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Old 10-28-2006, 10:12 PM   #1
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To Bambi or not to Bambi, that is the ?

Ok regulars here will know me as the slow to decide guy. Debating the purchase of a 75th anniversary Bambi. I took my boys up to see it again today. We folded down the dinette to see how the boys fit. Surprisingly well. Id say i have a couple more years of them fitting. I stretched out in back again and seems fine. We just hung out and i tried to imagine having bought it and trying to see if i did the right thing.

So here's my question. Are there any first timers to airstream and trailering for that matter who can tell me if they were in my shoes at one time? Meaning you have never done anything like this before buying your first airstream trailer. We camp maybe once or twice a year. Like it ok but its a major ordeal packing and prepping and the ugh of sleeping in a tent.

Im trying to figure out if im just overly smitten by the idea of this and not the reality. Yes i love the trailer but do i love for 15 years worth of payments and all. And do i love towing and set up and and hauling back home? The more i read the more intimidated i get about managing batteries and water and sewage and propane and tow weight. Am i way overreacting? Seems like it would be a way easier decision if i had already owned a trailer and this was an upgrade.

Thanks for baring with a hopeful newbie.
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Old 10-28-2006, 10:36 PM   #2
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Randjg1:

I was in your position six years ago having never owned a travel trailer. I'm a single dad with two sons, then 15 and 11, and we looked at trailers and tried to envision how we'd do. Today, one out of college, one just started, I can say that I'm glad I purchased the 19-ft Bambi for my enjoyment- the boys had too much else going on to want to spend more than a few trips. However, those that we did take were great, many times just one or the other of them went with me. Now, of course, they want to use it on their own...

Last week I was discussing just this matter with a friend looking closely at a motor home... and he decided that taking on the expense of the moho was putting too much pressure on the college savings for his two kids and walked away from a deal. He'll probably rent one to try out the experience. I think he carefully considered his priorities and made a good decision, putting his kids' education first.

Finally, I didn't expect to spend the amount of time and money on the trailer as I have. First there were the modifications and updates. Now come the maintenance matters- especially the frame corrosion on a six-year-old unit, requiring enormous amounts effort and expense to remediate. In fact, I haven't had mine on the road since July 2005. A trailer will not be maintenance free; but it shouldn't require the effort mine has either. Thankfully, most don't.

You'll find that the upkeep matters, such as you mention, become routine as you get experience. On the other hand, some matters, such as the safety checks, should never be taken as so routine to be overlooked. These are not intimidating.

And some people trade their trailers for different models, either after realizing they didn't get what they wanted, or their circumstances change, so you are not locked into one particular unit forever.

Read through these forums for the initial purchase discussions others have had and you may find some similar circumstances to yours. Carefully consider your towing vehicle in your plans too. I hope your decision goes well, and don't rush it.

Marshall
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Old 10-28-2006, 10:37 PM   #3
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I was and avid tent camper before getting into RV's. My first RV was a used 15' self contained travel trailer that we used for 1 year. It was used by my wife and I and we have no kids. We used it religiously,but decided it was a little too small for us and traded up to a 25' 5th wheel which was just right. We used the 5th wheel for 5 years (once a month trips) before buying our 28' Airstream.

The 75th Anniversary Bambi is a sweeeet Airstream! It is small however, especially for a family with kids. If it were me, I would buy a larger Airstream like a 25', which would probably cost less than the 25th AE Bambi.

It's been my experience that most people start out small but generally seem to trade up for a larger unit after a few years. Just food for thought.
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Old 10-28-2006, 10:42 PM   #4
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There is no need to apologize - this is a major purchase and it is only right that one would seek all the help that can be had.

A review of your earlier posts suggests that you are to accomodate you and your wife, and two boys. And you need to tow with a Cayanne? Correct so far?

First, there is no way I would buy based on what I can tow with an existing vehicle. You need to like the Bambi for what it is. If it happens that the Bambi is what you want (and there is a lot to like about it), and you can tow it with your Cayanne, great! But if is not really suitable, the fact that you can tow it will be seen to be moot after a couple of trips.

A scientific survey of people who use a Bambi to camp with two children and two adults will reveal the following: Some hate it; some find it "ok"; and some say "great". No real help at all there. It is you and yours who will have to decide.

Also keep in mind that you will need to use it a LOT or a few trips to the State Park will be the cost of a luxury vacation just for the depreciation alone.

