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Old 09-30-2002, 01:39 PM   #1
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1999 25' Safari
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30 Footer Advice Needed

I am considering trading up from my current 25' Safari (1999) to a late model 30 foot Classic or Limited. My current tow vehicle should be fine. What I am curious about is the difference in towing that length trailer and other subjective experiences.

How much tougher is it to get a thirty-footer around in general traffic and is it that much more difficult to back into camp sites? It is only 5' difference from my current coach, but it sure looks like a whole lot more.

We generally like to have more secluded sites, use the MN State Parks a lot, are generally weekenders (with 2 small girls), sometimes in the National Forests and Parks and often dry camp.

Any advice on owning a larger rig before I drop a big lump of money? What are the biggest changes/challenges that I will encounter?

Also, are the Classic and Limited models much better constructed that my current Safari unit?

All comments welcomed!!
Jace
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Old 09-30-2002, 01:59 PM   #2
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Jace,

When we towed we originally purchased a 27 foot AS TT. It was all I was up to towing at the time, my wide wanted a longer unit but the length scared me. Less than 2 years later we traded the 27 foot in on a 31 foot. Towing in general was not all that different. The only thing you have to be aware of is the amount of swing when you go around corners. By this I mean the total pivot as you backup or go forward thru a narrow gap. Backing into sites was no harder. We did tend to look for sites with a wider spot of room in front for more maneuverability but we used them both in many of the WI state parks and had no troubles. You will be amazed at how quickly you become comfortable with extra length as you tow. As to build quality, I would not know as I love the 70's vintage and have had a 74, 77 and now a 76 the quality has always been great.
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Old 09-30-2002, 03:47 PM   #3
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Three women... hmmm.... you need all the wardrobe space you can get... plus you probably don't want a model without a private bathroom. The "30" and the "31" are both 31'... 5' longer than your 25'10" Safari.

The "30" gives you a dinette, but the end table behind it eliminates one seating position at the fold-out table. It doesn't have the kitchen storage under the microwave like the 31' and removes half the wardrobe space for the shower because it splits the bathroom across the hall. They have to close both the bedroom and dressing area doors to have privacy... the toilet is open to the hallway.

The "31" doesn't have a dinette, but the credenza leaves room for seating for 4 at the foldout table. It has more storage in the kitchen and nearly twice the wardrobe space (and a linen closest if I remember correctly). And it's bathroom has it's own door in addition to the bedroom and dressing area doors.

That's why we wound up with a 34'. Had to have all the features of a "31" AND the dinette.
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Old 10-01-2002, 11:08 AM   #4
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That's exactly how I ended up with a 34 footer -- WOMEN!!

I have a 1953 Overlander and a 1963 Overlander, both purchased when I was single.

Now have a wife and a new baby daughter. The 26 footers are just too small for them and all the stuff that goes along with them .

My 34 footer has a rear queen bedroom, a dinett, and a large "livingroom" good for a small playpen.
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Old 10-01-2002, 02:41 PM   #5
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We have a 25' Excella, so we don't have experience of towing the longer unit to share. You do, however, ask for other subjective observations between the 25' and 30'.

I, suffice it to say, could not get one leg in my 40 year old Army uniform if I tried today. I once sneezed in the shower of the 25' and thought I was about to be launched from my silo. Since it is only my wife and myself, a Thetford with a hallway view is not that big an issue (although in our home we have separate baths). To me the roomier bath would outway consideration of the additional 5' in towing.


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Old 10-01-2002, 04:48 PM   #6
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Question

My wife and I have a 95 21' Sovereign which we love for the very reasons stated. It is easy to tow and we can camp most anywhere. Another big plus is how wide it is, eight foot. We travel to Baja every winter and as anyone who driven Baja One knows the roads are narrow. We now are looking to get a larger Airstream. We want a newer one, how big we are not sure. The new 25'ers seem huge compared to our 21'er. But if this were to be our last trailer will we be making a mistake by not going bigger?

We are planning on spending as much as 4 to 5 months on the road next year. You might call us semi-full timers. We still want to camp at small USFS, NPS, and out of the way BLM camps. Most of which have very small camp sites. You could squeeze a 28 to 31 footer in but in some cases you could not get to the camp ground with a larger trailer. So I have decided to go no larger than 28 foot and most likely get the 25 footer. I still am a little concerned about driving Baja One with a wider trailer. I have just about the perfect towing vehicle, a Ford 4x4 Power Stroke Diesel E350 Van. So the size of the trailer is not a problem for towing.

