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Old 08-23-2014, 12:14 AM   #21
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Infinite Possibilities

Having recently gone through a similar quest for an Airstream and (TV) tow vehicle, you hit the jackpot of valuable information when you found this Air Forums site. There is much wisdom to be found here.

Hopefully, you're departure date is flexible so you're not rushed into making a decision. However, Airstreams hold their value and you could always trade your first one or start a collection. Since you are planning on "full timing" you may need extra storage and separate bathroom/ shower.

You're not too far away from Colonial Airstream in Lakewood, NJ where I bought my AS. They keep about 100 Airstreams on their lot which would allow you to perform a side by side comparison.

I was an SUV guy for years and was convinced that's what I was going to buy to pull my new AS, until I started comparing the towing capacities.
I decided on a Ford F150 5.0L Super Crew pickup and now I'm wondering why it took me so long to get one.

Tow vehicles come and go but an Airstream is forever!

Enjoy your journey.

Cheers
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Old 08-23-2014, 12:26 AM   #22
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We couldn't give up after 24 years of BMW ownership, so now I have a Class A Airstream and a BMW toad. There's some open issues about towing with a dolly: the back wheels on my 1996 318ti are on the ground so I changed the diff and MT to fresh synthetic oil, will see how it works out.

Earlier posts allude to the massive amount of information and opinions on this board about TV's and various years and models of silver bullets. We had started like we did with a house, with a list of mandatory and optional designs. For instance, will you be boondocking a lot, or not at all? Long freeway runs or short hops? Will you be packrats like u or minimalists? Carrying pets?

Once you get ready to roll, check out the events posted here: better yet, if there are any near you, just go by and talk to the attendees and tour their trailers.
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Old 08-23-2014, 06:52 AM   #23
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Honestly, for two guys, I believe you would be so much more comfortable in a 27" if for no other reason than the bed configuration. The side beds I think would be a nightmare for you. What a great adventure you two are about to embark on! You will have so many happy times ahead of you. Best of luck and post your pictures!!


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Old 08-23-2014, 11:20 AM   #24
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Personally I like diesels for tow vehicles as they get great gas mileage. I believe there is a diesel VW Toureg that people seem to like. Dodge just came out with a 1500 truck they call an "ecodiesel" with 28mpg and 9200lbs towing capacity. That sounds like a great option. For a lot of gasoline models, you'll be lucky to get 10 to 12mpg! Maybe some of the newer engine technologies can be higher though. I'm not sure.

If you are going to be towing a lot as a full timer, the savings from getting a good MPG tow vehicle can really add up.

I got really hung up on the tow vehicle question as I didn't really see myself driving around a truck and when you start to talk tow vehicles around here, some people will soon chime in and try to convince you that you need a semi tractor to pull a trailer (well maybe I exaggerate just a bit). In the end, I got a short bed, ext cab truck with a "sport" package and I'm pretty happy with it. Outside of tow vehicles, I'm mostly a european luxury car guy though so it was a bit of a change.
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Old 08-23-2014, 11:57 AM   #25
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The 75x48 corner beds in the Bambis are cramped....barely doable for humans of average height. This may become more apparent down the road.

The International 23D has the same corner bed but also has a generous side bed/couch. The 23 FB has a 60x75 walk around front bed. Both are 8 foot wide trailers and are easily towable by 1500/150 trucks and larger suvs.
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Old 08-23-2014, 08:19 PM   #26
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Adam, you may want to factor in you and your partners body size. I'm 6' and my partner is 6-2. I was looking at the 23' models but went with a 25' International CCD because the bed was normal size. However, check the manufacturers max tow capacity on your vehicle before deciding. My 25' weighs 4400 empty and I tow with a ford F-150 ecoboost that's rated to 9000 pounds. I live in LA so welcome in advance.


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Old 08-23-2014, 09:23 PM   #27
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If you are looking at a current model SRX, I think you will find it challenged for towing duties. The FJ cruiser is a Tacoma sourced drivetrain I believe, so it should do pretty well with trailers short enough not to challenge the Toyota's short wheelbase.

