Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 03-04-2012, 03:09 PM   #1
2 Rivet Member
1995 25' Excella
Woodbine , Georgia
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 27
Wannabe ASmer needs advice

I want to buy an AS but I do not know the length I need for my usage. This would be our 1st RV/TT. The tow vehicle is not a consideration as my present truck will tow any AS 19' to 31'. Our requirements are a full bath and comfortable sleeping. Our family consists of my wife, our Lab, and myself. We plan to take 3-6 week trips in the fall and spring. with the AS getting little usage in between. We live in coastal Georgia so we have no desire to spend 3 months in Florida. Our traveling will consist of a lot of 1 night stops with stops of 2-5 days mixed in. Ease of towing, setup, and comfort are the main considerations. Is a 19' or 22' easier for multiple stops or is a 27'-31' just as easy? Is a 25' the perfect compromise? I am looking at ASs from the 1970's and 80's. I have always like the AS and have no desire for another brand. Any advice would appreciated even if it's to stay in motels like we did in last fall's trip to Victoria, BC

gamakai is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2012, 03:31 PM   #2
Rivet Master
2006 22' International CCD
2007 Base Camp
Elk Valley , British Columbia
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 657
The bigger sizes get you layout options that might mean more to you than the size itself. For example, if you want a full-time lounge and dinette available without having to switch stuff around, you're looking at the 25 footers. A 28 gets you into the option of having an actual rear-bedroom, with room up front on a full size lounge and separate dinette... might be important if you plan on having guests visit ever.

Shorter trailers are easier to manage in tight spots... it depends if you are going to spend time in RV campgrounds or just stay in Walmart parking lots. Once you get parked, there isn't much difference in setup with a big or little trailer. Bigger trailers are usually sent to the pull-through spots anyway...

A lot of people seem to migrate from the smaller trailers into bigger ones as time goes on... so you might want to consider that as well.

We have a 22' with 1 baby and 1 big dog. The dinette turns into the baby's bed and the dog sleeps in the back corner. We don't really need more storage, but sometimes having a sofa to sit on, rather than the dinette (if it's set up) or bed, is nice. There happens to be a 25' nearby that we might trade up for...

Friday is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2012, 03:40 PM   #3
Rivet Master
Wayward's Avatar
2006 25' Safari FB SE
Cary , North Carolina
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 824
welcome gamakai.

I suggest looking at a few. Sit in them and see how they feel. 25' and 27' are good compromises for space, weight and maneuverability. You will get nice usable galley and separate shower. 27' gives you a bit more main cabin space over the 25'
2006 Safari SE FB
2000 F150 4.2L
2011 F250 6.2L
Broadway, NC
Wayward is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2012, 04:17 PM   #4
Rivet Master
mutcth's Avatar

2007 23' Safari SE
Central , Connecticut
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 1,649
Go to Airstream's website. In the "service" section is "specifications." This has PDFs of the various floor plans through the various years. It lets you know that is available. As mentioned, try and find a local rally to visit. Touring trailers helps a whole lot.

There are folks who are happy traveling for months in a 17' trailer, and there are those who want a 30' for weekends. That winds up being a deeply personal thing.

I do think a 25' here is an ideal compromise, giving enough open floorspace for the dog and dedicated beds. A mid-80s or newer 25' Sovereign or Excella can get you a center bath, a dedicated bedroom in the back, and a nice sized living room in front. (Their OSB floors are more prone to water damage though.)

Keep in mind that in that time frame (70s and 80s), there is the potential for the trailer to need a lot of work. You need to figure if you want to do a restoration, or if you want to look for an actively-used trailer that doesn't need much. But most trailers in this time period would need something.

Note that trailers in the era that you're looking at have, for the most part, different floor plans from modern Airstreams. Take that into account if you see a newer trailer floor plan that you love...

mutcth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2012, 04:27 PM   #5
4 Rivet Member
Sodbust's Avatar
1972 27' Overlander
Penokee , Kansas
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 339
Started small and worked up..

