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Old 03-06-2006, 07:13 PM   #1
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Liberty Lake , Washington
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Fly Fisherman looking for Airstream

Awesome site! Learning a ton in just the few days since I joined.

Searching for the ideal unit to explore flyfishing waters throughout the Pacific Northwest, British Columbia and Alaska.

We (two adult family) want something with LOTS of windows (vista view and wrap around windows front and rear would be incredible), with a dinette, couch and enough elbow room to spend several weeks in at a time. Also, we'll use it twelve months a year. We really liked the 31' Classic Dinette model, but were concerned about the length for trailering/parking in some of the areas we venture into. Often we travel Forest Service type roads (i.e. gravel/dirt) and dry camp on public land along a river or in one of the primitive campgrounds in the backcountry.

Our current set up is a 2000 F250 Super Duty, 4x4, xtra cab, long bed with a 7.3L Power Stroke Diesel and an 8' slide in camper. Our camper is not a "four season" unit which makes trips between October and April "dry"! We want running, hot, water and the ability to use our own restroom twelve monts a year.

So, we'd like to keep our tow vehicle and replace our truck camper with an Airstream and have found a wealth of information on this site. Would love to hear from those who dry camp off the beaten path for any and all recommendations.

Take care,
Chris
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Old 03-06-2006, 07:39 PM   #2
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31 is kinda large...

Welcome to the Forum and good like in your quest... Sounds like you have a great plan, and there are a number of other flyfishing enthusiasts to trade notes with...

Despite the quest for elbow room, the size and weight of newer 31' trailer would be problematic on bad roads and some federal and state park campgrounds which limit size of trailers to ~25'... Many here suggest you declare 25' and assume rangers won't measure if you're a few feet longer..

We found the 25 to 28' trailers more maneuverable and still plenty roomy for a couple. Only the 25FB Safari offers couch plus dinette plus full bath and comfy couble bed. There are several 28's, including International CCD and Safari with dinettes and couches. Windows may be special ordered if you're buying new... Trailers made before 1995 are 6" narrower, somewhat lighter, and a lot less expensive, but not many have dinettes. Airstream came to believe that a folding table by couch was preferred dining style.

John McG
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Old 03-06-2006, 07:44 PM   #3
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canton , tx
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Hi Chris. I prefer dry camping because usually you get in better, more beautiful remote sites. I also prefer motorhomes but really love the vintage AS trailers. Most of the parks here in N CA allow rvs under 30' but I've seen some with shorter limits. Good Luck on your search....joe...
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Old 03-06-2006, 08:39 PM   #4
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If you're after a 4 season trailer maybe you should look at an Arctic Fox. An Airstream is not a 4 season trailer.
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Old 03-06-2006, 09:04 PM   #5
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Thank you for the prompt feedback and welcome to the site!

We originally started looking at fifth wheels to replace the truck camper. We were amazed at what we couldn't pull safely with our F250!

We really, really liked the Alpenlite 32RL which we were told we "should" be able to pull safely (nothing like a guy trying to make a sale looking out for our safety!).

Also,we liked the Arctic Fox 26-5C. Read lots of excellent feedback from Arctic Fox owners/users and most are exceptionally satisfied. The finish on the models we checked out lacked the attention to detail we expect. Also, the interior looked like a typical travel trailer interior...kind of hokey. Know they have a reputation for strong construction, off road ability and good insulation, etc. However, the "SOB" phrase I've learned about over the last couple of days is fitting.

Then, just for kicks, we decided to swing into the local Airstream dealer. We were incredibly impressed with what we saw. The Airstreams have a "wow factor" that none of the others even touched. On the surface there is a notible difference in quality. Also, our rig is able to safely trailer them! So, this innocent visit to the dealer is what has brought me here to this forum seriously researching the viability of an Airstream to meet our needs. We delt with the owner that was a different experience (although he did tell me the Airstreams were "four season" rated...).

Thanks again for the feedback!

