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Old 04-27-2016, 09:23 AM   #1
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bradenton , Florida
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New Member Here- not sure if this is correct place

I joined AS Forum recently and posted in New Member a couple days ago. Not sure where to post questions, so my apologies if this isn't the "closest" topic to align with. My husband and I have been thinking heavily about smaller AS (even toying w Fiberglass idea). We did first walk through of AS at Tampa RV (we live in Bradenton) - WE are CLUELESS, but beginning our search. We feel foolish at times because FL isnt the most fun "camping" and it take 8 hrs just to get out of state. Our "Plan:" 1 trip 'West" per year, 1-2 in NC/TN per year and some nice longer weekends throughout year in FL somewhere. We want to hike, adventure sight see - Forest State Park sort (and hope to boondock at some point). Its just us 2 w occassional 7 yo granddaughter. We are in 50s and pretty active. We wanted to like something smaller, but felt at home in 25 fb FC at Tampa RV. Again, we are just starting our search. I read an awful lot of expense w fixing these newer models (something I didn't expect). Should be looking for something older (nicely done 70-80s) to keep price down due to our limited usage? are there certain models to look at for that sort of thing that you would suggest? In the end, would a gently used newer 25 be best by the time you 'fix' the renovated, older one? We dont want a stick build - we know that. Tow vehicle wont be a prob as we will be replacing our SUV soon and match (prob a Ford 150) to right trailer - THanks you for any suggestions/help in getting us to next phase of informed decisions. :-)

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Old 04-27-2016, 09:47 AM   #2
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2013 28' Flying Cloud
Central , Canada
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Welcome aboard.
The size of your trailer is completely dependent on your own comfort level and taste. If you feel most at home in a 25 then that would be the one I would look at. As for the preserved expense of fixing a newer trailer? I'm not sure where that comes from other than you have been reading to many threads on this board when different people are complaining about things. We have a 2013 28' and have travelled extensively in it around North America without issue.

The best advise I can give you is to NOT buy one to small. I have met many people who regret not buying the unit they feel most comfortable with. You need to sit in one for an extended period of time (without a sales person) and pretend your living in it. Stand in the shower, make the bed, cook and wash dishes to make sure it has the room your looking for. Once you have that figured out you will know the size that feels good to you.

If it was me, I would confirm the size you want and then find on that's a couple years old. I think that's your best bang for your $$.

Good Luck and Have Fun!

Trying to use my camera to create memories - not photographs!
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Old 04-27-2016, 10:53 AM   #3
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2015 25' FB Flying Cloud
2012 23' FB Flying Cloud
2005 25' Safari
Santa Rosa Beach , Florida
Join Date: Jul 2006
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

Welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us. As to your question, getting the "right" Airstream is always a matter of your wants and needs. I would highly suggest that you go to an Airstream dealer and spend some time sitting in the various sizes and floor plans. This will help give you a feel of what type of Airstream will work for you.

Then start shopping the used market for Airstreams that fit your situation. This will give you a good idea of where you are at, price wise.

Keep in mind that getting an older Airstream that needs a lot of work means that you will spend more time fixing and restoring than you will spend camping.

SuEllyn & Brian McCabe
WBCCI #3628 -- AIR #14872 -- TAC #FL-7
2015 FC 25' FB (Lucy) with HAHA
2005 Suburban 2500 Quadrasteer (Olivia) & 2018 Silverado 2500 (Lillian)
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Old 04-27-2016, 11:22 AM   #4
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1977 31' Excella 500
Berkeley Springs , West Virginia
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You're off to a good start by reading on here. You can learn a lot. Read about the various systems and how to maintain/repair them. These trailers are fairly simple once you get to know them.

For two of you with an occasional grandchild, I would think a 25' would be fine. It will easily fit into State parks where a 31' might be tight.

For our family of four, we like our 34'. But it's totally an individual thing.

Welcome aboard!
- Jim
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Old 04-27-2016, 11:31 AM   #5
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2006 23' Safari SE
Lexington , Kentucky
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Originally Posted by hiking1 View Post
I..... We feel foolish at times because FL isnt the most fun "camping" and it take 8 hrs just to get out of state.
You're kidding, right?
Florida has some fantastic state parks. Just up the road from you is Hillsborough River SP. The river is excellent for kayaking and fishing, miles of river to explore. The park has several hiking trails. The CG is very nice, some of the sites are quite large, and Floridian seniors get a discount. In your backyard is Lake Manatee S.P, little Manatee River SP, Myakka River SP and many others. We haven't been able to get reservations until this year for next year, but we're looking forward to visiting several of them.

