Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 01-08-2012, 12:35 PM   #1
Rivet Master
 
Ray Eklund's Avatar

 
2014 25' International
2006 23' Safari SE
Currently Looking...
Boulder City , Nevada
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 2,366
Does Trailer Size Matter when Rockdocking?

I own a 23 foot AS. Imagine if I also could have purchased a 25 foot or a 34 footer with a triple axle. Why a 23 foot? It is narrower, lighter and shorter than the larger AS... The 23 footer has dual axles, for reasons I have expressed in the past, but there is disagreement to the advantages I think a dual axle offers to the back country roads versus a single axle. It is also the shortest AS with all of the amenities I could ask for. The AS's up to 22 foot have single axles, which pushed me into the 23 footer. A single axle AS owner that goes into the back country could provide their experience in mobility and travel, since I have not owned one. Please do comment if you are one of these owners.

The Forest Service will post large signs on many back country Forest Service roads that say "Trailers over 20 feet not Advised". Trust me, 23 feet takes a bit of effort to proceed at the one or two "pinch" points on some of these... roads, that could be 75 miles long (Gila Wilderness, New Mexico) and you are risking coming to the last fifteen miles and have to turn around. There are some roads that are not posted, until you GET to that spot, and you have to figure out how to back out or turn around (Beaver, Utah to the east of town has one of these). Nothing like getting wedged and high centered in a big dip in a road, having to dig your way out of a mess.

I am not going bear hunting with a 22 caliber rifle, nor would I want a 34 foot AS. I would not get too far into the back country with a 34 foot AS. In some cases bigger is not better. Size does matter when you are towing a trailer. A longer trailer has its advantages in living space, but for irregular roads it can lead to some bad results. A 16 foot Bambi will make a larger AS look like a whale in a swimming pool, until you understand the limitations of space and capacity that a 16 footer provides. My compromise was 23 feet. I would probably enjoy a 25 foot AS, but I would have to compromise where I could tow and park it. Not a lot, but just a bit more. I am able to pull my AS further into the back country and walk to many places I want to explore and driving as I proceed further from base camp. A larger trailer would take you MOST of the way, park and drive the rest of the distance with the tow vehicle. So who is the smarter boondocker/rockdocker? It is the one who can get off the asphalt, find a base camp that is convenient and have a clear image in their mind of the minute limitations of your tow vehicle and trailer.

Many Forest Service roads were constructed by logging companies to haul long trailers of timber out of the remote locations. If you have met up with a timber hauler coming out of a Montana forest... they do not get out of YOUR way and other than breaking some branches on the way down, these giants can navigate the switch backs with ease. Skill and experience. I was surprised to find a forty foot horse "war wagon" parked at the DuBois, Wyoming Double Cabin camping area. He pulled it with a diesel truck cab, and all custom with NO dents, crushed metal or damage. He, his wife and pack horses ride up towards Yellowstone every couple of years. I could not pull off such a feat. I do not have that skill, nor a forty foot horse trailer to find out if I could develop that skill.

ALL Airstream owners CAN navigate into the back country, with the limitations that trailer length allows. Skill and experience is earned through practice and pushing yourself to go just a bit further up that semi improved road. All that is required is knowing your limitations, being prepared and overcoming problems when they present themselves.

It is not a bad idea for a "newbie Rockdocker" to detach the trailer and scout your way to a camp site in an area new to you. Carefully notating the mileages of potential campsites as you proceed IS the best advice I can offer to you. I detach the AS at times, and there are some areas that it might look like a nice graded road, until you are now on a sharp curve, discovering loose gravel, washboard road and driving a two wheel drive pickup that is NOW under powered on a steep grade. At times, it is the tow vehicle that limits your travel. For those of you pulling a trailer with a two wheel drive pickup, losing traction and having to ease back down and make the switchback(s) is a feat for stunt men in an large filming crew for guidance.

Personally I enjoy my 23 foot trailer, four wheel drive, 5.7L engine, with low four wheel drive (when needed) and E rated Michelin A/T tires. I can go anywhere that my ability to work myself through the bad road conditions can present. One word of experience... when you have detached your trailer and are checking the road for travel and pull offs to set up camp... When you return with the trailer in tow, THE ROAD WILL BECOME MORE DIFFICULT, HAVE MORE TIGHT SPOTS AND PRESENT OBSTACLES YOU DID NOT SEE WITH JUST THE TOW VEHICLE!

