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Old 08-13-2011, 03:22 PM   #57
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I bought an Earthbound

I looked at Airstreams very seriously for more than a year and had negotiated a deal on a 27-foot Front Bedroom International when I stumbled across Earthbound. I then spent several months doing what research I could on them and visited their factory before buying one. If anyone wants to discuss in detail the pros and cons of my experience with Earthbound, I would be willing to do it in private message format at this point.

What I will say now in a public forum is that while I think they have a lot of really good ideas and in some respects are more technologically advanced than Airstream, I wish I had bought the Airstream I had originally decided on.
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Old 08-13-2011, 03:41 PM   #58
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Chemical odors in our Airstream were pervasive for about a year. We'd leave it open all summer with at least one fan going, but it was still there when we would use the trailer until we got used to it and didn't smell it anymore, but it was still there.

There are lots of chemicals in our lives and what they do to us is not good when I have researched some of it. The foam used in cushions and mattresses has some nasty stuff in it, for example. Some of this stuff contains endocrine disrupters and is especially bad for children and the elderly.

Any trailer without these things would be worth looking at.

Gene
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Old 08-15-2011, 10:57 PM   #59
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How much for a 23 foot Earthbound?

How much for a 23 foot Earthbound?
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Old 08-16-2011, 08:28 AM   #60
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I'm confused. Earthbound added the 23' model for 2012 - it's a neat floorplan. (Gives me ideas for an Argosy restoration.) But there are no weights listed for that model in their brochure.

More interesting, the "build your own" part of the website says that all 2012 Earthbounds will essentially be custom-built. Less than 200 for the year, starting at $85,000. That's an awful lot of money for a 23-foot trailer (likely their least-expensive model.)

Tom
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Old 08-16-2011, 09:30 AM   #61
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EarthBound Price

Last year at an RV show in the SF Bay area, I spoke with an Earthbound dealer and I seem to recall that the asking price for a pretty tricked out 28' version was in the $50k range. Not sure, but I recall that my reaction was that the price was in the same ballpark as a 27' Airstream that I eventually bought, not in the $80k range.
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Old 08-16-2011, 09:39 AM   #62
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Agreed that was the pricing for 2011 and earlier Earthbounds - I had seen similar numbers.

I did more research on Earthbound's Facebook page - Earthbound is changing their operating structure for 2012. They're going after the low-production-number, custom-built, high-end market, and prices are jumping as a result.

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Old 08-16-2011, 10:16 PM   #63
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I'd consider a LivinLite before a Earthbound - Here is what I found

Livinlite is new to the market and the concept seems to be very good. Their trailers are about 98% aluminum. They'll last a long time, the structure is trouble-free and they're light as heck. On the flipside, they aren't much to look at, though you can have them painted. Dealers are difficult to find, though I've received a price list.

The 16 footer starts at $22,349. That doesn't include a TV, microwave or stereo and speakers. That also doesn't include their "propane package", which includes a furnace, water heater, fridge and range. Unless "range" includes a stove, I don't believe it comes with a stove, even as an option. It's difficult to say if the A/C is included, because they appear to show A/C as standard and as an option. Both are 13,500 BTU, but the option says "lowprofile" and costs $1,100. I don't know if Airstream insulates the flooring on all their new models, but it's extra with a CampLite.

Camplites do have some cool options, such as a tip-out bunk, like a hybrid. The option appears to be very well-built, and it doesn't have to be pushed out, as a queen bed or dinette that makes into a queen bed will be available anyway. There's also an option for an overhead bunk above the Queen bed or dinette, which to me is a great option. We had it in our Fun Finder (which I've sold).

By the time you load this trailer up with items that are generally standard (less a stove, as stated), you're probably into a 16 footer for about 26-27K. A 16 footer is as big as they come.

IMO, the CampLite is a great concept and appears to be very well-built. But considering I can buy a new Airstream Sport 22 for 38-40K, I'd much rather have the Airstream. Sure it's another 12K, but it's a far better trailer and the make is more than proven.
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Old 09-28-2011, 04:53 PM   #64
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Buying an AS in Canada has many advantages, i.e. our RV standards are higher. Vehicles built for sale here must not contain formaldahyde for one. We also have stricter manufacturing standards.

