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Old 04-27-2009, 05:34 PM   #1
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Safari vs. Classic

In our continuing quest for the perfect (for us) AS, I keep on struggling with the issue of trailer weight. I notice from one of the handy tables on the internet that the Safari of any given size is around 1200 lbs lighter than the equivalent Classic model. I haven't been able to find out exactly WHY it is so much lighter. Is is simply lighter cabinetry and other aesthetic items, or is the frame and structure lighter also?
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Old 04-27-2009, 06:23 PM   #2
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There are some minor weight differences, but realize that NCC weight may be more on some and that does not necessarily mean you will use every lb. of NCC.

For example a 25' Safari has a GVWR of about 7300lbs. A similar Classic has a GVWR of 7600lbs. NCC for the Classic 25er is about 2100lbs (without fluids, accessories, etc)....the Safari 25er has about 1800lbs of NCC with a GVWR of 7300. The axles are perhaps slightly more robust than what is on Safari, but the actual weights, empty for the same size unit is farily close.

The only ones that are way different are the slide outs....those have significant weight due to the slide.
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Old 04-27-2009, 06:38 PM   #3
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classics weigh more because = heavier cabinetry, heavier sofa, and bigger tanks among all the extra goodies the classic line has
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Old 04-27-2009, 08:38 PM   #4
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weights.pdf

Thanks for all the replies. I appreciate you guys sharing your knowledge.

I was just looking at this chart, since we are looking for a "gently used" relatively new unit. The '02 Safari 25 weighs 4920 and the Classic is 6000. That is a lot of difference just for different cabinets..........
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Old 04-27-2009, 09:13 PM   #5
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A suggestion...if you aren't familiar with Safaris vs Classics you might want to consider going to a dealer or dropping in on a rally in your area to compare them. They both have their advantages and it really depends on what styling you like best... Note that what used to be called "Safari" in the AS model lineup is no longer as of 2009. The new model (as of 2009) called "Flying Cloud" is actually equivalent to what used to be called a "Safari SE" through 2008... The "Safari SE"/"Flying Cloud" models have the aluminum interior walls (which we personally love) and some other goodies, while standard "Safaris" have the cloth wall interiors. Seeing them in person would be very helpful to you in making your decision.
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Old 04-27-2009, 10:34 PM   #6
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There are a lot of upgrades in the Classics that add weight. For instance, the Classics have Corian counters, the heavier sofa as mentioned, heavier cabinets, the beds have drawers on glides rather than flip down doors or just open shelves with sterilite containers, the refrigerator is a larger model in the Classics, the kitchen sink is also Corian, the rear bumper has a slide-out drawer instead of a flip-up door, there were also a couple of exterior slide out storage drawers on the Classics that the Safaris don't have, the Classics have power stabilizers, the older models have the Classic windows and the older Safaris have the Hehr (sp) windows, the older Safaris don't have the wrap widows in the front, the older Safaris may not have a sky light, the Classics have a larger A/C unit, the older Safaris didn't have the flush system on the black tank, etc.

You get the picture. There were a lot of little things that add a little here and a little there and before you know it you are talking real weight differences.
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Old 04-27-2009, 11:00 PM   #7
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Simple terms.

Hi, Minnie's Mate describes the difference between the Safari and the Classic pretty well. But when we bought our Safari I noted two huge differences. For two trailers with basically the same floor plan, the Classic weighed [GVWR] 1,000 pounds more and cost $15,000.00 more. The Classics are really nice, but won't do much more than my Safari as for traveling and camping. [my opinion]
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Old 04-27-2009, 11:51 PM   #8
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When we bought ours, I preferred the features of the Classic (primarily the windows and other upgrades) but liked the Safari styling more. But, the definitive factor in choosing the Safari for us was the floor plan. We have two young boys and we felt we had to have the bunk house plan and it was only available in the Safari line. I tried to have a custom Classic built with this plan but Airstream wouldn't do it. At the time, they wouldn't even put the Classic styled windows in the Safari. That soon changed though. But that is another story. Anyway, there is another difference that I didn't note, the Classic does have a heavier frame. I never knew this but there is a thread entitled Safari 30 bunkhouse owners club! that noted that the 30 foot Safari Bunkhouse is built on the 30 foot Classic frame. I'm sure part of that is economics of not engineering another 30 foot frame, but it is nice to know I have a sturdier frame underneath.
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Old 04-28-2009, 12:32 AM   #9
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The Classics are really nice, but the weight and price difference in certain models is significant. Airstream has had so many different models that the differences can be blurry at times. If your want to tow with a 1/2 ton truck, and are looking at the smallest Classic (25'), the weight difference is significant for many of those size trucks.

Our opinion was the Safari 25' FB was the heaviest (and longest) trailer we wanted to tow with a 1/2 ton truck. Our opinion was partially formed by our decision to tow with a Toyota because of reliability, as well as 25' seemed about as long as we wanted to deal with. Trucks have different capacities, however, and what one company calls a 1/2 ton may have different capacities than another. The difference between pickups and SUV's can matter too because SUV's, with their heavier bodies, have less payload. If you have a 3/4 ton you don't have to think about this (well you do because the heavier the trailer, the worse the gas mileage).

