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Old 06-19-2008, 07:49 PM   #1
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Size rethink: thoughts on 28'Safari SE and F150/Tundra?

Conversations with my children have led me to rethink the size of trailer I have been considering. The 20’ Safari SE is perfect for just me, but if I am going to want to have kids/grand-kids travel with me or even just visit for the weekend, perhaps I should make this somewhat more comfortable and attractive for them.
So. I have seen a few other larger floor plans, and like some, others not so much. I cannot wrap my head around the idea of the bathroom sink being outside the bathroom, which rules out a whole bunch of otherwise attractive units. I’m OK with the shower separate, but the toilet and sink belong together. Just me.
The one that works for me is the 28’ Safari SE. Actually, I love the Ocean Breeze International, but it is $11K more, and I think I might tire of the decor after a while (he said, trying hard to convince himself). Either way, the basic question is the same:
What about the F150 Crew or the Toyota Tundra regular cab?
The numbers play out OK on the F150, better on the Tundra. I like the crew cab for obvious reasons, it’s a six passenger vs the Toyota’s three, but the numbers are not as good. Here’s how I understand it:
Take GVWR for trailer, 7300# and add 15 - 20%, or 8395 - 8760#.
Take factory stated tow capacity, 9500# spec’s and subtract 10%, 8550# for F150; 10800# less 10% for 9720# for Tundra. This reveals the Ford to be right at it’s limits, more or less 200#, and the Toyota with about a half-ton of excess capacity.
Both trucks have wheel-bases that put them right on the money according to the popular wisdom of 110” WB = 20’, every +4” WB = +1’ of trailer length.
So with margins, margins and margins all apparently in line, albeit very close indeed for the Ford, what say the experts? The easy and obvious answer is ‘more truck, more power RRRRRRRRR as Tim Taylor would grunt, but that gets very costly very quickly. In fact, the idea of paying some $20K more for a Super Duty truck is simply beyond what I am prepared to do. That $20K price difference does include the change-up to the PowerStroke, by the way, but that is all that is in stock in the half-dozen dealers I have visited. My preference would be the V10 gasser, I think, save seven grand up front, and for now at least 10% on cost of fuel. I don’t know what the difference in fuel mileage is, but seven large buys a lot of fuel of any type.
So in the real world, what would you do?
Once again, I thank you.
Neal
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Old 06-19-2008, 09:54 PM   #2
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Neal, Stick with the 20' Safari. Let the kids get their own or bring a tent. The Safari is just about perfect for one or two. It's the one I'd buy if I could. Size, weight, interior design, make it a very nice trailer. And it looks a lot like a '65 Safari from the outside. You've put too much thought into this. Smaller trailer + smaller TV = more trips, easier parking, less company. Whose life is it, anyway??? Darol
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Old 06-19-2008, 10:32 PM   #3
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What Darol said. Plus we've wound not NOT being able to camp in a few of the US-side national monuments because our 30' was too long for their 24' limit. Bummer.

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Old 06-19-2008, 10:36 PM   #4
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You want my read? Well, here it is.

The 28 footer might be pushing the half ton envelope. Will the half ton do it? Yes. Will the half ton do it well? Maybe not. Always remember that a poor towing experience is the primary cause of perfectly good airstreams becoming very expensive pieces of yard art. A half ton truck pulling a 28 foot Airstream is not within my comfort zone.

Going to a 3/4 ton truck does not necessarily mean going diesel. The big gassers should handle the 28. We have pulled a 2005 25FB with 3/4 ton gas Suburbans for over 30,000 miles. It's a great combo.

Take a look at the 25FB; it's a great plan. It has a lot of livability in a 25" package. We have spent 260 nights in ours, and still love it. One of the half tons you're looking at can do a 25.

