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Old 02-01-2017, 02:28 PM   #21
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2017 19' Flying Cloud
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My first notion would be insane! I had a 16' sport and for any thing over a week I felt it was getting small for one! Have a 19' Flying Cloud now and it's great for me on long trips and doable for me and my girlfriend when that happens. For me it's storage and the tanks. There just isn't much storage in the 16 footer, even the overheads are comprimised with the roll top set up. But I'm not you and if you get along very well, don't bring much in the line of clothes and go shopping every day and stay at places with full hook ups you might get by. If it were me I'd get practical and right size from the start.

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Old 02-01-2017, 02:29 PM   #22
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It's more expensive to buy the short trailer first and then upgrade, then to shell out a little more on the front end and buy the right size first.

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Old 02-01-2017, 02:31 PM   #23
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2017 16' Sport
Suwanee , GA
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I have a 2017 16 and 2 sleep separately. Room for 1 more child... sure.
2 though... get a 20 or larger. 22 preferably
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Old 02-01-2017, 02:32 PM   #24
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A pilot will tow up to 22
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Old 02-01-2017, 02:43 PM   #25
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2016 25' Flying Cloud
Holly Springs , Mississippi
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Well, it's amazing how well you can get along in a 16 footer with a good book and a bottle of scotch...

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Old 02-01-2017, 03:28 PM   #26
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Way too small. We have an International 28 and 4 in that trailer would be pushing it. If you must buy a used 16 and in time buy a used 30. Airstreams, in my opinion, are not designed very well to be family trailers. They're great for two people and maybe some overnight grandchildren, but for multiple nights with young children is problematic. Once you get past the claustrophobia issues the sleeping accommodations become a serious problem. Buy something with bunk beds and put the AS on hold till the kids are out of college.
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Old 02-01-2017, 04:01 PM   #27
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vero beach , Florida
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Just do the larger one

I went to the dealership to buy the 16. The salesperson talked me into the 23'. He said if I bought the 16' I would be back in a year to trade it for the 23'. I have owned the 23' for 10 years. I have had two tire failures and was really happy I had a dual axel. I am glad the salesperson talked me into the 23'.
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Old 02-01-2017, 04:18 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by chris_marx View Post
My wife and I have caught the AS bug big-time, and although we have tent camped plenty and once stayed in a 5th wheel of a family member, we have not owned our own trailer. After having gone to an RV show for the first time (eye opening in oh so many ways), we quickly came to see the overwhelming appeal of AS (I doubt I need to delve into our opinions of the build quality and style of "conventional" trailers with this crowd).

My question is whether we are at all reasonable to think we could enjoy taking our family of four in a trailer as small as the Sport 16. There are certainly plenty of varying opinions I have seen on these forums as to the pros/cons to various sizes and layouts in general, but even the Sport 16 advocates have seemed to largely be couples (or even singles).

Is there anyone who has had a comparable situation (our daughter and son are 6 and 8 now, but I hear those numbers go up with time) and who has come away feeling the smallest non-basecamp AS worked just fine for them? We definitely are looking to do long weekend and week-long trips, but at least once a year would like to do a longer multi-week trip.

The way we see it, the pros of the 16 are the lower cost for getting started, the less demanding need for a serious TV (we are thinking of getting a 2017 Honda Pilot with the tow package that would rate it to 5000 pounds), the easier transition in terms of learning what the hell we are doing, and perhaps a bit more flexibility in campsites we could use.

The negatives seem to be fairly clear: it is adorable but seemingly VERY cozy. There is very little storage, whether talking about the fridge, room for stuff, or any of the various water tanks. We are perfectly willing to use the back of the Pilot as supplemental storage of food and clothes, and it would seem like this would be fairly necessary (things like a big Yeti cold chest could supplement the small fridge), but none of those actions make the actual living space any bigger. On bad weather days, how probable is it that we would go crazy?

I suppose a secondary question is the merit of treating your first AS as a stepping stone. Are who purposefully (or due to finances) tried smaller before bigger happy that you did so, or did you have regret that you didn't transition straight to what it is that would provide the comfort you desire? Not only does that mean trading in or selling the small trailer, but in this case we should be buying something bigger like an Expedition/Tahoe/Armada rather than shooting our wad on the Pilot. How does one make your first decision without trying the trailers, as this seems like marriage without the dating?

