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Old 01-21-2016, 10:46 PM   #1
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Airstream, a different approach?

Airstream, a different approach?

What if Airstream took an ‘additional’ approach? I don’t dare suggest messing with their existing iconic and loved silver bullets but add an additional innovative trailer that met a different need of many. That many I refer to is the mostly younger generation, but not limited to them, that would permit an extreme expression of the tradition of boon docking. Yet, in a way that could still retain the brand Airstream has so well nurtured over the years, and that we so typically love to be a part.

Today, yes, there are great new smaller Airstreams. They can be pulled by smaller TVs and go much further ‘outback’ resting places where our big ones not dare go without the worry of getting stuck, or worse, damaging their beautifulness. A small trailer that could be easily pulled by a second hand Subaru Outback (no pun intended), a trailer that is so innovative that there is no others to compare, a trailer that is so efficient with its storage options it makes much larger trailers seem anemic. Last but not least, it must be tuff as nails and built with attention to detail and quality as if it was cladded in beautiful aluminum and Airstream stamped proudly on its side.

I personally know many a Millennial out there that love Airstreams. But, they can’t either afford them or they couldn’t pull them with their all wheel drive Subaru’s even if you gave it to them. Lastly, so many of them, as we did when we were that young, want to go further and in places a traditional Airstream, of any size, would not dare nor could venture.

I think this guy has something here. Personally, Airstream should just fly over to Australia and buy them out. And start a whole new line. I bet it wouldn’t just be the younger generation that bought them.

See this link on YouTube for what I mentioned above:

https://youtu.be/SpKGm3TC5jc

If that interested you but you want to spend more money, have more options and comfort (Mini Split A/C, Fuel Cells, Digital Communications….and take along your fishing boat and a ton more, then get its bigger sister. This one might be out of the Millennial price range, just a tad. The Subaru might grunt a little, too.

https://youtu.be/CRuT4F5xplA

PS: I have no idea how much these things cost, but again, we are Airstreamers and seem to spend a lot on our trailer(s)☺ Why not one of these for the extreme boon docker?
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Old 01-21-2016, 11:05 PM   #2
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According to the comments attached to the video, that millennial affordable trailer retails for $62,000.
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Old 01-21-2016, 11:49 PM   #3
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But look at the innovation. That is what is so impressive about it. The rock guard alone is a great idea, along with the leveling jacks. Those folks actually thought about and used everything in their unit.

Now, I could do with a little less rugged, there are not that many places here in the US which require fording rivers, and going up and down 60 degree hills. But still, reasonably rugged is nice too, like dust tight and that kind of thing.
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Old 01-22-2016, 12:09 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by mojo View Post
According to the comments attached to the video, that millennial affordable trailer retails for $62,000.

I believe that $62,000 you are referring to is retail and that is in Australian dollars. That's approx. $43,000 US dollars. Say take 15% off retail we are talking about approx. $36,500 USD, give or take. Not too bad.
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Old 01-22-2016, 09:00 AM   #5
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I'm in favor of Airstream or any other company adopting new ideas to expand it's business. However, the foundation of any successful business is to "tend to the knitting." In other words, to perfect the ideas that made it a success to begin with. With Airstream, that means charging top dollar for a top tier product. Look at what happened with U S autos 40 years ago when the US auto industry got sloppy, and Japanese auto makers cleaned their clocks until recently, when U S auto makers seem to be getting the message. Airstream should make it a goal not to release any unit from its factory until that unit is perfect: no stripped threads on screws, no loose rivets popping out, no leaks, top tier electronics, and all mechanical components individually tested and working to specs. What might be acceptable in a $30,000 unit is not acceptable in a $60,000 Airstream. After Airstream cleans its own house, then it might be time to look outward.
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Old 01-22-2016, 09:12 AM   #6
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There is a hydro forming process that could duplicate the Scamp/Casita/etc. two piece trailers in aluminum. A one piece molded fiberglass interior, much like a boat, could keep costs down and eliminate the soggy floor problem. This type of TT construction pretty much eliminates the customization process either at home or dealership. I could see a fiberglass lower shell with a hydro formed aluminum top section.

DeLoreans were basically a fiberglass body with a brushed stainless steel overlay. Same thing could be done using aluminum by Thor to create the illusion of a hand built AS.
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Old 01-22-2016, 11:35 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McDave View Post
I'm in favor of Airstream or any other company adopting new ideas to expand it's business. However, the foundation of any successful business is to "tend to the knitting." In other words, to perfect the ideas that made it a success to begin with. With Airstream, that means charging top dollar for a top tier product. Look at what happened with U S autos 40 years ago when the US auto industry got sloppy, and Japanese auto makers cleaned their clocks until recently, when U S auto makers seem to be getting the message. Airstream should make it a goal not to release any unit from its factory until that unit is perfect: no stripped threads on screws, no loose rivets popping out, no leaks, top tier electronics, and all mechanical components individually tested and working to specs. What might be acceptable in a $30,000 unit is not acceptable in a $60,000 Airstream. After Airstream cleans its own house, then it might be time to look outward.
McDave, you bring up a good point and an accurate one too. Given my experience with my 2016 AS vs my 1997, night and day quality control difference. And the winner was my 1997.
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Old 01-22-2016, 12:21 PM   #8
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McDave, you bring up a good point and an accurate one too. Given my experience with my 2016 AS vs my 1997, night and day quality control difference. And the winner was my 1997.
In my case, it has been kind of the opposite experience. We bought a new 2005 Safari 25FB, and camped over 1,300 night in it. It had its quality control issues, but we still enjoyed it immensely. We now have a 2015 Flying Cloud 25FB that we also purchased new. We have now topped 200 nights in the new Airstream.

