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Old 03-22-2014, 08:06 PM   #1
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Full Time Streamer versus other full time RVs

Greetings

I searched for about two hours through the threads to make sure I was not recreating too much. This thread "thought" is somewhat different to many of the others as I already own an Airstream but have questions about planning for the potential full timer scenario. This came about as I accompanied my family to an RV sales event this weekend. They were looking at RVs for full time living - primarily Class A types, they decided against a 5th wheel. My father, after a long drawn out discussion with me on Airstreams has concluded that he must have slide outs. We looked at several models and they focused in on Winnebagos- The Tour primarily. While I was accompanying them I admit that I was greatly impressed with the opposing slides creating a condo-like feel and the tile floor was amazing. I walked around in them quite a bit and began to contemplate my own state.

Question, for those of you full timing or spending quite a bit of time in your Airstream, do you find it to meet your needs overall for space and comfort?

Are there any ideas for maximizing a stream's "livability"?

Several of you have customized yours and naturally I like my rig. I just have to ask these questions though to get a sense of how it is to live day to day in smaller quarters than the behemoths I saw today.
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Old 03-22-2014, 08:18 PM   #2
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We are into our eighth year of full-timing in a 34ft airstream and have been quite comfortable in it. Different strokes for different folks! If you must have the space of a small apartment to be comfortable on the road the Airstream is not for you. But if you can make do with the basics that's the way to go. Your perceived space requirement is the central issue!!!!
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Old 03-22-2014, 09:15 PM   #3
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We camped and traveled the country (vacations, weekends) for 35 years with a series of four VW Campers. We are now spending winters and traveling in warm climates six months each year in our 25' Airstream.

My Airstream lesson was the bigger the camper, the less travel you will do. And travel isn't just running up and down the interstate seeing how many miles you can rack up. It's exploring, seeing the sights, meeting and mixing with people, having a good time every day.

The lesson of the VW was you don't need a lot of gear to camp, and less to travel. Airstreams are similar, they're all tiny. It's an entirely different lifestyle than living in a house, and attempting to bring that lifestyle and all that "stuff"on the road is the first mistake. Rethink everything.

Someone has a blog about seeking 72 degree weather with their Airstream. That's a very successful approach. Don't fight the weather every day with heating and air conditioning. If it's too hot, move north. Too cold, move south. If a hurricane is approaching, move somewhere else. And the Airstream is too small to spend the day indoors.

We started with a 20' Airstream, now have a 25', sometimes think about a 30'. When I do think about the 30', I know it's times to clean out the storage, closets and cupboards. Because in reality, that's all bigger provides.
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Old 03-22-2014, 10:12 PM   #4
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Full Time Streamer versus other full time RVs

Quote:
Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
We camped and traveled the country (vacations, weekends) for 35 years with a series of four VW Campers. We are now spending winters and traveling in warm climates six months each year in our 25' Airstream.

My Airstream lesson was the bigger the camper, the less travel you will do. And travel isn't just running up and down the interstate seeing how many miles you can rack up. It's exploring, seeing the sights, meeting and mixing with people, having a good time every day.

The lesson of the VW was you don't need a lot of gear to camp, and less to travel. Airstreams are similar, they're all tiny. It's an entirely different lifestyle than living in a house, and attempting to bring that lifestyle and all that "stuff"on the road is the first mistake. Rethink everything.

Someone has a blog about seeking 72 degree weather with their Airstream. That's a very successful approach. Don't fight the weather every day with heating and air conditioning. If it's too hot, move north. Too cold, move south. If a hurricane is approaching, move somewhere else. And the Airstream is too small to spend the day indoors.

We started with a 20' Airstream, now have a 25', sometimes think about a 30'. When I do think about the 30', I know it's times to clean out the storage, closets and cupboards. Because in reality, that's all bigger provides.

Good points dkottum. I appreciate both posters' comments. I Ned to consider this space perception thing!
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Old 03-23-2014, 09:34 AM   #5
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It is a matter of perception, and only that. The needs are shelter, water warmth and food. The rest is extraneous. Literally.

How long can one go without electrical hookups (would be the eye-opener for those who've never considered it), as Americans regard this as first, foremost. Yet, for the independence of an RV it is an afterthought. Barely on a par with carpeting. Water and propane vie for first, with water winning out (but there is no such thing as an RV if it weren't for propane).

