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Old 04-18-2007, 08:42 AM   #15
1971 27' Overlander
Pumpkintown , South Carolina
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Of course any answer to this question is bound to be largely subjective. After all, there are folks who don't feel at all constrained in a mummy sleeping bag & tarp, while Prince Bandar seems to feel that a $136,000,000 mansion in Aspen is appropriate -- that's quite a range, and not necessarily "wrong" at either extreme. Wants vs. needs.

I'm a newly single guy (hmmm ... lunch someday maybe?) who has struggled for storage space in an old 3,000 sq.ft. Victorian, lived happily in an 8' diameter snow cave, once made a Miata home, and existed for a season in a Jeep along with three big dawgs, a cat, and a wife. For the pup and I, the 27-footer that we now call home is like the flippin' Taj Mahal!

Oh, now and then I envy the longer living room in the largest trailers, but mor often I think Jeez, what do I need with sleeping room for 3 guests, a sit-down tub that's seldom used, and storage space far beyond that required for 3 pairs of jeans and a couple of shirts? If I could slice ten feet out of the middle of this trailer, I doubt I'd much miss it. It would be easier to heat, less to clean, and towable with something that gets 20 MPG instead of 10.


It's not the heat, it's the stupidity.
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Old 04-18-2007, 08:53 AM   #16
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You might be comfortable in a 19', but a 25' would probably be better for full timing. A 25' would require a more substantial tow vehicle than a 19'.

You might want to also consider a new or recent year Airstream. These units would not require as much maintenance as a vintage unit. Newer Airstreams will usually already have the equipment and systems that you will want for full-timing.

A really nice vintage unit with all of the modern bells and whistles nicely incorporated will probably end up costing as much as a new or recent unit.

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2005 Suburban 2500 Quadrasteer (Olivia) & 2018 Silverado 2500 (Lillian)
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Old 04-18-2007, 09:48 AM   #17
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Tipton , Iowa
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I lived in a 1970 Safari Special 23' single axle Airstream for about a year in the late '80s. I had my small dog living with me. It was an interesting experience. It was liveable, but if I were to do it again, the floorplans for the 25' trailers with the full-time beds and slightly larger baths are much more appealing.

A 25' trailer is no more difficult to tow than a 20' trailer, but offers a great deal more move-around room. That isn't a big deal when the weather is nice if you're an out-doors person, but when foul weather hits for three or four days, a smaller trailer can get a little close.

I know a couple of women who are or have full-timed in 25' Airstreams. It seems to be "just right" for the combination of tow-ability and live-ability.

After having and using the Safari, a '61 Bambi 16', a 325 motorhome, and a 34' tri-axle two door Airstream, I have fled the Airstream fold for a Bigfoot 25'. I like the 25' size and wanted a new trailer, but I wasn't willing to spring an additional $30k for an Airstream over the competition. I really like that, at 6'5" tall, I can stand fully upright in my new shower. That's not an option for me in any of the Airstreams . There are some other features that Airstream doesn't offer like really good insulation and dual-thermopane windows that I was able to get on my new trailer. It's not silver tho...

Good luck, and happy hunting!

AIR 2053 Current: 2006 Born Free 32 RQ Kodiak Chassis, & 1995 Coachmen B-van
Former Airstreams: 1953 Flying Cloud, 1957 Overlander, 1961 Bambi, 1970 Safari Special, 1978 Argosy Minuet, 1985 325 Moho, 1994 Limited 34' Two-door, 1994 B190 "B-Van"
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Old 04-18-2007, 09:59 AM   #18
. , .
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 8,812
where does lint go?

Originally Posted by mwinter
So my question is:
How big of an Airstream do I need?
Any suggestions on what to buy?
And what do I tow it with?

Thanks for your suggestions..

Myra Winter
hello and welcome...

so you are a writer?

well write more!

without information on you, your needs, your expectations, your budget, your travel goals...

and what defines 'freedom'...

and your pets....

size is ne1s guess...

russian wolfhound and tigger the cat, or garfield and goofy?

your note suggests research on full time rv livin'...

with the many forums and books exactly on this topic...

what have you learned?


