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Old 06-16-2015, 06:03 PM   #1
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Rockingham , North Carolina
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Looking for first RV. Few general questions. FC 25-27'. FB or RB. Twins? Etc..

Wife and I are early in search. Made one trip to dealer last year. Back to wanting an Airstream. Only been in one, a 30' or so, my folks kept at Myrtle Beach for 5-6 years before selling and buying a home. Never towed an Airstream. Have very limited insights, but fond memories of my folks Airstream.

We are going to dealer soon to see some models. Interested in 25' primarily, but perhaps a bigger model if our tow vehicle is up to the task. We had already planned on upgrading our current 2004 Tahoe 2WD to a newer Suburban 4WD, but not the newest boxy style. Likely looking for used low mileage 2008-2012 on Autotrader soon. Likely will be a 1500. Any common mods to tow vehicle/hitch? What is biggest Airstream I can tow safely?

Posted in tow section, but a big immediate question we need to answer is what size Airstream we can safely tow with said TV. Main use is 3-4 hours of highway to Smoky Mountains of nearby NC and Tenn, and 1-2 hours of steep incline and curves once in mountains. A few 7-10 day trips a year that are further away.

Regarding the Airstream itself, we are curious what main difference is in the 25' and 27'. We are looking at the twin bed models, but are very confused about the pros/cons of bedroom being in front or rear. How this effects actually using the camper, outside and inside storage, etc.

Also, it appears, but I could be wrong, that the lounger/couch in 25' model is not the same size when comparing the two 25' FC models with twin beds. Seems the rear bedroom has a smaller lounger up front. And the twin bed model with front bedroom has a longer lounger/couch. Or maybe the floor plan on Airstreams website just isn't detailed or I'm looking at it wrong. Front or rear twin beds is the question.

Reason I ask, this lounger/couch will be a primary bed for one of our two children. We have 2.5 year old son, 7 month old daughter, and a 10 week old german shepherd puppy. Looking to buy an Airstream they can grow up in, literally, so planning ahead.

I read where there are two colors of interior, black and tan. Curious if one is more durable, or will be more kid tolerant over the years.

What other options are desirable? I am going to see dealer but not sure what to look for. Are there any particular must have options so to speak? Or are all Airstreams sold basically the same?

What are long term cost associated with owning an Airstream? Not fuel, etc, but actual yearly cost of maintenance, upkeep, insurance (if applicable), etc. We are overstepping a bit to get an Airstream, but I'm also concerned with long term cost. Things that a new guy like me wouldn't think about.

Anything I should look for, specifically, when going to dealership? Any particular questions I should ask? Anything my wife and I should consider? Like any big item, I realize purchase decisions are quite personal. Just trying to avoid buying our first RV and soon regretting it for an assorted range of reasons. We are going to have to make some sacrifices to buy an Airstream, so I want to do it right the first time. To the extent possible at any rate.

Thanks for any insights you may share. And anyone whom has spent time with your Airstream in the Southeast, Smoky Mountains or elsewhere, feel free to post a few good campgrounds or trip ideas. PM perhaps if you have time. We are most eager, but greatly lack insight. Green as grass. We are avid tent campers, and have historically avoided the places where folks use RVs, and campgrounds in general most the time. No idea where to take an RV.


Dan
Rockingham,NC
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Old 06-16-2015, 06:23 PM   #2
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Since it's your first RV, my suggestion would be to buy a late model gently used AS. Reasoning is: you get a good feel for what works for you, and what doesn't work, then can work up to the right model for you in a few years. We RV'd for 20+ years before doing an AS. We had a VERY good idea what we liked and didn't like in trailers by then. Also, a used trailer will give you peace of mind that the kiddo's and puppy aren't going to wreck anything too much. A little pre-wear and tear can be a good thing.
Because they cost more up front, AS probably are a little higher in insurance costs overall. Otherwise, I wouldn't think there's too much difference in operating costs. We are still towing with our original Equilizer hitch set up with a few bar tweaks over the years.
You want to match your tow weights up carefully - what your vehicle can tow and what the trailer will weigh loaded. Since you are in hilly/mountainous country, that will be important. There's nothing more frustrating that going up a hill at 25MPH and being passed by a VW bus. :P
You might want to hitch up with someone from your local WBCCI chapter to guide you.
Good luck and let us know how it goes! See you on the road.

