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Old 08-05-2014, 07:28 AM   #71
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Alcoa Roller, your practicality is commendable! I agree 100%. Kids in a 25' RV would be OK, maybe for a 3 day weekend is one thing, but full-timing is another subject. They'd better pay for perfect weather ' cause the first week of solid rain would be a problem.
For whatever it's a worth
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Old 08-05-2014, 07:39 AM   #72
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Thumbs up Go Big!

There are a lot of people posting based on ideals without any real world experience, and that's great but as has already been expressed everyone has a different comfort level with cramped spaces and minimal living. Don't be lulled into following anybody else's opinion because its just that. Go get as close as you can to having your own real world experiences before picking something out that your family has to live with. Renting a similar sized trailer from camping world or somewhere may be an eye opening experience, even though the interior layout obviously won't match what you're shopping for. Opinions are great but they're worthless next to YOUR real world experience and self awareness.

I full timed late winter through early fall in lower Alabama (ewww) while I was in flight school. I lived in a mostly-gutted 1984 34' sovereign with just me, an 80lb Dogo-Dalmatian mix, and my thoughts. I had the front gaucho removed and the original rear twins ripped out. The result was a big open rear bedroom with the bachelor mattress-on-floor treatment, and a huge open front room with camping chairs for entertaining. All the middle area was intact and functional.

The thing was downright roomy for me and goofy uncoordinated Magnus, and when my dad, friends, or girlfriend came to visit I thought it felt about just right with 3-4 people, the only cramped spot being if two people wiggled past each other going to the bathroom.

I now have a kiddo and a wife with a small but critical record collection and I'm looking to streamline my life and go full time again for a few years and I can say FROM EXPERIENCE that personally I'm glad I have the 34'x8' area and skills to make the interior space into what I want. Your comfort level may vary (my wife lived a summer in a 31' with parents, 2 dogs, and a cat so her comfort level beats mine) but you won't know what you want or who in your family is first to lose their marbles until you do a solid test run.

Just FYI, the 34' conquers all in storage and utility space, especially with a little customization. The tongue weight is typical Airstream heavy (i expect just over 1k after my dinette goes in) but 3 axles makes incredibly stable towing and added brakes and useful load, with barely any empty weight increase compared to a cramped 30 or 31'. My plan is rear longitudinal queen with mini closets either side and underbed storage, ditch the dinette for a little storage bench/ foldout bed, and put in a new front and center dinette with seats for 6 in a pinch. Should be plenty of comfort for us, 2 little kids, and a big dog without sacrificing as much usability/driveability as you'd think compared to a smaller trailer. Especially with your TV.

My wife actually has a late 70s 31' with interior in great shape, but after towing both and using both we agreed putting more effort into customizing the 34' is what we really want.

There's probably a full Reno thread coming soon.
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Old 08-05-2014, 07:48 AM   #73
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Jim Golden. Post #40.......
You are right on target, my friend! 😊
Larry
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Old 08-05-2014, 09:09 AM   #74
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Quote:
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Jim Golden. Post #40.......
You are right on target, my friend! ��
Larry
Who's target. If someone gave me a 34' Airstream I would sell it or give it away and never look back. Doesn't suit us all.

The original question was, "does size really matter when full-timing". Well yes of course. If you need to raise a family and work out of it there is no Airstream big enough. If you want to travel anywhere, downtown L.A., into the remote desert, or down logging roads they're all too big. We traveled extensively for 35 years in VW Camper vans to places we couldn't begin to see and camp with our Airstream. Found many little spots to pull off for the night and no one noticed, right on the seashore or at the edge of a mountain.

But these days with 6-7 months a year on the road we are into comfort more than adventure, so we're Airstreamers. A 25' Flying Cloud gives us that, towable with a decent daily driver, and still give us a degree of mobility we would not have with a large rig.

Would I recommend raising a family while working in it for years on end. No way, nor any other Airstream. Maybe a fifth wheel with some slides, but it comes with travel and camping limitations.

