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Old 11-26-2013, 07:42 AM   #1
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Full timing and floor plans

Good morning. Wife and I are planning on full timing in the coming years (at least in the spring/summer months) and are not sure which floor plan works for us. Not having a dealer within hundreds of miles does not help.

Here are the basics:

- walk around bed
- large(ish) kitchen
- lots of interior storage for clothes and bulky items (appliances, etc...)
- separate toilet and shower


This will greatly limit floor plan options, judging by online searching, but am still not sure which would be best. Also, we like having the option of flipping the floorplan and having a rear bedroom, front kitchen, but need to see it in the metal.

Not so concerned with exterior storage, as the truck has an 8' bed and will have a full cap installed for larger/outdoor item storage.

Finally, we will be looking at alternative power means, and would prefer to limit dependance on propane (solar, battery bank, convection microwave) though an on-demand propane water heater and cook top are still on the list, as well.
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Old 11-26-2013, 08:09 AM   #2
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there is a rally, CANOPENER, planned at Topsail Hill St Park, Santa Rosa, FL for the weekend of Jan 10/11, 2014. There will be 80 units there +or-. On Sat. there is an "Open House" where many units will be available to view. You will probably get a good idea of what you like and don't. Also will see some very nice alterations. You may want to plan a day trip to visit. Search on this forum, under Canopener 2014 for more details.
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Old 11-26-2013, 08:28 AM   #3
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Unless you live in your trailer all year you are not full timers.
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Old 11-26-2013, 08:59 AM   #4
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A few @ Colonial Airstream

Here are a few trailers to look at. You would have to get solar installed.

Airstream With Recliners - 2014 Airstream Flying Cloud 30W Recliner W/Queen

Airstream Adventures - 2014 Airstream Flying Cloud 25B (RB) Queen

Airstream Dealers Northwest - 2014 Airstream Flying Cloud 25B (RB) Queen

30 Signature - 2013 Airstream International Signature Series 30W Lounge

Airstreams For Sale - 2013 Airstream International Serenity Series 30W Lounge

The MSRP prices are suggested. Call them for the real discounted price.
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Old 11-26-2013, 09:30 AM   #5
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Consider a front bedroom if you plan on seeking out campgrounds with a view. Most views are back-in, so having the dinette in the rear lends itself well to enjoying the view with both coffee and wine, good weather or bad.
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Old 11-26-2013, 10:02 AM   #6
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OP, You are less than 150 miles from Foley RV/Airstream in Gulfport,MS. They have a good number of Airstream units on site and more on order. You can check out their website for current inventory prior to driving over.
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Old 11-26-2013, 10:29 AM   #7
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Most Airstreams offer about the same size galley area, the big options are refrigerator size and a stove with an oven or a microwave/convection oven. I'd recommend the microwave/convection oven. I've had both and the regular oven was only used a few times.
Full size shower is tops on my list. Although I only have a 17' trailer it has a full size shower. Don't get talked into a "wet" bath. Get the full sized shower.
A walk around bed is not that important. It would be better to get a trailer with two beds. The beds in a trailer are just not as comfortable as home beds. A good memory foam top makes all the difference.
Don't be concerned about storage space. We have never run out of space, just don't bring your rock collection with you. Airstream builds a lot of nice little storage spaces into their trailers.
For full timing, take the number of people the camper will sleep and divide by 2. Our little 17' is fine for full timing with one person. However, my wife, myself and two big dogs have done 3 weeks straight with no problems. You just live differently in a trailer. Keeping everything neat and put away makes a big difference.
I've seen folks with really big trailers that just let things pile up everywhere. The result was a cramped living space even though they should have had plenty of room.
Do you have a camper now? If so, have you tried to stay out for a month in it? If not, you might consider renting a trailer and seeing how it goes. It does not need to be an Airstream, any decent trailer will do.
The great thing about Airstreams is how well they hold up over time. I'm sure you've looked over this forum. Many folks are using Airstreams that are 30+ years old and still on the road. Few other trailers are as well built and will give service for that long.
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Old 11-26-2013, 10:37 AM   #8
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Been an avid RV'er for years; though not year round, I still consider living in the unit for a few months "full time". If you eat and sleep in your unit for longer than a couple of weekends, and are far from home, that is full-timing to me.

If I'm still here in January that sounds like a plan.
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Old 11-26-2013, 10:43 AM   #9
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Even used, these things are pricey. As the old adage says, you get what you pay for, and seeing 50+ year old units still in use speaks volumes. My wife loves the vintage style and I really like the clean, European look inside each one I've checked out online.

