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Old 03-24-2012, 09:14 AM   #1
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Which Airstream?

I am looking for my first airstream. Any suggestions on how to decide on which model makes most sense?


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Old 03-24-2012, 10:15 AM   #2
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Some rules of thumb:

The more people and pets, the larger the trailer needed.

The longer the time spent in it, the larger the trailer.

The larger the trailer, the larger the tow vehicle.

The larger the tow vehicle, the more it costs to travel.

The more it costs to travel, the less likely to do it.

The less travel, the less trailer needed.

Try the 23' or 25' on for size, largest of small, smallest of large.

doug k

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Old 03-24-2012, 10:20 AM   #3
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What did it for us is that we went to the biggest Airstream dealer in our area and spent hours looking over and sitting in the various models, while taking notes. We processed for a week and went back again to make sure our notes and memories were accurate. We then decided on the model we liked best that also suited our needs. But we bought used...
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Old 03-24-2012, 10:23 AM   #4
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The first thing you have to address is whether or not the "lifestyle" makes sense.

Then the choice of trailer will follow naturally.
easily distracted by shiny objects
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Old 03-24-2012, 10:30 AM   #5
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Along the lines of the previous recommendation to look at lots of different Airstreams at a big dealer, I'd recommend that you visit an AIRForums or WBCCI rally that happens somewhere near you. Most of us are overly proud of our rolling homes and love to show them off, and that lets you see how people are actually using their Airstreams rather than just looking at them staged for sale. It'll also let you see some older trailers and how we use/modify/upgrade them, so you'll have an idea of whether you prefer new or used or vintage.

Lots of rallies have a planned "open house" time period when it's easy to look through many trailers without feeling like you're intruding.

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Old 03-24-2012, 10:41 AM   #6
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Whatever you get it's going to look real nice behind the Cayenne S.

Tow vehicle envy here!
Airstreams..... The best towing trailers on the planet!
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Old 03-24-2012, 11:02 AM   #7
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

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

As to which Airstream is best depends entirely upon how you plan to use it. First off, you need to consider that number of people and/or pets that will be along. Then you must consider the type of trips you with make. If you plan to take it 50 miles to the lake and stay there for the summer, you going to want a different Airstream than one that will cover 10,000 miles with no more than 3 nights at the same place.

I will share our personal experience with you. We have 2005 25FB, named Lucy. We have towed Lucy 90,000 miles and have camped in her 1,013 nights. SuEllyn and I travel without any children or pets. We find that the 25FB floor plan works well for us. Lucy is large enough to be comfortable in as we spend as many as 80 consecutive nights on the road. She is also small enough to go anywhere we have wanted to take her. The walk around queen bed and the separate shower (not in a room with the toilet and sink) deal breakers for us.

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SuEllyn & Brian McCabe
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2005 Suburban 2500 Quadrasteer (Olivia) & 2011 Silverado 3500 (Fred) with Outfitter Truck Camper (Ethel)
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Old 03-24-2012, 11:02 AM   #8
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Airstreams are like women, they're all good and you quickly learn to live with whatever limitations each may bring.

Just go ahead and get one and enjoy!
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Old 03-24-2012, 11:19 AM   #9
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Colonial Airstream has new inventory pictures and floorplans online you can check out.

I've frequently found with RVs the dealer's websites have better and more photos than the manufacturer's websites.
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Old 03-24-2012, 11:38 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by moosetags View Post
As to which Airstream is best depends entirely upon how you plan to use it. First off, you need to consider that number of people and/or pets that will be along. Then you must consider the type of trips you with make. If you plan to take it 50 miles to the lake and stay there for the summer, you going to want a different Airstream than one that will cover 10,000 miles with no more than 3 nights at the same place.
To this I would add:

Where will you park it?
For us, that meant 25' or shorter in order to park it in the driveway in front of the house.

