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Old 07-11-2015, 12:22 PM   #1
Rivet Master
2016 30' Classic
Lorton , Virginia
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Lightbulb Why did YOU choose Airstream over the others?

Hello all, looking to get some thoughts on AS versus the competition.

I've been contemplating a full-time choice in something like a new 27FB or 30 Classic versus a "traditional" type travel trailer like an Arctic Fox.

Some pro's/con's off the top of my head when comparing:

1. AS of course iconic, very good looking and who doesn't like shiny aluminum?
2. No slides. Less space, but less maintenance/headache?
3. Not really "lighter" than the competition despite aluminum skin and frame...
4. Fairly high cost. It appears around twice as much for a "nice" new AS versus something like an Arctic Fox of similar length. Of course with slides the AF will have much more room.
5. Longevity is a big one for me. Would the AS last decades? I understand the frame/shell will but how good is the interior really? I understand that something like an Arctic Fox wouldn't have the longevity of an Airstream inside and out..
6. While not a huge factor for me, resale value. Both are depreciating assets, but the AS maybe less so?
7. Being a "traditional" box with slides etc the AF would have quite a bit more storage. Limited storage options in the AS.
8. AF could have laundry and dishwasher. AS neither. How does that affect you guys?
9. Ratings mediocre at best for AS? According to this web site AS only get's a 60 out of 75:

RV Rating - Customer Survey of RV Makes and Models -- Airstream

while Arctic Fox gets a 68 out of 75:

RV Rating - Customer Survey of RV Makes and Models -- Arctic Fox

Anyone have thoughts as to why the AS isn't rated too well? The AS has sub par numbers in "maintenance costs", "reliability", "support from manufacturer and dealers", "overall quality and value".

10. 4-seasons really do-able in a AS? I've noticed that with AS wall cross-sections that the outside skin is directly riveted to the metal wall/frame stud and then the inside skin is directly riveted to the same metal stud. Seems like an easy conduit in the whole structure for thermal conductivity. Would heating/cooling energy costs be much higher than in something with "Traditional build and insulation" like a so-called "4-seasons" Arctic Fox? The AS does have less cubic feet of airspace to cool and heat, mainly due to not having any slides. But then again the AF has slides and associated weatherstripping to deal with insulating.
11. Larger appliances and far more storage in the AF versus AS.
12. Taller ceilings in the AF but may hinder smaller parking spots versus the shorter AS?
13. Obviously the AS has better aerodynamics and lower center of gravity which is a plus. No debate there.
14. Is it not possible to get an AS with double pane/thermal type windows?
15. You can get a "fireplace" in most traditional types of travel trailers, as far as I know you cannot in an AS.
16. I understand RV appliances are pretty crappy quality be it in an AS or any other.

Seriously interested in any points or concerns that I didn't hit upon. Why did you go with an AS over a more traditional travel trailer? Was it the look? Was it the aluminum? Was it the ease of towing? Was it the name?

A more traditional trailer seems to give you more room, more amenities, more insulation, all for a comparable weight and quite a bit less cost.

Please let me know why you selected AS over the "others".

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Old 07-11-2015, 01:00 PM   #2
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Battle Lake , Minnesota
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Airstream is the "traditional" travel trailer. And travel is it's greatest asset. If you are a traveler it can't be beat. If you like hauling toys, watching tv outside with the mosquitos, lots of gadgets, cheap-looking interiors, sitting out windy days rather than being on the road, the latest gadget, soon-to-be-out-of-style styling, it's not for you.

It needs good maintenance, leak inspections and corrosion control on a regular basis. If anything breaks or rots or gets smashed over the years, it always repairable and one of the few worth the effort and expense.

Use the heck out of it, maintain it very well, fix what breaks, and your grandchildren will still be loving it 50 - 60 years from now.

It'll still be in style and the traditional travel trailer.

Doug and Cheryl
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Old 07-11-2015, 01:13 PM   #3
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Denville , New Jersey
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I travel with mine, 160 nights a year. I was just in Elkhart getting my blinker repaired, two RV mfg employees were at the shop. Said they really make Sob to last a good three years, I think that is not 100 % accurate, point is all rv's shake rattle and roll inside as we drive along,mand you have to use ur gut feeling for what is best for you. The IN guys were shocked my AS was 9 years old.
2006 Bambi CCD ("EireStream!!")
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Old 07-11-2015, 01:18 PM   #4
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Our decision was simple; get an Airstream and understand that nothing's perfect, or get SOB and still dream of getting in an Airstream someday.

