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Old 01-24-2016, 08:11 PM   #1
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25 or 28, That is the question

After months of talking and looking at floor plans, two RV shows, and two visits to the local Airstream dealer, I thought we had settled on purchasing a new FC 25 twin. We decided on the spur of the moment to make one last fact-finding trip up to Colonial Airstream so that we could actually sit in the front and rear bedroom models since our local dealer is very small and only has three models on the lot. On the 8+ hour trip the Colonial my husband made an off handed comment that he thinks we need to consider the 28'. My thoughts at that moment were not for public consumption, but I vaguely remember saying something like, "Oh, and what makes you say that?"

After hours of discussion (it was a 1300 mile trip), I think it is boiling down to: he likes the separate seating room with the dinette and lounge, and my concern is 28' seems like and awful lot of trailer for (primarily) two people. We plan to be free to travel frequently with two or three long trips a year within the next 6-8 months (although I may be doing some computer-based work on the road). We have been tent campers (read as car campers with everything but the kitchen sink) for years and primarily enjoy the state and national parks. My husband thinks he wants us to do some boondocking, but I think we need to get to know the trailer and build up our capacity to go off-grid first. My husband also is adamant about buying new, and the smallest floor plan that we think will fit us is the 25', primarily because we like the twin layout.

I have learned a tremendous amount from my Air Forum "friends" in the months I have been following all the new posts. I wondered who out there has had experience with the 28' and the 25' and are there any thoughts/lessons learned you could share?

Any thoughts or comments are appreciated!
Cathy
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Old 01-24-2016, 08:34 PM   #2
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I stayed in a few 25s before buying my current 28W. I am a solo traveler, and yeah - for me it was about the separate L-Lounge from the dinette; that when having guests over, I didn't loose the dinette when the lounge queen was made.

However, not intending to put a bee in your bonet, have you looked at the current year Flying Cloud 26U format? An "issue" in the 25/28 both is the shower across the hall from the bath with a glass door, effectively isolating the back bedroom access if a guest was in the shower. The new 26U it's all compartmentalized in one room, and the shower door is solid so you can have two people (in the relative definition of privacy a trailer can offer) in there at once. Also, while the 26U has the same issue as the 25; where you loose the dinette when the guest bed is made, (a) that 26U guest bed is amazingly comfortable and (b) its essentially a king sized bed up there.

I am keeping my 28, but I honestly think if the 26U format comes out in the Serenity line, it's going to be tough for me to not upgrade, or at least wait a few years till the first batch of used 26Us hit the market.

ian
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Old 01-24-2016, 08:42 PM   #3
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28' for us

You sound like you are agonizing over exactly what we went through.

I bought a used 2006 Safari 25' about three years ago. When we were shopping I agonized over 23 or 25 - I was afraid of the weight of the 25 as I had never pulled anything as heavy. But we wanted the additional space so we "took a chance" and went with the 25 because it had a separate shower and bath, a frig with separate freezer, and of course more room. I was glad I did.

I towed the 25' around the midwest, and from St Louis to Seattle out I90 through several mountain ranges. We also took a trip to Yellowstone and Grand Teton (read: 10000 ft mountain passes with up to 10% grades!). I tow with a Nissan Armada, which has a tow package and is rated for 9000 lbs. It has done an excellent job.

After traveling in the 25' for a few years, we began to shop around. We found the 28' has a few things that were very desirable to us. First, the bed is turned 90 degrees to be fore and aft - so it is easier to make, my wife and i have our own cubby holes for books, etc, and we each have a double storage cabinet beside our beds for clothes. Second, the dinette table could be left up permanently because we had a couch to lounge around on in the evenings. Three, overall there is more room in general to move around, and more storage in the 28'.

Before buying I was again worried about the tow weight. My 25' had a max weight of 7000 lbs, the 28' is 7600 lbs. This isn't a lot and both are well below my tow limit, but there is more empty weight to tow around. We took two trips before winter set in, and I could tell very little, if any, difference (no big mountains yet though). The hitch weight is at the max of my vehicle, so I have to be careful how I load it and manage the CG by putting only light items in the front and all heavier items from mid-ship aft.

