View Poll Results: Go with Airstream or a "4 season" fiberglass
Airstream 21 84.00%
Bigfoot , Artic Fox, etc 4 16.00%
Voters: 25. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 05-02-2009, 08:00 PM   #1
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Steamboat Springs , Colorado
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Airstream vs Bigfoot (Form vs function)

I have had a BIgfoot Camper for 6 yrs in the Rocky Mtns. camp Spring summer & fall...mostly in this region (although 8 weeks in Alaska). Looking to switch to a 23- 25 ft trailer for shorter 3 day to 2 week trips closer to Colorado...our home.
Very interested in an Airstream, but concerned about the insulation issues w/ Airstream.
Aluminum vs gelcoat fiberglass
batt insulation , metal rivets vs foam core insulation/egg shell construction
single pane windows vs double pane
exposed black/grey water pipe valves vs encapsulated valves, etc, etc

I love the Airstream FB floor plans w/ expansive windows. I do not expect it to be as heat efficient as a Bigfoot. But ,I have spent hours reading these forums....regarding heating issues.....very informative.

A 25FB Airstream in 25 degree temps, dry camping for two/three nights, will require a generator, lots of propane, and 55 degree temp in FB, since heating flow is in main salon. I will also be required to duck tape insulation to the exposed flush out valves. Does this sound about right ??

I realize Bigfoot is out of production, no warranties, pathetic floor plans, and has a limited selection of used product....but incredibly warm. (My camper heater thermostat needs a lower setting)

Please help convince me...my heart wants to go silver.
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Old 05-02-2009, 08:56 PM   #2
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I'm not going to be much help convincing you to go Airstream under your circumstances. After over twenty years of owning Airstreams, I went with the '06 25B25RQ 25' Bigfoot. The last Airstream was a '94 tri-axle Limited... the A/C couldn't keep up with the cooling in full sun, and in the cold there was condensation on the windows, and with two forced-air furnaces and a cat heater, the coach barely stayed warm enough in spring and fall.

The Bigfoot is definitely better at cold and hot weather camping. And, I'm no longer terrified of hail storms.

Roger
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Old 05-02-2009, 09:15 PM   #3
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We really like my Minuet but would have to consider options if the goal was cold weather camping. We have so few week ends that we are able to camp that I don't mind a little extra propane to stay in what is the best trailer for us. Airstream all the way, it would be perfect if a true 4 season unit.
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Old 05-02-2009, 09:18 PM   #4
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A lot will disagree with me but I think Airstream is a classic case of form before function - not the way it is supposed to be - but the form is so great that you really become blind to its functional shortfalls - and it's a form that you never get tired of.

It's too bad Bigfoot closed down - they are a great trailer (not that I would consider one over the Airstream - despite its functional advantages).


Jay
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Old 05-02-2009, 09:28 PM   #5
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That's a dilemma. I'm a huge fan of both. I was so sad when Bigfoot went under. Bigfoots definitely win for insulation, but I have been disappointed in their dated interiors. The aluminum skinned walls in some A/S models look great; however, they are cold to sleep against in spring and fall. We put "bumpers" between our bed and wall. Also, the floor is quite cold in spring and fall, even with the heat on. I also stress constantly when big storms are brewing on the horizons. I'm terrified of hail. Our Boler (molded fiberglass shell) survived a major hailstorm that damaged absolutely every house in the town it was parked. Homeowners had to replace windows, shingles, siding, trees), but the Boler only had a few dents on the aluminum roof vent. We didn't bother replacing it. It's vintage. OK...so I stress about hail now, but do I regret getting the Airstream? Never! It is a work of art, not just a place to sleep. I absolutely love it. When we pulled it into our driveway for the first time, all our neighbours came for a tour. One couple was so impressed with it that they got one too. They thought that all RVs had oak and wallpaper border until they saw our A/S. They were sold at first sight. If you choose an A/S, you won't be disappointed. Since ours is 23 ft, it heats up quickly, and we don't walk around too much anyway, so no cold feet. We do have misty windows by morning, but that clears up quick enough. We also sleep with a down duvet 12 months of the year whether camping or not. Good luck in your search! I keep hoping that someone will buy the Bigfoot factory and start making them again.
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Old 05-02-2009, 11:04 PM   #6
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Thanks for the four quick responses. I appreciate such objective opinions from experienced owners. THis forum format is a tremendous source of information and no doubt future acquaintances. THanks again !!
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Old 05-02-2009, 11:12 PM   #7
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As has already been stated, both Airstreams and the Fiberglass trailers have their drawbacks. If you truly want an Airstream, you will overlook many or their shortcomings, and focus on workarounds. If you want the be warm in winter and cool in summer, but don't care about the style, go with the fiberglass trailer.
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Old 05-03-2009, 08:05 AM   #8
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I've seen Rogers Bigfoot and I have to say it is very, very well made. Thermopane windows, and just about everything that was mentioned earlier in this thread.

The Airstream is an iconic trailer that has a cult like following (I am afflicted as well by this cult having had 2 Airstreams so far). Reason I had two was because I like many got a 19' thinking I could make due with the size and it was cute....but that was in the beginning. After getting it, I found it was riddled with QC issues. Thinking it was a fluke, traded for a larger, my current 25' that I ordered special. It was better in terms of quality of build, but as time went on, more and more things would come up and in the end when I took back to the factory for service, I had 3 pages (19 items) needing to be addressed. As has been said, a number can be overcome, but it can be a PITA to have to deal with these rather than be out camping. My most pressing issue with my trailer (which many others are also seeing) is fillform corrosion all over the body, rims, tailights and door handles. To date, I have neither seen, nor heard of any positive solution for this problem from the factory or any of the many individuals who like me have this significant problem. Now playing the devil's advocate, there are delamination problems with the fiberglass SOBs, but I haven't heard of any Bigfoots afflicted...not to say it couldn't happen. However, Bigfoot trailers cost aobut 1/2 of an average sized Airstream.......

