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Old 08-22-2018, 01:37 PM   #1
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Tents to Airstreams

I really get negative, when our 2014 25 Foot International needs work done to it. Especially when I have to upgrade, replace or repair components that probably should have never been installed in a 'Home on Wheels’, or brakes that should last longer than your tow vehicle's brakes, but don't.

Boondocking Off the Grid takes durability of a Tent, Pop Up or Trailer.

Our choice was going from a North Face Mountain Tent after fifteen years, to an Airstream, now going on for 12 years and counting. A tent was easy to set up, attach the water repelling fly and sleep through snow, rain and sunshine. Not an inexpensive tent. Not an inexpensive trailer.

We still own this Tent and a second that had a vestibule for our two Blue Heelers.

After visiting Forums that support Pop Up Trailers... an Airstream is an excellent choice for us... and as you may discover... you too.

A tent is 100% reliable, although an end of a flexible rod may drop out, we carried a spare. This was only part that we ever had fallen out and jury rigged it to work until a replacement was purchased. Cost... 35 cents.

A Pop Up camper, after reading some Forums, requires a lot of attention to keep it road worthy. I even suspect the tires are 13", which would not work well for our camping. The complaints were no different that a Travel Trailer’s. I felt their pain, but was surprised that many went from tent to pop up to travel trailer.

I had seen a Pop Up in the early 2000's that appeared to be built with 16" wheels and intended to Safari anywhere. $35,000 or so... You were going to pay for the attention to details, but it may be more appropriate for our wanting to get back where our Airstream would be impractical.

I may have to do some back tracking on my future needs. Either stick with our Airstream... or get the tents out and figure it out... before we sell. The Pop Up Trailer is not going to be a 'Happy Place' for us after following some threads.
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Old 08-22-2018, 03:08 PM   #2
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Hi

..... ummm .... errrr ..... There's this minor issue to consider. Tents need (re)waterproofing from time to time. Put them in storage for a while ... forget to do so .... you're in for a wet night. Don't ask how I know this . Yes you *could* duck into a local hotel. That's a bit tough when you've hiked more than a few miles to get to the site ...

So, pay attention to the instructions that came way back when with the tent. The seams need "stuff" applied to them. It's stinky so plan to do it in the back yard. Let the tent sit for a (dry) day or two after you put it on. Two passes are generally a good idea.

Bob
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Old 08-22-2018, 04:33 PM   #3
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Ahhhh, the smell of a canvas tent brings back great memories.
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Old 08-22-2018, 05:45 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by r carl View Post
Ahhhh, the smell of a canvas tent brings back great memories.
Most of them involving long hikes with a heavy backpack, sleeping on cold, wet ground, snoring tent mates, and the best campfires EVER!

Sadly, I'm just too old and crunchy to sleep on the hard ground any more...
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Old 08-22-2018, 06:30 PM   #5
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Hi

Memories:

Lying there listening to the wildlife. Wolves, loons, coyotes ... lots of stuff out there.

---

Less fun .... packing up lots of soaking wet tenting to move to the next site ....

Bob
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Old 08-22-2018, 07:45 PM   #6
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Bean,

You raise many good points. I would think that the base camp concept would be an ideal upgrade from a tent. A rugged, light-weight, waterproof shelter that can be towed off road and with storage for kayaks, bikes, backpacks and so on.

Unfortunately, it seems the BC in reality is a leaky, flimsy, heavy, hard-to-load mess, from what I read here.

I would completely redesign the BC. Eliminate the heavy, particle board cabinets, replace with Cordura or better fabric cabinets that can be hung, re-arranged, added to, with multiple, flexible compartments. An interior that can be easily rearranged. Pull out the Fridge, put in some sort of Yeti cooler, perhaps one that can be powered. Put lots of hooks inside and design hammocks, beds, tie-down points that can be customized for whatever adventure you want. Instead of hard interior walls, ballistic fabric ones that can be arranged wherever, much like a tent.

I'd also put in a Coosa Board subfloor, and redesign the whole suspension to some serious off-road military-grade spec. That should be doable near the price point they are selling these at, but AS doesn't know how to do anything but variations on what they already know how to do.
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Old 08-23-2018, 09:06 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by r carl View Post
Ahhhh, the smell of a canvas tent brings back great memories.
******
Ahhhh... sounds like the US Military option. Nothing like hot canvas in the bright sun.

Wrong material for packing into the wilderness.
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Old 08-23-2018, 09:26 AM   #8
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Age is in the mind of the beholder...

Quote:
Originally Posted by skyguyscott View Post
Bean,

I'd also put in a Coosa Board subfloor, and redesign the whole suspension to some serious off-road military-grade spec. That should be doable near the price point they are selling these at, but AS doesn't know how to do anything but variations on what they already know how to do.
******

Airstream and Thor Industries are interested in one market. The Elderly with cash to burn before their Will distributes whatever is left.

