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Old 05-05-2013, 09:36 AM   #1
Wan'a be (soon) cruiser
Heinzi's Avatar
Miramar Beach , Florida
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 4
Why a Trailer ?

Dear Airstreamers;
We are about to take the leap from a Sailing Yacht to a Land Yacht!
For the past 20+ years we sailed the World (6 months on, 6 months off cycle) We seen most continents from sea side; now we wish to see, experience cruising from the inside the land.
The purchase date of the "Land-Yacht is only days away.
We did considerable research what type, trailer vs Motor RV, model and size etc.
We were fully convinced the Airstream 27/8' was our best choice to give us the flexibility to travel to destinations despite size and access limits, provide the comfort and reliability.
Well, the closer we get to the 'Buy' date the more we are reexamining criteria we based our 'Airstream' conclusions -vs- Motor-RV.

That is why I'm turning to you. You must have gone thru similar research and examinations why 'Trailer vs Motor'; why and Airstream. And most important why the Airstream!

We will greatly appreciate your opinion, varnished or not the advantages and disadvantages an airstream over a MotorRV.

Thanx in advance of your opinion.

Charles & Robin


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Old 05-05-2013, 09:43 AM   #2
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For us it's mainly that we want to be able to go explore in a vehicle while leaving "home" at the campsite. With a MoHo you have either break camp or us a "toad" every time you need or want to go somewhere. If you have a toad, then you have double the motor maintenance.

The disadvantage of a trailer though is your passenger can't get up and make you a sandwich while on the road without stopping.


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Old 05-05-2013, 09:58 AM   #3
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North Vancouver , British Columbia
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Originally Posted by InsideOut View Post

The disadvantage of a trailer though is your passenger can't get up and make you a sandwich while on the road without stopping.

I see this as an advantage, as it means you can pull off to the side of the road, have a relaxing lunch, rest up from driving and enjoy the view!
Cameron & the Labradors, Kai & Samm
North Vancouver, BC
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Old 05-05-2013, 10:09 AM   #4
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1996 36' Clipper Bus
Tub City , British Columbia
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 3,287
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Welcome to LAND and RVing. I think you will find it quit a challenge compared to boating. Not so much the equipment, but the dealing with other traffic and obstacles that everyday seem to become more prolific for the RV traveler.

As for what to get for equipment it all depends on your own situation. This is primarily a trailer forum so expect to get lots of feedback from that experience.

If you have need for a big SUV, (large extended family) or a large 3/4 ton truck, (farm or business on the side) then the trailer makes sense as you can use your existing power unit.

However, if you like comfort while parked and traveling, need some storage capacity for you goodies, and really want an unobstructed view of the scenery, a quality Class A on a HD Chassis is the only solution. When on extended stays, your toad of any size will be ready to go in less than 3 minutes, or you can carry bikes or motorcyles if you so desire. And -- you will never have to use someone elses toilet facilities again.

Unfortunately, Airstream no longer builds these units, but there are many good used ones on the market. You should try to check one out before making any decision that you will regret as you grapple with under engineered auto grade products used in the trailer industry.

You might want to check out some of the units that are, and have been for sale that are posted on this thread.

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Old 05-05-2013, 10:15 AM   #5
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2012 25' Flying Cloud
Battle Lake , Minnesota
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Good, reliable motor homes are expensive and when they become unreliable, you need to trade a low-value product for a new expensive product. Or rebuild it. If the resonably-priced tow vehicle of a Airstream becomes unreliable, it can be traded for much less. And away you go.

If you tire of the Airstream, it's expensive to trade, but not nearly so much as a motorhome.

We travel 6 months a year, far from home. The last thing I care for are breakdowns, flat tires I can't easily change, stuck slide-outs, and places we can't go because our rig is too big.

So to me the practical difference is about reliability and expense. And traveling in something of pride and style.

