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Old 08-13-2010, 09:27 PM   #1
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St Ignatius , Montana
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Question How big is too big? Newbie Ponderings...

Hi All... I'm new to the site, still in the process of looking for an AS that will be right for us, and thought I'd introduce myself (and ask a question or two...)

We recently sold our Scamp 13 with the intent of finding an older Airstream (or Argosy) that we could fix up to give us the ability to camp in comfort for longer periods of time. Having come from a Scamp (which my aging mother referred to as "a cute little torture chamber") even the smaller Airstreams seem big.

My question is this: my wife and I want to be mostly in national forest / national park campgrounds. What is the largest trailer that would be a comfortable fit in this setting? We're used to being able to park *anywhere* with the Scamp. Will a 25 or 26 footer make it hard to find campsites? There seem to be more trailers in this size available than the smaller ones.

Our main goals (after dealing with the limitations of the Scamp) is to set a trailer up with:
1. a queen size or two twin beds (I'm willing to make some mods to make this happen)
2. a permanent dinette for two.
3. a bathroom/shower

What size range should we be looking at?

Matthew L

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Old 08-13-2010, 09:35 PM   #2
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2005 22' Safari
Gresham , Oregon
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 621
We have a 22' and find it very adequate for our needs. We also intend to camp at state and national parks. We haven't made that many trips yet, but so far we only found one place that limited the trailer length to 25'. Our bed is only a double, but we find it perfect even though we sleep on a king at home. You will enjoy the bathroom and shower, especially if you will be doing some boondocking.

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Old 08-13-2010, 09:46 PM   #3
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2007 25' Safari FB SE
Suburbia , Sunny So Cal
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We have a 25 FB and have fit easily into every state, county or federal campground we've been to.

Mostly though we boondock in the Calofornia desert and Oregon woods and have never had a size related issue while dirt roading or off roading.
I'd rather be boon docking in the desert.

AIR# 13896
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Old 08-13-2010, 10:12 PM   #4
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1991 34' Excella
1963 26' Overlander
1961 26' Overlander
Central , Mississippi
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I might be a bit biased,....but I do think the 40+' dual axle Rail road versions were a "bit" toooo long.

a 3 axle 34 ft version seems to fit in all the places I've been to and I've never thought about getting a longer trailer...
Hi Ho Silver RV! Vernon, Sarah, Mac the Border Collie -
A honkin' long 34' named AlumaTherapy
and a 26' '63 Overlander, Dolly
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Old 08-13-2010, 10:35 PM   #5
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2012 25' Flying Cloud
Battle Lake , Minnesota
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We have a Scamp 13 but found our VW camper more comfortable. You will like camping in the 25, but it's a whole new world of towing compared to the Scamp. "Jeez this thing is big."

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Old 08-14-2010, 07:21 AM   #6
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We have a 25 Safari. We camp throughout the west in national forest, state parks and national park campgrounds. While our Safari might not fit in every space, we have found it too big for only the most primative campgrounds and suitable for 95% of those we visit.
Forest service campgrounds are at the end of forest service roads and our Safari navigates those also without problems. As long as the road is graded and suitable for a passenger car, it is suitable for our Airstream.
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Old 08-14-2010, 07:55 AM   #7
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1965 22' Safari
Vassar , Michigan
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We restored/updated a 65 22' Safari and boondock in National Forests in Upper Michigan all the time. It is just the right size for us. Easy to pull (we use a 1/2 ton pickup), lots of room, 2 couches that fold out to beds. I've included a couple of pics. Best of luck on your hunt for an Airstream...Tim
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Old 08-14-2010, 08:16 AM   #8
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1977 31' Sovereign
1963 26' Overlander
1989 34' Excella
Johnsburg , Illinois
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The desirable size is a function of how many days you are going to use it per year. You will notice the too small syndrome if you camp for long periods of rainy weather. Having pets along also requires a larger size. The longer you stay in it, the more you will wish by bought it two foot longer.
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Old 08-14-2010, 08:27 AM   #9
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Fenton , Missouri
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I once talked to my dealer regarding the number of newer Airstreams that he takes in on trade. The answer was that the bulk of new trailers that he takes in are because the original purchasers realize they should have gone bigger. Small has its advantages but if you are a first time buyer and you are buying new, think long and hard regarding small. Think about storage space, think about the length of your trips, the amount of time spent in the trailer. Think about that corner bed and crawling over your partner for a bathroom break. It all takes it toll over time, and regrets are expensive lesson to learn.

