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Old 03-28-2016, 10:49 AM   #1
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Newbie - Where do I start

Never owned a trailer. Ready to learn about Airstreams. I want to start small. And I have a very small budget. I don't want a huge restoration project but I am handy and can do what it takes for moderate repairs. I have a Ford escape to tow it with.

So where do I start? Bambi or other model.? 16 17 18 19 ft
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Old 03-28-2016, 10:58 AM   #2
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Hello from Jupiter, FL! Beyond your tow vehicle and budget, there are a lot of things to consider, like how many people you plan to travel with, what kind of camping you plan to do, etc. We started by looking at some different models, and the different layouts. There is a dealer down in Ft. Lauderdale. Let me know if I can answer any questions, since I am local to you.
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Old 03-29-2016, 06:42 AM   #3
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Thank you. I will take a look at the local dealer. 2 people and a week or two 5 - 6 times a year to start will be my plan.
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Old 03-29-2016, 08:31 AM   #4
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That sounds like fun. We got our Airstream last December, and have been doing 2-3 night FL State Park trips as we test out everything and find out how we want to pack for longer travels. Our first long trip will be this summer.

If you are interested in looking at a 25' Flying Cloud let me know. I'd be happy to show you ours, and share what I've learned so far. You should also consider a nice used one, whichever size you decide on. A lot of people find good deals on those, and sometimes they've hardly been used.
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Old 03-29-2016, 09:00 AM   #5
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I don't care how "handy" you are, the words "small budget" and "Airstream restoration" can generally not be used in the same sentence. A restoration project by a newbie will be fraught with surprises. If your wallet isn't bulging, then you risk becoming one of the many owners of a "restoration ready" (i.e., gutted) Airstream trailer that is on the market to be sold to the next guy.

I would suggest that you be realistic about your budget and buy the newest Airstream you can afford that is truly "camping ready" (i.e., everything works) and enjoy yourself. After you've gained some experience with this lifestyle, you will be in a better position to assess a restoration project.
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Old 03-29-2016, 09:13 AM   #6
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

Welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us. Good luck in your pursuit.

Keep in mind that your Ford Escape has a maximum towing capacity of 3,500#. Most Airstreams greatly exceed this weight ready to camp.

Brian
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Old 03-29-2016, 09:35 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moosetags View Post
Keep in mind that your Ford Escape has a maximum towing capacity of 3,500#. Most Airstreams greatly exceed this weight ready to camp.

Brian
Great point, and that was my first (costly) lesson - understanding what kind of tow vehicle I needed once I knew which Airstream I wanted.
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Old 03-29-2016, 11:36 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by SeaLevel View Post
Great point, and that was my first (costly) lesson - understanding what kind of tow vehicle I needed once I knew which Airstream I wanted.
Welcome to the Airforums! SeaLevel has the right advice, tow vehicles come and go but Airstreams are here to stay.
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Old 03-29-2016, 11:54 AM   #9
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My first step was a gently used sob travel trailer.
My second step was a short drive from the dealership to a campground.
My first step with an Airstream was to trade in the first trailer on a new Airstream.
My second step with the Airstream was to move all of my stuff from the other trailer to the Airstream.
My third step with the Airstream was to go to a campground- the same campground I went to with the first trailer, but a different campsite-
My fourth step with the Airstream was to sign up on Airforums.
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Old 03-29-2016, 11:55 AM   #10
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Hi there,
My first Airstream was a 1963 Bambi- tiny, light, and just right behind my little '97 toyota with a high rise canopy. I went all over the Rockies and Western US and Canada with no sway, no problems. The Bambi I found was in good shape. I was a bit in awe of its original everything so I was relieved to leave it like that. I got a new battery and new upholstery and made curtains and was happy with it for the camping my partner and I used it for.
Your Escape could easily pull one of those.
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Old 03-29-2016, 12:13 PM   #11
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The 16' is probably all the Escape can handle.
What is the tow rating of the Escape?
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Old 03-29-2016, 12:22 PM   #12
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Airforums.com has a Airstream classifieds link. You should be able to find a Bambi for a very good price.
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Old 03-29-2016, 12:41 PM   #13
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If you want to tow with the Escape, think Small and Vintage.
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Old 03-29-2016, 01:04 PM   #14
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Is the Escape properly equipped for towing with a hitch and the necessary electrical? Most travel trailers require a 7-way plug. Towing packages aren't always standard equipment, especially on smaller vehicles.

Do you know your state's requirements for registering and licensing said trailer? If not go to DMV.org and look it up before you buy anything. This is really important info anyway, but can save your bacon if you buy from a private seller. If they can't provide the needed documents, walk away.

Lastly, there are other options than SOBs for the entry level shopper. Check out teardrops and fiberglass trailers like Casita. (There is a fiberglass article in the newest issue of Airstream Life.) Some of the RV manufacturers have been noticing the vintage craze, and some cute retro style trailers are available now too.
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