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Old 05-27-2012, 11:26 AM   #29
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If you want more unbiased opinions, and perhaps more knowledgeable opinions overall, I suggest posting your questions on the Escapees forum which is largely populated by RV fulltimers.

I think you'll find that fulltime RVers prefer 5th wheels or motorhomes over travel trailers 100 to 1, and for good reason. Actually, for many good reasons.

Airstreams are not the quality trailer that they are made out to be by many Airstream owners. Do a search of this forum and you'll find dozens upon dozens of quality issues that have persisted, many unadressed by Airstream management, for years upon years.

My 2004 Airsteam, purchased new, was the biggest hunk of junk one could possibly imagine, and I'd match my 2008 Newmar Kountry Aire 5th wheel against it, or any Airstream ever on the road, and it would come out on the top in practically every category except perhaps for 2 things - it wouldn't get into some 4x4 backcountry camping spots, and it wouldn't reflect and absorb the hot sun's rays the same way as a polished aulminum one does.


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Old 05-27-2012, 12:03 PM   #30
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Speaking of unbiased opinions . . .

John (Flyfisher), you haven't owned an Airstream for years, you're a 5th wheel guy.

doug k

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Old 05-27-2012, 01:25 PM   #31
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Doug, flyfisher is not alone in questioning the quality control and cost cutting at Airstream. We just got things fixed under warranty and continue to upgrade.

Harry, you can spend as much as you want on an Airstream. If you want to upgrade insulation on an Airstream, that means gutting it, taking off the inner skin and putting is better insulation than fiberglass. There are a variety of foam products.

Or you get a 4 season trailer or 5th wheel from a company like Arctic Fox. They have a good reputation for quality.

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Old 05-27-2012, 01:40 PM   #32
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I've said it a lot - Airstreams aren't magic... they are part artwork and part sculpture... To compare, Ferrari makes some of the most beautiful, and most expensive cars around. They have some of the highest maintenance requirements of any car as well...

There is definitely a status attached to owning an Airstream... like it or not, you are going to get a lot of looks and a lot of questions everywhere you go.

If you are looking for trouble free... buy a nice tent.
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Old 05-27-2012, 02:09 PM   #33
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Friday: We go tent camping. Tents are not trouble free. Try getting up in the middle of the night to "answer a call of nature." More than once. Lots of trouble!

Gene: We are looking into the Arctic Fox 5th Wheel. I was wondering if I could also consider the Northwood TT. (Northwood makes the Arctic Fox.) One of the reasons I posted here was I figured you guys could give me another point of view about the TT, since you have the premium brand. Only, now I'm considering the Airstream, also.
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Old 05-27-2012, 02:26 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Midnightmoon View Post
I've pulled them all more miles than I care to mention. For towing and handeling, give me a good quality 5th wheel any day. If you haven't had the opportunity to pull one, you will really be shocked how stable they are compared to an equivalent sized TT.

With that said, stay away from any 5th wheel built on Lippert frames like the low end Keystones or Forest Rivers. There are tons of stories on the web talking about pin box separation. Good names to look for are Mobile Suites, Arctic Fox, Travel Supreme. They are spendy, but well worth the money.

I will agree with everyone here in saying that the Airstreams are just about the best towing TT's you can find. It's just an apple to oranges comparison with a 5th wheel.
I have to agree with most of the above.
I spent ten years and several 100k miles delivering new trailers to dealers, towing with a 3/4 ton truck.

Given a choice between taking a large fifth wheel or similiar length box trailer I would always take the fiver.

That being said, I still prefer the Airstream and a truck with a cap for my extra stuff for my personal use.
All the reasons posted by others such as lower overhead clearance, wind resistance etc are valid.
Pulling these large trailers is work compared to the Airstream.
If you are going to spend most of your time in long term locations the FW would not be so bad. If you are going to put on many thousands of road miles, and like out of the way spots the Airstream would likely be a better choice
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Old 05-27-2012, 04:49 PM   #35
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Good points, all...

