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Old 11-10-2012, 02:39 PM   #15
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2005 19' Safari
Phoenix , Arizona
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Posts: 2,359
We have a 19-foot Bambi. Having previously "camped" in a 27-foot cabin cruiser (boat), our 19-foot Airstream seems spacious. We got this model, because this size was about the largest we felt comfortable using for boondocking.

Here is Arizona, some small mountain roads here are limited to 40-foot combined vehicle length. And, basically, if our Tundra will make it, the Bambi will follow -- with one caveat, road clearance (high center, big rocks, etc.).

Our rig handles heavy city traffic and back roads equally well, and it charges up long mountain grades, with plenty of engine braking for nearly all downgrades. Plus, it gets reasonable fuel economy.

The larger Airstreams are spacious and luxurious. However, ours is great for my wife, me, a small dog and two granddaughters (when we can drag them away from the shopping mall).

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Old 11-10-2012, 03:06 PM   #16
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2008 27' Classic FB
Burkburnett , Texas
Join Date: Jul 2010
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Originally Posted by Alumaholic
... This is why I always recommend that you visit Airstream rallies and attend the "open houses." It is very important to see Airstreams with people in them along with all their pets and stuff. ...
A good dealer will show you what they have and if you desire should let you be as you go back and forth trying to get a feel for what fits your desires, but absolutely, see if you can find a nearby rally. You may get a much better feel from actual owners of how their choice works for them. Learn first hand the pros and cons of storage space and just how live-able one size is compared to another. We bought our slightly used 27' that came available because the original owner felt 27' was too small after 1 trip and traded for a 30’. Everyone is entitled to their preferences and I'm delighted this 27' came our way. We see couples and singles with smaller models and they seem just a happy with their choice.

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Old 11-10-2012, 03:35 PM   #17
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2007 23' Safari SE
Central , Connecticut
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 1,621
I'm not wholly convinced you're saving tons of vehicle wear by saving 1000-1500 lbs of trailer weight. Drivetrain-wise, a good portion of the workload is from overcoming aerodynamic drag.

An Airstream is ahead of the game there - but once you're towing the trailer, you're pulling that drag, regardless of the length. I've noticed similar fuel economy (a direct sign of workload and drag) with different size and weight Airstreams and I'm not alone. Rich Luhr, publisher of Airstream Life magazine, gets similar fuel economy towing his 17' Caravel or 30' Safari.

Your tow vehicle's towing capacity, determined by the manufacturer, was based on a severe test - towing up a steep highway grade in Death Valley in 100+ degree temps with the AC blasting staying at highway speeds, all without overheating drivetrain fluids. Modern vehicles have much more cooling capacity than they used to. With proper towing equipment and an accelerated schedule of transmission fluid changes, that will be taken care of.

Yes, brakes and tires will wear more quickly when towing - but they're wear items anyway.

All of this is a long-winded way of saying that I would focus on buying the trailer that you want. I've owned 20' and 23' Airstreams and have towed bigger enclosed cargo trailers. There is very little difference in towing difficulty between those two lengths. Going to a 23' trailer gets tandem axles, adding a bit of stability (that said, never had a problem with the single axle I owned) and peace of mind in case of tire problems.

You mentioned a 22' trailer. The 22' model built 2002-2006ish was a popular model, but has rot-prone OSB floors and a under-structured frame. Those problems can be overcome - but I would get a newer 23', which hasn't shown similar problems.

Finally, I like having smaller trailers for a few reasons. They are easier for snaking into gas stations, parking spaces, and into the tight state campground sites we like. If my wife and I full-timed, we'd have a 25' or 27', but the 23' suits our weekend warrior/2-week vacation status just fine. (Not that I don't admire those larger trailers with dedicated bedrooms...)

There are lots of reasons to pick different trailers. Sometimes I wish I had a little 16' Bambi with dual wrap windows. The 20' is a very clever floor plan with a huge covetable kitchen. A 19' 75th anniversary/David Winnick model is fabulous. So many nice Airstreams...look at a lot of them, take some time, and figure out the one that suits you. It took us 3 trailers until we found this one, and it's a keeper (for a while...)

Good luck!

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Old 11-10-2012, 05:40 PM   #18
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2000 19' Bambi
mt. Prospect , Illinois
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We've had owners of 34, 30 and even 25 foot A/S visit us in our 19' and say that the cost of hauling their trailers, which weigh 2-3 times as much as ours, keeps them from doing the traveling that they'd intended to do when they bought theirs. But then, they are talking about traveling as a couple - post kids- as we do. We have travelled with a large dog, who took all of the floor space in the 19', and even the addition of a cat makes it smaller. I'd like a larger trailer only if it doesn't weigh more - which means vintage. So, I'd recommend getting as much trailer as you can afford to haul.
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Old 11-10-2012, 06:06 PM   #19
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Port Orchard , Washington
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Originally Posted by BP1 View Post
.................................................. .
However Andy Rogozinski, what is a "Tanny Cooler"? !
Don't let these guys fool you with the transmission cooler story.