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Old 06-19-2008, 10:55 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darol Ingalls View Post
Neal, Stick with the 20' Safari. Let the kids get their own or bring a tent. The Safari is just about perfect for one or two. It's the one I'd buy if I could. Size, weight, interior design, make it a very nice trailer. And it looks a lot like a '65 Safari from the outside. You've put too much thought into this. Smaller trailer + smaller TV = more trips, easier parking, less company. Whose life is it, anyway??? Darol
I 2nd (or 3rd?) what Darol said - buy the trailer that best suits YOUR lifestyle & needs. My 1st AS was bought with the same considerations you are worrying about. But in the real world, our kids & grandkids have their own lives to live and if I counted the number of times my daughter & grandson traveled with me, I'd only get depressed. So I decided to spoil myself for a change and traded "up" to the AS that best met MY needs and lifestyle. And that gets expensive to do. I'd suggest you do a TON of objective thinking about how you'd use a trailer and if the 20 footer would carry your "stuff" and provide enough room for your extended comfort. Go to a dealer & spend hours & hours sitting in various models and envision living in that space. Once you've made that decision & purchase, then go buy the right tow vehicle, if there is such a thing. Let us all know what you decide to do.
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Old 06-19-2008, 11:11 PM   #6
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I 3rd it too. Our grown kids occasionally join us, and it is wonderful. But we are so happy with how the 25' Safari (FB) suits us, that we wouldn't change our choice just for them. We tow with a 1/2 ton 07 Tundra with no problem. When they come along, the combo includes a very nice REI tent, and they're welcome to use the A/S facilities, and benefit from the kitchen perks. We tend to use the outdoor accommodations (in mostly State Park campgrounds) as much as possible, and so far all is good. Wouldn't change it for the world!
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Old 06-19-2008, 11:14 PM   #7
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I echo the "whose trailer is it anyway?" mantra. That being said however, a 20' trailer gets small very quick. Even with just one person. If i was in your position, i would give myself the luxury of a few extra feet and look at a 23' or 25' model. Both would be good trailers for either truck you eventually decided on.

No one ever said" i wish i gotten a smaller trailer"


At least i have never heard them say it.
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Old 06-20-2008, 01:13 AM   #8
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hi neal

like the other folks here, buy what suits YOU best...

how many folks buy houses with 'guest rooms' only to never use them?

otoh are YOU really being honest about the 20?

since many folks end up trading quickly to a slightly larger unit or 'better floor plan, from the 19s and 20s...

are u blaming the 'need a bigger trailer" on those poor defenseless grandkids?

take a look at the 25s and 23s, these will go FINE with a 150...

and so will the 'next size' up....

i don't understand your issue with the lav sink...most models DO have the lav sink with the john; only a couple don't...

i question the need for 2 sinks in a tiny trailer...

another option is to look for a 2-5 year old unit.

this is a better buy $ wise, may already have the bugs fixed AND would be a smaller $ hit...

when the grandkids need a bigger unit...

cheers
2air'
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Old 06-20-2008, 01:40 AM   #9
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Again, the friendly forum folks come through with great thoughts.
Darol, indeed it is my life. Good point. On the other hand, while married kids will get their own accommodations, youngest son, 15, would prefer to travel with me and stay in the trailer too. Grand-kids are much too young to even stay in a tent close by, girls are 6 and 5, boy just turned one. Granted, even son Mike will too soon no longer be interested in traveling with Dad, but if I am lucky, grand-kids will want to travel with me. They are already great travelers, other grandparents live in Singapore, and they periodically take them all over the world. By air and by sea. It is my role, I guess, to show them life at ground level.
I agree, the 20’ is the ideal trailer for just me, and it does have that vintage look doesn’t it?
And yeah, Darol, I do tend to over-think things sometimes. OK, a lot!
Lynn, I have heard occasionally about such limits. How often do you find this? Not that it matters much, even the 25’ that I like would exceed their 24’ limit. Bummer for sure.
Brian, I appreciate your clear answer. If only my original post had been so clear. No danger of the trailer becoming ‘yard art’ (great phrase, by the way!) as I will be living in it.
As to the comfort zone, I realize that I will be pushing that a bit with a half-ton. Luck of the draw has had me pulling trailers for many thousands of kilometers without incident. I probably just jinxed something there, but I guess I have enough confidence in my experience and tendency to drive slowly, patiently and knowing when to simply pull off and wait for conditions to improve, be they traffic or weather. In an Airstream, one can wait a fair while in comfort before ‘needing’ to get back on the road. I rarely ‘need’ to be anywhere at any given time, so I can afford to be patient.
It is possible, if I feel that it would be necessary, to special-order a 3/4 ton truck. For whatever reason, there are none to be found as far as I have looked thus far on dealer lots. Every blessed truck I have found so far in the F250/F350 is a diesel 4X4 crew cab. Resale value or some such thing. Who buys a $60,000 truck with it’s primary point being to sell it? I buy something to use it and enjoy it the way I want, and when I want something different, I buy that then. I guess I am funny that way. But anyway you cut it, the 3/4 ton is going to be about $12,000 more than the half ton. I’d rather just put some of that into a killer hitch set-up and spend the rest on going somewhere I’ve never been.
25FB is nice, but my personal preference is the 25’ one, no FB, no SS. Just 25’ with no dinette, just a front couch with a credenza and fold-out table. Lots of play-space for little grand-babies on the floor, or a table when needed. Again, the half-ton will pull the 25’ of any floor plan just fine.
Whitsend, again, I agree that the lifestyle and needs are mine. But my lifestyle and needs include my grand-children and kids, especially my youngest son. Both my son-in-law and older son are in the military, and move around a lot, so I make a point of spending as much time with all my descendants as I can.
*************
I have been sitting in front of this computer for some time now, debating with myself whether or not I should raise this issue. It is not exactly on topic, but now that several references have been put forward to ‘my needs’ and ‘less company’ and otherwise marginalizing the importance of including space for friends and family, I will. Ignore it as you wish, but for me, it bears relevance to my choices.
Six and a half years ago, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. I went through the expected roller-coaster of emotions, like anyone would when told they have a potentially terminal illness. Radiation therapy and surgery have put me in remission for more than five years. I have no trace of the cancer in my system now, but I am acutely aware that it could return at any time.
During this time of threat to my health, I came to a point of great peace and clarity. Peace because this was a situation over which I had little to no control, and what would happen would happen regardless of my attitude, so I chose to be positive. Clarity came when I realized that with good health or not, there are really only two important things in life: relationships and experiences.
An Airstream opens the horizons to new experiences, and I plan to fill my life full of them until I reach a hundred years of age. The most important relationships I have ever had, and will ever have, are those I have with my children and grand-children. I have friends too, and have had some of them for decades, but none have ever been as dear to me as those who bear my DNA. I am blessed.
Thanks for listening.
Neal
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Old 06-20-2008, 01:53 AM   #10
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Families come first. Everything else is unimportant. A second-hand Suburban can pull just about anything, and keep everybody close and cosy. And safe!

