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Old 05-15-2017, 09:12 AM   #1
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Buying our 1st need- looking for advice

Hi everyone! I am new to the forum and new to air streams, although I have been admiring them for years! We are looking to buy an airstream for 2 adults and 2 children, 8 and 5. We are hoping to have something that we can use as our kids become teenagers. We are looking at base camps - small and we could store at home. Kids would have to sleep in side tents. Sport 16 and sport 22. Would have to store off our property but more camping space. We have a Toyota Tacoma and Toyota 4 runner to tow. I am looking for advice on space versus convenience. I love the idea of space but don't like the hassle of off site storage and pulling a larger trailer.

I would love thoughts from some veteran airstreamers who have had experience with large and small trailers! Thank you in advance!
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Old 05-15-2017, 06:32 PM   #2
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Hi Missiewik, welcome to the Airstream Forums. Your family would benefit greatly from "travel adventures" where the luxuries of life are reduced to the base necessities. It may give a new perspective to your children. "What, no TV?", or many, many other "things".

You need a camper that will sleep four, two future teenagers. The smaller Airstreams you mention would be crowded on a rainy afternoon with everyone in the trailer. The Tacoma will pull maybe 6000 pounds. Maybe you know it's towing capacity. You need it's specs before you buy a camper.

Airstreams are special, and significantly more expensive that other campers of the same size. If I were you, I would consider a bigger trailer, and I would consider a used one. I would look at some other brands along with used Airstreams (which are still considerably more expensive.) Many manufacturers make a "bunk house" camper that stacks the kids up in the back like so much fire wood. But they are handy. Airstream makes one too.

Expensive, but maybe you could rent a trailer, pull it with your truck, and enjoy a long weekend somewhere. It would help define your needs and wants.

David
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Old 05-15-2017, 06:52 PM   #3
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Never buy an RV based on the fact that people are going to sleep outside or spend most of their time outside; trust me, it's not sunny and warm all the time. Purchase a RV based on how much space is inside to house everyone on rainy cold days. A Basecamp IMHO would be a no go, right off the bat.

I have a 31' class A Classic turbo diesel Airstream and it's surprising how small it gets when all the beds are out and the kids are sleeping in the front half. I'm lucky that I have a rear convertible lounge (three convertible sofa/beds) so having space for everyone to lie down for a mid-day nap/read is very nice.

Pulling a big enough trailer is no where near a hassle than trying to move around three adults beside you in 12 square feet (imagine all four of you on top of your dinning room table). As someone that that travelled all over the US in a 1972 VW Westphalia with my parents and sister, trust me, it adds a whole new definition of the word intimate.

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Old 05-15-2017, 06:54 PM   #4
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Thank you David! I appreciate the advice. I will look into the bunk house campers and other manufacturers. We are currently tent campers and my husband and I are both teachers. We commonly spend a month or more every summer in the road with a tent. Any rv space would be a huge upgrade for us! Tent camping with 2 little ones for that amount of time can be tiring. I am hoping with an rv we will be able to spend all of our time on the road!
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Old 05-15-2017, 08:26 PM   #5
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Not trying to turn you off, but often folks progress from tent to tent trailer to hard side fold out trailer to .....? Brother's family followed this path. They are two teachers and three kids. They are now retired and moved to a SOB. You do not have to jump into an Airstream, ever.

The size of the coach you are suggesting is really small. Not a bad idea, but there may be a better one. What exactly is your storage situation? Carport, garage, pad beside house, short driveway ......? More info helps folks suggest ideas with a better chance of a good outcome.

Young kids have different needs than older teenagers. There own bunk and private space is a bigger deal for teens. Sometimes a tent is cool. However, tents in bear country are problematic. So as suggested, look at the bunk house models. Look at how to easily modify standard layouts.

Your size has an impact on what works for you too. A 6-4 guy and a 5-8 lady do not fit in the same spaces that a 5-8 guy and a 5-3 lady can use. Queen beds fit big folks. The rear beds with curved corners fit smaller folks. And then there is the double stacked twin concept. Think modified standard layout.

The other thing to look into is bathroom facilities. A coach with limited bathroom space, but lots of beds might be better for you if you normally use RV parks with good bathroom facilities.

Someone recently suggested using the back of the SUV/van TV for overflow sleeping accommodation. A small coach and a van might work great for you.

Casitas are small enough to fit in a garage. A gutted vintage Airstream can be an aluminum tent for several years while you fit it out with custom furniture. Lots of ways to go.

Good luck with the research. Pat

Edit - is it possible to double stack the dinette in a Basecamp?
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Old 05-16-2017, 08:12 AM   #6
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Thank you so much for the information! We only have a garage at our home. We could possibly store on the side of our house. I need to call homeowners and ask. We also have friends with some space that we could potentially use.

My Tacoma is a long bed that we have laid and air mattress into to sleep before. This allows for that extra sleep space for older kids.

Great idea on double stacking the dinette. I will look into that as well.

We have an appointment to look at a used 2015 sport next weekend. I have not seen too many of these used, worth checking out. We will also check out other options at an rv dealer. My concern is quality. I prefer to purchase a higher quality product initially then something that will produce problems and need to be traded in sooner. I know that airstream is a trustworthy quality product. That is extremely important to us.

As far as our camping style, I would like the option to go off the grid, which I anticipate doing often. Rv parks are not completely our style, but we will be staying at KOA style places as well.
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Old 05-16-2017, 08:57 AM   #7
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High quality. Airstream trailers and Tiffin MH's come to mind for most, but although the basic design is of high quality, the assembly is only as good as the worker on the assembly line. We have been very happy with our two Airstreams while others have been disappointed. My neighbor look his new MH back to the Tiffin factory with a list of 64 assembly defects.