If you like BMW, the X5 diesel reportedly makes a very good tow vehicle for airstreams quite a bit larger than you are thinking about so it might be a good SUV to look into. Posh, not too huge, very capable vehicle.
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Old 08-23-2014, 10:27 PM   #28
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Not sure about the specs, but i'd have to think the Cadillac might be heavier, and possibly a longer wheel base. I know that the longer wheel base makes a large difference after letting my friend tow my 29' Excella behind a short wheel base older suv. If you ask me, heavier is also better for staying "in control". I agree with many of the earlier posts...do you homework, read the specs for each car, and call Andy.
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Old 08-24-2014, 12:25 AM   #29
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Not sure about the specs, but i'd have to think the Cadillac might be heavier, and possibly a longer wheel base. I know that the longer wheel base makes a large difference after letting my friend tow my 29' Excella behind a short wheel base older suv. If you ask me, heavier is also better for staying "in control". I agree with many of the earlier posts...do you homework, read the specs for each car, and call Andy.
The current Cadillac SRX is a front-drive CUV, essentially. It's rated at 3500 lb with the optional towing package and transmission cooler. Basically the same weight as the FJCruiser with a bit longer wheelbase, but less "SUV" than the previous SRX platform. If you want a smaller-than-Tahoe GM SUV I think a Lambda-based SUV (Buick Enclave/GMC Acadia/Chevrolet Traverse) would be a better choice than the SRX. Cadillac doesn't have a Lambda-platform offering.
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Old 08-24-2014, 04:03 PM   #30
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UPDATE: We went to look at new Airstreams yesterday. We thought the 19FT was do-able, but really liked the 22 and 23ft models. The larger 25-30 ft trailers were very nice, but we are really intimidated about towing them.

A side note about depreciation, the dealership mentioned that your Airstream will depreciate about 20% in the first two years. They also said long term prospects are good as they, if taken care of will hold about 60% of their original value. Seems like buying new doesn't make any sense.

We are considering going with a 3-5 year old model or getting a vintage airstream and renovating it to our exact taste.

Need to get over my fear of towing something large. a 27 ft or 30 ft would be so nice. Hills, turns, and the idea of finding somewhere to park all the time, scare me.
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Old 08-24-2014, 04:19 PM   #31
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I guess depreciation can depend on the model too. When we looked to buy a used 25', the cost of a new one was only a few thousand more. We thought that was worth it for the 2 yr warranty and improvements in the model.
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Old 08-25-2014, 02:22 AM   #32
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Don't worry TOO much about your aptitude for towing -- at least one of you is bound to be good at it, if not both. You both will probably do fine. Plus, Airstreams pull much easier than those big ugly square fiberglass travel trailers that sometimes get blown over in strong winds!

If you still want to hedge your bet by not going too large, I would aim for at least a 25ft model, maybe 28. If you go for a vintage trailer, you might need to go a little larger as they are generally not as wide (depending on the year/how "vintage" you go).

A HUGE reason to go for 25ft+ is DUAL AXLES!! When I was going through this decision, the benefits and safety of DUAL axles became a "must have" after I thought about it. Just think about having a blowout on your ONLY wheel on one side vs one of TWO wheels. In a pinch, you can even drive a dual axle trailer with just ONE wheel on a side.

What might make a bigger difference in the ease of towing than the length of the trailer might be your tow vehicle. Plus your towing equipment (sway control and load leveling hitch, if you use one). I was pretty intimidated after all the talk on here about different hitch systems and what felt like everyone pushing for a massive tow vehicle. Don't let all that talk worry you too much like it did me. I hadn't had time to get my truck setup for a hitch system (though I was convinced that I needed one) when I picked up my 31' 1977 trailer for the first time so I ended up towing just on a plain hitch just to get the trailer home -- and you know what? I still am towing that way today. It has been fine for me, maybe because I have the heft of a 3/4 ton truck as a tow vehicle.

Now I'm certainly not trying to discourage you from hitch systems and beefy tow vehicles. You would probably do well do have one or the other... OR you could go for both to inject an extra level of confidence in your ability to handle a trailer (or a larger trailer as it sounds like might be appealing to you now). If you go for a midsize/luxury SUV as a tow vehicle then you should almost certainly invest in some kind of hitch system. Read up on those to learn more.

As for hills, turns and such -- well going in forward direction, that's all the easy part! The trailer will just follow you around, and you'll be surprised at how easy forward maneuvering is, even through parking lots. Backing up can be a little more tricky for some people, but you'll generally be fine if you just take your time. Since there are two of you, one will get out and guide the other person doing the backing.

Finding places to park -- camping is not going to be a problem with any size Airstream, except maybe in some limited state parks and such. But seriously, 98% to 99% of campgrounds will easily handle any size airstream. If you stop at a store, you just park out in the wide open parking areas. And keep in mind that you can always drop off your partner or vice versa to run into a store where you can't get the trailer in while the other one of you does a circle around a couple blocks. Street parking is pretty easy too though you might have to park a block or two away from where you want to go to find some open curb space.

You won't have trouble finding gas stations to pull into as well (though a few older types of stations are not usable).

If you are absolutely, positively sure that you are going to be spending more time in cities than rural areas, then smaller may be helpful. In my case, I have been surprised at how much more time I spend out "in the country" compared to what I expected (2 years ago lived on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood). This is a HUGE country to explore, and almost all of it is wide open space!

