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Old 06-30-2014, 07:16 AM   #1
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Trailer vs Interstate, need advice (Newbie)

Hi, Please help me decide if I should get a trailer or an Interstate Van.
I am interested in the Flying Cloud 19 being pulled by a 2500 Cummings Diesel truck.
What concerns me:
1. The fridge is not a 3-way and you can not run it while traveling to keep your food cold. Propane while driving might not be safe, correct?
2. There is no generator. I live in Florida and it would be nice to run the A/C in case there is no hookup.
I am new at this and would appreciate any other advice.
Thanks, Gerhard

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Old 06-30-2014, 07:35 AM   #2
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2005 25' Classic
1986 32' Excella
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2006 22' Interstate
Newark , Delaware
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Hi Gerhard,

I have a 2006 Interstate which my wife and I use more often than I ever imagined. It is great for camping, tailgating UD football games, picking up guests at the airport in high style, visiting friends and relatives and only asking for a flat spot and a power cord. Fuel economy is far better than pulling a trailer. We have taken it to Alumapalooza for the last three years where trailers far outnumber vans. Trailer owners seem to love the van, van owners seem to love the trailers.

Advantages of the van...while on the road, passenger can use the rest room, Fridge runs on propane while driving, you can start the generator and microwave a meal en route. The non driver can walk around, stretch legs, sit in the back and read. Disadvantages of the van....wet bath, shower means everything in the BR is wet, sofa becomes your bed, you must make it and put linens away every morning. An airstream trailer will (supposedly) last forever, the Interstate is a motor vehicle, they will wear out eventually.

Hope these ideas help your decision.


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Old 06-30-2014, 10:02 AM   #3
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It all depends on your personal preferences.

I can't imagine a family of five being happy campers in an Interstate, and though I know a few people who've gone full time in a number of very small trailers, I can't see doing that in an Interstate on any kind of voluntary basis... But fleeing a hurricane or having a house fire - well an interstate could be a welcome haven.

Interstate benefits:
  • not actually a bad "daily driver" - the outrageous price tag can be offset quite a bit if it becomes the family's "mom van" in place of a second car
  • best for weekenders and short trips
  • small enough to discourage your grown children complete with their three brats from moving back in!
  • option of never paying for a hotel room OR a campground, every apartment complex, and even most motel parking lots are places to sleep free
  • fun for tailgating
  • taking kids shopping "MOM I gotta GO" is never a crisis

Trailer benefits:
  • a family of 4, 5, 6 can fit in one
  • minimal but real privacy - bring guests along for more than a day trip is much more pleasant
  • cargo space
  • real kitchen & bath - small but decent
  • the bar is open - in the rain all your friends who have interstates pile in your trailer!
  • rolling office - I can meet clients IN my trailer.
  • I don't have to make the bed every day before I do anything else (OK use a sleeping bag in the Interstate, smartypants)

Today is a gift, that's why they call it the present.
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Old 06-30-2014, 10:07 AM   #4
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2001 30' Excella
Somerset , New Jersey
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Hey Gerhard. The refrig. in the modern RV trailers will run on propane while on the road. The decision as to propane being safe while under way is yours and yours alone. There is plenty of reading here on the forum on that subject. Read away. My preference is the trailer. I can unhook and sightsee using my truck. Unless you choose to tow something along you will need to take your MH with you. The choices are yours to make. Bye the way, I do travel with the refrigerator on propane.

See ya on the road sometime.
Roger in NJ

" Democracy is the worst form of government. Except for all the rest"
Winston Churchill 1948

TAC - NJ 18

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Old 06-30-2014, 10:28 AM   #5
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Thanks for the advice. I like the vans for the reasons mentioned. Either way, it is just my wife and I. What bothered me with the vans is the high price and fast depreciation. I have watched used Interstates for sale and the sellers have a hard time to get rid of them. A trailer is easier to sell with less depreciation and the car you need anyway, in case you want out.
Still thinking…
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Old 06-30-2014, 11:32 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by gerhard View Post
Thanks for the advice. I like the vans for the reasons mentioned. Either way, it is just my wife and I. What bothered me with the vans is the high price and fast depreciation. I have watched used Interstates for sale and the sellers have a hard time to get rid of them. A trailer is easier to sell with less depreciation and the car you need anyway, in case you want out.
Still thinkingÖ
Trailer advantages: You can leave the trailer parked and go shopping or whatever with your tow vehicle.

