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Old 07-31-2016, 12:29 PM   #1
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Newbie question

So my wife and I rented an Airstream Classic 28'' for a 1 1/2 week trip with our two yellow labs to (1) see if we cd actually do trailer travel (I am a fit 64 year old but have pretty bad back problems so I wanted to see how setting up and breaking down would be) (2) whether we liked it and (3) whether we wanted to plunk down the cash for an Airstream.

Our trip itinerary was magnificent - we went from Bozeman to Jackson hole to Yellowstone to Paradise Valley - spending about 3-4 days at each site. Beauty and awesome sights wherever we looked.

So the answer to question no. 1 is yes - as we learned to hitch unhitch and set up break down camp - it got easier - though a nice little workout - lifting and bending - all which my new back brace helped along.

The answer to question no. 2, is a resounding yes - we love trailer/camping/glamping life and the yellows (city dogs thru and thru) love the outdoors.

The answer to question no. 3 is more complex. We loved the Airstream, its simple beauty as well as its layout and ingenious/efficient design.

But I am a big guy - 210 lb and 6'2" - and I found the bedroom to be tight as well as the toilet. There is no other way to address but to say that I had to contort myself to sit down on the seat due to leg length. It was also tight living what with two labs but even if they were out of the way - my wife and I had to do a ballet whenever we passed each other - from front lounger to bedroom.

So we are sort of bummed right now. We love the Airstream concept/culture/community - even after less than a week we could see the comradery - our very first day another long time airstreamer gave us his book "Airstreaming for Newbies" and spent an hour discussing the ins and outs of Airstreaming.

But it is clear we need more space. I really don't want to go to a fifth wheel with slide outs to get more space - though the wife is now trending that way. Guess if I were 5'4" like her she might not need the space.

I have looked online and the Classic with its extra two feet looks bigger on the Colonial video - but that is meant to make it look big (haven't looked but my guess is that their videos make the smallest Bambi look big).

So here are my questions/dilemma - assuming that we were to go as big as possible and get the Classic 30J (we want to buy new - so the old 34' or 2006 with slide out are probably not options) (1) will that extra two feet in the Classic really make a difference (2) what techniques/suggestions do those of you who are bigger have to solve the space problem (3) same questions for those with large dogs (2 to be exact) and (4) anything else anyone can come up with (like whether we have one custom built to meet some of these issues).

We will not be full timers. Will probably use it for about 3-4 months each winter to get to a warmer climate (we live in Chicago) and 2-4 week camping trips in warmer months.

Sorry for the length of the post. But as you can imagine - this is an important decision. Thanks in advance - just for reading this to its end.

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Old 07-31-2016, 01:46 PM   #2
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1999 34' Excella
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I'm the same height as you, but a little heavier. We are the same age.

In my 25' Safari the corner bed is small for me and my wife, but we are comfortable using it. The corner bathroom shower is small for me and when I set on the toilet my toes are sticking out under the door. But that trailer is easier to travel with so I put up with the smallness. This trailer is floor plan C, with the dinette and sofa. The 25' trailer can use a smaller tow vehicle and it is easier to maneuver while traveling. We just returned from a 6 week trip and were very comfortable the whole time.

In my 34' Excella the rear queen bed gives us ample sleeping room. We live in this trailer 4 to 5 months each year during winter in FL. We only towed it ~1,000 miles last year The mid bath in the 34' has a larger shower and the toilet room is oriented so that there is enough room to stand in front of the toilet while the door is closed. This trailer has the dinette on one side of the kitchen with a sofa and a barrel chair up front.

One of my prior trailers was a 1999 30' Excella with a rear queen. This had the same bed/bath layout as my 34', but did not have a dinette.

I owned 3 prior trailers that did not have a dinette. After these, we decided we will not have another trailer unless it includes a dinette.

If I were going to choose a new trailer today, which would be my one and only, I would choose a 30' Classic with the rear queen floor plan. I went into one of these that was just built, while I was taking the factory tour, last June. It is a beautiful trailer. That floor plan offers the rear queen/mid bath, a dinette, and the front sofa. If I were going to spend that kind of money, I would get the sofa removed and have recliners installed at the factory.

