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Danattherock 08-01-2015 07:51 PM

What do you regret about your first Airstream purchase?
Wife and I have been neck deep in tow vehicle pursuit this past month. We plan to buy a 27' FB Twin for ourselves and our two small children, and German shepherd, Chena. We are so excited we can't sleep. Literally.

We heard many folks buy too small a camper, and adversely, have heard some folks buy too big. Our hope is the 27 footer will split the goal post and give us decent space and still fit in the majority of campgrounds.

Our plan is to buy a 2-4 year old Flying Cloud which should knock $20-35k off retail pricing. Buying a $50-55k truck and camper at the same time is steep for us working folk. We are planning to buy a Dodge 2500 mega cab with 6.4 Hemi.

The main usage will be weekend trips 4-5 hours away in the Smoky Mountains of NC and Tenn. Also, a 2-3 week national parks type trip out west each summer. That's about as far as we have got, but I'm sure as we learn more we will have other trips lined up.

Being that this is such a substantial financial obligation for us, I thought it wise to seek council from you more seasoned Airstreamers. Is there any particular advice you might give someone in our situation? Any must have factory (or otherwise) accessories or options we should get?

Anyone familiar with the Smoky Mountains, we would love any campground or more remote suggestions. We have always tent camped and have limited insights into where we might take our Airstream. Ideas anywhere in the Southeast would be equally valued.

PM any camping suggestions you don't want to share publicly.;)

Thanks for any insights you may share.


Tater 08-01-2015 08:13 PM

Our first was an 08 sport 22. Then a 10 FC25 and now a 12 classic 30'. I liked the 25 but when my wife saw the used classic she was smitten. I wouldn't do a 25 again because it was difficult to get out of the bed turned sideways. A 27 or 28 would be great and you will be happy with either. We have a queen bed. Visit TCPC Airstream park if you're in the Smokies area. The more you travel the more you will enjoy the Airstream. Congratulations and have fun. Just over the NC side of the Smokies is a great train ride. Can't remember what it is called and we're traveling so can't look it up. Bryson City I think but not sure.

Mrjkq 08-01-2015 08:18 PM

You will not regret going bigger as you would going smaller. Get a diesel in that RAM.

Ted S. 08-01-2015 08:23 PM

I got lucky, no regrets.

AWCHIEF 08-01-2015 08:28 PM

No regrets, it was a great learning experience.

Danattherock 08-01-2015 08:30 PM

Learned what?

DHart 08-01-2015 08:41 PM

Fortunately... NO regrets! We went with the 30' and glad we didn't go smaller. With the two of us and our 100 lb. Golden Lab, the 30' gives all three of us some comfortable space for what we need. No room to spare, but a good, comfortable amount of space.

The pup approves!

With two small children AND a German Shepard... you might appreciate the extra space in a 30'. Or the "Bunk Bed" floorpan, as well.

And if you go 30', I agree with Mrjkq... go diesel. No regrets on our choice of TV either!

Oh... one more thing... the window awning package is fantastic... wouldn't want to be without that.

A W Warn 08-01-2015 09:05 PM

I have owned one 25', two 30's, one 31', and one 34', all Airstreams, since the early 1990's.

If I only could have one, it would be a wide body 30'. I think this size is the best compromise for large interior space and towability. We camped with two teenage girls with the 1970's 30' and 31'. It was tight sleeping and one bath was not enough when friends came along.

Since we now choose to have more than one trailer, and the children are grown:
We chose the 34' for staying in one place for months at a time, but still have the ability to travel. We have lived in/traveled in this trailer for 5+ months continuously (winter in Florida and side trips)
We chose the 25' for trips that we will be constantly moving. There's enough space for two of us, though on rainy days the trailer seems to shrink. We have lived/traveled in this trailer 3+ months continuously.

The gas engine will do the job, but a diesel would be better in the mountains. Though, I've traveled all over the Appalachians towing with a 5.3L Chevy.

Goal15 08-01-2015 09:16 PM

Our 23 was a good entry into AS world. Hopefully retirement will bring a 25 for a regular bed and separate shower and toilet. Getting too old for that tiny toilet shower space

But other than that we LOVE our AS!!!!!


