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Old 10-10-2006, 06:31 AM   #29
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Ok, Outthere...

Since you asked, I'll give you the benefit of my experience. Of course, it's significantly more valuable than the experience or opinions you'll get from anyone else, so I expect you take it as such...

First, THE most important thing you can do while "full timing" is sleep well. If you're well rested, you can cope with anything. If you don't sleep well on the road, every other problem becomes a disaster. With that in mind, THE single most important item in your trailer is a bed that is large enough for two and comfortable enough to get good rest on. Build the rest of your trailer around your bed. The Safaris in the 19' flavor have 48" x 75" beds. If you have a spouse and you're 6' tall, you'll soon figure out that those dimensions do NOT translate into good sleeping arrangements, especially since there is a curved corner cut out of one side!

A 25' trailer is the ideal size for extended travel for two. It's not so small that you can't move around inside, you don't NEED an Excursion to tow it, it's large enough to carry what you need to carry, but it's not so large that you can't go where you want to go. A 23' is just a bit small... and anything larger can get tedious to drag around.

I full-timed in a 23' Safari many years ago, and then my wife (after we married) and I kept that trailer for many years and travelled extensively. It had the rear corner bed and side bath as the 19' and 23' Safaris have today. We didn't have a good nights' sleep together the years we owned that trailer. Beds that have walls on three (or sometimes all four) sides are a REAL pain to make. Travasack (and clones) quickly become the only real option for that style of bed.

A few years ago we had a 1985 325 motorhome with an RV rear side double. We had it 3 years and didn't get a decent nights' sleep in it either.

I'm 6'5" tall and have since learned that a 60" wide bed is a necessity for two, and the last two trailers (the 34' Behemoth and our new Bigfoot) have both been rear island queens into which I squeezed an 80" long mattress.

Having had both dinettes and couches: dinettes, while good for eating, are a poor choice for any other purpose. A couch with a fold-out table is a much more versatile choice. Our brand new trailer has a rear island queen and a front couch with removeable table with enough room to seat two chairs on the opposite side also. Our '70 Safari had a couch but small bed. Our 34' had a couch and dinette, the dinette seldom seeing use except for eating was otherwise wasted space.

Storage needs to be adequate, with a good use of space, but small enough to force you to make decisions about what you'll REALLY use while you're out. You'll already have a kitchen sink, so there's no reason to bring another!

All other layout issues are secondary, minor, and can be overcome.

Regarding axles, I had a tri-axle, my new trailer is a tandem, and my other trailer (an '04 17') is a single. Buy the trailer you like. Don't pass one up because it only has only a single axle. As long as you maintain your bearings and tires properly, a single axle trailer with some kind of sway control will do very nicely. My '70 Safari was a single. My '57 Overlander was a tandem. It really doesn't make that much difference.

Lastly, in a tow vehicle, wheelbase is king. Last night just to try it out, I hooked my V6 Tundra up to my new 5500 lb 25' rear queen and towed it to the dump station to dump the tanks for winterizing. The Tundra towed it remarkably well, and much better than I'd anticipated! (A 2000 Ford Excursion is my 'real' tow vehicle for it...). I use a Reese Dual Cam straightline hitch setup. Hensley makes a wonderful hitch, but I suspect that as long as you stay under 25', a Reese or Equalizer will work well for you at 1/4 the cost.

You are now possessed of all of the wisdom I have to offer...

Happy hunting!

Roger
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Old 10-10-2006, 07:55 PM   #30
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Thanks 85H325! I'm about 6 foot 4 myself so the sleeping arrangements are important. I'll keep your advise in mind....
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Old 10-25-2006, 12:37 AM   #31
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85H325, I think you did a marvelous job of explaining some of the essential things to consider when purchases a trailer. Sleep/comfort is of course number 1. Regarding tow vehilces....I have my opinion after years of towing trailers of one configuration or another. If you can afford it buy a tow rig that is MORE than you need. The bigger to the rig...even if its overkill...the bigger the margin of safety. I see so many people with more in tow and their rigs are designed for. If you are marginal you are never as comfortable behind the wheel as you would be with a bit of overkill with a tow rig. I have a law/rule of my own. I will never....I repeat NEVER.....tow anything but with a One TON DUALLY. Once you go dually you never go back. I know...I know..you guys will jump me for this but....Have you ever puller with one? Longer the wheel base the more stable too. Crew cabs...Ford in particular. I point my truck...everything in tow comes along with no argument. (i just had to put my 2 cents in)

I like the front sofa design in an airstream. MORE room and I found I don't need the dinette. Twin beds have more room also. You get more width 34 inches. If you have a queen..its max width is 60 inches. 30 inches per person.