Try a dry camp, no facility experience, just once. You will find that the worry was not a concern after testing your experience. Now you have to get better, detailed Forest Service maps to navigate the much larger access to Public Lands, than you could have ever imagined.
__________________

__________________
Ray Eklund is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2012, 01:02 PM   #2
A.K.A "THE STREAM"
 
THEPILL's Avatar
 
2010 25' FB International
Arlington , Texas
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 1,285
Images: 4
That would be awesome. I would like to rough it like that,..but being from Texas,..how to go about it seems to be difficult. I mean as in knowing where to begin. I wonder if east Texas has places like that. I have to drive 14 hours to get to the forest in Colorado. Is there a link to these "open" areas?

Gotta talk the wife into it,..but would like to get away,..just don't know how to start the adventure. I'm home bound,,,I'm 43 and to retired yet. Time is limited...can't be gone too long.

You are living my dream...congrats to you and thank you for the post.

Shane
__________________

__________________
http://i52.photobucket.com/albums/g2...h_postcard.jpg

"Stay Thirsty My Friends"

Tow Vehicle" 2011 Superduty Diesel!!"

TAC ID TX-1432
THEPILL is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2012, 04:12 PM   #3
Rivet Master
 
Ray Eklund's Avatar

 
2014 25' International
2006 23' Safari SE
Currently Looking...
Boulder City , Nevada
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 2,366
Head West Young Man...

Hi Shane.

Connect your trailer, put that pickup into Drive and head West to where the Public Land Grant lands exceed the private property ownership. I want you to live your dream. My dreams are pretty hard to figure out.

Find an an area of... lets say New Mexico you would like to travel. Buy a Forest Service map for that area, study it a bit to see where there are some decent county/forest service improved roads (they rate them from jeep trails to black top). As you get near a major city, options decrease. Even in the National Forest you can find the "water" deeded. This would include creeks, streams, rivers, ponds and former mining claims that cattle ranchers keep for themselves. Colorado is a bit tough in that regard, as are the eastern halves of Wyoming and Montana, for private property on both sides of the road and no where for you to pull out. Arizona has large Indian reservations to avoid as the council is not interested in finding you camped on their reservation. But, at times there are roads that lead to wide open public access... the hidden jewels you mark on the map and you have just made camping memory number one. You will find some examples of these places within the Boondocking Forum to get your experience and confidence reinforced, by using prior AS owners travel into some areas. There are Forest Service campgrounds marked in many "Hunter's Atlases". I use DeLorme. Not the most detailed, and that is why you need to get the smaller scale Forest Service map for these public lands. This includes BLM lands.

At the worst, you find yourself at a RV Park, Forest Service campground for a day's recovery. Then proceed to check an area out with the trailer parked.

The first season the wife and I went out with our new AS, the tension was there. After the first week, it was a piece of cake... in most cases. You learn to cut back brush, overhanding branches when necessary and roll a few boulders out of the road. Good for you and other travelers. It is not uncommon to see a tree fallen onto the road, blocking half of it and people will drive around it into the ditch to avoid having to move it. We will get out and move this dead timber, which is easy and in a way, entertaining. We have even brought our Stihl chainsaw with us to remove some bigger timber in southwestern New Mexico from wind falls blocking our access to good agate hunting areas. You can drive in one day and find two trees across the road the next. If they are small, you can move them. It they are three feet in diameter and wedged, you then are walking the other "options". Like making a bypass route or back tracking to that jeep trail that now looks much better than earlier. When traveling unfamiliar roads, watch your left and right sides of the trailer, look for low hanging branches and high spots in the road to avoid dragging your plumbing... Sounds difficult, but I found it easier than flying a helicopter where now you have also added down and 360 degree hazards to complicate the picture. When you have a pine branch with green needles slide against your aluminum, it wil leave a "scuff". With a fine rubbing compound and wax, you would never notice it. Avoid the dry wood branch tips and of course, the heavy timber part of the branch. It can crease the aluminum, but these roads have had larger trailers in the area than yours and have already "trimmed" these back for you.