We stayed a month in the Kissimmee area, loved the Shingle Creek city park. We left and went up through the panhandle to Texas. We stopped along the way at different places, took 5 days but we enjoyed the trip. Set a limit of about 300 miles or less a day if you can, stay a couple of days in each place, there's always something to see wherever you go.

We have a 23' and we're pretty comfortable. We've talked about going up to 25 or 27' but we'd have to upgrade the TV first. So that's on the back burner for a while. Our only complaint is the bed/bath, could be bigger, easier to get around the bed. The plus side is that it's easy to tow, take it anywhere and it's not been very bad on maintenance after initial repairs.

Good luck with your search, welcome to the forum.

Rich & Yvonne
2006 Safari SE -Dora-
2004 4Runner SE

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Old 04-27-2016, 11:32 AM   #6
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2014 25' FB Eddie Bauer
Vero Beach , Florida
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Posts: 462
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Welcome. My wife and I are in similar situation... A tad older, retired Floridians. We bought a new 25' Eddie Bauer in 2014. We have needed almost no warranty work. What little we've needed I did myself. Our experience w airstream quality so far has been positive.

We take 2 long trips a year. 3-8 weeks. We include a 10 year old grandson on shorter trips. We camp in fla sometimes. Our biggest challenge is that we prefer state and federal parks (as opposed to commercial campgrounds) and space is hard to get since our state is so popular especially in winter. There are 4 state parks w rv camping in the keys. Go to to check out all fl state parks.

With about 15,000 miles and 100 nights in the AS, we think a 25' is just right for our needs. Many spots (eg: about half in Long Key St Park in the keys) won't accept a longer trailer, we have room for us and two dogs.

Good luck with your hunt and travels in an AS!
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Old 04-27-2016, 12:20 PM   #7
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bradenton , Florida
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Posts: 13
Many thanks for all replies. It is great to know there are some of you right here in FL. Rich, you are right - there are some great places in FL, but we live close to the waters edge (Palma Sola Bay - almost to Anna Maria Island) - pretty area. My husband is from Alpena MI and doesnt consider FL much of a camping state (though I know we have nice parks like Little Manatee River which we canoed w the kids when tent camping years ago). What you Floridians stated is what we need to hear! We need to discover some nice but quicker places to get to IN state to make the AS worthy of its price beyond the 2 trips we will be so excited to do in the year (wont be able to do more than that right now). As for purchasing - where to look beyond classifieds here? Stay clear of RV dealers and look for individual purchase as best bang for buck? We only know of one place we went recently - McIntosh Rd Tampa RV (the only Airstreams we walked in). We aren't against driving out of state to get best deal/trailer, when time comes to pull trigger, but we have no idea what a 'good price is'..... yet. Again, thanks for the feedback - in our search we do think the floor plan/size for 25 (though maybe a bit 'overkill' right now) may pay off when more time allows. Any feedback on what classifieds to comb, what price points (or at least gain knowledge of) is greatly appreciated. I am so glad to have this forum! :-)
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Old 04-27-2016, 12:49 PM   #8
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2014 27' FB Eddie Bauer
Chelsea , Michigan
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To help you get started on determining the "right size" Airstream I would start by thinking about these two subjects:

1. The Bed arrangement
2. Imagine spending an entire day inside due to rain

Bed Arrangement
First, make sure the bed is big enough for the two of you! Smaller Airstreams will usually have a corner or end bed which makes the bed making process a bit more challenging and requires that one person crawl over the other if they want to get up in the middle of the night. A "free standing bed" starts to become available at around 23 feet in length. For a lot of people, the ability to walk around the bed and not have to crawl over their partner is a deciding factor in deciding what size Airstream to get.

Rainy Day
Yes, it happens! After you've gotten past the "bed decision" spend an hour or two sitting in the model you think you like and imagine spending the entire day (or two) in there when it rains. In our case, this process led us to decide that we wanted a "separate" bedroom so we could put a little distance between ourselves in case one person wanted to read and the other listen to music or watch TV or if one wanted to go to sleep earlier than the other.

There are other considerations of course and you'll figure them out with the help of others on this forum and of course your own thought process.

We ended up with a 27 foot front bedroom unit and after spending over 12 months of camping in it over the past two years are convinced that we made the right choice. On our current rip, we've been in the trailer for eight months and are doing just fine.

One last thought, as far as I can tell from this forum and conversations with other Airstream owners, 90% of the folks who trade their Airstream for another model go bigger. Very few go smaller (although it has been known to happen.)