Kay
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Old 06-16-2015, 06:39 PM   #3
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i will second and strongly advise against buying a new trailer. No matter how much you look and think about it you will never get what you eventually realize you need and the hit is not worth it.

Buy used and use it for a year.
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Old 06-16-2015, 07:04 PM   #4
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Proceed carefully. It is unlikely your first RV will be completely satisfying, and possibly not used enough to justify the cost.

Shop used, perhaps best in the box trailer market, so it will be a "learner" for you. Then you won't have to depend on others to tell you what you need.

You most probably can find a decent box trailer sized to fit your present family needs quite towable with your present Tahoe. Then, when ready for the Airstream you know will work for the long term, you can buy the Airstream and follow with a tow vehicle to match.

Never buy the truck first as it narrows your choices and a chance at an unexpected great deal.
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Old 06-16-2015, 07:18 PM   #5
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Back to some of your specific questions on the 25.

There is a difference in the lounge length in the FB vs RB 25. Also 1 window by the lounge vs 2.

The bathrooms also differ, as well as storage above the refrigerator.


Exterior storage differs, and you might "envision" the unit with a bike rack on the back and figure that into your evaluation of storage access and the view out the back window.

I recommending spending some time with your Television and Youtube looking at the videos on colonial airstream's website. Airstream's literature does a very poor job of giving floor plans AND elevation drawings. Pay attention to windows, which windows open or don't open. Especially if you intend to camp in the mountains and don't want to have to run AC.

Once you understand the way the units are laid out, then think about where you want to be to do tasks like dry your hair, shave, make a salad, do paperwork with the computer, read, watch movies, and where you want to stand to get dressed in privacy. Is there space so 1 person can nap and another can make breakfast or watch movies? Is there space for 1 person to be dressing/showering, and another to be starting dinner?
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Old 06-16-2015, 07:20 PM   #6
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Cost to own an Airstream are based on many factors. Insurance costs depend upon storage location, your desired coverage and your locale.

The costs to maintain and repair your Airstream are no different than any other brand of trailer. For example in 10 years of ownership I've had two major repairs to replace brake and wheel components on one wheel. I've replaced an air conditioner shroud and skylight due to UV exposure.

Normal maintenance has been repacking the wheel bearings twice, 2 sets of tires.

Other things to consider potential taxes and licensing expense. You may have to consider offsite storage costs if you can't keep your trailer on your property.

Cost is a big factor which for some can be an issue. The good side is interest paid on an RV loan qualifies as a second home deduction under current tax laws. In my state we have an annual tax on personal property which is based on valuation. Obviously my higher cost Airstream carries a higher tax burden.

Airstream dealerships are not all over the place so for some issues, repairs by an Airstream dealer (assuming you can't do it yourself) may be absolutely critical.

Remember you will need to purchase a hitch and possible brake controller. In most cases you get what you pay for.

If you are used to tent camping, understand that your cost for a site may be significantly more expensive based on where you go and the site amenities that you want.

Personally I have camped in a VW bus, tent, 2 pop up campers, and 2 travel trailers prior to my first Airstream. Would I have bought a new Airstream as my first RV experience.? No. I've gained experience each step of my way, and the Airstream would have been a little too much for my expertise. If Airstream is the only way for you, then consider used and get some assistance if you buy from a private seller for any used trailer. Lots to look at when you buy used and as a first time owner, you can get yourself into a real pickle with any used trailer if you don't know what to look for and check out before purchasing.

