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Old 08-12-2017, 09:03 AM   #1
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Perfect Size for Weekend Getaways?

Our little family is in the process of searching for our AS. Having read these forums extensively we assumed the FC 25 FB would be the best fit for us given the positive reviews all around. However, I'm wondering if perhaps our circumstances are different than many on this forum (many full/part timers here it seems) and thus am seeking your input:

We are a family of 3: a couple in our thirties with a one year old. We will hopefully have one or two more kiddos but who knows when (or if!). We have a dog who will travel with us when possible. We both work full time in Austin and this trailer will be for family weekend getaways in Texas and a couple week-long excursions to New Mexico/Colorado per year.

If we ever take a much longer trip, we could size up.
Would love insights on what size Stream would work for these purposes.

One key factor is campsite availability- seems the smaller you go, the easier it is to find a site. We prefer state park and national park type excursions. Boondocking in NM/CO a goal eventually. Ease of towing also a plus.

We have looked at them in person a number of times. Charmed by the FC 20 but miss the back panoramic windows. Seems that once you go to a 23 you might as well just get a 25. Is the 25 overkill for our needs?

Thank you!!
Sam and Katie
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Old 08-12-2017, 09:47 AM   #2
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Fact of life... Children grow up into adults. If you plan to keep the trailer for more than a few years, don't think of sleeping adults + kids, think of sleeping all adults. Then your family won't outgrow the trailer. With that in mind, I'd say a 25 is your minimum size for the future, not your maximum size for now.

The older the park, the more likely you are to find space limitations. But as long as you're working for a living, you'll want to make reservations anyway before you leave home in order to avoid arriving at the campground and finding there's no place to stay. So size limitations ought to be less of an issue. Size limitations will affect you more if you travel without reservations and have to find a spot upon arrival.

Also, you're overlooking a vast untapped resource when it comes to camping, namely Corps of Engineers campgrounds. Many CoE campgrounds are superior to state parks (especially older state parks), though perhaps with less scenic grandeur than the typical national park. Every CoE campground is located on the shore of a lake or the bank of a river, and the typical campsite density is 4 per acre or less at CoE parks. And CoE campgrounds can be found in 44 of the 50 states. Not all CoE campgrounds have hookups, either, but most have water/electric hookups. All of the CoE campgrounds in Louisiana are boondocking, for example.
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Old 08-12-2017, 10:29 AM   #3
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I would recommend no smaller than 25. We just purchased a 25FB and are a family of four out of Houston with the same goals as you. Mostly weekend getaways and 2 long trips to NM/CO. Our kids are 4 and 1.

We just came back from 7 nights in CO without kids and the size was perfect. We are also doing our first weekend with the kids and it's pretty tight. The pack n play is killing it...find a different solution. We are going to buy a KidCo PeaPod. Otherwise you can make it work. We have to put the baby down first, everyone else outside until she falls asleep. Then the 4 year old goes down while we enjoy a drink outside and then we go to bed.

We love it though and don't regret the purchase at all. Good luck!
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Old 08-13-2017, 12:54 PM   #4
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This was super helpful. Thank you both! Would love any additional insights if anyone has any.
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Old 08-13-2017, 02:00 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OutOfOffice View Post
This was super helpful. Thank you both! Would love any additional insights if anyone has any.
If I may...

Our first Airstream was a 22 FB sport. Great for 2 of us and the dog for a weekend. Satisfactory for 3 of us and the dog for a weekend. Literally not possible to sleep 4 of us (even with out the dog) when we attempted to last summer.

With the 22 on a longer trip than a weekend, we ran into its limitations.

Every Airstream has its LIMITING FACTORS. Those attributes that force a change in behavior or limit what the tool allows the user to do.

In my experience, the Limiting Factors for any of the Bambi models are 1-Water capacity and 2-bed space. On the positive side they allow the most possible suitable tow vehicles, the widest size of campsite selection, and generally are lower priced than larger units (with age of the unit having impact on that of course.)

In contrast, the longer Airstreams have different Limiting Factors. We now have a 25 twin Flying Cloud. I would say its Limiting Factors are slightly larger size for National Parks (though we went to Yellowstone this summer in it for 6 days no problem ), fewer suitable tow vehicles, (we already had the Tundra pickup truck), and expense.

On the plus side it has great water capacity and storage to boot, as well as sleeping space for 5.

So my advice is to consider not only the physical layout space when evaluating the different choices, but also the substantial differences in their fresh water, gray and black water capacity, food storage capacity (refrigerator size, cabinetry size) and also overall storage.

One last insight is to assume "adults" when sizing what you need. Kids really do grow up fast. And if in a few years you had a 10 year old and an 8 year old that would entail about as much "stuff" space as having another adult couple with you. Bikes, helmets, chargers, games, boots, towels, books, backpacks, you get the idea. Also food and water needed.


We are honestly astonished at how much roomier the 25 feels inside as compared to the 22. It literally feels twice as large inside.


