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Old 07-05-2010, 02:00 PM   #1
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Question Why are Airstreams better?

I'm new here.
For past several decades, I've taken several 7-10 day trips per year FLYING to various parts of the US and Caribbean.
I've often thought having a camping trailer would be a good idea, but it didn't "fit" with my desires both to explore various parts of the US and to avoid multiple 12-hour driving days getting to/from the destination.
Things will change in just a few years when employment ceases.
So I'll be looking to buy a used trailer, 20 feet or thereabouts before long.

I've admired Airstreams going back to the mid 60's when a neighbor had one, but I don't actually have any rational reasons for thinking that they are better than other brands out there.

So can some of you fill me in on why I will be just fine limiting my search to used Airstream trailers only?
Is it mainly that the aluminum exterior never rusts or is there more?

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Old 07-05-2010, 02:13 PM   #2
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Old 07-05-2010, 02:14 PM   #3
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70% of all the Airstreams built are still in use. I'm not sure if "all" begins with the first in 1936 or after WW2. I keep reading that figure and can be as doubting as most but there ARE A LOT OF THEM OUT THERE!
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Old 07-05-2010, 03:48 PM   #4
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The key to the Airstream is the double wall aluminum frame and skin. This makes the trailer shell strong, light weight and (hopefully) water tight. Add to this that Airstream has had 70 years to perfect building trailers and you begin to get the idea. The steel frame is decked over with plywood and the camper shell is mounted. Airstream tends to use better quality interior fittings than many other brands of trailers. After all the componants are in the under side of the trailer is finished and sheeted over. The result is a trailer that, with proper care, can last 30 years or more. Older trailers can often be restored after 50 years or more. Airstream has offered trailers from basic (like our little 17' Safri Sport) to luxury (34' Pan American)
I like the light weight, easy to tow trailers. Most folks like a little more room (28' being considered by most as the optimum size) but that requires a larger tow vehicle. Airstreams come in two basic widths. The old standard of 7' and the new FB 8' wide trailers.
Cost of an Airstream is what ever you want to pay. You can get an old trailer in bad shape for as little as $500.00 to a brand new luxury one for $85,000. From my experience; you will end up spending at least $10,000 to have a nice trailer no mater what you start with. Try renting or borrowing one for a week and see if you like it.
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Old 07-05-2010, 04:24 PM   #5
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The reason I like them better is that they, hands down, pull better than any travel trailer I've ever towed. A 30' Airstream tows better than even a 20' square box. There's also the uniqueness of them amidst a sea of white fiberglass boxes while in an RV park. That factor alone is why most people gravitate toward them initially.
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Old 07-05-2010, 04:44 PM   #6
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They're a rolling piece of art.

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Old 07-05-2010, 04:45 PM   #7
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Well my wife and I have wondered what we were going to upgrade to. Do we go to the SOB trailer or do we suck it up and purchase a vitage AS? We camp mulitple weekends per month from freezing weather to sweltering weather with a group of campers from Georgia. We have fulltimed in the winter in Colorado and survived but the camper barely made it. We have seen all types of trailers with all sorts of issues. I came from the auto industry and i have worked for many different import manufactures and have owned Chevys and Fords andI have came to the same conclusion on all types of equipment. The longivity of the unit is in direct relationship to ownership and maintenance, TV and camper alike.

Our friends have had major and minor warranty issues on their campers. One thing commorn is most of their campers have a dry weight many 1,000's of pounds heavier than a comparable AS. Most of them do not plan on keeping their camper more that 4 or 5 years because they figure that is the life span of the camper. Leaks are real common and will vary based on the type of roof and how the roof is installed. I strongly believe a key factor on quality is how many older units of a make you see on the road. If it is built bad it will not make it to be 20 years old.

We are purchasing a 33yo AS (waiting on the owners to get back off the road with one of their other AS's) and we feel confident that this can be our new home on the road. How many people do you know of that own multiple campers build by other manufactures like, lets say Wilderness? I have now personally met 4 people that have a minimum of 2 Airstream's. We have spent a lot of time on this and our friends we camp with have given us all sort things to think of. We are also very pleased with the low entry on the AS. Our freinds with a Sunset Creek has 4 steps to get in. All so they can have basement storage but I dont want the high profile to tow and definatly dont want to climb into my camper. How many people do you think fill the basement storage units and actually exceed the GVW of thier units? I saw a Forest River this weekend that one complete storage section was loaded with a cord of firewood by the owners. Not what they were designed for and I would guess he was at least 1,000lbs overweight.

Oh well, the real thing is to get what you will like as you will always be happier with it in the long run. What will make you smile and start planning the next roadtrip. I think about my future AS and smile about it. I know there will be work to be done to update/upgrade but that only helps us make it more like home but we are already trying to plan our August trips with the new to us AS. Good luck on your search for camp trailer enlightenment. This forum will give you more information than you can completely process.

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Old 07-05-2010, 04:52 PM   #8
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At most every campground we stop at, some one requests to look inside or asks a dozen questions. And I have lost count how many times I have noticed people taking pictures of it when parked at scenic stops.

My friends with white box trailers have said that never happens to them...
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Old 07-05-2010, 05:18 PM   #9
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Same here --all of the above...people love to see them--they are part of the American dream--built back when things were made of the highest quality. Very dependable living...when you get one KEEP IT!
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Old 07-05-2010, 05:51 PM   #10
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I had a carload of people slow down, wave at me and take photo's as they cruised on by while we were on the interstate today. In 1400 miles I passed exactly 2 Airstreams and a sea of fugly plain white boxes. I like different, and I like beauty, Airstream has both. Sure they have their issues, but I can deal with that.
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Old 07-05-2010, 07:40 PM   #11
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They're just plain cool.....!
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Old 07-05-2010, 08:34 PM   #12
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Honestly I can't answer your question, I just know I couldn't own anything else.
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Old 07-05-2010, 08:41 PM   #13
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I explain Airstream ownership to my friends as being similar to owning a classic car. If you were to pull into a grocery store parking lot full of modern family sedans, minivans and pickup trucks in say a '57 Chevy Nomad, you will almost without fail attract a small crowd of folks who walk over and want to take a closer look. A vintage Airstream is pretty much the same thing. When you pull into a campground full of white boxes, the aluminum tube makes a statement. If you aren't interested in talking to folks about your Airstream and aren't willing to show it off on occasion, it's probably not the trailer for you. It may not happen to you every time you take it out, but it does happen often. My wife and I always try to keep the inside tidied up just in case of surprise visitors to our campsite who want to have a look inside. It's something you get used to after a while.
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Old 07-05-2010, 08:53 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by pienjim View Post
They're just plain cool.....!
Better'n that: they are TOADLY cool!

If it's to be, it's up to me.
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