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Old 10-28-2014, 10:13 AM   #1
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22 FB Sport or 23 FB Flying Cloud

I'm new to the forum and about to pull the trigger on my first Airstream. I've looked and looked again at several dealerships and have narrowed my choice down to either a 22 FB Sport or 23 FB Flying cloud.

The trailer will be used for long weekends of camping, plus occasional road trips. My hope is to do a 30 day trip to the Southwest over Christmas and to spend next summer in the Yellowstone area.

I come from a backbacking/camping background, so sleeping on a bed (any bed) and not having to carry/boil water is a luxury. I plan on spending most of my time outdoors (biking/flyfishing/hiking), so interior space is not the driving factor in this purchase. With that said, getting a good night's sleep is important. The two units in question are the smallest units that provide a queen or "queen-like" bed.

From a logistical perspective, I really like the 22 FB Sport. It is light and easy to tow and to back with my RAM 1500 Hemi. Its more compact dimensions allows it to fit easier in my driveway and into those boondocking National Forest Service campsites. It provides the larger bed that I require. Everything I need and nothing that I do not.

The bit of extra space in the 23 FB is nice and I would certainly use it. The trade-off is more weight and larger dimensions and all of the issues that come with that situation.

My overriding concern is the the structural sacrifices that one makes by going with the Sport model, namely, no bumpers, no rockguards, single v. double axles, and, perhaps, more importantly, no enclosed & insulated underbelly. I would like to have the option of using the unit in colder weather and am concerned that the lack of this feature will preclude that possibility. I'm also afraid of the beating the Sport might get without the rock guards, bumpers, etc.

One AS salesman portrays the Sport as an "entry" model and is trying to upsell me to the 23' FB. Another tells me an Airstream is an Airstream and it will "be just fine" (he just wants to make a sell, any sell).

I like traveling as light as possible, and, in general, subscribe to the notion that "less is more" but I'm also a big believer in structural integrity, longevity, stability and the like.

I'd truly welcome any opinions that may help me with this decision.
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Old 10-28-2014, 10:47 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forum, Troutjock.

I think both salesmen are correct, although biased in their opinions. All of the plus and minuses you mention are all correct.

Weight and width not being considered, the tandem axle trailer will be a tad bit more drag because of more rolling resistance, although hardly noticeable for your truck. the tandem axle will also be more stable on the road because of the additional axle. It will also give you a bit more security in the event of a tire failure.

It's more of a person opinion, but I would go with the larger trailer. You can see what I've ended up with, but we travel a lot and are retired...different deal. However in the past we have owned 20', 23', 24' 25', 28', 31', and now a 34' SO trailer. Each time we went bigger, we have been happy about it, and could not conceive of going back smaller.

In the end, you will have to make the decision of what is right for you. Good luck.
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Old 10-28-2014, 11:25 AM   #3
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Flying Cloud!
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Flying Cloud!
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Old 10-28-2014, 05:31 PM   #4
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My Sport has the insulated/covered underbelly, where did you hear they don't?
Some friends of ours just had their FC rear ended. That bumper didn't help much. Proper mud flaps on your TV will do just as good as the rock guards if not more. Single axles waste less gas than duals and turn without scrubbing. The sport is less wide than the FC so it presents less frontal area to buck the wind. We don't have any stability issues. I can do a U-turn on a two lane road, that 23' FC can't.
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Old 10-28-2014, 05:58 PM   #5
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We ran into a lady at the mother ship who had just purchased a 16' Sport. She had the rear bumper storage and rock guards added.
The sewer hose storage and stabilizers are further up under the trailer and harder to access than on other models. Maybe it's the spacing of the frame rails that makes it so.
I would prefer a tandem axle if I had a flat tire.
The 16' Sport has a wet bath, doesn't it? I would prefer a full 3 piece bath.
Does the 22' Sport have a wet bath?
Does the 23' Flying Cloud have a wet bath or full bath?
The 16' Sport has shared/combined black/gray tanks. I would prefer separate black/gray holding tanks.
Does the 22' Sport have shared/combined black/gray tanks or separate black/gray holding tanks?
Does the 23' Flying Cloud have shared or separate holding tanks?
The 1' wider Flying Cloud will feel much larger on rainy or cold days when you are forced to stay indoors.
Aw, shucks, man! Go 'head on an' git you a 30!
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Old 10-28-2014, 07:05 PM   #6
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I am a big fan of the 23d. I think it's a more usable layout than the fb. Did you look at that one?
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Old 10-28-2014, 07:14 PM   #7
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The 23 will have larger black and gray water holding tanks, it will also have a larger frig and heater. We went with an older 21ft Sovereign over the 22 sport because it had larger holding tanks, larger frig, furnace and had twin axles. The 21 has more storage also.
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Old 10-28-2014, 07:43 PM   #8
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You like hiking and outdoors ! Probably state park so go for the bigger grey tank
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Old 10-29-2014, 12:06 PM   #9
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We have the 22' Sport and use it exactly as you have described, maybe one or two longer trips per year and lots of 3 day camping. We have dragged it up and down almost unimaginable one lane goat trails and love it. It turns on a dime and the single axle makes it really easy to back into a tight spot. The only challenge we had was interior storage. I did a really cool mod in the closet that added 4 shelves with pull out plastic box "drawers" that added a ton of storage. I'd be happy to send you photos if you'd like. As for the rock damage to the front end, I have one of those ugly Rock Guard mud flap things that mounts on the hitch. It's done a good job of minimizing rock damage to the front end. Go with the Sport!
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Old 10-29-2014, 02:45 PM   #10
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The 23 FC has twice the fresh water, 2 axles and 50% more payload. All of which come in handy unless you're simply a weekender. Ultimately, you have to decide how you're going to use it, but your description sounds like the arguments fall to the 23 FB side.
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Old 10-29-2014, 02:50 PM   #11
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I'm grateful for each and every reply. I had not considered the black/grey water issue. The AS brochure lists the 23 FB FC as having 30 gallons of grey water capacity with 18 gallons of black water capacity. The 22 FB Sports has separate grey and black water tanks with 24 gallons of grey water. There is no black water capacity listed.

