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Old 08-22-2014, 12:50 PM   #1
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2012 16' Sport
Philadelphia , Pennsylvania
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Two Gay Boys Going on an Adventure

We are 28 and 29 years old, partners for 5 years. Selling our BMW, buying an Airstream and moving California with two small dogs in tow. We are looking at the different models now. We want something that can be towed comfortably with and SUV (Toyota FJ Cruiser, Caddy SRX, or similar). Is Bambi our only option? We don't mind the small space, we live downtown in a studio with our two dogs. The shower/toilet combo is a little strange on the Bambi. Is there another model that might be a tad bigger, but we could tow with an SUV?

Thanks, friends!

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Old 08-22-2014, 01:00 PM   #2
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That will be a great adventure! Check into a 25, 27 or even a 29 footer. You will have more room and they should pull well behind an SUV.

Good luck and have fun!

Kathy, Tommy, & Crew, Chattanooga, TN
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Old 08-22-2014, 01:31 PM   #3
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Towing With An SUV

We currently own a 2012 25' Flying Cloud that we tow with a Ford F250 diesel short bed truck. Plenty of towing power there.

Our first Airstream was a 2007 20' Safari SE. We towed it everywhere with a Chevy Tahoe with a V-8 and the original manufacturers' equipped towing package. The North Carolina mountains were not a problem. Not sure how it would have done out West. If you consider a Bambi be sure to check out the 20'. The current 20' Flying Cloud has the same layout as our Safari SE. It is amazing how much more that extra foot means. You get a really nice kitchen with a double sink. This is probably the nicest kitchen layout of all the Airstreams. We really enjoyed our 20' just wanted more room. There are two of us and two mini schnauzers.

Good luck and have fun.

Tom & Deborah
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Old 08-22-2014, 01:36 PM   #4
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An SUV manual or manufacturer's website should indicate your safe towing limit with a given model, and then the Airstream manufacturer's website will indicate the specs including weight on their various new models. Allow extra leeway for hauling full water/waste tanks, luggage, hitch, &c.

Bambinos are great! We haven't lived in ours full-time, just 6-weeks at a pop with one mid-sized dog, and never minded the small space. If you love to cook, though, the small kitchen galley is a bit of a work-around.

We pretty much restrict our shower usage to hot dry windy days, so the interior dries out better. (It's called a "wet bath" for a reason.) RV parks and many state park campgrounds come with showers, so this hasn't been a problem. The Bambi wastewater tank is fairly small, though, which is a good reason when you don't have a sewer hookup to shower with a couple of plastic tubs (one on the floor, one on the toilet lid) so the run-off water can be captured and dumped externally. Again, a bit of a work-around but not a serious problem.

We tow our Bambi with a 2011 crew-cab Toyota Tacoma w/ 4WD and high clearance. It does just fine towing Bambi in the mountains. We have a cap/canopy on the back which is great for extra storage (canoe paddles, life jackets, folding chairs, cooler, extra food box, box of outdoor clothing & hiking boots, and so on.) We are a one-vehicle couple, and the Tacoma also gets decent mileage for our normal driving. If we keep out highway towing speed at or below 60 mph we get about 15 mpg, which is pretty good as towing mileage goes.

Best wishes for your new adventure.
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Old 08-22-2014, 01:47 PM   #5
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Speaking from the experience of towing a 1990 Excella (Classic in modern-speak) 25 CB (center bathroom) with a 2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee with the Mercedes 3.0 CRD (diesel turbo V6), towing with a diesel powered SUV is a great experience. I have plenty of power, very good economy, great handling and maneuverability.

There was only one or two choices when I bought mine, but now Porsche, VW, Audi, Mercedes and Jeep all have one available with a diesel V6 turbo, and all similarly rated.

My loaded weight is around 7000 #s, under the 7200# "tow rating" for this vehicle. You do have options regarding trailer size/weight. I am mostly in the South, so this isn't an issue.

A lot of vehicle manufacturers don't adequately test the towing capability of their vehicles, so numbers are misleading. Dealer knowledge is even less! I don't even know of a manufacturer that tests how their vehicles perform with load equalization-type hitches. Some dealers do (look up Can Am).

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Old 08-22-2014, 01:49 PM   #6
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Matching tow vehicles to trailers is a bit of a touchy subject around here. Some go strictly by the manufacturers suggested numbers, while some look into other aspects of a vehicle to determine its suitability. Before you leave the east coast I would recommend you contact CanAM RV in London, Ontario, Canada and have a discussion with Andy. People travel extremely far distances to get his extensive towing advice. If what he says doesn't jive with you, nothing lost, but at least you will get a less traditional (and very experienced) perspective on tow vehicle capabilities.

Regardless of what you decide, good luck on your adventure!
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Old 08-22-2014, 01:58 PM   #7
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I towed a 20' Safari with a recedes ML500 and now tow a 25' Flying Cloud with a Dodge Durango. Both work well.
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Old 08-22-2014, 02:15 PM   #8
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You can also look at Vintage Airstreams, because over the years the Airstreams have gotten heavier and heavier. you'll be able to tow a longer vintage trailer for the same weight as a new one.