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Al and Missy 08-01-2015 09:30 PM

We have had our Safari 25 Twin for about 18 months. We have travelled just over 5000 miles and spent 36 nights aboard, the longest stint being 7 nights. We travel with two small dogs and a 70# black lab mix. It is workable but feels a little crowded. Without the pets it is good. The trailer originally had a sofa and the fold out side tables for eating. The original owner had the couch and tables removed and replaced with recliners and a small pedestal table in between. I'd like a better arrangement for eating (dinette?) and room for guest seating, but I haven't seen anything I liked in anything much smaller than 30'.

I had a F-150 4x4 Lariat. I bought what I thought was the largest trailer it could safely and reliably tow. Even though I had substantial margin on GCVWR I had some trouble on a 6-mile 8% grade. It was the first time I had towed that challenging an incline and maybe I didn't handle it well, but it still convinced me I needed a bigger truck. The half ton was also lacking in cargo carrying capacity. With two people, the dogs and tongue weight I was really close to the truck's GVWR. i now have a Ram 3/4T with a diesel and "...I ain't skeered of no hill." If I had this truck to begin with I might have gone with a 27' or 28' trailer, but I want twin beds, a dinette, and recliners.


Sjcjr 08-01-2015 09:34 PM

Buy a used truck, if necessary to stay within budget, and spend the savings on a unit with ducted air. You will not regret it!

rodsterinfl 08-01-2015 09:35 PM

I don''t have regrets necessarily but some advice.

On Trailer:

I would strongly advise you to consider the twin bed option. At first that may sound awful to you but if at all possible; find a dealer where you can compare a twin to its equal length single bed model and you will probably realize for yourself the benefits. I will also add that front bedroom models, while popular, are not as handy when it comes to outside truck access as the truck is obstructed by the LP tanks, etc. Twins have 3 outside trunks as opposed to one and allow for much more trailer floor space adding multi-purpose functionality to the bedroom (sitting, changing area, tv room, etc) AND easy access to roof lockers as you do not have to crawl over the bed. If you study the floor plans of the 25,27 and 28 you will find the primary alteration related to bed orientation- making room for a big bed in the longer models as one of the two feet additional (27 and 28 are 2' longer than the 25) is used to turn the bed. Twin models just gain empty floor space at the foot of the beds.

On Tow Vehicle:

Four years ago I purchased a used '09 Ford F150 XLT with a 4.6 3V engine in excellent condition; HOWEVER, this summer I went into the hills of West Virginia on back roads and it was challenging to say the least. The truck did its job but loudly. The trailer had full tanks and the truck a filled bed with scooter and all. That particular configuration was designed as a moderate range hauler- 8100# tow, 1548 payload. Some of the steep grades were amazing. Those people must be house stranded in the winter. Two weeks ago I upgraded to a beast. A '15 Lariat with the 3.5 Ecobeast with max tow. The thing is designed to tow 11,900# and 1720# payload (standard payload) but I now have nearly 2.5X the torque I had before.


Get a diesel in that RAM.
I will add that I carefully shopped RAM, Silverado, Tundra and F150 before committing. BTW, my first stop was the RAM ecodiesel but the salesman and dealer once hearing my towing needs strongly discouraged it. I was skeptical but when the salesman pulled up the specs on a Laramie Ecodiesel model they had I knew why- 1400# payload/8400# tow- that one with with their tow pkg. It was a mid-range like my current truck. They suggested the 5.7 hemi with 3.92 rear. I drove it. Heavy. Good turning radius but then the guy told me that I would probably get 12-13 mpg in town when not towing with that engine and rear end. I could tell you all the details but the post would be a novel. Needless to say, get a truck that will not be at its limits in pulling your Airstream. That said, you do not need a giant truck either. A 1/2 ton REAL TRUCK can do it configured to work as a truck and not as a "car with mulch bed". The Ford was nice, had the most ability as a truck and had the power to make it happen with the added bonus of having the most mpg/capability in a package.

rodsterinfl 08-01-2015 10:07 PM

I meant outside access to the TRUNK is obstructed by the LP not Truck access, please excuse.

oh, and, by those people, I meant the people who live off the roads in WV I traveled.

Geez I better go to bed!

happycamper2 08-01-2015 10:32 PM

I think the 27 ft will be a good choice. We have a 25FB which suits our camping style well. We now wish we had gone with the 27ft for the walk around bed. It would make a huge difference, but it's not enough of a problem for us to trade at this point.

As for campgrounds in the Smokies, we prefer Tremont Outdoor Resort in Townsend TN,. Its considered the peaceful side of the Smokies and they have nice riverfront sites.

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