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Old 06-16-2006, 09:42 AM   #1
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too big?

Hello all.

Presently we own a tent trailer, not really enjoying it as much as we thought and are considering an AS.

Been looking at a used 2005 19' Bambi, 2006 25 FB Safari and some other older ones. Beautiful trailers but still an aweful lot of money.

Came across a 1979 31' Ambassador for a good price but the question I have is it too big for weekend trips? There is just my wife, myself and out 3 year and the odd time my mother who will be using this. Plans are to just pop away on weekends with the odd one week trip.

I really like the Bambi, so does my wife but I think she prefers the 25 footer just for the extra space. To me the Bambi seems ideal for weekending. All are still pricey considering we've never done this before.

I know folks recommend buying a trailer based on future needs but the 31' is SOOO much less money it might be a good option, but is it too big?
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Old 06-16-2006, 09:48 AM   #2
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Do you already own a suitable tow vehicle? That might help you decide.

We moved up from a VW Camper and to us the 25FB is the perfect size with its split bath and separate bedroom. I'd suggest the smaller sizes to minimize the upkeep and to maximize the places you might visit.
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Old 06-16-2006, 09:52 AM   #3
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Generally, the larger the trailer the cheaper it can be had. The smallest trailers (in the vintage world) are in the highest demand.

I also think that a 25 is about perfect. we have a 20 foot trailer - with 2 adults camping - and it is too small. Rememeber that your kid is going to get bigger, be more active and take up more space. On the flip side, long trailers often can't be parked in national park sites.
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Old 06-16-2006, 10:13 AM   #4
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Your enjoy it

We tent camp for 14 years and loved it.We bought a 31 ft three years ago.We bought it due to family growth and my kids having some health issues at the time. Think we wouldn't need anymore room than a 31ft.My son is now 13 and hes doesn't want to go as much.Our daughter is 8 and doesn't like being back there by herself.So in our case we could of went with a smaller one.I think its what you and your wife is most happy with.I do have to state that we spend very little time in our just to sleep i don't even cook in it.We like cooking over the open camp fire.So for a family that does spend alot of time in there a bigger one may be the way to go.
The main reason i bought the camper is we got tired of getting up wet from dew.And the kids and i normal go alone and it makes them feel better being behind a closed door at night with just mom...lol....I like my A/S tho and if i have anything to do with it.She(our camper) will be with us until the end.I think once you decided on one you wont regret it.If you like redoing things like i do and problem your wife.The older one are the way to go in my opinion cause i get bored look at the same thing year after year and i can change it out with her being older(camper)...If i had a new camper hubby would kill me if i wanted to change things out....lol
Enjoy what ever you decided to buy.If you do go with a bigger one you could alway rent a seasonal lot to sit it on in the summer time at a campground you like.
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Old 06-16-2006, 10:18 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janet
Generally, the larger the trailer the cheaper it can be had. The smallest trailers (in the vintage world) are in the highest demand.
Hi Janet,
I also think that a 25 is about perfect. we have a 20 foot trailer - with 2 adults camping - and it is too small. Rememeber that your kid is going to get bigger, be more active and take up more space. On the flip side, long trailers often can't be parked in national park sites.
This is the first i heard of the longer trailer not being able to go in the national park..Where did you hear this from cause we wanted to start travel next year 07.We never had problem before.Can you send me a link to find out more about this and why this is?
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Old 06-16-2006, 10:52 AM   #6
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Many of the national parks on the west coast have size limits for trailers. They were originally set up for tent camping and the sites just aren't big enough. Check with each individual park. One example is Redwoods (norhtern). The roads are winding and long TV/Trailer combos can't negotiate the turns. They are unwilling to chop down the trees to straighten the road - go figure
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Old 06-16-2006, 10:54 AM   #7
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Longer trailers

If you will read Rich Luhr's "Tour of America" BLOG, you will see that he has been on the road for a long time and has stopped at numerous state and national parks with his 30' Safari bunkhouse. Rich regularly stops at BLM parks and has been in such sites for the last week or so. Most all parks have at least some longer sites and, worst case, you may have to park the TV in the overflow parking, some distance away from the trailer.

Granted that some public parks were built back in the 30s by the CCC and sites are popup spaced, but I have little problem with my Classic at 29' long. I'm writing this while parked in a Texas state park (Blanco), built by the CCC in the 30s.
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Old 06-16-2006, 10:55 AM   #8
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great feedback, thanks everyone.

the tv is a Toyota Landcruiser with a 4.2 turbo diesel, rated at 7700# so that's really not too much of an issue other than my comfort level pulling something that heavy.

we really want to get into an AS, just a matter of which one. Here in Ontario if we buy one from a dealer (Bambi and the 25') we have to pay 15% tax plus their "markup" but if we buy privately only 8% tax so that's a big factor too.

Another issue with the older one is the appliances, they're all original and working but I know they can be expensive to replace.

