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Old 08-27-2012, 10:17 AM   #1
1 Rivet Member
Jefferson , Louisiana
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Posts: 6
Is a 34 Footer Excessive?

Like many on this forum, I am looking to purchase my first Airstream. I have however run into a predicament. Seems to me, I can purchase a 34 foot trailer for a similar price and in just as good condition as a dual axle or even single axle trailer. Are the tri axles not as popular because maintenence is required for 6 wheels instead of 4? When I do things, I tend to go to the extreme, so this wouldn't be much of an anomaly for me. I would use this trailer once a month on average, and it would be parked in my driveway for storage. My truck is plenty capable, so no issues there. Can anyone enlighten me on why no matter what size the trailer is they all tend to hover around a similar price range? I also enjoy others opinions, so I wonder if I can be brought back down to earth and begin looking for a more reasonably sized trailer.
Thank you very much!!
New Orleans...Waiting on Issac!

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Old 08-27-2012, 10:34 AM   #2
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Currently Looking...
Marietta , Georgia
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Welcome to the forum! When we originally looked (for two years!_) for the right airstream, we decided to go shorter because of the added expense of a triple axle: one more axle to replace, two more tires to replace, and that much more to seal and maintain. We LOVE our 29 footer. However, as our children grow up and get MUCH bigger, we are looking for a 34' (triple axle) to replace our 29'. There are NINE of us, though-- when it is just the two of us, or even recently when we had only four of the kids along instead of all sevben, the 29' still feels huge. If we had only 4 or 5 kids we would not even be considering switching.

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Old 08-27-2012, 10:57 AM   #3
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1991 34' Excella
1963 26' Overlander
Central , Mississippi
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Each person has their own reason for prefering one size over the other, but IMHO...

A 34' is not that big now days...
2 extra tires plus a 3rd axle isn't going to make a dent in maintance cost on a yearly basis...
There is a common misconception that anything over 25' won't fit in most national parks...
But then again...small aluminum trailers do 'look' cute!

We love our 34'er
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 08-27-2012, 11:07 AM   #4
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a , wanderer
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I don't think a 34' is excessive at all. There's three of sharing the space now, but even once it is just the two of us, I can't see us trading for a smaller one. Maybe add a smaller one, but not get rid of this one. We looked long and hard at a 28' Ocean Breeze. I still like that floorplan, but I think I'm happier with the 34' than I would have been with any other floorplan.

I like the open feeling that we have with this size. Like all (modern anyway) Airstreams, there are lots of windows giving huge sightlines from anywhere in the living space. But we also have an open 6' x 8' area in the living room. This really opens up the space and makes it feel larger than it actually is. Even with a 34', your entire square footage is about what the average living room is in a modern house. So, it's nice to have it feel large even though its really not.

From what we've seen, the only time the length has been a downside is that we can't get in every campsite, or even campground. Sometimes we run across some turns that we have to be careful while making. And I've gotten myself into some rather interesting spots that I've had to back that thing out of. I'm just about to the point that I can back and put that thing wherever I want it though. Just takes practice.

There is the additional maintenance of the additional axle and wheels, but in the big picture, that's really a small part of the ownership costs.

So... sorry... I'm afraid I can't talk you down from this ledge. Just go large and don't look back.
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Old 08-27-2012, 11:15 AM   #5
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1977 31' Sovereign
1963 26' Overlander
1989 34' Excella
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Airstream sizes

We have a variety of sizes and age. The 34 for the two of us is great for winter destination long term snowbirds. It does not pull much different than the 31 but you need to be aware that they track differently and you need to swing wide. The 26 is a lot lighter because it is older and a breeze to pull, even without a W/D hitch. Once they reach more that 10 years old, there is little difference in the $ per year depreciation. The 6 tires will cost more to replace and the toll road charges will also increase.
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Old 08-27-2012, 11:28 AM   #6
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Jefferson , Louisiana
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You each make very compelling points. Thank you for the insight! I agree that in the big scheme of things (I intend to keep the Airstream I purchase for a few decades) the added costs of maintenence on an extra axle is inconsequential. I have given it a lot of thought, and am happy to admit I have narrowed my search to a particular model. In addition to my 4 member family, I will have two large dogs accompanying. I think a 34 will be a good fit.
...Now the hunt begins! Wish me luck
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Old 08-27-2012, 11:32 AM   #7
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And HiHo. Thank you for including a renovation thread in your signature. This will give me ideas about what to look for when examining prospects. is a Great Site!!
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Old 08-27-2012, 11:43 AM   #8
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Howdy Ag.

