extra sink and black water tank sold us on it. I tow with a Grand Cherokee 6cyl but planning to get a new pickup before next spring. The GC tows OK but I would like extra room and payload, and a V8 or diesel next time.

The 48" wide bed is a tight fit. We got a memory foam mattress which is nice but it can be a little claustrophobic back there. I hear the 22' has the largest bed. Some people sleep with their feet to the rear of the trailer to feel less crammed in.

The shower is awesome but the bathroom is quite small. Use with discretion lol.

I had the tires swapped for Michelins before even picking up the trailer. I'm still leary of the single axle, but we shall see.

Your Sierra will pull a 25, so be sure to look at that too!
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Old 10-04-2016, 05:11 AM   #7
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2015 22' FB Sport
San Antonio , Texas
Join Date: Oct 2015
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We spent 6 months looking and trying to decide which AS was right for just the 2 of us and ended up purchasing a new 2015 22FB in November of 2015 after the 2016 models hit the dealerships. Our main reasons we chose the 22FB over the 16 are....

1. Larger bath and shower.
2. Individual black and grey water tanks.
3. Larger bed.
4. Larger closet.
5. Still small enough to tow with the Honda Ridgeline we already had.

The bonus of taking so long to decide was savings. We gave up having a digital antenna, LED lights and something else I can't recall by purchasing the '15 instead of the '16 but I paid $13K less which more than paid for swapping out the LED light bulbs.

The 2017 models have even more cool features over the 2016's that would have made the decision to take last years model and the money I saved more difficult for me. Awning lights, aluminum gas bottle cover, solar panel pre wire, double sink, contemporary colors, curtains instead of blinds in the bedroom, a mattress that lifts to expose the storage under the bed are the key ones that come to mind.

Take your time. Read the posts on other topics regarding the Bambi's in this section of the forums. IMO it seems like a lot of compromising takes place using the 16' toilet/shower that we don't experience with our 22FB.
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Old 10-04-2016, 06:09 AM   #8
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2012 19' International
Southeastern MI , Michigan
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 357
Quote:
Originally Posted by NorCal Matt View Post
I understand the desire for an older 16' and agree that it is a shame they are no longer building them. We purchased a 16' sport last year. We loved it, using it at least once a month. Easy to tow, easy to park, and a huge upgrade from the teardrop I had built the year before.

But you are coming from the other end. How do you like the smaller bed? Is the small toilet and bathroom an issue? How do you plan on using it? Long weekends or full timing? And yes, I know of someone listing a 16' on Craigslist that "realized a 16' was too small for two adults full time." Whaaaaaatt?

It is definitely built better. It's more "honest" in that. Every other trailer we've been in has felt like a dorm room. We wanted something we wanted to be in.

That said, we take delivery of a 25' FB in a couple weeks. We loved it so much that we wanted more of it. More bathroom and shower. More bed. We sold it privately and while we didn't get what we paid for it, I believe it was fair.

I hope others can jump in. I'd say if you're having cold feet to take a deep breath and step back. Airstreams aren't going anywhere and there's no rush. Unless you feel like you'd be missing out
Be sure to look at the 19 and 22 as well. The extra sink and black water tank sold us on it. I tow with a Grand Cherokee 6cyl but planning to get a new pickup before next spring. The GC tows OK but I would like extra room and payload, and a V8 or diesel next time.

The 48" wide bed is a tight fit. We got a memory foam mattress which is nice but it can be a little claustrophobic back there. I hear the 22' has the largest bed. Some people sleep with their feet to the rear of the trailer to feel less crammed in.

The shower is awesome but the bathroom is quite small. Use with discretion lol.

I had the tires swapped for Michelins before even picking up the trailer. I'm still leary of the single axle, but we shall see.

Your Sierra will pull a 25, so be sure to look at that too!
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Old 10-04-2016, 06:21 AM   #9
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2012 16' International
Jamestown , Rhode Island
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We have a 16' Bambi and we love it! We've spent 6 weeks at a time in it and although it is small and as previously mentioned you must be realistic about the space, we wouldn't have it any other way!
We are going to do a little lap around the country this spring and we will be out for about 4 months in our Bambi. That is two adults and two Scottish terriers!
The only thing I will add is that both my wife and I come from sailing backgrounds and thus we are accustomed to small spaces.
The biggest difference with our Bambi when compared to a boat is that you can simply open the door and go for a walk or a ride with the Airstream.
We love ours!
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Old 10-04-2016, 02:52 PM   #10
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2016 16' Sport
Gallatin , Tennessee
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 25
16 ft Bambi

We were in the same place a few months ago but we have never had a trailer. We looked at many brands and went with the VALUE of the Airstream. I am a Toyota Dealer and so I sell value and resale all the time so it was easier for me to go down the Airstream path. My wife and I find it easy to use and we take our Goldendoodle Sam with us and have plenty of room. We have also taken our 5 and 7 yr old granddaughters with us and survived. Only mistake was at delivery we should have had a check list we went over. (I believe there is one on the forum somewhere). My wife and I look at the trailer everyday in our drive and want to go somewhere...take the plunge the water is warm.
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Old 10-04-2016, 03:02 PM   #11
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Tampa , Florida
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Here is my checklist.

http://www.ourflyingcloud.com/2016/0...checklist.html
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Old 10-04-2016, 03:56 PM   #12
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2012 25' Flying Cloud
Battle Lake , Minnesota
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We started with a 20 and got a 25 two years later for more comfortable and usable space, we are snowbird travelers in the South 6 months a year.

