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Old 10-04-2015, 02:16 PM   #1
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A boondocking Airstream

I have often thought that new Airstreams were generally made to look pretty and nice on the showroom floor but were/are not designed for those of us who camp without hookups the majority of time. For me that was 47 nights this season.

I think Airstream should make a Boondock version for those of us who use them that way. Here are my thoughts on what it would have. No priority on order, this is just a list to begin with. Add to it as you feel appropriate.

1. Much larger than normal water and holding tanks. 50 gal for water, 30 to 35 each for gray and black water, even on smaller (say 20í) rigs. You donít use less water just because your trailer is shorter.

2. Much more robust 12 volt electrical system with at least two 6 volt golf cart batteries, or other battery options. A quality designed solar system as standard, minimum of 200 watts or more.

3. A converter/charger which is 3 stage (for all Airstreams).

4. A quality inverter, with a very low idle draw when not in use (vs. the almost 2 amp draw of the one they supply now).

5. A true Use/Store switch which shuts off all 12 volt battery electrical power to everything, so you could properly store your AS without having to physically disconnect the batteries. The current Use/Store switch is a joke as it leaves some items on.

5. An optional (not standard) radio/DVD/television package. I virtually never use mine and think others are similar. I donít go out camping to watch television.

6. An easy to clean smooth vinyl floor. The one on my 2014 FC 20 has little simulated wood grooves in it which are almost impossible to clean easily.

7. An option for clear windows. If I am out camping under the trees, the damn dark windows make it gloomy and often require lights to be on even on bright days. The dark pano front window with dark protector cover makes it so almost no light comes through. My old í74 Argosy is great with itís clear front pano windows and clear side windows.

8. A good low flow shower which shuts off totally, and does not dribble water when the hand button is pressed to off.

9. Locate the water heater close to the kitchen and bathroom so less water is wasted to get hot water to the faucets.

10. Winterizing drain valves which actually have a chance of draining things, not the pretend ones AS supplies.

11. Enclosed and heated black and gray water dump valves. One stupid design on my 20í FC is heated tanks but totally exposed dump valves so the water remains liquid in the tanks, but can and will freeze between the tank and the valve.

12. An optional slightly higher clearance (2 or 3 inches) for those who travel in rough country.

13. Decent tires as standard, not STís.


I am sure you can come up with additional ideas.

However, I doubt that anyone at Airstream is listening.
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Old 10-04-2015, 02:25 PM   #2
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Love this concept, and totally agree. Great list of features, but here are a couple of additional ideas:

> much better insulation
> optional AGM or Lithium batteries
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Old 10-04-2015, 02:29 PM   #3
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Brilliant, I want my new 26U (still dreaming) to have all those suggestions except #5.
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Old 10-04-2015, 03:54 PM   #4
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Wink First.......

........lets give them another 80yrs before starting something new.

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Old 10-04-2015, 04:00 PM   #5
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Ad #14
Composite floors, baffles me that Airstream still uses plywood after continuing issues of leaks and rot.
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Old 10-04-2015, 04:03 PM   #6
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Regarding #9....

A little extra PEX and a small circulation pump would permit the hot water to be a circuit rather than a bunch of home runs; this is what hotels do so you don't wait forever for hot water. Pump could run for one minute out of every five the water heater is on, and you'd have instant hot water. This would save prob. 1/3 gallon of water in our Airstream...

The best way to extend range of both fresh and gray water tanks is to use less; a true low flow shower head makes a huge difference.

- Bart
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Old 10-04-2015, 04:21 PM   #7
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Great ideas. But considering the difficulty AS has pulling off their normal models, yeah 80 years!
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Old 10-04-2015, 04:33 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by AWCHIEF View Post
Brilliant, I want my new 26U (still dreaming) to have all those suggestions except #5.
Ha Ha. Which one?
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Old 10-04-2015, 05:27 PM   #9
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For #8 install one of these between the hose and head. Works fine for me.

http://www.wayfair.com/Danco-Shower-...FQ8WHwodh08PdQ
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Old 10-05-2015, 07:21 AM   #10
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Ha Ha. Which one?

Good catch, #5B I like my tunes and movies on rainy days.
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Old 10-05-2015, 08:24 AM   #11
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I want an air bag suspension to allow additional ground clearance with the flip of a switch.
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Old 10-05-2015, 09:40 AM   #12
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I have thought about this too and I agree. I would add either raising the dump valves up for more clearance or a skid plate to protect them.
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Old 10-05-2015, 10:41 AM   #13
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What I think would sell (if Airstream needed more sales) is an Airstream, not too heavily modified or optioned, which was more specifically tuned for boondocking, not Glamping. The suggestions I made in the original post are my thoughts on what might be easily done without a total re design of the trailers to make them more boondock friendly.

Sure, things like better floors would be nice, but they don't improve the boondocking situation. Better insulation would require thicker walls, and that is not going to happen either. What I would like is an optional boondocking package or some options which would improve the boondocking capabilities straight from the factory, not having to be added on after purchase as I have done with many of the boondocking electrical suggestions mentioned in my original post. Also, things like larger tank capacity is almost impossible to add after purchase, but easy to do in the original design and building. Same with non freezing tank valves.

Just wondering, if a boondocking package or version of an Airstream were offered, would you consider it if you were buying a new Airstream? Would it increase or decrease the value of the rig in your mind?
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Old 10-05-2015, 10:53 AM   #14
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Good point to focus on changes that do not require major redesign, makes it much more likely we will see them.

Since we are on the "camping" end of the user spectrum and primarily stay in State and National Parks, if such a package were offered I would definitely add it to any future Airstream purchase. It would significantly increase the value of the rig in my mind, but I am less certain about it increasing the value to the average buyer.
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