Being new, what the difference between the various models (Classic, International, Flying Cloud)? Just trim, fit and finish, ammenities? Are they all basically the same concerning mechanicals?
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Old 11-27-2013, 06:58 AM   #10
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Thought I remember a floorplan with front kitchen; maybe not, but the Flying Cloud seems really nice.
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Old 11-27-2013, 10:09 AM   #11
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Go to the Airstream website. They show all of the current model floor plans. You can also look through their archive of owner manuals back to 2001.
First, there are two basic heights and widths that AS came in. There is the narrow (7' wide) and the wide (8' wide). Actually, there were a lot of different widths over the years. Over time, AS got wider, taller and heavier until AS offered the Sport series that returned to the narrow trailers. The narrow trailers are much lighter and the wide trailers offer more head room. The narrow trailers are much easier to tow but the wide trailers are more spacious inside.
Next is trailer length. Longer trailers offer more room to spread out but at the cost of greater weight. You will also be going from 1 to 2 to 3 axel trailers. On new trailers, the bigger the trailer, the higher the cost. For trailers over 10 years old, this rule ends. Older trailers are priced by condition and desirability. An example is a 1962 Bambi. These tiny trailers sell at a premium because they are rare and super cute. Many 1970's large size trailers sell for a song. Poor condition and the high cost of renovation leave these old trailers in the scrap yard.
OK, now that you have made a choice of length, width and floor plan, it's time to go shopping. If you're flush with cash; just go to you closest AS dealer and order what you want. You can even have a trailer special ordered for you if you can pay. If you are like me, there is not a lot of cash just laying around. So you will have to shop the used market.
NOTE: This is where it gets tricky. Do not deviate from your plan. Say you find the wrong trailer but at a great price, Don't be tempted. Work your plan.
A note on price: No mater how little you spend on an AS, you will eventually sink about 10K into it. You can spend a lot more but this is about the minimum you can get away with. Get a nice old 70's trailer for $2500 and you will put an other $7500 into it over the next few years to get it right.
Do your home work. Not all AS were created equal. During the 70's there were a lot of rear bath trailers that were too heavy in the rear and the frames hogged. Not cheap or easy to fix. If the floor plan you picked out has a poor track record you might want to change your plan.
Any used trailer is a risk. If you can't make a good inspection yourself then hire an inspector. I picked up a great trailer really cheap because it was filthy and stank. Absolutely nothing wrong with it that a good cleaning didn't fix but it put off all of the other buyers. I've also seen really sweet looking trailers but an inspection showed that almost everything was either broken or would need to be replaced soon.
OK, now you have picked out the range of year trailers and the floor plan you want. It's back to the books. You will need to know trailer weight and tongue weight. Be sure you tow vehicle can pull this. If not, you will need a larger truck. You have to add this into the cost of the setup. Longer trailers will also need a stabilizer. Lots of times a used trailer will include this.

Good luck and let us know what trailer you decide you want. Part of the fun of this forum is seeing what choices other folks make and how they made those decisions.
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Old 11-27-2013, 11:22 AM   #12
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3500 Cummins Ram, so capacity is not an issue. My fiver is heavier than nearly AS trailer I've researched.

Not sure about old v/s new; I like having it turn-key, and with warranty, but at a cost (though about the same as the last fiver we liked, in the $80,000 range). Used would give us the benefit of customization, but at the risk or expensive repairs (of which I'm not very good at, especially electrical). However, even lower rated needing a lot of work, would still work out much cheaper than a new one, and it would be ours.

Decissions, decissions...
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Old 11-28-2013, 07:25 AM   #13
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I guess I'm lucky. I can fix almost anything and I've worked industrial electronics for 30 years. Our first AS was a 72 Safari that I picked up for $2500. When I got it, almost nothing worked. Six weeks later we were on the road.
We have a 2008 AS now (17' Safari Sport). So far we've had the city water connection fail, the water heater temp switches go out, the tank level system fail (3 times!) and the microwave failed. Just because it's new doesn't mean there won't be some problems.
AS is very good about warranty and repairs but their dealerships are a bit spread out. My nearest dealer is 350 miles away. I've found very few other RV repair facilities that are willing to work on an AS. They might have the part you need but if you can't make the repair yourself, you're SOL.
I'm not trying to discourage you. It's just part of the AS thing.
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Old 11-28-2013, 08:58 AM   #14
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You can buy a second hand Airstream from a reputable dealer with a warrantee - that's what we did.

Our 34' 1984 International is in almost as good condition as it was when it was new. All appliances and service parts have either been overhauled or replaced before purchase. We installed new flooring throughout and new beds/bunks for the kids. We reupholstered everything and remodelled the gaucho to turn into a full queen size bed.

With a Hensley hitch, new propane tanks etc we still drove away spending less than $30k Canadian - this included the TV setup.
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