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Old 08-27-2011, 01:12 PM   #15
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The question is again who are the inmates and who is normal. Within the Forum, you are quite sane.

So, David, it has been 5 weeks since you started this thread and have you come to any decisions? But, take your time—buying an expensive trailer, possibly a tow vehicle, and deciding whether to full time are all big decisions.

Unless you live in a studio apartment in NYC, you will have some serious downsizing. We store a lot of stuff in the bed of our pickup under a tonneau. Malefactors can't see what is there and we have much better vision to the rear than with a camper top. "Dirty" stuff goes in the bed—extra gas cans, generator, hitch stuff, box of sewer hoses, fresh water contained (not dirty inside, but outside, yes), trailer spare, then chairs in a heavy duty garbage bag.

Our 1/2 ton truck has enough payload for trips (one was 8 weeks), but I'd consider a 3/4 ton for full timing because of more payload. The new Ford EcoBoost 1/2 has much more payload than other 1/2 ton trucks, but it is the first model year and any new vehicle needs more time to check out for problems.

Extra food, tool boxes, maps, books, collapsible ladder, compressor, etc., go in the cab behind the front seats. If I had to have more than 3 weeks worth of clothes in the trailer, I don't know where it would go. That's in a 25' trailer. Four seasons worth of clothes make it more of a challenge with some coats, hats and gloves in the truck cab. A printer in the trailer is a great plus and we installed a small cabinet where the gaucho sofa is for it and a smaller microwave.

I recall one couple with a baby that full time in a 23'—or maybe a little less. I haven't seen any posts for a while, so I don't know how they are doing.

It is very much an individual thing. Long, long ago, when single, I lived in a 400' 2 bedroom cabin with a roommate. Seemed big enough then. Couldn't do it now, but 200' in our Safari was big enough for 8 weeks on the road.

Gene
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Old 08-29-2011, 07:58 PM   #16
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Thanks for asking, Gene. No, we haven't reached a "real" decision yet, and probably won't for a year or two. When we started this journey somewhat more than a year ago, we didn't know much at all. Now, two RV shows, three factory tours, and a rally later, plus many hours on various forums, we're learning a lot.

At this point it looks like the decision will be between a used Airstream in the 30-34-foot range or a diesel pusher MH. There are advantages and disadvantages to each, and it seems that each time we talk to someone we come up with more questions we need to answer.

Yes, we're starting to downsize. One area of the garage is now set aside for garage sale stuff, and it looks like I'm going to have to find more space for that quickly. As the kids visit here, we're asking them to tag things that they want.

I think one of the questions I asked at the beginning of this thread may have been poorly worded. I'm not all that concerned about theft of stuff while we're away from the campsite, but sudden high winds. Any awnings will be stowed before we both leave the campsite for any reason. I wondered about such things as grills and lawn chairs. I don't mind them riding in the pickup while we're traveling from one place to another, but I really don't want them along when we're going to town for church and groceries. A DP has basement storage areas that are great for such things, but Airstreams don't.

One of the projects for this week is to take the numbers from an old Ford towing guide and put them into a spreadsheet to figure out whether one of the heavy-duty F150's is sufficient for an Airstream, or whether we'd be better off looking for an F250. I'm using Ford numbers simply because that's what I have here, and I'm assuming that Chevy and Dodge will be fairly similar. I'm not willing to be bumping up against any weight limits. If it turns out that we actually need to go to an F350, so be it.
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Old 09-14-2011, 11:39 AM   #17
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So here's some ideas from a newly retired, "Airstream Newbie" with a bit too much time on his hands ...

After we took delivery of our new rig--only last February--we went on a series of long weekend "shakedown cruises" to learn more about the AS lifestyle. This is the first RV of ANY sort we've ever owned.

An important lesson learned was that a lot of the gadgets, addons, and optional "take alongs" simply are not needed. We don't need extra sets of cups, glasses, silverware, etc. Get melamine. We don't need to store very much food, as markets are almost always easy to find either in the area or along the route to where we're going. In other words, these short excursions helped us decide what we REALLY needed, and just as important, what we DON'T need. Our plan, while not to full time, is to take extended trips where we will be dry camping quite a bit. We're about to take our first trip outside CA. Our approach has been dictated somewhat by my wife's desire to continue working for a while, so transitioning to retirement is a process that will last for a couple years. That said, the gradual approach to outfitting our rig has turned out to be a blessing, as it's saved us from buying a lot of stuff that we'd probably end up not using.

The AS is not our home, it's a camper, and it is different. That's part of its allure to us, and we found that we enjoy the idea of not trying to duplicate the style and comforts of our home while in our aluminum igloo. There's a lot to be said for simplicity, and our AS has encouraged us to pare down to what we really need when away from home.