If you have the itch, there's only one way to scratch it.....
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Old 07-11-2015, 01:36 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Zybane View Post
Anyone have thoughts as to why the AS isn't rated too well? The AS has sub par numbers in "maintenance costs", "reliability", "support from manufacturer and dealers", "overall quality and value".
Customer ratings are subjective, and not everyone who owns an RV even bothers to rate it. Besides, who even cares what other people think of a particular brand? They're not you, and what's important to them isn't necessarily what's important to you. Ratings and reviews are just a guide, not received gospel, so don't treat them as gospel.
4-seasons really do-able in a AS?
Four seasons is certainly doable in an Airstream, because you're mobile and don't have to stay where it's cold; you can go down south where campgrounds are open year-round and the number of days you have to winterize is measured in single digits rather than triple digits. But if you want to live like an Eskimo in the winter, no trailer is really designed for that, because plumbing obeys the laws of thermodynamics no matter what kind of trailer it's installed in.
Please let me know why you selected AS over the "others".
For the best reason of alló because I could! It was an emotional decision, not a pros and cons trade-off. I like to think the pros outweigh the cons, but I never sat down and listed them to see if that's true.
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Old 07-11-2015, 01:44 PM   #6
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We decided we needed an RV to facilitate our lifestyle for the next few years. We looked at many brands and styles. One thing stood out, the number of Airstreams still in use. Part of that is attributable to initial quality, part to the fact repair parts are available, part to the people who keep them going both owners and techs. They've been around since 1935.

In todays throw away world we like ours. Once it leaves the showroom floor it will never be new again. Things will always break or wear out and need to be repaired or replaced, but show me where that doesn't happen.

We bought a 1975 Overlander 27' that the PO claimed everything worked. The Mrs liked it so I didn't care that the PO didn't have it hooked up to prove his claims nor did he know what the hose connection for fresh water was for (honest, I asked him directly and he said he didn't know), or how to use the equalizer hitch. We brought it home and because I know how to fix most everything, that's exactly what I've been doing; sort of a hobby in my retirement.

Sure we could have bought a new one for a little more money, but it would be irrepairable trash in 5-10 years.

I have lived year round full time in the Mojave in summer as well as the Colorado mountains where the nights would go down to -20F and only 0F during the day for a week at a time; it's doable no matter the climate. For the Mrs this will be a new experience.
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Old 07-11-2015, 02:44 PM   #7
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

We are long time (10 years), high use (1,600 nights/140,000 miles) Airstreamers. Our first RV was a 2005 Safari 25FB. We had decided to go with an Airstream travel trailer after extensive research. We camped in this Airstream for about eight years. It wasn't perfect, but we really enjoyed our camping experience.

A couple of years ago, we decided that we wanted to downsize. After much soul searching and research, we decided to go with an Airstream 23FB. We used this smaller unit for a year and spent 150 nights in it before we decided that our downsizing plan was not our greatest idea.

Again we soul searched and researched. Our ultimate decision was to back to an Airstream 25FB. We traded for a 2015 Flying Cloud 25FB.

I relate this story to give a little background of our camping/RVing experience. At each juncture of our RVing life, we considered the type of RV that we wanted. In each case we stuck with a travel trailer as being the best course for our camping style. We also shopped all of the travel trailers out there. We looked at virtually every brand offered.

When all was said and done, we decided to go Airstream. Airstreams are iconic and never go out of style. There is not another item that I can think that has consistently remained in style for the past eighty years. I don't consider myself a slave to style, but it is nice to have an RV that always looks current.

As far as utility and service goes, I have always been very satisfied with the camping performance of our Airstreams. Are they perfect? No. Are they expensive? Yes. Are they worth the money? Absolutely.

In my opinion, all other travel trailers pale in comparison.

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 07-11-2015, 02:57 PM   #8
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Bend , Oregon
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Since I was a child in the UK I was fascinated with airstreams. In more recent years I regularly would get drunk and tell my wife of the dream "A Range Rover pulling an Airstream touring the west coast and the mountains".

Last year we were finally able buy the airstream!

