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Old 03-17-2015, 10:39 PM   #1
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Airstream roof or safari type rack???

I'm in the early stages of an Argosy resto/mod. I'm pulling the shell in the morning and have been contemplating options, it seems to me the aluminum ribbed design is sufficiently strong and rigid enough to support a roof or safari type rack, why don't I see any on the inter web???
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Old 03-18-2015, 04:52 PM   #2
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Interesting.

My first guess would be that it's due to the fact that it's annoyingly inconvenient to get on the roof. Unless you have an unsightly ladder mounted to the trailer, it's not easy to get up there without risking scratches and dents. I'm planning to take up all the roof space on my '76 28-foot that would be convenient for a storage rack/container with solar panels instead.
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Old 03-18-2015, 11:53 PM   #3
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I don't think a ladder would be unsightly at all, in fact if done correctly could be quite beautiful and unique, I'm surprised I've never seen one. I would think a rack would obviate any scratches on the skin at least if done correctly. I could carry a couple of kayaks or just chill with my wife and a cold beer on the balcony! My Airstream Balcony! I wonder if it's a purist thing or if people don't want an unsightly ladder. I've seen all kinds of unsightly rock guards and wing protectors.

Thanks for the input DKB, A 28 foot has a lot of real estate on the roof, you must have one hell of a battery bank, I also plan on using a few solar panels, but I don't think more than a few hundred watts should be necessary for my 24. Good luck with your storage rack/mega watt retrofit, I'll look for you on the road.
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Old 03-19-2015, 12:05 AM   #4
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One big advantage of a rack/platform over the A/S is the shade it would provide and thus keep the interior cooler.
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Old 03-19-2015, 10:47 AM   #5
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~~
Thanks for the input DKB, A 28 foot has a lot of real estate on the roof, you must have one hell of a battery bank, I also plan on using a few solar panels, but I don't think more than a few hundred watts should be necessary for my 24. Good luck with your storage rack/mega watt retrofit, I'll look for you on the road.
Heh... I'm not planning to get all THAT crazy with solar, I just want to put the panels in the "easy" location rather than squeeze them in beside roof vents or crowd the antenna, etc. I'm just thinking about a couple of good-sized panels side-by-side between the rear roof vent and the AC unit. Not too obtrusive from the ground, not in the way of anything else. 250-350 watt range for the array, 100-150 AH of usable battery capacity (so roughly twice that nominal capacity unless the lithium stuff gets affordable REAL quickly!) I'm planning on a Danfoss 12v fridge and my unit does a lot of boondocking so I want plenty of battery.
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Old 03-19-2015, 12:36 PM   #6
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One big advantage of a rack/platform over the A/S is the shade it would provide and thus keep the interior cooler.
I have seen the DecoLiner in person and it is aMAzing! You can drive it from upstairs! Like a flying bridge on a motor yacht. It's based on a GMC motor home.

Randy Grubb is a very interesting artist...


The Decoliner is a Randy Grubb Blastolene handmade Airstream travel trailer
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Old 03-20-2015, 07:21 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by cutndried View Post
I could carry a couple of kayaks or just chill with my wife and a cold beer on the balcony! My Airstream Balcony! I wonder if it's a purist thing or if people don't want an unsightly ladder. I've seen all kinds of unsightly rock guards and wing protectors.
I would worry about putting too much weight that far from the center of gravity. You would probably have to beef up the springs and shocks on the trailer. The curvy sides would be a tremendous problem, I think. The ladder would have to transition to a set of steps, and be much more stout/larger than a typical RV ladder. Sort of a climb to a slither...

Hauling kayaks up and down would also be tough, and at some point play havoc with the nice finish on your trailer. Not to mention, there's the whole problem of not camping at the launch. Haul the boats down, then strap them to the TV? Lots of work!

Though having a beer up there sounds like a fine idea, if it isn't too hot out. I bet you could sell tickets to go up there if you went to an airshow!
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Old 03-20-2015, 08:53 AM   #8
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All valid points Suzy, that is exactly what I came here for although I doubt that weight will be an issue, I'm only talking about a lightweight aluminum frame and the curved shell should only be a challenge for the novice! C'mon man, really, a sorry shoebox trailer can come with a rack as a factory option but take caution young man, you might alter the COG on an airstream!! I'm not even sure how to comment on the whole ladder, step, slither statement, it seems so simple to me, I've seen people post pics of swim decks added on the back of there AS on this sight loaded to the hilt, seems like you could install a spiral stair back there if you had such an inclination. Is screwing up the finish on the AS side really an issue or radiant heat reflection, or are these the ramblings of a purist? I've seen all manner of additions to the AS, product, some people seem to have no fear at all of impacting gross weight or COG. I believe in thoughtful planning and design and after pulling mine 500 miles home and now that the shell is removed and the frame stripped, I am of the opinion that none of these issues will suffer a major impact.
I understand the ideology of purism, but I'm talking about enhancing the campers aesthetic as well as function, that's not a bad thing, and I mean no disrespect to those who prefer the chrome dome so please forgive my audacity of tampering with timelessness.
You're welcome to come share a beer with me Suzy and I will be selling tickets at my next air show, and I promise to try my best not to look down on all the purists.
I do appreciate the different opinions but I'm tempted just by the fact that I've never seen or heard of one, maybe I will start an AS trend, the factory might even offer it as a new option in a few years so future purists won't be left sulking on the ground.
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Old 03-20-2015, 10:18 AM   #9
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First, realize that the flat area on the roof of an Airstream or Argosy really isn't very big. The curved sides and ends take up most of the space.
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Old 03-20-2015, 10:52 AM   #10
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I think it depends on how much you can spread the load across the bows. They weren't really made to carry 300-400lbs extra that two people and a rack would weigh, but if you could spread it out so each bow was only holding 20-30lbs extra even while you move around on the deck, it might be ok. I'm not sure how you'd do that, though.

The rest would be fairly easy.
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Old 03-20-2015, 12:36 PM   #11
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Mounted to each rib as close to the side as possible would make it very strong and spread the load over a large area.

Now if the deck was as wide as the Airstream and solid one could mount a Fammia crank out awning to it instead of the spendy Zip Dee.

Something like this but at each rib.
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Old 03-20-2015, 01:58 PM   #12
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Very cool idea, indeed. It gets the creativity going. A safari-type rack could distribute the weight nicely and look beautiful. I agree that a ladder could be a visual treat. I whipped this up--is this what you were thinking of?
Naturally, to follow the theme, stainless steel or aluminum with wood? Yes, please.
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Old 03-20-2015, 07:09 PM   #13
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Wow, thanks for all of the input guys and gals, that is exactly what I am talking about. The pics are perfect, I have looked and looked to no avail, the ladder is perfect, it's tasteful and doesn't block the emergency exit and the wood accents are beautiful. I'm thinking I can weld some kind of a gusset with a curved saddle that I can bolt to each rib to support a delicate aluminum frame with the wood strips kind of like a teak deck on a boat. This is exactly what I want, unique and beautiful with multi functionality, I think it can give my Argosy loads of character. I considered using the frame to support a sundowner type awning like the earlier suggestion, but I'm not sure about how to prevent rain from running beneath the awning and running over the curb side of my camper, another logistical issue that needs some creative engineering.
Thanks again for the good ideas and suggestions.
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Old 03-20-2015, 07:19 PM   #14
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Shark, did you photoshop that ladder? Some kind of vector or wire frame? What are you using to do the design?
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