Now if I just wanted the ultimate travel machine, did not do extended stays at one place, and travel in style, it would be an Airstream Interstate with two nice bicycles on the back. (We still bring the bicycles and use them daily.)

doug k
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Old 05-05-2013, 10:18 AM   #6
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2004 28' Classic
austin , Texas
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Originally Posted by InsideOut View Post
For us it's mainly that we want to be able to go explore in a vehicle while leaving "home" at the campsite. With a MoHo you have either break camp or us a "toad" every time you need or want to go somewhere. If you have a toad, then you have double the motor maintenance.

The disadvantage of a trailer though is your passenger can't get up and make you a sandwich while on the road without stopping.


Ditto on wanting to be able to drop the house and use the vehicle to explore. And although our truck isnt the best daily commute vehicle, we use it as our second car which means we dont have a huge investment in a diesel engine that just sits most of the time. Plus we heard horror stories from friends on dealing with repairs to the engine part of the RV as well as the house part of the RV, and having to find specialized mechanics. We can take our truck to the local mechanic anytime anywhere. We can deal with trailer issues separately. Why an Airstream? We looked at everything else and tried to convince ourselves that was the way to go ("we could buy three of these instead of an Airstream") but every time we went back and saw the Airstream we wanted it instead. Plus after studying up on towing criteria we became convinced the airstream design would give us a better on road experience. We finally resolved the issue by buying a used unit we found on this forum. No regrets!
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Old 05-05-2013, 10:54 AM   #7
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2007 27' Classic FB
Ridgefield , Washington
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We went round and round for years about what would be best for us. The best thing about our class C was that if my Wife wasn't feeling well she could lay down on the couch and I could keep driving. In those days time was critical. Never did get around to towing a car but just having the class c was a pain sometimes. For us, having the TV works for a couple of things. We can unhitch and go wherever we want to and I have a utility vehicle for other jobs around the house. I will also mention here that our F250 has a pretty good ride. We don't feel cramped in our 27FB and feel like we have plenty of storage to meet our needs. We always loved Airstreams and with their longevity we believe this will be our first and last travel trailer.
John & Lisa
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Old 05-05-2013, 11:16 AM   #8
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1993 21' Sovereign
Colfax , North Carolina
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I've mentioned this before, long ago...
If your tow vehicle suffers a catastrophic failure while towing, you go get another tow vehicle.
If your motor home suffers a catastrophic failure, you're stuck with it for the duration.
Add to that the fact most Motor Homes don't get "droven" as much as they should to stay reliable, and the chances of a failure go up a lot. If you winterize a trailer, and remove the batteires for the winter, you theoretically simply go out in the spring, reinstall the batteries, dewinterize, and go camping. With a motor home, you have a complete engine, drive train, and all the parts to make it go and stop that just sat for 6 months deteriorating.
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Old 05-05-2013, 11:34 AM   #9
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No other person's wants, needs and desires will give you an answer which will fit you. All we can do is to tell you what we think or have experienced.

I have had both Airstream trailers and motorhomes. I have enjoyed each but always have gravitated too the trailer side of the issue. For me it comes down to these issues:

1. Without a second vehicle, once you arrive at your camping spot in a motorhome, you are stuck there. If I am going to pull a second rig to travel around in why not just pull a trailer to begin with.

2. The mechanicals of a motorhome include all the engine, running gear, transmissions, brakes and on and on of a tow vehicle, plus all of the living systems needed for the coach, plumbing, electrical, windows, doors, locks, kitchens and on and on. As a motorhome ages, the repairs start to set in. Something is always wrong with either the drive or the living system. As they get really old (20+ years) technology changes and parts for the drive systems become hard to find, and it becomes increasingly difficult to find anyone who knows how things used to work (example, carbs vs. fuel injection). With a tow vehicle you can trade it in, get new technology every 10 years or so, and keep your old living quarters. Not so with a motorhome, you are stuck with old technology forever. Living quarters have not changed all that much in even 40 years, but engines and running gear have.

3. The cost of repairs to a motorhome are very high as it ages, or even to begin with after the initial warrantee runs out. When you take it in for repairs, all your personal belongings go with it. Not so with a trailer.

4. Final thoughts:

My '74 Argosy has been maintained and upgraded over the years, but it is still the same in most ways that it was. Kitchen, bathroom, sleeping space and living space. Water heater, refrigerator, sinks, toilets AC units, furnaces all are the same now as then, even in upgraded form.

