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Old 09-01-2012, 10:36 AM   #1
Karlee from Oregon
Eugene , Oregon
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 3
Smile Curious about your experiences

I am looking for an airstream -- have several thousand saved so far--but wonder about these things from experienced Airstreamers:

1. What size is ideal for one person with maybe a guest from time to time?

2. I live in the Pac. NW but may move to a warmer winter climate. Suggestions?

3 I'm almost 50. Tired of the corporate rat race. Want to explore the possibility of work-for-land use, be close to a nearby city or town. Have any of you done this? I would love to work part-time 20 hours a week or less.

That's all the questions for now but feel free to add any suggestions or comments. I'm navigating in uncertain waters and before I purchase a trailer want to have more info! Thanks all and happy day to you.

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Old 09-01-2012, 10:51 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by KarleefromOR View Post
I am looking for an airstream -- have several thousand saved so far--but wonder about these things from experienced Airstreamers:

1. What size is ideal for one person with maybe a guest from time to time?

2. I live in the Pac. NW but may move to a warmer winter climate. Suggestions?

3 I'm almost 50. Tired of the corporate rat race. Want to explore the possibility of work-for-land use, be close to a nearby city or town. Have any of you done this? I would love to work part-time 20 hours a week or less.

That's all the questions for now but feel free to add any suggestions or comments. I'm navigating in uncertain waters and before I purchase a trailer want to have more info! Thanks all and happy day to you.
First of all welcome to the forums.

1. In my mind the ideal length is 27.36 feet. Unfortunately, they only make a 27 and a 28, so I would have to choose. Seriously, you will have to define that yourself after a lot of reading on these forums and soul searching about how much stuff you have to have.

2. I moved from the Seattle area to the Boulder CO area 12 days after I turned 50. I love the sunshine, but it can get cold in the winter. But a lot of great outdoors recreation.

3. I haven't done that but I know there are those who do and expect you will get some feedback on that.

In an case you have come to the right place to find the information you seek.


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Old 09-01-2012, 11:22 AM   #3
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2006 25' Safari FB SE
St. Cloud , Minnesota
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Hi KarleefromOR -- Welcome to the Forums!

You would really appreciate hearing from Foiled Again. Paula, you looking in here?

Make the decision right the first time. Paula has the same as us -- a 25' FB. And I know that Paula has lusted after something in the 27-28 foot range -- Serenity model if I recall...

If someone were to plunk one in my lap, my choice for any change from my current model would be a 28' FB International -- or heck, International Serenity if I had to. Queen beds in 25' Airstreams are sideways and don't give much room to move around. Be sure to look at a fore-and-aft queen in these 27-28' models first.

[on edit: a nice smaller package to tow is the International 23D. Friend have this and it hosts 4 for dinner very nicely! But the fridge is small (4 cu ft?), the freezer doesn't stay the coldest, and has the annoying cooling fan that runs all night long ... hummmmmmmmmmm ]

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Old 09-01-2012, 11:30 AM   #4
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2006 22' International CCD
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I know families of 4 that love their 16' Bambi's, and retired couples that would buy a 50' Airstream if they made such a thing.

In the bigger sizes you get more storage, and floor plans that may be more appealing. Some people like the 'front bedroom' (FB) designs (like me), others don't mind the corner beds. Bigger sizes will let you have a lounge, dinette, and bedroom without converting anything... smaller sizes you'll need to convert the dinette for more sleeping area.

We do well with me, wife, and 1 year old baby in a 22'... I can certainly see the advantage of the next step up (25') and having a 'real' hide-a-bed as the second sleeping area... past the 25', and you are really just adding storage and kitchen space.
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Old 09-01-2012, 11:40 AM   #5
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Albuquerque , New Mexico
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Longer is Better...

... but only to a point.
With every additional foot of space and comfort, you sacrifice some maneuverability and access to some camping spots.
We've had a 23' a 27' and two 31's
The 27' was probably the most ideal length for two people.
But crowded for two people and two dogs, which seem to keep adopting us.
Our 31 feet keeps us out of some NM State Parks.
But we love the roomy comfort when we winter in AZ.

