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Old 12-03-2017, 05:30 PM   #1
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2016 27' Flying Cloud
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Are we crazy?

Hello all, my name is Ryan, and in short we have been talking about an AS for two weeks now and already want to buy one. Family of four (kids are 4 and 1.5), and have zero experience with an RV/AS/etc. We have always tent camped and greatly enjoy it. Grew up in FL, then lived in WA for 4 years and CO for 3 years before coming back to FL.

I am a professor and my wife (former elementary school teacher) is a stay at home mom who is going to homeschool/unschool the kids. One of the amazing things about the job is the flexibility, have 3 months off in the Summer, a week long Fall break in Oct, a week long Spring break in March, and 3+ weeks at Christmas. FL is beautiful for a lot of reasons but our hearts are out West and that is where we go for the entire Summer when I am not teaching (try to beat the FL heat). We have family places in Big Sky, MT and the San Juan Islands in WA, and stayed there almost the entire time last Summer. Will certainly continue to visit there, but want to see more.

I just joined the Forum and have tried to read a lot of great material that has been said by all. Most of which says to rent first, attend shows, rent more, get a feel for everything, figure out what you really want/need. Then finally make the decision on what to do. All seems like great advice and completely sensible. Maybe we are just excited and need to cool down, but we absolutely love the idea of owning an AS a having the ability to chart our own course during the large flexible time I have off work.

Are we nuts?

I know I am not going to buy something tomorrow, but at the same time we already went to a dealer and looked through a ton of models, and I have been looking on the Classifieds here and found a used one (2015) that greatly excites us. Cost is obviously a factor, however, I have learned that I am happy to pay fair value for something of value, and generally to get something good you need to pay fair value for it. And it is better to buy something good and enjoy it (especially at first) than try and buy something on the cheap and get discourage from the beginning.

My wife and I have tried to talk through a bunch of questions/issues/concerns and at each turn come up with an answer or rationale to satisfy us, and also always end with the excitement of turning our large time off into wonderful adventures for us and the kids. We completely feel we are going to do this at some point in the future, so why not now?

We are looking at a 23-27ft AS and would prefer to buy used (last 3 years) instead of new.

I guess I am asking if you could go back now and tell your pre-AS self a few things to consider or look-out for what would they be?

Thank you very much and look forward to whatever comes...
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Old 12-03-2017, 05:56 PM   #2
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If you have some sort of suitable tow vehicle, then rent a trailer of some other brand (easier to find than a rental Airstream), and try it for a week to learn the ins and outs of a trailer - hot and cold water, heat and a/c, LP and electric, towing and parking, etc. Everything you learn will be transferable. Most of the working parts of an Airstream are off the shelf components used by others as well.
You're on the right track. We rented, and then bought used. If it doesn't work out, you can always sell and get most, if not all, of what you spent.
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Old 12-03-2017, 06:50 PM   #3
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I would tell my pre-AS self to look for one with a full time bed so I didn't have to pull out the bed every night. But then I would have gotten a bigger trailer, and frankly we've been pretty happy with the size (for two of us).

You get more time off in a year than I get in five. I'm guessing you will have lots of time to use your AS. It's like taking your home with you everywhere you go. What's not to love?! Just do it!
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Old 12-03-2017, 06:58 PM   #4
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Welcome to the madness and yes you are crazy. That is perfectly fine because most here are. Keep looking and learning until you are ready to make the commitment. If possible attend a few rally’s to see what is available in new and used models. Make no compromise with your desires and dreams. When the time is right you will find your perfect trailer. Be prepared to travel to pick up your trailer if need be. Good Luck and don’t worry there is no cure for tincanides.
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Old 12-03-2017, 07:27 PM   #5
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Itís a great way to travel. When our daughter was young we took all of our family vacations in an RV. The memories are great. Weíve been all over the country.
Now that weíre approaching retirement and have a grandson, weíre back into it, now with an Airstream.
The idea of renting one is great. Just keep in mind thereís a learning curve to hitching up, backing up and setting up. Donít get discouraged if it seems too involved the first time. Try to ease yourself into it. Start by renting a smaller trailer....a little less involved overall...although longer trailers are easier to back up.
Your kids will love the experience.

