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Old 04-29-2011, 07:47 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
Tandem axle much better suspension? As in every bump times two?
Just sharing my experience and opinions - as the OP requested. I've had both (10,000 mi on a single axle in 2010) and find the tandem a much smoother suspension, as per our recent trip into Chaco Culture NHP (legendary washboard access road). Generally, one wheel supports as the other drops. There's also the redundancy in the event of a blowout. Single is of course a bit easier to maneuver in tight spaces. To each his own, it's just one factor to consider.
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Old 04-29-2011, 08:59 AM   #16
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Lightbulb Tank Size...

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Originally Posted by Supercharge View Post
The small water tank on the 23 International. What's up with that? Why smaller than a 23FB Flying Cloud? Is that an issue, or red herring?
The size of the water tanks is really only an issue if you plan on boondocking. Otherwise, if you have hook-ups it's a moot point as you are only using them while on the road from point "A" to point "B" or an overnight at Wally World.

We have two small trailers (albeit vintage), both single axle, no kids but two small dogs & a cat. Here's my 2-cents on layouts...we too came directly from tent-camping.

The rear kitchen 20FC is much like the layout of our '56 Safari except reversed & the extra couple of feet in ours goes towards accommodating our twin beds (which double as sofa-style seating during the day). I love this layout BUT it is a somewhat tight kitchen/bath arrangement with the bathroom & kitchen co-located. With two adults it's okay, but I would think with small kids in & out of the bathroom while the adults are trying to prep breakfast or dinner - the extra traffic would be a problem and would become a PITA rather quickly.

On the other hand, the full across the back bathroom (like our '64 GlobeTrotter) is nice while you're using it BUT how much time are you really using it while camping? Is it worth giving up a "view" out the back of the trailer and dedicating all that space to a bathroom?

In a perfect world, $$$ no option, the "best layout" IMO for a family of 4 would be this one, no matter what "finish package" it has:



In reality, I would buy a gently used trailer to get the best bang for my buck - especially if we were only planning on using it 10-15 days a year as you suggest you will be. However, we use ours much more that that...and you may too once you have one.

Ultimately the best way to "know" what's going to be the best layout for you (regardless of new or used) is to really spend some time inside the trailers on a dealer's lot. I would say since it's so far away for you, plan a two day trip so you can spend the first day on the lot "kicking tires", sleep on it then go back the next to kick some more or buy. I would definitely not want to rush into something just because you gotta "get home" the same day...

Shari
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Old 05-03-2011, 08:06 AM   #17
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[QUOTE=InsideOut;985359]The size of the water tanks is really only an issue if you plan on boondocking.

Quite true, but who wants to own a travel trailer and not use our beautiful National and State park campgrounds? Very few of these have water hookups.
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Old 05-03-2011, 08:31 AM   #18
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...who wants to own a travel trailer and not use our beautiful National and State park campgrounds? Very few of these have water hookups.
True. We DO lots of boondocking with careful water management and two adults, two dogs & a kitty in our 22-footer with 30 gallon fresh, 11 gallon black & 27 gallon grey tanks. We are able to be out 3 nights/4 days just fine...but with small kids I'm sure the water consumption will not be the same and no tanks will be "big enough" for some.

Shari
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Old 05-03-2011, 03:54 PM   #19
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I doubt water and waste capacity is keeping anyone from using our beautiful National and State park campgrounds. At least not us. We used them for many, many years as tent campers, VW van campers, and now with our Safari 20 SE. For some, nothing is big enough. Others, who understand camping, will get along perfectly with what they have.

Doug K
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Old 05-03-2011, 04:41 PM   #20
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If you want to go without hookups, excuse the children from bathing!
Seriously sponge bathe the critical areas and use a sea salt based deoderant. The socks will smell worse than the kids. You can always carry a water bladder or Gerry cans with extra water, but then you're faced with dumping gray water on the ground - don't know Canadian regs, but most places in the USA get paranoid. I got seriously yelled at for dumping coffee grounds and cold coffee - even though it was in a pine forest where evergreens LOVE acid soil. Paper plates - the cardboardy type - use them then use them as tinder for your campfire!

I too would opt for a gently used model - cuts your initial investment by at least 10K, possibly double. Oh, and if you were to decide later you wished you'd gotten something bigger... well you'll take far less of a hit trading it in. (Check Colonial Airstream - right now they've got a 27 FB SE Safari USED - that the previous owner did some nice upgrades to. I don't like the houndstooth upholstery, and I vowed that I'd have cash before I do it again... but look at the PRICE and .... yeah I know it's on the wrong end of the country too.)

Importing - you will pay CANADA's tax, so importing a used one will save BIG bucks there. Keep a lookout for units in Alaska as well as Washington, Oregon, Idaho & Montana. I'd go 500 miles to look at a good one, but ask for a local inspector to do a report first.

Canadians love smaller tow vehicles than most Yanks consider to be safe but seeing as how you're in or adjacent to serious mountains, you might want to side with the USA on this issue.

I have the 25 FB SE Safari with the queen. It's not a true walkaround but it's nearly the perfect size for a family.... I'd recommend twins though, especially with kids. (Not to prevent more kids.... but) With Twins and a folding tray table, on a rainy day the kids can play checkers, etc. in the bedroom while you lounge in the dinette or vice versa. "Go to your room" doesn't mean anything if you go smaller than a 25. Twins are a lot easier to make up the bed and the storage under them is much more accessable.