I like the way you're thinking, Neal. jim
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Old 06-20-2008, 02:12 AM   #11
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Smile Newbie question

I currently own a 2007 4x4 double cab Tundra w/ the standard v8. I have been looking at Airstreams for the past 6 months and hope to buy in the next 6 months. I have read a bunch of different opinions on towing capacity and safety and am confused about the Tundras abilities.
I really think the 25 FB model is the best floor plan for my family, but will compromise to the 23 if the 25 can't be safely towed. We live in the fine state of Oregon and it will be mostly used for long weekend trips to the mts or beach. I would appreciate some real world advice.
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Old 06-20-2008, 04:14 AM   #12
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I agree with "whose trailer is it anyway". And based on your last post, you've thought about that, how and why you want to use an Airstream. For you an integral part of that is including family in the experience. So you need to go for the bigger one now and you can always trade down when the kids grow up and join you in Airstreams of their own.

And I'm a diehard fan of the 20' Safari!
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Old 06-20-2008, 06:53 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Darol Ingalls View Post
Neal, Stick with the 20' Safari. You've put too much thought into this. Smaller trailer + smaller TV = more trips, easier parking, less company. Darol
In this day and age this idea seems to male a lot of sense.


Quote:
Originally Posted by moosetags View Post

Always remember that a poor towing experience is the primary cause of perfectly good airstreams becoming very expensive pieces of yard art. A half ton truck pulling a 28 foot Airstream is not within my comfort zone.

It seems many have found the formula to have a great towing experiance towing any size of Airstream with a modern half ton. These days a large heavy duty truck is more apt to become an expensive piece of yard art than anything else.

Even Ford Corp. feels confident demonstrating their new F150 towing the big one.






Quote:
Originally Posted by 55neal View Post
But anyway you cut it, the 3/4 ton is going to be about $12,000 more than the half ton. I’d rather just put some of that into a killer hitch set-up and spend the rest on going somewhere I’ve never been.
Neal
Bingo! By towing an Airstream with a first class connection system many would suggest that your choice of vehicles would probably out perform many other heavier combinations.
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Old 06-20-2008, 06:59 AM   #14
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Greetings!

I am basically undergoing the same rationalization process trying to find the right combination of tow vehicle & trailer. What I have come to learn as more important than towing capacity is Payload Capacity. What good is a truck that can supposedly tow 10,000+ pounds if it only has 1500# payload capacity. (ie Toyota Tundra Crew Max 4x4 with 5.7 Liter) When you add the weight of the hitch (750-800#), propane, swaybars, 26 gallons of fuel, a couple adults (maybe 3 or some kids, bikes, dogs whatever) perhaps a cap over the truck bed, maybe a generator & fuel for it - well, by now you get the point - you can easily exceed the Payload Capacity without coming close to making good use of the truck - What good is the truck unless you can put some stuff in it? That to me is the real dilemma.

Zar
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