When you are first testing yourself, find a pullout not too far from the main road. Hunter camps are easy to spot and they usually are pulling tall, wide trailers during the numerous hunting seasons out west.
__________________
Ray Eklund is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2012, 04:28 PM   #4
Moderator
 
DKB_SATX's Avatar

 
2017 26' Flying Cloud
1976 Argosy 28
Alamo Heights , Texas
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 6,401
Images: 1
Blog Entries: 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by THEPILL View Post
That would be awesome. I would like to rough it like that,..but being from Texas,..how to go about it seems to be difficult. I mean as in knowing where to begin. I wonder if east Texas has places like that. I have to drive 14 hours to get to the forest in Colorado. Is there a link to these "open" areas?

Gotta talk the wife into it,..but would like to get away,..just don't know how to start the adventure. I'm home bound,,,I'm 43 and to retired yet. Time is limited...can't be gone too long.

You are living my dream...congrats to you and thank you for the post.

Shane
I've no idea how remote or wild the forests are, but the NFS lists 4 National Forests in East Texas, and there's the LBJ National Grasslands up by Decatur where my WBCCI unit camps a few times a year. The Grasslands has a designated camping area, but the website for the NFS land in Texas specifically says that "primitive camping" is allowed except for deer season anywhere it's not specifically prohibited.
__________________
— David

Zero Gravitas — 2017 Flying Cloud 26U | Il Progetto — 1976 Argosy 28 Center Bath | WBCCI# 15566

He has all of the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire. — Sir Winston Churchill
DKB_SATX is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2012, 07:18 PM   #5
Moderator
 
HiHoAgRV's Avatar

 
1991 34' Excella
1963 26' Overlander
1961 26' Overlander
Central , Mississippi
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 5,325
Images: 29
Blog Entries: 49
...
I own a 34 foot AS. Imagine if I also could have purchased a 25 foot or 19 footer, with dual or a single axle. Why a 34 foot? It is an Airstream, narrower, lighter and shorter than the larger 5th Wheelers, we spend 95% of our time traveling, kinda what I think Wally intended... The 34 footer has triple axles, for reasons expressed in the past, but there is disagreement to the advantages I think a triple axle offers on the roads versus a dual or single axle. It is also the roomiest AS, having all of the amenities I could ask for. The AS's up to 32 foot have only dual axles, which pushed me into the 34 footer…
Break…
Most of us are willing to tow 1,800 beautiful miles to get to a place where only the last 18 miles are too rugged for us to get to camp in. I have traveled in the Forest Service roads, sans trailer, and enjoyed the solitude.
Toss us “Big Trailers” a bone! Most folks ARE longer than 23’ and are not lookin to trade down…Where CAN we get into and enjoy? Help us taste extreme Boondocking…
__________________
Hi Ho Silver RV! Vernon, Sarah, Mac the Border Collie -
A honkin' long 34' named AlumaTherapy http://www.airforums.com/forums/f205...num-54749.html
and a 26' '63 Overlander, Dolly http://www.airforums.com/forums/f109...ome-71609.html
HiHoAgRV is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2012, 07:33 PM   #6
Rivet Master
Commercial Member
 
sandlapper's Avatar
 
1993 34' Excella
York , South Carolina
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 2,429
Images: 7
Different strokes for different folks

We sure do love our 34. Rather have it than two 17', if they made 'em.
__________________
John
WBCCI #3892
Region 3 , 1st VP

Go often to the house of a friend, for weeds choke the unused path........Emerson

Never pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight he will just kill you........a wise old man.
sandlapper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-22-2012, 08:41 PM   #7
1 Rivet Member
 
Tim J's Avatar
 
1984 31' Sovereign
anycity , New Hampshire
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 10
I gave out 31' a 2" lift and run LT 235/75r15 tires. The extra clearance and departure angle makes a huge difference with no noticeable handling side effects. I may lift it an additional 2" at some point so we can explore more remote areas with this size trailer.
__________________
Tim J is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-23-2012, 12:02 AM   #8
3 Rivet Member
 
2011 23' FB International
1975 Argosy 30
Santa Barbara , California
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 135
Tim, how did you do the lift? Any pics?
__________________
tvoneicken is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-23-2012, 01:01 AM   #9
2 Rivet Member
Commercial Member
 
1967 17' Caravel
1979 28' Airstream Excella 28
Wheat Ridge , Colorado
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 87
Images: 15
We do lifts all the time, up to 6". The process is not cheap or easy but often worth it. We do short lifts by changing out the down angle of the axles to the max of 45 degrees. For more lift we install new axle plates to move the pedistals (axle openings) down and then install the 45 degree axles.

