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Old 06-01-2019, 02:45 PM   #1
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newbie with questions

Hi all.
Airstreams look nice & my wife likes them a lot. However, there are no dealers in Kansas City and I'd like more information before we dive in.

1. Why Airstream? why're they double the cost? Why didn't you get something cheaper?
2. Is it reasonable to pull a an Airstream 16" bambi sport with a midsized truck (GMC Canyon).
3. Am I going to have size envy because I didn't look at the 20'?
4. I'd love to hear your experiences with Airstream.

I'm not opposed to paying the premium and buying once. But I'd also like to know why I should jump off the deep end.

Thanks a bunch!
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Old 06-01-2019, 03:20 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jso902 View Post
Hi all.
Airstreams look nice & my wife likes them a lot. However, there are no dealers in Kansas City and I'd like more information before we dive in.

1. Why Airstream? why're they double the cost? Why didn't you get something cheaper?
2. Is it reasonable to pull a an Airstream 16" bambi sport with a midsized truck (GMC Canyon).
3. Am I going to have size envy because I didn't look at the 20'?
4. I'd love to hear your experiences with Airstream.

I'm not opposed to paying the premium and buying once. But I'd also like to know why I should jump off the deep end.

Thanks a bunch!
1) We looked at some others, but didn't really like them. You should check out as many as you can before deciding.
2) Yes.
3) What about the 23, 25, 27 etc.? We travel with two people and a small dog in a 25.
4) We have really been enjoying ours, and we're only at slightly over 300 nights.

Good luck, and go into it with an open mind, and a willingness to do your own repairs where possible.
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Old 06-01-2019, 03:29 PM   #3
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Hi JSO,
We are also in Kansas City.

It is frustrating that there isn't a dealer here. We looked at several dealers before we purchased, and bought at Bill Thomas in St Louis (actually Wentzville-so on the western edge of the St Louis metro). We looked in Springfield, Des Moines (no longer there, but still in Minneapolis), and in Milwaukee.

To answer your questions:

1) About 8-9 years ago (during the economic downturn) Airstream was at the RV show at Bartle Hall. It was at that large show, where we saw every type of RV you could imagine, that we really felt like Airstream was what we were looking for. No particle board was a big reason due to allergies, also they seemed to be made well with designs that would stand the test of time, and the easier towing with their lower profile and curved design. We also liked that they seemed to have real beds, and the table areas were sturdier with an attached table. No slides meant fewer things to worry about, and also that you could eat lunch or use the bathroom during the day when traveling (some units with slides you can't)

2) At the time we had a Honda Pilot, but we traded to a Tundra before we purchased. You will need to check the actual capacity of your truck to see its capacity. There should be a sticker by the drivers door frame.

3) I do think you should visit at least 1 dealer, maybe more, before you decide what model you want. Think about these areas when you are looking:
1-where will you keep all of the things that are used in the trailer in the trailer? Food, clothes, toiletries, pets, shoes, trash, coolers.
2-is the bed really big enough? The 22 bed is wider AND longer than all the other bambi beds
3-how much water capacity does the unit have? The 16 has a combined gray and black holding tank. This means that sink and shower waste mixes with toilet waste. This makes it less appealing for long trips because you can't simply drain off only gray water into a portable waste tank to dump. You have to dump the single tank in a sanitary dump. Which might mean breaking camp to trot over to the dump station. The other units also give you simply bigger water and waste tanks.

In our experience, sleeping surface area and water capacity (fresh and gray/black) are the "limiting factor" that make you think about if your rig is the right size for your needs.

4) Our first AS was a 22 Sport. We liked it very well. Large comfy bed, large bathroom and lots of windows that open. It was damaged in an accident and we traded in along with the insurance check and got a larger 25 flying cloud then.

About a month ago we had a highway accident where debris missed our vehicle but hit our Airstream. We again decided to trade to a new unit and now have a 27 with 2 AC units and a slightly larger seating/lounge area. With 2 adult kids and 2 dogs this is really nice.
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Old 06-01-2019, 07:12 PM   #4
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Welcome from Colorado: I have family roots in Kansas City since 1971. It is like home to me although I never actually lived there.

Airstreams are high cost due to their aluminum bodies. They are also well made and last a long time. And they are unique. Owners enjoy talking with other owners at rallys and the like. It truly can be a lifestyle.

A used Airstream ought to be considered. They are a bit cheaper, and may allow more flexibility in your size choice. I read here that many folks trade up from a small trailer to a bigger one. This is more expensive than getting the right trailer for you right at the get go.

We have had an Airstream in our family since 1986. It is still going strong. And I'm renovating a 1975 Airstream. Hope to have it done this summer. Airstreams do last a very long time.

David
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Old 06-01-2019, 07:21 PM   #5
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Airstream trailers are not for everyone. The value of an AS is that they are built in a way that allows them to be rebuilt. The designs are not perfect. The floors can be damaged by water intrusion. The coach is not insulated in a way that it can perform as a four season trailer and are best used in temperate climates. The shell is expensive to repair when damaged and yes, they cost a lot initially.

Given all that, we looked at a lot of lower cost trailers. Generally, they placed the box above the tires. A high center of gravity never made any sense to me. Lots of the lower priced spread models come with slide outs that make them much bigger. Brother has one. His slide blew the fuse over and over. They now hand crank it out in place. The final decision was that we liked the AS best. We could afford it. So we purchased it.

There are a lot of different ways to do the RV lifestyle. What works best for you is something you have to figure out. Do a lot of research. Look at a lot of RVs and talk to a lot of people who enjoy the RV experience.

Caution - we recently investigated getting a motorhome. We talked to folks and most recommended we get a used big Motorhome. We want a small one. Our reasons work for us, but they don't work for others. You must know yourself.

A safe bet is to purchase a Casita. They sell for close to what you pay for them. It's a low risk path to experiment and learn about the world of RVs. However, not all can deal with a small coach. Twoftitis is a real malady. You buy a 16 and two years later trade for a 20 or 25. When you retire, you have to have a 30. Space is seductive. Know yourself. Buying one time is less expensive that over and over.

Tow vehicle - touchy subject - you can do a lot with a little. However, pickups are not as stable as other vehicles. Bigger is pushed and supposed to be better, but the 1/2 ton with the right options does well towing a 30. With respect to the Canyon, older models are a bit light duty, but last year, we met a fellow with a new one towing a 25. He was quite happy with it. Note, the 25 front bed has a heavy tongue weight. The rear bed teeter totters it's way to a lighter tongue weight. Learn about payload. That will help with your choices. The best tow vehicle is the one you own and drive every day. Lots of research will help you.

Good luck with your investigation. The more you learn the better your adventure will be. Pat
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Old 06-01-2019, 10:06 PM   #6
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We loved our FC20 !!! You will not regret it ... much larger / better galley, better sleeping arrangements, better head ...
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Old 06-04-2019, 12:27 PM   #7
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Thank you for all the helpful thoughts. We're going to make a trip to springfield or st. louis to check some units out.

I was looking small because I kept hearing stories of people buying large campers only to find their towing vehicle too small. Or I'd hear scary stories of towing something too big. On the flip side, i'd hear too small and needing to upgrade in 1 year.

As for used, are there aspects/areas of a trailer that I need to question/look closely to before I'd purchase? I have a good jist with car mechanics, but RV's seem like a different animal.

Jay
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