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Old 07-31-2014, 05:08 PM   #15
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Aw man, I just wrote this really great reply and it somehow got lost in the ether. Let's try again...

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Your children will only know what they live....for a while.
Don't doubt that you will make best decisions for your family... And you can always upgrade
Channing, that's great input. It's true about the kiddos, and I think confidence in the decision will come in time. And it never hurts to remember that we can always upgrade, or that nothing is really permanent. Thanks!

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Originally Posted by BoldAdventure View Post
You don't need that big of a trailer. I know a family that has been on the road full time since 2007 with 3 kids in a 25 ft FB Airstream: Mali Mish - An Airstream Travel Blog
Hi Bold, thanks and congrats on the great news. I suppose we don't even really NEED an AS, but we sure do want one for our own adventures! Yup, we have followed Mali Mish a bit, and I have also recently come upon Currently Wandering (Google 'em), another family of 5 kicking about in a 27FB. My understanding is that Mali Mish don't really full-time anymore, instead opting for longer vacations from their home. It always seems like the bigger fam/smaller trailer dilemma brings about more compromise, or trade-offs we might not be willing to make. I'm not real sure yet.

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Originally Posted by dkrug View Post
We went from a 28' to a 30'. We frequently camp with 3 dogs and a parrot. One dog is an Irish Wolfhound. That extra 2 feet made a big difference. Charlie has grown since that picture.
dkrug, that Charlie is our George's twin! We love our wolfie, but he is getting on in years and I'm not sure he will be around to join us on this next adventure. Love the pic!

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Originally Posted by switz View Post
Would strongly suggest 30 Bunk. Kids room for toys and naps. No dinette setup multiple times per day. Dinette functions as office work space. Spouse can retreat to front bed room when some private space is needed.
Hi switz, I'm filing away another vote for the 30 Bunk. I think we should give it some more thought. I worry about the lack of living space, but I reckon in an AS it's ALL living space.

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Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
It's your workspace with a need to have a degree of isolation that concerns me, no matter what size trailer. The only place I see that is in the bedroom, convertible somehow to work and sleeping space. There must be someone who has invented a bed/desk transformer.
Hi Doug, the same thing concerns me - workspace privacy. I think that's a great idea, something I hadn't thought of, and might make a case for some mild customization. I may have to dust off my SketchUp skills. Thanks!

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Originally Posted by kstewart23 View Post
I don't know where in Texas you live, but Austin, has an RV Show each year and they display many of their AS to check out. The SA show does not have AS, so don't bother. Or you might want to go and check a dealer to help determine how much space a 30 really is. It has helped us in deciding what size to go for..
kstewart23, we are definitely planning on attending the show in Dallas next February, and also a trip out to visit family in NJ where we will be stopping by to visit the lovely folks at Colonial. I have spent a bit of time in every model I'm thinking about, but not all at once. That might be an option at Colonial. Thanks!

Great input folks, I love talking about Airstreams. Keep it coming!
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Old 07-31-2014, 06:05 PM   #16
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Here is my opinion for what its worth. I am 53 years old. I full time due to my work in a 1963 26' Overlander. I have 2 children who are now grown.

26' is doable for me, but even then, I wish for more space at times. Especially if I have company, and I am talking about 1 extra because thats all that will fit. When my wife is here, we have to squeeze by each other to get around. Minor detail but its the difference between 2 and 1 in a 26 footer.

Full timing is much different than the weekend camp. You need everything in the camper that you have at home for the most part. Sure you can improvise here and there but at the end of the day you will acumulate.

TV, copmputers, coffee makers, tables to work on, pens and pencils, copiers, paper, sheets, blankets, diapers, toys, playpens, food, crock pots, pots and pans, cloths, towels.games, stereos, guitars, cameras,....you get my drift.

Introduce 2 young children plus a wife into the mix and you have the makings for an insane asylum. Again, I am talking about 24/7 365. This aint the Brady Bunch and all the romance of raising the fam in a cool Airstream will probably get stale quickly.

IF you must have an airstream, I would not even consider anything less than a 34. Having said that, I wouldnt even consider that untill I had looked at all the other campers out there, primarily the 5th wheels. I have friends that I work with that have some very nice rigs. Tons of storage, and pretty much all the comforts of home.

