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Old 05-30-2016, 07:17 PM   #1
Something Shiny
 
2017 27' International
Mosinee , Wisconsin
Join Date: Mar 2016
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Trailer length decision

Hello;

As soon-to-be newbies, we're seeking input from those of you that have experience with 28' and 31' trailers. e.g., 27FB, 28, and 30 in the new model line.

We really like the 30 with separate seating and dining, but keep flipping back and forth between the 27BF and the 30 International because of length concerns. (My past experience is only been pulling a 24' HILO my father had in years back). I'm not afraid of pulling a trailer, but have had little experience as we are now making the plunge and want to get it right the first time we order.

We like state and national campgrounds. No experience to date with privately managed campgrounds. There will be week long trips on into the late fall, but we also plan longer trips now that I've retired. We live in Wi, and frequently will be camping in WI, MI, MN as well as out west and there may be a long trip to AK in the future.

We'd really appreciate feedback. from experienced Streamers that have had these length trailers that travel in a similar manner.

Thx much
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Old 05-30-2016, 07:36 PM   #2
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When our 4 kids were young, our 31 ft AS was perfect. Now, with just the 2 of us, the 25 is good for fitting in anywhere and providing enough space that we don't feel cramped. In my "if I win the lottery world", I would upgrade to a 26U with twin beds.
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Old 05-30-2016, 08:07 PM   #3
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You might also want to consider your tow vehicle, and which trailers it will work with - and which trailers will require you to buy a new one!
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Old 05-30-2016, 08:11 PM   #4
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If Airstream came out with a 26U International Serenity twin, I would trade for it in a second.

The 27FB is just a little too big to tow around and get into normal camping and smaller park spots. It can be done but it is a pain. To me the 30 would be way too much hassle.

I realize that the 26U isn't that much smaller but it is very functional. The 28 is poorly laid out and the 27FB has an uncomfortable lounge area. I also don't like the only outside storage compartment being between the propane bottles and the the trailer end. It is very awkward to access.
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Old 05-30-2016, 09:04 PM   #5
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Think of the 26, 27, and 28 as one size with different floor plans. The 27 and 28 are only one inch difference, and the 26 one foot less. The GVWR difference is insignificant, and the hitch weights about the same when loaded (front bed trailers tend to load heavier in front).

Then choose between medium and large (the 30). The medium sizer trailers have the same features as the large. The mediums have space compromises somewhere, combined lounge/dining, compact bath, small wardrobe. The 30 does not, all areas have plenty of space, it's truly a large-size Airstream. Not that it's better, just bigger.

However, all of them have some form of bench seating, cushions on a plywood bench. Not comfortable in the long term. You'll have to go to a 30 Classic for a genuine sofa. Or do what we did, bought the most compact large Airstream (25) for easy maneuverability then modified the uncomfortable features to suit us, such as recliner seating (note that most Airstreams are not easy to modify seating because of accessories hidden under the seats, research that idea up front).
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Old 05-30-2016, 09:23 PM   #6
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I will pass on to you the best advice we got when we started looking: go to a dealer with a good inventory and spend time in each model imagining how you would use it.

To the extent hanging out in the trailer is important to you, the differences in the seating between L-lounges, U-shaped lounges, dinettes, couches, and recliners is huge. Give them all a test of time sitting in them and learn which you prefer.
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Old 05-30-2016, 11:11 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
Think of the 26, 27, and 28 as one size with different floor plans. The 27 and 28 are only one inch difference, and the 26 one foot less. The GVWR difference is insignificant, and the hitch weights about the same when loaded (front bed trailers tend to load heavier in front).

Then choose between medium and large (the 30). The medium sizer trailers have the same features as the large. The mediums have space compromises somewhere, combined lounge/dining, compact bath, small wardrobe. The 30 does not, all areas have plenty of space, it's truly a large-size Airstream. Not that it's better, just bigger.