Iíve traveled on business for 40 years ( airports, rental cars, hotels) and really am sick of that scene....not the job, just the business travel. To me RVíing is the way to go to have fun.
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Old 12-03-2017, 08:17 PM   #6
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Welcome from Colorado. We've been Airstream owners since 05 and really enjoy the travel adventures. We haven't been to Florida with it yet. I was just reading today about how hot the RV industry is right now. Record sales. It would be a great time to start an RV park somewhere, especially Colorado as it is a major tourists destination. The crowded campgrounds in the summer is a factor in your plans.

A constant theme here on the Forums is get the biggest trailer you can afford. Some folks like the cute little ones, but on a rainy afternoon and night with the kids you will appreciate the extra room. Looking for a used trailer is a good strategy. Airstream does make a "bunk" bed model that might be handy for the little ones.

We like old vintage Airstreams. The newer ones are better built and a lot fancier. That said, any RV will cause problems from time to time. Being handy is an asset in an RV. I enjoy the "doing" of an RV. Things like backing up, un hitching, making hook ups, leveling the trailer, deploy the awnings, why won't the vent fan run, cooking and burning dinner outside, emptying the holding tanks, checking tire pressures, and the like.

Here we are in the old Airstream 24' with one of our granddaughters and our dumb beagle. The trailer gets small fast with kids playing and the like. But we had a great time hiking, rock hunting, roasting marshmallows, playing games and trying to figure out how all those big boulders got in the campground area.

David
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Old 12-03-2017, 09:21 PM   #7
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Old 12-03-2017, 09:43 PM   #8
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We would say go for it.

We are a couple of retired professors, who, like yourself, had done a lot of tent camping. I have great memories of tent camping when my children were little, but then we decided that we were tired of sleeping with rocks in our backs and packing up a wet tent.

But our learning curve with an RV was nearly vertical.

Buying a lightly used AS, if you can find one, is a great idea. We did this with Bambi the First, and saved money on a scarcely used one. However, you may have to go where your AS it, rather than expecting to find one close to home.

When you do buy your dream machine, I would recommend that you do a thorough walk-through with the dealer or private owner. Take your time. Take notes, or make a video of it. It's so easy to forget how everything works, even the simple stuff; and the AS manuals seem to be designed for mechanics and electricians.

Do a lot of practice backing. For example, on a weekend morning at a big vacant school parking lot.

Don't be afraid to ask fellow RVers for advice or help while you're camping. You'll make some guy's day by making him feel like a hero for helping you out.

Your kids will get bigger, so AS size-wise, plan on 4 adult-size accommodations. The dinette, when lowered, will create another bed for two people, however.

We deliberately chose a smaller AS so that we could fit into some of the funky older public campgrounds in the West, but then we weren't a foursome.

Your tow vehicle is another consideration. You don't want to be under powered, notably not in the mountain West. Others may feel differently, but we appreciate our crew-cab Toyota Tundra, with a topper (cap, canopy) on the back, which not only has plenty of towing power, but also a lot of storage space for all of our paddling and camping gear plus spare luggage.

Airstream has a reputation for quality, but frankly, any RV is a bit like a boat, swimming pool, vacation cabin, or (apparently) small plane. There will be things that go wrong with them, so just acknowledge that **** happens. Because of this, it's always a good idea to bring along a back-up for something you'd absolutely count on: flashlights, a back-packing stove, water bottles, &c. Not a big issue incivilization, but could make a big difference when you're boondocking in the Back Of Beyond somewhere in Montana.

Happy trails!
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Old 12-03-2017, 09:47 PM   #9
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I would tell my pre-AS self, "Don't wait! Let's get it and go camping!" We wish we would have bought one sooner.

Regarding the learning curve, yes there is one. But thousands of people are camping with their AS (and SOB's) and if they can do it so can you. And having 3 months in the summer is a perfect situation.

