Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 03-28-2006, 12:21 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
San Angelo , Texas
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 6
Large Family in a vintage Airstream?

I've just let my husband in on a little known secret... I've been pining away for a vintage airstream since my elementary school days. LOL. Right now, we have no trailers of any kind... we *had* a 25ft 5th wheel when we got married, but sold it when we were expecting twins (which we later lost.)

From a practical standpoint, I'm due in May w/ #3, and we're planning on atleast 1 or 2 more (kids are young - boy, just turned 4 & girl, 2.5). So anyway, a vintage airstream is not the most practical for us. I know there are some that can accomodate bunks in the middle, and both my husband and I are pretty handy, and could probably refurbish/modify something ourselves.

I haven't started actively hunting for an airstream for us yet... My husband would rather see us in something like this, which is probably more practical, but it's just so ugly & plain (I love the idea of a bold, vintage look, which this is def. not!) I should add that we don't have a tow vehicle yet, I was thinking along the lines of a Tahoe or Suburban (he's obviously thinking huge truck, but that doesn't give enough space for all the kids car seats.)

I guess what I'm looking for are others with young kids who have airstreams... it can be done, right?


bechand0128 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-28-2006, 12:48 PM   #2
Rivet Master
fastrob's Avatar
1976 25' Tradewind
. , AZ to Maine
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 556

We have a 25.' We have 3 children plus 2 dogs and a cat. After something terrible happened we ended up living in it until our new home was ready. Believe it or not the kids even had friends sleep over. Our Airstream has a very special sentimental value to me even though it has a small $ value.
Go for it, but they can get expensive very quickly.
If you read these threads for a while you will understand and then be able to get the right one for your price.

fastrob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-28-2006, 12:58 PM   #3
Got gandkids?
Jim & Susan's Avatar

1973 27' Overlander
'Possum Holler , Georgia
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 5,440
Images: 39
Melissa, welcome to the forum. Susan and I lived in San Angelo for many years. We loved it there, but are glad to back home near family. If you are a native, you might guess why we were there!

Check out forum member Pizzachop's photo gallery. They have a large family and an Airstream. They started out with a 27 footer and recently moved up to 31 footer.

Welcome and good luck.


Air No. 6427
Jim & Susan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-28-2006, 01:03 PM   #4
Rivet Master
till's Avatar
Lisle , Illinois
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,270
Images: 108
Blog Entries: 2
I sleep 6 (wife and me plus Cody (11) Emily (9) Sean (3) and Max (10 mo) in a 1967 Overlander [26 foot](Shellshock)) We will be moving in to a 1967 Ambassador [28 foot] You can do it!! All towed with a 1993 Caprice Classic.
Tedd Ill
AIR#3788 TAC IL-10
1967/8 Overlander International Twin w/ bunk/s.
Yes, four kids and two adults in the thing.
Happy wife, happy life.
till is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-28-2006, 01:14 PM   #5
Silvertwinkie's Avatar
2004 25' Safari
. , Illinois
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 10,368
I'd suggest looking at the 30' Safari. Hopefully it will come in an SE version, but that would be the smallest I'd take with a tribe the size you are expecting. It also just happens to have a real family oriented floorplan.

In reality, the kids will most likely camp with you until they are 16-18, but until then, you will need some place for them to sleep and store all their stuff, which will be a challenge the older they get. The 30' Safari should fit everyone very comfy, even as the kids get bigger. I have a 25' Six Sleeper, and although that's what they call it, in reality, it won't sleep 5-6 bigger kids and two adults, nor will it be able to store all their stuff. Maybe 2 adults and 2-3 kids, but 3 kids I could see pushing the high end of the 25'. Now I can hear some folks say, yea, but we won't be staying in the camper all day, but what about the days when it's nasty out and you are all inside? The 25' is gonna be a challenge, as would perhaps a 28'. 28' will store more, but doesn't have a upper bunk option, nor does it have 2 real beds (not fold downs), only one queen. 30' seems to not only have the rear bunk (for the younger ones--due to weight the bunk can handle), but also a rear lower bed, fold down table for a bed and a full queen in front. There use to be a couch option that may have been able to fold into a bed too. You could look into a 34', they are nice and roomy, but lack the things that will make a great camping exp for a group your size. The 34's also have nice queen in back and fold down and outs (dinettes and sofas), but I think the 30' with it's config would be better suited to your needs.

