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Old 05-26-2008, 10:16 AM   #1
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Stewartsville , New Jersey
Join Date: Mar 2008
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Jim Anderson

Hello all,

My wife and I are in our late 50's and looking to purchase a trailer
to use for weekends and vacation while we are still working and
then for more extensive traveling after we retire. We'll probably
retire about 7 years from now.

My grandparents had an Air Stream trailer years ago and they
loved it. I've been impressed with the apparent durability of
the Air Stream trailers. I'm looking to purchase an older trailer
that is in decent condition and has the basics - a place to sleep,
a working bathroom, a shower, a refrigerator, heat and a/c.
Other conveniences that will be nice are cook top
burners, a microwave oven, an electric generator.

We have two teenage sons (16/18) who will travel with us
on weekends over the next few years. They will normally
sleep in a tent, but in bad weather they will crash in the
trailer. A trailer that sleeps 4 will be nice, but we are willing
to live with sleeping 2 and having the kids sleep on the floor.

We have a 1997 Chevy Silverado 1500 which has a maximum
towing limit of 5000 lbs.

We prefer to buy this summer, but we are in no rush.

Someone at work said that Air Stream trailers are very heavy,
which means a strain on the truck and reduced gas mileage
when compared with a lighter model from a different manufacturer.
I would argue that the extra weight is a major factor in the
durability of Air Stream trailers compared with other manufacturers.
I would welcome comments on this topic. Obviously, as the price
of gas goes up heavier trailers become less desirable.

My primary need for help right now is learning about the different
models of Air Stream. Can anyone tell me if there is a single place
to look where I can find basic facts on models: length, weight,
number of sleeping places, standard appliances, number of
axles, size of tires, etc.?

We are looking forward to many years of camping!

Jim and Barbara Anderson

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Old 05-26-2008, 10:41 AM   #2
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2006 25' Safari FB SE
St. Cloud , Minnesota
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 13,279
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Howdy Jim -- Welcome to AIR Forums! Airstreams can be durable in the right hands. It certainly can require as much work as keeping an iconic automobile going into its 3rd, 4th and 5th decade. Heavier? Consider that the average SOB (some other brand, square ol' box, etc, etc) will shake itself apart in 5 years and certainly less than 10. They're just wood framed with power-nailing to hold them together. And I don't believe that the current generation of ultralight SOBs are going to meet any different fate.

The age of your children gives you some of the same issues as this recent thread - Newer Airstreams are heavier than an equivalent length of 20 years ago. But a new 25-footer is right at the breaking point of where some do, some don't go to a 3/4-ton tow vehicle. What engine do you have? 4 door? Your issue would be tow vehicle load capacity first -- putting 4 adult sized bodies onboard, gear in the box and then the hitch weight.

The new Safari Sports are built lighter and presumably more affordable. Still pricey to some. But whatever -- you'll have the Airstream you want a lot longer than your current truck. Be sure to aim for an Airstream that meets your needs and plan for the needed tow vehicle as a 2nd step.


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Old 05-26-2008, 11:19 AM   #3
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2004 25' Safari
. , Illinois
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 10,326
Depending on how large the kids are, you may need a 25' to fit 4 comfy during nasty weather. 23' might be a bit tight and might not actually sleep 4, let alone be comfy inside for any extended stint. Keep in mind that Airstreams are measured from hitch to tail and that actual usable space is about 3 feet less than total length. For example, a 25' trailer has roughly 22' of interior living space.

Also, if you get into a 25er, and it's at least 5-8 years old, you might find that you will need a more robust tow vehicle as the 25ers weigh 6300lbs fully loaded and frankly, it's an easy limit to hit given the base unloaded weights are about 5500lbs and a full tank of water will add 335lbs alone, plus, you will have four passengers and cargo for each which will deduct from the 5k, as would fuel, etc.
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