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Old 08-01-2015, 12:22 PM   #1
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2016 30' Classic
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Wink Anyone wish for more off-road capable Airstream?

I've been recently looking at trailers to buy and have always loved Airstreams. My worry is that maybe it would be too fragile for my needs. I love the interior size and decor of the new 30 foot classics.

But would I be limited to relatively large, flat camp ground and parks?
Would the long overhangs and lower chassis height scrape on even rudimentary trails?
Is the beautiful aluminum skin easy to dent in with bush and tree branches?

For around the same money as the Classic ($120K) I could import a high quality Australian off-road camper full loaded. The Australians seem to make the best off-road/boondocking campers. (Kimberley are actually USA VIN'd/real easy to import).

Kimberleykruiser - Finest Australian Off Road Caravan

That thing I could take boondocking and really keep away from the crowds. Real proper boondocking systems like:
720 watt factory solar
Factory satellite
740 amp hour battery setup
12 volt air conditioning etc
Diesel cooking etc
Huge water tanks
Plus right now the USD/AUSD exchange rate is really good for US buyers.


Having only done Class A traveling before, without actually having "lived the lifestyle" in something like a 30 Classic or this Kimberley for off-road it is hard to know which I would prefer.

The Airstream of course has the the classic looks, beautiful and more spacious interior but more fragile for off-road and will be more "tethered" to civilization.

The Kimberly would allow really getting into the outskirts of boondocking areas that aren't well traversed, super quality design, more boondocking features but the trailer door and outdoor grill are on the wrong side and getting parts from Australia could be a headache and fluctuate with eh exchange rate.


So, has anyone else yearned for something like an Airstream but more off-road capable? Short of putting on larger tires on the Airstream for more cushion and ground clearance, I'm not sure if they would hold up on the rougher lifestyle... Thoughts?
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Old 08-01-2015, 12:39 PM   #2
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Check out Nash campers. That would be my choice in your shoes
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Old 08-01-2015, 12:59 PM   #3
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Thanks Ted. Ya, I did look into those but unfortunately they have what I like to call the standard "1980's Las Vegas Hotel Room" interiors that the US RV industry (besides Airstream) has subscribed to.

Looking for something a bit more high end.
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Old 08-01-2015, 01:09 PM   #4
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So think you are in for a challenge finding the right camper, but I like your concept. Question is if you are primarily boondocking, the door side might not matter?

Also, if it is any indication, I just towed my trailer over many miles of dirt roads through S Dakota and Wyoming with no issues. I feel they are pretty tough.
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Old 08-01-2015, 01:13 PM   #5
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Yes, a challenge! Kimberley even advertises that no such trailer is made in the USA and Canada that compares to theirs. Which from my research appear to be correct.

Yes, the door side primarily won't matter. But I will go into campground once and a while etc and it could be a pain. I walk out the door and grill facing directly at the neighbors lol.

Sounds like a nice trip. Did you take any pics? As a matter of fact, anyone Airstreamers got some nice pics of their Airstreams "off the beaten path'?
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Old 08-01-2015, 01:19 PM   #6
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We have some nice shots of a big dust cloud following the back of the trailer through the Sage Creek Wilderness west of the Badlands, I will try to post when I can find them.
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Old 08-01-2015, 05:06 PM   #7
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Zybane, any RV is a compromise. You are the only one who can decide what is right for you, so take some time (you don't want to make a $120,000 mistake) and figure out just what you want to do. Since you say you haven't actually done what you are thinking about doing, I'd suggest that you start by finding people who have done it (and are still doing it if possible). Pick their brains about what you ought to have. Ask them WHY they picked the setup they did, and then compare their reasons to what you want to do. Are you planning on being a solo full-timer, living in the boonies most of the time? Do you have a spouse? If so, are they on-board with this plan? Or are you wanting a coach that will let you go off in the boonies for a week or two at a time? Also, the terrain may help you decide what you want/need. There is a big difference between snaking down a forest service "road" with huge ruts below and huge tree limbs above and going a couple of miles out in the desert on well-baked ground.

Then you get to the question of a tow vehicle. A truck that is set up properly to tow a coach out into the middle of the woods may not be a good choice for a daily driver. If you are still working that means two vehicles at least.