I have been inside every Airstream on the dealer's lot. There were no "chemical" smell whatsoever.
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Old 09-28-2011, 05:33 PM   #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aage

I wonder if we could get into the WBCCI with one?
No you can't. Another advantage to Earthbound.
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Old 09-28-2011, 06:32 PM   #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaraLindstro
I'm preparing to buy my first RV. Have always been in love with Airstreams, but now have discovered Earthbound RV's and am attracted to the non-formaldehyde aspect. Any feedback from you guys about the pros and cons? Of course, I would not have the built-in community that Airstream has if I go Earthbound, but what else should I be looking at? Thanks, Mara
With all due respect, this isn't the best place to go to get an unbiased opinion on AS versus another RV, although heaven knows we try. I love my 25' FB international, but am very impressed with the Earthbound. I use the AS for camping in the rough almost exclusively, and only go inside to sleep, use the bathroom, and and the fridge. I like the fact that Earthbound uses the interior space for the bedroom and bathroom, and not the "seating areas" and kitchen which I rarely use. I drag it up some pretty bumpy roads, and am not impressed with my AS ability to hold together under such conditions. I am constantly having to repair loose screws with locktite and repairing pulled out screw holes caused by the soft wood used in the construction. I don't know if the composites will perform better, but I intend to find out. The composite waterproof floor is a definite benefit, as keeping water off the floor is a chore. Since I rarely camp around others, I shower outside whenever possible. My wife insists on showering indoors however (something about "modesty") so condensation is a worry. The other AS problems with rivets and corrosion have been fully discussed here so I won't be repetitive. These problems are not major in my unit, but I wish AS would pay more attention to the repeated complaints about quality. Maybe if Earthbound and other RV manufacturers target this quality issue head on AS will finally address it rather than lose sales to better built trailers. I would hate to defect as I think AS is much better looking on the outside and tows better on the open road, but I will seriously consider it before buying another. I definitely prefer the interior of the Earthbound as the cabinets remind me of high line boats and private jets. If I didn't have to reattach them every trip I'd love my AS even more.
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Old 09-28-2011, 09:16 PM   #67
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Originally Posted by FlashSilver View Post
Maybe if Earthbound and other RV manufacturers target this quality issue head on AS will finally address it rather than lose sales to better built trailers. I would hate to defect as I think AS is much better looking on the outside and tows better on the open road, but I will seriously consider it before buying another
The peak was in the earliest 1970's for high end aero travel trailers. The average car loan was three years, wages peaked in 1973 with but one bread-winner per family, and hours worked hit bottom.

The day of folks being willing to pay the equivalent of a median-priced American home for a TT are long past. That group travels differently now. With far fewer children.

A/S survives due to cost-cutting. After airline "de-regulation" and the rise of too much commercial truck traffic, women going to work, flat or declining wages and Americans working more hours; all of this since ca.1980, the day of these trailers passed for sheer numbers produced. The better, more expensive brands have been gone for twenty-plus years.

Families found it easier to fly and rent a car. No time, too much trouble, and waaay too big an investment in todays economy: too little savings, too much debt, and no family wage jobs created since 1999.

An EB -- or another like it -- ought to be able to bridge the gap between labor-intensive construction & materials, and offer a better value. A/S needs to do something about the weight. That, alone, would "cure" many of the problems mentioned above.

Still, the slab sides lacking a minimum 12-degree curvature and the lack of FF/RR rounding make this trailer prone to the crosswind problems of towing a SWB. Not everyone is willing to sacrifice the wide range of TV choices an aero trailer gives.

Before you change, FlashSilver, give thought to the years ahead when for reasons unexpected today you use the trailer quite differently.

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Old 09-29-2011, 02:36 AM   #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by REDNAX

Before you change, FlashSilver, give thought to the years ahead when for reasons unexpected today you use the trailer quite differently.

.
Thank you for your well thought out analysis of today's RV market. I agree that my use of my AS is not the norm. I believe that there are two classes of AS owners; those who see their units as portable versions of their homes, and those who see their units as incredibly comfortable alternatives to sleeping on the ground. I am of the latter, as former backpacker who just got too old to continue carrying his food and lodging into the wilderness on his back. Compared to my former campsites, my 25' International is the Taj Mahal, but I am not prepared to give up the isolated public land campsites I have been using for 50 years. When you correctly point out the new economics of leisure as it relates to camping, I don't think it pertains to us as our costs of summer camping are low to nil. The only commercial campground I use is Dead Horse near Moab, and even then I rarely plug in. With a solar system your holding tanks are your time limiting factor. But I never watch TV in my trailer, use led lighting, and never run the AC. But I do have a heated toilet seat with a bidet, a nesspresso coffee maker, and I recharge an iPad, cellular phone and satellite radio boom box each night. Power is never a problem. I do not rough it, according to my standards. I can watch DVDs on my computer, but I rarely do, only when it rains and I can't sit outside with a campfire and a cigar. And all this is free or nearly so.