"Tanny" is southern California surfer slang for the backside of an individual who sunbaths in the nude. A tanny cooler is a water filled spray bottle used to keep the tanny cool while sunbathing.

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Old 12-11-2012, 10:33 AM   #20
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2015 25' FB Eddie Bauer
Western , ** Big Sky Country ** Montana
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How much time will you actually spend inside the "travel" trailer; what do you anticipate for annual mileage "pulled"? The answer to those questions will impact the decision ... as well as do you have unlimited budget funds and how new a TT do you want to purchase? We downsized to the FC 20 and are quite happy with the choice for our lifestyle. It is cozy when camped at night, but then we don't "live" in it during the day ... our emphasis is on comfort mostly during the evening hours and little during the day. As has been pointed out - it is unlikely that any additional wear on the TV will cause you to wear it out ... if proper service is mantained.

Offroad travel and parking are a consideration for us ... would we like a nice EB 25 foot? Absolutely, but budget and lifestyle dictate otherwise at the moment. There is a huge dfferene in lifestyle between 20 feet and 30 feet! Good luck with your decision...what did you decide to get?
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Old 12-13-2012, 05:27 AM   #21
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Currently Looking...
Frederick , Maryland
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No decision yet on size. Still thinking about it as I am in no hurry and more concerned about what lights are not working on the Christmas lights and should I replace the strand or the bulb. It's all about priorities!
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Old 12-16-2012, 11:11 PM   #22
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Western , ** Big Sky Country ** Montana
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LOL ... swap them for LED ... it is relatively inexpensive if you buy the LED lights when the big boxers put them up on sale ...
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Old 12-21-2012, 12:14 PM   #23
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2012 25' FB Flying Cloud
Minden , Nevada
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In my limited experience, I'd say the shortest trailer with dual axles would be the best for extended vacations, but not full-timing.

Short trips where being outdoors is way more important than being indoors, something like the well-designed 20'er would be great. Don't worry about little streets unless you're hoping to parallel park or do sightseeing while towing

Advice: Drop the trailer, lock it up, then go sightseeing.

I have a 25' for full-timing, but think the 27' is probably ideal for that adventure.
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Old 12-21-2012, 12:47 PM   #24
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1999 23' Safari
Perrysburg , Ann Arbor
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 914
Big / Small

Well, the usual wisdom is that you want it as big as possible when it's parked, and as small as possible when towing. But as several have noted, for the most part, with a few exceptions, size is not too relevant when underway ... at least if it's within the capabilities of your tow vehicle. I have a 23' trailer, and I tow with a big crew cab diesel pickup, just because that's what I have. Overall length is over 45 feet. The truck, because of wheelbase and that it's four wheel drive, has about the same turning radius as the Queen Mary. But whatever it can do, the trailer can follow. I've NEVER gotten into a pickle that I couldn't get out of ... though I have had to back up for longish distances once or twice due to failure to plan. So I think that underway, your proposed combinations are fine.

I have a dual axle trailer because I thought that would be more stable and make for easier tire changes, etc. Might be true. It doesn't "like" to make tight turns especially at low speed, because of the dual axle setup. That only comes into play when getting in/out of a campsite or maybe in a gas station. So not often.

As to interior size, only you can decide what's enough room. I spent many years backpacking, so any interior space bigger than a mountain tent seems roomy to me. Last summer, I spent six weeks on a trip to, from, and around Alaska with my brother, two guitars, a bunch of fishing gear, foul weather clothing, etc. in my 23' coach, and we were quite comfortable. See, Goin'UpNorth ... but here, because we were on the move a lot, the relatively smaller size of this trailer was terrific. Many days we didn't even unhitch. Most of the time, I travel solo (my wife is something of a homebody), and when I'm by myself, it's just luxuriously large!

The best advice you can get, though, is to go to a rally, tour a bunch of trailers and get a "feel" for living in them with the "stuff" that's in them vs. the "stuff" you'll take along. In the end, there are compromises to be made. And only you can make them and live with the result. If the weather is mostly nice when you're camping, you and two dogs will be fine in that mountain tent. If it rains or snows for a week, you'll wish you were in the Taj Mahal.

Good luck with your choice. The "hunt" is a great deal of the pleasure of getting an Airstream. Hope you enjoy yours as much as I've enjoyed mine!
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Old 12-21-2012, 04:09 PM   #25
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Corona , California
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The size of the trailer, all depends on you and your partner, if any.

If no partner, then how much "elbow" room do you need?

If there is a partner, on a first name basis, then a smaller trailer is OK.

If it's on a last name basis, then the larger the better.

Then you must decide, if you want a "his" and a "hers" section, or an "our" section.

Tandems tow far superior to a single axle.


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