Remember, your young kids will not have a say so in the matter, but really, dont you think they justify all the room and normalcy you can afford them. I would really feel like I was living in a prison with 4 people full time in a small trailer.

I admire your desire to be different and daring, but sometimes reality dictates we adjust our dreams so that everyone benefits the most. I wish you luck in your decision and hope you take my thoughts in the right way.
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Old 07-31-2014, 07:11 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfhound View Post
Hi Bold, thanks and congrats on the great news. I suppose we don't even really NEED an AS, but we sure do want one for our own adventures! Yup, we have followed Mali Mish a bit, and I have also recently come upon Currently Wandering (Google 'em), another family of 5 kicking about in a 27FB. My understanding is that Mali Mish don't really full-time anymore, instead opting for longer vacations from their home. It always seems like the bigger fam/smaller trailer dilemma brings about more compromise, or trade-offs we might not be willing to make. I'm not real sure yet.
We follow them too. (Wandering) Malimish actually used to part time, I think they full time more now. You'd be surprised how many full time families are on the road. We know another one TickNor Tribe with 11 kids in a 5th wheel. It all comes down to your own comfort zone/level of need though in reality.

It's easy for someone to tell you you need 40 feet and that end up being too much for you. And easy for someone to tell you, you'll survive in 23ft. Maybe you will, but you won't be happy. Everyone's comfort zone is different.

We are down sizing our lifestyle, from a 2500sqft 2 car garage home, 4 cars, and lots of stuff. We're kind of embracing minimalism. We've spent the past several months selling off almost everything out of our home. So for us, we settled on the 27FB after seeing how others are managing. We personally want to force ourselves to do with less and spend more time together and outdoors.

I'm sure you probably found and follow Worksology? They just ended their 3 yrs of full timing, they only had one child though. Awesome video on the philosphy of doing with less: Tomorrow Somewhere New on Vimeo

Anyways, there are various levels of trade of/compromises. You just have to determine what works for you.

I personally push for trying less first, because it's easier to scale up then down. I don't know how to say this in a nice internet voice, but I tend to think people in general blow things out of portion when they talk about all the stuff you're going to need and saying that childern in an airstream will be insane.

I usually roll my eyes at this nonsense. But it's everywhere.

People told me my life would be over when I got married. THEY WERE WRONG.

People told me my life and dreams would be over when we had our daughter. AGAIN WRONG.

People are telling us right now THERE IS NO WAY TO FULL TIME WITH CHILDREN. THEY ARE WRONG.

Either way, weather 19ft or a 50ft bus, living full time on the road with children will be full of various compromises and choices. But I am sure it will be filled with lots of fun and adventure and memories to last a life time doing what others can only dream of because they stayed in their little "comfort zones".

We'll have first hand experience as soon as we get on the road in a couple more months.

Good luck.
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Old 07-31-2014, 07:49 PM   #18
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I'm still relatively new at this, especially compared to many here. We've had our 25 footer for about a year, have traveled around 5,000 miles, and spent somewhat over 100 nights in it. However, I pay attention - and I do *a lot* of online research prior to our various trips. So I think I have a pretty good idea as to trailer length and limitations as it grows. I don't think you will find that 30' vs. 27' will be a significant limiting factor with campgrounds and campsites. Somewhat limiting, but you can often fudge and there is typically additional space through over-hang.

As far as towing, I don't think it makes the slightest bit of difference with your TV.

As far as space, we are happy as clams in our little middy, but I think you woukd find the additional space of a 30' over a 25' to be worth its weight in gold. Beyond that I don't know. The biggest trailers just seem huge to me.

Have fun!

Cheers,
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Old 07-31-2014, 07:50 PM   #19
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Kind of an off-the-usual suggestion, but I have a book to recommend.

By Sarah Susanka. Called the Not So Big House.

She is an architect, and the book explains--very well--what makes spaces FEEL certain ways to us, and how to have success in layout and views to get something that is not large or fussy, but seems enveloping and yet lets everyone have separation when needed.

Reading it, I think, will help you and your wife have insight, and communicate better about why you like/dislike certain features in different layouts.
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Old 07-31-2014, 08:04 PM   #20
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Two points:

I have never heard anyone complain that their TT was too big, but on here, you will read about people saying that their trailer is too small

Also, it's like motorcyclists always say, "Too much horsepower is just about enough". Sub TT length for horsepower of course.
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Old 07-31-2014, 08:22 PM   #21
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Does size really matter when full timing?

