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Old 01-05-2013, 07:09 PM   #1
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2013 16' Sport
Boulder , Colorado
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 83
Proud new owners 16' Sport

Hello! My husband and I recently purchased a 2013 16' Sport. We are long-time tent campers and intend to use our rig mostly for boondocking in Colorado and the desert southwest.

A couple of newbie questions:

1. We are thinking of having the dealer install a bumper. Pretty pricey: $1500. Do you think it is worth it, and are there other options besides a stock Airstream bumper? We want it pretty much exclusively to protect the trailer. Is the added weight a problem on a 16' Sport?

2. Any recommendations on the best portable solar charger?

3. Anyone have experience with towing a 16' with a Tacoma 4WD?

Thanks, glad to be a forum member!
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Old 01-05-2013, 07:54 PM   #2
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2003 25' Safari
Riverside , California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seecue View Post
Hello! My husband and I recently purchased a 2013 16' Sport. We are long-time tent campers and intend to use our rig mostly for boondocking in Colorado and the desert southwest.

A couple of newbie questions:

1. We are thinking of having the dealer install a bumper. Pretty pricey: $1500. Do you think it is worth it, and are there other options besides a stock Airstream bumper? We want it pretty much exclusively to protect the trailer. Is the added weight a problem on a 16' Sport?

2. Any recommendations on the best portable solar charger?

3. Anyone have experience with towing a 16' with a Tacoma 4WD?

Thanks, glad to be a forum member!
If the Tacoma is a v-6 and 05 or newer no problem.My son's tacoma is rated to pull 65oo lbs.I wired up a brake controller for him so if we are ever out and he needs to move the trailer he's good to go
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Old 01-05-2013, 08:10 PM   #3
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2013 16' Sport
Boulder , Colorado
Join Date: Dec 2012
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Thanks for the reply!

What problem might we have with an '04 V6 Tacoma?
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Old 01-05-2013, 08:35 PM   #4
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2006 19' Safari SE
Tucson , Arizona
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Welcome to the Ariforums!

We tow our 19' 06 Safari SE with an 07 Tacoma V6 Double cab with a short bed and tow package (and love it). It tows 6500 lbs. I'm not sure what the earlier Tacomas are rated for... you need to check the spec's... and proper transmission cooling is important as well.

I don't know the answer to you question about adding a rear bumper, I do know there have been others here who have approached adding a bumper to a Sport...hopefully they will chime in.

Good luck!
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Old 01-05-2013, 10:51 PM   #5
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Welcome to the forums and congrats on your new 16' Sport. I believe this is the lightest trailer that airstream makes with a gvwr of 3,500 lbs. Your Tacoma should do fine towing this trailer. I agree that you need a transmission cooler; also a brake controller and a weight distribution hitch.

The rear bumper is a bit of a head scratcher for me. $1,500 is a lot of money for something you may never need. How often do you plan to tow? Will you be towing in much traffic? Also, is this a custom design by the dealer (the first one) or has he done this before? It would be better if Airstream makes a bumper and the dealer will just be installing it. If I had the Sport, I would probably pass on it, but this a highly personal decision.

Good luck, Dan
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Old 01-06-2013, 07:44 AM   #6
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2003 25' Safari
Riverside , California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seecue View Post
Thanks for the reply!

What problem might we have with an '04 V6 Tacoma?
The earlier Tacos have much less torque.The tow rating is less too but I do not remember the specs.May still be enough for the 16footer
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Old 01-10-2013, 05:47 PM   #7
Jack Dog in So Cal
 
2013 16' Sport
Orange , California
Join Date: Jul 2012
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Seecue,

When I picked up my 2013 16' Sport we had the dealer install an extra battery and the porch light off the Safari.

I plan on returning to the dealer where for under $1K they are going to install the segment protectors off the Safari for the front corners of the AS.

Unless you plan on mounting bike rakes or other items on the bumper I'd pass on spending the money on that and get the protectors added. You'll have a greater chance of getting front damage from road crap then getting rear ended in an accident.

Curious, what interior color did you choose (we have mocha blue) and what do you like most and least about the Bambi.

We just got back from a White Christmas in the Eastern Sierra's with our two rough coated Collies. We really love our little tin can.

Jack Dog
in So Cal
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Old 01-11-2013, 11:01 AM   #8
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2008 22' Safari
Oracle , Arizona
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We don't have a bumper either and don't plan on getting one. It won't protect your baby in a rear end crash. You will need to have a significant other outside to yell if your getting too close when backing up. Get a set of heavy duty mud flaps for the truck and change out the 24 size battery for a 27 and your in bussiness.
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Old 01-11-2013, 11:28 AM   #9
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2013 16' Sport
Boulder , Colorado
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JackDog, Ahab, et al, thanks for the great advice. We did decide to pass on the bumper and will focus on protecting the front instead (flaps and segment protectors).