Chris
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Old 03-06-2006, 09:30 PM   #6
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Safari 25' FB

I bought new Safari 25' FB LS last summer for just the purpose you are speaking. Spent 2 weeks in Colorado on a flyfishing trip in late Aug./Sept.
Most of the time was spent in national forest campgrounds.

The 25 worked out beautifully. While smaller units have some advantages, I think a 25' is ideal for 2 people to spend long trips together. Otherwise, things may close in on you on those long rainy days or on really cold nights where there is a burn ban. Plus the FB has the living area in the rear where the scenery is usually found. Most campgrounds will accomodate them as well.

My TV is a 2005 F250 turbo deisel 4x4. It really pulled well with a Reese weight distribution hitch. No sway even on a two lane highway at 65-70 mph while passing an 18 wheeler going the opposite direction. I crossed many passes and didn't find a time that I was unable to accelerate if I wanted.

Ed
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Old 03-06-2006, 10:27 PM   #7
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Chris -
I have a 29' trailer and like to fish for steelhead. I was on the Olympic peninsula for a long weekend 2 weeks ago, with night temps of 28 degrees. As long as I keep the propane furnace alive (set at 50 degrees when I'm out fishing in the daytime) I don't worry about plumbing freezing. I camp in a remote campground, with no services except an outhouse and a picnic table. A Honda eu2000 generator makes life very comfortable and does away with concerns about battery depletion. I'm going back for a full week soon. I don't have a dinette, and wish I did. My fishing buddy has a '95 Excella with a dinette, and it is a plus (but not a necessity). I have not done much travel with the trailer on gravel/dirt roads. I took my previous ('72 27' Overlander) 60 miles on gravel to fish for cutthroat on Kelly Creek, ID in the fall - spent a week cleaning the dust out of the interior!
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Old 03-07-2006, 04:03 AM   #8
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Chris -

My wife and I spend the summer and early fall in the northwest US and British Columbia in our 30' unit - fly fishing almost every day for several months straight. It works well for the 2 of us in temperatures down to the upper 20's, but I wouldn't want to spend the winter in it.

We also have a tow vehicle almost identical to yours, but I wouldn't want to take my trailer off the pavement except for a very short distance primarily because off all the rocks and stones - I have all kinds of mudflaps on my truck - large ones front and rear, plus Enkay's that fit over the hitch bar, but I still get lots of gravel dings on the front of the trailer - Airstream's aluminum and gravel don't mix well!

Also, I'd be very cautious about any dealer who tells you that Airstreams are 4-season units - they are not, unless you are planning to dry camp without water in your systems, and have plenty of propane for your furnace, or a good generator as a backup. I'd sure want to understand how this dealer's service department performs also, because if it's as bad as his advice, you're going to be miserable if you buy a new unit from him - Airstreams look pretty on the surface as a new unit - I love the styling - but don't be fooled about the quality - they are only ranked as average by independent quality rating services, with which I agree based on my own experience.

John
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Old 03-07-2006, 04:04 AM   #9
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Chris -

My wife and I spend the summer and early fall in the northwest US and British Columbia in our 30' unit - fly fishing almost every day for several months straight. It works well for the 2 of us in temperatures down to the upper 20's, but I wouldn't want to spend the winter in it.

We also have a tow vehicle almost identical to yours, but I wouldn't want to take my trailer off the pavement except for a very short distance primarily because off all the rocks and stones - I have all kinds of mudflaps on my truck - large ones front and rear, plus Enkay's that fit over the hitch bar, but I still get lots of gravel dings on the front of the trailer - Airstream's aluminum and gravel don't mix well!

Also, I'd be very cautious about any dealer who tells you that Airstreams are 4-season units - they are not, unless you are planning to dry camp without water in your systems, and have plenty of propane for your furnace, or a good generator as a backup. I'd sure want to understand how this dealer's service department performs also, because if it's as bad as his advice, you're going to be miserable if you buy a new unit from him - Airstreams look pretty on the surface as a new unit - I love the styling - but don't be fooled about the quality - they are only ranked as average by independent quality rating services, with which I agree based on my own experience.

