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Old 02-12-2006, 08:18 PM   #1
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1977 31' Excella 500
Berkeley Springs , West Virginia
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Mom, Dad, two little ones, what's the best size?

Howdy All!

Figured I'd throw this one out there for those more knowledable than I...

I'm 36, with lovely wife and two small children. Looking to make a North American excursion. What size Airstream is recommended?

This may be a moot question as I already bought a trailer. But here's my logic:

25' is too small. 34' is getting kind of big and I've not found any in my price range. I was thinking something in the 28' to 32' range would be what I was after. I came across a deal on a 31' Excella and I bought it. It needs some work, but to me it's a labor of love.

I know a guy who is retired and he and his wife winter in a 25' model. But he spends most of his time in the campground's rec room. To me a 25' seems tight for a family of four.

Anyway, just curious what you all think. In retrospect, maybe I should have splurged for a 34', but I think I'm OK with my 31'. Just wondering what the more experienced 'streamers think.



- Jim
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Old 02-12-2006, 08:25 PM   #2
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1976 31' Sovereign
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Chandler , Oklahoma
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My husband and I have a 24ft and that's not enough for just us. Layout is important too. It's great to have a center bath so you don't have to crawl over anyone to get to the bathroom at night. We love our tailer, but would pay for about 2 more feet of bathroom space. You will find out what you like and don't like about your trailer in time; however, for camping you have probably made the best choice. Some campgrounds don't like the long units and some of us don't like trying to park them. Sure your young family will enjoy what you picked. Us old folks don't adjust as easily as the youngsters.

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Old 02-12-2006, 08:27 PM   #3
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1991 34' Excella
Mansfield , Texas
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I don't know about you but we need all the room we can get. 2 adults with 3 children. Things can get real cosey if the weathers bad. Once you have had a 34 theres no going back.
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Old 02-12-2006, 08:29 PM   #4
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2004 25' Safari
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For the two of us and one pooch our 25' is great. Even with the addition of another (yet much smaller) dog, the 25' would still meet our needs.

Dogs though are different than kids. Dogs have very few things that come with them and I'd have to agree, 28' or larger would be a wise choice given the size of your tribe.
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Old 02-12-2006, 08:33 PM   #5
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1977 31' Excella 500
Berkeley Springs , West Virginia
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Forgot to mention the Yorkie!!!

Hey SilverTwinkie,

I neglected to mention, we have one 10lb Yorkie named Punky that will be traveling with us too. Can't short the we need at least a couple extra feet for him. Maybe I should have gotten a 34'
- Jim
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Old 02-12-2006, 08:46 PM   #6
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2005 16' International CCD
Ogden , Utah
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I think it has a lot to do with the kind of trailering that you do. We are a family of 4 + 2 small dogs, and we get by pretty will with our 16' model. But we use it almost entirely as a 'camper' in National Forest Service campgrounds, and we're mostly outside doing camping kinds of things and just need a place to sleep, shower, and the refrig for food. The short length is ideal for this kind of camping, and we can get into almost any size of campsite that's available.

When I think about retiring and being able to take some extended trips, I do think about a longer trailer. I spent a lot of time this winter trying to decide whether we could get by with a 25', but it's almost too big for camping, and yet not big enough for 'living'. So, maybe we'll end up with two Airstreams??!!

Of the longer models, I really like the layout and capabilities of the 31' - I suspect you'll find you made a good choice.

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Old 02-12-2006, 08:55 PM   #7
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We are a family of five (hence FiveGreers) and just bought our 22' Safari. I have already had panic attacks about it being too small, BUT we all don't always go, and if we go on an extended trip, we'll be traveling with my parents who have a 30' Excella-so there is room. I think it's all in how you use it. DH and I stayed in her one night when we picked her up, and it suited the two of us fine. We love the colors and layout. A 25' would be nice, but I was concerned about towing (as it's size seems much larger than the 22'). It's all about you and what you're comfortable in-and what you can find! Best of luck to you!
Minya and the kids

2005 22' Safari-
...lost her in the divorce-
Would like another (Airstream), please!

