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Old 12-04-2016, 12:05 PM   #1
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Considering a new used Bambi

hi, brand new to forum, my husband and i just retired and surfacing life long dream of traveling have seen a walk around uTube video of a bambi and falling in love. we haven't camped in 30 years. when young we would rent water planes to drop us on northern lakes to canoe back in 14 days. we have remained somewhat minimalists naturally succumbing to spoiled luxury of home life, but now crave some adventure. this may be why the bambi appeals to us. isn't it one of the best build camper lines to trust hard earned dollars to? state of the art design and top quality results? we think we trust the know-how of experts manufacturing a small but highly effective unit to satisfy the need. we would love to trip out west so for us, it's CT to CA and open to anything in between. will we realistically make it to CA? of course we would start this springs purchase with some 1-2 day short trips for trial purposes. please share experiences relating.
Also, here's what else we need to jump start our journey:

1. it would be nice to visit a dealer near Connecticut to view bambi in person.
know of any? i'm searching the net.
2. does Bambi come in different sizes? 16 feet? bambi sport? i think the Basecamp is smallest? i'm trying to order brochures but could use some help sorting out.
3. what are the five most important options to consider? ac, awning,

4. is the vehicle blue tooth enabled? tv speakers? back up camera?

any insight would be helpful, thank you. can't wait to c u on the road!
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Old 12-04-2016, 12:48 PM   #2
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Hi from AZ. . . definitely want to look at multiple models in person ! Find nearby dealer & spend a day there. . . Hard to tell about size unless you're in it, IMO. . ..If I were starting again, I'd probably opt for smallest 2 axle trailer I could find, & newest I could afford. And 4 or or 5 years old works for me too. . . good luck. . . Craig
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Old 12-04-2016, 01:17 PM   #3
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

First off, welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

As to your questions, we would need some further data to provide the best information. Do you plan to hit campgrounds or stay in more rudimentary surroundings? Do you already have a tow vehicle and, if so, what?

Currently, Bambis come in 16' and 19' sizes. The 16 has a wet bath and single waste tank. The 19 has a dry bath and both a gray and a black tank.

Will an Airstream mak it all the way to California? Absolutely!

If you want to see the biggest selection of Airstreams in the World, head down to Colonial Airstream in Lakewood, New Jersey.

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Old 12-04-2016, 01:41 PM   #4
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I would definitely visit a dealer to look at the different models and options. Most of your questions can be answered by looking at the airstream site: https://www.airstream.com/ This will give you a look at the different models, floorplans, options/standard, etc. For eample, Bambi now refers to the single axle trailers: https://www.airstream.com/bambi/. They also have floor plans and specs from years back.

We looked for a long time waiting for the right time in our schedule to be able to buy and use the trailer. We thought we had our sights set on a 25FB (front bed), but after visiting the dealer, decided the 19' was perfect for us. Our decision was reinforced by visiting the dealer and 'trying' one out. We bought our trailer from Patrick at Colonial Airstream in Lakewood, NJ. We had a very good idea of what we wanted and Patrick was responsive to our questions and made the whole transaction a pleasure. But, we had spent many hours on this forum listening and reading, and a lot of time on the airstream site making sure we understood as much as we could about the things that might matter to us, so actually going out and getting the trailer with the dealer's help was all good. For example, we live in Florida so knew we wanted the complete awning package, and we also preferred the microwave versus the oven, liked the International model ...

Oh, and traveling a distance to shop or buy is pretty standard. Some dealers will have the model you want, some dealers have good reputations, some are easy and knowledgeable... The dealer in Alachua has a good reputation but didn't have the trailer we wanted. Don't be in a hurry and don't be hurried.

We hadn't been camping in decades but had spent time sailing on a small boat in the 80s, so small is ok. We found going with the trailer nothing short of luxurious in comparison. We like to keep things to a minimum and like the way all the systems in the trailer work and have been designed. It was very worth it to us and hopefully your experience will be as good. Oh and yes, a well maintained trailer can go any distance you want.

Oh, and, yes our 2016 has bluetooth and has speakers both over the dinette and over the bed. Hope that helps abit. The forum is a good place to read. Search using the Google custom search; works best. Best of luck to you.
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Old 12-04-2016, 02:08 PM   #5
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Congratulations on you upcoming retirement.

