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Old 08-19-2019, 06:12 PM   #1
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Avon , Connecticut
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Hello All, new guy here - looking forward to learning a lot!

I have always loved the look and style of airstream trailers. I love the whole idea of being self sufficient.

Never in a million years would I thought my wife would go for one but here I am., surprised and looking to learn.

I think the rationale is that every weekend weíre traveling for kids sports, maybe we could use it for both a place to stay and a place for the kids to hang between games, which can be a few hours. We could also use for some weekend trips to national parks.

Some of the things Iím interested in learning sooner than later are:
1. what size I need for a family of 4
2 differences in various models.
3. Cost of ownership? From my initial research it looks like most campsite are pretty expensive. Would love to learn how you guys save on nightly feel.
4 top ten things beginners need to know.


Thanks all.
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Old 08-19-2019, 06:28 PM   #2
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Corpus Christi , Texas
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Hello All, new guy here - looking forward to learning a lot!

Welcome to the forum Bass!

I'm a class b owner, so I'll leave the advice to those who know more.
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Old 08-19-2019, 07:43 PM   #3
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1989 32' Excella
Sharon Springs , New York
Join Date: Jan 2016
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Welcome to the forum!! You asking a few loaded questions, lol!! You didn't mention a tow vehicle (TV) or the ages of your children. Since you are new to the RV lifestyle, I would recommend buying a 2-3 year old unit that has had it's "bugs" worked out. You will also save $$ over new. While a warranty is nice, often you could put the money you saved buying used, versus new in the bank and be farther ahead. Even if you have to pay for a few repairs. Insofar as length, go as long as you can to start (long tts are easier to maneuver than shorter ones and more forgiving). I hear of tomany first time buyers wishing they had more room. I would recommend an Airstream (AS) 30' Flying Cloud bunk model, just to give everyone their "space". That set up might be tight for a school parking lot, but there will always be some compromise. The cost of camping varies as to the area, time of year and travel distances. Generally, while we are traveling (family of 3), we overnight at Cracker Barrel restaurants when we can, they are very RV friendly, well lite and a decent place to eat. Rest areas are ok, but not ideal, it depends on when you stop travelling for the day. We camp at mostly AS rallies, military bases and K O A campgrounds. Other costs include the "gadget list", which is endless, lol!!
Ten things for beginners:
1. Be realistic in use, size and $$ of your tt.
2. Ask questions of owners of the model you want, get the good, bad and ugly!!
3. Use this forum, lots of knowledge.
4. Be patient in searching, lots of AS tts out there, both new and used.
5. Spend a night in the model you want, if you can, remember many folks wished for more room in their first AS.
6. Make sure the TV you chose can handle the AS you chose, the higher tow rating the better.
7. Don't skimp on safety devices, tires, hitches, brake controllers, etc!!
8. Always check tire pressure on the TV and TT each day (we check at fuel stops) , also check the lug nut torque (tt/tv) each travel day. Get a good click type 1/2" torque wrench, extensions and 6pt deep-well sockets for your lug nuts, breaker bar would be good to have as well for tire changes.
9. Study owners manuals (for all components), practice set up and camping at home before leaving (awnings, lp, electrical, water/sewer, backing, leveling, tire change,etc). RVr's will always help at the campground, never be afraid to ask!!
10. Have fun with it!! There is a learning curve (that never ends,lol), but many have done it before you and you will be fine!!
Hope this helps!! Good luck and safe travels!!
Regards,
Jim
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Old 08-19-2019, 07:48 PM   #4
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For a family of 4 you need at least a 23 with the front dinette.
Preferably a 25.

Or larger.

Do not be lured by the cute factor of the smaller trailers. We started with a 2015 22 sport and it is not large enough to sleep 4. And that model has the largest main bed of any of the bambi's.

Kids grow very very fast. You need to get something large enough for 4 adult people.

Sleeping space and water capacity are the limiting factors for usage.

Once you get a tow vehicle and a trailer, the other camping costs are the same pretty much no matter what you own. Storage, gas, campground fees don't vary much for a 19 foot or a 27 foot unit.

Obviously purchase cost and taxes are higher with a larger model.

Don't think a smaller unit is easier to park or tow. They are all easy to park and tow. Don't be afraid to get one large enough to give everyone a bit of elbow room.
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Old 08-19-2019, 09:12 PM   #5
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2018 23' Flying Cloud
Redmond , Washington
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We just bought a 23 foot FC with a bunk and we sleep 4 very comfortable. Of course my kids are 1 and 4 years old so depending on age, you may consider bigger but I wouldn't be convinced you had to.

Anything less than 23 ft may be to small imho.