Many thanks for your thoughts. Perplexed on the Palouse,
In 2012 we started out with a 2012 28' International sign. ( Which is really no bigger than a 27'). One season with two Sheppards and occasionally a couple of grand kids we decided to look at trailer again. We were a bit hasty in making the decision on the first one. In 2013 we traded for a 30' International which is a full 3' longer. The layout is much better and after 6 weeks on the road the larger lav is sure appreciated.
Since you starting out fresh, with two growing kids go for the largest you can. Going through with trading up later you will be faced with having to change TV as well.
As someone already suggested go with the whole family and keep thinking bigger.
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Old 02-01-2017, 05:28 PM   #29
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2010 20' Flying Cloud
Hailey , Idaho
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For once you don't have to choose between the two....its both! Well, not insane, but it'll be cozy, especially with the small wet bath. If it wasn't for that, I'd be more positive about it. On the other hand, the 16fts are little jewels. jon
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Old 02-01-2017, 05:43 PM   #30
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1967 26' Overlander
Haute-Aboujagane , New Brunswick
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We are currently fixing a 67 Overlander. Our main camper up to now for a family of 5 has been a 77 Apache Ramada.

I think that the smaller the camper the bigger the awning. Look to expand your outdoor space. We were able to eat and cook outdoors during all but one really rainy day. The camper was mostly used for sleeping and dressing.

I didn't mind hitting elbows for a weekend but I don't think I would have enjoyed it for over a week.
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Old 02-01-2017, 05:57 PM   #31
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Find a used 16'er, buy it, and try it out for a year. If it doesn't work out, you can sell it and buy something else. Nothing ventured.........but don't take the financial risk of buying new and not liking it.
No WD, but a great DW!
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Old 02-01-2017, 08:25 PM   #32
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2017 23' Flying Cloud
2014 16' Sport
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So, we actually tried this exact scenario. After we had tent camped and owned a popup for a year, that was a PITA. We had a 2014 Odyssey Touring elite with a 4 and a 7 year old. We bought a '16 16 Sport, our idea was to put the kids in the dinette area and we would sleep in the bed.

To be clear: It's *WAY* more comfortable than a tent in all circumstances, but not the pop-up and we found the kids in the dinette area together rapidly ended in disaster, so we did 1 and 1. I ended up in the dinette area getting ribbed and sleeping on relatively uncomfortable cushions.

About 3 months in, the Honda was also clearly very unhappy after doing full-pulls in Vermont, it developed this weird cracking noise, and that was that.

We lost about 7 grand and traded for a '17 FC 23D Landmark Bunk. After 10 days in the 23D it feels like you could go another 20 days and not even bat an eye. We've not looked back.

If I had to do it again, I think the Pilot and the 22 sport would be a reasonable way to go but the 16 just isn't viable without severe compromise. We ended up trading the van for a F150 2.7 EB which gets about the same 20MPG as the Honda, perhaps a little worse, but not enough to worry about. If you're in for both anyway I think it's the way to go to do the 20-23 minimum and a truck.

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Old 02-01-2017, 09:19 PM   #33
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2019 27' Flying Cloud
Kansas City , Missouri
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If I may make a suggestion. Please read this thread I started when we were in the discovery stage as you are.

FWIW we ended up with a 22 Sport. Also we got a Tundra extended cap short bed truck since our Pilot was 10 years old.

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Old 02-01-2017, 09:33 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by mattskav View Post

About 3 months in, the Honda was also clearly very unhappy after doing full-pulls in Vermont, it developed this weird cracking noise, and that was that.
Yet there are folks here that swear a Honda can pull a 34', no problem at all
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Old 02-01-2017, 10:27 PM   #35
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Battle Lake , Minnesota
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Actually there IS at least one folk here who has been towing their 34' Airstream with their Honda Odyssey for several years with no problem at all.

I agree the Airstream 16' is tight for the family and a USED 23' would probably tow nearly as easy and fit the family better, while managing the budget.
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Old 02-02-2017, 12:24 AM   #36
Len and Jeanne
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2005 16' International CCD
2015 19' Flying Cloud
Creston Valley , British Columbia
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Chris, as fond former owners of a 16' Bambi--

I don't know what is your tow vehicle now, as that will significantly influence your costs if you need to upgrade. But there are some longer gently used Airstreams out there that may suit you better. If you can find a used 23' AS (or longer), it will have more designated sleeping space. This would be the adult bed, a sofa, and the dinette table when it is lowered.

We looked at one used 23-footer that cost CAN $42K and was in decent shape, before deciding on a new 19'. This decision had more to do with the style of camping we do, where a short trailer can be an advantage in older public campgrounds.

If you go on line and peruse AS dealerships, you can get a sense of used units on the market.