To address some of your questions:

"Bambi" has come to mean any Airstream trailer with a singe axle.

So there are several options.

The most standard traditional airstream line (read, least fancy and lower price point) are the Sports. Bambi Sports come in a 16 and 22 foot options. The 16 has a wet bath, which means that the bathroom itself becomes the shower. The 16 also only has 1 waste water tank that holds water from the sink, shower drain, and toilet. The 16 foot has a narrow bed (48 inches)

The Sport 22 (which I have, so know a lot about it) has a regular bath (sometimes called dry bath) with a toilet, sink, and freestanding shower. Bambi sport 22 has a larger bed compared to other bambis, at 54 wide. Both bambi sports are intentionally designed to be lighter weight and lower cost. They lack some features found on other airstreams, both to save weight and cost. Chief among these are the style of the windows, and the lack of a rear bumper.

The other 2 traditional airstream bambis come in 19 foot and 20 foot. Flying cloud is the most common design level, but some years and some models will also come in different trim levels that cost more and look different. These models have the same type of windows and bumpers found on larger airstreams. They both have fairly narrow beds (48 inches).

The 19 Flying cloud has the front dinette style. The 20 flying cloud has a really nice kitchen and a front bed.

And this year airstream has also released the new Basecamp. Since it's a single axel it could be considered a bambi, but it is not a traditional airstream in appearance.

Basecamp has a wet bath, a combo bed/dinette (meaning that the dinette must be made up into a bed at night), and a lot of other major differences between it and any other airstream.

You asked about most important options to consider. Well that is very individual.

Here are my top 5:

1.Is the bed comfortable and workable for how you sleep, especially if you have pets along?

2.Is there enough storage for all of the items that you want to be able to keep inside the trailer. (make a list. Literally. Then figure out where you could feasibly keep everything. Remember that nothing much can be left out when you are en route, so things need to be stowed.)

3.Do you fit well in the shower and on the throne? We chose the 22 sport in part because we like the larger bathroom (and with a window that opens)

4.If you intend to camp without hook ups (like national parks, hunting/fishing camps/music festivals, etc.) is there enough holding capacity for fresh and waste water for your use? Check the specs for different options.

5.What kind of vehicle is needed to safely tow and are you OK with that? Our 22 Bambi Sport has a rated weight of 4500 pounds fully loaded. We tow with a Toyota Tundra. Learn about towing until you understand what payload is, and then think about what your needs will be.
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Old 12-04-2016, 02:59 PM   #6
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Have you considered a vintage trailer that has been restored to the Max?
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Old 12-04-2016, 03:45 PM   #7
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all great suggestions.

what's it like to empty waste tank on the fly? where and when do you do this? does a light go on? does it cost? is there long lines? can it be done beside camp grounds?

please elaborate on the porta potty scene, if you please. what are best practices?
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Old 12-04-2016, 06:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MEL868 View Post
all great suggestions.

what's it like to empty waste tank on the fly? where and when do you do this? does a light go on? does it cost? is there long lines? can it be done beside camp grounds?

please elaborate on the porta potty scene, if you please. what are best practices?

We do ours at the dump station at the campground when we are leaving. Search on youtube and you can find out how this all works.

Some RV park types of campgrounds will have "full hookups" and have a waste drain at each individual campsite. This way you can drain anytime you want.

The cost of either is inclusive in the fee you pay to stay at the campground.

Some campgrounds will allow you to use their dump station for a fee of $5 or 10 if you are not staying there.

There are other places you may find as you travel that have dump stations. Some interstate rest areas may have them. Some places the sell campers and places that allow overnight campers to stay may have them. But most of the time it is at a campground.

Your trailer has tank monitors that tell you the % used up in your tanks, but it is up to you to dump the tanks before they are too full.

Sometimes there can be waiting lines to dump. We have been lucky and never waited for more than about 5 minutes or so.
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Old 12-04-2016, 08:34 PM   #9
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First - shop a bit more. Understand what the Casita, T@G, and Oliver trailers are. They are not shiny, but do provide value for many.