Oh, and the LENGTH of Airstreams INCLUDES the tongue... most others don't measure that.

Happy Trails - Paula
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Old 05-04-2011, 08:12 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
I doubt water and waste capacity is keeping anyone from using our beautiful National and State park campgrounds. At least not us. We used them for many, many years as tent campers, VW van campers, and now with our Safari 20 SE. For some, nothing is big enough. Others, who understand camping, will get along perfectly with what they have.

Doug K
Well, it's obvious why there is a wide selection of Airstreams (and other brands) offered to suit different preferences and 'needs', from tiny pods to road monsters. Everyone out there camping must be at least somewhat satisfied with their outfit, yet if everyone got along perfectly with what they have, there would be no resale or upgrade market. Make your own choices and enjoy your experience. There's no need, however, to criticize others who make different choices. Time to move on to more objective topics, excluding personal hygiene, sewerage, weight distribution hitches, solar vs. generators, and who knows what else triggers passion on a forum such as this. Go camping!
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Old 05-04-2011, 09:10 AM   #22
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I think this is worth discussing, especially in a thread started by a newbie.

The idea that you have to have big tanks to enjoy boondocking isn't the whole story. We spent 35 days travelling cross-country in our T@B teardrop, staying mostly in NP campgrounds. That trailer had a 5-gallon fresh water tank and no gray tanks. We used campground showers and a folding portable tank to hold water from the sink.

Later we spent 16 days in PEI and Nova Scotia, spending 10 days boondocking in various places. That was with our Argosy with it's relatively tiny gray water tank (which by design doesn't even hold shower water.)

But. Keeping kids on board with not running the water (and filling up the tanks) is a challenge. If you don't want to use the campground showers (or if there aren't any), you'll want bigger tanks and/or a portable blue boy tote tank. I fully admit, I would like a more modern trailer with bigger tanks - but we've also thoroughly enjoyed our time spent without them.

Tom
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Old 05-04-2011, 11:57 AM   #23
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Supercharge, I didn't see you mention the age of your children, and that might be a consideration.

Personally if we were a younger family with children young enough to sleep on the dining/bed (with plenty of years to grow, ahead), the 23 FB would be my bottom choice.

However if you've got children who will be, or soon will be almost adult in size, I would think you'd be asking for trouble with the 23 FB. I would opt for the 25 or even larger.

In any event, when they get into their middle to late teen years, it's going to be a struggle to even get them to think about going camping with their parents (even though it's an AS).

And of course, your mileage may vary.
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Old 05-04-2011, 12:02 PM   #24
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Instead of considering a larger trailer, and whatever limitations of tanks and axles and trailer length (all Airstreams are tiny homes), I would recommend a lightly used Airstream Sport for a young family. The real advantage of a trailer is it allows you warm, dry, comfortable shelter to cook, eat, sleep, and bathe (yes, you all can keep clean in any trailer), while traveling as far and wide as you wish. The Sport will meet those needs.

The kids will not be sitting inside much on a camping trip, and you will enjoy the shade and views under the awning. The Sport is most probably the least expensive Airstream to buy and maintain. It is easy to park, store, and probably can be towed by your family car, van, or SUV with reasonable fuel consumption. The concept returns to the early days of Airstreaming, and is sensible to a young family's means.

Will you outgrow it? Probably, but so what. You may wear it out first (hopefully). Most of us have had many RV's, but few of us wish we had saddled our young lives with more expense and debt. The important thing is to get out there and enjoy travel and whatever adventures you can find with your family.
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Old 05-12-2011, 11:19 PM   #25
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HI All,

First off, a big thank you to all the folks who responded to my post. I really appreciate all the help from the community and I found it very valuable. It's tricky for someone new to RVing like me to identify what the important factors are in making this rather expensive decision, and all the advice and opinions have really helped me.

Now I'm wrestling with two things:

1) what - if I find the right AS at the right price - do I need to get along with a new trailer (I'm still looking for used, but wow, are they hard to find)? One dealer mentioned some kind of protective coating on the outside plus scotchguarding on the inside - do I need that? (I'm someone who NEVER gets upsold at car dealerships, but I know a little bit about cars. Trailers, not so much.) Patio lanterns for the awning? Is there a "must have" or at least "must strongly consider" when getting into AS ownership?

2) I'm a long ways from the nearest dealer. What are the typical problems with new AS trailers that require dealer attention? Is this a deal killer?

Many thanks, all.
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Old 05-13-2011, 12:13 AM   #26
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In a perfect world, $$$ no option, the "best layout" IMO for a family of 4 would be this one, no matter what "finish package" it has:




Shari
what model is this? I just bought a '67 Globetrotter that we are gutting. We are a family of 4 as well. I'm trying to figure out a design.

thanks!
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Old 05-13-2011, 11:35 AM   #27
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That floorplan is an Airstream International 23D - here's a link to one on Colonial Airstream's site.

Note that duplicating that floorplan in a vintage Globetrotter could be complicated by the fact that the GT is about 1/2 a foot narrower than the modern 23D. It will get tight around the bed and bath. My favorite Globetrotter floorplan was the one used in 1969.

Tom
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Old 05-14-2011, 12:24 AM   #28
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thank you Tom! I wasn't thinking about the width! that helps!
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