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Old 07-31-2016, 01:49 PM   #3
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Denver , North Carolina
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Hi and welcome. You sound like us only we have a poodle so I expect the space might be a little bigger walking around her. My first question is where did you get an AS to rent? I would invest in renting a few of different lengths and configurations if we could.
We've been looking for a used AS and I like the room of the 30 ft ones. But the extra feet look like they will limit some of the National and State parks we want to camp in. My research indicates that you might as well buy big to start with if it is even a question that you might feel cramped. I see a lot of "2 footitis" trade ins in our market area.
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Old 07-31-2016, 01:50 PM   #4
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Amen to recliners.
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Old 07-31-2016, 02:20 PM   #5
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Walnut Creek , California
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At 6'-4" and 300#s, I fit without my toes sticking out in the toilet and have no problem with the shower in our 23. The bed is a full queen and we fit. The layouts really are different. Look for what works for you. We don't have room for a recliner, but we bought a pair of wedges that make sitting up in bed comfortable. Our coach does not have room for a football team, but it has the features we want and is easy to tow. You will figure it out. Good hunting. Pat

PS - go sit in the Land Yacht. It's the only big one with a combined shower and toilet configuration. Maybe?
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Old 07-31-2016, 03:05 PM   #6
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I'm a half inch shorter than you and probably your weight plus a yellow.

We have a 27FB and the only downside for me is the toilet. But I figure if I'm spending more than 1/2% of my time there while camping, I have other problems to worry about 😳

Shower is fine, all other space is fine - narrow galleys give couples a little thrill every now and then so put that on the asset side of the column, not a liability 😀

In all seriousness - you did a great thing renting one and getting a sense of a day in the life. Now, go hang out in a few more - try the larger ones in whatever configurations you can find at a larger volume dealer that has many units on the lot. Try the 26U - it seems to have a very spacious configuration.

Try them all and see what you think. And at the end of the day, if it doesn't work for you, there are so many other brands. The important thing is to camp (or glamp) to your hearts content no matter the tool you use to make that happen.

Good luck!
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Old 07-31-2016, 03:40 PM   #7
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We built our 2014 31' Classic model 30 with twin beds. We found we could have made the mattresses about 4" longer than the drawing showed to fully cover the support board. They could even be another 8" longer if needed. That is the case with several of the models that now offer the twin bed option.

We also have a 2015 23D International Serenity and while the shower is more spacious than the one in the Classic, the "library" is snug at best. In our Classic, we hung a privacy curtain beside the stool so there is flexible space for our legs. The bed in a 23D is very snug and involves climbing over one another and seems to just fit us at 5' 6" for me and the wife is about the same.

So touring a large dealership with good selections of each size will help one determine if the Airstream world works.
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Old 07-31-2016, 03:53 PM   #8
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How exciting. I suggest you and your wife make an appointment and really go look at all of them. Pop out to New Jersey and visit Colonial.

The Airstream website does have some floor plan information, but doesn't really convey the elevation 3-D differences between the units.

Some models require the user to angle themselves a bit to use the toilet. The 22 sport (smaller than what you want probably) and the 23 front bed (which miiiiight be worth a look) has the bathroom in the back, and there is a good amount of room, including a toilet that does not require the sitter to angle the legs, and the bathroom is large enough to stand in and get dressed or towel off after showering.

Also look at the 26 U as I believe it has the straight-on toilet also.

For the amount of money you are proposing to spend, I think that a fact finding mission to see most models in person is warranted. Maybe hit the Jersey Shore (see a show at the Stone Pony) or hit downtown NYC (for a show or museum).

For national park and state park campgrounds, the streamlined airstream without slides gives a lot more flexibility for sites.

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Old 08-06-2016, 09:06 AM   #9
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Huntersville , North Carolina
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Hey there - I'll chime in here since we seem to have relevant experience.

Husband is about your size and I'm a tall woman. We have a 25' FC, Fb. We travelled our first two seasons with two big labs (RIP). Husband and I came to the AS from two completely different starting points. I was a tent camper and he wanted a Class A.

We immediately DIY swapped out the queen for a king size bed set up. We sleep on a king SleepNumber bed at home and put the same in the camper. That's a good thing. We found the "walk around" island queen bed set up to be ridiculously unusable. If we'd had the twins to start with we prob would have just kept that.

Husband has always said the bathroom was his biggest complaint. It's tight for me but I'm "ok" with it. We've settled on the following set up: we leave that tiny bathroom door open & close the "room" divider thing. These two doors "combined" effectively make the whole bathroom/shower/hallway seem like a single larger bathroom space. It works fine but wouldn't choose again for his sake if starting over.

