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Old 07-17-2016, 11:04 PM   #1
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2017 25' Flying Cloud
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The alternatives are so difficult to choose amongst

We don't see the value in the non Flying Cloud models so that part of the problem is easy. The ideal trailer for us within the FC range is much more difficult to resolve. I have spent the last 3 days deep in the search function so "Google it" isn't really what I am looking for.

Given the limited payload of our towing vehicle (a 2016 F150 Platinum with a spray in bedliner and a 3 piece tonneau cover with 1,200 of remaining payload after accounting for the two of us and a hitch assuming a 100 lb redistribution of tongue weight back to the trailer) as well as the nature of the campsites in western Canada, we have narrowed the choice down to the 23FB, the 25FB and the 25RB. The 26s / 27s / 28s and 30s are not in our target range. Given how tall we are (6'3" and 5'11"), we will go with twins if we go up to 25 ft (the mythical / infamous extra two feet) from the 23 ft.

It is much easier to level a trailer north / south than east / west so we prefer north / south beds like the twins for this reason too.

Another data point is that we will use the inside of the trailer for sleeping, ablutions and during bad weather (a common issue in our part of the world). The rest of the time, we will be outside.

A further data point is that about 55% of the sites that we can book in our part of the world have a better view out of the back than out of the front. About 70% of the remaining FCFS (first come first served) sites have a better view out of the front than out of the back. We tend to be spontaneous travellers rather than planners.

A few random thoughts about the alternatives :

23FB
- The bed is a bit short and a possible issue for people who wake up at different times in the morning given the space around it, especially as the earlier riser has slept on the left side (from the foot) of the bed for 30 years and is unlikely to be able to change
- The U shaped dinette doesn't seem to be that comfortable for long term use during bad weather. It is a pity that the table does not appear to be able to be turned completely east west
- The bathroom and wardrobes are much better than the 25s
- We tend to camp a bit rough so "flat folded" storage is more important to us than "hanging" storage
- By definition, it is smaller, lighter and much easier to manoeuvre

25FB Twin
- Great sleeping space that can be dedicated as sleeping space with no need to continually open and close shades
- Better view from the dinette / couch
- Brightest space apart from the bathroom with no window
- The external storage is close to the tongue which makes the tongue weight issues more of a challenge
- The external door does not block any of the windows and faces the right way if we forget to close it properly
- The bedroom is usually on the noisy part of the site.

25RB Twin
- Great sleeping space that can be a "see though" area with a lot of opening and closing of window shades which might get tedious when spending 100+ days a year in the trailer
- The sleeping area can become an additional living area in both 25s and mitigate the view problem in the 25 RBs
- External storage is in the best location to manage tongue weight for all of the stuff that we don't want to bring into the trailer. We are quite fussy and would prefer to keep all of the messy stuff in the external storage areas
- Larger bathroom with a window
- The external door blocks a window (I think)
- Not closing the external door properly before towing could be a big problem given the way that it is hinged. Like everyone else, I make mistakes.

An additional issue is that we live in Canada but will probably buy a trailer in Seattle as they have more choice and more reasonable pricing. This means that our ability to change our mind after the first purchase is severely limited.

A few questions :
- Has anyone ever gone from one bedroom location to another and done a swap within the 25 Family?
- Has anyone ever gone from a 25 to a 23? Why?
- I can completely understand why someone has gone from a 23 to a 25 so this is less of a question for me
- Is the shower in a 25 FB any bigger or smaller than the shower in a 25 RB, even marginally due to wheel wells etc as this is a big issue for us given our height

My brain says a 25RB Twin. My heart says a 25FB Twin. My gut says a 23FB. I don't know which body part to listen to.

Ultimately the decision, and the consequences of that decision, are mine and mine alone but I would appreciate any thoughts.
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Old 07-18-2016, 12:23 AM   #2
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We have a FC23FB, so I can help you a bit on that one.

Bed - it's not quite a full queen, but we upgraded to a standard size queen so ours is a full queen now. It fits after we added a bit of ply and a fiddle board at the foot. I'm 6-4, so I understand the need for a larger bed. We get out of bed together, so that's not an issue. Understand that may not work for you.

Table does turn East West. The top shifts as well. Get a demo and consider the possibility of a small modification to accomplish your goals to be comfortable. Some folks do not like the TV location. We don't watch it much and when we do it's usually from the bed, so it's not an issue for us. It may be a problem for you.

Shower works for me. Was surprised. Try it.

Your description of how you would use the trailer kind of matches. Smaller easier to tow and a place to stay when you can't be off doing something. We travel and don't camp, but the concept is similar. We like the dinette side view and it works well a surprising number of times. It is just the two of us, so a 23 will work. The question is, will it work for you.