I have one friend who struggled over going with a 25' or 27'. They took the 25' and after two years sold it because of space.

Jack Canavera
AIR #56
'04 Classic 30' S.O.,'03 GMC Savana 2500,'14 Honda CTX 700
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Old 08-14-2010, 10:04 AM   #10
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1971 25' Caravanner
scappoose , Oregon
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Spent about a year, in a trailer with a corner bed,,,,never again.
Airstream, or non Airstream, corner beds get old real fast.
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Old 08-14-2010, 10:38 AM   #11
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1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
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Greetings Matthew!

Welcome to the Forums!

Originally Posted by mattlyon View Post
Our main goals (after dealing with the limitations of the Scamp) is to set a trailer up with:
1. a queen size or two twin beds (I'm willing to make some mods to make this happen)
2. a permanent dinette for two.
3. a bathroom/shower

What size range should we be looking at?
When looking at Vintage Airstreams or Argosys, you will most likely find more of the center twin layouts with front lounge than almost any of the available variations. In the Argosy line, there are several variations that you might find interesting. When I first read your post, I immediately thought about the Argosy 22 and 24 rear door models as each had a standard dinette with either a pair of twin beds or a double. The scan below illustrates these two floorplans:

Another option that offers the advantage of a more compact width (7' rather than the usual 7' 8") is the Minuet series available in 6.0, 6.7, and 7.3 Metres. These coach's used light weight construction methods and some experimental materials to keep weight severl hundred pounds below the similar length standard coaches. The Minuets were available between 1977 and 1979 and the typical floorplans are in the scan below:

Whether looking at an Argosy or an Airstream from the Vintage Era, you are less likely to find a fixed dinette than in a similar sized Brand X travel trailer. In the Argosy travel trailers the dinette was usually a $50 extra-cost option. A credenza table folds and stores in a cabinet against the sidewall of the coach and folds open in front of the front lounge. I came from first a truck camper and then an 18 foot Nomad travel trailer both with fixed dinettes, and the front lounge crdenza or compact drop-leaf table were among my favorite teatures of my coaches as the dinettes tended to be so much wasted space for me.

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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Old 08-14-2010, 10:38 AM   #12
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2005 25' Safari
Trabuco Canyon , California
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A 13' Scamp fits in a lot of spots.

What size trailers/rvs are in the campgrounds you use? Do you see 25+ foot trailers?

While I agree that the larger trailers fit in many campsites, they clearly do not fit in all of them. Especially older NFS campsites in rugged terrain where the the access roads are too narrow with sharp curves, overhanging brush and small sites.

I see this question a lot and the answer is pretty simple for those who already camp. What type of rigs are in the sites you visit?
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Old 08-14-2010, 10:40 AM   #13
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Matthew L.,

First off, welcome as a new memeber to the forum. As you can see I am a fairly recent member also. Here is a couple of observations from my own trailer use. I currently have a 19 foot Komfort but am looking to acquire my neighbor's 25 foot Excella Classic. My wife and I also do mostly Forest Service, boondocking etc. type of camping. My current trailer (Komfort) has to have the bed made up each night which I have found is not my cup of tea. Never again, my next rig will have permanent sleeping arrangements. We have found the 19 foot length not too bad except for not having a permanent bed. We spend most of our time ouside of the trailer and eat most of our meals outside at a picnic table etc. My neighbor's 25 foot is more than enough room for me and solves the sleeping issues. Now all I have to do is convince them it is time to sell it to me. Hope my musings have helped some.

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Old 08-14-2010, 10:41 AM   #14
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2006 25' Safari FB SE
1972 25' Tradewind
Houston , Texas
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In the Vintage Airstream Category the 22' Safari or the 24-25' Tradewinds are great trailers, easy to park and will be an easy pull. My Tradewind has a front section with a fold down gaucho/ coucho and a partition that closes the back area off as a separate room with twin beads giving some privacy from kids. It's just big enough but not too big.
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