Jack
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Old 06-16-2015, 09:53 PM   #7
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As as you shop and search, there may be an AS volunteer inspector to help you. Info here on the forum. We have spent 40 years camping in every type of rv and wish we had gotten our AS sooner in life but without all the other experiences, we may not have appreciated our AS as much. There is a special bond that happens with these silver things. Get educated and enjoy looking. It can be fun.
Dave
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Old 06-16-2015, 11:38 PM   #8
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Rockingham , North Carolina
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Really appreciate all the suggestions. Wife and I are going to Airstream dealer about 1.5 hours from our home in morning. Eager to see how the various models compare in person. Thanks for any further input.


Dan
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Old 06-17-2015, 06:33 AM   #9
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If you are going up to Winston-Salem, they have a good reputation, but when we were looking their inventory was too small to be helpful. If you are really convinced that an Airstream is it, then it is worth the trouble to drive up to NJ and look at Colonial, who stocks most everything.
It is just the two of us and the dog so a 25 is perfect for us. Personally, I would have trouble with anything other than the largest Airstream with kids, but that is me. We bought lightly used and I second the notion to do only that. If you have money to burn and you are going to use it a lot, then maybe the cost differential makes sense.
In the end, do not listen to anyone's opinion of which layout is the best. Only you and your wife can make that decision after you look at the options.
Larry
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Old 06-17-2015, 07:47 AM   #10
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Thanks. I'm certainly not against buying lightly used. Looked at many attractive Airstreams on RV Trader last night. Looks like a few very nice 4-7 year old 25-27 footers can be found for about $50k.

First we need to settle on a size and layout, heading to dealer now to get some idea of how the models compare internally. They have a 23' with bunk over main bed, which sleeps four, a few 25 and 27 footers, which I'm eager to see and compare. But none have the twin bed option we are interseted in.

Thanks for suggesting Colonial.


Dan
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Old 06-17-2015, 11:50 AM   #11
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No matter which trailer you choose, regardless of new or used, I would say go to a dealer and hang out in several trailers for a little while to get a feel for how it be to spend time in it- lie in the bed, sit on the couch, sit in the dinette, open the oven, refrigerator, microwave, sit on the toilet, stand in the shower- imagine yourself in it on a 2 or 3 week road trip- get a feel for the flow- what works and what doesn't-
That's basically how I chose a Classic 30- I liked the hickory cabinets over any other decor.
That was at Colonial in 2007 or 2008. Y'all know the rest of the story...
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Old 06-17-2015, 12:13 PM   #12
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I haven't seen anyone mention the cost of covered storage. I know some folks just park the AS in the back yard, but in Tennessee we have hail all too often for me to do that.
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Old 06-17-2015, 12:18 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m.hony View Post
No matter which trailer you choose, regardless of new or used, I would say go to a dealer and hang out in several trailers for a little while to get a feel for how it be to spend time in it- lie in the bed, sit on the couch, sit in the dinette, open the oven, refrigerator, microwave, sit on the toilet, stand in the shower- imagine yourself in it on a 2 or 3 week road trip- get a feel for the flow- what works and what doesn't-
That's basically how I chose a Classic 30- I liked the hickory cabinets over any other decor.
That was at Colonial in 2007 or 2008. Y'all know the rest of the story...
This is what we did. It's one thing to see pictures, totally different in person. Although the right dealer makes the experience better in that situation. First place we went to, showed us some, then left us alone and said, have fun and come find us if you need us. I think we spent like 45 mins just hanging out in one.

Second dealer, was like a used car salesmen, would not leave us to just explore.

We also bought used. But seeing the new units in person was helpful. Cemented the "this is enough space for us"
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Old 06-17-2015, 12:21 PM   #14
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Looking for first RV. Few general questions. FC 25-27'. FB or RB. Twins? Etc..

I mentioned offsite storage costs in my post. Subdivision indentures don't allow RV storage on a home owners property in many locales, including mine. After 2 years of outdoor storage I was able to get a nice garage location from a good friend. She is letting me use it at a very reasonable cost which is below market for this area. Needless to say we get hail here also so I rest easy knowing that we are tucked away in a nice garage when we aren't out on the road.

Jack
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