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Old 05-22-2009, 09:56 AM   #1
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Larger bed in a smaller trailer

It had to happen sometime. My first post.

I'm 6'3" and would like a bed at least 78" long and would like it to be a minimum of 54" wide so that my wife and I can sleep somewhat comfortably together. Wider would, of course, be better. We are looking for our first trailer which will be an airstream and would prefer 22 ft. or less. This way we don't need a new tow vehicle (I think) and It will have no trouble fitting in to some of the places we want to go such as National Parks and National Forests. My searches have to come to no avail though I am sure there are other posts about this.

Finally the question: What are some of the creative solutions/ideas that you guys have seen or come up with for having a larger sleeping area in a small place?

We are not locked into a floorplan or year, except that our budget is less than $20K (finished). If you have accompanying photos, all the better.
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Old 05-22-2009, 10:06 AM   #2
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1970 23' Safari
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1986 31' Sovereign
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Welocome to the forums!

I'm very much in the same boat! Except I'm not tall. In the Safari, my wife and I share the front gaucho. REALLY not wide enough.

We have a king sized waterbed at home. I'm still engineering how to sucessfully do that in an airstream. I know "It's impossible".... But what about a queen size! Hmmmm....

So while I work on that, I'm considering a "Gaucho Extension". Yea, I'm gonna patent this idea.

I plan to construct a lightweight hideable/collapsable frame to hold about a 12"-16" cushion extension that velcros to the existing bed.

The thought might be to also use these as ottomans when not sleeping.

So how about a transfer pump to move water between a pickup bed and a waterbed......?
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Old 05-22-2009, 10:41 AM   #3
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You know, a brand new (or an used/leftover) 22' Sport with the front dinette might be just what you're looking for. According to the brochure, that dinette makes a 60"x83" bed. (Oddly, that's bigger than the fixed bed in the 2009 Sport FB.) That's one of the biggest stock beds I've seen in my AS hunt.

If you look around, you could probably score a 2008 leftover or used 22' for pretty close to your budget. No repair work (hopefully) needed either!

Tom
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Old 05-22-2009, 11:13 AM   #4
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Bed in the front is great

I completely re-did my 23 foot '72 Safari because frankly, the floor plan sucked. I didn't want to have anything that was double-duty like a gaucho folding out to a bed. I ripped out the front gaucho and my son welded a frame that fit in the whole front of the trailer. I got a roll of that heavy brown paper used to protect floors during construction and made a template of the curve. A custom mattress shop made an amazingly comfortable mattress that is longer than a queen, but a little narrower. In fact, when I started to unroll the template at the mattress shop, before I even finished the guy said, "you have an Airstream!" Regular queen sheets fit on the mattress because some how the width and length cancel out. Of course it is a pain in the butt to make the bed from scratch, but it's so nice at the end of the day just to crawl into it.

I also converted that back gaucho to a dinette and ripped out the bulkhead separating the front from the back. I'm attaching some pictures. The one looking forward to the bed isn't as good as the other which was taken by Zeppilinium with his wide angle lens.
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Old 05-22-2009, 12:11 PM   #5
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Tom, thanks. That is one of the options we have considered. We wanted to explore our other ones, as we had hoped to stay at or below 20K and we have yet to run across a safari sport 22 for less than 26K. Also, as many naive newby types are probably prone to doing, we are somewhat taken by the romantic notion that we can have an older airstream, without fully considering the potential downside. This forum is tremendously helpful in that regard. You guys have a tremendous accumulation of knowledge and experience. Thank you for your generous sharing of it.

Blue Hwy Lady, I had considered the front bed idea, but I couldn't get comfortable with it. The missing piece was the relocated dinette. Bravo! Brilliantly concieved and elegantly executed.

It is helpful for us to have an idea of our options to aid in our decision making.

It seems that from my short time reading these forums that airstreams, for many, are more than simply travel trailers, but also a unique form of self expression as well as a hobby unto themselves. I wonder if there are other creative solutions.

Thank you
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Old 05-22-2009, 12:37 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blu_Hwy_Lady View Post
I completely re-did my 23 foot '72 Safari because frankly, the floor plan sucked. A custom mattress shop made an amazingly comfortable mattress that is longer than a queen, but a little narrower.
Cool idea BHL.. We have considered doing this conversion with our 23' as well and it is great to see what it would look like all done up. Exactly how wide (front to rear) is the bed now up front. I would guess it starts right at the front door opening.

PS.. Re TV, Both the Nissan Van and the Infiniti sedan worked well with the 23'. Either one gets over 25MPG (IMP) solo.
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Old 05-22-2009, 12:59 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by RivetNV View Post
Also, as many naive newby types are probably prone to doing, we are somewhat taken by the romantic notion that we can have an older airstream, without fully considering the potential downside. This forum is tremendously helpful in that regard. You guys have a tremendous accumulation of knowledge and experience. Thank you for your generous sharing of it.
I'm in the same boat -we own a T@B (which has a huge bed but JUST ENOUGH headroom for me) and are considering a larger trailer. We looked for several months at lots of options (vintage AS, new AS, newer-used AS, Chalets, the T@B) and I keep looking to see what's out there.

From listening to the VAP (Vintage Airstream Podcast), I learned what sort of work, time, and expense was involved in vintage. A very kind local AS owner, who had just bought her trailer and was starting her restoration, let me tour what remained of her gutted Tradewind. It was very informative.

Some folks enjoy the challenge and the projects that come with vintage ownership. I read here that owning a vintage trailer (and to some extent, a new trailer) isn't like owning a modern Japanese car - there's always something to do. Some folks like that. As for me, well, after working on a VW all the time, I really like owning my Honda....

Best of luck in your search. Try and go to a rally to see lots of trailers - owners and folks here seem universally willing to give you a tour and chat.

Tom
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Old 05-22-2009, 02:31 PM   #8
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In my '64 Safari I'm toying with the idea of modifying the front gaucho to extend farther. There is about 10 to 12" of space between the extended bed and the refer which is just what I need to have a bed that two can sleep in comfortably. This is still in the planning phase right now, so no pics. I intend to build two small cabinets, one on each side of the gaucho, about 6" deep and as high as the bottom of the bed platform. These would be side tables when in the gaucho configuration and they would support the bed when extended, along with a modified version of the original slide mechanism. The typical 60's gaucho was made with a very deep seat, so I will make the extra cushion to fit behind the original back cushion where it won't take up any additional storage space.

I'll attach a couple of pics of the existing situation:

Thanks, Rich
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Old 05-22-2009, 03:15 PM   #9
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We have an Overlander (26'). We're removing the rear bath and moving it to amidships to make room for a rear bed. Our highest priority for the Overlander is a comfortable night's rest. We're going to full-time for up to a year... the bed has to work.

Once we picked the rear, there are two choice... N-S or E-W. Running the bed N-S (or the length of the bed parallel to the length of coach) consumes more floor space but it creates "get-in, get-out" areas on both sides. Running the bed E-W means a custom curved mattress... and someone sleeping against the rear window who must clamber over his or her partner to exit.

I have no desire for a "gaucho" type bed that must be assembled every day. As a modest compromise, I'm thinking of a bed shaped rather like an "L." The bed would run N-S with the "head" under the rear window. The foot of the bed would be hinged. The hinged portion would fold down during the day allowing more circulation room. The long lower portion of the bed could be moved to form a "super couch." In the evening, the hinged portion would fold and lock up to allow maximum sleeping length. I'm still thinking about the concept.
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Old 10-07-2009, 09:29 PM   #10
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Front Bed Layout

Here is what I come up with for my bed.
55" x 80" should work out well considering I'm 6'.

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