Recommendation - go and sit in all of the options. Consider where you would store stuff, how you would live in it, and what seems to best suit your lifestyle. Does pay to go away and think about it. Having more than one viewing helps validate assumptions.

Note - North/South vs East West only works half the time. Rolling into a wall may be OK, but the other sleeper gets to roll onto the floor and that is not so good. After you level a half dozen times you will learn to roll up on a 1 or 2 level set of legos by just looking at the bubble on the tongue jack.

Good luck with your search. Pat
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Old 07-18-2016, 06:20 AM   #3
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PKI Said: Recommendation - go and sit in all of the options. Consider where you would store stuff, how you would live in it, and what seems to best suit your lifestyle. Does pay to go away and think about it. Having more than one viewing helps validate assumptions.

I agree wholeheartedly! If your dealer had your top choices, let him show them to you and then ask for some time alone in the models. When choosing between a 25 and a 27 safari, we sat in each about an hour before making our choice.

We have the front door FC with a queen. Probably would have rather had a twin, but the queen is fine. Door opening is not a problem, since we always lock the dead bolt to prevent unintended opening while travelling.

As an aside, you might want to consider a larger truck. It is nice not to have to worry about making it over the next mountain pass.

Have fun with your search!

Sam
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Old 07-18-2016, 06:32 AM   #4
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How important is it to have a window that opens in the bathroom? Do you want to be able to towel off and dress in the bathroom? You get that on the 23.

How important is it to have an extra bit of seating besides the actual dinette? You get that on the 25.

And don't know the answer to this, but ask and look at where the low point water drains are on each model. Can you get to these easily?

How important is a larger freezer? 25 has a larger one.

Do you care if you have both a propane oven and a microwave? 25 has that.

Will you want to bring along extra adults? If yes the 25 has more extra sleep options.

Will you want to bring along extra gear or supplies or food that utilizes payload? If yes then the 23 is much lower tongue weight and leaves you with more payload.http://www.airforums.com/forums/f295...-a-136645.html
Check this post out if you haven't seen it. 22 v 23 v 25:
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Old 07-18-2016, 06:55 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PKI View Post

Table does turn East West. The top shifts as well. Get a demo and consider the possibility of a small modification to accomplish your goals to be comfortable. Some folks do not like the TV location. We don't watch it much and when we do it's usually from the bed, so it's not an issue for us. It may be a problem for you.

Note - North/South vs East West only works half the time. Rolling into a wall may be OK, but the other sleeper gets to roll onto the floor and that is not so good. After you level a half dozen times you will learn to roll up on a 1 or 2 level set of legos by just looking at the bubble on the tongue jack.

Good luck with your search. Pat
Our table (2011) does not rotate. Newer models must. That's a nice upgrade. We spend time at the dinette only when's it's really cold, or raining, and find it fairly comfortable.
I'm 6'5" and have no prob with the bed or shower.
East-west leveling is exactly as described above. I tend to add an extra layer on the street side (head of the bed) to raise my head while sleeping. Also helps the kitchen sink to drain.
We've found a way to almost always swing the dinette in the 23FB to face the best view from the campsite.
We don't spend tons of nights camping though. Still working...
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Old 07-18-2016, 07:10 AM   #6
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For extended travel you will want a 25 or up, much more spacious. The weight difference between 25-26-27-28 is negligible, the greatest resistance is wind and they all punch the same size hole in the wind, so choose from this field. Hitch weights will all be close when loaded because front beds load heaver in front than rear beds.

The issue for long-term travelers is seating comfort, they all have foam cushions on plywood benches (except for the Classic 30). We put two recliners in our 25RB for six months travel every year, very comfortable towing and camping.

All things considered, take a look at the 26U Twin with it's wrap-around seating, convertible table, and larger shower. I think you'll like it even at after 100 days travel. It's a perfect match for your F150 if you keep your loading forward of the rear axle and don't carry concrete blocks. For absolute stability and driving comfort I would recommend a ProPride/Hensley hitch; the weight will be negated by its additional length, it's hitch weight is farther from the trailer's axles than a conventional hitch.
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Old 07-18-2016, 07:27 AM   #7
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Have you been in all of them? Is there one you "like" more than the others? There is a possibility of over thinking this. Good luck with your choice!
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Old 07-18-2016, 07:37 AM   #8
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

Hi and welcome to the Forums We're glad to have you with us.

As to your dilemma, maybe I can help. Over the last ten years, we have had a 2005 Safari 25FB (8yrs/1,300 nights), a 2012 Flying Cloud 23FB (1yr/150 nights), and a 2015 Flying Cloud 25FB (2yrs/260 nights).