Only you can tell if 28 is "too big" but after a few years of 25' living, we found the 28' to have some very desirable floor plan differences. We are very happy we made the move.

Good luck and let us know what you do! And of course send pics! Attached is our new AS.
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Old 01-24-2016, 08:43 PM   #4
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As Ian said..." take a look at the new layout in the 26U."

Very comfortable seating area around small or large table.

Cushions are thicker.

Bathroom all in one location.

Now available as a twin.

Biggest of the small Airstreams...Smallest of the big Airstreams.

I pick up my 26U Twin on Tuesday.
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Old 01-24-2016, 09:31 PM   #5
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25' or 28'

Hi,
We started with a 20' and soon out grew that length. We thought the 25' would be our last Airstream, but after considering removing the dinnette and replacing with recliners we decided to go with a new 28'. Here are the features that sold us:
(1) A separate seating area from the dinette. The seating area in a 25' is okay for the person who has the long side by the dinette, but the person stuck on the shorter side of the dinette should we say gets "the short end of the stick".
(2) Having the bed oriented so that there is room to walk around when you make up the bed is much better than in the 25'. Not as big an issue if you are going to get twin beds. We have a queen bed.
(3) You get an additional wardrobe in the 28'.
(4) 2015 was the first year for ducted air.
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Old 01-24-2016, 10:16 PM   #6
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We had a 20, nice for towing but tight for long term travel. Looked at them all and settled on the 25, not to big and not too small, excellent with a moderate size tow vehicle, also not too big and not to small.

Everything new but the Classic has bench seating (flat plywood with a cushion on top), so we changed out the seating. Have traveled extensively in 4 1/2 years, over 1,000 nights and couldn't be happier.

But that's our preference. Anything 25 and up is a great long term traveler, keep your eye on the goal. They can seem too small when camping, and too big when traveling (camp sites, attractions, gas stations), and the tow vehicle needs similar considerations about size.
Think of the total package.
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Old 01-24-2016, 11:51 PM   #7
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I love the floorplan of our 28 International. The separate lounge and dinette works out well for us. I prefer having the hanging wardrobes in the bedroom and also having the bed running fore and aft (easier to get level enough for a quick overnight).

The other pluses are the big view windows are on the same side as the main awning. Right now we are on the ocean in Southern California. We are parked so the curb side is looking out on the ocean, perfect for both inside or outside using the awning. I feel some of the models are goofy with the inside view being best out the street side of the trailer.

Other models have a bit more storage with a pantry but we have not found that limiting even in our month long travels. We opted for the gas oven instead of the micro since we do a lot of boondocking and are not much into using a microwave. I know this is a deal breaker for some. The kitchen counter is not very big but I end up using the dinette for additional counter space when doing meal prep.

This is our first Airstream and going on 3 years old using it about 100 days or so a year. We have no regrets with the model and have never felt it is too big or the size has restricted us in where we go.

Good luck with your choice.
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Old 01-25-2016, 12:08 AM   #8
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The only issue with bigger, if the TV and your experience is up to the task, is getting into smaller sites at some parks. If that presents no significant issue, bigger is a good inoculation against the spread of 2ftitis. Several folks have suggested that few owners report they purchased too big a trailer. Pat
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Old 01-25-2016, 10:56 AM   #9
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Thanks for all the responses!

Ian and LilBigfoot, I had sort of blown past the 26U because at first I thought the 25' was plenty big and it didn't appear to have a twin option, then my husband said he wanted dinette and lounge separate. I think having the bath all in one is a nice feature, but since we don’t expect to be traveling with others anytime soon (or rarely) we can probably live with the less convenient design. When camping we do most of our living outdoors, but I have to admit to seeing my DH's point of separate spaces, especially if the weather turns nasty or I need a space to work. One of the reasons for finally moving up to a TT is to be able to camp in any weather without dealing with wet tarps, tent, canopy, etc. Congrats on your new family member LilBigfoot and thanks for the update on the twin option!

mpsgolf, the weight of the 28’ was also a concern for us. In particular, the tongue weight. We have a new 2016 F150 4x4 3.5 Ecoboost Platinum with the max trailer tow package. As has been discussed on other threads, the payload is less than optimal (1472# doesn’t come anywhere close to the 2060# promised!) but at least we went into the purchase with our eyes open so we weren’t too shocked. Fortunately, we have plenty of tow capacity (11,700#) so if we do our load balancing carefully we should be ok with either trailer. I love the idea of the extra storage, but I have already started thinking about how it will affect our weight and balance. One of the real pluses of the rear bedroom is the storage lockers behind the axles. Good looking rig!