I think the Sport 16 is okay for weekends and vacations, but the Sport 22 has the livability of the larger Airstreams limited by liquid storage tank size and battery size. We could spend a few months in it if frequently using full hookup sites. It will tow nicely with your truck, get the hitch setup right.

The high cost, timeless style, and longitivtiy (with excellent maintenance) of Airstream suggests buying for a lifetime of travel and camping. A 25 rear or front bed, smallest of the large Airstreams with very similar mechanical and electrical systems is the starting point, and perfectly usable for a lifetime. Look for a well-maintained and lightly used one.

There is no hurry, take your time and look at a few. Plan for the long-term.
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Old 10-04-2016, 03:57 PM   #13
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2015 16' Sport
Portland , Oregon
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We have a 16' sport. To me the biggest limitation is storage space, and secondarily waste tank space.

- we added a bumper. that holds the leveling blocks, alignment rods for hitching, hose for rinsing the waste tank, awning tool and a few other messy items
- added a second battery and replaced the incandescents with LED lights all through the inside
- we put a hanging set of shelves in the closet where the heater is
- we have a 14" (i think) bin in the back that can be pulled in from inside with tools we can use to cook if it's raining as well as larger pots and pans. nested with it is another identical bin that we use outside for dirty dishes and soapy water. We wash when we need to using a blue water cube outside mostly and a home depot bucket with lid for the grey water. Most campgrounds have a grey water dump. at the end, if there is room in the tank we dump it in the sink to get a better flush out (not into the toilet, there could be a fork in there). Last day or two of dishes just go home to the dishwasher.
- small bins in the side of the "trunk" hold repair stuff and tools
- other two sterilite bins with dishes and cooking stuff
- overhead bins and hampers for clothing and toiletries
- drawer near the door for stuff that you need to access inside and out without tracking in a lot of dirt.. insect repellent, gloves and wipes for the dumpsite, lighters, garbage bags, headlights.
- kitchen drawers for the usual kitchen drawer stuff
- ammo can mounted to the tongue holds the right angle sewer nozzle
- everything else goes into the Yukon, including the propane powered generator
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Old 10-04-2016, 07:52 PM   #14
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Kansas City , Missouri
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I second the comments of twbucksr and countryboy and Dkottum.

We originally were drawn to the 16, and when we were in it on the dealer lot, it seemed to have plenty of room.

But if you consider your daily activities, and imagine doing them in the 16, you may find as we did that it falls short in several areas.

For us, the major evaluation points were that we wanted good window cross ventilation for camping without AC, a comfortable bed, a bathroom we could use, a kitchen that had enough space for food prep and for clean up, and enough storage inside the trailer for the items used inside the trailer.

That is, we were OK with keeping outside items like BBQ and patio chairs in the truck bed. We were not OK with keeping clothing, food, pots and pans, toiletries and towels in the vehicle. We wanted a place to store ALL of that IN the trailer. Which really means it has to all be able to stow away for travel IN the trailer.

Once we really looked at our criteria, we realized that the 16 bambi did not have adequate storage (especially in the bathroom for towels, toiletries, make up, hair dryer, trash can) nor did it have adequate kitchen counter space. We then looked at the other units, and felt that the 19 still did not meet our kitchen counterspace needs. The 20 had the small bed we didn't like, and we didn't like the bathroom.

The 22 has it all, except you have to give up the appealing visual symmetry of the dinette in the front window as found on the 16 and 19. Once I got past this, and really looked at what it was like to be INSIDE each of the 4 Bambi models, I realized that for us the 22 had a superior layout.

Operable window in the bathroom. Large enough bathroom to close the door and shower, change, get dressed (nice when our adult daughter comes along). Enough storage in the bathroom for 4 towels, hair dryer, makeup, etc.

Long kitchen counter, decent closet, better use of under dinette storage since there is no space lost to drawer slides, and the left and back make an "L".

Best feature though, is the big bed. We sleep on a king at home, and find the 54 x 80 bed very comfortable. (note, 2017 models have 54 x 78 since they have added the bed lift to get under the bed easier.) It's a wide bed, and since the person in the window can't roll out, it's plenty big for 2.

Since you are coming from a big unit, I recommend you literally make a list of the items you want to take along, and figure out where they will go. If they all fit fine in the 16, then maybe it's the one for you. But if not, then I recommend you look at other models.
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