My suggestion to you would be NOT to buy a new Airstream because they are plagued with quality build issues, and many have corrosion issues. If you have aluminitus, I would strongly recommend that you purchase a pre-owned or vintage unit. IMHO, it just is not worth the stratosphere dollars they are asking for the brand new trailers giving the multitude of things wrong with more than a few of the new units coming off the line.

Though Bigfoot is not around, nearly EVERY owner that has one loves it, has had few to no problems with them, which begs the question how they could have gone out of business and not filed for some sort of bankruptcy protection.

Of course going out camping, few folks will say wow, look, there is one of those Bigfoot trailers......if only Airstream could build the same way Bigfoot does in terms of quality of build and features, the answer would be simple.
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Old 05-03-2009, 08:45 AM   #9
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I love my Airstream but if I had a "do over" I would very seriously consider a 25" Bigfoot. Better insulation, build quality, and I wouldn't always be worried about denting it. Who cares if people aren't always admiring your trailer. What a PITA anyway.
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Old 05-03-2009, 08:45 AM   #10
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I think the key here is that you said spring, summer and fall. An Airstream will perform well for you as a 3-season trailer. I use mine for recreational camping all spring, summer and fall, then I deer hunt in Wisconsin over Thanksgiving and southern Illinois in December.

Last year in Wisconsin the nights were in the single digits and I was worried, but the Airstream did great. The furnace ran a lot, but kept us warm. All the windows soaked up the sun during the day and I used less propane with the Airstream than I did the previous season with my Keystone. On the single-digit nights I'd get up at 3 AM and start the generator to make sure that batteries would make it.

We did have moisture on the windows, but not a lot. I worried about moisture condensing on the metal walls, but it did not. The only problem I encountered were frozen valves on the tanks, so I turned the generator so the exhaust blew on them and they opened up after a little heat.

For the use that you describe, you'll sacrifice very little by choosing Airstream.


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Old 05-03-2009, 09:20 AM   #11
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Been full timing for better than three years now. I have zero problems in 25 degree temps.
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Old 05-03-2009, 10:57 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertwinkie View Post
I've seen Rogers Bigfoot and I have to say it is very, very well made. Thermopane windows, and just about everything that was mentioned earlier in this thread.

After getting it, I found it was riddled with QC issues. As has been said, a number can be overcome, but it can be a PITA to have to deal with these rather than be out camping.

Now playing the devil's advocate, there are delamination problems with the fiberglass SOBs, but I haven't heard of any Bigfoots afflicted...not to say it couldn't happen. However, Bigfoot trailers cost aobut 1/2 of an average sized Airstream.......

Though Bigfoot is not around, nearly EVERY owner that has one loves it, has had few to no problems with them, which begs the question how they could have gone out of business and not filed for some sort of bankruptcy protection.

Of course going out camping, few folks will say wow, look, there is one of those Bigfoot trailers......
To respond to a few of Eric's thoughts...

When I took delivery of my Bigfoot, it had a punch list of seven items, all of which were resolved by the dealer in less than an hour and a half... and many of those were because the trailer had been the showroom demo and had folks walking thru it for a while. We've had no warranty issues in three years. None.

Fiberglass laminates can have problems. Bigfoot, at least in the 25' and smaller sizes area actually molded fiberglass (like a yacht hull) and built in a fiberglass mold. There is nothing to delaminate as there is no fiberglass lamination to begin with. After the two halves (upper and lower) are assembled, the interiors are built inside them, much like the Airstream interior is assembled. Everything goes through the door. Molded fiberglass doesn't de-laminate.

My Bigfoot cost me roughly half of what the list was on the 25' Classic at the time.

And last, it amazes me how many folks do come knock on the door of the Bigfoot to see it. I'll grant you that it's another white box, but it's a very different design, and apparently has an appeal of its own... different from Airstream, mind you, and without the history of Airstream... but it's different enough that folks take notice.

Bigfoot's closing resulted because of their major lending calling a loan in a panic. As I understand it, Bigfoot wasn't in default... it just owed a lot, and had actually completed another large expansion loan just a couple of months before the bank called the loan. Essentially the bank foreclosed on them and locked the doors. It was a shock to the owners as well as all of us who own them. I think it was a knee-jerk reaction by the bank rather than a sound financial move, but only the bank that foreclosed can call that one now.

Considering that there are still Bolers out there being used that were built in 1970, I'll expect that the current Bigfoot trailers will be around for a very long time. Not having ANY warranty issues in the past three years, I'll guess I probably won't experience many issues into the future.

Roger
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Old 05-03-2009, 12:57 PM   #13
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Oliver Travel Trailer?

Have you considered an Oliver?

I was thinking of this trailer before I got my Airstream. The Oliver is a double-walled fiberglass trailer which seemed to me to be built with the same vision as WB may have pursued his original Airstreams.

I stuck with the Airstream because the interior of the Oliver reminded me of a cheap shower surround... just too much gel coat. But it sure sounds like it would be indestructible as can be.
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