If you find something close to what you want don't wait too long as nice used models in the range you are looking at go fast!

Best wishes in your search!
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Old 12-04-2017, 10:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AWCHIEF View Post
Welcome to the madness and yes you are crazy. That is perfectly fine because most here are. Keep looking and learning until you are ready to make the commitment. If possible attend a few rallyís to see what is available in new and used models. Make no compromise with your desires and dreams. When the time is right you will find your perfect trailer. Be prepared to travel to pick up your trailer if need be. Good Luck and donít worry there is no cure for tincanides.


Well said, I agree with everything said above. If you want a decent deal you will have to travel, if you buy used you likely wonít lose more than a couple weeks rental cost anyway if you decide itís not for you. There are lots of people looking and buying gently used airstreams, and old worn out ones for that matter.

If you think you want an airstream you probably do. I may get shot for saying this o here but like ok at other brands. In my opinion they are all cheaply made and will definitely hold their value, but when we were looking for our first AS we looked at lots of them, in the end we couldnít shake the need to own an AS, and are on our second one. We went older not newer with our upgrade.

I canít imagine our life without an AS regardless of where life takes us. I think most of the folks on here would agree, and from the sound of your post it sounds like you are one of us.

Nothing about it is hard, if you rent camp it will seem like cheating. We still camp in our hammocks. We are living full time in our AS now but before it was just a mobile vacation home.

Definitely factor the Tow vehicle into your decision on the trailer you choose. If you donít have a vehicle suitable for towing obviously this can become a big part of the budget.
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Old 12-04-2017, 11:58 PM   #11
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A few rambling thoughts:

We are on our second airstream in two years. We have two young boys (9 & 6) and LOVE our AS. We started out with the 22ft sport, but quickly found that while we loved the single axel easy towing, it shrank! The boys would elbow each other when sleeping and the galley arrangement across from the dinette wasn't ideal. We traded it in and got a 25 ft. flying cloud and love the extra space. It fits most state / national parks here in CA and tows easily with our Nissan Armada.

That's a long way of saying, make sure you tour the model you want and picture your kids fighting over space... Then decide on the size that works for you.

One other thought, if you're thinking of a 2015, then make sure you're checking the price of the new ones. Out our way, there was less than $7k or $8k separating the new from the gently used of those years. For that difference, we decided to go new and get the two-year warranty to work through all the possible kinks that may come up. And there have been a few.

We're out once or twice a month and love it. We were also originally tent campers, but there's no looking back now. And to a person, every Airstreamer we've meant to date has been a decent and kind person.

Use the knowledge on this site, get the right Tow Vehicle (TV) and have a great time!!! Let me know if you want any advice on where to visit in CA or how it's been with the kids.

-Victor
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Old 12-05-2017, 02:27 AM   #12
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I agree with 2 of the points made on previous posts
1) Wish I did it sooner - this was our first RV

2) Check new pricing I got mine new for 3k more then the used one I was looking at.
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Old 12-05-2017, 05:02 AM   #13
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Agree with all that's said.

My advice - get as big a trailer as you think you'll ever need (for two growing/grown kids). Don't get a small trailer 'because the toddler and infant don't need much space' because in a few short years they'll need a lot more space.

Be mindful of your towing vehicle's limitations.

Go for it. Buy gently used, and if you hate it, sell it and get most of your money back. The 25-foot model seems to be the sweet spot. They are in demand and easily hold their value if you decide to sell it.

I had very little experience prior to buying an AS as well. Started with a 23D and moved up to a 25 in less than a year. I sold the 23D for the same price that I paid for it. I got the 25 because even though it's just me and a 15 year old daughter, the 23 was just a little tight after a few days.

Best of luck!
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Old 12-05-2017, 10:38 AM   #14
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We were tent campers with two small kids before the AS. If I could go back and give advice to myself I think I would suggest the bunk model. The daily setting up and putting away of the dinette and lounge in our 27FB grows weary. It sure would be nice for them to have their own space so they can sleep in and we can enjoy coffee at the dinette.
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