To make a long story short -- relax! You'll be fine. Go for 25 to 28ft trailer so you don't find yourselves wishing that you had when you realize it's no big deal to tow an Airstream!
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Old 08-25-2014, 04:08 AM   #33
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You may wish to consider a 23 front bed Flying Cloud. Much better sleeping, larger bathroom, enough room for a family of four (2 adults, 2 dogs). It is about $8,000 more than the Bambi, weighs about 1,000 lbs more, has more fresh water capacity, two axles, and should tow nearly as well with an SUV. A fully loaded 23 FB is about 6,000 lbs. vs. 4500 for the Bambi.

If you have not purchased a tow vehicle, think long and hard about this. There may be some places crossing the Rocky Mountains where a gasoline powered, non turbo engine will struggle. Above 10,000 feet, normally aspirated gasoline engines are not happy unless they are fairly powerful to begin with.

Once you are near the total package you decide upon, let us know.


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Old 08-25-2014, 12:16 PM   #34
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Welcome Adam,
I'm so excited for you! I am in the process of trying to get my partner on board. He claims he's too tall (6'3"). Hopefully soon we'll be making the same amazing discoveries!
Best of luck! Post pictures when you decide!

John
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Old 08-25-2014, 08:39 PM   #35
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go to Trailer Towing Guides | Trailer Life Magazine for the towing guide for every 2014 vehicle that has a two rating. Then go here The 2015 Airstream Travel Trailer Lineup - Airstream to figure out which vehicle and which Airstream would work best for you two.

Good Luck! Derek
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Old 08-25-2014, 11:34 PM   #36
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If you are full-timing, you probably want a "dry bath" and a decent kitchen, as well as more cupboard space.

But also think through how you plan to camp. If you want to get into mostly National Park, and US Forest Service campgrounds, sometimes small is better, as many of their campgrounds were designed for shorter RVs before the days of monster 5th wheels with 4 slideouts. The lighter the trailer, the better for your gas mileage on long-distance trips. However, if you think you'll be mostly staying in RV parks, not driving a lot of miles, and really using the AS as your home base, in an RV park with occasional weekend get-aways to civilized places, then you probably want the largest one you can afford.
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Old 08-26-2014, 05:11 AM   #37
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Welcome Adam,
I'm so excited for you! I am in the process of trying to get my partner on board. He claims he's too tall (6'3"). Hopefully soon we'll be making the same amazing discoveries!
Best of luck! Post pictures when you decide!

John
I am 6'8" -- your partner is NOT too tall for an Airstream.
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Old 08-26-2014, 08:45 AM   #38
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I agree with most comments here. My partner and I mostly camp on weekends, but do hope to take long trips in the future. Our 2005 25' International is ideal for us in many ways. But... we do have the corner bed. We liked the CCD bright color design of the mid 2000's and the price as a used trailer. But do think about the corner bed. The metal outside walls of the newer trailers get quite cold. Even our dog won't sleep against it. Eventually we will do a removable upholstery solution to help with that.

We also didn't want a truck or a huge SUV as our TV. So we settled on a Jeep Commander (similar to the towing capability to a current Jeep Grand Cherokee). We talk about our next TV and will consider something larger/more powerful. We burned the transmission fluid going up hill at low speed for too long. The factory transmission cooler is not adequate in our vehicle.

If you do stay with a smaller SUV, consider going to Can Am (an Airstream dealer near Toronto) to buy or at least get your hitch set up properly. You can find many treads about CanAm hitch set ups especially for smaller vehicles. We camped near someone who had a VW Touareg set up by CanAm. They were pulling a 25' similar to ours and loved it. They had been through the western mountains with no issue.
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Old 08-26-2014, 12:02 PM   #39
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The corner bed on the 25 is horrid. Cold, small, and impossible to get the fitted sheets on the mattress. Traded after six months my 2007 25 SS for 2009 27 FB Int Ocean Breeze.

The shorter front beds 23, 25, are much nicer and the bathroom at the rear is probably the best in the line roominess wise.
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Old 08-27-2014, 02:36 PM   #40
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Two Gay Boys Going on an Adventure

Quote:
Originally Posted by coffej View Post
Welcome Adam,
I'm so excited for you! I am in the process of trying to get my partner on board. He claims he's too tall (6'3"). Hopefully soon we'll be making the same amazing discoveries!
Best of luck! Post pictures when you decide!

John

John -

I am seven foot tall even and am fine in the airstream. The only two items of note for me are to watch swinging my feet out of bed at what's in reach of the toes, and add a nice teak "shelf" to the shower cause you ARE going to take seated showers for the most park.

Ian


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