Best thing to do is visit lots and lots of rallies and see Airstreams with people and their stuff, instead of the pristine dealer showrooms.
Ken L
2007 Classic Limited 30 (Sold)
2007Chevy Silverado 2500 HD Duramax/Allison
Four Corners Unit WBCCI #8654, Affiliate NM Unit
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Old 09-02-2012, 09:41 AM   #6
Karlee from Oregon
Eugene , Oregon
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 3
thanks everyone

Thanks to all who replied. Your comments/advice will help me in my decision making process. I have been reading other threads to see what others make to say too. This is the kind of homework that's fun to do!
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Old 09-02-2012, 10:58 AM   #7
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Fraser Valley , British Columbia
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I bought mine with the same kind of thinking - possibly full-timing in the future.

I really like the 27' Flying Cloud. It is more like a mini apartment vs. a travel trailer.
Bigger fridge and closet space/kitchen storage space. However, if and when I full-time, I will make some changes. I do not need dining space for four. I need a comfortable place to sit, read, and do computer work for one. Many here have done fantastic conversions to twin recliners with a smaller table in between.

Or, I may remove the queen bed and replace that with a twin sleeping area/computer work station.

If you are thinking of moving to a warmer climate, the Flying Cloud would suit. However, in cold weather, those aluminum walls tend to condensate more than a Classic with their vinyl walls. Even though I have slept in my trailer through a cold Canadian winter, the trailer was winterized and I was not using the plumbing or water systems. Surviving a winter with all the services still in operation - this is something I have not tackled yet. It can be done, but can be a big challenge!!!

I am not very mechanical. Some of the maintenance/repair issues that will arise can be overwhelming. I'm still under warranty, but that day will come to an end. All roof vents will eventually leak. Right now I'm thinking I'll just take it in to the dealer to get them fixed, but that is more expensive than doing it yourself. Secondly, how do full-tiimers do it on the road w/o access to scaffolding, ladders etc?

Another thing - it can be a big, bad world out there for a single traveller. I never used to be scared or nervous, but I do not like the idea of a single woman getting stuck in the boonies or looking like easy prey at a highway rest stop. A newer Airstream is like a polished billboard. The call for self-preservation becomes stronger when one becomes older!

The lifestyle sounds very avant-garde and bohemian; people will either be enchanted or horrified. It will either sour you quickly, or you will find new life and never look back!

To sum up, read my signature. I think that says a lot! If you can find the right kind of focus, the lifestyle will compliment it - not hinder.

easily distracted by shiny objects
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Old 09-02-2012, 11:57 AM   #8
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2011 25' FB Flying Cloud
Peculiar , Missouri
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Posts: 464
KarleefromOR, welcome to the Forum! In addition to your above questions, and the answers you received, here are a few more:

1. WRT size, how much and what kind of 'stuff' will you want/and or need?
2. With your desire to go to a warmer climate area, what kind of life style do you envision? Mild weather with scenery? Changing seasons, or shorts, tee shirts and flip flops?
3. What type of PT job are you looking for? Is the work for land idea a continuation of your current job or something completely different?
4. Will you full time, and if so in only one location, or move around?
5. What kind of tow vehicle (tv) do you currently have?
6. How often will you be alone? Any pets?
7. These then bring us back to both the beginning questions - what size? When we were looking, 25-27' were the sizes we wanted. Like some have said, the larger sizes may limit where you can camp.

We have a 25' and some times wish we had gotten the 27' Flying Cloud, mainly for the bed orientation. We didn't feel strongly one way or the other as to FB or RB. Since our purchase, we have increased the amount of time our trailer, and the size has not been an issue.

You may find a smaller, 19-23 footer, is more than enough. I would visit different dealers if possible and look at what is available. This is a good time of year to be looking. We are between model years, and nearing the end of camping season for many. You may even find some nice clean 'pre-owned' trailers available.

