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Old 09-19-2016, 05:07 PM   #1
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North Wales , Pennsylvania
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Please help us decide between a FC 27FB and 30

My husband and I are purchasing our first RV and it will be an airstream trailer. We already have a Tow Vehicle. We are trying to decide between the 27FB and the 30 Flying Cloud. We plan to go full time for 2-5 years after retirement in a little over a year. We want to go to all the National Parks and play golf in every state. It's just me and my husband with no kids and no pets. Can we get a virtual vote on whether you think the 27FB or 30 FC is better. I know it is personal preference but all opinions are welcome! For me, pros of 30 is more space and orientation of the couch for TV watching. Pros of 27FB is the view in the back and less to tow and maneuver. Our TV is a 2016 Ford F150 with max tow package and large ecoboost engine. We plan to get the Equalizer Hitch and add the Timbren suspension enhancement system to increase payload capacity. Can't wait to hear from all you experienced airstreamers.

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Old 09-19-2016, 07:14 PM   #2
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2014 30' Flying Cloud
Tampa , Florida
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My vote is for the 30. But I'm biased.

Our plan is to full time. One day. For now it's just weekends. But we appreciate every extra inch of storage and space we have. It's just the wife, a dog, and me.

You have plenty of tow vehicle. And the couple of extra feet won't make much difference parking or towing. But once camped, the extra few feet mean an extra large closet and more space to sit and relax. Worth it in my opinion.

Good luck!

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2013 Cadillac Escalade Tow Vehicle, Equal-i-zer Hitch
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Old 09-19-2016, 10:27 PM   #3
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2011 27 FB International
Vancouver , British Columbia
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We've been able to get some pretty sweet views out the back in our 27fb. Most recent a river front view on Sauvie Island near Portland. RV Parks tend to be less interesting out the back, usually bushes or the back of an other RV. We also have an f150 ecoboost, I think the 27 is a good match, but I'd probably go to a 250 if I had a 30. I've also squeezed the 27 into spots that I don't think I'd be able to get a 30 into (e.g. a spot designated as a 24 foot at Carpenteria State park, backed up wheels to curb, view out the back was beach and ocean).

My vote is probably pretty obvious, however the added storage and extra windows in a 30 would be awfully nice. We're full time now for just over a year.
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Old 09-20-2016, 11:51 AM   #4
2010 30' Flying Cloud
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We fulltime in our 30 and we LOVE it. Here's an overview of it for you, maybe it'll help you get an idea of what the layout's like and if it would work for you:

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Old 09-20-2016, 12:44 PM   #5
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My vote is for the 27fb since you want to hit all the National Parks. More spaces available for a 27fb instead of a 30.
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Old 09-20-2016, 12:48 PM   #6
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27FB over the Airstream 30

More spaces available at National Parks for the 27FB. The 30 is 3 feet longer than the 27FB. 28ft vs 31 ft.
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Old 09-20-2016, 01:10 PM   #7
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Nixa , Missouri
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Don't have a 30 but since you mentioned TV watching, from the photos of the 30 watching TV from the front lounge is a long distance event with the size of the TV that is on the wall. I have a 25fb and the largest TV I could install on the fridge wall that cleared the currents was 28". You might be able to install a 32" but that's not what comes from the factory which is 28" for the current model year. I've read of some owner's complaints the front L lounge isn't that comfortable and many have ordered the recliner option.

Watching TV from the rear dinette 25/27 is not comfortable for the person sitting in the curb dinette seat. Putting down the table to make a large lounge doesn't work for us either as its still awkward seating. Since my wife doesn't mind lounging on the street side dinette with her legs stretched out to the side couch we've decided to have the curb dinette seat removed and a Lambright wall hugger recliner with matching Ultraleather installed in that area for me.

When you are able to see both models keep these points in mind.

2008 Classic 25fb "Silver Mistress"
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Old 09-20-2016, 01:10 PM   #8
2010 30' Flying Cloud
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I still fit my 30 footer into 25' spots at campgrounds. But you're right, good catch on the 3 foot difference, I don't know what I was thinking. Since most SOBs measure trailers as the box size, not tongue to tail, a typical 25' trailer is closer to a 29-30' Airstream.

I've yet to find a spot where my 30' doesn't fit, but I don't really go for NP campgrounds anyway, so take that with a grain of salt.