If we were older snowbirds who followed the weather, spending winters in Arizona or Florida, and summers near our grandkids in the northern climes, and using primarily Interstate highways to shuffle between these locations; a fifth-wheel with several slideouts and lots of storage would make a great home.

However, we like to boondock and camp in the off-seasons when the crowds are somewhere else. So, our 19-foot Bambi, which will follow about anywhere our 2WD pickup can go, makes more sense for us. Plus, we intend to pass down our Airstream for our kids and grandkids to enjoy after our pickup keys have been taken away from us, and it's time to start booking cruises. And, I don't know of any other RV that will survive that long, especially since we intend to about wear this one out before that day comes!
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Old 05-27-2012, 05:11 PM   #36
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As many others have pointed out....depends on your intended use. We just moved from a 5 th wheel to an airstream and couldn't be happier. Stress level wwwaaaayyyyy down......not looking up anymore to see what wires about to snag or wondering if we make it under that low overhang! AS, lower center of gravity and wind resistance. What really did it was on a recent trip up through north western NM in the 5 er with some wind and little ice on the road the wind pushed the trailer then the truck......tail wagging the dog. That was it, manageability won out hands down over space.

Good luck
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Old 05-27-2012, 07:13 PM   #37
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Home Sweet Home

An Airstream looks like a home when unhitched.

A fifth wheel looks like it's missing something when unhitched.

A SOB motorhome look like it is out of its element when parked, i.e. it's begging to hit the road -- and burn another $350 worth of fuel.

BTW, the Fan is not the "biggest piece of junk."

In short, do you want to look and feel like just another RVer....or do you want to grace your retirement years with style and couth?
easily distracted by shiny objects
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Old 05-27-2012, 07:41 PM   #38
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This looks to be a pretty entertaining thread...

Anyhow-I am biased too-but entertaining the idea of a triaxle AS to 'trailer' around with...

There is no replacing my fiver-my rig runs the highway like a bullet-the key is setup-and matching your TV and trailer (any trailer/hauler/fiver)

What I've learned about the AS is that it seams you can have a bit of a mismatched combo and still find good handling...I can tow just about any conventional TT and not know it's behind my truck-the fact that the truck weighs 10K fueled up helps keep the tail from waggin the dog.

If I get in it will be all about the aura.
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Old 05-27-2012, 10:02 PM   #39
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so I've noticed that some folks have discussed how much faster it is to hitch 5th wheel. While I've never done so, I did have an interesting experience watching a guys at the RV storage lot try and hook up his. Basically we got there after he had and were driving away with the AS all hooked up and he was still trying to get something set up right with his. Now, I am more than willing to accept that he was either not very good or that there was something wrong with his system.

Anyway, get a TV with a backup camera (or add one) and you'll be hooking up quickly. I should also point out that I was hitching up with a Pro Pride.

Oh, and the AS is a four season unit.

Don't forget that we've all (or mostly all) drunk that AS Kool-Aid so factor that in to your weighing of our opinions. ;-)
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Old 05-28-2012, 08:13 AM   #40
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phbarnhart, I don't think the Airstream would be considered a four season unit, would it?
We've camped in subzero, but the trailer is barely capable and that was overnight only. No sewer, water, furnace and electric space heater going, and too much condensation.

I believe three season would be accurate.

doug k
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Old 05-28-2012, 09:34 AM   #41
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I'm sorry but I don't see that the "four seasons" argument is any different, Airstream or any other RV type or brand. They all have the same vulnerability to freezing because they all use water, have the same type holding tanks, etc. I can see where some types of construction might have slightly better insulation qualities, but I fail to see where it would make any significant difference in sub zero weather.

On the 5th wheel vs Airstream debate....get the type of RV that most suits you uses, and be happy.
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Old 05-28-2012, 09:47 AM   #42
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There are bigger, heavier units (mostly 5th wheels) that are purpose-built for cold. I know of no Airstream that is designed for extended below freezing use...

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