Any one think we might be making a mistake by not going larger considering the time we will be spending in the trailer?

Nik
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Old 10-01-2002, 09:13 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by niknas
Any one think we might be making a mistake by not going larger considering the time we will be spending in the trailer?

Nik
Yes. My wife and I are very close and we spend a lot of time together (even have a dual-LazyBoy recliner loveseat at home). Don't need "personal space." Despite that, I think a 25' (25'9") is about the right size for only one person full-timing for months at a time.

*I* think a 31W would be about the minimum for an extended stay for two... larger living room, more counterspace between the stove and sink, separate cabinet for the refrigerator so you can get a larger one, more storage in the cabinet under the microwave, larger bathroom and shower, twice the wardrobe space, more convenient (and certainly nicer looking) bedroom layout with the queen (the furnace duct is on her side of the bed). My wife needed all that plus the dinette, i.e the 34W. It depends on the two of you. The 31 may well be the the trailer you need for full-timing.

The trailer you have now is the right one for the tiny campsites you want to get to. Not only do you have to worry about the extra width of a larger trailer, but the tail of a longer trailer swings wider to the outside going into turns, while the wheels follow the tow vehicle more to the inside in the middle of the turn... not things you want in a widing road through the trees.

Anything in between may be the worst of both worlds... i.e. still eliminate some of the sites you want to get to, while still being too small for extended living.

Perhaps you even need to consider changing the target campsites or continue to break up the one long stay into shorter ones.

Just my thoughts on it...
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Old 10-01-2002, 09:33 PM   #8
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I have to concur with Roadkingmoe, a 21 foot trailer for fulltiming will more than likely be too small. We fulltimed for three years in a 31 foot and it workked well for us, but we do not need much in the way of personal space.

The criteria we used to determine a comfortable size was this (while looking for a bigger than our 27 ft trailer). You have just pulled into a site where you plan on staying for 2 weeks, you get all set up and the rains come FOR A WEEK! Will you still be married by the end of that week? If the answer is yes, then that one will work. How big is too big or small is too small is an individual decision. But I know if I was constanly having to load and unload clothes, etc. from the tow vehicle because it would not fit in the trailer I would not be a "happy camper". Storage and personal space are the two biggest factors in my book, then comes the issue of where will I be able to make it fit, BLM land etc. I have seen all sizes and shapes being boondocked in, so smaller is not necessarly the only criteria.
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Old 10-02-2002, 08:45 AM   #9
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Jace,

We own a 2001 airstream 30' Excella. Although I am not personally familiar with the floorplan of a 25' Safari, I can give you my observations about the 30'. Before we purchased the airstream we owned a 27' award.

Length: I don't think you will notice much difference in the length of the trailer from the one you are currently using. Negeotiating in trafic and campgrounds will be very similar, and the same care and thought is needed for similar situations.

Safari/Classic: You will notice a difference between the two expecially if you continue to use campgrounds without services. Most noticeably, the Classic has large full opening awning windows with window shade awnings all around the exterior of the trailer. These are fantastic. We traveled through out Arizona and New Mexico this past summer, and were very comfortable in our trailer with the windows open, the awnings extended, and the fantasic vents operating. We rarely used the air conditioner.

Bathroom: When we purchased the trailer, we didn't know if we would like the full width, pass-through bathroom. Both my wife and I are tall people, I'm 6'4" and over 250 lbs (unfortunately). We love it. The shower is large enough for even me to use. We find the space to be very convienent and easy to use. We use the bathroom area as a changing and dressing area as well. I don't think we would go back to the single room design on one side of the trailer again.

Galley, dinette, and lounge area: We frequently use our trailer as a gathering place for the extended family. When everyone comes along (5 adults and a cat) There is ample room and sleeping for all. The widebody really comes into it's own in these situations. We have found storage to be limited for 5, but for 2 is is very adequate.

Fit and finish: As with everyting engineered and complex with multiple systems, you will have some bumps, adjustments, and learning during the first two years. But isn't that why they have a warranty? We needed some adjustments with ours, but now I've learned most of what I need to enjoy our traveling experiences. I think the classic is very nicely constructed and very comfortable to live in. We added up our day's of use for this year and will use the trailer for over 40 days this year. We are looking forward to next year, and in about 10 years when we can use the trailer for extended periods of time in the south during the winter season. Although we have never used a Safari trailer, we have visited owners at campgrouds we've stayed at and we are very happy we purchased the Classic trailer as opposed to the Safari.