My advice is always to find the right Airstream for you and your family, and then find a tow vehicle that can handle it well. If you get the right Airstream, you will have it for much longer than the tow vehicle. Our Airstream is on it's second tow vehicle, and I don't have any plans to upgrade anytime. BTW, we have found we really like our tiny trailer. Plenty of room for us and the dogs, easy to tow, easy to find parking spaces, welcome in every park, and once when the RV park was full, the ranger decided we were tiny enough to put in a tent spot! We love our tiny trailer!

Safe travels, and have fun on your grand adventure, boys!

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Old 08-22-2014, 02:18 PM   #9
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Be sure to look at the FC 20', in my opinion the best of the small Airstreams. But then I liked my 20' Argosy, so when I looked at the 20' AS, I got one. I tow with a Jeep Grand Cherokee.
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Old 08-22-2014, 02:24 PM   #10
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How long are you planning to be in the airstream? Are you going to be a "full timer" for a short or long term period? It would help a lot to know more details about your plans to make better recommendations. If you are planning to be full time and you've never done this before, you might do well to err towards a larger trailer than a smaller one. How big are your dogs? I agree with others that suggest 25+ foot trailers if you are going to be full time. I think smaller trailers are really best for weekend trips.
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Old 08-22-2014, 03:30 PM   #11
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I tow a '90 25' Excella with a Mercedes ML500. Only a year and 5,000 miles so far, but I'm pleased with how it's performing. Interestingly, the ML500 is rated at 5,000 lbs towing capacity in the U.S., while the exact same vehicle is rated at 7,500 lbs in Europe.

Be aware that newer trailers are much heavier than older ones.

John & Vicki
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Old 08-22-2014, 04:28 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by adamwright View Post
We want something that can be towed comfortably with and SUV (Toyota FJ Cruiser, Caddy SRX, or similar).
I towed a 19' Bambi with an FJ Cruiser with no issues. However, I wouldn't want to go any longer than that with an FJ...
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Old 08-22-2014, 06:39 PM   #13
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Welcome! We tow a 19' Bambi with a VW Tourareg V8 and have no issues. On the FJ I'd say you would be maxed out at 5000 capacity. How long do you plan on being in the Airstream? Full time or just to get to CA? Have fun with the search and welcome!

Brad and Zell
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Old 08-22-2014, 06:51 PM   #14
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Also the 19' has a separate shower/toilet and the 16 has the wet bath combo. A trip to a large AS dealer would help you decide what size is best for you.
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Old 08-22-2014, 07:11 PM   #15
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Welcome Adam,

You will find a lot of great info about the 4 Bambis in a thread in Trailers ->Bambi->Bambi Newer->Bambi 4 model feature differences. Lot of opinions, work arounds, and points of consideration.

Also it is a lot to consider, so go to a dealer or two and really check out the models in person so you can see what turns you on, and what you don't like. For us, we are lusting after a front pano dinette. And need windows and line of sight front to back. Others really want a larger bed. Others gotta have a big shower. Some want counter space. The good thing is once you figure out what you like, you will have at least one unit to pick from with those features.

The floor plan drawings don't really give a sense of proportion and line of sight very well. Good news is that Colonial Airstream has a you tube video on every model.

As to a vehicle, there will be a lot of vehicle options to consider. Think about all of the take alongs, and be realistic about your range of travel and what you will want to bring. The weight adds up. In traveling with animals, as I'm sure you know, it's kind of like having extra passengers along.

I suggest reading other up on tow vehicles on this forum. Ideally you want the best trade off between adequate and safe towing (and braking) capacity, coupled with a daily driver that works for you.

Also do consider a truck if you think you'll want generators and bicycles along.

I never thought I'd get a truck, but I love my new truck.

Have fun deciding!

Piggy Bank
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Old 08-22-2014, 08:08 PM   #16
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I tow a 25ft with a 95 Chevy Suburban 2500 3/4 ton w/Barn Doors. Love my Suburban.
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Old 08-22-2014, 09:44 PM   #17
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Boston , Massachusetts
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Welcome!! Good luck with your search and your adventure. My partner and I are in our first season with a 20 ft. Flying Cloud (it's also a Bambi) that we pull with a Jeep Grand Cherokee Diesel. Love it!! Don't know how it would be if you're full timing in something this size, but for weekends and spending a couple weeks at a time in it, we find it meets our needs perfectly.

Hope to see you down the road!

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Old 08-22-2014, 09:46 PM   #18
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check out the floor plans and bed sizes before you buy. I'm 6-4 and we sold our 2012 FC19 because the corner bed sucks
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Old 08-22-2014, 09:58 PM   #19
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Hey Guys...

My partner and I tow our 2006 19' Safari SE with a 2007 Tacoma Short Bed with a factory tow package ... two of us and two dogs. We think it's a great combination. It's also our only vehicle, so being a V6 is a good thing. We put a tonneau cover on the truck to help restrain the urge to take everything but the kitchen sink with us and keep the weight under control. It works well and we have become pretty good at packing the truck to fit the kind of trip we happen to be on...whether it is all dry camping or with hookups or a combination. We love our Bambi!

Have a great adventure on your way to sunny CA! Enjoy the journey!
TB & Greg and Abbey Schnauzer
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Old 08-22-2014, 11:15 PM   #20
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Yes we are going to be full timers. Dogs are both very small, under 10lbs each.

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