Originally Posted by mwinter
I'll be dead in a few years if I keep it up.
true regardless of size...
all of the true things that i am about to tell you are shameless lies. l.b.j.

we are here on earth to fart around. don't let anybody tell you any different. k.v.
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Old 04-18-2007, 10:53 AM   #19
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Myra---Wife and I are full timers so we speak from that point of view. 2air is entirely right--research-research research!!! We love it and intend to continue until we tire of it. That said: it's not all that romantic,at least as much as most think it is. It's not as simple as moving from one apartment or house to another. Storage is minimal, living ,space is minimal, maintenance is still required,probably more and with more difficulty with vintage. Holding tanks must be dumped and cleaned, propane must be refiled, food purchases done more often with less refrid. space. smaller trailers require sharing space with work and living. Your dinnette becomes a desk work area etc. It's harder to stay warm when it's cold and cool when it's hot. A flat on the road means your "House" has a flat. Things shake loose doors open and things fall on the floor making a mess. ---all that said we love it. Just wanted to point out there is much more to it than driving across country everthing hunky-dorry.
pieman & alamode
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Old 04-18-2007, 12:44 PM   #20
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1971 18' Caravel
2004 25' International CCD
Bend , Oregon
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As many have said it depends on your preference.

I will just relate our experience and you can log it. My wife, dog and I did 2 months on the road to Alaska and back in our 18 ft Caravel. Every night in the trailer. Worked great for us. We had plenty of room for all we wanted to bring. We had clothes for every season, four bicycles, inflatable canoe, laptop, books, dog food, extra bedding, tools and tons of food. We did minimize clothing we took but when it was all loaded we had extra storage. A cool thing about traveling the people you meet today don't know you wore the same shirt the last 5 days straight, well unless it stinks. RE: shoes - We took 12 pairs of shoes (hiking, running, casual, water, road bike & mtn bike). Also had a roof box on our truck and some stuff in the truck, but most fit in the trailer fine. We have a side gaucho and dinette and with one person there is no need to make it up every day. With two people we were fine. If I were going solo for a year I would have no problem using my 18 footer.

On tow vehicles - I really like a truck with a canopy shell. I keep the dog, bikes, generator, wood for fires, and anything that stinks in the back. With SUVs you do not have the separate "utility compartment" so when the dog rolls in dead fish you get to enjoy the smell.

If you go single axle - get good trailer tires and make sure they are trailer tires with the correct pressure. Check tires at every stop, easy to get out of the habit after a while. Oregon to Alaska, 8500 miles and one slow leak, I fixed with a plug. The tires were new on departure.

Read and research the forums you probably figured out there is information on any topic. I have seen this similiar thread topic several times.

Good Luck
Mike Martin
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Old 04-18-2007, 12:46 PM   #21
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2004 16' International CCD
1997 25' Safari
hamilton , Montana
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Hi Myra and welcome,, think 2 air is absolutely correct,,, for my 2 cents worth,, small trailers are wonderful but minimalistic ,, bought a used 25 footer for long stays, perhaps snowbirding,, i find that is most more home feeling and requires less concern over tanks,, fresh water and the like,, larger fridge and stove with an oven,, but after all, is up to you ,, do the research and take your time,, good luck and happy trails,, donna,,
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Old 04-18-2007, 01:00 PM   #22
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bikrmikey - WOW! I commend you for suriving 2 months/8500 miles in your Caravel. Though I would think it would be a bit more difficult to work & live full-time in 18-feet if you weren't on "vacation" or on an extended trip where you can get away with the same shirt's true though, when we pack for vacation we take very few clothes - nobody knows the difference!

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Old 04-18-2007, 01:38 PM   #23
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Virginia Beach , Virginia
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2.5 years and counting

I've been fulltiming for 2.5 years now. I bought a 22ft CCD in 2005..... and moved up to a 25ft Safari FB SE in 2006. (Then in 2007 they came out with the 27ft FB SE... and it's got much better closet space, a better pantry with a built in mini-microwave, and a queen bed that isn't transverse. I'm resisting temptation valiently, but ooooooh, why don't you buy one and maybe my itch will stop... )

That answer your questions about size?