Motorhome disadvantages: You must break camp in order to go shopping or whatever.

Running an RV reefer while traveling is many times safer than being on the highway, or simply walking.

Do things happen? Yes, but people get run over in cross walks as well, far more times than an LPG problem when traveling with an RV.

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Old 06-30-2014, 12:36 PM   #7
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Your question reminds me of asking whether Methodist or Baptist church is better.. For majority of campers, they settle into either motorhome/Van world or Trailer world, because one just suits them better, and few then convert back... The A/C issue in the south is important, and can be addressed with electrical hookups at many RV parks and campgrounds, or that diesel truck would easily hold a generator in bed powerful enough to run the air conditioner and power the trailer..

If you like to explore, visit downtowns and not worry about access, van is more maneuverable than truck, and with trailer you'd probably have to unhook and leave it at campground.. Offset is that when you returned, you'd already be set up and hooked up, and not have to do it as frequently as you might with van. Price is huge for new or late model van, and for diesel truck <you certainly wouldn't need that much truck for a 19' Flying Cloud - a basic Ford Eco-boost V6 would pull it with no problems...> is also expensive and going to depreciate. If you are willing to consider used, maybe one of those vans someone else can't sell would be a good option...

In Theory, there's no difference between Theory and Practice, but in Practice, there is usually a difference...
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Old 06-30-2014, 12:41 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by gerhard View Post
I am interested in the Flying Cloud 19 being pulled by a 2500 Cummings Diesel truck.
If one issue is driving a 2500 when you aren't towing, that can be remedied. You don't need a 2500 to tow a 19' Airstream.

P.S. Tow capacity is a hot topic but I think that's a safe statement by anyone's estimation.
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Old 06-30-2014, 12:44 PM   #9
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This might be the best of both worlds, like having your cake and eating it too:

1976 Airstream Argosy 24 for sale in Toronto, Ontario

More room, real galley, big bath, 18.3 mpg (Cdn) in a tough but smooth, quiet Mercedes Diesel.

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To answer your specific concerns: 4000W Japan made gen set built in. No propane to worry about with the DIESEL POWERED trailer!!

An Interstate may or may not satisfy you as a daily driver but one thing is for sure: you'll make no quick, jack rabbit exits from the campgrounds when you forget the milk.

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Old 06-30-2014, 01:28 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by gerhard View Post
I have watched used Interstates for sale and the sellers have a hard time to get rid of them. A trailer is easier to sell with less depreciation and the car you need anyway, in case you want out.
Still thinking…
I have always suggested to any new camper to NEVER buy new, trailer or MH, because you will NEVER get what you want on the first shot.

With that in mind and your preference to an Interstate go help one of those Interstate owners that can't get rid of their unit and buy a used one.

But asked those selling why they are selling. If the reason is to go to a trailer, because they got tired of disconnecting to go buy a quart of milk, you can save even more time and money.

40 plus years and 250,000 plus miles with the frig on gas.
2004 Excursion 4x4
1991 34 ft. Excella +220,000 miles, new laminated flooring, new upholstery, new 3200 lbs axles

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Old 06-30-2014, 01:39 PM   #11
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Agree w Howie, never ever buy new. We love our Airstream (4th) We have loved them all. Easy to just unhook and go. Don't have to drive a big van all the time. Can leave it for a month or longer and not have to worry about the engine. We stop at rest areas for lunch, rest or a break. So nice to have everything ready for us. The bed thing would be a problem for me. The Interstate is for a different traveler. Not us.
One more thing, if I were to get a Moho, I would look for a Classic from the '90's. Lotta room.
There is no one that can tell you what to do, you have to decide for yourself what will work w your lifestyle. That is why there are many choices. Good luck.
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Old 06-30-2014, 02:31 PM   #12
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Lots of conventional wisdom here... But thats probably not what you seek now is it?

As an owner of both a Safari and a Sprinter based B-Class van (RT Adventurous CS), I don't want to repeat what I've already read here or what is likely to be written here. But do consider that an AS trailer is pretty unique in the trailering world while the Interstate is a Thor built B-Van with Interstate badging.