We are installing a second battery, shopping around for a solar panel, and possibly upgrading our TV to a newer Tacoma.

JackDog, we haven't actually gotten the trailer yet. Delivery is set for March. We chose the sharksfin interior. I have been following your adventures, here on airforums -- thanks for the pics and keep 'em coming! I'll report back after our maiden voyage!
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Old 01-11-2013, 11:48 AM   #10
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Springfield , Missouri
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I would install install the bumper as Murphys law always comes into play.If it takes one light bump from backing into something or ? it will pay for itself.
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Old 01-11-2013, 12:29 PM   #11
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2008 16' Safari
Destrehan , Louisiana
Join Date: May 2009
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we've got the 2008 Sport 17 (has the rear bath instead of the the extra bed)
OK, here goes with the good and bad of the trailer:
Ground clearnce is very low. This trailer does not do well off road. It's very easy to damage the water tank on rough roads. Since you plan on boondocking this will be a concern. Be careful!
This trailer is very light weight, you can tow it with almost any V6. It's very stable and you don't need load levelers. This is the easiest trailer I've ever towed.
The frash water tank is small. Unless you limit your water use there isn't enough water for even a weekend. We usually run through a tank of water in one day unless we really conserve.
Get some leveling blocks. The refidgerator cut out will allow water to leak into the trailer if it is not level. AS knows about this problem. You can also build a water damm inside the refidgerator cut out to stop water from getting in.
Expect the black water tank sensor to fail. They all do sooner or later. Don't bother trying to fix it, you can see the level very easily when you flush.
The battery will run down in one day if you use the heater. If your going to boondock consider a solar panel. The trailer is pre-wired for this so it's an easy install. We are off grid only once in a long while so I have a generator for those occasions.
This trailer is best when hooked up to power. The TV, AC and microwave all need AC power. The TV is easy, a small inverter will run it nicely. The AC and microwave will need shore power or a generator. Solar panels, batteries and a large inverter are impractical for this.
Consider LED lights for the lighting...extends battery life. The big users of DC power are the heater and the Fantastic Fan.
The propane supply is great, even better, you don't need to fill the tanks. Just swap them out. They are the same size as the tanks used for propane grills.
Don't bother with extra rock gaurds. The protective film works fine. I've got a few small dings in the front of my trailer but nothing to worry about.

And finally....READ THE OWNERS MANUAL! We keep the manual and all of the other paper work that came with our trailer with us at all times. You never know when you might need to check for info or do a repair.

Enjoy your Safari Sport. We love ours. It's so easy to get up and go at any time. Set up takes me about 10 minutes so moving around is very easy.

Please let us know how that first trip goes.
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Old 01-11-2013, 12:37 PM   #12
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2008 16' Safari
Destrehan , Louisiana
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Hey JackDog...nice Collies. We travel with our two Australian Shepherds.
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Old 01-11-2013, 03:17 PM   #13
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2013 16' Sport
Boulder , Colorado
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 83
Thanks DLB for the added invaluable input. Lots to consider.

We are accustomed to hauling around 24 gallons of water on our 3-4 night camping outings, so we have enough containers to supplement the Bambi's tank. Will be nice to have the extra water for a change. Is it a significant enough weight disadvantage that we should try to fill the AS with water when we are closer to our destination? Where we usually go, water can be hard to come by so I'd love to fill up at home.

And yes, LEDs are definitely on the list.

Speaking of clearance, anyone have thoughts about bigger tires on the Bambi or other methods of increasing clearance? Generally speaking, we will try to park in campgrounds or easy access backcountry (BLM) sites, then unhitch the Tacoma for day trips into rougher terrain. But I'd REALLY like it if the Bambi had more clearance.

I'm a bit of a geek so I've already read the owner's manual, even though we don't get our trailer until March! It will get a good re-reading upon delivery and I'll be thinking about a good place to store the hard copy...
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Old 01-11-2013, 03:36 PM   #14
Jack Dog in So Cal
 
2013 16' Sport
Orange , California
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 138
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SeeCue,

Waiting for your AS like we did seemed like forever.

We love the new door position for the bathroom, I'm an ex body builder 5' 9" but 225lbs) so the toilet room in the wet bath is a little tight.

Even in high cross winds with the sway bar and equilizer hitch we could stay on the road while other trailers had to pull over and wait. We love having the four stabilizer jacks; makes for a very stable trailer even in the dirt.

The only issue so far is the counter and dinette table surfaces are very prone to damage. My girl friend had a glass soda bottle in her hand and it slipped out of her hand (about three inches above the table) and put a nice divet in the table top.

We had a Casita before the AS and so we love the extra room due to it being wider. All in all so far we are loving our little tin can.

Next trip out is at Easter to Tombstone, AZ.

Michael,
Jack Dog
in So Cal
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