Reese is the best hitch...but very exspensive....and if YOU have a dually a Equallizer works well..lol. Just another pitch for dual rear wheels. And..dual rear wheels only cost about 1200 dollar more.
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Old 10-25-2006, 04:49 AM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by outthere
Plus she likes the head being on the far side away from the bed. She loves everything about the 20.
When Sandi and I were looking for our AS she too wanted the head as far from the bed as possible. We bought a new '05 Safari 22'. What a great trailer! Large Galley area, front bed and the head is in the back. Too bad they don't make this model anymore. It would be perfect for you. We just came off the road after a 6,000 mile trip and never once did we complain or comment on the size. Go for what you think will work and enjoy your time!
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Old 10-25-2006, 07:31 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by outthere
Also, I did some research on the hensley hitch and talked to the service dept at the local airstream dealership. The service/parts guy there recommeded a Reese with a double cam setup as opposed to the hensley. He seemed to think the hensley didn't do any better of a job than the Reese and cost a lot less. He also mentioned the point I've seen on this forum that the hensley is very difficult to set up and more difficult still to hitch back up at the campground. I'll have to keep checking but I was surprised that he didn't recommened the hensley....I don't have any issue with spending the $$ for the right hitch, just want to make sure I'm getting the "best"....

Thanks again for all the helpful comments!!
Initially I was prepared to shell out the $$ for the Hensley if I thought it was really worth it or if it really made a difference in the towing experience with a 30' Airstream. From the information I gleaned on this website I determined in my mind that it wasn't needed with an Airstream.

Those that have them are really loyal to them. After towing more than 4,000 miles during my first summer of owning our Airstream, I really can't imagine that there would be $2,400 difference in the towing experience. No I'm not trying to start a debate, just offering my experience with my Equal-i-zer brand hitch. I'm sure the Reese and Blue Ox do an equally satisfactory job, but my only experience is with the Equal-i-zer brand so I have nothing else to compare to.
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Old 11-26-2006, 08:36 PM   #34
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Question

Ok....I'm back after a trip to Florida and a visit to Bates RV just outside of Orlando. Bates advertises themselves as the largest AS dealer in North America so since we were down that way for Thanksgiving we decided to check out their inventory. They had a large number of new Airstream trailers on site and after going through a number of them we found ourselves drawn to the 25 footer with the duel single beds in the front. The size of the beds and some of the other features looked good to us. My concern now is with the weight. My 4runner has a 7300 lbs tow capacity and the 25 weighs in at just under 5700 empty. It has a GVW of 7300 lbs. I'm thinking that we'd probably carry around 500 to 1000 lbs of stuff so the GVW of the trailer when loaded and being towed would be about 6200 to 6700 lbs. Would the 7300 lbs capacity of the 4runner be adequate if I were to use a Hensley hitch or some other top rated hitch or am I asking too much of the TV? I don't really want to trade the 4runner if I don't have to. My thought now is to buy the 25 when the time comes, give the 4runner a shot at towing it and if it doesn't tow well than make a move to a bigger TV. What do you think? Will the 4runner work for this setup??
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Old 11-26-2006, 09:48 PM   #35
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Sounds like a good choice! The bed issue was the main reason for us to move up from a 22 CCD to the 25 FB Safari. Two people sleeping in a 48" wide bed with 2 cats just got old VERY FAST!! We also lived on a 37' boat for 13 years and thought the bed would be OK...WRONG!!
As to hitches, check out Equalizer and Reese at Dyer's RV and Camping World for pretty decent pricing.Good luck on the purchase and keep in mind the price increase coming shortly, aaaand welcome to the forum.
Cheers ans smooth sailing..trailering...camping.....
Cheers, Jeff
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Old 11-27-2006, 12:01 AM   #36
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So many choices...

Welcome to the forums and here is wishing you a great find on the perfect- for-you trailer!