One might separate out those for whom RV'ng is just a way of spending a lot of money to go watch TV in another clime. Emotions are all that count, same as with motorcycles. It isn't worth the breath to argue with those who refuse to think.

The sane approach is that an RV allows one civilized comforts, not just survival basics. To cut ones self from the utility grid and do so with dignity is no small order given this level of mobility. Two weeks away from all is a goal worth considering when choosing an RV as pressurized fuel & total water capacities matter as much as how far one can travel on a gallon of TV fuel in that same period. To ignore this is to fail a basic test, and that is of self-reliance.

Start with the basics. One is either sitting or sleeping more than 90% of the time in an RV. The point, rather, was to be outside. If one can hardly see outside then plenty of hotel rooms offer more at an overall lower cost expended. More "space" to clean, heat and manage is counter to mobility in all its aspects. The best TT is adjunct to the outdoors, not the other way 'round.

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Old 03-23-2014, 10:06 AM   #6
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The Escapees organization did a survey several years ago about the type of units fulltimers lived in. If I remember correctly about 45% were in class A motorhomes; 45% were in fifth wheels; and all other (travel trailers, truck slide-in campers, etc) made up the remaining 10%.

Based on my attending several Escapades, it is my belief that fulltime Airstreamers are about 1.5% of all fulltimers.

I don't believe that fulltimers select an Airstream to fulltime in; I believe that some Airstreamers decide to fulltime. (There is a difference.)

We are planning on fulltiming in our Airstream because we enjoy our Airstream and although it has less space and no slide-outs compared to other brands, it does have its own advantages.
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Old 03-23-2014, 10:44 AM   #7
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STUFF it.

We are all different. I've tried to pay attention as I've grown older, and older and older .... what a long strange trip it's been.

At any rate I used to own "this old house". It was huge and over the years it became totally loaded with CRAP. Only when I was moving out did I realize how much sheer stuff I had. Only when I was moving out did I realize how little of it I really ENJOYED on a day to day basis. I had some really NICE and/or expensive "stuff" but stuff doesn't bring you joy.

In a fire, you'd save your kids, your pets and.... what else would MATTER? Even after years of fulltiming I still have some hoarder (or just too damn lazy to get around to throwing stuff out) tendencies. I'll sign off momentarily because I just got my new spring wardrobe and I'm determined to throw out every item of clothing I own that isn't in great condition.

I think a lot of us get over acquisition of stuff. Then we are ready for the really good Stuff - AIRSTREAM. More accurately the travel and the friends and the beauty of a nice sunset, and snickering at a campground squirrel that literally knocks on your door every morning looking for a Chips Ahoy cookie!

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Old 03-23-2014, 12:17 PM   #8
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I bought a 27 EB to downsize from my full-time 40' Alfa toy house after 10 years on the road. I'm looking at getting in to Nat/state parks that I couldn't before.
I did buy a 6X12 cargo trailer to carry and stage extra stuff that I don't need all year, but is needed during winter layovers.
So, yes, I did look at full timing from the start on selecting my AS.
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Old 03-23-2014, 02:26 PM   #9
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I could go at least halftime tomorrow, and I'm convinced we could do it comfortably in our Flying Cloud 27fb, but my wife, not so much....... She'd do it, I just can't get her away from the grandkids for too long! Oh, who am I kidding, I would miss the grans just as badly as her, and at least until they get to school age, we're gonna spend as much time with them as possible.

I sure appreciate all the comments above on this thread, some very insightful words concerning this subject (seeing "snowbird RVers" come to central Florida, I loved the point of changing climes to keep watching the tube)! Rodster, to your original points, we were traveling down the road towards "bigger has to be better" for many years. Nothing wrong with it, and in fact the RV industry kind of hopes we all do this......... We went from a 24' TT to a 26" TT to a 32' 2 slide TT to a 39' class A diesel. And I DREAMED of owning a bus conversion (I drive buses part time so that urge is gone now). Having owned the Class A for almost 6 years, I understand the dream of 4 slides and a 45' coach with a 12k lb carrying capacity. Hopefully your father will buy a big Winny, and ya'll can load up everyone in the coach for family tours and tailgates, and then you can go camping in your beloved Airstream!

