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Old 09-09-2017, 08:24 PM   #1
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Troy , Michigan
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Looking for some friendly advice

Hi all - So excited to join the airstream family. We do not own one as of yet but after spending some time with a friend and seeing their's this past summer- we can't help but want to capture the experiences for ourselves! We could use some advice on what type of airstream to get and the corresponding tow vehicle. We are looking at a 30' international serenity vs a 30' flying cloud - the 30' cloud seemed most intriguing b/c can fit 8 with the bunks/queen bed - but some advice on the strengths of each would be good. Also - looking at a f150 souped up with the ability to pull 12000 lbs vs a f250 that has extra give. they amount to a similar price - just seems the 250 might tow better but the 150 may drive better from day to day...any advice?
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Old 09-09-2017, 08:45 PM   #2
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Have you towed before. I'm not sure I would start with a 30 footer, if not
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Old 09-09-2017, 08:48 PM   #3
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Hi

Welcome !!!

Ok, it's exciting, it's complicated, it's expensive.

Stop and take a deep breath.

Think a bit about what sort of camping you will be doing. Is it mostly two people? Is it *always* two people? Might it be eight people? If so how often does each of these groups show up?

Where will you be camping? Is this a "all over North America" sort of thing? Is this a lot of 2,3,4 day trips? Are state parks / national parks / RV parks all on the list? Is Alaska on the list every other summer?

All of this drives the "how big / how small?" equation. Bigger fits more people (maybe). Smaller gets you into more places. Bigger is a bit more expensive. Buying the wrong trailer and trading it in is *very* expensive. Taking the time to get it sized right is worth it.

Do the internet research. Run through the forums. Read up on this and that. Watch a bunch of YouTube videos. All of that is free. You will get a cross section of ideas and approaches. Figure out roughly what you are after feature wise. Then find a dealer who has a range of models on the lot. Spend a day (or more) sitting in this and that model. Do it without a sales guy "hovering" over the entire process. See how each works for you. None of them are perfect. They *all* involve compromise. You need to see them first hand.

Now take another deep breath (if only for an hour). Talk through the issues and options. Make sure everybody is onboard with the choices. Then and only then get into the purchase process.

Worry about the TV decision *after* you pick the TT. Even if a 30' is the only target, the FC 30' is a different weight than a Classic 30'. That will impact your selection. Storing this or that in one model vs another may work better for you. A van or SUV might (or might not) make more sense than a truck. The 150 / 250 is a very common thing to agonize over. Work that all out *after* you know what size you will be towing and where you will be going.

There are also a few side things to look into: Where will the trailer be stored? How much does insurance cost? Which hitch will you use? What color scheme do you like? How many forks do you need to buy? The all need to be sorted out.

Running through this makes it sound like a really boring thing. It's not. It's a lot of fun. There is a lot of adventure even to the buying / picking / deciding process.

Enjoy !!

Bob
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Old 09-09-2017, 09:05 PM   #4
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Thank you so much for the advice - it has so far felt like an overwhelming process - but i'm sure will be worth it once it is all said and done. We are a family of 4 and hope to do much travel through the US national park system. we are based in michigan - and there is also much to see and do around the great lakes region here as well. our children are young now - (10 and 7) but we want to instill a sense of adventure and outdoor appreciation, so mostly travelling with 4 of us, but want to have room/option to take a couple of their friends also. I appreciate the sentiment of sitting in multiple different ones - I think that has been my problem - not a lot of dealers in michigan with not as much inventory - may need to make the trip out to ohio to see and feel different styles. Just joined this forum today and can't seem to stop sifting through the various threads..and you're right - it is a lot of fun to do the research! I sincerely appreciate the roadmap you listed out - will keep reading/watching and hopefully make our decision within the month!
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Old 09-09-2017, 09:09 PM   #5
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i never actually thought about this - we haven't towed before - i guess i didn't take into account that we wouldn't be able to figure it out..heh...i suppose I should try it before settling on the size...
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Old 09-09-2017, 09:14 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by dmbecke View Post
Have you towed before. I'm not sure I would start with a 30 footer, if not
Has anyone owned a 30' & a shorter trailer, say 26 or 28' ? Is there much of difference when towing ? or backing up ? Clearly it makes a difference for some state parks with limited access ... but curious if there is that much of a difference when towing ?
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Old 09-09-2017, 09:22 PM   #7
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Touring with a family of four, I would be looking at a F250/350 for the added payload.
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Old 09-09-2017, 09:38 PM   #8
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Start with a tent in some State and National Parks and see if you like the lifestyle for a year or two. Then if it's really fantastic, consider an Airstream to fit YOUR family, with the tent for the kids when they want to bring their friends.