In addition to considering what your tow vehicle can or cannot do, you might want to consider other factors to help in the decision making. What kind of camping do you want to do? If you full time it, have you ever tried it before? I would consider a "shake down" for a couple of months and see how you do... even if you have to rent a SOB. Might help you decide what you want and don't want...

If I were you I would grab a big cup of coffee and sit down and read the thread I am linking below. It has lots of good ideas in it for new trailers and for vintage... stuff you may or may not have considered. Just a little homework assignment.

http://www.airforums.com/forum...eam-22920.html

Airstreams are great and we love ours! We travel in a Bambi but not full time. I have found as I age, I enjoy the creature comforts a bit more than I did when I was in my 30s....

Good luck on finding just the right airstream!

Mrs. NorCal Bambi (traveling in S Tardis)
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Old 11-27-2006, 12:35 AM   #37
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Hehehe!

Quote:
Originally Posted by outthere
Ok....I'm back after a trip to Florida and a visit to Bates RV just outside of Orlando. ... and after going through a number of them we found ourselves drawn to the 25 footer with the duel single beds in the front. The size of the beds and some of the other features looked good to us.
Aluminitis! Gotcha!

I also moved from a 22ft CCD to the 25ft FB SE. I have the sideways queen rather than the twins. I got a great deal to take the one on the lot rather than factory order, so I'm kool... and generally very happy. I got the midnight sun interior which I think is the prettiest and most user friendly. Of course in 2007 they came out with the 27 FB SE which has better closet space, better pantry, lobster pot sink, and a front to back facing queen..... No, I WON'T trade again... unless I win the lottery.

Advice? (well since you asked) First, go ahead and order it NOW - you'll get a probably get a better deal from a dealer who is hungry. Spring is peak season and you'll wait longer for delivery. Think carefully and get EXACTLY what you want.

Making almost any RV Bed is more of a pain in the neck than almost any bed in a big room. Twins should definitely be easier because you can just pick the mattress up to tuck in sheets. Invest in "sheet garters" or sew on elastic at the corners of flat sheets if you want a really tight smooth fit. It's definitely cheaper than buysing special sheets to fit Airstreams. Twins will also give you easier access to all of the underbed storage, plus the midnight potty break is less intrusive to a partner. Cuddling? Well twins never stopped anyone....

If you haven't tried to put that big dinette down into a bed, you've missed something. It's quite comfortable and big. Surprised me how much better it was than the lumpy bumpy CCD side one. Great place to lounge and watch TV or gossip. I noticed that the seat/pull out bed was a bit uncomfortable after a while, and figured that it was because the seat was dead flat rather than curved upward toward the front. To check, I took a beach towel and rolled it up the long way, then put it under the front of the cushion..... MUCH betta.. and a good place to store the towel. The dinette/bench configuration is a great place for cocktails on a rainy evening with up to to 7 people.

What I WOULD change:
  1. I got the small front window, with the wraparound in the back. Most have wraparounds in the front and back. I WOULDN'T change to a bigger front window if I had the choice. I sleep better in a darker room. The wraparound front windows are covered by a rock shield, so they are kinda useless anyway.
  2. I wish I'd gotten a second fan rather than a vent in the bedroom. The vent cover Airstream uses is white and lets in a lot of light. The fan vent is smoke color AND if you're boondocking, opening the windows and turning on the fan will really cool the bedroom.
  3. The skylight in the dining area is overrated. I'd rather NOT have it. It lets in heat in summer and is cold in winter. There is so much light from the windows already... it isn't needed.
  4. If they haven't changed the pantry to solid shelves, get at least one more wire shelf than they furnish it with.
  5. I like the single "lobster pot" sink better than the two small ones - even your biggest pot will fit in it, and a lot less splashes out when you wash. That's a personal preference and everyone is different. I believe the 25 may continue to have the small sinks, but either way, washing dishes takes 15 minutes a day... why sweat it?
I DID find that a few of the drawers tended to come open when towing on a rough road. I added magnetic stops to all of mine. The drawer bodies are metal... I put the magnets on each side of the frame (.89 for two at WalMart). I DID find that the Mirror in the bathroom is held in place by two cheap rivet - one of which broke on the road - I had some velcro and added it at the sides and bottom of the medicine cabinet and have left it there. One good push before I travel and it's engaged. I also replaced the rivets with screws.