I never considered anything else.

My wife wanted to go to an RV show earlier this year, so we did. We poked around trailers, pop-ups, motor homes.... After all day at the show, we went to the airstream stand, sat in an identical model to what we had at home and my wife just said "I understand now why nothing other than an airstream would do."

We spent half an hour talking to people in there about the pros and cons we had experienced. I swear we are responsible for a few sales that day!

Our target is 70 nights a year in our Airstream. We are at 28 so far in 2015.

Different strokes for different folks, your mileage may vary... Good luck!
Mad Astrophysicist turned sales guy that works to fund his dirty snowbaording habbit, mwah-ha-ha . . .
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Old 07-11-2015, 03:16 PM   #9
Rivet Master
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Sioux Falls , South Dakota
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An Airstream travel trailer isn't necessarily the best coach for everyone. Airstream itself has offered a fiberglass version (Argosy), motor homes, and even a 5'er. They have experimented with slides. If one wants to stick to the Airstream brand something is available to meet most desires.

When comparing an Airstream to something else, be sure you are comparing apples to apples. A new Airstream is going to be several thousand dollars more than any other travel trailer out there. Now look at a five-year-old Airstream and a five-year-old SOB. Compare the used price to the new price. Which one held value better? Do the same for 10 and 15 years old. The SOB wasn't even around then? What does that tell you?

The last five years or so has been really rough on the RV industry. Many old brands are gone. Airstream is still here. What does that tell you?
David Lininger, kb0zke
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Old 07-11-2015, 03:24 PM   #10
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Upper St Clair, PA/Titusville, FL , PA-Summer/FL-Winter
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Two reasons, my parents had one when I was in the service. They put over 200,000 miles on it and aside from normal repairs my father did nothing. Did not even wash it, "that is what rain is for".

Other reason, we've had two other Airstreams, loved them both. In between we had "top of the line Motorhome, and another TT. Neither one was as nice or as easy to tow as the Airstreams, simple. Plus don't care what others think or rate the AS at.

2017 30' Classic - F350 6.7 Diesel Crew
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Old 07-11-2015, 03:35 PM   #11
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Sisters , Oregon
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In my opinion the Artic Fox is far more practical: much more roomy with square sides and sliders; honest to goodness 4-season living; much lower cost. I had dinner with some friends in their Artic Fox at Cape Blanco SP here in Oregon last week and I was astounded at roomy it was. And the quality looked pretty good to me, although I didn't examine things closely.

Of course I would never own anything but an Airstream. I'm a sucker for stylish icons.

John & Vicki
WBCCI #4291

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Old 07-11-2015, 03:52 PM   #12
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Tonganoxie , Kansas
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We chose a Oliver ( over Airstream, after reading this forum and tracking used trailers for over a year. Our decision was based on price and quality. We got a new trailer for about half the cost of a Airstream and it should have the same durability as a Airstream. It's a really nice unit and we like it.

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Old 07-11-2015, 04:07 PM   #13
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Manassas , Virginia
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My wife wanted a popup camper so we got one a few years ago. She grew up camping in popups and that is just what she wanted. After using that and discovering that we really enjoyed camping together I admitted that I was not very comfortable in the popup. Her comment was the only other camper she would ever consider buying other than what we had was an Airstream. As far as quality, longevity and all of the other pros that come with the Airstream brand I was sold because it would look bada$$ being pulled down the road by my Raptor (I know...shallow huh?).

As it turns out after looking at them in person I love the comfort of the Airstream as much as the head turning factor - everything seems solid to me which I like. Now that we have had it for a few months I could not think of owning any other brand. Sometimes but not always a brand name is worth the extra money.
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Old 07-11-2015, 05:27 PM   #14
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Tampa , Florida
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Why did YOU choose Airstream over the others?

The only reason I've found why I should pay twice as much for an AS vs the competition is longevity. If you plan on buying an new trailer ever few years, any trailer will do. But if you plan to keep it for a couple of decades, an AS seems like a better choice.


2014 Airstream Flying Cloud 30' Recliner: Base weight 6422, GVWR 8800
2013 Cadillac Escalade Tow Vehicle: 6.2L, 403hp, 417 ft-lb., 4x2, 3.42 axle ratio, Max Payload 1573, Max Towing 8300.
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