The 2005 25FB was a queen bed (that was the only configuration at that time). We enjoyed this trailer very much and traveled with it extensively. We thought that we wanted to downsize and came across a hardly used 2012 23FB and jumped on it. We had this trailer for almost a year and also used it extensively. We decided that the 25FB was much more to our liking and and traded for the 2015 25FB twin bed.

Here is my assessment. The 25FB is a very livable floor plan that we have always felt very comfortable in. We found the 23FB livable, but not as much. The narrow body of the 23FB is noticeable once you are living in it. I know that six inches doesn't sound like much, but it is. The all-in-one bathroom of the 23FB is OK, but we prefer the separate shower of the 25FB. The 23FB does not have a ceiling vent in the bathroom. We found this to be a problem when showering. The 18 gallon black tank in the 23FB only gave us three days without dumping. The 39 gallon black tank in the 25FB gives us six days without a dump. The 23FB galley is directly across from the dinette. We found this to be problematic in that when you try to exit the dinette, the other person is very often at the kitchen counter and in the way. We also found the single door five cubic foot refrigerator to be less usable that the two door 7 cubic foot unit in the 25FB for our style of extended camping.

This is our assessment based upon our style of camping. The 23FB is a fine camper, but it is not as well suited to us.

Good luck in your endeavor, and I am sure that you will enjoy whichever Airsteam you choose.

Brian
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Old 07-18-2016, 07:46 AM   #9
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In our rally group I can name 6 couples that, within a year of purchase of a new trailer, traded up for larger rigs.

Those who chose 23' went to 25' and those with 25' went to 27'.

Twin beds make the most sense from a usable trailer point of view.

We have a 27 FC, and when the project to convert the front queen to twins is complete, we consider it a great size and plan.


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Old 07-18-2016, 08:08 AM   #10
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Have you been in all of them? Is there one you "like" more than the others? There is a possibility of over thinking this. Good luck with your choice!
Ditto x4 -- well said.

It is especially important to spend considerable time in each model you are thinking of.

We had a 25' in the 90's and have been very happy to downsize to the FC20.

Avoid analysis parallesis . . .



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Old 07-18-2016, 10:47 AM   #11
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Unless you want to play musical coaches, you can not over-think this. It really does make a difference what compromises you find acceptable. We have all the trailer we want. We would never think of sleeping in twins. We have no trouble getting up in the middle of the night together. We have no problem passing each other in close quarters - kind of like it. The 23 works for us.

But it may not work for you. Moose does a good job of explaining the difference 23-25. There is another issue that you should consider. The 23 comes with 14in tires. The 25 comes with 15in tires. Note the 5 vs 6 hole wheel difference. You can upgrade the 25 to 16 in which will allow the addition of Light Truck tires. The 23 is limited to the P-XL tires, at least for now. That may not be an issue for you. The XLs have more than enough weight capacity for the 23, but knowing before is better than wishing later.

Another issue with the 23 is that the dump valves are quite low and can be damaged transitioning a bad driveway or dropping in a hole. Add that consideration to your analysis.

The 23 does have both a microwave and an oven. Being tall, the height of the microwave will not be a problem. The smaller frig is an issue for folks who need a lot of food. We are on the road enough that adding to the supplies is a quick stop at the local store. The freezer may be another story. We do not use it much. The ice cream lasts only a few hours .... gets wolfed down, you see. Give it some thought. What will work for you.

The split toilet vs the combination configuration is worth spending some time reviewing. Your preference is the key here.

Also agree with the concept that there is not a lot of difference in weights and that you should not eliminate the longer trailers from your search. If more space is your thing, look at a 27 with it's NS Queen.

The rear view of the 23 is a bit odd. The pano windows make for a great looking trailer. So many compromises and so many miles to enjoy.

We like the 23, would not have a larger rig, and believe we made the right choice for us. Good luck with finding your perfect rig. Pat
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Old 07-18-2016, 11:03 AM   #12
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Thank you all very much for your thoughts. We have done our first round of sitting in all of the models. I don't even know what I don't know yet so I appreciate all of the input. I have read the 22 vs 23 vs 25 thread as well as the story of the many Lucys.

I am not too worried about our current truck which is also our daily driver. It can tow 10,500 lbs so even a 25 at gross weight is only at 70% of its max tow rating. We tend to travel light and camp rather than trying to have a second home on wheels. I think that I can manage truck payload and tongue weight to stay well within tolerances for all 3 floorplans with the 23FB being the easiest and the 25FB being the least easy.