For us now, we wish we had bought our Pete years ago, and avoided the 2500 lbs of stuff in the Class A basement and the $3-5k yearly operational and maintenance budget. Anyhow, we're back to "camping" now, enjoying the outdoors and being comfortable in Pete when the weather or time of day demands it! ymmv!
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Old 03-26-2014, 04:43 PM   #10
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Quote:
I sure appreciate all the comments above on this thread, some very insightful words concerning this subject (seeing "snowbird RVers" come to central Florida, I loved the point of changing climes to keep watching the tube)! Rodster, to your original points, we were traveling down the road towards "bigger has to be better" for many years. Nothing wrong with it, and in fact the RV industry kind of hopes we all do this......... We went from a 24' TT to a 26" TT to a 32' 2 slide TT to a 39' class A diesel. And I DREAMED of owning a bus conversion (I drive buses part time so that urge is gone now). Having owned the Class A for almost 6 years, I understand the dream of 4 slides and a 45' coach with a 12k lb carrying capacity. Hopefully your father will buy a big Winny, and ya'll can load up everyone in the coach for family tours and tailgates, and then you can go camping in your beloved Airstream!
I too appreciate the thoughts here. They sum up what living on wheels is all about. Something that I picked up was the idea that our lives can be stationary or adventurous- which may determine what type of RV chosen. The perspective is what determines our actions. It comes down to bucking a "stuff cultural mindset" and discovering what amount of space we really need to be comfortable. Like many have already said so well, bigger may seem better but being on the move limits the use of the stuff and may even limit on-the-go travel altogether.

I am not sure what my parents will decide. Mom likes to travel but she also is a home-body and enjoys lounging and relaxing in the evening. Dad is a project driven man who enjoys relaxing from dinner on as well. From what I have gathered in his more recent comments, he seems to have a dislike for tight spaces. Oh, and he will not use my Airstream bath for anything but a potty break- has to go to a park facility. He is a good mechanic and diesel is his specialty along with generators, etc. You have a good idea Shiny Pete about camping and shared travel- like it. AND I hear you on the $3-5K/yr on the maintenance. These comments have certainly made me reconsider my own impressions of the units we looked at and my initial thoughts on more space.
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Old 06-19-2015, 02:35 PM   #11
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Shopping for airstream as rental unit

I have a large house in Portland Oregon and am shopping for an airstream that I can park next to the carriage house and use as a living unit full time thru the winter. I am concerned about heating it the winter...? I do not intend to move it around, but rather set it up with a deck and landscaping. Perhaps an AIR B&B....IS THERE A SIZE OR MODEL THAT STANDS OUT for this purpose?
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Old 06-19-2015, 05:07 PM   #12
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I realize that the original post was over a year ago, and most likely a purchase has already been made. We got some great advice several years ago when we were beginning our research and it still holds true. Buying quality, even if you have to buy used (or older used) will pay off in the long run.

Some friends of ours made the decision to go full-time in a new popular DP. Less than a year later they traded that coach even-up for a 10-year-old Foretravel. Why? They could already see that the popular DP didn't have the quality that the Foretravel had. An Airstream is in the same category of high quality.

We're thinking about switching from our Foretravel to an Airstream. A friend asked why, and why an Airstream in particular. My answer was that the Airstream is the only high-quality TT made. He agreed with my logic.
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Old 06-20-2015, 01:08 AM   #13
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Full Time Streamer versus other full time RVs

In general.

A/S is the only high quality one made since circa 1990.. To that point it was not the highest, but the lowest in quality of the aero, all-aluminum trailers. Now it is the only one, thus the irony of low and high mixed together.

It survived as a brand due to the name recognition to be the prestige line for a holding company that otherwise makes low quality RVs.

The wide bodies are appealing, no question, and the sheer numbers available as well as parts availability and dealers make it attractive. This forum makes it obvious. And it's a whole different world of quality away from the SOB trailers in design, construction and fit & finish.

But the lack of technical innovation that has helped result in godawful weight increases is not acceptable.

Too bad those deep pockets at Thor hasn't resulted in the kind of advances made while Wally was alive.
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Old 06-27-2015, 02:43 PM   #14
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I'm now living full time in my Airstream Excella Classic 30'. It's been a month now.
Downsizing from my Featherlite Vogue V motor coach was very difficult. My AS is small but very cozy. I have found, my AS has allot less macanical things to worry about. Less stress is a good thing. I don't think, I will be going back to a motor coach again. Time will tell.
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