As for tow vehicle, you are really looking at a 3/4 ton truck at 25' and larger (if staying with a newer type Airstream). A Suburban with an 8.1L engine for anything newer that is larger than 28' would be my suggestion. If they ever came out with a diesel Suburban, that would be what I'd go for in lieu of an 8.1L (better gas mileage and better towing of lots of weight, passengers and gear). Either way, a Suburban (or Excursion if you can find one used or maybe a new one before they are nixed). I'd also suggest that you have the DVD player in there. We've had it in our Suburban, and it's a great distraction from the drive for the kids. Not once have we heard from her niece or nephew, "are whe there yet?"
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	plan_safari_30.gif
Views:	144
Size:	8.1 KB
ID:	19899  
Computers manufactured by companies such as IBM, Compaq and millions of others are by far the most popular with about 70 million machines in use worldwide. Macintosh fans note that cockroaches are far more numerous than humans and that numbers alone do not denote a higher life form. -NY Times 11/91
Silvertwinkie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-28-2006, 09:33 PM   #6
Rivet Master
Chaplain Kent's Avatar
1994 30' Excella
Currently Looking...
Milwaukee , Wisconsin
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,935
Welcome to the forums. One solution would be to leave your husband home. Seems like you have the right idea and if he can not understand what a real travel trailer is then may be he should spend the time mowing the lawn.
Seriously, I have seen many families with vintage Airstreams, they come in all sizes and can accomodate large to small people and families.
Good luck to you.
Chaplain Kent
2015 Coachman Freedom Express 19RBS, Chummy IV- Ford Excursion- 7.3 Turbo-diesel
Chaplain Kent is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-28-2006, 09:37 PM   #7
Rivet Master
wkerfoot's Avatar
1979 23' Safari
1954 29' Liner
Orange , California
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 3,700
As Chaplain Kent has stated, vintage Airstreams come in all sizes. We have a 1954 which is 29' long and there are longer trailers before 1954. In a 1970s trailer, the longer ones are less expensive than the shorter ones.

Bill Kerfoot, WBCCI/VAC/CAC/El Camino Real Unit #5223
Just my personal opinion
1973 Dodge W200 PowerWagon, 1977 Lincoln Continental, 2014 Dodge Durango
1979 23' Safari, and 1954 29' Double Door Liner Orange, CA
wkerfoot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2006, 03:14 AM   #8
Rivet Monster
wahoonc's Avatar

1975 31' Sovereign
1980 31' Excella II
Sprung Leak , North Carolina
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 7,174
Images: 40
Take a look at these photos from forum member Pizzachop IIRC he has 7 in his family and uses a vintage Airstream. His run from 13 years old to a nearly 1 year old. It can be done and done sucessfully.

__________________ many little time...
Why are we in this basket...and where are we going
wahoonc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2006, 07:22 AM   #9
Boondocker's Avatar

1968 24' Tradewind
Louisville , earth
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 4,635
Images: 7
Send a message via Yahoo to Boondocker
I dont have any kids myself (judge says so....) but Im pretty sure families went camping when the vintage units were new........

Visit my photography page
and the
Favorite camp grounds project map
My Blog

(The artist formerly known as General Disarray)

Boondocker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2006, 10:49 AM   #10
Rivet Master
safari57's Avatar
1951 21' Flying Cloud
1960 24' Tradewind
West Coast , BC
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 3,790
Images: 10
Send a message via MSN to safari57
Melissa, through out the sixties my very large family camped with a 15, then 17, then 19' trailer (SOB's - my parents wanted an Airstream but it was just out of their financial reach). As we were small bunk beds over the adults and using the front dinette folded down and a few times the floor worked fine. As the two oldest got to the age where they needed more space a tent accompanied the group (and not even the easy-up one's of today) and was set up right beside the trailer. For the kids it became a badge of honour to get moved out to the tent - you had "come of age". The tent was set up right beside Dad and Mom's window so they could keep an eye and ear on things and the memories we have of those times still bring huge smiles to our faces when we get together as a group. Today we put a lot of value on giving each person their private space but there's also a lot to be said for sharing quarters on a holiday for a finite period of time.

