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Old 04-09-2012, 04:57 PM   #1
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1976 29' Ambassador
Terrell , Texas
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bathroom placement

We are a family of four, two young children. Would a rear bath or mid bath be better? What are the pros and cons of both? Thanks!

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Old 04-10-2012, 09:52 AM   #2
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1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
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bathroom placement

Greetings Rooster604!

Welcome to the Forums!

Originally Posted by Rooster604 View Post
We are a family of four, two young children. Would a rear bath or mid bath be better? What are the pros and cons of both? Thanks!

The best recommendation I can give you is to look at a variety of coaches in the size range that you are considering and determine what works best for you and your family. It has been my experience that most Airstream owners have a definite preference for either the spacious rear bath . . . or the mid-bath designs. I happen to be a propnent of the rear bath floorplans . . . I have owned several rear bath floorplans and find them to have a more spacious design with greater accessability -- I have yet to find a mid-bath floorplan that would convince me to abandon either my Minuet or Overlander. Some of the things to consider are:
  • Rear bathroom coaches, particularly with the Vintage coaches, typically offered a 3/4 bathtub that can be handy with younger children.
  • Most of the rear bathroom coaches have more built-in storage than the mid-bathrooms. Even my small Minuet has a 3/4 wardrobe and a full-length wardrobe in the bathroom . . . both are small, but usable. As with many of the smaller coaches, the Minuet has only a shower while the Overlander has a 3/4-bathtub with shower.
  • Generally, the 1974 through 1980 Airstream coaches that were larger than 24-feet, it is necessary to be aware of the greater potential for frame droop (frame bending behind the rear axles due to the weight of gray and black holding tanks mounted at far rear of chassis) . . . so long as both waste water tanks were emptied before travel, the problem could be largely avoided . . . the factory issued a frame reinforcement kit that could be installed to remedy and/or prevent the problem.
  • The Vintage rear bathroom coaches are somewhat prone to rear separation. While some point to it as an engineering problem, in large part, I find that it is something that can be avoided through preventative maintenance. There are a number of leak sources in the rear of the coach, and the rear bath does tend to make vigilant maintenance more critical . . . among the potential leak points are:
    • Wastewater tank vent pipe penetrations through the roof. The general recommendation is to replace the gaskets and seals on these tank vent penetrations no less often than once every three years.
    • One-Stop-Service-Compartment-Hatch. The access hatch for the one-stop-service-compartment needs regular inspection to verify that the gasket is fully sealing the access door to the coach. There were several designs for the door, and some are more prone to leaking than others.
    • Rear bumper storage compartment hatch. The rear bumper storage compartment hatch is another design that changed over the years and some designs are more leak prone than others. This hinge typically creates a joint at floor level across the entire width of the coach. This joint needs to be kept sealed to prevent moisture reaching the edges of the the plywood subfloor at the very rear of the coach. The bumper compartment access hatch was a major headache on my coach, so I removed the acess door and sealed the trim strip where the door was once located and ended that recurrent leak source. What was once carried in that compartment now resides in a Rubbermaid tub that rides in the rear-most corner of the Suburban's cargo area.
    • The large rear window as well as the rear clearance marker lights are also sources of potential leaks that need to be kept sealed.
A less common floorplan with Airstreams is the wetbath. In a coach having a wet bath, the entire bathroom becomes the shower area so in essence, everything is exposed to moisture when showers are taken. These floorplans are most common in the smallest coaches, and probably aren't terribly practical for families with small children as independent bathing is about the only way to utilize the wetbath facilities.

Good luck with your investigation!


Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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Old 04-10-2012, 11:53 AM   #3
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Advantages and disadvantages

Instead of pro's and con's, it might help to look at rear versus mid bath from an advantages and disadvantages perspective and decide what is most important to you and your family.

How do you see you and your family spending time in the trailer particularly in the evenings and on a rainy day?

Will a back bedroom be a secondary living area and provide welcome separation for family members who want to do different activities? Would a bedroom area in the galley work just as well?

How would you rest easier -- having the kids tucked away in a back bedroom or in a center bedroom galley or on the gaucho in front by the entry door? How would your kids rest easier?

Will it bother you if everyone who wants to use the bathroom during the night has to walk through the center galley bedroom to get to a rear bathroom?

Will it bother you if access to a bedroom in the back of the trailer is limited while someone is taking a shower in a mid bath and wants privacy while they are dressing?

Do mid bath floor plans include a bathtub? Is a bathtub a requirement for you?

Those are just thought starter questions. The list of questions to ask yourself can go on and on as you decide what is important.

I wanted a nice big bathroom and dressing area. That was one of the key factors to our decision to buy an older model Airstream. The rear bath floor plan in our 1974 Ambassador fit the bill for us, especially after maccamper gutted and renovated the space. We did have issues with floor rot from the bumper situation that Overlander64 described. Fortunately, we didn't have an issue with rear end separation.

Since there are only two of us, the rear bath floor plan works great. We turned our galley with twin beds into a secondary living area. The galley now has one twin bed that serves as a second sofa during the day. The second twin bed was replaced with a counter that serves as an additional food prep and appliance area with storage underneath. Some folks don't like the idea of having to make up their beds every evening. We don't mind. I'm short so I get the twin bed in the galley. maccamper is tall so he gets the double bed space on the front gaucho.

From what I've heard from other folks and from what I've read in other threads, I think I'm in the minority with my preference for a rear bath.

Good luck with your decision making.

Nancy Mac
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Old 04-10-2012, 04:12 PM   #4
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We have two kids (college now) but our rear bath worked great when they were small and even now that they are big. Had a mid bath when I was a kid and it was tight.
"Without music to decorate it, time is just a bunch of boring production deadlines or dates by which bills must be paid." -- Frank Zappa
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Old 04-10-2012, 07:03 PM   #5
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Ottawa , ON
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First, to! I think you already know that in this forum, you can find any answer you seek to better understand how life in a big silver tube works

I think that you also have had a good description of how the two body styles, (defined by where the bathroom is) and how they each have advantages. We have a rear bath, and at times, I wish it was a mid (when we have company stay over), while at other times I'm happier it is what it is (all the other times). Good luck with your decision!

I loved the way you described the two different styles, excellent description, thank you!

One thing: what exactly or where is the "One-Stop-Service-Compartment-Hatch"? I can't think of what door on our '74 Sov that would be?
If it's to be, it's up to me.
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Old 05-10-2012, 09:11 PM   #6
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Although I did not shop the pre 2000 year Airstreams I would say that after looking, sitting and contemplating for some time over floor plan I have some ideas to share about newer models. The newer rear baths are corner baths in the 23'+ units. I believe it is only the 23FB that has a large rear bath. Personally I would recommend a 25' or bigger model for you family and in the twin model. The reason is that the twin configuration also provides a separate changing room and walkway to the overheads. That way you effectively have the bath sink area and bedroom to change and utilize. The corner baths are seemingly small. The commode offset angle was odd putting my knees in the shower. I have a mid-bath unit and am happy with it as it also allows for a litter box in the shower and is most like a house bathroom. The all-in-one bath with shower may pose a problem for a family though where a separate shower would at least free up the sink, toilet area. It is a tough call. I do not think there is much privacy taking a shower in a hallway with a glass door.
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Old 05-10-2012, 09:20 PM   #7
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Rear bath - same pros and cons as already listed.

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