The Bambi is small. If you are small and are comfortable traveling in retirement with minimal gear - maybe. As stated - make a trip to New Jersey and visit Colonial. First though, view a number of their U-tube walk through videos. The more you know the beter questions you will ask.

Concerns to consider - wet vs dry bath, bed configuration/size, appliances, comfort of seating, storage, dual vs single axle, tankage, weight of coach and tongue, tow vehicle requirement, and toilet configuration.

Good luck with your search. Pat

Edit - There are a lot of other considerations, but if you want to travel off road, clearance is a concern that needs careful research.
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Old 12-04-2016, 08:53 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MEL868 View Post
all great suggestions.

what's it like to empty waste tank on the fly? where and when do you do this? does a light go on? does it cost? is there long lines? can it be done beside camp grounds?

please elaborate on the porta potty scene, if you please. what are best practices?
Great response Piggy Bank! Out on the west coast, every place is different. Some include the dump, some you have to pay extra ($7-$14ish) for. Not sure what you mean by "the porta potty scene", but best practices would include dumping entirely into the approved dump station and doing so before you overflow

We usually dump on our way out of the park and have never, to this point, stayed in a full hookup site. We also haven't dealt with long lines, though I'm sure others have. It does take (by my estimation) 10-20 minutes total to pull up and dump. You'll get the hang of it quickly, there are things to learn, but nothing too crazy!

Good luck!
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Old 12-04-2016, 09:21 PM   #11
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Dump stations - we purchased a book from Camping World that lists a large quantity of dump stations available to the public. It includes location and cost. There are sewage treatment plants that have dumps, in addition to state parks, gas stations, rest stops and RV parks. Note - in some cases the cost is as much as a CG stay. In others, it's free.

A good resource is Passport America campgrounds. Their rules can be restrictive, but you stay for half price. That is often around $20 for a full hookup site. Not all of the PAs are high end, but they do give you a place to stay for a reasonable cost. The other good deal is the National Park senior citizen pass that can give you half price stays in some of the parks.

A dump requires parking next to the receiver, pulling out the hose, connecting a clear adapter and a 90 degree elbow that fits the receiver port, connecting the hose to the dump valve, putting the elbow in the receiver, and connecting the flush water hose to the water supply and flush port. Turn on the water, open the black tank valve, watch for the effluent to change from brown to clear as it passes through the clear section of the dump hose. Close the black tank valve. Shut the water off after a bit fills the black tank. Open the grey tank valve and wait for it to empty. Running a bit of fresh water through the grey tank and then shutting the valve. Rinsing out the dump hose and returning it to the storage tube, storing the flush hose, and removal and storage of the clear section and the elbow. Using a set of disposable gloves for this process is a good idea. It really does only take about ten minutes after you have done it a few times. We do add a bit of treatment to the tanks if we plan to store the coach.

Good luck in your investigation. Pat
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Old 12-05-2016, 05:48 AM   #12
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PKI made a great recommendation with the video walk-thrus from Colonial. You can also google (not on the airforums site) TrailerChix for airstream's videos, such as: which shows connections for the airstream, such as shore power, water hose, sanitation...

I would also second the suggestion of looking and comparing other trailers such as the Casita and T&G. We spent a lot of time looking at the classified section of Airforums (subscribe for updates) and, after we narrowed our search, started making a spreadsheet with the make/model, asking price, features, and location so we could get some idea of pricing.
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Old 12-05-2016, 05:59 AM   #13
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excellent, excellent responses. my terminology is wrong, i apologize for this. Thank you all, soooo much, for your elaborate and most informative responses!!!
very valuable post for me!

will try to impede our excitement- it's an adrenaline rush and we must take some time and more research. feels like a great start though.

i can see this forum is a great resource!
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Old 12-05-2016, 09:51 AM   #14
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OP if possible try to visit an Airstream rally or three. Most have open house days where the public is invited to see all the pretty trailers. Most Airstream owners are very proud of their trailers and do not mind showing them off and answering questions. You can check the rally schedules listed here for one close to your area. Good luck in your quest to find the perfect trailer for you no matter what brand you decide on.
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