I get the impression on this forum that most folks use commercial campgrounds where they can plug in and live pretty much as they do at home. This is fine, that was what the AS was built for and depends on for future sales. I've lived on the East Coast and Midwest and and know about insects and humidity, and how these two things keep you in at night with the AC running. When I retired I chose to move to Utah for the skiing and the excellent camping. But while our kind of camping is not the norm, I believe there will be always be a demand for a high end trailer that will stand up to the rigors of boon docking. We will gladly trade front end expense for build quality and free or low cost quality camping. Until now the AS was the king of self contained camping, where we leave no trace. But Earthbound has opened my eyes to a potentially better alternative, and there may be others. The market is AS's to lose, but I don't believe they are doing enough at present to keep it. I am a retired business executive who has run publicly traded companies like Thor, and know the pressures they are under. But either class of campers want value for their hard earned money, and AS is not giving them what $50,000+ should buy. I am rooting for EB to either force AS to improve, or to give us a valuable alternative. If I were a Thor executive I would look at Harley Davidson as a model on how to reclaim my market by offering quality.
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Old 09-29-2011, 06:12 AM   #69
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Interesting post Flash. Dividing a group into 2 kinds of people is risky. Individuals don't always fit into one of the other. We used to backpack, but in my case, knees upset that endeavor. Eventually the Airstream was a solution to traveling and we like both full service campgrounds and remote campgrounds without services. We don't want to go to restaurants all the time and have always brought lots of food with us even when we were using motels. Neither our Airstream, motels, condo rentals or backpacks contain all the comforts of home and certainly not the quality of home construction.

We ft into both groups depending on out trip goals, and our trip goals are multifaceted. The Airstream is used for both. Of course, dividing people into 2 groups is useful to illustrate a point.

I do agree with you as to Airstream's approach to build quality and their attempt, however weakly pursued, at maintaining a market for themselves. Some people want a level of quality at an affordable (not an easy word to define) price. And you have to be clever to maintain or improve quality and contain and manage costs. I too hope Airstream has competitors who force Thor to improve the product.

Rednax, I agree the competition has to do better to meaningfully challenge Airstream. There is definitely a market, perhaps too small, for the competitors if they do better. And those who use the trailer as the next step from sleeping on the ground may well gradually, as they age, use it more as a home away from home.

What people want as to build quality varies a lot. I find high quality is cheaper in the long run, so I look for it. Since the Airstream is not an exact fit for us, we improve it ourselves (solar, better tires and converter, for example). That is less expensive than selling the trailer and buying an alternative—and we know we would have to improve an alternative too. Airstream has tried to market to those who want a simpler trailer suitable for those who don't want to sleep on the ground or can't carry a fully loaded backpack anymore. That is the Sport model and I don't think it has been too successful. The Basecamp was another attempt, and it failed in the market. They could have done a better job at both. When we were backpacking, it was obvious there were different types of people too—some were extremely minimalist and others were not—the latter group usually had much heavier backpacks.

There are really a couple of issues here—what people want when they leave home, build quality, and how smart the corporate leaders are.

Gene
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Old 09-29-2011, 07:31 AM   #70
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Flash, do you think the Earthbound will be better for boondocking than the Airstream?

I ask because we use the trailer similarly to you - small state forest campgrounds. We've never had a TV in the trailer and haven't even used (or had) a campground sewer connection. LEDs and battery power all the way. To Gene's point, while our Argosy is closer to the ultralight backpack, our next trailer will have a few more niceties.

I'm with you on the appeal of the Earthbound's cabinetry, but the last time I was in one, the aesthetics just fell flat. That said, there are some nice upgrades in the newer coaches, and supposedly they are working out the bugs. I know that I've thought about a new leftover 25' Dillon that's in Vermont for $30k...

Tom
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