As for traveling with 2 big dogs. God love 'em but it was tight. Also would not try to do again, for any of our sakes. I don't think extra length would have solved any of that problem. Humans can change directions given a fairly small radius. Big long dogs, not so much. Once we were all inside moving was a challenge. Maybe the longer trailer will give you enough of a "room" like space at that one end for everyone to settle in comfortably. But I can't speak to that. I'm not going with a bigger trailer and we only have one dog now.

For me, a skinny trailer and having to sometimes coordinate movements back and forth with another human is not a big deal. It's like working in a commercial kitchen ... people just develop a feel for it and it all works fine. YMMV.

I love airstreams for the reasons people do. I will never be a 5th wheel person. If I had to travel with 2 big dogs again - for any significant amount of time - I'd consider a classA. Or a minivan and AirBnB.

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Old 08-06-2016, 10:59 AM   #10
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You need to explore different floor plans. I'm 6'4" and 220 lbs. and with our rear bath set up have no issues with the toilet but find showering to be comical but doable. I am to long for the mid twins, but fit on the let down gaucho perfectly. The wife and I fit nicely on the bed as long as Sochi, our German Shepard, stays on the floor. She is a city dog too, and is very spoiled 😆.
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Old 08-06-2016, 12:08 PM   #11
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Although you stated a slide model was 'probably' not an option, here's my insight. I'm 6' 3.75", the wife 5'2", and our two Danes are considered large as the smallest one is a mere 150 pounds. My hair brushes the ceiling and I duck for the Air Conditioner. We have the Queen which suits us, but singles might become my desire if I weighted a tad more as you can't really walk around the mattress edge.

Contrary to widely held 'opinion,' the Airstream slide has proven exceptionally durable and leak free as their owners will attest. Ours will be 14 in October and is still going strong. The slide-out feature adds about 12 square feet of open floor space concentrated in the living area. It makes moving about for 'four' completely different than any other floor plan plus lets the dogs sleep stretched out on the floor. We would not have another model with our big pups, especially on those long rainy days. The trailer does weight more than other models, but it sure pulls nicely and feels impervious to air waves from passing trucks.

Yes, the enclosed toilet location is not designed for bigger people, but it can be modified. The corridor wall&/door can be removed and the toilet turned 90 degrees as is done in some layouts. You end up using the draw curtains to create a big bathroom. The shower stall is an infrequent use item for me but can be done in a pinch. I've toyed with the idea of adding a bubble ceiling found on other SOBs, but that would not solve the elbow room issue.

IMHO, adding interior space by choosing a longer model length does not add maneuverability.
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Old 08-07-2016, 03:35 PM   #12
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I am big too

Hello I am a bit bigger than you are. Same height but another 50 lbs. Think linebacker not fat but a 54" chest. We bought a classic limited 34'. If you want new that wont help. but I am amazed at how comfortable it is for me. We got in a number of smaller ones first. Bed too short, bathroom too small, seat too close to the table etc. and admittedly the bathroom could be bigger but I don't hit my knees when i sit.
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Old 08-08-2016, 03:43 PM   #13
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One of the most significant differences I found between my 2012 28' Intl CCD and my 2015 30' Classic was the size of the bathroom. While I'm not a big guy, I thought the bathroom in the 28' was almost claustrophobically compact. The 30 is quite a bit more generous with much more legroom and width. Were I about to make a decision like this, I'd definitely try out the size and find one that fits. It is also possible to do a mod to the bed in the Classic and put in a regular queen size bed, but you do lose "around the bed" space for walking.
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Old 08-08-2016, 04:22 PM   #14
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Based upon your itinerary it appears that you rented from Airstreams 2Go. We were thinking of doing the same thing to get a taste of the lifestyle and because we never pulled a trailer. However, we were turned off by the price. I think I would rather buy a new trailer and apply the substantial cost (on season for a week about $1,000/day) to the purchase price. Given the relatively high resale value we thought we would take the chance and buy rather than spend the high rental fee. We are headed to Hershey in mid-September to look at the 23 FC (FB) with Queen bed. I am only 5'10 and my wife 5'7. Aside from the cost and if my assumption was correct how was your experience with Airstream 2Go?

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