Good luck, and by all means keep asking questions if you want.

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Old 10-28-2006, 10:45 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randjg1
Ok regulars here will know me as the slow to decide guy. Debating the purchase of a 75th anniversary Bambi. I took my boys up to see it again today. We folded down the dinette to see how the boys fit. Surprisingly well. Id say i have a couple more years of them fitting. I stretched out in back again and seems fine. We just hung out and i tried to imagine having bought it and trying to see if i did the right thing.

So here's my question. Are there any first timers to airstream and trailering for that matter who can tell me if they were in my shoes at one time? Meaning you have never done anything like this before buying your first airstream trailer. We camp maybe once or twice a year. Like it ok but its a major ordeal packing and prepping and the ugh of sleeping in a tent.

Im trying to figure out if im just overly smitten by the idea of this and not the reality. Yes i love the trailer but do i love for 15 years worth of payments and all. And do i love towing and set up and and hauling back home? The more i read the more intimidated i get about managing batteries and water and sewage and propane and tow weight. Am i way overreacting? Seems like it would be a way easier decision if i had already owned a trailer and this was an upgrade.

Thanks for baring with a hopeful newbie.
My take on it is that you'll be tired of a small camper within 3 or 4 years, if you make it that long. I fulltime, and upsized from a 22 CCD to a 25 Safari FB SE after a year. Four people in a tiny trailer with three days of rain.... that's the down side. A 25 has a separate bedroom, which gives family a retreat from each other.

Now if you're just weekending it, a Bambi would probably be fine. If you can keep it in your yard, the kids would have the neatest playhouse ever!

In your shoes I'd look for a fairly new USED Airstream.... 2000 or later. You could use a second mortgage to finance it and it would be 1/3 to 1/2 the cost of a new one. Or you could go for a 25 footer for the cost of a new Bambi.

When figuring costs don't forget the tow vehicle.

Paula
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Old 10-28-2006, 11:06 PM   #6
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Hi, Randjg1,

The thought of 15 years of payments would bother me, too. I'd have to think about it a LOT.

I haven't been placed in that position so far. Bambies are pretty, but they are little smidgens of what's already out there in Airstreamland for far less $$$.

A Bambie is not an upgrade for experienced Airstreamers. People often trade down to shorter trailers, but a lot of others trade up to longer ones, especially as the younger family members grow.

It sounds to me like this Bambi will serve as a snapshot in the life of your family right now, but it won't serve the longterm needs.

That sounds like a painful, perhaps frivolous purchase for a short time that will be something you will outgrow very quickly. How many of these 15 years will there be before you have any positive equity?

This is just one person's stinky opinion, but I think you might want to aim a lot lower. For the same or less money, you can find a lot of mid-eighties and nineties Safaris that don't need a whole more tow vehicle, and that trailer would be usable well until the kids are grown, generating their own livings, and you are gracefully retired.

I remember looking at a Bambi in the showroom of Threeway Campers in Altanta in the early 90s. I thought it was a marvel of efficient engineering, and I enjoyed getting in it and looking around. They still are, and they are still lovely.

But I think that a Bambi is a couple's first trailer. . . or a couple's LAST trailer. They aren't for the in-between with mortages, kids, and complications.

For less money, check out a mid-eighties Safari 25'. That's one that's easier to buy that you just might not ever outgrow.

But you know what they say about opinions -- everybody's got one.

Lamar
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Old 10-29-2006, 01:19 AM   #7
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Well if money is not an issue, buy it.

We started in 2004 with a really neat off road popup. (It's still in the garage.)
served us well and is a lot of fun. We found we wanted more self containment.

In 2006 we got a 19ft. Bambi. after about 4 trips in two months we could not cope with the small bed and cramped bathroom. Soooo now we have a 25 FB and on the third trailer we have the perfect length and layout and will probably be buried in it.

These things cost a bundle and unless you plan on using it often may I suggest heresy? perhaps you should get a Popup or a used Airstream. Save money and if repairs are needed you and the boys can work on it together.

Good luck in whatever you decide.
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Old 10-29-2006, 07:44 AM   #8
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We have owned our 2002 Bambi for four years now and still love it as much as the first day. We would never consider upgrading to anything larger. We camp in it 15 - 20 weekends /week a year and it is quite comfortable for two adults and two 85 pound Golden Retrievers. It all depends on what you like. There are some folks who feel cramped in a 28' trailer and then there are folks like us who are quite comfy in our 19' trailer. You are doing things the right way with trying out the beds ahead of time. I would also suggest you visualize your routine's in the trailer too to make sure it meets all your needs. I heard that the anniversary Bambi is lacking a medicine cabinet and that the pull-out couch can be uncomfortable to sleep on. These would be deal-breakers for me -- you need to figure out what you want.