Good Luck

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Old 09-02-2012, 04:59 PM   #9
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Corpus Christi , Texas
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I'm on my second of (soon to be three) Silver Streak TT's (and am looking at AVION also; all of them 1972 to circa 1989-95) and am now "full-timing" after divorce. The two trailers have been 34' and 32'. On this brand the difference is mainly in the front lounge living room area (some extra storage as one goes longer in length).

What I have wanted for some time is a rear bedroom model which would allow for two "living areas" (front lounge plus bedroom) that allows for some privacy for folks pursuing different interests on a given day. Or, that alllows one who is sick to recuperate in quiet. My son is in the military for a couple more years, and I'd like to be able to travel with two, three or four people with some comfort (if that is ever in the offing) once he is back in the States for good.

It might seem that this size is large for a single person, and I'd agree. On the other hand, if that last six-feet of length isn't so much of a towing difficulty (these trailers of a certain age are pretty much below 9k weight), the "elbow room" does allow for some additions that shorter lengths don't.

I'd postulate that 28' probably is the best length in an overall sense. The occasional guest isn't going to feel cramped given some space for storing a few things, and a table with plenty of room around it gives a lounge area plenty of elbow room for dinner & discussions.

The biggest difference is in inclement weather. When one is cooped up with no reason to go anywhere. A 34' can have a dinette (or, better a "desk" in that place) where one can tackle a project or prep dinner and not cramp the lounge area . . jobs not ever appropriate for a bedroom (where one might read or watch movies). IOW, two persons can maneuever around one another quite well in some critical instances over some critical days without getting in the way of the other.

For someone running a business (of some types) the largest trailers of the aerodynamic, all-aluminum type can be the easiest choice for the same reasoning. The "office" can be set up permanently instead of being set up and taken down daily. In the same way I can store the full four seasons of clothing and supplies in the trailer versus all of it in the back of the pickup truck under the bed topper. I'm a good ways from the next trailer as yet, and expect that projects involving dirty work will be part & parcel of that. Thus I prefer to keep the "garage" as the stuff in the truck bed.

I include 28' trailers in my ongoing search, but will not consider a smaller size. It might occasionally keep me from a particular parking spot, but that can be solved, too.

1990 35' Silver Streak Sterling; 9k GVWR.
2004 DODGE Cummins 305/555; 6-manual; 9k GVWR.
Hensley Arrow. 10-cpm solo, 18-cpm towing
Sold: Silver Streak Model 3411
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Old 09-03-2012, 11:24 PM   #10
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2013 25' Flying Cloud
Cat City , California
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If only you could try each one for a month or so, life would be simple. I think it is approximately impossible to pick the ideal trailer on the first try. Camping a few days is when you discover all the things you forgot to think about, and all the things you love about a trailer. The showroom just doesn't cut it. The trailer is empty, and looks much roomier than it will ever be.

Individual psychology is at play. Are you a "small is beautiful" person, or a "gimme wide open spaces person." A 16-foot Bambi is roomy to some, and a 34-foot Excella needs "slide outs" for others.

Camping for a weekend is easy - you don't need much. A cooler full of food and drink and a few extra clothes rolled up and stashed. Camping for weeks is another matter. More personal items, more clothes. more food, and so on.

Towing with a PU truck is one affair, and towing with a big SUV is another. You can put all sorts of things in the SUV that you might not put in a PU truck, and vice versa!

Many people end up with a "mistake trailer" on their first pick. I did. Be prepared to take a beating when you need to sell the mistake to buy the real one.

Here's a tip I learned too late. Go to an Airstream rally - they are all over the place - and talk to owners and look inside trailers! You get a chance to see what a trailer looks like when packed for camping with 2 dogs and so on.

If I must take a guess though, I think a 22 is nice for ONE, and a 28 for TWO. I have a 25, which is magnificently wonderful for a couple weeks at a time. It's a tad short for more than that. I suspect our FT trailer will be a 28.