There are many fine B-vans out there and many much cheaper that the Interstate, and many with innovative floorplans including slideouts. So before you decide, look around. Afterall the primary vehicle is the Sprinter and it is a fine platform for getting around with a much lower carbon footprint than towing your livingroom and bedroom around with you. Ours has a larger fridge than the Interstates which was a priority for us... As was the cost. And forget about the whole AS clique thing... there are many great clubs for other manufacturer's and besides, who care who made the dang thing! Its all about the experience you get in meeting folks of ALL walks of life and persuasions.

Camping AND running around (sightseeing, grocery runs, etc) with a B-van is nowhere near that difficult as some make out to be... One method is to simply hookup with Electrical and fill your fresh water tank at the site, and when you get the urge to roam, simply unhook your electric. Most come with a macerator so hooking up to sewer is really an end of adventure event not a continuous dump. I STILL get better mileage with my sprinter than I do with my TV un-hitched and un-loaded and the comfort is great. And if you get the urge to do a day trip its STILL nice to have a kitchen, potty and even a bed to nap on. And speaking of beds, if its just the two of you, leave it made up all the time for goodness sake.

That said, there are times we enjoy our trailer, but with our bi-coastal family, our strategy is to keep the AS on the left coast where our daughter's young family can make use of it as well as ourselves when we fly out for weeks at a time. Saves on hotels and the west coast is great for trailering. We recently decided we would like to have a weekend vehicle that we can get up and go in at a moments notice and crash wherever we want... Bluegrass festivals, beach excursions, visiting friends, etc. Its a lot less imposing that trying to park a big trailer... Having a B-van can actually be LESS maintenance as regular use is actually better for things like tires and other mechanical components.

So just sit down and figure out what trips you can see yourselves making and then pick the appropriate vehicle. And for goodness sake, look outside the AS box and consider other makes. One last thought... I bought NEW because I wanted things like HD TV in the trailer (a new thing in 2008), and all of the chassis upgrades on the Sprinter like Blind Spot monitoring, Lane Keeping, and more. Probably more of a consideration for B-Vans than trailers for sure, although the ducted AC sounds good to me too!
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Old 06-30-2014, 04:04 PM   #13
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Very much a personal decision based on your likes/dislikes and preferred activities.

For my part, I really like the idea of a compact self contained unit such as a B class and I think I could quite happily trade in our Classic 30 on one. I'm not unfamiliar with that style of camping - once we graduated from a tent in the early seventies, we had a
VW Westfphalia for a couple of years and camped in it - along with two young children!

In some ways I think we would get a lot more use from a van camper than we do our trailer.

Instead of being in storage 15 miles away, it would be in our driveway ready to go any time with minimum fuss. I could also look after it better.

My better half just cannot see it though - so I guess it won't happen!

Every time I have dragged her out to look at it, all I get is complaints about how restricted the space is compared to what we have!

My answer to that is that we will change our traveling style.

We would use it as living accommodation on short trips - and likely would take more such trips than we do now - but then, when we go away for the winter, we would travel the B class, then rent a condo someplace warm for a month or two.

I dont think she really believes I would do that, as it is generally true that after a week or so in one spot, I like to be on the road looking for new places and new adventures!

If two people are of like mind I'm sure it would be great, for a single person who knows what they want it would be great. But if you are two and one doesn't like the idea, the other person would never hear the end of it!

We still have our Classic 30 - and I do still enjoy it, but I could be flexible, my wife not so much it seems!

Brian & Connie Mitchell

2005 Classic 30'
Hensley Arrow / Centramatics
2008 GMC Sierra SLT 2500HD,4x4,Crew Cab, Diesel, Leer cap.
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Old 06-30-2014, 04:43 PM   #14
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Why would you tow a Bambi that small with a 2500??

Personal matter of opinion. When your Interstate breaks down 10,000 miles away from home on your cross country trip and needs to go into the shop for a week, you're in a hotel all week plus rental.

When your TV breaks down, no need for a hotel, maybe just a rental.

Family of 5 exploring the USA with a Ram Power Wagon & Airstream in tow.
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