Silverbee, I think you hit our sticking point on the dinette/lounge on the 25’. I have looked at several of the remodels where folks have put in recliners. They looked wonderful, but it really restricts your seating in the 25’. If we ever wanted to go that way, the 28’ might give us more options.

dkottum, great advice on the keeping the total package in mind. My husband and I are both very safety conscious so we have spent a lot of time crunching numbers and doing what-if scenarios. Your remodel was one of the ones that really peaked my interest and opened my eyes to the possibilities for the future. In fact, I just realized I still have a link to your flickr pictures on my desktop so I don’t lose them! LOL

HeadWest, thanks so much for your insights. We had not even considered that the big windows are next to the dinette! Your oven/microwave point is well taken and we are going to have to do some more thinking on that because we are big microwave users. Can you run the convection micro off a generator? This will be out first Airstream as well, so it is good to hear that the 28’ has worked well for you.

Pat, we are very aware of 2ftitis and are trying to do this once! LOL I have experience putting large horse trailers in some fairly close quarters, so I think I will be ok with either size…eventually. The family joke is that the trailer back-up assist on our new F150 is for my husband who has proclaimed himself as “back-up impaired.” Since we like state and national parks size is a definite concern.
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Old 01-25-2016, 11:13 AM   #10
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Know that with the door open on the 28, it blocks the "view" and the ventilation out one of the dinette windows. And that if that window is open for ventilation, you cannot open the door for ventilation.

The new kid on the block is the Flying Cloud 26U with slightly improved front dinette seating. I believe it will soon be offered in a twin bed version.
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Old 01-25-2016, 11:14 AM   #11
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30'...
Go ahead and get it now to prevent trading next year...
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Old 01-25-2016, 11:26 AM   #12
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I opted for the 30' just too have separation of spaces. Almost like adding another room. When looking to buy my first trailer the best advice I received was to go 1 size bigger then you think you will need. That proved to be very true. Glad I listened.
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Old 01-25-2016, 11:44 AM   #13
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Bigger trailers often bring the maneuverability, handling, and expense challenges of a bigger truck. Think of the total package when selecting a size.
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Old 01-25-2016, 11:50 AM   #14
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As you can tell from the comments already made on the thread, many go through this same issue. We purchased several years ago a 25FC Rear twin and loved it. But after some time traveling, and traveling with some friends who have a 28FC, we opted to trade in the 25 for a 28FC Rear Twin and absolutely love it. As mentioned already, there are some issues that to some are bothersome, like the window which is blocked when the door is open, but in reality, each model has some little item that is not ideal and we just deal with them. The tipping point on our decision to move to the 28 was the exact reason you mentioned, liking the separate dinette and couch. While traveling last year with the couple with the 28, we all sat inside comfortably during a rain shower. Just that extra little room and layout worked extremely well. We also travel with two labs regularly and the layout works well.

You mentioned the extra weight and size of pulling the 28 vs the 25. The tongue weight is much heavier. In fact, I believe it is the heaviest of all of the Airstreams. That said, I pull with a 2015 F150 EcoBoost Platinum as well. With the ProPride hitch properly set up, it pulls wonderfully. In fact, I am not so sure it pulls better than my 25 which I pulled with both my 2011 F150 EcoBoost Platinum and my 2015. That one I had an Equalizer hitch on. The proPride allows an easier adjustment of weight distribution if you by chance have a heavier payload in your truck bed on one trip vs another. We have managed weight in the trucked easily and find it works out very well.

Best of luck to you in your decision. You will love any of the models you decide on and safe travels and enjoyment in the future.

Chuck
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