Go a little bigger than you feel comfortable with. Get someone really good to help you with initial setup and towing (Thank you 53flyingcloud!) so that you understand how to balance your trailer, how to hitch it properly and how to adjust the brake controller. It's not that much harder to tow a bigger unit than a smaller one, but it could take a bigger vehicle if you move up like I did. Fortunately I already had a honkin' 2500 Suburban so I'm fine. If you buy an Airstream in haste OVERDO your tow vehicle.

Cost - vintage will be cash, as will most used. Maintenance IS going to be needed even with new, but it's much more predictable than with older units. If you have even semi-decent credit and a small down payment you can get a new Airstream financed for 15 years. Compare a payment of $400 - $600 to your L.A. rent and you'll probably be on a dealer's lot today!

I'm not a fan of long term debt, but consider this: even in Virginia Beach halfway decent apartments rent for $1200-$1400 per month plus utilities. I financed my second one, and have thought of paying it off, but even though I know I'm paying a lot of interest, I'm spending conservatively $700 LESS to live in the Airstream every month. I bought membership in a condo campground where with all utilities it will cost less than $1500 per year to stay my max of 38 weeks of the year. I travel on business at least 6 weeks and for personal stuff at least another 3 weeks, and stay at local campgrounds when I have to be off the condo. That averages $200 per week for FULL hookups: 14 weeks x $200 = $2800. Not bad. Now the next big cost is the tow vehicle - premium fuel $3 per gallon, with 10 to 14 mpg depending on whether I'm towing. OUCH! You'll definitely want a wireless internet connection and a good cell phone - the two together will probably be over $100 per month.

Living in an Airstream does affect MANY levels of your life, and if you don't think ahead the adjustments can be rough. I write about 5 checks a month. That still seems odd to me. Cold weather entertaining - gotta do it at a restaurant. Summer - good cookouts! (Park near a bath house so the drunks don't try to use your tiny pissoire!) Do you hate laundromats - get over it. If you buy new, they put cheapie mattresses in them (I hear the Classics have better ones) so assume you'll be looking for something new in a year.

I like dual axles, and I'm not into the constant restoration and maintenance that an older one will require so I bought new. I will say that LOTS of folks buy then upgrade, so your best bet may be to find a 2005-2006 that is "newer" but not brand spanking new. (Save $8K or so).

Look in the classifieds here, look at Colonial Airstream's website, Look, look, look..... Now of course with the cost of living in LA, you might want to just LEAP because you can hardly go wrong to bail out of that! I totally agree with the idea of hanging out at rallies. People love to show off their units.

If you're looking at used rather than vintage you'll quickly notice that bigger is often surprisingly less expensive than you'd think compared to the smaller ones which go at a premium.

Welcome to the forums . You couldn't have found a better place to do your research.

Paula Ford
Today is a gift, that's why they call it the present.
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Old 04-18-2007, 04:17 PM   #24
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1972 25' Tradewind
Rogers , Arkansas
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 57
Welcome to the forum. I agree with previous posts. Research is they key to making a good decision.

When you are dealing with vintage rigs you likely will not have a gray water holding tank. In RV terms, a black water holding tank is for toilet waste and a gray water holding tank is for all other water waste. My understanding is Airstream started adding gray water tanks to some models in 1973. Mine doesn't have a gray water tank and is an inconvenience in parks that don't have full hook ups. State and federal parks often only offer water and electric and not sewer.

Good luck on your quest and keep us posted.

Preston and Marilyn
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Old 04-18-2007, 07:04 PM   #25
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Buckhorn , Ontario
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I'd say you have to analyze your style, traits and habits. What do you like most about the places you have lived in.

What is your kitchen style - do you appreciate counter space for prep and storage? Single or double sink? Appliances, Oven vs Mircowave, count the small appliances you use. The meal style fancy with lots of ingredients or plan and simple.

These will dictate the size and style of kitchen.

Bathroom - are you a fancy pants that likes all the room in the world for all the frills or down to earth with minimum fuss. Do you like showers or do you prefer a bath once and a while? This determines the importance of a full rear bath or a wet bath or combo with a shower and toilet with sink outside the bathroom.