Consider most eating is done under the awning, cooking can be done there as well if you bring along a BBQ or a portable stove. You are out camping and most of your living will be done outside. Inclement weather can be a bother, but that's when you go find inside attractions nearby. Big is beautiful but for a growing family the additional costs of insurance, storage, fuel to move it, and parking it in some of the campgrounds makes medium sized a good option. The important thing is to get the kids out camping and show them the wonders of the world without a TV screen or computer monitor attached to it. Barry
safari57 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2006, 12:24 PM   #11
Rivet Master
ALANSD's Avatar

1966 26' Overlander
Woodstock , Georgia
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 8,515
Pizzachop had his trailer for sale which slept 7 I think-- may still be in the classifieds....lots of kids in their happy group.
1966 overlander..sold
AIR #005
Please visit our blogs and web pages:
ALANSD is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2006, 01:49 PM   #12
2 Rivet Member
Ohanastar's Avatar
1964 24' Tradewind
Cardiff , California
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 30
Go for it! As a kid we had a neighbor with an Airstream and I too always dreamed of owning one. Now we have a '64 Tradewind and our kids LOVE it! (Thank goodness for understanding husbands!) Admittedly, there are only 4 of us plus a Labrador, but we almost always have buddies/friends/extended family camping with us at our sites. They just pop up a tent and we all have a blast! There is NOTHING in the world like owning an Airstream! You can easily find one that fits your wonderful crowd!
Ohanastar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2006, 02:59 PM   #13
Rivet Master
rebel beck's Avatar
1975 31' Sovereign
Oxford , Mississippi
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 870
Images: 35
Make room

Welcome to the forums. There are ways to make more room, add bunks. I myself am beyond the point of ever wanting another brand of trailer. Airstream all the way for this family. We only have one 7 year old and 2 dogs that travel with us and have plenty of room our son is at the age of wanting guest to go with us. We have decided when that time comes and he wants the whole Boy scout troop to go, we still have the tents left over from the tent camping days. Until then he has room for 2 guest at this point. Take my advice from the tent day's and then the pop-up camper days (bigger is better) Good luck on your hunt for the right trailer and always ask questions.

Ps: We have been camping since my son was 3 and he just loves it.
rebel beck is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2006, 04:00 PM   #14
1 Rivet Member
San Angelo , Texas
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 6
My 4 yr old went on his 1st (tent) camping trip at 2 months old, I'm thinking he can handle it, LOL! My husband is trying to convince me that we should go (tent) camping on Memorial Day weekend, I think he's nuts. My due date is the 23rd of May - just 4 days before! My dr's don't expect me to make it out of April, but even then, I don't want to camp w/ a 4 week old slightly preemie! Hopefully we'll be ready to go camping for the 4th of July, even though I doubt we'll have a trailer by then.

I think I'll look for a vintage Airstream w/ the twin/bunk in the middle option, and the rear bath... I'd prefer to have a center/side bath, particularly as I've read some not so good things about the rear bath, but they didn't make the center/side bath w/ twins in the rear, did they? Right now, we'd have one kid in each twin, & Mom, Dad & baby on the sofa bed, and as time goes on, we'd customize our own bunks w/ side rails, ladders, etc. I'm sure the cost would be outrageous, but would it even be possible to basically gut the inside of a trailer, put bunks to the rear and a bath in the middle? I think that would be ideal.

Thanks for the advice!


Oh - Jim & Susan - we're probably here for the same reason ya'll were, but hopefully not for long!!! We're looking to move sometime this year!

bechand0128 is offline   Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Cost to restore a gutted Airstream Draco General Interior Topics 28 02-18-2013 11:17 PM
Cherokee Land Airstream Park Pahaska On The Road... 1 01-31-2005 01:03 PM
Airstream Related List Servers Andy R Link Archive 0 02-22-2002 02:05 PM - Airstream Link Library Andy R Link Archive 0 02-22-2002 01:31 PM
Ralph Lauren Vintage Airstreams ($150,000) Andy R General Interior Topics 0 02-22-2002 12:06 AM

Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Airstream, Inc. or any of its affiliates. Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.

Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:58 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.