Our assessment of the quality control on the 2005 vs. the 2015 is that the 2015 is a much tighter and better built trailer that the 2005 was. The fit and finish of the the 2015 is noticeably better that the 2005.

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Old 01-22-2016, 12:24 PM   #9
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Economy of scale

The rugged outdoorsy type folk are usually a younger set that can't afford expensive toys.

And unless you live near BLM land or in the Outback, there aren't very many places to go off road.

Those trailers aren't very pretty, but they sure are cool.
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Old 01-22-2016, 12:44 PM   #10
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Permit me to contribute my 2 cents. If the goal is to attract a new generation, I think you need to think outside the box. Not only should there be a focus on lighter weight and lower cost, but consider that towing your living room, kitchen, potty, and bedroom down the road is not exactly a "sustainable" lifestyle that many of the younger generations strive for. Additionally, RVs are notoriously energy inefficient in other ways; Poorly insulated and requiring massive amounts of energy to heat and cool.

Until these items are addressed, you won't find many millennials picking up the AS banner.

On the other hand, if one were to focus on the needs of the future, one could envision a social network of energy conscious consumers, and a lifestyle that embraces these ideals, still enabled as a mobile ecosystem. To be mobile is not just a leisure activity dominated by older folks, but increasingly more a requirement for gainful employment, and lets face it, buying and selling real estate every few years is a losing proposition lately.

So consider mobile communities geared to all pursuits, both recreational and otherwise. Yes, today there are nomad workers occupying the back lots of urban fringe parks and these generally tend to be pretty low bid, and the folks living there of questionable integrity. Rather, I see a modern approach complete with state of the art infrastructure and amenities catering to a mobile workforce could ultimately be developed with a focus on green initiatives like recycling, energy conservation, and a host of other services.

But to really make it worthwhile, we need to start with mobile habitats that meet certain minimum requirements for sustainable living... That's the future the way I see it.
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Old 01-22-2016, 01:15 PM   #11
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I hate to tell you folks this, but I spent New Years in the desert and I was the only old guy. The rest were Millenials. For the most part the equipment is a real mix, both old and new Airstreams, home made small houses on wheels, fifth wheels and a Few Class A's. along with a family of five in a pickup with a camper. There were over forty vehicles. Some of the new Airstreams had been customized and were much better for it. Also almost everyone was solar, and lithium batteries were in evidence. At the other end was a restored camper, with compost toilet and a tow vehicle that ran on fryer oil.

These were families that have evolved to living and working on the road. It was wonderful watching the integration of children, dogs, and families, and almost like living in a suburban environment, except everyone was mobile.

The Millenials are not waiting for Thor to wake up...some of the customizations were phenomenal.
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Old 01-22-2016, 04:23 PM   #12
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Plan-B: 1958 Caravanner 22' Total costs, all in, $11K chassis and all contents. 3500 w dual fuel electric start generator on tongue. Spare on rear. Bulldog coupler. 12v front electric jack. Heat = wood or kerosene. 40 milk jugs for water. 20 1 pound propane ( refillable). Boil water in pressurized 45000 Btu turkey fryer (dishes and shower). Independent air suspension = 100% kneel for 40 below, 11'" to ground for extreme off road. Coleman stoves.. Cuisinart grill, candles , LED lanterns kerosene and propane too. Air couches make to queens. 1.2 amp frig and self made very efficient ice chest too. House window 8000 Btu A/C. Totally open floor plan = 100% gutted as contents are transported in Cadillac Escalade EXT.. and moved inside via foldable "little red wagon" to set up. Slant ramp entry. 2 T 105 batteries. 2200 w pure sine wave inverter. Viair 100% duty 12v air compressor w/ small aluminum tank. 2 1000w NuWave induction cook tops. All contents for outside use too under huge nylon tarp. 1,000 pounds in EXT. Tare weight of Caravanner = 2180 p0unds and 300 pound tongue can not vary. EXT is self leveling. I designed and built @ 72 years old. Stupid to spend 10 times more for limited capability, too complex, high failure rates, pain to winterize (and then can;t go out) and totally inferior product/ and the list goes on.
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Old 01-22-2016, 07:41 PM   #13
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Regarding previous comment on energy efficiency. I agree an Airstream could be more energy efficient and therefore more comfortable. But the same materials that make it a heat and cold sync also make it iconic and worthy of restoration years down the road because it lasts where other "SOB's" rot away.
Compared to the average sized house in America today a trailerites carbon and physical footprint are small.

And with regards to off-road adventures...have you seen Cape Town to Cairo?

Honestly, next time I see Dale I'm going to ask him if he thinks Wally would be spinning after seeing 8000lb + trailers that spend far too much time hooked up to 30a pedestals.
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Old 01-22-2016, 08:29 PM   #14
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Honestly, next time I see Dale I'm going to ask him if he thinks Wally would be spinning after seeing 8000lb + trailers that spend far too much time hooked up to 30a pedestals.

I'm sure the 8000 lb owners would agree with you that even one minute hooked up to a 30 amp pedestal would be too much, when they want their full 50 amps.
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