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Old 09-10-2017, 02:43 PM   #1
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Sometime , Alabama
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27 or 30 - The Size Dilemma

So...Soon to be full timing in an Airstream.

Will live and work full time in a local area for a couple of years before we retire and travel.

When we do retire and travel...
-we plan to boondock for no more than one week at a time
-we plan to stay inside of state and national parks frequently
-we plan to stay at each destination 1-week to 1-month
-we plan to travel the US coast to coast, corner to corner

We have done a lot of research.
This forum has been a great source of info.
We have set for hours in new, on the lot, 27' and 30' models.

For the 30', we like
-larger fridge
-larger fresh water capacity
-dedicated space for dinette and wrap around couch
-larger bathroom area

For the 27', we like
-shorter
-lighter
-DW loves the large pull out pantry
-with reservation, lack of wardrobes on both sides of the queen bed blocking our outdoor view...
...but, maybe we would miss that storage the 30' has on both sides of the queen bed

I'm interested in any input that would help us make a good decision.
I don't know if I would rather
1) buy a 27 and wish I had bought a 30
...or...
2) buy a 30 and wish I had bought a 27

Thanks for any guidance and real life experiences that you can provide on this matter.

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Old 09-10-2017, 03:05 PM   #2
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2017 30' Classic
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
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Hi

... umm.... errr..... which 30'? The 30' Classic has the nice pull out pantry. I'm guessing you are looking at the 27 FC vs the 30 FC.

We don't full time. For "couple of week" trips, the 30' Classic has *plenty* of space for two people. Two people plus two large dogs is a "no problem" sort of thing as far as fitting everything in. The 30FC has a bit less storage, but it still has a lot.

Take a look at both inside and outside storage. Some "stuff" is much better stored outdoors / used outdoors. We did not look as intensively at that part as we might have. Interior bed configuration changes the way outside storage is set up on some trailers. You can store "outside" stuff in the bed of a truck, that may not be a perfect solution.

The 27 FC is 28 feet long. The 30 FC is 31 feet long. Three feet *is* noticeable. There will be places it will make a difference. Neither one will get into a space suited to a 16'. Neither one will tow behind a Honda CRV.

For a week off grid .... bigger tanks are better ....

To answer final your question:

I have a 30' Classic would I rather have a 27' FC nope.

I have a Classic, would I have gone with a 30' FC nope.

If there had been a 28' long Classic would I have gone with it? That depends a lot on just what went away to get to the 28' length. I keep wondering if it could be done. My *guess* is a real 28' layout would have taken out to much of what I like. After a full summer of running all over the place, we have yet to go anywhere / see anyplace that a 31' long was and issue, but a 28' would not have been.

Bob
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Old 09-10-2017, 03:25 PM   #3
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I do love the large pantry in the 27 too. We travel for long periods of time and it's is so convent esp in areas where grocery shopping is limited. We had shelves made for half our closet as we don't bring a lot of hanging clothes so that gives us extra storage. It's a hard decision for you. I would prefer the sitting and dinette area of the 30 too but like the smaller size of the 27 and the view from the dinette. All trade offs. If I were fulltiming as you were I'd prob opt for the 30 just for the extra space and seating.
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Old 09-10-2017, 03:26 PM   #4
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27 or 30 - The Size Dilemma

Just replaced our 27FB with a 30', both FC. We do 3-4 months at a time. Pluses for the 30': more living area in main area, easier to add recliners. knee room when on the throne. when you back into a space there is often room behind the space for the trailer to hang over, 27FB your stepping into that space,30' entry is within the usually paved or improved space. Better access to storage compartment. Able to use eaz-lift hitch if that's your preference.
Minuses for the 30, crappy pantry.
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Old 09-10-2017, 03:34 PM   #5
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Our previous trailer was a 27 foot "Award" make and we really liked it - I felt the size was sort of a sweet spot compromise for us, balancing a layout we really liked with ability to gt into tight spots more easily.

We sold it because it was becoming a money pit due to water damage and I had no space to
store it and work on it at home - otherwise, loved it, it was really light weight and ver attractive both inside and out. They don't make them any more - ours was a UK design, but made in Canada!

When we sold it, we looked at many options, and finally settled on an AS. The only one that had the layout close to what we had really in the Award wast the AS Classic 30 - actually 31 ft long, ball to bumper.

From the outset we liked the layout but were apprehensive about the extra length being a problem.

In our case, 75% of our camping is in commercial RV pars and we generally opt for pull though sites when available but most times no problem with back ins either.

We do also stay at stat/provinicial/county parks and as a rule have no issue i always check in advance

For us then, no regrets moving to 31 ft. We've never had a pull out pantry although I like the idea - what you've never had, you don't miss I suppose!
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Old 09-10-2017, 03:38 PM   #6
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What uncle Bob said...we looked hard at the 27 after 3 25's. Consider the twin option for sure, no matter which one you choose; more outside storage with the twins in all sizes AS. Also, more room to change and move around.

We choose the 28' as we did not want to go up to the 30', "yet". We liked the pull out spice/microwave area and the storage in the 27 better then the 28'. BUT, we hate the side by side lounge seating on the 25 and 27 models and prefer the separation of lounge and dinning of the 28' and larger models. The 27' is just a larger 25 with more storage...

We have had our new 28' now for 4 months and logged 12K miles all over MT, OR,WA, ID, and even 2 weeks in Canada recently. We have found some camp grounds and parks "challenging", but we still were able to find a spot to get into with the 28'. Wife loves the 30' Classic and also the 33', but not sure I am ready for the larger challenge yet. We love staying in State and National park campgrounds. There were at least 3 campgrounds where a 30' would not be easy to get into. (sometimes you have to drive around the campground to find a spot...those old campgrounds sometimes are very tight to maneuver in.)