Beds! Beds! Beds! There is just nothing more important than the bed. Sure, that "corner queen" looks fine in the showroom. And then you start crawling in and out of it at night, and it don't seem so good anymore. Yeah, that East West Queen looks good, but it too can be a pain to change the sheets. Then you find that North South walk around Queen, and you say, Ahhhhhh, now THAT's a bed! (Sorry, now you are up to 28 feet!)

Good luck to you in your search. Try to look at as many as you can and think each one over for your own needs. Maybe you will hit it on the head on the first buy!
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Old 09-04-2012, 06:22 AM   #11
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Corpus Christi , Texas
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After I posted the above (of the preference, overall, for a 30-34' trailer) I recalled that in earlier and related discusssions on this issue of length that:

from 28' on up, the need for two furnaces, and two air conditioners can rear it's head.

On a 34', twin furnaces was sometimes factory stock (certain AVIONs) and optional on all others.

Anywhere in the southernmost U.S. (and considerably farther north in a year like this one has been), a pair of roof air conditioners can become mandatory along with an upgrade to 50A service (from the standard 30A).

"Shirt sleeve weather" may be best for using a TT, but one should keep these things in mind as TT length increases past a certain point.
1990 35' Silver Streak Sterling; 9k GVWR.
2004 DODGE Cummins 305/555; 6-manual; 9k GVWR.
Hensley Arrow. 10-cpm solo, 18-cpm towing
Sold: Silver Streak Model 3411
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Old 09-04-2012, 09:06 AM   #12
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2006 25' Safari FB SE
Spokane , Washington
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Welcome Karlee.

You have come to the right place for advice and information. Of course people will offer up advice viewed from their own perspectives and you will have to sift through all of it based on your own interests.

Speaking only for ME, I would think a 25 footer like mine would be perfect for you. It is going to depend on what you want, are willing to tow, can afford and all that stuff.

For one person the 25 FB would work rather well. You will have enough room to store your stuff and enough space to get around without being too cramped. Add another person and the "walk around" bed that really isn't might be an issue. I really like the 25 FB but it does not have a couch which could be an issue if you are planning on living out of it. There are two of us and we do 3 to 5 weeks at a time. A 27 would be nicer but we are fine with what we have.

I suggest that you get out and look at as many floor plans as you can. Look at new to get a feeling for features and space. You can look at used after knowing how much space you would consider a minimum.

We decided on the 25 FB after looking at new ones. Went on the used market and found one about a year or so later and saved a ton on a lightly used 3 year old unit.

Good luck in your hunt. The searching was a big part of the fun.
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Old 09-04-2012, 10:01 AM   #13
Len and Jeanne
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2005 16' International CCD
2015 19' Flying Cloud
Creston Valley , British Columbia
Join Date: Jun 2012
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My husband and I have had a 16' Bambi (International edition) for the past 5+ years and it really suits us. I sometimes look longingly at the bigger models, but to my mind these are the decisions that keep us where we are:

Shorter Airstreams

Towing: much lighter to tow. Ours weighs 3500 lbs, and we get about 15 mpg on the highway if we keep the speed down to around 60 mph. Also, we use a 2011 Toyota Tacoma TV, which better suits us as an all-around vehicle than a bigger truck. No problems going over mountain passes.

Storage: We can keep the shorter trailer on at home. If we got a longer one we would probably have to pay to keep it in storage somewhere. You may have a big enough space already, or simply plan to go full-time.

In terms of where to put stuff, our truck has a cap/canopy on the back, which has plenty of room for our camping gear.

Versatility: Some of the older national and state park campsites seem to have been built a long time ago, when the average trailer was a lot smaller.

Cost: goes without saying, except that the older 31-footers seem to be cheaper than the ones in the 20's range.

longer unit

BR and kitchen. Our little guy comes with two stove burners, an under-the-counter fridge, one small sink, and a wet bath type shower. The new sixteen-footers sacrifice galley-area shelf space to make room for a microwave. A bigger unit would be helpful if you wanted a regular kitchen and a dry bath. If this would be your primary residence, these would be major considerations.