My 5 year search for the right AS,, we started out looking at the smallest of the AS.. It did not take long to see anything under 25 foot seemed to cost 2 times more for condition than the larger trailers in the same overall shape..

Like you the horse we got to pull our AS,,, could handle anything I can pin up.. On the farm I pull 22,000 lbs gross with my hay trailer with no problems in soft fields..

We ended up last week finding and getting a 72 Overland 27 footer.. Just over the price spike in size,, but small when one starts looking at pulling a 30+ footer into packed with cars and people fuel station..

For us being able to keep a bed made and out,, and a place to eat without undoing a bed was important for us... Full bath was a must.. along with a full kitchen.. ( wife is a great cook)

My advice is just sit in the one you are looking at for awhile and feel if it will work..
Sodbust is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2012, 08:33 AM   #6
Rivet Master
Silver Otter's Avatar

2011 31' Classic
Nellysford , Virginia
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 1,048
Images: 8
Blog Entries: 1
Hi! - Like you, our first RV/TT is our Airstream. We started looking in June 2010 and found the perfect unit in April 2011. It's just Linda and me, but we wanted comfort after 40 years in tents. As we refined our search we decided a rear bedroom with a walk-around Queen essential because we wanted to replace the mattress with a Queen Tempur-Pedic like we have at the static camp.

Setting that criteria narrowed our search, and then we wanted the "real wood" interior rather than the plastic laminate or more contemporary interiors, so that narrowed it even more.

I'm pretty handy, but didn't want to rebuild a unit - I wanted to go camping and adventuring.

Since May 2011 we've covered 29 states, 1 province, over 24,000 miles - and we're not retired. After all it has wheels, so let's roll them. Don't be shy about 30-foot units. It tows like a dream. Just be sure you get one of the top line weight distribution/sway elimination hitch set-ups.

Finally, everybody here is SO helpful. This has been a blast so far.
Linda Heuer. Past President Shen. Valley Unit
Greg Heuer, 1st VP Shen. Valley Unit
2011 31' Classic Ltd. - The Silver Otter III
2013 GMC Denali 2500HD 6.6 DuraMax - Sierra Blanca
TAC VA-18 | WBAC 1927 - Shen. Valley Unit 149 | AIR 53869
with Corey, the Norwegian Forest Cat
Silver Otter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2012, 09:36 AM   #7
3 Rivet Member
Bettye's Avatar
2010 25' FB International
Mobile , Alabama
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 190
Images: 18
We have an '84 31 foot Excella which I love. Center full bath which means seperate shower, large closet, and twin beds in rear bedroom. I like the fact that we don't have to dismantle anything to have access to the beds. Gaucho in the front gives us room for grandchildren when they join us for camping. Full kitchen with 4 burner stove and refrigerator with seperate freezer which we use a great deal. We camp at the beach for a month every summer, so it's nice to have the freezer. DH, on the other hand, would like to downsize to a 25'. He wants a smaller truck which means smaller AS. Visiting rallies and talking to as many AS owners as possible will help you decide. Happy camping!!
Bettye & Harry
WBCCI #10360
Member Southeastern Camping Unit
Bettye is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2012, 09:59 AM   #8
Rivet Master
2005 19' Safari
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 2,453
Important to consider: Where will you drive on most vacations.

Some winding roads in the Rockies and along coastal highways restrict (or strongly advised against) longer combined vehicle lengths. The shortest we have seen is 40 feet. Since we camp a lot in these areas, we got a 19-foot Bambi, which is about the same length as our Tundra. It will go just about anywhere our Tundra will go, which is a plus for us. Pacific Coast Highway 1, Yosemite, Sedona/Oak Creek Canyon (AZ) and Colorado Rockies are no problem, except for one boondocking location near Wolf Creek Pass Ski Resort where I got too far back in the trees and had to back out about 100 yards.