The 23 FB FC definitely has a full bath and I'm pretty sure the 22 FB Sport does, too. I've requested a build sheet from a dealer to confirm these matters.

Seems like the rock damage issue can be addressed through some combination of mud flaps, either on the TV or on the trailer.

I'm nearly positive the Sport lacks an insulated/covered underbelly. Baldwin6601, do you know if yours does? Again, the build sheet should confirm it one way or the other.

IF I can address the issue of winter camping with an uninsulated/uncovered underbelly, I'm leaning toward the 22 FB Sport, simply because of the ease of towing and increased economy of operation. I'm more into "one lane goat trails" than I am into RV campgrounds. However, if it won't work it the cold, it won't work.

Thanks again for all of these comments, each and every one has been useful. And keep them coming.
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Old 10-29-2014, 04:20 PM   #12
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The sport 22' has a very small 20 gal fresh water tank and only one battery. The FC 23' FB has a 39 gal fresh water tank and two batteries.

I hate the small 23 gal fresh water tank on my FC 20', as I boondock almost exclusively and there is not enough water capacity. 20 gal on the sport 22 is just too small. The 39 gal is great on the FC 23 FB.

If you are going to camp in cold weather, one battery on the sport is not enough, in my opinion.

Just more to consider.
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Old 10-29-2014, 04:24 PM   #13
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FC 23 FB specs: Flying Cloud Floor Plans & Specifications - Airstream

Sport specs: Sport Floor Plans & Specifications - Airstream
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Old 10-29-2014, 10:07 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by troutjock View Post
I'm new to the forum and about to pull the trigger on my first Airstream. I've looked and looked again at several dealerships and have narrowed my choice down to either a 22 FB Sport or 23 FB Flying cloud.


From a logistical perspective, I really like the 22 FB Sport. ... Everything I need and nothing that I do not.

The bit of extra space in the 23 FB is nice and I would certainly use it. The trade-off is more weight and larger dimensions and all of the issues that come with that situation.

My overriding concern is the the structural sacrifices that one makes by going with the Sport model, namely, no bumpers, no rockguards, single v. double axles, and, perhaps, more importantly, no enclosed & insulated underbelly. I would like to have the option of using the unit in colder weather and am concerned that the lack of this feature will preclude that possibility. I'm also afraid of the beating the Sport might get without the rock guards, bumpers, etc.

I'd truly welcome any opinions that may help me with this decision.

A man after my own heart. I recently went through the same considerations. To be honest, I like the 22 Sport layout better. With the table slide out into the walkway, the refrigerator in the 23 won't open fully, but it will with the 22 Sport since it is in a different position with respect to the table. I doubt you would tell the difference towing... even though there is a foot difference and some axle weight, and loaded weight differences. I am not sure you said how many people you would put in this on a regular basis, but if it is two or less let me offer a third alternative.

Go and find a 22 foot 2004 -2008(7?) Safari in good condition. Double axle, nice aluminum wheels, rock guards, wonderful kitchen layout, insulated underbelly, bumper with hose tray, patio lights, etc. In those years the 22 foot model was the Flying Cloud equivalent. Oh, by the way, you will probably save some money as well, and the Safari is built to last if you are concerned the Sport has been downsized too much.

Just a thought. I have yet to find a unit I like better than my 2004 Safari as far as the layout. I like the 22 Sport layout almost as much (better in some ways) but like you say, it lacks a lot of the nice to haves.

Dan Rossbach, Albuquerque.
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