John
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Old 03-07-2006, 05:47 AM   #10
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Greetings Chris and welcome to the Forums ~

I have an Airstream for the same purpose you are looking for one. I haven't spent two weeks in it fishing but have spent two weeks in it traveling to the midwest with my wife. We found it very comfortable to travel in for that length of time and are planning to go to yellowstone in Sept. with it. On several occassions I've spent right at a week in it on flyfishing trips to the White Mountains here in Arizona. I really look forward to these trips and feel as I'm living in luxury and comfort. Although they may not be on your radar, the vintage units are considerably lighter in weight than the modern units and I haven't had any issues towing with a GMC Sierra 1500. IMHO, the vintage units have tons more charm and character. I've taken it off the pavement often and, besides the dust, haven't worried about it. Just use common sense and take it slow. What's the point of having a trailer if you won't take it where you want to go?

Brad
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Old 03-07-2006, 03:06 PM   #11
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Well, there certainly are lots of considerations to take into account. The two biggest issues I see are the "four season" need and the dirt/gravel road need. Still, haven't found anything like and Airstream...
Chris
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Old 03-07-2006, 04:14 PM   #12
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I second the 25FB suggestion.

FLGator,

We recently purchased a 2006 25FB LS Safari and have been pleasantly surprised just how well it suits us. Although we haven't taken any extended trips yet, I fully expect it to be terrific because our prior experience is in a VW Westfalia Camper, which we still own and which I use for flyfishing when the roads are less than ideal up in the mountains.

I wouldn't think of taking the AS over some of the roads on which I have taken the VW. Just the thought of trying to back down some of the narrow roads or dead ends is enough to keep me from even trying.

We've travelled for 2-week stretches several times with the VW. The space and amenities of the AS are palatial by comparison. Some features of the 25FB that might make a difference to you are: a full-width front outside storage compartment in the twin bed version that we have that should be a good place to store flyrods (you could make a nice simple rack to hang them up if they are under 8' or 2-piece or more), the separate shower and toilet/sink areas, the somewhat larger kitchen counter space although you won't get a gas oven because the oven is a combination convection/microwave, the sofa lines up with one of the dinette seats making it a very long sofa on which two can stretch out for reading or relaxing without even touching feet (we aren't too tall at just 5'1" and 5'8"), all three tanks are about 39 gallons.

The newer Airstreams are already wired for solar panels if you should want to add them later. We ordered them from the start. I read somewhere here on the Forum that the 2006 models switched insulating material from the pink Owens-Corning fibreglass mats to something described as bubble insulation. Perhaps this improves the R-value of the walls. I don't know the answer, but perhaps someone else can opine.

One possible downside might be the lack of wraparound windows on the rear at the dinette. We tried without success to get the factory to install this on our Safari but they had reserved that option for the Special Edition, which my wife didn't want because of the aluminium inner skin and the extra seemingly unnecessary windows up toward the ceiling which just increase the heat load when it is hot and increase the heat transfer when it is cold, two more strikes against that option for us.

The Safari line has somewhat less weight to pull around and a much or greater capacity for additional gear than other lines of equivalent size. Check the specs.

Lastly, we have be extremely happy with our Equal-i-zer hitch. Passing trucks and winds up to 25 or 30mph from the side haven't been noticed with our rig. Hooking and unhooking are quite easy too.

Happy hunting and tight lines!!!
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Old 03-07-2006, 08:14 PM   #13
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I'm really interested in checking out the 25' FB model. Thank you for the recommendations.

Sounds like the length and floorplan are very suited to our needs. However, we really liked the trim levels of the Classic vs. the Safari... Perhaps a Classic could be made with the Safari FB floorplan.

Chris
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Old 03-07-2006, 08:19 PM   #14
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FLGator,

The Forward Bedroom (FB) configuration is only available in the Safari configuration according to the 2006 catalog. The smallest Classic is a 25-footer, but it is quite different and weighs about 700 pounds more. That's a lot for a less suitable design, IMHO.
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