On the Orvis trailer we gave it a generous 6.5 inch lift for better back country travel.
__________________
Brett Hall
Wheat Ridge (Denver) Colorado
http://www.TimelessTravelTrailers.com
Brett - TTT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-23-2012, 04:30 AM   #10
1 Rivet Member
 
Currently Looking...
akron , Ohio
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 7
Similar situation, with different options-

Hi, we were looking at the same type travel, but decided that we wanted a big trailer, which is where we spend most of our traveling time, on open roads and open spaces, and for trail camping, we started looking at truck campers, which when mounted on an F350 diesel 4X4 will go anywhere.

Haven't picked one up yet, but appealing are the ones that pop-up on the top. They have showers and toilets and sleep 2 adults above the cab and 2 kids in the dinette when folded down. The camper will stay on the truck all the time, if its folded down, very little wind resistance and fits to the back of the bed of our truck- no overhang to interfere with the Airstream.

We're all looking for the best of both worlds, I'm not sure there is one, but lots of nice options to explore! We want 2 Airstreams, one small for local short camping trips and the other for long hauls out west to do these trail camping weekends.

I'm researching this pitifully hard! Does it show?

Heather
__________________
AirHeather is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-23-2012, 06:14 AM   #11
Rivet Master
 
richinny's Avatar
 
2011 34' Classic
Westchester Cty.NY , / Miami FL
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 3,122
heather, have you read this thread?
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f42/...hel-82641.html
__________________
Ricky
2012 F150 Super Crew 5-1/2' bed Ecoboost 4x4 3.73 elec. lock diff. Propride hitch
give life. kidney & pancreas transplant 9/9/06
Ingrid-my unofficial '"World's Oldest Streamer" 1909-2008 R.I.P.
richinny is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-23-2012, 06:30 AM   #12
1 Rivet Member
 
Currently Looking...
akron , Ohio
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 7
Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by richinny View Post
heather, have you read this thread?
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f42/...hel-82641.html
I'm having an issue with the construction- most seem to be made from OSB wafer board, which my husband refuses to accept as a construction material.

I'm looking for one that will fold down and stand up to the test of time like an Airstream. Would be nice if someone would build them out of alclad! The old Cayo and Avion truck campers are too high for our travels, we really want the lower profile.

Thanks much!

Heather
__________________
AirHeather is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2012, 04:57 PM   #13
1 Rivet Member
 
Tim J's Avatar
 
1984 31' Sovereign
anycity , New Hampshire
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 10
2" AS Lift

I removed the axles and made spacers from 2x2x3/8 square steel tubing. I bolted and welded them to the frame and reattached the axles to those. The shock mounts did not need relocating. If I were to lift 4" I would want some lateral supports to eliminate any damage from tight turns when one axle is forced to one side and the other is forced to the other side......scrubbing. This works well with our mildly 4" lifted F-350 CC shortbed.
__________________
Tim J is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2012, 02:20 AM   #14
3 Rivet Member
 
2011 23' FB International
1975 Argosy 30
Santa Barbara , California
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 135
Tim, thanks for the description. I may break down and resort to something similar. Sigh.
Brett, thanks for the info, dunno that I'm ready to replace two axles on a new trailer yet. Maybe if I have to go to 16" wheels to get decent tires.
__________________

__________________
tvoneicken is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Truck & Trailer Weights nickmeloy Towing, Tow Vehicles & Hitches 6 04-02-2014 11:02 AM
What size generator? Aether Electrical - Systems, Generators, Batteries & Solar 23 11-11-2011 06:35 PM
Original trailer plug wiring diagram? edglenn Electrical - Systems, Generators, Batteries & Solar 11 11-06-2011 08:51 AM
Will my trailer get eaten alive now?? mile2885 Cleaning, Stripping & Polishing 12 06-03-2011 06:13 AM
A sad end to a wonderful trailer rmk110761 Airstream History 9 02-15-2011 10:12 AM


Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:12 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.