Best of luck in your decision.
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Old 08-13-2017, 02:09 PM   #6
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We find our 23' International is about right for us, both short and long trips. Like dual axles and the layout. Do not like the front east/west bed in a cubbyhole. I get the forward side because it's easier for me to climb out. It's also a PITA to make the bed. It's easy to tow and maneuver most places we go.
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Old 08-13-2017, 02:10 PM   #7
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I have a 25 ft. It is great for a couple and a dog. It is OK for four. Four people inside and in their beds is OK. Four people inside on a rainy day and wanting to move about makes it pretty tight.
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Old 08-14-2017, 01:13 PM   #8
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As the others have said, a 25 should work well for you.

Another thought based on our experience: couple + dog, 27K miles on our AS in the last two summers camping as you described. The 25 FB's MSRP is 81.2, and with a 20% discount, you should be able to buy one for 65.0. One step up is the 27 FB, whose MSRP is 88.4, and with a 20% discount, you should be able to buy one for 70.7 (as we did). The marginal difference between them is thus 5.7. On the one hand, the 27 is really a stretched 25 ... nothing greatly added to or different from. On the other hand, we continually find the extras in the 27 worthwhile (particularly the N/S bed). In the last two summers, we've attended approx. 10 AS rallies & have found lots of couples there, many with years of AS experience, who, like us, believe the 27 to be the ideal AS for a couple, substantially better than the 25 (many of whom have traded up from a 25).

Therefore, while I would have no qualms learning of your acquisition of a 25, I would hope that before you do so, you and your SO spend some time in a 27 to see if it might work significantly better for you (and keep you from hitting your head on the overhead locker when you get up in the middle of the night).
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Old 08-14-2017, 01:15 PM   #9
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We have a 30' for weekend getaways...
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Old 08-14-2017, 02:26 PM   #10
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Hi

Find a dealer with a reasonable number of models on his lot. Take a weekday off and go spend it sitting in various models. Think through whole "how do we fit" thing in person. What works for one may not work for another. Yes, bigger is bigger, the idea is not to find out that the 33' is bigger, it's to decide between (say) 23, 25,28 what the smallest you can live with is.

You can easily find YouTube examples of five people living in very small quarters. I would not make the compromises some do, but I'm not you. You need to make your own decision.

There is no magic "this is to big" or "this will fit anywhere" size. A 16' trailer will not fit in places I've pitched a tent. A 33' trailer would be the smallest thing in sight at some "campsites". A truck mounted camper will always beat a trailer for "go anywhere". A tent (or couple of tents) will beat the truck ....

Lots of options to consider. One final thing to think about - do you want to do this now? If so, go for it !! There is no perfect answer, you will be happy with whatever compromises you make. Just understand them ahead of time (as best you can) and then get on with it.

Bob
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Old 08-14-2017, 02:39 PM   #11
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We are two persons living in the city. Our trips are primarily weekend getaways once a month. A few times a year I'm able to take it for a work trip in addition to the weekend to make it four days.

We have a 27-footer. Started with a 19' and it was fine, but the corner bed and small kitchen drove me nuts.

As a previous poster mentioned, the extra tank capacities are a really nice plus. We also leave a lot more stuff inside the trailer when it's stored so that a weekend getaway is now two days' worth of clothing in a small bag and that's it.

Also - I found the 27' really no different in towing and a LOT easier in backing into a spot
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Old 08-14-2017, 02:55 PM   #12
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I agree that the "ideal size" is very user-specific. I have a 23D which is just perfect for my 14 year old and me. It's easy to tow, easy to park, and doesn't feel onerous when trying to go for a quick weekend getaway. That said, I underestimated how many people would want to tag along! So I'm looking for a 25FB just for a little more space inside. We have taken a weekend trip with 2 adults, 2 "grown" teenagers, and a 6-year old, and we were able to sleep comfortably. The 25FB wouldn't have made it any more comfortable for us regarding the sleeping arrangement. It just gives slightly more room to maneuver in the bathroom/bedroom area.
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Old 08-14-2017, 03:11 PM   #13
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Hi

Consider that in some cases a trailer + tent combo makes sense. If the kids + friends are old enough, let them sleep in the tent. They get a bit of separation and the "sleep close to the ground" part isn't quite the issue that it is for us "old folks". Since the trailer is the primary, the tent doesn't need to be very fancy. In a lot of places it gets cool enough at night that AC is not an issue. Sleeping bags work quite well down to temperatures at which you would not use the trailer. No food (hopefully) in the tent, so critters aren't much of an issue.

Bob
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Old 08-14-2017, 03:25 PM   #14
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All state parks in TX will handle large campers and CoE that I have been to. You will have two dozen state parks & CoE within 200 miles of Austin. I'm out there every month & been to most of the parks and never a problem with size in my 25' AS. Two individuals plus a small child and a dog should not be a problem in a 25' AS. If you go over a 25' you may need a 3/4 ton truck. Visit lots of campers before you sign plus make sure your tow vehicle will handle your camper. Hope to see you at the park. Enjoy and make your reservations EARLY.
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