So yes size really matters. Go big for living accommodations, go small for exploring (all) the country.
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Old 08-05-2014, 09:56 AM   #75
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It's interesting to see how different we all are when it comes to quantifying that delicate balance between minimal space, maximum comfort and overall usability. On one hand, I simply can't imagine attempting to full-time with a family in a 23 or smaller AS due to rather obvious (to me) spacial concerns based upon our needs. That said, I also cannot imagine attempting the same in a modern 5th wheel. While my truck could certainly pull one, I don't fancy the idea up pulling something sized and shaped like a barn all over our great continent. Could we use all the space a 5th wheel offers? Almost certainly. Do we believe we need something so big based upon how we live and what is important to us? Nope. We enjoy being relative minimalists (guitars and books currently excepted) and the beauty in smaller things that elegantly serve more than one purpose. Right now, our guts are telling us that the 27-30 foot range would be ideal. Could we make use of a larger space? I reckon we could but more isn't always better.
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Old 08-05-2014, 11:20 AM   #76
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Hey, go rent the size you like. That will tell ya
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Old 08-05-2014, 12:39 PM   #77
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Hey, go rent the size you like. That will tell ya

Where can one do this?


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Old 08-05-2014, 12:44 PM   #78
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I dunno, some of this reminds me of the folks who insist you can't tow a 16ft Bambi with anything less than an International Freightliner. You can't live/work in anything less than a Boeing 757 according to some here.
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Old 08-05-2014, 01:01 PM   #79
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You've got the right idea!

Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfhound View Post
Our goal, if all works out (and after a year of test runs) is to full-time for 3-5 years at the minimum, but longer if it suits us. It will depend on the needs of the kiddos. I love the idea of us road-schooling, but that may not work for everyone. Socialization is my biggest concern.
We got our trailer because we considered it to be a ticket to adventure. I was completely surprised by the opportunities it has afforded us to meet other people. Some of our very favorite people we have met through having an Airstream.

Fear not! With an Airstream your kiddos will have the opportunity for PLENTY of socialization. However, they most likely won't be socializing with their peers. Try a rally! Sometimes there's even other kids (but not always.) Sometimes it feels like camping affords more opportunities for socialization than "regular life." At campgrounds people move at a different pace. People are more likely to stop and talk to you (especially if you have an Airstream,) they often aren't in a hurry, they're more likely to tell you their story, or listen to yours. There's always a campfire somewhere. You'll see.

Quote:
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It's interesting to see how different we all are when it comes to quantifying that delicate balance between minimal space, maximum comfort and overall usability.

We enjoy being relative minimalists (guitars and books currently excepted)...

Right now, our guts are telling us that the 27-30 foot range would be ideal. Could we make use of a larger space? I reckon we could but more isn't always better.
You're on to something!

The "guitars and books" are hard, too. Those are two reasons we've never full-time road schooled ourselves. (Honestly, no matter how many e-readers we own we still end up with a fat stack of books on any trip.)

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Hey, go rent the size you like. That will tell ya
This is an excellent idea!
I've heard there are some KOA campgrounds that offer Airstreams for rent.
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Old 08-05-2014, 01:04 PM   #80
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A Boeing 757 might be snug, but the stretched Boeing 747 has all kinds of possibilities...

A Saudi King had a full surgery in his 747 and a "volunteer" on board to supply any needed organs in an emergency...

I was chatting at the local dealership yesterday and this is a point of interest. The very first 2015 31' Classic was on display and sold at Gillette. There has been a tremendous downsizing of storage capability in this new model. No roof lockers or storage closets in the rear bedroom and other closet space has been removed/down sized. The bed had a mechanism to raise and lower it so storage space is reduced.

How do I know, the folks that bought it tried to move their stuff from their 27FB model into the new Classic while at the Gillette event. There was over a third of their gear that could not be placed into the Classic.

So carefully check out what model length fits the dream, but be pragmatic and check out the storage capability as well.
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Old 08-05-2014, 01:19 PM   #81
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Storage is an interesting part of travel. When I traveled across the world on a Navy ship everything I needed was in my seabag. But it was always full. When we traveled the country in our VW Poptop Camper everything we needed was in the camper. The storage was full. When we travel the country in our Airstream, we have everything we need. The storage is still full.

Truth is we may use about half of what we drag around the country.
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Old 08-05-2014, 02:23 PM   #82
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You can rent from Airstream2go.com
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Old 08-05-2014, 02:57 PM   #83
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There is a lot of good advice here and it comes from many folks with a lot of experience.
I think renting one is some excellent advice. You can get a feel for the trailers and what they have to offer.
It has been mentioned already, some KOA campgrounds rent Airstreams. It might be worth it to try one out.
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Old 08-05-2014, 07:35 PM   #84
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Dkottum,
Nature hates a vacuum, regardless off how large our small the space, it will be filled with something eventually.
Larry C
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Old age is coming at a really bad time!

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