How "handy" are you?
Do you want it turnkey ready or are you prepared to do some work on it? We've done work on nearly every area, surface and system in ours, but that has added to, not detracted from, our enjoyment. See our blog in my sig line for examples.

What sort of towing experience do you want?
The older trailers are narrower, more rounded and lighter weight. They can be towed with less impact and by a less beefy tow vehicle (TV).

What sort of camping experience do you want?
If you're planning to go off the beaten track, consider a 1974 or newer model, since the earlier ones didn't have gray tanks for the non-toilet waste water. If you will only be camping where there are full hookups (excludes most National Parks), or if you are handy enough to add gray tanks, or if you don't mind towing your own gray water to a dumping place with a blue boy (rolling portable tank), choose any year.

What do you want to do in the trailer?
Do you want different areas for different activities, like eating and sleeping? Or are you okay with turning your bed into a seating or eating place each day? The latter will allow you to pull a much smaller trailer.

What's your budget?
Newer is more expensive. New is most expensive. Older ones need work, which can bring up the overall cost, although it's usually still cheaper than a newer one if you don't count your own hours. For vintage trailers, bigger is often cheaper since they are more plentiful, less maneuverable and sometimes have more problems (rear end separation, for instance).

What feels right for you?
Sitting inside is the only way to tell. We're out west where there seem to be fewer vintage trailers available. We only looked inside one trailer and that was the one we bought. It felt good to us. We've had no regrets.

So tell us about yourself and we can help steer you to the most helpful information.
Our travel and renovation blog:
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Old 03-24-2012, 12:43 PM   #11
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to tell the truth

Most newer SOB have slide outs... Adds huge amounts of room to any trailer size..

But knowing the rework to a square box,, to have a slide out just adds weakness to the overall shape or adds a huge amount of weight.. Then the seal or gasket system.. Water leaks, mice, snow and air drafts..

At the first of the year I was ready to give up my AS search and just buy a newer SOB and be happy.. But after looking at SOB floor models at the RV show back in January,, my heart and brain went right back to a Airstream..

Having a riveted shell,, solid beam walls, and such just made it all easy to over look what my wife calls the "submarine" effect of the older Airstreams,,

Just have to sit and feel what trailer you like,, but remember its what you cant see right off that makes it an investment or a money pit.. Most SOB resale for 1/2 of the new value within the fist 5 years.. A good reason why,, they are 1/2 used up and about ready to fall apart.

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Old 03-24-2012, 12:44 PM   #12
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If I had big bank account

2013 19foot bambi international would fit perfect, hotter than pistol used. All depends on your tow vehicle I like mid size runners. Parking at a spot in FL maybe 25 would be nicer to live in full time. If it's like boats bigger is not better. AS is wide, tall even 16 has room. If you are pulling smaller is easier to live with, if you are living and spending lots hours larger would be better. Find a nice balance between
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Old 03-24-2012, 01:03 PM   #13
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I agree, go sit in them, used and new. (And yeah, rallies are a great way to see lots of them at once.) That'll tell you way more than anything we can say on the forums. I also agree with Webspinner's points. People told me that I could not full time in a 19'--I am, and it's just about perfect! What they meant was that they couldn't full time in a 19', and that's fine. There's always going to be trade-offs. You just have to figure out what's worth trading-off for what you want, and that's almost impossible for anyone else to tell you.
"If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning." - Catherine Aird

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Old 03-25-2012, 09:42 AM   #14
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For us: As short as possible but still have dual axels,,, narrow body,,, Queen walk around,,, double kitchen sink,,, shower and commode separate,new. This citeria led to a 2010 Flying Cloud 23 ft Front bedroom and we are happy so far. Our tractor is a Ford F150 half ton 4x4 with a Hensley Cub hitch. Of course when driving I'd like it smaller, and when parked I'd like it larger, but life is a compromise so this works for us,,, Your needs may differ. As my Granny used to say, "Opinons are like armpits, everybody's got a couple and most of 'em stink."

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