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Old 01-15-2012, 10:19 AM   #1
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Solo Considering a 23D or a 25FB Twin need counsel

Greetings, I have three questions of trailer and situational advice.

I just got back from the big show in Tampa FL this weekend. I was originally looking at the 20', the 23 C or D or the 25 FBT. I am leaning more now toward the 23 or 25 and need some advice. I also read the thread on the person looking at the 19 or the 25. From that thread I learned that people advice twin axles. Both of these have that.

1) So, considering the 23C (desk model) or 23D (sofa with table pull out) or the 25 FBT, what do you think is better for maneuvering and dealing with alone?

I like them all very well. Naturally I like the bigger space but I am concerned about the wide body, 3 more feet (25'10" vs 23) and higher price for what I may not need. The ONLY thing I do not like about the 23 is the offset commode in the corner bathroom but that I could live with.

I understand that a forum member bought an FC 25FBT for $50K recently. Great price wonder where. I cannot find the post now.

2) Are there any factors comparing these trailers that anyone might share that would sway the decision?

3)Finally, I retire in four years. I am not sure if I should consider buying beforehand or wait. Financially I can do either but if I purchase now I will be storing the trailer with only 3 weeks per year to potentially use it. Outdoor storage is $31 mth and indoor is $177mth. Any thoughts on those that may have considered such a situation? A friend said that it would be wise to establish a routine and work in small trips beforehand but... thoughts? I rented a motorhome for two weeks and loved it as a trial but I am not sure on a purchase point. I already have a tow vehicle configured for towing any of the above.
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Old 01-15-2012, 10:26 AM   #2
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Go with a 25' now. It's a great, all around length, and you will grow into it.
(You will grow out of a 23')
Go with a full bed. They are so much more comfortable than the Airstream "twin" which at 32 inches is not really a "twin."
This coming from one who has owned a 23, a 27, a 31, and now a 30.
When I find a nice 25, I will probably buy it.
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Old 01-15-2012, 11:41 AM   #3
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My experience with 23' and 25'

I faced your choice and initially decided to go with a 25' trailer - in my case a Classic. I am close to retirement and plan to full-time or something close to it in 2-3 years. I found a great deal on an 08 25' Classic that was discounted by 45% after the economic collapse. It sat on a lot for almost two years and then the owner wanted to liquidate the inventory and sell the business. I went 25' because I wanted the large tanks (54 gal fresh water) for boondocking and I followed the advice heard here that you always want a larger trailer than you first choose.

For me that approach was a mistake. The main reason is that the 25' living area is built around a dinette. Yes there is a lounge but it is facing the kitchen, not the TV. When I started to use the trailer, especially solo, I found this arrangement very uncomfortable. There are times when I want to sit at a dinette but not often. The long lounge area in front of the kitchen I discovered was largely wasted unless I was having a more than 2-3 visitors. This happens but it is fairly rare. On the other hand I began to dislike pulling around that wide body and heavy weight that offered few advantages for me.

Fate then intervened. An elderly gentleman ran into my 18 month old trailer at 50 mph (didn't break, honk, whatever). The trailer was totaled and fortunately his car had functioning air bags and he came through bruised but otherwise in decent shape. In 6 months I received an insurance check and faced this choice again.

I purchased a 2012 23' FC with the lounge and roll out table. (I considered the sofa but I am glad that I went with the lounge.) I love it. I have been on 5 trips that involved 2 or more nights for each trip.

The trailer is narrower by 6" on each side and lighter by 2K lbs loaded. The space is much more comfortable and usable for me. I actually look forward to coming back to the trailer and relaxing. Despite being narrower, the available trailer space is more open in the 23C. Counterspace is down in the 23' until I pull out the table then it is comparable to the 25'. (I also found that insurance check was large enough I could purchase the 23' with upgrades and had enough left over to add a high end solar system with 400W of panels and 4 large AGM batteries that allow me to operate off the grid almost indefinitely without using a generator.)

The bed in the corner is fine. I am 6'2" and I found that I had to sleep diagonally on the short queen in the 25', so now I sleep diagonally in the smaller double in the 23'. The bathroom is a bit more constrained in the smaller trailer but the shower is bigger. Overall this tradeoff is a plus for me. I use the shower and the one they put in the 25, 27, and 28 (don't know about the 30) is too small. When they stick it in the corner there is more room.

Having said all of this I acknowledge that there is one advantage to the 25'. If you are going to travel with a significant other on a regular basis then you will eventually want a larger bed. If you go with the 25' you will still face all of the problems that I just mentioned. The solution is to go to the 28' models. You get the larger bed and a sofa but you still have to pull a 12" wider and 4' longer and much heavier trailer. But that is not an option that I expect to pursue. I am recently unmarried and I truly enjoy a bed that is large enough for me. In a pinch I can make room for another but it becomes uncomfortable for more than a few nights. Life is full of choices.