Public campgrounds: In New Mexico and Arizona, there are several National Forest and State Parks without electrical or water services. We did not use them, however we did drive through several of them out of curiosity. Many of the sites were too small for our trailer. However, there were also many sites we could have used in absolute comfort. They were all full, I think many of them needed reservations to use.

Good luck in your decision.
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Old 10-02-2002, 10:39 AM   #10
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Hey Jacebeck-- How was your trip this summer to the Smokies? Did you find the type of campground that you were interested in?

I took two-lane roads all the way up to B.C. and the interstate hwy's on the way back. I also travel alone, which makes backing into some of those tight campsites interesting. But I never had any problems and with the hensley arrow hitch, going through small or large towns was simple. Even going through some of those tight gas stations were ok.

Good luck in what ever you decide on!

John
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Old 10-02-2002, 05:33 PM   #11
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1999 25' Safari
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First, thanks to everyone for the great, and insightful, feedback. I think my mind is now sufficiently made up. Now the two most difficult tasks lie ahead...convincing my wife that this is what we MUST do and satisfying my cheap swede "gotta squeeze every drop of value out of my dollar" buying mentality (and penchant for new stuff). Thanks to everyone.

John,
The Smokies trip was much different than last year's Canadian Rockies one. Without getting into too much detail we found ourselves on the wrong side of the park for what we wanted to do and subsequently at the wrong kinds of campgrounds to satisfy our desire for some privacy.

We managed to get into a "rhythm" on the beginning of the second week only to have a freak downpour, high winds destroy our awning while we were out hiking. Not the fabric, that was OK, but bent the roller tube in half and ripped the arms right off the rig. Made for an interesting 1400 mile drive home.

Hope summer trip was good. Glad to see you back online with the group.
All the best,
JC
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Old 10-02-2002, 06:26 PM   #12
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Since you're considering the Limited, let me tell you, it's really nice. The wood is awesome, and the brass trim and acrylic handles are nice touches. The Photo site is back up, sorta, but the photo button below messages and the link in user profiles are broke. If you haven't seen my interior pics, go here and click the back arrow button to go through the pics.

The 40 lb bottles are nice on a larger trailer, and the electric stabilizers are just SWEET!

Oh yeah, spring for the skylights... they add a lot of light in the dressing area and kitchen/living area. The dual Fantastic fans are great too.
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Old 10-02-2002, 10:11 PM   #13
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Re: 30 Footer Advice Needed

Quote:
Originally posted by JaceBeck
Also, are the Classic and Limited models much better constructed that my current Safari unit?

All comments welcomed!!
Jace
Jace,
It seems no one has addressed this question directly. I would probably say that the Classic/Limited interiors are superior from a wear and tear standpoint. The oak construction and other materials used on the interiors will stand the test of time and outlast the Safari materials.

I was told on the factory tour last summer that the Limited model insulation carries a higher R rating than the Classic/Safari lines.

Someone has already pointed out the window differences. One additional window issue is security. I have met one Safari owner who has been broken into by someone prying around the rubber molding that seals the window to the body. This allowed the burgler to reach in the streetside front window and turn the locks on the door.

Other than those things the exterior shell and axles and ribbing of the Safari use the same construction and materials as the Classic/Limited line.

Jack
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Old 10-04-2002, 12:51 PM   #14
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We started with a 1965 22 foot A/S Safari which we used for 8 years and then moved up to a 1981 Excella II 31 foot and found once you got use to the added length it towed better and easier than our little one. We upgraded to a 1996 30 foot trailer after the kids left home. We actually debated for a month before ordering between the 30 and 34 foot trailers. We also camp in national forest campgrounds and state parks and were concerned with the legnth of the 34 foot. We have never had a problem with the 30 foot.(actually 31' 10") The other item we really liked was the cross isle bath vs. the side bath.
Just returned from a 6000 mile 30 day trip to the west coast never had a problem with a campground or the trailer.

Note on skylights which we like for all the light they let in, however had one come off and the second was loose as a result of the way Airstream installs them. See my post from April 02.
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