Considering the number of people traveling in 40+ foot Class A motorhomes (towing vehicles to boot) your overall length, height and weight for traveling in a 34 isn't at all outrageous in the modern RV world. If you ever felt like you had to spend too much to keep your rig on the road, just talk to someone with one of those 45' buses with eleventy-seven slides and more basement cargo space than the entire interior volume of a Wee Wind how much it costs them. Most of them would have to refer you to their accountant.

Il Carriaggio 1975 Argosy 24 | Il Progetto 1976 Argosy 28 Center Bath | WBCCI# 15566

He has all of the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire. Sir Winston Churchill
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Old 08-27-2012, 11:50 AM   #9
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1988 25' Excella
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The 25' and the 27-28 foot are pretty popular models that get a little price boost on the used market. I have a 32 foot. I would prefer that it was a 34. I know some people who traded in their 28 and bought a 34. They say that the 34 foot is more stable and pulls better than the 28. Been on lots of caravans each with several of the 34's. They all seem to do fine at towing and parking and fitting what sites avaliable. If you have a capable TV all I see is an upside to a 34 over a 31 or 32. 6 tires may cost $300 more than 4, but I bet 5 left is better than 3 if you have a tire problem.
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Old 08-27-2012, 01:43 PM   #10
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1999 34' Excella
NE Central , Kansas
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I fulltime in my 34. It's just right for dog and me. I don't move very often, but when I do it tows very nicely. If you maintain and keep it updated, you won't lose much value from year to year. From looking at current prices, I would even say mine has appreciated a little in 2 years. In any case, I love my 34, and would only change to another if I could find a 34 with a slide out at a reasonable price.
AIR 57698, TAC NM-9.
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Old 08-27-2012, 02:25 PM   #11
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I think that once you get a good feel for the trailer, the size is a non issue. The tricky part, as is on the 31' to some extent is the amount of tail overhang in combination with low clearance. Again, once you know what to look out for, it is not an issue.
The true bedroom also gives you some extra room/ functionality with kids/wife/ dogs/ etc.
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1982 34' Limited
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Old 08-27-2012, 02:44 PM   #12
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I think alot of the cost difference is due to the related Tow vehicle cost. If I bought a 34 I wouldn't be confortable pulling with my current vehicles. I can't afford a diesel truck, and don't want one, so I was willing to pay a premium for a shorter trailer. Also, I have a 50 foot driveway, so I couldn't put a 34 in my driveway with the truck.

We could have bought a 31 for less than I paid for my 23 Safari, but it wouldn't fit in my parking spot and I was alittle intimidated since the longest I had towed previously was a 24ft car trailer. The amount and type of use your trailer sees also determines the right trailer for you. My wife and I find the 23 plenty big for the two of us on long weekend trips, to quote my father "it would be along winter in a trailer that short".
1977 Safari Land Yacht
2005 Toyota Tundra SR5
2010 Ford Flex Ecoboost
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Old 08-27-2012, 02:48 PM   #13
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2006 19' Safari SE
Tucson , Arizona
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OK, now you will hear from someone with a 19' Airstream!

Heck, no, a 34' isn't too big! You will love it! They are big and long and beautiful and shiny. I have never heard anyone with a 34' say they wished they had one of the little guys, especially if they spend significant time in it...unless, of course, they want a smaller one for side trips ... that's always a possibility. The cost per square foot of a 34' will be less than a 16' or 19' for sure. And as DKB_SATX points out, compared to the behemoth SOBs on the road these days, it's not that big. Go for it!
TB & Greg and Abbey Schnauzer
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Unit #3954
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Old 08-27-2012, 03:03 PM   #14
Capt W
2013 31' Classic
Jefferson , Massachusetts
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One consideration I did not see mentioned was how you plan to use your AS, and where you want to go.

We limited our AS to 28' because many state and provincial parks cannot accommodate RVs longer than that.

We particularly enjoy state and provincial parks because they typically are right where the recreation is, just walk out the door and into your kayak or onto the trail. Also, spacing between campsites is usually much more generous than in private RV parks
Finally, the per night cost is often less because many have only electricity and water which requires a little more time for waste disposal when you leave.

Good luck in finding the AS that is right for you and your family.

Wayne and Sarah

Welcome aboard, Mary Joan, the Tin Wheeler
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