We are going back to a dealer next week for round 2 of sitting in the trailers. You have given me more to think / ask about. I am trying to resist my weakness of being an impulse buyer.
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Old 07-18-2016, 11:20 AM   #13
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Thanks Pat. I have read a lot of the 14 vs 15 vs 16 inch wheel threads. The clearance of the 23 versus the 25 is something that hadn't considered.

In our Province, the public campsites are vastly nicer than the commercial ones but are more basic. We also prefer the more remote ones. We would like to be able to be completely self sufficient for 5 to 7 days so the bigger fridge is something that we had considered.

I have also read a lot of the PP vs Equal-i-zer vs Blue Ox discussions. My takeaway is that our load and weight distribution will vary a lot so the convenience of changing the set up by a link either way is much easier than dealing with washers etc. I know that I am giving away effectiveness for convenience.
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Old 07-18-2016, 11:59 AM   #14
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Hullap,

Friends of ours in Victoria just sold a 9 year old 25' FB in excellent condition. It would have been worth looking at, but it went in a few days.

We also went through much analysis and sitting in trailers when we were deciding what to do. This is a big purchase and you want to get it right the the first time, so whether or not you are over thinking it does not matter too much. You sure want to get this right because a mistake is a very expensive. We decided on the 25FB over the 27FB (prime interest for the 27' was the direction of the bed). There were fewer options when we choose the Safari (now Flying Cloud), but ours is a Special Edition which meant it had some of the upgrades for the International but was a lot cheaper.

Vancouver Is. in our experience has mostly back in campsites, so if backing is daunting (takes practice like everything else in life), a shorter trailer may be better. Given the high ferry fares, you may not leave the Island very often. When you do it will probably be for a long trip and you will be happier with a bigger fridge (unless you always eat at fast food joints). We eat most of our meals in the trailer and prefer healthy food, so we bring a lot and the bigger fridge is essential.

Leveling is not that big a deal. Probably 1/3 to 1/2 of campsites need leveling with the lego like blocks used under one side's wheels. Off level by 1/2-1 inch is not that noticeable side to side (not sure which is east-west or north-south to you). We have not noticed any problem sleeping a little off level. We do not sleep in twin beds at home and doing so in the trailer would be really different and strange. It is also friendlier. With twins you get storage under the beds that is more accessible than under the queen we have, but we just put stuff under the bed we rarely use or need.

If you spend a lot of time outside, the dinette does not matter very much. But when it rains or is too hot or cold, it does. I would like the seats to be better (cheap foam inside, cheap and badly fitting material on the outside), but we put sheepskins on them and that improved comfort a bit. Some replace the dinette with lounging chairs and TV tables, but we use the table for maps, books, meds, tissues, temperature monitor for outside, napkins, sunglasses, computers, iPad, TV and radio remotes and more. There is never enough horizontal space, so the biggest dinette table is essential for us. I made a new, larger one.

You are taller than us (we are 5' 10" and 5' 9"), but maybe our solution would work for you. We put a standard queen topper on our bed, stuffed a bolster at the head of the bed (moving the mattress down) so standard sheets would fit (a lot cheaper than RV sheets or even more expensive Airstream sheets with a curve in them), like another poster above, we lengthened the board the mattress rests on with 1/4" plywood, and so we got another 4 or so inches added to the bed. I would like it longer, but it works fine.

Sit on the toilets and see if you fit. Some bathrooms are so small in front of the toilet that when the door is closed, you have to crush your knees. I don't see much reason to close the door (only when guests are present), but not everyone feels that way.

And if you are staying outside a lot, the view from the dinette does not make much difference. Sometimes the view in a rear bed is the back of your truck.

If you have the Ford EB, you should have no trouble towing a 25' and maybe not a 27' or 28'. Any modern gas engine half ton should have more than enough power. The biggest problem with half ton pickups is not towing ability, but cargo weight. With a weight distributing hitch, you will shift about 1/3 of tongue weight to the trailer axles, not "100 pounds". Tongue weights stated by Airstream are not all that reliable, but the 25' FB is with full propane tanks, hitch and a spare tire under the front of the trailer, around 800 pounds or more. That means you will have to figure on 500-600 lbs. to the truck cargo limit. Two people, a dog or two, tools, generator, water and sewer stuff, toys, extra food, camping chairs and all the other stuff people bring in their trucks adds up fast. Weigh everything to get a better idea of what you can do.

And read everything you can here. You have been doing that, so good for you. There are books on RVing available and reading those may help as well. There is a lot to learn and no matter what you do, you will miss some things and screw up some others, so relax and learn.

Gene
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