Personally, I would avoid any model with 14-inch wheels and 20 pound propane tanks. However, that is just a personal choice...
Phoenix is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2012, 11:25 AM   #9
4 Rivet Member
Bk Yd Safari's Avatar
2008 20' Safari
Tunnel Hill , Georgia
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 291
Images: 3
My wife and I (no kids, no pets) are new to camping. After looking at motor homes, 5th wheels and travel trailers we decided on a pre-owned 2008 20' Safari with a front bed room. We recently returned from 3 weeks in south Florida staying at 7 different campgrounds (1 to 9 night stays).The shorter length fit into a lot of "spots" that a longer unit would not. While the front bed is a little difficult to make-up it can suffice as a "sofa." This configuration also allows for much more kitchen counter space. We tend to be very active during the day so did not find the quarters to be cramped as we spent most of our waking time out and about.
All in all size is a matter of personal preference so take your time and spend as much time in each unit before making a final decision.

Good luck and happy 'streaming'

Remember its not the destination, but rather the journey.... its what's in the middle that matters the most!
Bk Yd Safari is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2012, 02:23 PM   #10
Rivet Master
2005 19' Safari
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 2,453
Good advice from Bk Yd Safari...

Before we purchased, we spent an entire day at the Airstream dealer moving from one model to the next and back again, numerous times. We probably spent an hour or more in each model, and several hours in the one we liked. Then, on the day we closed the deal, we spent another hour or so just sitting in one we had selected, to confirm that we hadn't changed our minds.

Most dealers will leave you alone after they show you all the models. That way you can sit at the dining table, simulate using all the appliances, lay on the bed, stand in the shower, sit on the toilet, etc.

A few things will be obvious "no-go's" for you; e.g., the dining table in one model we looked at had a wheel well under the dining table that made one sitting position practically unusable, except for a small child. Another had two 20-pound propane tanks, instead of 30 pounders, along with 14-inch wheels, which seemed to be undersized.

Also, if you have not camped in a travel trailer, you may wish to rent one to try it out. An overnight stay at your local KOA, nearby state campground or even in your driveway will reveal things that you were not previously aware of or thought were important.

Take your time in deciding. Picking quickly may result in buyer's remorse or an up/down grade in a year or two. If you get the one that really fits your needs, an Airstream can be a life-long adventure.
Phoenix is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2012, 02:33 PM   #11
Rivet Master
2007 27' Classic FB
Ridgefield , Washington
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 517
Images: 11
We looked at many different models and narrowed it down to the 25 or 27 ft. My Wife felt strongly that the 27FB was the best for us. I didn't care either way. We do quite well together with us, our Lab, and Golden Retriever. Good luck.
Woosch is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2012, 04:15 PM   #12
3 Rivet Member
Currently Looking...
Connellsville , Pennsylvania
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 152
My wife and I are just over a year at trying to find that perfect Airstream without much luck. We too have very different ideas on what we are after. She would rather have a larger trailer with the added space, storage, etc. I would much rather find something on the smaller end that is easy to move from place to place. We take many weekend trips and hardly ever need more than just a bed and bathroom. Looking a used units, we may not have as much of a choice as buying new. If we would end up with a new one, my preference would be in the 19'-23' range.
Midnightmoon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2012, 05:43 PM   #13
Rivet Master
mefly2's Avatar
2015 25' FB Eddie Bauer
2013 25' FB Eddie Bauer
2012 20' Flying Cloud
Small Town , *** Big Sky Country ***
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 2,500
Phoenix and BY Safari gave great advice. In our case, we moved down from a longer SOB length/size-wise to a great layout in the AS FC20 which is much more comfortable and efficent for us. We can travel virtually anywhere and are not subject to any NPS or park restrictions as to length. YMMV, but for us the FC20 is ideal for two adults and a dog. Check the various floor plans and try to look at some in person. We settled on the FC20 because of the super counter top space for food prep ... and we wanted a great bathroom. We don't have to break down the dinette for sleeping and find the smaller full (as opposed to queen) bed quite comfortable for our physical sizes.