However, all of them have some form of bench seating, cushions on a plywood bench. Not comfortable in the long term. You'll have to go to a 30 Classic for a genuine sofa. Or do what we did, bought the most compact large Airstream (25) for easy maneuverability then modified the uncomfortable features to suit us, such as recliner seating (note that most Airstreams are not easy to modify seating because of accessories hidden under the seats, research that idea up front).
If you want a sofa the used 25 and 27s 5-7 YO have great configurations and you'll be spending half the money (upfront anyways :-) _. The 25 and 27 show great(like a house) but long term users have complained about there being nowhere to lounge around, which isn't an unreasonable expectation when you're spending 80k+ on a trailer and it rains.
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Old 06-01-2016, 09:16 AM   #8
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We started with a 2013 25FB International Serenity (GVW of 7,300 pounds) and towed it home with a CanAm modified Mercedes ML320 CDI with a 3.0L diesel (reinforced the receiver and modified the Hensley stinger). The dealer installed street and rear awnings, a single 155 watt solar panel on the roof, full propane tanks and the Hensley Arrow hitch raised the tongue weight from the Airstream literature 833 pounds to 1,150 pounds. Towed at 55 mph with no issues, even climbing East out of Palm Springs on I-10 the Mercedes maintained speed. The Hensley Arrow hitch prevented sway even when passed by the big trucks in Arizona running at 80 mph while I was at 55 mph.

The Cat scales showed all the axles weights were within limits on the car with just me in the car. After loading all the camping stuff in the 25FB for a test run to the scales with both my wife and me in the car and some gear in the back, we discovered we were exceeding the car axle ratings. The tongue wight was 1,175 pounds and the trailer scaled 6,800 pounds.

We acquired a 2012 Ram 2500HD Cummins. and removed the factory 1,200 pound rated receiver (had reported weld failures) and replaced it with a Curt 15049 receiver rated 2,550 pounds tongue weight and a 17,000 pound trailer (covers all know Airstreams). We also converted to a Kelderman Level Ride all air bag suspension removing all the steel springs.

Towed the 25FB easily. We decided the floor plan with the cross frame bed and the dinette did not work out for us. We upgraded to a 2014 31' Classic with a GVW of 10,000 pounds. We hit the road at 9,200 pounds fully loaded trailer weight. We did convert the Classic to disc brakes.

The longer trailers would not fit into some older camp sites. But towing it requires recognition of the longer length, especially the swing of the rear overhang behind the axles. Obviously the 19,200 pound combined weight does not accelerate and stop like our 2015 23D International Serenity which could be towed with the same truck.

However, the 2007 Mercedes is back in service towing the 23D at a 6,068 pound GVW and 968 pound tongue weight.

I find it easier to reverse the 31' Classic into the storage parking space than the shorter 23D. The longer length and thus heavier wide body trailers all have the same frontal cross section for head wind resistance, but more sail area due to the length. Thus the use of a good weight distribution hitch solves the issues. We use a ProPride (second generation Jim Hensley design) on the Classic and reused the Hensley Arrow from the 25FB on the 23D.

So a tow vehicle that can handle the literature tongue weight of a 28' at 950 pounds can also usually tow a 30' that has the literature tongue weight of 880 pounds. One of the criteria has to be better brake capacity on the tow vehicle as the combination weights increase.

In our experience, the ton diesel Ram is equally at home towing a 6,800 pound 25FB or the 9,200 pound Classic.
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Old 06-01-2016, 09:25 AM   #9
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We were boaters for 15 years, and bought 3 boats in 3 years always wanting something bigger. I've read a lot of similar stories about Airstreams. It's just my wife and I, and a small dog, but we like to be comfortable. So we bought a 30' right off the bat. We don't regret our decision one bit. If a camp cannot accommodate our 30 footer, then we pick another camp. There are literally thousands of camps out there. And towing a 30' was no big deal. Just take wide turns.
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Old 06-02-2016, 12:24 PM   #10
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2017 27' International
Mosinee , Wisconsin
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Thx for the advice - Decision made!

Decision made - 2017 27FB International Serenity in Salsa. Electric awning, awning Pkg, solar, SS exterior panels, rear camera, TPMS, bike rack, Propride hitch.

Getting your first Airstream is akin to one's first Harley in some ways. We're looking forward to our first trip.

Thx to all for your feedback, as it helped a lot.
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