In the last few decades trucks and Airstreams have kept getting heavier. That's going to change. Supposedly part of the Classic line is going to disappear. Fuel mileage restrictions on new trucks are going to make it hard to find as many trucks with massive engines. I suspect some manufacturers will find a way to produce big engines that get good mileage, or will cut back on options to save weight, but I'm wondering just how they're going to do it. Once this recession is over, fuel prices may go back up and lightweight trailers and trucks will be popular again, so thinking ahead and planning for all eventualities is probably a good idea. We love our truck and it's got lots of power, but it sure sucks gas, and that's a concern for the future.

Looking for a gently used older model makes sense. Safari's were upgraded continually through recent years getting heavier and heavier, more and more options, fancier trim lines. We couldn't see much difference (except price) between the Safari SE and International and neither did a lot of other people. Now the Sport (formerly Safari Sport) is the entry level trailer, but lacks certain things we like for long trips. The Classic is too heavy and too expensive in our opinion, but it is really nice. The interiors are wonderful. We are at the Terraport tonight and are surrounded by big expensive Airstreams and they look great, but I'm glad we made the choice we did even though we feel small here. Of course, what's practical for one person isn't for another and they're all shiny on the outside.

One reason we bought new was to have a trailer that didn't have a lot of problems, but our relatively new trailer does have a lot of problems. QC is an issue with Airstreams. If I had to do it over again, I would not buy a new one. Why buy new, experience major depreciation and get problems anyway?

Gene
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Old 04-28-2009, 06:38 AM   #10
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CrawfordGene,

That is exactly in line with our thinking. We have a 1/2 ton Suburban 4X4. As it stands now, I think a 25 Classic or a 27 or 28 Safari would be at the high end of what I would be comfortable towing.

The wife and I both have Class A CDL's and are used to pulling 53 foot trailers around the country, so even the "big girls" aren't a problem as far as backing and maneuvering. I just want to do my due diligence in matching the trailer to the tow vehicle.
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Old 04-28-2009, 09:34 AM   #11
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After towing 10,000 miles I don't think there's a lot of difference in towing a 25' or a 27', but it's the tight spots that matter. We often buy gas at truck stops, but the gas pumps sometimes are in pretty small spaces. Some campgrounds, especially public ones, are difficult to get into with anything longer than a 26' (which is really 26').

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Old 04-28-2009, 06:50 PM   #12
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Safari vs Classic

We bought a gently used 2005 25' Classic after having a rare 18' Holiday Rambler Ramblette for 11 years that was quite streamlined with rounded fiberglass front and rear. The HR had a base weight of 2800 lbs while our AS weighed in at 6600 lbs empty when I got it registered. After towing both, we get better mileage towing the heavy AS Classic then we ever did with the much lighter HR. On a 400 mile trip we getting 14 MPG pulling with our 2007 F250HD Crew Cab 4X4 diesel. We never got over 13 with the HR and that was towing around 60 MPH with either one. Also, the AS is easier to tow with less sway and bounce than the old HR had. We looked at the Safari, but really liked the features of the Classic. The Classic has a 54 galon fresh water tank, 39 gray and 30 black. This allows us to boondock a little longer than with the smaller tanks on the Safari. As far as the lenght is concerned, we did not want anything longer than a 25' trailer since we go into many state parks that sometimes have limits on length. I hope this helps with your decision.

Dennis
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Old 04-28-2009, 08:02 PM   #13
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The number of Classic models are being sharply reduced. It looks like the 31', 34' and 25' will be gone. We may have seen the last 34' slide out on the production line today.

Reason seems to be recession and future hikes in gas prices.

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Old 04-28-2009, 09:16 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dstalzer View Post
We bought a gently used 2005 25' Classic after having a rare 18' Holiday Rambler Ramblette for 11 years that was quite streamlined with rounded fiberglass front and rear. The HR had a base weight of 2800 lbs while our AS weighed in at 6600 lbs empty when I got it registered. After towing both, we get better mileage towing the heavy AS Classic then we ever did with the much lighter HR. On a 400 mile trip we getting 14 MPG pulling with our 2007 F250HD Crew Cab 4X4 diesel. We never got over 13 with the HR and that was towing around 60 MPH with either one. Also, the AS is easier to tow with less sway and bounce than the old HR had. We looked at the Safari, but really liked the features of the Classic. The Classic has a 54 galon fresh water tank, 39 gray and 30 black. This allows us to boondock a little longer than with the smaller tanks on the Safari. As far as the lenght is concerned, we did not want anything longer than a 25' trailer since we go into many state parks that sometimes have limits on length. I hope this helps with your decision.

Dennis

Dennis,
That sounds exactly in line with our thinking. We want to stay small enough to stay in state and national parks with no problem, which is where we tend to camp. The larger tanks would be a huge plus. Looks like a 25 Classic!
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