Dillon2
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Old 01-15-2012, 12:21 PM   #4
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There is no reason whatsoever to buy this trailer before you retire.

Financially, you know the math. Don't forget insurance and storage.

These things have two year warranties and you will not have enough time (three weeks per year or less) to really find any faults.

Tires, seals, components, and finishes will age three years for little reason. It is subject to theft and weather damage.

Airstream makes changes to its trailers and lineup every year. We love our 25B and its new features, a new model this year. They are well aware of the problems of size and weight in this increasingly fuel-hungry world, and may help you in your decision three years from now when you retire and will actually put it to use.

You might meet someone you want to take along.

If you want to go camping in the meantime, rent a couple different models and get the feel of them.

doug k
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Old 01-15-2012, 12:55 PM   #5
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Compare the size of the holding tanks and how exposed the external sewer connection is for freezing. Not sure which floorplans you are considering but wider Airstreams have wider corner beds. The extra width would not be a noticeable liability in towing, imo, but will add weight to the unit and give the shape a more squared off appearance. 25' have ducted heating, and larger refrigerators.

I have no problem manuevering the 28' alone. 23' is great for an expedition outpost, but I think 25' is a perfect balance for size and space, and the minimum size for fulltiming and extended stays with room enough to store enough stuff and have adequate tank sizes so as not to be inconvenienced.

Buying a slightly older used model allows you to trade in for a different model without the huge hit in depreciation of new models. Many Airstream owners do change out their first choice of Airstreams in a relatively short time.