Best regards, and enjoy the hunt. It's a lot of fun ...

Paul
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Old 10-02-2011, 08:08 PM   #18
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We have known for a couple of months now that we were going to be camping this weekend. We still managed to leave things at home that we wanted in Branson. As we get closer to figuring out what we want for a FT rig, we've started making a list of things that must go along and things that we would like to have. For example, DW got a big KitchenAide mixer a few years ago, so I assumed that it would be a "must have" item. She surprised me when she said that if it wouldn't fit in an Airstream (if that's what we get) then she will live without it. Since I like to eat what she produces with it, I'm not sure that I want to not take it! As our list grows, and we look at various rigs, we'll be mentally thinking about where those items can travel.

Yes, we're looking forward to meeting some of you at Acorn Acres in two weeks. Hope you don't mind lots of questions.
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Old 10-16-2011, 04:29 PM   #19
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We're still crunching numbers, looking at stuff, and asking lots of questions.

One area of concern is temperature inside the Airstream, particularly those 30'+ rigs. That's a lot of aluminum that will get hot in the sun, and that heat must be gotten rid of in the summer. In the winter it works the other way. Will the airconditioners keep up with the heat in the summer? I'm assuming that most coaches of that length will have two A/C units. On the other side, if the sun is heating up the coach in the wintertime, will the furnace run so little that the water tanks are in danger? Along that same line, when did Airstream start running a heating duct to the tanks?

We're not really planning on camping at extreme temperatures, but if we're workamping at a place for a month, and the temperature changes, we can't just up and move.
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Old 10-16-2011, 07:44 PM   #20
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Airstreams are not well insulated nor are many other RV's. There are various ways to reduce heat loss or gain—awnings keep the sun away from part of the skin, A/C works to a certain degree so long as you keep away from very hot places such as the South and parts of the Southwest during the summer, putting Reflectix on some windows, fan openings (when not using them) and skylight will help, parking under trees. If you like Colorado in the winter, these aren't really made for winter, especially sub 20˚ days. People do live in them in midwinter—you need to block off the bottom with skirting, get insulated hoses and expect to spend a lot on propane.

It is more likely the sun will help keep the trailer warm in the winter more than supplant the furnace. Many use a ceramic electric heater to keep trailers warm until the temp goes below freezing and then turn the furnace on. If the temps drop below 20˚ in the daytime, they will likely be subzero at night or close to it. At those temps you need skirting, etc., anyway. A light bulb under the tank can help keep it warmer assuming the bulb is incandescent—about 90% of the energy goes to heat.

It is going to have to stay below 28˚ or so for many hours to get more than some slush in the tanks even when the furnace is off. Don't completely fill the fresh water tank so that if there is a hard freeze and all else fails, the water won't expand enough to break anything. Because of the stuff in the black tank, that one probably freezes last.

Traveling where the temps are moderate is the best way to keep moderate temps.

If you are working while full timing, and you have to travel to extremes of weather, you might consider a 4 season trailer such as Arctic Fox.

Gene
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Old 10-29-2011, 09:11 PM   #21
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Discussion here recently concerned places we want to visit, and one of those is the Tetons in the winter. We wouldn't be there for more than a few days, but will an Airstream handle that? Are the tanks heated?
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Old 10-30-2011, 01:38 PM   #22
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Most Airstreams have tanks heated by the furnace, but some models (smaller ones) may still have one heated by electrical resistance heating. That means you have to be plugged into shore power or you will exhaust your batteries in hours.

The Tetons in winter are likely to be very, very cold, and the furnace will run all the time regardless of what way the tanks are heated. You will be spending a lot of propane and have to keep the batteries charged if you are not on shore power. Airstreams do not have enough insulation for winter use though people have fulltimed in them in northern climes. This means closing in the bottom of the trailer, getting water hoses with heating built into them that runs on 120 v. and dealing with condensation problems. It can be done for short times, but is problematical.

There are brands built for winter use with better insulation and thermopane windows. Arctic Fox is one well know brand.

Gene
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Old 10-30-2011, 04:02 PM   #23
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Thanks, Gene. I've seen an ad or two for Arctic Fox, but haven't really heard much about them. I'll check them out.
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Old 10-30-2011, 04:39 PM   #24
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David, I've never seen the inside of an Arctic Fox, but some of their floorplans are interesting. Some say they have dated decor much like a lot of RV's. They are reputed to have better QC than many brands.

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Old 10-30-2011, 06:55 PM   #25
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Just looked at their site, and they do have some that look interesting. Then I looked for a dealer. The closest one is in Minnesota, 500 miles away! They also don't say anything about construction.
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