Before the saturated market of Trailers, canvas tents, poles, pegs and rope were in vogue.

Then modern fabrics that were light, durable and water proof with flexible support rods giving the interior more space within. Able to withstand the rigors of Mount Everest at a reasonable cost.

The statistics of Airstream sales booming, could really be viewed at Airstream Dealer lots. The SOB's, as well. Large numbers sitting and waiting for the surge in... buyers? Their market is North America.

European roads are too narrow once off the main arteries who have smaller trailers and tow vehicles.

The used market of late model RV's, Trailers and Pop Ups are Booming... as well.

If you are out of shape, lack enthusiasm and just would rather sit and talk about the good old days... welcome to the new 'camper'. Many of us use our Airstream to complete the Journey, we once visited in a tent and beyond.

Comfort at a destination is a choice, not a requirement for those who still are capable of extending their lives doing what they enjoy.
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Old 08-24-2018, 08:07 AM   #9
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Hi

I certainly would agree that the typical AS buyer is on the "older" side of 35. The typical tent buyer is not quite as skewed age wise. If you look at the "over 60" group, I suspect that the tent buying drops off a bit.

At least for us, the biggest driver was economic. Tents are cheap and they store easily. Trailers cost a chunk of hard earned cash and then you need someplace to store them. Fitting that into our early years .... not going to happen. The current generation has at least as many economic issues as we did back then.

Packing this or that into a campsite seemed like a chore back a few decades. It wasn't enough of an issue to stop us doing it. These days it's more than just a chore. Lugging a bunch of gear a few miles .... not going to happen these days. At least not without new knees ....

Bob
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Old 08-28-2018, 01:49 PM   #10
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My wife an I enjoy backpacking and our Airstream (25' FC rear twin). We were not ready to give up our backpacking lifestyle and 70% of our trips include backpacking from the Airstream. We love setting up our Airstream and then exploring the area with our tent and packs with the ability to return after a night or two and enjoy the amenities we have also become accustomed to. Recently we were boondocking with plans of a backpacking trip in the middle and we were rained out. We could have backpacked but decided instead to do some day hikes and hang out in the trailer. The trailer in harsh weather gives us a ton of options inside, board games, nice meal, bathroom, shower, movie and I dont get the dreaded headache from a flapping tent in 50mph winds. We really enjoy the flexibility and we can extend our "backpacking" trips significantly with the trailer.

Edit to add: We are not young and not old (depending on who you ask) 37 and 40 and depending on pack weight and terrain we can cover 12-18 miles per day backpacking so we have a ton of options wherever we go.
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Old 08-28-2018, 07:20 PM   #11
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We are both 62, but still very active. Our favorite thing to do with our airstream is use it for a base from which we take day hikes and ride mountain bikes. So far we donít find many air streamers with similar interests, but Iím sure they are out there. Perhaps we need a virtual unit?
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Old 09-02-2018, 02:07 PM   #12
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Ray, We went tent camping for years. Then I decided I was getting too old to sleep with rocks in my back, and the little Airstream was really the only unit that appealed to us. Then I decided that I didn't want to decide that we would never go on any overnight canoe trips ever again. Since our full-size canoe has space for a roomier tent than our old 2-person backpacking model, we bought a new 5-person tent through Eureka (manufacturer of the old Draw-Tites, if anyone remembers them. We still have a big canvas one from ca. 1973, but wanted to economize on the weight.) The 5-person tent allows us to stand up inside, even put in some camp chairs if we want to.

While the model we chose was a great price and held up really well to a big squall, it didn't come with a mosquito netting inner door, so I guess you get what you pay for.

Our canoe trips haven't been long ones, but memorable: Kintla Lake at Glacier NP in Montana, and Valhalla Provincial Park in BC.
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Old 09-03-2018, 08:25 AM   #13
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Hi

We always had a number of tents "in inventory". Pulling up to a big flat drive in site and setting up 4 or 5 pretty big stand up inside "structures" was not unheard of. If I had to lug them very far at all, the "stand up inside" option went away pretty fast, so did anything past two tents ....

Big footprint setup:

Tent for us old folks
Tent for the kids
Gizmo with or without screens for eating under
Gizmo with or without screens for cooking under
Tent for storing all the "stuff" in

Indeed, looking at our monster "installation" up in the rockies, some folks in a MH commented "I used to feel sorry for people cramped into tents ... maybe not so much in your case" ....

Is something that large footprint really tent camping? I'm not quite sure it is. You sort of need another category for that sort of massive impact way of doing it.

Bob
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Old 09-03-2018, 10:01 AM   #14
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My brother had something that appeared to be a 'TWO Story tent with apartments'.

One evening a strong gust of wind leveled this structure.

He is back to using just a large tent.

An early Spring or late Fall heavy snow is the judge and jury, if a tent survives the wind, Nature tosses something better your way. Eskimos have it figured out after thousands of years. They just have not found themselves using an Airstream... yet.
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