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Old 01-24-2011, 07:37 AM   #1
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1975 25' Tradewind
Florence , South Carolina
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New to the forum and still looking to get an Airstream

My wife and I are starting to research for getting our first camper and the Airstream is at the top of our list. We love the history and style that it had (not big fans of the box on wheels!) We have a Saturn Vue V6 right now but will probably need to upgrade our tow vehicle...we assume. Does anyone pull with a Vue? We are thinking of a Bambi (older model mostly for budget reasons) but do not know if it will work well for us. We have two young children and would love to do at least one annual trip. What is recommended for a family of four to tour the country in? What does everyone suggest pulling with? We would really prefer to not get into a full size SUV for a daily driver if we can, so we are thinking of upping to an Envoy XL or something like that.

What do I need to know?
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Old 01-24-2011, 08:11 AM   #2
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First, welcome to the forum. Second, the questions you ask will take answering by you, mostly. As far as what trailer is recommended for a family of four...depends on the family. How "close" are you, how big or small are you? What do you like to do? All questions you need to answer.

As for the tow vehicle, well that depends on the trailer you select. I don't have any data on the Saturn Vue, but know it is a small SUV, and so I would suspect it not capable of towing anything except maybe a 60's bambi, but check the maufacturers tow rating on the Vue, and then take 80% of that, and that will give you a safe towing limit. The 80% is just an "accepted" rule around here, but don't ask me who made the rule.

Good luck with your search.
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Old 01-24-2011, 08:55 AM   #3
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Make sure whatever you buy will be large enough for the kids as they grow and want to take along friends! My kids are in their 20's and when we visit they love to stay in our 'stream! Hopefully, they will get their own soon!
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Old 01-24-2011, 09:16 AM   #4
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Welcome to the forum, and good luck in your search. I would highly encourage you to find the trailer first, then look for a TV to handle it. We travel with two children, 10 & 12, plus a 54# Weimaraner (she counts for two more children due to active nature). Also, our children are a boy and a girl, so as they have gotten older, there are privacy issues. If your children are the same sex, that would make things easier at least in my guesstimation. Our trailer at 34' is longer than we "need", but the price was right. I think a Bambi would be too small for our family, but the length of the trailer is a highly personal criteria.

Good luck in your hunt.
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Old 01-24-2011, 09:17 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by CMSmith View Post
We are thinking of a Bambi (older model mostly for budget reasons) but do not know if it will work well for us. We have two young children and would love to do at least one annual trip. What is recommended for a family of four to tour the country in? What does everyone suggest pulling with? We would really prefer to not get into a full size SUV for a daily driver if we can, so we are thinking of upping to an Envoy XL or something like that.
Welcome to the forums, and welcome to the Airstreaming community!

My wife and I are retired and travel with 3 small dogs, no kids. Our first trailer was a 1960 Pacer, 16 foot, the model before the first Bambi, which came out in 1961. We bought it from an older cousin who hadn't traveled in it for several years. We loved the Pacer, and it was OK for trips up to a couple of weeks, but it was cramped. When our cousin bought it, in 1962, he and his wife traveled all over the country in it with their 3 kids, towing it with a Mercedes 190D sedan!

So, such a thing can be done. Whether you want to, is another question!

My recommendation would be at least a 22 foot trailer for you and your kids, and maybe a 25. Older trailers are lighter than current ones of the same length, so if you want to tow with a smaller vehicle you are better off with a vintage unit. The 25 foot Tradewind is one popular model with plenty of sleeping space.

See the Vintage Airstream Photo Archives for a wealth of information on vintage units Vintage Airstream Photo Archives

As far as tow vehicles, here's my advice: Bite the bullet and buy an adequate tow vehicle. Towing with an undersized tow vehicle is not really safe, and you will find it doesn't feel safe--the rig has a mind of its own and wants to wander around with every gust of wind and passing truck. This does not make for enjoyable traveling, which is what you really want. We tow both our 16 foot Pacer and now our 22 foot Caravelle with a half-ton pickup truck with a camper cap. With that combination you will hardly notice the trailer is back there. Another advantage is the storage space available in the back of the pickup.

If you do decide to tow with a minimal tow vehicle, make sure you understand the physics of sway--the critical safety issue--which can cause you to lose directional control and go tumbling into the ditch. You will probably want to use a sway-eliminating hitch like the Hensley or Pull-rite, which I believe is no longer made, but might come with a vintage trailer.

To summarize, you could probably tow a Bubble, Pacer, or early Bambi with your Vue, but it would be mighty cramped for the four of you, and I don't know if you would be happy with it.

Good luck,
Nuvi
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Old 01-24-2011, 10:45 AM   #6
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In your search, remember your airstream will still be in the family 30 years from now, plus all the others that seem to find their way home with you.
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Old 01-24-2011, 11:36 AM   #7
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1975 25' Tradewind
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Thank you all for your input. I have a lot to learn so I am grateful for finding this forum and receiving your comments. Our kids are a boy and girl so growing privacy will be an issue. I personally want to get the smallest to accommodate us (to start at least) and grow into another in the future. Right now I am probably leaning toward a 22' and we will be looking more toward the vintage models.
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