It may be hard to justify the investment - other than pride of ownership - for your proposed limited use. As H-K says ... in a world of compromise, it is nice that AS doesn't.
2015 25' Eddie Bauer International Sp Ed
2019 Chev New Silverado 1500 6.2 V-8; equalizer hitch
AIR# 44105; formerly WBCCI 2015.1
Terminal Aluminitis; 2-people w/ 2-dogs
mefly2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2012, 05:25 AM   #14
2 Rivet Member
1995 25' Excella
Woodbine , Georgia
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 27
Thanks to all for your input. I made a list of your ideas and observations--so now it off to the marketplace. I feel much better after reading your comments.
gamakai is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2012, 06:09 AM   #15
Rivet Master
AIR-Quarius's Avatar
1970 27' Overlander
Espanola , Full Timer
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 1,753
Images: 39
Send a message via Yahoo to AIR-Quarius Send a message via Skype™ to AIR-Quarius
Do consider twin bed sleeping. You know Ricki and Lucy Recardo slept in separate beds.
AIR-Quarius is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2012, 07:31 AM   #16
moosetags's Avatar

2015 25' FB Flying Cloud
2012 23' FB Flying Cloud
2005 25' Safari
Santa Rosa Beach , Florida
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 11,696
Images: 5
Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

Welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

About 6 years ago, we were in the same position as you are now. We wanted to travel the USA extensively, and were considering going RV to accomplish this goal. We did about six months of research (much of it on these Forums) and shopping, before settling on an Airstream Safari 25 foot Front Bedroom which was a new floor plan in 2005. We found the best price on a left over 2005 model at the Airstream Dealer in Alachua, Florida, near Gainesville. We took delivery of our Safari, which we named Lucy, on June 1, 2006.

We had done some tent camping, but had never owned an RV before. We got a lot of our basic training right here on the Forums. We hit the road immediately, not knowing how we would take to the RV lifestyle.

As it turns out, we took to Airstream traveling very well. We keep a detailed Lucy log book. As of four days ago, we had spent 1,013 nights in Lucy, and have towed her almost 90,000 miles. Lucy has been in all of the contiguous 48 states.

As far as an Airstream floor plan that works for us, the 25FB has been perfect. It is small enough to take and camp just about anywhere, and large enough to be comfortable for long trips. We have been out in Lucy for as long as nine weeks straight. Lucy has a walk-around queen bed, two door refrigerator/freezer, and a separate shower (not in the room with the commode and lavatory). We have found that these are Lucy's three best features for real life camping.

Lucy is currently resting in Jacksonville at SuEllyn's Dad's house. We will be back over there in a couple of weeks. Since Woodbine is so close by, we would be glad to show you Lucy if you would like to see her.

Send me a PM and I will give you a direct email and cell number. Here a couple of pictures of Lucy out camping.

Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC_3276.jpg
Views:	73
Size:	381.2 KB
ID:	152957   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC_3990.jpg
Views:	72
Size:	311.5 KB
ID:	152958  

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCN2965.JPG
Views:	69
Size:	211.5 KB
ID:	152959   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCN5310.jpg
Views:	71
Size:	376.6 KB
ID:	152960  


SuEllyn & Brian McCabe
WBCCI #3628 -- AIR #14872 -- TAC #FL-7
2015 FC 25' FB (Lucy) with HAHA
2018 Silverado 2500 (Lillian)
moosetags is offline   Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Airstream needs to update baylito99 Our Community 12 09-03-2012 09:45 AM
Negotiating Advice Needed on 2011 27' Flying Cloud Timberock Buyer Guidelines 13 03-16-2012 05:12 AM
Newb advice - 1977 Sovereign 31' renovation mkeilx2 General Repair Forum 17 03-02-2012 05:13 PM
Howdy everyone..Any advice for a new owner? Rofkrynn 1974 - 1977 Overlander 14 03-02-2012 08:41 AM
Help Newbie Needs Door Handle '72 Sovereign EFunnyFarm Doors & Locks 7 02-28-2012 06:07 PM

Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Airstream, Inc. or any of its affiliates. Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.

Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:20 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.