If you go with the petite Bambi, for your tow vehicle, we'd recommend a crew-cab truck with a cap (canopy, topper) on the back, because it will give you a whole lot of storage space, which is really tight in the 16' Bambi. The 19-footer has more interior space, but if you take folding chairs, activities for the kids, extra luggage, &c, it all adds up.

The 16-footer technically sleeps 4, but this is by dint of putting the dinette bolsters in your vehicle overnight, as they need to come out to make the bed for two people.

However, if your camping is restricted to warm weather, one or both kids may be perfectly happy to sleep in a tent nearby, while the adults get the Bambi.
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Old 02-02-2017, 06:23 AM   #37
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1991 35' Airstream 350
Beachburg , Ontario
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However it is possible to live in that space if you are destitute!!
Howard and Ann Schutt
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Old 02-02-2017, 06:52 AM   #38
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2019 27' Flying Cloud
Kansas City , Missouri
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My opinion is that you would not be happy with that as the best solution.

Why? Literally a 12 x 12 tent has more square footage than the 16 bambi.

But more importantly, in my opinion, the biggest shortcoming to the 16 is system capacity, counterspace, and storage capacity.

System capacity. The fresh water and waste water system is not adequate for multiple users for multiple days. We have a 22 sport with nearly double the waste capacity. It works great for 2 of us for a weekend. Perfect. 2 showers-1 a day each, do the dishes 3-4 times. Never had issues. But when our 2 daughters came along for an extended trip last summer, even with the 22 we had to drain gray water and refill fresh water daily. With the 16 you can't just drain "gray" water. Since there is only 1 waste tank, its ALL black water by definition. Really think about that. Would you enjoy (after all, this is for enjoyment) draining that into a temporary holding tank and wheeling it to the sanitary dump station, and keeping that clean? Because if you want to use the kitchen and the bathroom for more than a day or 2 you will be either breaking camp to dump the tank or draining into a portable waste tank.

Counterspace and storage. Do you have room to do meal prep, wash dishes, work on small projects, or do computer work inside, while the airstream is occupied by all of you? Think about this as well. Where will you keep/store enough food for a week trip, clothes and shoes for 4 people, pots/pans, plates, utensils, outdoor items, maps, books, flashlights, dvds, foil and baggies, cleaning supplies, toiletries for 4 people (not very good storage in that bathroom--you need to assume any items kept there will be sprayed with water when someone showers. How will you shave, fix hair, do makeup/sunscreen, put in contacts. Make a list of what you will use IN the trailer. Can you put it all away IN the trailer? If not, then you will be dragging a lot of things back and forth. Maybe in the dark, maybe in the rain. This is why you are getting away from the tent isn't it? Really consider the physical space for the items your family will want and need.

With 4 people, the art of housekeeping becomes quite important. If you are not able to put things away so everything is organized,it is very unnerving. Additionally, with so little counter and floorspace, you probably won't have space to prep, cook, and do dishes if your plan is to keep things out. And for towing everything must be stowed in any event.

I have no idea about your style of travel and camping. I just want to point out these areas for you to chew on. Maybe the 16 is a good choice for you. I do know that after I looked at these considerations, we changed our minds about it.

Best of luck,

Piggy Bank
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Old 02-02-2017, 06:52 AM   #39
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2008 19' Bambi
2012 23' Flying Cloud
Bandera , Texas
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Originally Posted by Countryboy59 View Post
It's way too small for 4. Remember you're all going to be eating, sleeping, showering, using the bathroom etc., etc. (!!!) within 4 feet of each other.

We love our 19 but we're empty nesters and really enjoy time together. I can't imagine sharing it with two pre-teens. Just being honest.
Ditto, plus the holding tank issue from CRH were you to boondock. Smaller and pre-owned will save $$, but with space trade offs. We don't have kids, but bring our 8yo niece along periodically, and it works fine for short periods in a 19'. She uses the "table bed", and our biggest challenge is finding the extra nooks for her clothes and toys.
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Old 02-02-2017, 07:22 AM   #40
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2012 25' Flying Cloud
Berlin , Maryland
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There is a lot of good advice however it will ultimately come down to what you can afford.
Will it work Yes. /will it be cramped yes. Are there other options yes.
First you could always set up the tent as a second bedroom and play area. Not the best option but certainly doable.
Another option already covered is to purchase a bigger AS. If you consider that look at used ones.

A third option and on this Forum I might get thrown off for saying it is to look at other less expensive brands. I suspect you could buy a much larger RV however maybe not with the AS quality at a less expensive price.

It will ultimately come down to personal choice however if you buy one to small I do believe you will regret it in the future.

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