Buy and ENJOY your travels.

Paula Ford
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Old 11-27-2006, 08:25 AM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by outthere
Ok....I'm back after a trip to Florida and a visit to Bates RV just outside of Orlando. Bates advertises themselves as the largest AS dealer in North America so since we were down that way for Thanksgiving we decided to check out their inventory. They had a large number of new Airstream trailers on site and after going through a number of them we found ourselves drawn to the 25 footer with the duel single beds in the front. The size of the beds and some of the other features looked good to us. My concern now is with the weight. My 4runner has a 7300 lbs tow capacity and the 25 weighs in at just under 5700 empty. It has a GVW of 7300 lbs. I'm thinking that we'd probably carry around 500 to 1000 lbs of stuff so the GVW of the trailer when loaded and being towed would be about 6200 to 6700 lbs. Would the 7300 lbs capacity of the 4runner be adequate if I were to use a Hensley hitch or some other top rated hitch or am I asking too much of the TV? I don't really want to trade the 4runner if I don't have to. My thought now is to buy the 25 when the time comes, give the 4runner a shot at towing it and if it doesn't tow well than make a move to a bigger TV. What do you think? Will the 4runner work for this setup??
No hitch will compensate for lack of power in the tow vehicle. Nor will it compensate for insufficient braking power on the tow vehicle either. The Hensley claims to compensate for sway in emergency braking and from the research that I have done, I believe it might prevent jack knifing under most emergency braking, but probably not the most severe. I don't think anything will totally elliminate all risk of jack knifing.

I believe the advise to try towing with the 4runner is probably the best thing to do with the understanding that you may or probably will want to upgrade tow vehicles at some point in the future. That is not to say that you will have to get rid of your 4runner. You should look into mid-90's half-ton and 3/4 ton trucks or SUV's (Suburbans or Expeditions/Excursions, etc.) as dedicated tow vehicles and keep the 4runner as a daily driver. You might also look at Nissan Armada's or the larger Toyota SUV's if you don't like the American name plates. The mid-90's full sized SUV's can be had for under $7,000. You will have options.

As far as beating price increases, that's up to you. You may be better off eating the price increase rather than rushing to a decision without thinking it through and not getting exactly what you want. That would be an expensive decision that would ultimately cost you more in the long run. However, depending on the price increase, ordering now might save enough to make it worth it to get off of the fence and just do it. Either way, do what is best for you.
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Old 11-27-2006, 09:47 AM   #39
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I checked on the combined weight of my 4runner and a TT. It's 12,000 lbs. The 4runner is 5490 and if I figure people and stuff probably closer to 6200. That leaves a max of 5800 for the trailer and contents. The 25 AS comes in at 5800 empty so that will not work! Alas....back to the drawing board....either a new TV or a smaller trailer.....nothing is easy!
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Old 11-27-2006, 10:22 AM   #40
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Hi Outthere,

Full-timing in a too-small trailer would drive me bonkers.

If you buy a new trailer that ends up being too small... then you replace both the trailer and the tow vehicle, taking a bit depreciation hit.

If you buy a new trailer that is just right, but the tow vehicle is too small, then you need to replace the tow vehicle.

If you buy a used trailer that is too small, then you upgrade both trailer and tow vehicle - but without much depreciation hit.

Airstreams (and other RV's) can depreciate at a horrendous rate. You can find a really nice, lightly used, late model trailer for 1/2 price.

Good Luck!
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Old 11-27-2006, 11:19 AM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by outthere
I checked on the combined weight of my 4runner and a TT. It's 12,000 lbs. The 4runner is 5490 and if I figure people and stuff probably closer to 6200. That leaves a max of 5800 for the trailer and contents. The 25 AS comes in at 5800 empty so that will not work! Alas....back to the drawing board....either a new TV or a smaller trailer.....nothing is easy!
hi outthere...

a wise move to rethink things.

find the trailer you really really like and want and can afford.

upgrade the tv as needed for THAT trailer...

or the next size up!

tow vehicles come and go, but the airstream is enduring...

keep looking and good luck!

2air'
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Old 11-27-2006, 03:12 PM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2airishuman
tow vehicles come and go, but the airstream is enduring...
2air'
Wise words.
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