Size. We traveled for 35 years in 1971 to 1995 VW Campers, you can do fine if you enjoy the reasons for travel. They kept us warm and dry and very easy to use. A "make-do" spirit will go a long way, some can't or won't do it.

Experience. If not seasoned campers, why not start out with a quality tent setup and learn something. A ton of camping and travel experience for almost nothing compared to the cost, maintenance, and storage issues of an RV.
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Old 05-16-2017, 12:27 PM   #8
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I can only speak for myself as a parent of a 4 and 6 year old, but my point of view will be markedly different as we were never were "happy tent campers looking to upgrade"...more like "we grew to hate condos, hotels, but wife hated sleeping in a tent"....RV'ing for us has been "the ticket".

It stands to reason that if you have enjoyed mere tent camping for "a month or more" - you would enjoy the same thing with "base camp augmentation".

Worth pointing out however, that your "augmentation options" are quite vast if the budget is in the avenue of base camp new price (about 40K?).

Other options for "augmentation" could be like a casita, or one of my personal favorites in concept (never been in one yet myself) is the Oliver trailer....probably several other brands out there that could fit that bill, and be a bit more spacious for those rainy days and remain towable with what tow vehicle you have.

Other options include ditching the tow vehicle you have and getting another suited for a larger RV that could reasonably take on the task of sleeping 2 adults, and 8 and 5 year old...doing this route, getting a different tow vehicle and some other trailer, this could be so many options, but if we are talking airstreams, it could be a used airstream, although it could be other things that are newer and arguably just as enjoyable? People come and post on this site because "airstreams are cool"....I am guilty of that...no shame...but you have options.

I see pretty often some families that use a similar "augmentation strategy" with small campers like the casitas or scamps (should have mentioned scamps, they are pretty cool it seems to me).


Above is link to lengthy oliver trailer review...just as an alternative...not sure your tow vehicle could tow it, I suspect it could? not sure though, not familiar with specs...I know you could a casita or a scamp...and be well in your price range, the oliver may be "in the ballpark" as the base camp....

I want to get inside a base camp one day, I just kinda have a hard time seeing the value in it, but it does intrigue me...wife would never go for it so it is academic.
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Old 05-16-2017, 05:10 PM   #9
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The Airstream Classified is a good place to look for used Airstreams. I found this 2004 28' Safari. I was looking for a 25'. But I thought a 13 year old Airstream might be more affordable. Not!

But you might enjoy looking at the interior photos posted with the ad. This trailer has a front "gaucho" that folds out to a bed. There's one future teen. And the dinette folds down into a smaller bed. There the other pre-teen.
There is a double bed in back, and nice bathroom, and nice "galley" which means kitchen. I could see where you folks would be very comfortable. You could get a similar layout in a 25, but with less room.

We traveled in my wife's folks's 86 Classic 34 footer. We did the same thing with our two sons. But the trailer was warm, dry and comfortable for our summer vacations. We very very lucky to get to use their Airstream for summer vacations for a few years.

My son has a 69 Globetrotter 21 foot. He uses it with his two young daughters. The girls sleep together on the fold down dinette, and he takes the single bed in the back. There is a half bath back there too. The trailer is too small when his girls get bigger.

Just trying to give you some perspective to the Airstream travel style.

David

http://www.airstreamclassifieds.com/...28-nebraska-3/
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Old 05-16-2017, 05:34 PM   #10
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We were tent campers for years before kids and when they were really young, then transitioned to a tent trailer for about a decade - easy to tow & ready to go whenever we were. It was a great option for our family for many years. Our two are teenagers now and we just upgraded to a International 28. Good luck on your hunt. I hope you find something that fits your family perfectly.
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Old 05-16-2017, 07:14 PM   #11
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A pop up could sleep 4 easy - another option yeah!
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Old 05-16-2017, 07:36 PM   #12
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Long time tent campers with 4 kids. 19,18,12,7.

Last December we purchased a 23D bunk. The two older girls in college now, but have come with us and prefer tent. We can sleep 6 in this thing if the two little ones share or one sleeps on pad on floor.

Other trips so far have been just the two little ones. The 23D bunk is perfect for 4. Only a few trips so far but way better than the tent. I was so tired of the packing the car for a tent, sleeping on the ground or a cot.

The few trips this far have been great. What a difference. I can pack and go quick, and the comfort is a world of difference.

I'm not sure the Basecamp would be big enough to be much of an upgrade from tent camping for me. It seems more like a better tent, with some amenities, but not enough room for family if 4.

Our style is boondocking/off grid. We can easily hang out bin this size if rainy.

You know your style and what will make you happy.

We store ours close by for $45 a night. So don't let onsite storage limit your thinking.

I would also search this forum hard for Basecamp feedback, they seem to be having quality issues with the first year run on these.

Have fun searching, and good luck. Whatever you pick you will enjoy.
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Old 05-17-2017, 05:48 PM   #13
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Hi troutboy: Thank you for sharing your experiences with the 23 bunk. I've never seen one before. Your post will certainly help the OP sort all this out.

The Basecamps are cute, a swiss army knife with features. But designed for the rugged outdoors types seems to me. I've never seen one.

That's a big fish you're holding in your avatar. Makes a former Minnesotan homesick.

David
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Old 05-17-2017, 06:56 PM   #14
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Hey David, yes. The bunks re near if you have kids or small body size. It will hold 150 pounds.

We are adventurous, and will take this thing on back roads etc. the size being 23 was good for us as it fits in all kinds of places. I think I need a lift kit though.

Thanks on that fish! It was caught in Alaska, a 26 inch rainbow fatty, we were trout fishing behind the salmon runs. Great trip. Someday I hope to drive to Alaska with the AS.

I here awesome tales of Minn fish!! That is on my list as well.
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