Bedroom - do you like to make your bed every day - or like it to be handy when ever you crash??? Do you like to be away from the rest of the living space or don't mind being in the thick of things. Like smelling your dishes that you never got to the night before???

Living space. At home do you spend lots of time in the kitchen and at the kitchen table - or do you spend more time on the couch infront of the tv or is it a nice mix?

Storage. keeping in mind your tow vehicle style will also play a big role in storage. Are you a pack rat or do you plan on carrying only what you need. A good way of starting out is to spend a few weeks and when you have a need for something you purchase it - thus you will only pick up what you need -instead of packing stuff you may never need and just drag around with you.

Then of course is the vs used vs vintage - they all have their pros and cons.

With gas prices today and the environment concerns I personally would lean toward the 60's smaller trailers. They are thinner providing increase vision for travelling safety. Lighter and more gas efficient.

The only problem with the 60's not many had the layout of the 69's and the 70's went back to the couch in the front with side table.

If I were in your shoes which sound very adventurous and a chance of a life time!!! I would be more than comfortable in the 21' 1969 Globe Trotter or the 23' 1969 Safari. If you have some time you could pick up one in about 3-7 monoths then take a month or so to fix it up (as they all need work)

Or take a 50's-60's 19-26 and gut it and design your own perfect layout to suit your needs. They all cost money - whether you buy a late 90's/80's or a 50'60's and retrofit - or a 70's that just needs new running gear and possibly a few appliances. (if you find a dry one) Look at spending 8-15K or more on a used or vintage. For a new one look at it as the monthly payments for a year - but watch the depreciation values - try and find recent year trade ins especially those who have started out with the 20's and moved up to the 30's - you can catch a few good deals on the lots if the dealer has too much inventory.

Good luck in your search...and adventures...
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Old 04-18-2007, 07:20 PM   #26
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Southern Middle , Tennessee
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Myra, have you considered the mid 1980's 25 ft. dual axle trailers? Beginning in 1980 (I believe) they beefed up the frame and began offering rear twin beds or a corner full bed in the 1985 model year in that length. The advantage to the rear bedroom is that it is at the far back and can be closed off so no one can look back there. Depending on how tall you are, the mid twin beds offered in the 70's can be rather confining. I had a '77 Excella 500 31' and at 6' tall, the mid twin bed was confining head to toe. A visitor also had to go through your bedroom to use the bath also. The mid bath of the '85's/'86's do not have a tub but it was easier for me to shower in than the rear bath/tub in the '77.

One single female forum member I haven't heard from lately has a mid 90's 28' Excella and she really likes the rear queen bed and split bath of her trailer. Walking toward the rear bedroom, a shower is on the left (curbside) and the bathroom with sink/commode is on the right. She tows it with a newer model Suburban. I saw a '03 28' Classic not long ago with the same setup. Sweet.

My advice is to look at some of the diagrams/photos/layouts some members have posted on the forum (search feature) and see what might appeal to you. Then, see if you can go to a rally to check out the layouts of various models from the '70, 80's and 90's. You will only know what will work for you if you walk through some of these.

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Old 04-18-2007, 09:28 PM   #27
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1960 24' Tradewind
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Have you considered writing about how, when you post a question on a forum, you can tell just how passionate the people are who participate by the quantity, variety, and quality of the responses?

When I post a question on other sites, generally automotive related, I get everything from very well thought out responses to others challenging me on my ability to form a logical thought.

That never happens here.

I'm sure by all the responses you've received in such short order you must realize that the folks on this forum love their babies with a passion, want to see others enjoy theirs the same way, and are reluctant to send you down a path that doesn't work out for you. Maybe it's because many of us have stumbled ourselves in our first few acquisitions and hate to see others suffer the same way.

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Old 04-18-2007, 09:40 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by mwinter
I would love to tour the country and just be free for once in my life. I want to do this for a year. When I find a town I like enough, I'll put down roots.

Myra Winter
Hi Myra,
You might be interested in this blog:

Tour of America

Good luck in your search for answers!


Hi Yo Silver, Away II?
looking for our next AS
AIR 7185
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