My first tow vehicle was a '78 Jeep Cherokee. By today's standards a crude and unreliable vehicle, and long gone, and not lamented. My current tow vehicle is a 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland, a wonderful rig in all ways in comparison to that '79 Jeep. But in another even 10 years I bet the 2022 Jeeps will outclass my 2012 in many ways, in 20 or 30 years the 2012 will be a real antique. But my '74 Argosy will still be very much useful, with the same bathroom, kitchen, sleeping and living quarters. Yep, it will need a new furnace and AC units, new toilet and refrigerator, but it won't be stupidly out of date, even in 2030. But a '74 Argosy motorhome..... only useful then as a museum piece.

Now, by 2030 I will be long gone, but that is another story. Hope someone is still enjoying my 74 Argosy then. Or my 2014 Airstream which is on order now. But I would not like to own my ex '83 310 motorhome even now, and by 2030.... well, I beat that point to death I guess.
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Old 05-05-2013, 11:44 AM   #10
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Our main reason for Airstream is the WBCCI caravans. And the looks and functionality of the Airstream. I have not looked at a trailer I really liked better than Airstream. I guess we got a trailer to start with because it seemed much less expensive than motor homes. And we pulled pop ups before so we were used to doing it that way.
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Old 05-05-2013, 11:47 AM   #11
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We looked at "bus" sized motorhomes briefly, but the cost of fuel, routine maintenance, tires and engine/transmission repairs far surpassed that for a pickup truck. Also, DIY maintenance and repairs is prohibitive on these huge vehicles, and parts and service are not widely available (e.g., at a local WalMart).

For example, consider the following:

* Imagine the cost of refueling an RV that consistently gets 5-8 mpg and has a fuel tank capacity of 50-100+ gallons.

* Imagine changing a flat tire yourself at a boondocking campsite, and then trying to find a replacement tire in a small town. What if you must transport that bad tire and wheel to a tire shop from this remote location: Will it fit in your towed vehicle (a.k.a., "toad")? Do you even have a toad? Alternately, how long will it take and how much will it cost for a tow truck capable of pulling a semi-tractor to get to your campsite (which may not have cell service)?

* How much does it cost for an oil change, starter battery(ies), tire rotation, or other routine maintenance on a semi-tractor (versus, a light-truck or similar tow vehicle). Can you do these yourself? What about engine and/or transmission repairs (or rebuilding/replacement, if and when this becomes necessary)?

Larger motorhomes are great for highway cruising, but there are severe limitations on where they can be driven and parked. As a result, we quickly eliminated this class of vehicle from consideration, simply because they didn't fit our "camping/boondocking" requirements. However, your goals, expectations and wallet contents may differ significantly from ours.
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Old 05-05-2013, 01:01 PM   #12
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Why settle for one get both. Double your pleasure.
Don Hardman
1976 31' Sovereign
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Old 05-05-2013, 01:56 PM   #13
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1981 31' Excella II
New Market , Alabama
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It depends on how much you use it. A trailer is something that can sit for a year between uses and does not have to be taken out and run on a regular basis to keep it in shape. If it is gas powered you let it set for over a month and the ethanol in the gas has ruined something. If you are planning to RV full time a motorhome starts to look better.

With a trailer you can use the tow vehicle for other activities when you are not pulling the trailer with it. Most tow vehicles are pickups so you can use that for lots of other things. A motorhome would sit between uses and the more it sits the more unreliable it becomes and the more of a liability. Taking care of a trailer is relatively simple compared to maintaining a drive train that sits all the time. Most things with an engine degrade at about the same rate whether or not you put alot of miles on it or not. It it sits too long it degrades quicker than something you drive at least once a week.

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Old 05-05-2013, 02:01 PM   #14
Wan'a be (soon) cruiser
Heinzi's Avatar
Miramar Beach , Florida
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 4
Originally Posted by adonh View Post
Why settle for one get both. Double your pleasure.
"Get Both?!" Oh 'ya; Don - OK. help me out ....send money to ....

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