I'm not trying to rain on your parade, but simply pointing out areas that will need to be thought about and discussed if someone else is going to be with you. Again, only you can answer the questions. Don't let someone else dictate what you can or cannot do. After all, those who say something can't be done are often passed up by those who are doing it. Go find those who are doing it and see how it is done. Then have fun.
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Old 08-01-2015, 05:15 PM   #8
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The AUS "caravans" sit quite high. And use shorter tongues. Reading over on one of their sites is concern about suspension design. Long travel, and some sophistication is desired. Take your time. Collyn Rivers is interesting to read.

My impression is that most all of them tow at 60-mph or lower when on paved roads. There have been good discussions about the TUSON electronic, trailer-mounted antisway. See Andrew_T s review on this site (and at MR TRUCK).

These trailers around here dent if you breathe hard on them. If that isn't a concern, then there are those who've raised them. (Not my preference at all). One of the lighter ones would be the only ones I'd consider for off-road. That said, read around. Ray Eklund has some good observations, among others.

Good luck.
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Old 08-01-2015, 06:05 PM   #9
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Zbane

Have you considered a high end truck camper?
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Old 08-01-2015, 09:37 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kb0zke View Post
Zybane, any RV is a compromise. You are the only one who can decide what is right for you, so take some time (you don't want to make a $120,000 mistake) and figure out just what you want to do. Since you say you haven't actually done what you are thinking about doing, I'd suggest that you start by finding people who have done it (and are still doing it if possible). Pick their brains about what you ought to have. Ask them WHY they picked the setup they did, and then compare their reasons to what you want to do. Are you planning on being a solo full-timer, living in the boonies most of the time? Do you have a spouse? If so, are they on-board with this plan? Or are you wanting a coach that will let you go off in the boonies for a week or two at a time? Also, the terrain may help you decide what you want/need. There is a big difference between snaking down a forest service "road" with huge ruts below and huge tree limbs above and going a couple of miles out in the desert on well-baked ground.

Then you get to the question of a tow vehicle. A truck that is set up properly to tow a coach out into the middle of the woods may not be a good choice for a daily driver. If you are still working that means two vehicles at least.

I'm not trying to rain on your parade, but simply pointing out areas that will need to be thought about and discussed if someone else is going to be with you. Again, only you can answer the questions. Don't let someone else dictate what you can or cannot do. After all, those who say something can't be done are often passed up by those who are doing it. Go find those who are doing it and see how it is done. Then have fun.
Ah, no worries about raining on my parade. I am a realist. I hear you on compromise. Everything is a compromise. TV weight capability vs off-road. Trailer off-road capability vs high speed road manner and luxury etc. Just finding the sweet spot for my "compromise".

Quote:
Originally Posted by slowmover View Post
The AUS "caravans" sit quite high. And use shorter tongues. Reading over on one of their sites is concern about suspension design. Long travel, and some sophistication is desired. Take your time. Collyn Rivers is interesting to read.

My impression is that most all of them tow at 60-mph or lower when on paved roads. There have been good discussions about the TUSON electronic, trailer-mounted antisway. See Andrew_T s review on this site (and at MR TRUCK).

These trailers around here dent if you breathe hard on them. If that isn't a concern, then there are those who've raised them. (Not my preference at all). One of the lighter ones would be the only ones I'd consider for off-road. That said, read around. Ray Eklund has some good observations, among others.

Good luck.
Ah yes, the T3 trailer I am looking at is over ten feet high. But of course that height is needed for ground clearance for off road. I've been wondering how something like the Kimberley would tow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted S. View Post
Zbane

Have you considered a high end truck camper?
Red, ya I've looked into them. Basically the consensus out there is that the truck loses most of it's off-road capability with all that high weight back there. Basically you have the size to go off-road but lose the ability to do it.
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Old 08-02-2015, 12:01 PM   #11
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just a thought! have you ever considered a surplus military truck? a so called shop van duce&half converted into an off roadable trailer has worked for quite a few people.
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Old 08-02-2015, 01:04 PM   #12
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I don't know anything about these folks, came across their website while researching options - have you seen ADAK?

ADAK Trailers - ADAK is the Big Dog in adventure/overland trailers.
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Old 08-02-2015, 07:53 PM   #13
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just a thought! have you ever considered a surplus military truck? a so called shop van duce&half converted into an off roadable trailer has worked for quite a few people.
And they can be had for CHEAP! One is on my dream list.
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Old 08-02-2015, 08:00 PM   #14
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We have Four Wheel Camper that allows us to tow the AS, use it as a basecamp, then boondock with the FWC.
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