Go for the bigger trailer. Guaranteed that if you start small you'll soon wish you had a larger one. We, as so many on this forum, started with smaller units and then moved "up" as the family or other needs demanded. We started in 1973 with a tent, then moved up to a 15 footer, then 22, then 26, then 28 all SOB and now for the last 10 years a 30 foot Classic. Financially we had to start small and then as our financial situation improved and the family got larger we moved up. If you have the finances to go bigger do it. Wolf146
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Old 07-31-2014, 08:31 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoldAdventure View Post
Anyways, there are various levels of trade of/compromises. You just have to determine what works for you.

I personally push for trying less first, because it's easier to scale up then down. I don't know how to say this in a nice internet voice, but I tend to think people in general blow things out of portion when they talk about all the stuff you're going to need and saying that childern in an airstream will be insane.

I usually roll my eyes at this nonsense. But it's everywhere.
I agree. We have three children and travel in a '26 Overlander. We don't fulltime but last year we did stay in our trailer for a month while we were moving. I recognize that a month isn't the same thing as full-timing. We felt like we were in the trailer long enough that when we moved into our new house it was hard to comprehend what were were doing with so much stuff! (We had everything we really needed for FIVE of us in that '26 foot trailer.)

You can make it work with a smaller trailer. Really, you can. However, if you'll lament the extra 2 feet (or 3 feet or whatever) then just go ahead and get it in the first place.
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Old 07-31-2014, 10:23 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfhound View Post

So, back to the topic at hand: trailer size. I think we could possibly squeak by in a 25FB, but I believe the 27FB is really as small as we would want to go....I believe I'm partial to the layout and space of the 30. I'm a tall guy, and that larger lavatory space would be nice, as would the additional storage the trailer provides. If it matters, I plan to be working full-time as a software developer, so I need space to store the work gear and spread out a bit to get things done.

Here's the big question: would springing for the larger trailer - the 30 over the 27FB or 28 (same exterior lengths) - limit where we can take it and stay? I've not had a trailer before and I just have no concept of how big the 30 feels when squeezing it into a campsite... The ability to boondock and stay slightly off the beaten path is very important. Assuming this means relatively tame dirt/fire roads, how will this come into play. I've done a lot of reading on the subject, and it seems the general consensus is that 25' or smaller is best for true boondocking access, but I don't believe that size is a realistic option for us (unless you fine folks can show me otherwise). I suppose one perk for the 30 with boondocking is larger fresh water tank.

Thank you to all! I look forward to the conversations ahead...
I think you have answered your own question. Looks to me like you want a 30 footer, and I agree with you. In my opinion the towing difference between 25,27, and 30 is about 0. The difference between camping in a 25,27, or 30 footer is 11 (think Spinal Tap here, "but this one goes to 11"). When you move into a house, if the bathroom, or kitchen isn't right... Game over!

My advice is to pick up a 30 footer that you can customize for your use, and that has the bathroom and beds that you like. That is what I did to our trailer, we never eat inside, so I took the dinning area out and the "entertainment" center that was built for a laser disk player and a 27 inch CRT TV. It was a minor change that made the main living area huge inside. (I'm in visioning baby on the floor playing, with lots of space). We use a Rubbermaid folding table that I have stowed next to the fridge, on the off chance that we need a table inside. Add folding chairs on one side and the couch on the other and we have inside gaming and dinning.

Edit: just to clarify, do not full time. Take my opinion with that in mind.
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Old 07-31-2014, 10:46 PM   #24
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We are in the similar boat as you are- looking at 29-31 footers to full time with three boys - 14,11, and 6.... Our biggest battle is rear or mid bath- and bunk space... Adding bunks- changing layouts, etc... Trying to keep it simple and "hopefully" everyone happy.....

Best of luck...
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Old 08-01-2014, 10:38 AM   #25
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I am really liking the diversity of input here, and the experiences that each of you have that drive your opinions on the matter. I assumed before asking that not everyone would be encouraging of the general idea, but the thoughts shared are no less valid nor helpful. Nonetheless, this is certainly something that we must try for us.