Both will work for full-time, but i highly recommend setting foot in each one and seeing which layout speaks to you more. We've found that the view 10 feet outside of the trailer is always better than any trailer, whether it's forward facing or rear facing.

I know it's impossible to know how you plan to travel, but ask yourself the following questions.
1) do i plan on boondocking at all? If so, tank size, solar, and battery configuration are important
2) do i plan on staying in one spot for a long time, or moving a lot?
3) do I plan on having full hookups all the time? ($$$$$) or will I be dry camping at BLM campgrounds with water only?
4) how many hours per day will I spend in the trailer?
2010 Flying Cloud 30
Looking for a 2006-2009 25ss (corner bed)
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Old 09-20-2016, 08:23 PM   #9
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1986 25' Sovereign
Oak Harbor , Washington
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As all others my view has some bias.
To achieve a dedicated sleeping with a decent bathroom a 25' is the minimum length.
If you are new to trailers and towing, go with the shortest unit that works for you. For us it is a 25 footer; we are on our second one.

However, our trailers are customized to improve on the facilities, such as a better kitchen, better storage, and more focused on two users eliminating a bunch of "bolt on" features to increase the internal space.
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Old 09-21-2016, 11:13 AM   #10
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2014 30' Classic
Columbus , Ohio
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We initially purchased a Serenity 28' AS, however we quickly realized that the layout was not conducive for 'working' - both of us using our laptops, etc. Within the year, we traded it it on a 30'; have two desks that retract from the wall; no discernible difference in towing. We were warned by our friends and veteran Airstreamser that most people buy 'too small' and end up trading up to a larger model. I also highly recommend the larger one if you're full-timing. We travel ~4+ months a year and the extra space is really handy. We're towing with a F250 diesel. Good luck and enjoy!
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Old 09-21-2016, 11:26 AM   #11
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Greenwood , Mississippi
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I'll cast another biased 30' vote...
2013 Classic 30 Limited
2007 Silver Toyota Tundra Crew Max Limited 5.7 iForce
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Old 09-21-2016, 11:38 AM   #12
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2016 25' Flying Cloud
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buy my 2016 25' FB

buy my 2016 25' FB

"You know what we have right now? We have right now!"
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Old 09-21-2016, 11:51 AM   #13
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2016 30' Classic
Grass Valley , California
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Comfort and Storage or consider a 26U

We just went from a 27FB to a 30 Classic. Having just rolled, i.e. aged, into a new decade, comfort was a huge consideration. The question above about how much time you plan to spend IN the trailer is key. 30' feels more like home than the 27FB ever will.
Despite the extra cost of a Classic, it has been well worth it for us. I assume you are buying new so negotiating with your dealer is recommended. If it's still too pricey for you, by all means my vote is for a 30'. The storage capacity is great. We also have an F150 Ecoboost and it pulls the 30' just fine, even up mountain grades where we live.
Spending longer periods in one place saves $ at RV parks, i.e. monthly rates. Boondocking saves a lot also so think about how autonomous your unit would be without services, using solar and/or generator.
Have you looked at the new 26U floor plan? We have friends who went from a 30 Classic to a 26U because of the huge U shaped dinette that allows comfortable TV viewing for both, a much bigger shower plus being able to get into more state and National Parks. Just another option to consider. Have fun deciding.
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Old 09-21-2016, 12:04 PM   #14
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2017 27' International
Gwinn , Michigan
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How to choose a size?

You are going through exactly what we wavered, and waffled, and debated over for at least 3 months this spring. We liked the seating in the 30, and the extra space. We liked the bathroom window, and more storage. Same as you we want to travel to national parks and were concerned with fitting in those sometimes tiny spaces at campgrounds. Towability and maneuverability was a factor, just like you. This is a very personal decision. We asked for help and got some great answers, but ultimately chose the Intl. Serenity 27FB. We are very happy with it! The 30' will be more comfortable probably because of the extra space, but everything is a trade-off, there is no perfect solution. When we picked up the 27FB and saw how big is was, and is, and how much room we have, our only regret is that it doesn't come with the rear and separate seating. In researching national parks, their total length limitation at a lot of them (TV plus trailer plus hitch) is 42 to 48 feet. Good luck, and whatever you choose will be beautiful! Oh, and one more thing, the 27' seems to have better resale value. I think 25' is the sweet spot for resale value but someone here will dispute that I'm sure. I do know that not everyone has a 3/4 ton pickup truck and a 1/2 ton will tow the 27' nicely.

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