Perhaps you should try purchasing a pre-owned late model Bambi first. Try it out without spending the $60K and see if you like it. The late model Bambi's hold their value well so if you don't like it after the first year you can resell easily and recoup most of your money.
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Old 10-29-2006, 07:58 AM   #9
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I think Bambis are cuter than puppies, and I really wanted one when we started looking at Airstreams. The 75th Anniversary 19 footed is super cool. That being said, we opted for a 25' FB realizing that if we were really going to use the thing, the comfort of a queen size bed was required. We have have had our girl, Lucy, since June, and have spent 67 nights in her and still love it.

Lucy is our first RV of any kind. We were tenters before that. We had done a lot of car trailer towing, and did have some experience in that area. Our learning curve on the travel tailer aspects was greatly shortened with the information gotten on these Forums.

Your tow vehicle would probably be OK for a Bambi, but you would be pushing the envelope on anything heavier.

Do some serious soul searching and get the Airstream that you will really use, or you may end up with a very expensive piece of yard art.
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Old 10-29-2006, 08:48 AM   #10
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Randjg1,

You beat me to it! I measured the dinette folded down for you and took a few pictures. Anyways being only 3ft wide (5ft 11" long) it is a bit arrrow for 2 kids... especially if they aren't getting along so well one day. Might you they could sleep in a tent . With our teardrop, my son had his own tent and was quite happy about that. Mind you he was 13-15 years old during that time and we had a small teardrop. Not sure if airstreamer's normally would assign the kids to a tent

I had read someones post about the main bed being tight, but I am 6ft and had a ton of head/foot room (80" in length plus the extra area between bed and tv stand)... maybe its different in the regular CCD or Safari since the configuration at the foot of the bed is different.

You mention going camping once or twice a year with tents. Unless you plan on many more trips, thats a huge investment for the return.

We chose to upgrade from our teardrop, mainly since we are camping 30+ days and wanted to increase that and extend our season from 4 months to 6.5- 7 months. As well I wanted to be able to have enough room to work... mainly on rainy days. The Bambi becomes our cottage so to speak, and we didn't have to worry about paying for it.

If you are camping enough, the whole ordeal of packing gets a lot easier. Mind you 2 kids does add a lot of extra gear. Storage in the 75th Bambi is fine for 2... but for 4 you would have to bring along another cooler and food box in your tv. The kids wouldn't have room for clothing storage either.

Now about the towing, managing batteries etc. We were a bit paranoid as well after reading so much on the forum. There seems to be an overwelming amount of things and info to digest. We even recorded the walk through at the dealer so we wouldn't miss anything. But in reality it wasn't that hard.... and its fun learning anyways. Towing was easier than I imagined now that we have the right vehicle. The only issue I found was backing up. You can't see anything behind you, so you have to trust your partner to help you out. I'm thinking of a rear camera to help out with that.

Considering the financing you are speaking of, and the fact that you haven't been spending a lot of time out camping, you might be better to buy a used/larger unit. Even a new 2006 25ft Safari can be had for a lot less than the 19ft 75th. (Colonial has one for $39,700). Have you envisioned camping on a more regular basis? How does you're wife feel about that? Do you have the vacation time even?

It will be interested to see where you end up, but sounds like at some point you will be an airstream owner! Enjoy the decision making and keep it fun!
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Old 10-29-2006, 10:45 AM   #11
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In the pro's column for getting into an airstream surely one has to list the friendly tight-knit family that is represented on this forum. I can only imagine when airstreamers meet out in the world.

There are great points brought up by all. I thought i would comment. Like on amazon.com, the more you buy, ie, they know about you, the better their advice.

I think for sure we would up our camping. But i see it as 3 to 5 hours from home kinds of trips at first. For long weekends. Not major odesseys. However, if it went well and we thought it would work after some experience--do the rushmore and maybe yellowstone trips. So mainly a couple nights at a pop at first.

I like the small size. The larger ones are nice for sure. But also represent more of a commitment somehow. Like buying a second home verses a small cabin.