In turns of cost, there is maintenance and things do go wrong. We have had to replace a frig and that wasn't cheap but didn't break the bank either. I think in terms of cost you should really think about the value it adds. We have went camping probably 7 times this spring and summer...it's just so easy to go and the kids love it. Plus, campsites are significantly cheaper than hotels or Airbnb...ymmv

Good luck!
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Old 08-20-2019, 05:26 AM   #6
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2018 27' Globetrotter
Hanover , Pennsylvania
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First of all welcome to the forum. It's a great place to learn and share.

I heard it said that you could save a lot of money by buying your second trailer first. Try to anticipate what you will need/want when your kids grow and buy that AS now.

I would suggest you find the local unit of the Airstream Club (WBCCI.org) and visit some rallies, talk to some of the local people who have AS. You can decide if you want to join at a later date. I'm sure the members would be happy to share information, show you their different models and the pros and cons, make recommendations on dealers, and maybe even find/have a used AS should you want to go in that direction.

Best wishes and enjoy the search!
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Old 08-20-2019, 08:20 AM   #7
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1989 32' Excella
Sharon Springs , New York
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alreddawg19 View Post
We just bought a 23 foot FC with a bunk and we sleep 4 very comfortable. Of course my kids are 1 and 4 years old so depending on age, you may consider bigger but I wouldn't be convinced you had to.

Anything less than 23 ft may be to small imho.

In turns of cost, there is maintenance and things do go wrong. We have had to replace a frig and that wasn't cheap but didn't break the bank either. I think in terms of cost you should really think about the value it adds. We have went camping probably 7 times this spring and summer...it's just so easy to go and the kids love it. Plus, campsites are significantly cheaper than hotels or Airbnb...ymmv

Good luck!
Hi again, sorry, I didn't realize the Flying Cloud model offered a bunk in the 23' length. We have a 31' Excella and were more focused on 30' + models. I do still stand by the "more room the better" logic, especially with families. However, some might point out trailer length restrictions in Fed/State parks, I think it is 25' or 28'. We have stayed at Fed/State parks in the past and have never been turned away due to length. The attitude we have gotten is, " If you can fit in the site, you can stay". I am sure it varies by location though, the length thing is something to keep in mind if you do plan to utilize Fed/State campgrounds... I learned something new about AS models today, so like I said before, the learning RV curve is ongoing, enjoy the ride!!
Jim
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Old 08-20-2019, 09:38 AM   #8
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Join Date: Dec 2017
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You will find on this forum a vast range of options and often, lively debate about many issues. Perpetual topics that have fervent believers, evangelists and heretics include:

Type of tow vehicle (and diesel vs. gas)

Brand and model of tires.

The vagaries of tow capacity, tongue weight, and hitching systems

Buying new vs. used vs. vintage

Large AS trailer vs Small AS trailer.

TT vs Class B mother homes, vs SOB (Some Other Brand) trailers

The quality (or lack thereof) of what Jackson Center (the HQ and only Airstream Factory) is putting out.

Usually the debates here are well mannered, sometimes long, most always interesting and/or amusing, and, to everyone's astonishment, sometimes even helpful or informative.

If you need help or advice you will find tons of it here, all for free, and, on most occasions, accurate and sound.

Use the search feature; it's rare that you will run into something that hasn't already been addressed numerous times before; from where to buy, to how to deal with the dealership, to restoring a rusty hunk to gleaming show piece step by step.
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Old 08-20-2019, 09:51 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hans627 View Post
First of all welcome to the forum. It's a great place to learn and share.

I heard it said that you could save a lot of money by buying your second trailer first. Try to anticipate what you will need/want when your kids grow and buy that AS now.

I would suggest you find the local unit of the Airstream Club (WBCCI.org) and visit some rallies, talk to some of the local people who have AS. You can decide if you want to join at a later date. I'm sure the members would be happy to share information, show you their different models and the pros and cons, make recommendations on dealers, and maybe even find/have a used AS should you want to go in that direction.