In my opinion, a couple would be most comfortable for extended period of time in a 25 foot or larger model. If you are strictly a week or two at a time camper or a weekender, then any size could work.

To do the kind of research you need to to to make this decision will require that you start with a dealer with a good inventory so you can make side by side comparisons easily. I would start by looking at new trailers for your education process, and then once you've figured out the size and floor plan you like, you can look at what used units that suit your needs are available. If you try to educate yourself by looking at a bunch of used units, you will be driving all over the place and taking up a lot of your time. Best to focus your likes & dislikes on a dealer lot where many units can be examined side by side.

Have fun looking!
Bob Martel
WBCCI# 5766
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Old 04-27-2016, 01:26 PM   #9
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Battle Lake , Minnesota
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The 25 is the smallest of the large Airstreams, same width and height, tires and brakes, ample storage tanks and a spacious interior. The 25 rear bed is also very adaptable as your needs change. Don't like the queen bed, put in twin beds. Don't like the dinette seating, put in sofa or recliners.

Airstream made a few changes in the 2012 and later models. Leaks and plywood floor rot near the rear bumper area was common, in 2012 models they installed a seal in the area that has solved the problem. Porcelain toilets replaced plastic, and they used LED lighting more extensively. Eddie Bauer models were available in 25 and 27, a very versatile design. Shop 2012 or later.

Airstreams that have not been frequently inspected and maintained for water leakage and filiform corrosion are common. The result is often floor rot and sometimes extensive shell corrosion near areas of coastal salt air and northern road salt. Get a moisture detection meter and probe through the vinyl finish floor into the plywood subfloor around the interior perimeter, losing for moisture. If present look for floor rot.

Look over the shell and all its fittings, underbody parts for filiform corrosion and rust. If extensive it needs to be cleaned up, treated and painted; can be quite a project. Living/camping in Florida, this will be an ongoing maintenance need for your Airstream. There's a good chance a used Airstream will need new tires and batteries, and brakes bearing runout should be inspected.

I would put my money less on lightly used and more on properly maintained.

The 25 is a good match to some SUVs (what do you have now?) and half-ton trucks. The other third of the combo is a high quality hitch and proper hitch setup, don't underestimate the importance of it. Dissatisfaction with tow vehicles are often a problem with the hitch and its setup.

Take your time, look and sit in them, do some research. Plan for financing, insurance and storage. Enjoy the search.
Doug and Cheryl
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2016 Ram 1500 Laramie Crew Cab 4X4 Ecodiesel 3.92 axles

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Old 04-27-2016, 02:39 PM   #10
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bradenton , Florida
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Very helpful info above, so thank you, all! I have no idea who the most reputable dealers are near us (nor do we mind a bit of travel if some more reputable are a bit more distance). We only know of Tampa RV where we did our first and only inspection and wound up in the 25 many times due to bed, floor plan, etc. Any suggestions from the FL folks (or perhaps others) as to dealers to check out beyond the Tampa RV?
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Old 04-27-2016, 03:50 PM   #11
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The only Florida Airstream dealer that I have personal experience with is JD Sanders up in Alachua. They do excellent maintenance work at fair prices. It is a family owned and operated franchise of long standing.

I have not purchased new from them but I believe you would be treated well.

That being said, the high volume dealers like Colonial in New Jersey seem to be able to offer better pricing.

Once you get yours, start checking for reservations at Long Key SP, it is heaven.

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Old 04-28-2016, 12:00 PM   #12
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1967 26' Overlander
Spartanburg , South Carolina
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Another suggestion for Hiking 1

For more info on Airstreaming go to which is the official website of the international Airsteam owners club. WBCCI is the largest single brand RV club in existence. You can find out there about Airstream club activities near you and probably a thread with Airstreams for sale. There are very active club chapters (called units) in Florida with rallies happening frequently. If you visit a rally, you will find folks who love to talk about Airstreams, many will happily show you theirs and answer questions. You wont find friendlier people.

Don't buy small unless that suits your desire. Go with what is most comfortable for you considering price, arrangement and space. Don't start out with a "project trailer". They can be fun if you like to work on them but most folks prefer to camp in them.
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Old 04-28-2016, 02:43 PM   #13
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Hailey , Idaho
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I second Sanders in Alachua...although they disappointed me in an AC replacement last year, their staff is friendly and helpful, and its the closest to you. They have a great selection of 23' and 25' models when I went by there last in March. jon
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Old 04-28-2016, 04:30 PM   #14
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