I'd start now before retirement and work my way up to fulltiming. There is a lot to learn about your own style and preferences that may not be immediately apparent to you or others initially. It is a process. Besides you can enjoy RVing that much sooner.
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Old 01-15-2012, 01:05 PM   #6
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If you like the 23' size and don't like the corner bed, you might want to take a look at the 23' Front Bed model...it has a nice layout...
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Old 01-15-2012, 01:06 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Dillon2 View Post
~~
The trailer is narrower by 6" on each side ...
~~~

You get the larger bed and a sofa but you still have to pull a 12" wider and 4' longer and much heavier trailer.
~~
The total difference in width between a 23' FC and a 25' trailer (FC or Classic) is 5.5", not 12. The 22' Sport is the only new one that's a foot narrower than the widebodies (13.75 inches, in fact.)

It's a real difference, especially to someone like me accustomed to my 7'8" vintage trailer, but it's not THAT different from the widebodies. This is something I think about a fair amount in my idle fantasies, because I'd like to add a bigger silver trailer to our stable but I think I might stick with 93 and earlier for the availability of longer trailers that aren't so wide.
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Old 01-15-2012, 02:09 PM   #8
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One of the things to check with the corner toilets is whether you fit on it. With the door closed, your knees may hit it.

You may not always be solo, so that is something to consider. The queen bed in the 25 FB is shorter than a residential bed. Our solution was to extend the plywood board underneath by screwing an additional board to the end, moving the mattress down about 4.5", and filling the space at the top with something. My wife made a bolster and I put a piece of plywood conforming to the curve in the body to provide a solid base inside the bolster which holds a standard fitted sheet down. Cost was minimal and standard sheets are much cheaper than sheets made for an Airstream. Trailer manufacturers often forget that people are taller now than they were in the 1950's or even 1850's.

Get it right the first time. Selling one that didn't fit for you can be an expensive mistake as depreciation is a serious concern.

Also a particular model may be easy to change once you get it. Adding larger water and other tanks is difficult if not impossible, but many take out the dinette and add two comfy chairs. We prefer the dinette table, not everyone does. The gaucho sofa in ours is not comfortable and pretty much useless to us, so we took out one cushion and put a small cabinet in that space that holds a microwave and a printer. All sorts of modifications can be made to make it yours.

It is my impression that more people are unhappy with smaller trailers than larger ones. Just an impression. I assume storage space, size of water tanks and ability to adapt to living in small trailer for periods of time are the problem. Bed size and toilet comfort are also issues.

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Old 01-15-2012, 03:58 PM   #9
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Rodsterinfl, how do you plan to use the trailer? Full-timing, long trips, or the occasional two week jaunt? I think that's part of the size equation.

We were also at the Tampa show today and spent a chunk of time at Bates' dealership - amazed how "right" a 23' Flying Cloud with the lounge felt.

But the answer to "which trailer" can easily boil down here to the one you like best deep down - and that's deeply individual. For example, we don't love the corner bath, but it frees up space for things we value more.

Also, if you have some time, wait and watch the used market.

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Old 01-15-2012, 05:01 PM   #10
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Hi from GA. . .As they say, "be careful what you wish for !' That's a LOT of info in the 1st nine replies . I would look long & hard at buying used. Particularly since you're not sure what size you need. Lots of folks willing to help/inspect an Airstream with you & plenty of trailers available. Longer is heavier, bigger TV, more money all around, so I might take the 3 years & try to answer some of these questions you have. Another idea is to go to a rally or two, like the Florida state one in Sarasota coming up and look at lots of units, talk to lots of people, etc. You may have noticed, we'll TALK ! Good luck, and keep asking questions. Regards, Craig
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Old 01-15-2012, 06:23 PM   #11
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... Another idea is to go to a rally or two, like the Florida state one in Sarasota coming up and look at lots of units, talk to lots of people, etc. You may have noticed, we'll TALK ! Good luck, and keep asking questions. Regards, Craig
Great idea! Most rallies have an "Open House" for people to come gawk.
Not only can you see a variety of Airstreams, you'll get a better idea what they are like once you fill them up with personal gear, dogs, cats, and pink flamingos.

You'll also learn first hand what it is like to live for extended periods of time in each length of Airstream.

For example, I lived for extended periods in my 23', but that was with my wife and a dog. It got a tad crowded. Next time, I vowed to leave the wife at home.
Traded for a 27' instead.
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Old 01-15-2012, 07:18 PM   #12
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Yes, many thoughts. As I said, I like all of the models I mentioned. The longer trailer, the 25, makes me somewhat apprehensive looking at it but I like the space inside. I get a similar feeling of space in the 23' with the table that you open to get to. Dillon, you make a good point. I believe the lounge model is the one with the table that rolls out of the cabinet, has the storage behind the sofa by the window and the cabinet with drawers that the tv sits above right? Yes that gives a similar open feel to the 25'. The corner bed and bath does not bother me. As I mentioned, the only factor is the offset throne. I am 5'8" so I fit in there but to close the door I have to swing toward the shower and then the door rests against my knee. Everything else about that model is a good fit. The 25 is more spacious for sure. I am not sure how much the tank situation would bother me. I understand that in nearly every case, except for boon docking, pressured water is used that is not part of the tank of water.

Mutcth, I plan to use the trailer for both 2-3 week stints and for extended stays 2-3 months at most, as a "snow-bird hideaway" or second home away from home. I wanted to get a summer place but costs are high. A trailer offers location flexibility and lower cost overall.
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Old 01-15-2012, 07:43 PM   #13
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I am not sure how much the tank situation would bother me. I understand that in nearly every case, except for boon docking, pressured water is used that is not part of the tank of water.

Mutcth, I plan to use the trailer for both 2-3 week stints and for extended stays 2-3 months at most.
There are instances where you won't have a sewer connection. You can go to a private campground and opt for water, but no sewer. You will save a buck or two and can dump at the dump station on the way out. Some private campgrounds have some pads with no hookups but you can get water out of faucet somewhere and there'll be a dump station. You may stay at a gov't campground which will have no hookups or may have water only. Same deal. Some of these have a limited number of full hookups, but they will cost somewhat more. You can stay somewhere in the boonies with no formal campground and, of course, no hookups. One time we stayed in Moose Jaw, Sask., and the sewers were frozen. It was late spring and I thought they'd know how to bury sewer lines deep enough in Sask., but they didn't. So, sometimes you get a surprise.

You can use very little water, take sponge baths, or you can take a shower and wash a lot of dishes and in the latter case, you may have to dump every day or two with small tanks. If you have a combined grey and black tank, you'll have to dump frequently lest you have nasty water coming up into the shower. You will also use a lot of black tank deodorant because you have to dump a lot.

Our larger black tank can last around a week before the deodorant fails to work. Two of our tanks are 39 gal. and one is 37. The water heater adds 6 gal. to fresh water. Without hookups we can go 4 nights by being careful. Maybe we could go longer, but haven't tried it. We extend the capacity of the grey tank by dumping dish water in the toilet since the black tank always lasts longer.

If you want to stay in private campgrounds only with full hookups, you don't need any tanks, although they are nice when you are driving and need a bathroom. But are you completely sure you won't find boondocking and gov't campgrounds more and more appealing as time goes on? It is hard to predict the future, of course. Plenty of people are happy with the limits of small trailers and to owners of 34's, our 25' must feel cramped and the tanks too small.

I found the corner baths very cramped, but I'm taller than you. Still, even for you it sounds pretty cramped and that may get old with time.

Which is easier to sell someday? The 25' FB's seem to be the most popular and the 27' FB may be second. They should sell faster, therefore. If you look at the classifieds, it may give you an idea what trailers turn over faster.

Gene
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Old 01-15-2012, 08:03 PM   #14
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I thought of one more consideration with windows and ventilation. Our 23' with the corner bed is not wide enough to have a window opener between the rear window and the adjacent bathroom wall. We have to go outside and pull the window open and prop it open with a stick and return outside to close it. Also nothing stops the wind from catching it when proped open either. I think a handy individual could add a lever on one side or perhaps Airstream has changed that. Basically we never open that window because of poor access. I bet the factory or service could add just one side to the small window to make it fully functional. I don't know what you would find similarly in a 25' these days.
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