Best wishes and enjoy the search!
I second that. After purchasing the third AS and the second TV we finally got it right. Could have saved a lot of money and effort not being so gun shy and honest about our needs to begin with.
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Old 08-20-2019, 09:58 AM   #10
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2015 22' FB Sport
Boothbay Harbor , Maine
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 32
Welcome! I am relatively newbie, but what I have learned is this:
1. Laminate and keep handy a list of how to set up and how to break down, in the order it happens. Even a year later, when I didn't use the list, I almost lost Bambi as I took out the chucks too early (out of sequence).
2. Bring a comprehensive tool box with you. You won't believe what can happen. Don't panic if it does, just think like McGuiver.
3. Completely clean the AS from top to bottom in the inside after each trip. I can't tell you how great it feels to open the door and smell....nothing!
4. We got a solar panel that we set up outside our Bambi, and it keeps the battery charged. Makes a big difference, especially if you get a site without service.
5. I have found that site prices are comparable to Motel 6 prices, depending on location and amenities. We got our Bambi because we were tired of staying in Motel 6 with our dog. Our 22' Bambi is just the right size for the 3 of us, husband, dog and me.
6. Go on you tube and watch videos about particular models. When we went to buy our Bambi, I knew more than the salesperson. Also, it helped because we had a checklist to go over because the unit was used, and we wanted to make sure everything worked and was there.

San D
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Old 08-20-2019, 10:15 AM   #11
caz
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2018 30' Flying Cloud
Elgin , Texas
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 48
Bass,

I propose that you purchase the largest Airstream that you can afford. They do not come cheap. Go to a large Airstream dealer and tour his models on the lot. Start with the 30 footer (I prefer the Flying Cloud series for good value, less electronic gizmos & nice clean interior arrangements). Make your way down from the 30 to smaller sizes evaluating what you give up at each step. You can join various clubs to get discounts on overnight stays. I tend to avoid KOAs. Too pricey, small sites and park amenities I never use. The state parks seem to offer the best value, good hookups, shade trees and space between sites. Caz.
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Old 08-20-2019, 11:05 AM   #12
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Eagle Point , Oregon
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Used

Welcome to Forum. Be sure to check the classifieds as well. A used trailer may already have all the bugs worked out. Owners close to your location can be a great source of knowledge. If the second trailer is best thing comes up you will most likely find that your used trailer can be resold for close to same price you purchased it. Many can offer advice on things to look for in any of the particular models/sizes you find. Enjoy.
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Old 08-20-2019, 02:21 PM   #13
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Napa , California
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If you are going to kids sporting events, a trailer isn't the best bet. We tried that long ago when our kids played softball, baseball, football, soccer and whatever else. Between their early "reporting" times, their desire to ride and stay with the rest of the team and the likely fact that many of the event locations don't have room to park a trailer & tow vehicle we found it a big hassle. Often we were miles from the venue, having to still get up early to be sure the kids got where they were going on time and stuck leaving our trailer all day unattended.

Friends had a small motor home at the same time and they did much better than we did. They could park anywhere, fix sandwiches or take naps during the events and even park overnight without additional costs for set up.

However, if camping and weekends are your dream, trailers work very well. On weekend get aways our trailer outshone their motorhome completely. We had more room, a better kitchen and didn't have to break camp to go on an adventure. They eventually added a trailer for vacationing, and used their motorhome for events...we just carpooled to the events with everyone else, stayed at the seedy motels and had the team adventure, but vacationed in style.
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Old 08-20-2019, 03:04 PM   #14
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2014 19' Flying Cloud
Reseda , California
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Some of the things Iím interested in learning sooner than later are:
1. what size I need for a family of 4 25 would be the smallest from experience.
2 differences in various models. Color was my deciding factor. I like the Flying Cloud bamboo color theme
3. Cost of ownership? From my initial research it looks like most campsite are pretty expensive. Would love to learn how you guys save on nightly feel. If you are buying an AirStream, cost of those concerns are and should not be a concern. When someone buys a luxury car in excess of $80k, they are not penny pinching if gas cost cents more here and there
4 top ten things beginners need to know. Join various clubs. I created a FaceBook group called AIRSTREAM ADDICTS FOR ADULTS, it's a brand new group, you can help me grow it. That is just one of many. But #1 for me, enjoy it and don't sweat the small stuff.
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Old 08-21-2019, 08:42 AM   #15
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1976 31' Excella 500
Chappell Hill , Texas
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Plan on spending plenty of $$$ until you have the complete rig set up. I'd go no less than a 28' to 30' for a family of 4 with a 3/4 ton pickup tow vehicle. Campsites are cheap compared to hotel/motels but camping is just way cooler. You should be mechanically inclined because they always need something worked on or maintained.
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Old 08-21-2019, 12:05 PM   #16
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State parks and Corps of Engineering sites are very reasonably priced. SPs are everywhere, use Alstays app to find them. Good CoE book on Amazon. Great idea to use AS st your kids sports events!
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Old 08-21-2019, 12:55 PM   #17
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Welcome to your new adventure. Lotís of advice here however you have to keep in mind what works for your family. Get the largest unit that works for you. Think about those weather events that will keep everyone inside and close for a few hours. Thatís when it matters, not when everyone is sleeping.
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