Time spent in unit: Full-timing would seem to suggest a bigger unit, especially if you need more closet space for hanging up business clothes, and would be inside a lot during wet/cold weather. A shorter unit works fine for us, as its primary use is shorter camping trips. However, we did live in the Bambi for most of two months once, between houses, with no problems.

Good luck with your new Airstream!

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Old 09-04-2012, 11:31 AM   #14
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1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
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Curious about your experiences

Greetings KarleefromOR!

Welcome to the Forums and the world of Airstreaming!

As others have mentioned, the size of Airstream that will work for you is a matter of personal preferences. I own both a 20 foot and a 26 foot Airstream product. What I have discovered is this:
  • The 20 foot can be less stressful to tow in heavy traffic as it increases the total length of the trailer-tow-vehicle the least.
  • The 20 foot Argosy Minuet in my case has proven quite comfortable for extended trips, but the hassle of converting lounge to bed gets old after a few weeks on the road.
  • The 20 foot is very little more than 50% the weight of my 26-foot Airstream, but this weight difference opens up a much broader array of tow vehicle possibilities.
  • The down-side of the 20-foot coach include:
    • There is much less storage space for food as well as cooking equipment
    • Storage for hanging clothing is severely limited and there is not a surplus of storage for clothing that you would normally keep in a drawer
    • Storage capacities for water, waste, and LP Gas can be somewhat less than in a larger coach
    • The single axle means that you may have less control in the event of a blowout than you would with a tandem axle coach
    • The single axle can be more difficult to back up as it reacts much more quickly to tow vehicle inputs than a larger tandem axle coach reacts
    • You must have a jack and a spare tire in the even of a flat or blowout . . . with a tandem axle trailer, you have the option of pulling the good tire up on stacked 2x6 boards to raise the flat tire off of the ground for replacement . . . you then have the option of removing the wheel with the flat tire and towing at a reduced speed to the nearest tire shop -- or you can install a spare tire and continue on your journey
  • My vote for an "ideal" full-time or long-term use Airstream would be one in the 24' to 30' size range. My experience with the 26' Airstream was living in it for five months while I searched for a home when I moved to a new location several years ago.
    • The sleeping arrangement is separate from the main living area, and features mattresses just like I have in my home so I know that I will get a good night's rest each night. It is also nice to know that you don't have to open a "hide-a-bed" prior to going to bed . . . then reverse the process in the morning.
    • There is adequate food preparation and food storage area . . . not a surplus, but adequate.
    • There is adequate storage area in the terms of closets as well as drawer-type storage for clothing.
    • The living area is less cramped, and provides more the feeling of a home-type environment than does the living area in the 20' coach
    • The 26-foot Airstream is not any more difficult to tow once you are familiar with the allowances that must be made when turning a corner
    • There is a perception of increased security with the tandem axle coach as a blowout/flat has much less of a negative impact on stability than with a single axle coach in the same situation. The tandem axle coach also has 4 brakes which again can increase the perception of security (the down-side being two more wheel/tire units to maintain.
    • I haven't encountered any situation where my 26-foot Airstream wouldn't fit into a site, but there have been times where a coach longer than 28-feet could have presented problems with accessing a site.
  • The down-side to the 26-foot Airstream are:
    • The coach is somewhat heavier than the 20-foot coach so the array of possible tow vehicles is reduced.
    • You have an additional axle and components to maintain.
    • If you are in a state that licenses/taxes RV trailers based upon weight, the 26-foot coach can be more expensive . . . for me, that difference is less than $30 per year more for my 26-foot coach when compared to my Minuet.
    • Toll roads and bridges may assess a toll based on number of axles on the ground with a trailer/tow vehicle combination resulting in an added expense for the second axle on a tandem axle coach.
The decision can be perplexing, but you need to consider your preferences and determine what compromises you may be making when choosing your coach. From my experience, I would definitely want a coach with a separate bedroom area to avoid the hassles of making up a "hide-a-bed" on a daily basis.

Good luck with your investigation!


Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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