Airstreams and pickup trucks are very, very expensive to purchase for occasional use. Plan on using it long after the kids are gone, choose accordingly. Pickups trucks are evolving, choose a base model to lose the least as you try to keep up over the years.

The weight distribution hitch is one-third of a safe, comfortable towing combination. Research and choose carefully, don't skimp on the hitch or setup, it can be with you through the life of the Airstream. Many, many treat it as an afterthought, trade trucks and trailers in an attempt to solve towing instability problems.
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Old 09-10-2017, 11:07 AM   #9
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Hi

There is "cram it in" capacity and then there is "practical capacity" on a trailer. Two adults and two growing kids can be done. Going much smaller than a 25' will be "interesting" from several directions. Some of the 30' designs can do six on the same basis that a 23' will do four. It's not just sleeping space, you also need room for gear and food. Six or eight sharing one bathroom ... hmmm ..... I'd go with a solution that works for your family and toss in a tent for when you have friends along. Put all the kids in the tent and let them have a ball. Park near the campground facilities.

We spent a lot of time in the various western National Parks in tents, both in the US and Canada. That's certainly the most flexible way to do it. A 30' trailer with a F-250 tow plus a tent will limit your options there.

Towing wise, a 28' and a 30' (each with the right rig) are not all that different. You have a few more choices of TV for the 28' than for a 10,000 lb 30'. Backing and the rest of it are similar *if* you have enough room. There will always be somewhere that has just enough room for a 28'. Most find backing a larger trailer no more difficult that backing a small one. Big ones "react" more slowly to steering input, but need a bit more room.

You don't mention pets. If they are (or might be) involved, they count in terms of space. Same is true of large toys like boats or ATV's. Various TV options will do a bit better or worse for various sets of "extras". With 4 family members, a crew cab pickup will be full just with the normal passenger load.

Something only you can evaluate is cost. These trailers (bought new) are not cheap. A TV (bought new) also is not cheap. You may not break the $200K barrier, you will go well past $100K for the pair. The kids are only kids once. You don't get a do-over on that. There are a lot of ways to spend this sort of money, each way has it's advantages.

I'm by no means saying to go another way. This is a big decision. Make it with your eyes wide open. Do your research and calibrate your desires. In our case that involved a pretty long discussion process. Once we *finally* made the decision to get an AS things went pretty quickly. It was a *big* step up for us. Six months after we decided, we would not change that decision.

Bob
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Old 09-10-2017, 11:08 AM   #10
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Hi

Pre-edit this was a duplicate post .... technology is wonderful right up to the point that it's not ...

Bob
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Old 09-10-2017, 11:12 AM   #11
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Bob, do you realize that you can also Delete duplicate posts within the Edit function (inside the 10-minute Edit time window).
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Old 09-10-2017, 11:18 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by sangeetaka View Post
. . .
...any advice?
Slow down and reduce your expectations.

Learn about the camping lifestyle the same way your children learned to run a marathon . . .

. . . by crawling first, then toddling all over, then . . . etc. . . . etc..

Good suggestions so far to try tent camping, or maybe a very small trailer like a pop-up camper, etc..

"To Everything There Is A Season . . . "

Good luck!

Peter
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Old 09-10-2017, 12:09 PM   #13
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Welcome - I think Uncle Bob has given you spot on advice. My addition would be once you get your rig, take an RV safe driver training class the day you pick it up. These are usually available at a local CDL center or sometimes a dedicated RV training facility. My wife and I did this when we bought ours - had never towed anything before - great investment!
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Old 09-10-2017, 01:34 PM   #14
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Bob, do you realize that you can also Delete duplicate posts within the Edit function (inside the 10-minute Edit time window).
Hi

Well now I do

Bob
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