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Old 02-04-2014, 01:32 AM   #1
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Need picking, towing help!

I'm hoping to buy a new Airstream and am trying to decide between the Bambi 19, FC 19 or 20, or the various International 19/20's. I like clean lines, simple interiors, and absolutely don't want leather.

First, is the 20' new for 2014? It isn't even on the Airstream website!

Second, what can I safely and reasonably use to tow any of these? Can a car (Subaru) tow any or do I have to go SUV or truck?

Two humans, three dogs (two of which are very small). We won't live in it, but we will go on lots of trips. Please advise!


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Old 02-04-2014, 02:10 AM   #2
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The 20' unit has been around a long time and still has some issues that you can read about on the forum.

Suggest spending some time on the Colonial Airstream web site looking at and sitting in the various models and interiors.

Colonial Airstream - Airstream Travel Trailer, Bambi, Flying Cloud, International Signature, Serenity, Classic Limited, Interstate, Sport

They have a link to the 2014 catalog that you can download and printout.

Since New Jersey is relatively close by, I suggest spending a long weekend at Colonial and seeing the actual models in person. They can provide suggestions on the proper tow vehicle once you have narrowed your selection down to a specific model. A Subaru car might not be rated to tow even the smallest Airstream.

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Old 02-04-2014, 05:25 AM   #3
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Hello Abigail! Welcome to AirForums.

We, too, are Mass residents, living in Boston. We purchased a 2014 20 foot Flying Cloud last fall. I can't give any real advice, because we only had one chance to use our AS last year. And our dealer towed it for us. Like you, we have to consider a tow vehicle. Unfortunately, a Subaru isn't rated to pull even the smallest Airstream. We love our Subaru, but know we'll have to upsize. We're looking at the Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel.

As for the 20 foot size, I only see it available as a Flying Cloud for 2014. We LOVE ours. At least for the one weekend we used it. hahahaha We are two with one dog, and the size is good for us. Like you, we're not living in it, just plan lots of weekend getaways. We considered the 16 and the 19, but liked the layout of the 20 foot the best. Great advice from Switz about spending as much time as you can in different sizes and seeing what size and layout would work best for you.

If you want to check some Airstreams out locally, there are two dealers within short driving distance from Boston. We went to Nashua to Profile Stateline Superstore, where they had the sizes and models we wanted to check out at the time we were looking. We can highly recommend them, as they really worked with us and our rep (Jerry) was immensely helpful. For instance, knowing we didn't have a tow vehicle, he arranged a weekend at a local campground for us to use it and towed it there for us. We did the set up/break down, but Jerry pulled it. We are also storing our Airstream at the dealership. They also offer storage (outside storage for $65/month). I can't say enough great things about them. Profile Stateline also has a dealership in Maine, but I'm not sure where.

The other local dealer is Airstream of New England in Stoughton (or maybe it's Avon). We have never visited them, so have nothing to report, but I've heard good things about them as well. I've also heard many great things about Colonial in New Jersey.

Just wanted to welcome you. As I mentioned above, I have little advice to give. Just a warm welcome to AirForums. This was such a valuable resource before we bought, and remains one as we continue to learn. Everyone in the Forum has been so friendly and helpful. I'm sure others (with experience) will chime in with some great advice and tips.

Wishing you lots of luck in your search. Hope to see you at a rally or in a campground sometime in the future!

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Old 02-04-2014, 05:30 AM   #4
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As far as towing is concerned, I would not get too worried about the published towing capacity of any vehicle. This appears to be, more often than not, an arbitrary number without much engineering to back it up.

There is a great thread going on right now, discussing the virtues, and issues, of smaller, more efficient tow vehicles. You can find it here.

I don't know enough about Subarus to have an informed opinion, but I am sure others will.
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Old 02-04-2014, 07:37 AM   #5
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Contrary to Andy, I suggest you to take the manufacturer tow ratings seriously (tow rating, GCVWR, hitch ratings, front/rear axle ratings, and payload to name a few). Nothing bad comes out of staying within the ratings. You cannot say the same about the reverse.
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Old 02-04-2014, 07:52 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by awscromwell View Post
Second, what can I safely and reasonably use to tow any of these? Can a car (Subaru) tow any or do I have to go SUV or truck?
While it varies by year and model, few Subarus are capable of towing even a small Airstream.

HowStuffWorks "Subaru Towing Capacity Chart"

As a rule of thumb, the 16' trailers require at least a 3500 pound towing capacity, and the 19-20' trailers require 4500.

Two humans, three dogs (two of which are very small). We won't live in it, but we will go on lots of trips. Please advise!

I don't think I have room for 3 dogs in my 30'.
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Old 02-04-2014, 07:59 AM   #7
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

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

As has been suggested, hit one or more Airstream dealers. Spend some time sitting in the models that you are most interested in. Imagine what each would be like to camp and move around in.

Remember that RV's are small living spaces. Some people take to the lifestyle, others don't. We love the RV lifestyle. We have close friends that tried it and couldn't stand the perceived confinement. RVing can be a blast, but it is not for everyone.

As to your Subaru as a tow vehicle, it depends on which model Subaru you are referring to. A 19 or 20 foot Airstream is going to weigh in the four to five thousand pound range ready to go camping. Take a look at your Subaru's towing specifications and see if you're even in the ballpark.

Good luck in your search.

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Old 02-05-2014, 06:21 AM   #8
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Hi everybody,
Thanks for your replies. I am accustomed to RV living and ANY size airstream will be an upgrade from my current VW Campervan, which I've had for years. I have decided that a shower and bathroom, and a bed I don't have to put away every morning, are worth this extra effort of including a tow-machine and a trailer. So, yes, the dogs will fit!

I wonder if people could give me some make and model examples of tow vehicles you use, that do accord with the rating system, for the 19/20-foot airstreams. Like, Ford Explorer... etc. I would want a driveable SUV or very sturdy car. I come from a long line of poor-handling Jeeps and the like, and I want to avoid those.

So, what do people actually use to tow??

Thanks! Ps. What's your favorite interior design?? Flying cloud?? Serenity?? Tell me your fav. I look forward to checking out the models on the lot, but I am in Africa for another 2 months, so dreaming via internet will have to suffice.
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Old 02-05-2014, 07:50 AM   #9
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This is what we have. Plenty of room. Large dry toilet/shower. Good towing mileage.
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Old 02-05-2014, 10:26 AM   #10
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I tow a 2011 20 Safari with a 2014 Jeep GK Deisel. I had the same Jeep in 2012 with a 6 and it pull great on the flats of Ohio. I just didn't think it would pull the mountains that good.

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