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Old 02-12-2006, 09:04 PM   #8
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2005 16' International CCD
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Sorry for the double reply, but I just noticed you have a Dodge Cummins. Have you done enough towing yet to know how it does? We bought a Cummins last summer for the power - we live in Utah and almost all of our towing involves going up to the mountains. With our 16' Airstream, we have a very favorable power to weight ratio! We were already thinking of a longer trailer not too far in the future, and so we opted for the diesel over the gas to not have to trade trucks if/when we get a bigger trailer.
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Old 02-12-2006, 09:19 PM   #9
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hi jim and others......

you will be fine with the's large enough to provide a lot of interior options....narrow body right? still will fit in most camping venues....

i'm solo with dog in a 34....and it's not one foot....
too short......

but i fulltimed years ago in a 29 moho so i knew exactly how the space in this one should function....and didn't want any space (bed, bath, galley or lounge) that multitasked...

also agree a bambi can be the perfect space for extending the camping experience, while using the great out of doors...even for a larger family....
it would get tight on long rain/cold trips but still beats a tent/pop up hands down....and can always be upgraded...

understanding how the unit will be used and working with what ever limits the size brings is key...

if looking for the ideal factory finished layout....
the front bedroom/rear bunk bed safari model would seem to be ideal for a family of 4-5 and critter.

what is so great is the basic airstream shape and construction is the same for many years/models and sizes...yet there can be so many ways to configure and decorate the's really amazing what can be done with the basic footprint. and over many decades of trailers.

with lots of little ones i'd probably want bunks in the rear, center bath, galley and a front area that becomes mom/dads at the kids grow and weather improves i'd include a tent room for the kids outside and bunks become twins....still keeping the front as the adult sleeping area....

another option if really wanting the back for adult sleeping would be pull the sofa and do bunks upfront or 2 sofas for kids....but then the adults are confined to the rear at night....not ideal.

the choice of tow vehicle is important too.....while i favor big trucks, a big van, with the lower step in space could allow for better storage or a sleeping annex....

you should study lots of floor plans, custom rehabs and enjoy the flexibility the airstream shell provides..

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Old 02-12-2006, 10:07 PM   #10
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Tune into theVAP and listen to the segment which interviewed Rich and Eleanor Luhr on their Tour of America. They are traveling with one small child, I think Emma is five. You can also follow their adventures on the Airstream Life website.

Bill Kerfoot, WBCCI/VAC/CAC/El Camino Real Unit #5223
Just my personal opinion
1973 Dodge W200 PowerWagon, 1977 Lincoln Continental, 2014 Dodge Durango
1979 23' Safari, and 1954 29' Double Door Liner Orange, CA
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Old 02-12-2006, 11:00 PM   #11
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2004 25' Safari
. , Illinois
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Originally Posted by JimGolden
Can't short the terrier..
Tell me about it. Our new addition is a (fox/jack russell) terrier mix and he rules over the roost...... and he is a ladies dog for sure follows them everywhere and won't give any guys the time of day....maybe a growl, bark or two though.....
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Old 02-13-2006, 12:13 AM   #12
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My wife and I plus 3 dogs ( 15 lbs, 65 lbs and 80 lbs) have a 25 footer and it fits us nicely. We had a small popup a year ago and this is almost 3 times the size. What we need is a second door. Gracie now owns that spot!
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Old 02-13-2006, 07:10 AM   #13
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Its all how you pack.

When I was a kid my family (4) camped for 4 weeks a year on 1-2 week jaunts from Detroit to either fl gulf coast or west to CO. Did that all through the 70's and early 80's. Camper was a pop up that was bare inside. Monkey ward deal. 2 bunks and that was it. We pulled it with a 1974 VW 412 station wagon. In 82 the 412 was upgraded to a VW Vanagon. That lets you know how small the pop up was. Still great memories.

We are family of 4 with 2 medium sized dogs. Our 22' Caravanner should be more then enough.
1959 22' Caravanner
1988 R20 454 Suburban.
Atlanta, GA
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Old 02-13-2006, 10:57 AM   #14
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We to moved up from a small pop-up. We have 2 dogs and one 7 year old son. We decided on a 31 foot one reason it will not be long before our son wants to invite someone for the weekend. Plus a few times we were held up in the small pop-up due to weather and I wanted all the room we could get when we moved up to the Airstream.


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