My concern was mainly the length and getting into some places, plus hauling up to 7100# with 168hp and 268 ft/lbs of torque. Local dealer (Canamrv) said the truck can handle it but then again they are quite well know online for the folks towing BIG trailers with mini vans.
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Old 06-16-2006, 10:56 AM   #9
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National Forest also

National forest campgrounds are the same way in many places, and while I have less experience with BLM campgrounds, I supect they are as well.
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Old 06-16-2006, 10:58 AM   #10
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BTW here is the link with pix of the 31'

http://ca.pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/eda...?.dir=/eea8re2
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Old 06-16-2006, 11:30 AM   #11
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I think myoung raised a good point about tow vehicles.

My preference reflected in my purchase) is for a mid size unit. It has plenty of storage for short-intermediate length trips and is well laid out. At 24ft, it is still small enough to be comfortable wedging into small campgrounds like I like (ie those out of the way, just short of complete boondocking campgrounds). My own personal vison of hell is a campground that looks like a parking lot with utilities (Bridge Bay at Yellostone for example). If you dont mind that sort of camping, a big rig has its advantages I am sure.

One thing to keep in mind is that even on weekend trips it can rain for several days and when it does a camper can get small. Also, a slightly longer trailer will have a larger awning which I think is a bonus.

Another option to keep in mind is that there are alot of older airstreams out there that are a lot less expensive. At the midwest forum rally last weekend I saw and was in campers from 1967 to still having that new smell. The new ones are nice for sure, having said that, I really like the vintage ones more. It is worth noting that vintage airstreams are narrower than the newer units which is bonus towing, and less of a bounus when you get where you are going.

The best advice I can think of is to get out and look at a variety of airstreams before you commit. Hope this doesn't confuse matters to much more.
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Old 06-16-2006, 12:43 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gowyn
the tv is a Toyota Landcruiser with a 4.2 turbo diesel, rated at 7700# so that's really not too much of an issue other than my comfort level pulling something that heavy.
I think wheelbase and center of gravity are your limiting issues. I wouldn't go anything over 24' with that short a wheelbase. Even that's pushing it. We were looking for a 23' late '60s early '70s vintage Safari. The older trailers in this size are hard to find. Either they were a total rebuild project (which would be great if I had the time and money) or they were priced high and a long trip to go see. We ended up with a '78 Argosy 24 which is nice but I don't think the extra length gets us much inside and I'd be much happier manouvering and towing with 1-2' less length.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gowyn
Another issue with the older one is the appliances, they're all original and working but I know they can be expensive to replace.
If it's not working then you should be able to use it as a negotiating point. Expensive to replace yes but still way cheaper than an all new trailer. If you're lucky the previous owner may have already replaced some. Ours came with the reciepts for a new (1-1/2 year old) larger 3 way fridge. They're still a pain to maintain . Stove's if properly cared for should be fine. If you need/want AC then that's another potentially expensive item. The water heater and furnace should be fairly long lived items. One potential drawback of the larger trailers is we saw many that were used as full time living quarters while people were building or remodeling. That sort of use, or full time travel would rack up the hours on the systems much more than a smaller unit used for weekend trips.

As for size limits you do get shut out more places the longer you are.
Canyonlands National Park(Moab) Maximum RV length 28 feet.
Sequoia National Park ... twisting road is not suitable for vehicles over 22 feet long (size limit 50 feet for a vehicle and towed unit combined.
For the most part you won't be "shut out" but it does require more planning the longer the rig. That goes for everything, getting gas, stopping for lunch, etc. You're also going to be paying by the foot in instances like Washington State ferries; possibly insurance and license fees.

Think of the trailer as an investment. The smaller trailers do seem to be in higher demand and therefore you've got an advantage if you decide to sell. If you go with a smaller trailer you'd likely be able to recoup all or most of the cost if you decide to move up. Getting a larger older unit might be a little harder to sell but one of the great advantages of an Airstream is they all have good resale.

-Bernie
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Old 06-16-2006, 01:12 PM   #13
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We have 4 kids and camp in a 1964 Overlander (26'). It's a bit crowded at night but we've found it to be a good compromise between having enough space, yet not having too much weight and length of trailer. We cook and eat most meals in the trailer. Last year we went to Alaska and back over 2 months. We pull with a 1999 Suburban 1500.
We're just down the road in Milton. Send me an email or PM if you want to see the trailer and talk Airstreams some time.
You might want to consider looking at trailers in the US too. With the strength of the dollar right now the prices are good, and the import process isn't difficult.
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Old 06-16-2006, 01:38 PM   #14
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here's a couple I have been "watching" on ebay (there's always some).

Illinois:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eB...MEWA%3AIT&rd=1

Michigan:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eB...MEWA%3AIT&rd=1

Midwest:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eB...MEWA%3AIT&rd=1

New Mexico:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eB...MEWA%3AIT&rd=1

California:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eB...MEWA%3AIT&rd=1

the one in Santa Barbara might be a little far . . . as well as New Mexico (make a vacation out of the trip)
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