In the conversations I've had, many people have said something akin to "better you than me" when talking about the idea of raising tiny wee-ones in a small metallic trailer. But hey, life ain't all gumdrops and unicorn farts I reckon some days will be absolutely splendid, and others may have us scratching our decision-makers. That said, I'm hopeful that we will have many more of the splendid days, showing them what an amazing earth we live upon, and fostering as much imagination as we can squeeze out of their little heads (if, indeed, 2 is in the cards for us).

Our reason for exploring this path in life extends beyond wanderlust. It's more about family, I believe. The ability for us to spend more time with family that is spread about the US. An attempt to reduce the distractions in life to a minimum so that we can focus on being a family and raising children to the best of our abilities. I look around and see how people in our neighborhood are tearing down perfectly nice older homes to replace it with something 2-3 times bigger. It makes me sad - people, in large scale, seem to be losing sight of what should really matter in life (our relationships, etc) because of the distractions of 'more' and/or 'better.' We simply want to try something else, for us.

So, I am being very mindful of all the input, and listening carefully to those encouraging us to consider the smaller trailer. While I'm leaning toward the 30, I'm not resolved to it. I love the way that Worksology modified their bedroom to be multi-use space, and it has me thinking hard on a twin model, where one bed can be yanked and the other widened a bit.

I had not seen that video, Bold, so thank you for sharing. It's quite a beautiful film. They have a great photo tour of their AS that I only saw last night after catching a glimpse of the bunks they had put in during the video. What a great little trailer! I can't access the link to the trailer tour here at work, but I will try to edit this post to share later. It certainly is worth seeing for anyone else that happens along this post wondering about trailer size like we are.

Piggy Bank, thank you for the book suggestion. I've seen it, but have not picked it up for a read. I will look for it when I hit the library next week. I think you're right, it's often not so much about how much space we have, but how well it is used. Floorplan does make a huge difference!

We have also poked our heads in a few SOB trailers and fifth wheels, but we ultimately want something that lasts. We can't really get past the styling of traditional SOB trailers - holy cow, they come with kitchen islands! - and while the space feels nearly as big as our current home, they just don't yank the heartstrings like the AS does. I want something that is part home, part heirloom. A product that has the propensity to stand the test of time.

At any rate, I love all the input. Someday'59, thank you for the words of encouragement! Uzzah, I appreciate the Spinal Tap reference and think it's fantastic that your trailer had a laser disk player! Almost cooler than an 8-track.

I look forward to any additional input that may find it's way to this thread as we try our best to simplify our life. Cheers to all.
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Old 08-01-2014, 11:35 AM   #26
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Airstreams are not as solid as you may think, they are actually quite delicate and require lots of ongoing inspections and maintenance to stand the test of time. That's true of all but the simplest trailer brands. It's just that spending time and money maintaining an Airstream is worth the trouble.

The idea of raising a family while working, all in maybe 200 square feet, parked on land that belongs to someone else seems dreamy, without reality to me, and we both had Navy careers while traveling extensively for years. We still do, but we've always had a home port.

I'm not a fan of suburban life, near the automobile hell of any large city. If that's your plight I certainly understand getting the heck out. Maybe a little home in the country or at the edge of wilderness, with a small Airstream to explore the country months at a time could be the best of both worlds.

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Old 08-01-2014, 11:45 AM   #27
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My issue would be storage, and closet space. My current 30' unit has a single closet since we chose the center bath model. Personally while we like that space, that space comes by substituting a double closet with a single. So consider food storage, clothing (especially multiple seasons if you full time). Consider a slide out for the extra space it provides.

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Old 08-01-2014, 11:59 AM   #28
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I
We have also poked our heads in a few SOB trailers and fifth wheels, but we ultimately want something that lasts. We can't really get past the styling of traditional SOB trailers - holy cow, they come with kitchen islands! - and while the space feels nearly as big as our current home, they just don't yank the heartstrings like the AS does. I want something that is part home, part heirloom. A product that has the propensity to stand the test of time.
This is exactly why we are going to get an Airstream. We originally looked at 5th wheels, but kept getting drawn back to the Airstream.

It's just the two of us, but we are looking at 31' models. It is what we feel will be best for us.
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