Im thinking that this will be a grand experiment. For sure some great memories for our boys and ourselves. And if it doesnt pan out, perhaps get out of it. Or, if it does, we do the tent and trailer combo as suggested as they grow. I really think of this as an addition to our camping experience. Meaning, you are in the tent for changing clothes and sleeping and thats about it. So this would make that part a joy. Of course a rainy day would be way better than being soaked.

Many folks in my neck of the wood have a lake cabin for their summer weekends. We don't want the pressure of upkeep on two homes. I see this as an alternative. Spendy now, but when paid off, im retired or at least way scaled back financially and wed still have a low cost vacation option.

As it is now we tend to head to lake cabins, cottages etc, for vacations, that we rent and its great but for the money of one of those trips I'd be paying into something i would own.

Finally i guess this is really an emotional purchase. I'm trying to justify this emotion with some rational arguments. And i thank you all for help in that area. Most of the time when i follow my heart i am not dissapointed. But i would have to say that this is the biggest ticketed item i will have had on that list.

In closing, my plan was to wait until spring as i didnt want to buy it now only to put it in storage all winter. And yesterday i realized that it will be sitting out all winter anyway at the dealership. Perhaps inside storage is not that critical for me.

Thank you all again for the feedback.
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Old 10-29-2006, 11:40 AM   #12
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Buy on Emotion/Justify With Fact!

As someone who just bought a 2006 19' Bambi, I thought I would add my two cents. First, we looked at everything. We bought the Bambi because it best represented our values, our camping style, and was something we felt we could live with a long time.

My Dad used to say saleman have a saying, "Buy on emotion and justify with facts." If you are not emotionally satisfied with your purchase, even if it is a GREAT deal/the right thing to do, you will be miserable down the road. Imagine if EVERY time you got into your trailer you said/thought - "coulda, shoulda, woulda." Life is too short for that.

Once of the nice things we have discovered about the Airstream community so far, limited as our exposure has been, is that it is a caring, sharing, diverse group of people. Whatever your decision there is no "judgement" by others who may have chosen a different path. All we hear is the pride of ownership and personal achievement in accomplishing some really challenging restorations.

In making your mind up, I encourage you to be patient, look at everything out there, and really (as someone already suggested) visualize how YOU will use the Airstream. That is what is really important after all.

Good luck and we can't wait to see you on the road!

Jerry and Avis
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Old 11-03-2006, 10:09 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randjg1
Debating the purchase of a 75th anniversary Bambi....
So here's my question. Are there any first timers to airstream and trailering for that matter who can tell me if they were in my shoes at one time?...
My wife and I just bought our first travel trailer, a 16' Bambi. Last month we and our two young kids went for our first trip - a delightful a six day trip through Virginia.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Randjg1
The more i read the more intimidated i get about managing batteries and water and sewage and propane and tow weight. Am i way overreacting?
Just a little. Managing batteries is easy - get a no-maintainence/high reliability battery (e.g. Lifeline) then park next to 120V every couple of days. Water and sewage are similar - just be conservative and then get to water and a dump station every few days (we dumped on the last day of our trip). As for tow weight just get a reasonable tow vehicle - and ideally tow with an anti-sway weight distributing hitch (e.g Equal-i-zer).
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Old 11-03-2006, 11:19 PM   #14
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hi randjg1 and welcome to the forums...

if purchase price, depreciated price, trade value and
cost of the next airstream and tow vehicle are not big issues....

go for it!

look, the dw model is sweet. just go buy it.

sure the kids may want to use a tent along with the trailer...so what.

you will have a blast however many times you use the trailer....

you will love airstreamn' and soon there will be larger models with the same interior style...

so you can up grade in 2 years...

your cayenne will tow this one just fine...

the porsche is one of the few vehicles where the towing capacity is not reduced by payload as long as you don't exceed the gvwr or gcwr which are about the same as the vw's...

devoman tows with a vw so pm him for info on towing a 19.

my only issue is the cayenne has such great brakes the trailer will be overmatched and slow to respond.

the only fellow i know who tows with a cayenne had his bambi upgraded to disc brakes last year at the factory...after a close call at freeway speeds.

sure there are lots of issues to learn about like lpgas, sewage, hitches and so on...

that's part of the fun or rv'n....

and airstreams are funner still...

go for it.
go buy it now.

common don't let it sit lonely all winter....

and what if someone else grabs it b4ya?

cheers
2air'
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