In the end, we love the separate dinning and lounge areas with the 28-33' models. The living area makes a huge difference over the long lounge on 27' models and on longer trips we appreciate that seperation. Hope this helps.
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Old 09-10-2017, 03:40 PM   #7
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27 or 30 - The Size Dilemma

For what it is worth we have a 2017 30' international and regarding the pantry - our plan is to convert 1/2 of the hallway wardrobe to create a second, permanent and larger pantry with shelves for more storage. It's wasted space unless you are planning to hang 30 garments... we have hanging space in the bedroom closets....

We may install pull-out drawers in the second 1/2 of the hallway wardrobe, we'll see... still working through the design...

We moved up for a 25' and we love the extra space. The 30' feels very open in the lounge area....
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Old 09-10-2017, 08:34 PM   #8
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27 or 30 - The Size Dilemma

We had a 2016 27 FC FB twin. Thought it was great.

Turns out the dinette / couch was extremely uncomfortable for us. Plus, the twins were not working due to: reasons.

We traded it for a used 2016 30 FC Rear Queen. The rear dinette was better, but we ended up removing it entirely and installing a powered dual loveseat recliner unit. We picked a Naugahyde that matches the AS nauga perfectly. It is extremely comfortable, and I like it much more than the incliners on the Classics.

We've been on extended travel since Nov 2015, and full time since Feb in the 30 FC. Across the US and Canada etc.

The 30' just has that much more room for long term travel than the 27.

The 30 actually has a dinette that we use. We've had four playing cards at the table. And then the rear recliner is a totally separate living area. It's much more spacious than the 3' difference would seem to suggest.

The tow experience is identical. Actually backing the 30 is slightly easier. There have been no spots the 30 would not go in that the 27 would have fit.

Good luck..If you really aren't sure, you might want to buy used. Then when you find it not working, the depreciation is not so bad.
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Old 09-10-2017, 08:46 PM   #9
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Hi

Comfort of the seating was a *big* issue that pushed us to the 30' Classic. I'd say it took us several hours focusing just on that to sort it out. It's *very* much a personal preference issue so my decision may well not be your decision.

Bob
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Old 09-10-2017, 09:57 PM   #10
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We bought a 25' and wished we had bought a 30', which we're now doing. My guess is that more people wish they'd gone bigger than gone smaller.
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Old 09-10-2017, 10:05 PM   #11
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What type of "boondocking" do you have in mind? I bought a trailer to be a "base camp" at the bottom of some mountain to do geology during the day. I'm finding that my 31' Excella is a little long for much of the roads I'm going to want to use. Other than your difficulty getting up a lot of dirt roads, you'll like the extra length and room in a longer trailer. What I've seen, you could get my 31' up most paved roads.
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Old 09-10-2017, 11:11 PM   #12
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We're full-timing in a 30' Classic and are very comfortable. As Uncle Bob said, the seating was the main reason. The Classic is the only unit, I believe, that has an actual sofa. And starting with the 2015 Classics, you press a button on each side and a recliner comes out. That feature alone made our Airstream livable full-time for us. We also use the dinette. Of course, the extra space and storage in the 30-footer is great too.

That said, we don't boondock. We stay in state parks all the time -- no length issues there. However, national parks are harder -- not only for length sometimes, but we also like our electrical/water hookups and those can be harder to come by in national parks.

There are two full-timing couples who post on YouTube (see links below) and who boondock all the time and stay in national parks. Both have older 30' Classics. The first couple also have a child so they need the space, and as far as they are concerned, they've already downsized because they came from a Class A. The second couple have recently mentioned that they might consider downsizing to a smaller Airstream to make it easier to boondock.

Good luck on your decision!
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Old 09-11-2017, 04:55 AM   #13
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Sometime , Alabama
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Thanks!

Thanks for the great answers everyone.

Good question uncle bob...
...Answer is that we are mostly looking at 27 and 30 Internationals.
The new 30 Classic is beautiful and we seriously considered that model.
But, we like the more open experience that the Internationals offer. I'm also obsessive about having as many manual mechanical devices as possible (instead of motorized automated devices). I am comfortable with most mechanical repair "opportunities." I really like the convenience of push button devices, but get frustrated when a button push results in birds-chirping quiet...or grinding gear noises.

My DW dislikes the International 30 pantry so much that she might give up the longer trailer just to get the large pull out pantry in the Intl 27.

We really like the Intl 28s too. For full timing though, we lose some storage for clothes in that layout.

We do follow the youtubers Less Junk More Journey, More We Explore, Streamin Life and other full timer youtubers daily. The have great insights on the pros and cons of that lifestyle.

It seems like most of the youtuber full timers that we follow move to smaller rigs. That has added to our dilemma about going with a 30 or a 27 Intl.

Thanks Again Everyone!
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Old 09-11-2017, 07:42 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gypsydad View Post

We have had our new 28' now for 4 months and logged 12K miles all over MT, OR,WA, ID, and even 2 weeks in Canada recently. We have found some camp grounds and parks "challenging", but we still were able to find a spot to get into with the 28'. Wife loves the 30' Classic and also the 33', but not sure I am ready for the larger challenge yet. We love staying in State and National park campgrounds. There were at least 3 campgrounds where a 30' would not be easy to get into. (sometimes you have to drive around the campground to find a spot...those old campgrounds sometimes are very tight to maneuver in.)
Very true. There are a lot of times in BC, WA, and OR when anything bigger than our Overlander would not have fit.
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