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Retiredcool 10-10-2015 12:28 PM

Why should I buy an Airstream?
 
My wife and I presently have a Newmar class A pusher that we are going to sell for personal reasons. Unfortunately we have been spoiled by the quality and dependability of our coach. We have been looking for a travel trailer and have been consistently disappointed in the quality. I have known for years the superior handling of an Airstream but after reading the Forum for nearly a year I'm concerned about quality issues with Airstream as well. I'm in the heat & ac business so thermal performance is important to me, also condensation reports and the damage I know it causes. I also know proper ventilation solves the moisture problem. Other comments like " not good when it's hot & not good when it's cold, concern me. I'm less concerned with appliances etc. they can be fixed. When our camper is parked it will be in a climate controlled environment so storage is not a question and I'm fairly good with basic repairs and maintenance.
I do like the family feel of Airstream owners but the nearly twice the price concerns me, everything has a proper value. Please help me to understand why the price is soo much higher, is the value truly there.
Thank you in advance for taking the time to respond. Tom

AWCHIEF 10-10-2015 12:48 PM

Tom, you either feel it or you don't. Airstream ownership is as much from the heart as the pocket book.

dkottum 10-10-2015 01:38 PM

The quality of construction is inconsistent in the details, and the electrical, plumbing, HVAC is mediocre, thermal performance of the shell construction is only good in moderate temperatures. The towing is easy and stable, as good as it gets.

Many who want a high quality Airstream buy it, then go through fixing the details and putting on better tires/wheels, electrical power supply and fixtures, stronger solar, sometimes better plumbing fixtures, better mattress and sometimes seating, ventilation fans and covers and skylight, curtains and whatever suits their fancy. It's easy to add $10,000 to the cost and some solar/electrical systems can cost that on their own.

So figure the initial cost of a high quality Airstream will only begin with the purchase price. But those who have done the quality are usually very pleased with their Airstream, and it helps if you plan on it being your last RV. It's still a very basic travel trailer with limited storage and living space. Airstreams are all tiny compared to other choices.

They will need ongoing and regular preventive maintenance for corrosion prevention or repair, and leak inspections and resealing. With care it will last a lifetime and look like a new one all the way.

Buy it for iconic style and towability; modify and maintain it for satisfaction and longitivity. We bought ours new, initial quality was near perfect, we spent considerable money modifying it to suit us and our travel, and do regular inspections and maintenance. After four years our Airstream is nice as new and has been throughout the country several times, we couldn't be happier.

SeeMore 10-10-2015 01:54 PM

What dkottum said times two.

In my case, I bought a gently used, almost new unit for quite the discount due to the prior owner's (PO) circumstances. Spending the dollars and time customizing it to our liking over the years is as much fun for me as using it. Other family members have owned SOBs and none of them lasted long without intensive work and, even then, they are all long gone... traded for Aluminum :eyes:

You will soon learn a trailer is substantially less expensive to maintain and operate than a Class A if you choose to join the aluminum community. FYI, the presence of complains and discussion about quality issues may not represent the true distribution of Airstream issues as those without problems/concerns have nothing but good times to write about.

KJRitchie 10-10-2015 03:09 PM

Sounds like you should keep the Newmar. Airstreams are POS.

Seriously, like all RVs Airstreams have their pros and cons.

If thermal efficiency is your main concern then look for something else. We've camped in 104F Texas heat in full sun but the inside was comfortable for us. We don't require the AC to keep the interior cold enough to store meat and ours doesn't have ducted air. The coldest was 18F and a small ceramic heater and the propane furnace kept us comfortable that night. The quality on our Classic is much better than any SOB trailer we've seen. I do worry about hail. I have to admit Airstream doesn't have some of the convenience items that SOBs have. We didn't want slides so it restricted our search which led us to looking for a preowned Airstream. Our 25fb is not too big and not too small. If you want a condo on wheels then Airstream may not fit your needs.
Good luck in your search.
Kelvin

Rocinante 10-10-2015 03:50 PM

Honestly, those happiest with Airstream travel trailers tend to be those who failed to talk themselves out of one (e.g. they fell in love with it, or some aspect of it which could not be found anywhere else.).

We are one of those people.

We looked at lots of other options but found ourselves coming back to Airstream over and over again. Then we sat in one for an hour or two talking over our options. That experience convinced us it was the RV for us.

As you and others have noted - Airstreams, like most RV's, aren't perfect. But in this case, it was perfect for us.

You may find the best value in picking up a gently used Airstream that feels like the right size with the right options. If it turns out not to be right for you, it should be easy unload the trailer for relatively close to what you paid for it so you can move on to something else. :)

Best of luck in your search!

nickclifford 10-10-2015 04:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Retiredcool (Post 1695274)
My wife and I presently have a Newmar class A pusher that we are going to sell for personal reasons. Unfortunately we have been spoiled by the quality and dependability of our coach. We have been looking for a travel trailer and have been consistently disappointed in the quality. I have known for years the superior handling of an Airstream but after reading the Forum for nearly a year I'm concerned about quality issues with Airstream as well. I'm in the heat & ac business so thermal performance is important to me, also condensation reports and the damage I know it causes. I also know proper ventilation solves the moisture problem. Other comments like " not good when it's hot & not good when it's cold, concern me. I'm less concerned with appliances etc. they can be fixed. When our camper is parked it will be in a climate controlled environment so storage is not a question and I'm fairly good with basic repairs and maintenance.
I do like the family feel of Airstream owners but the nearly twice the price concerns me, everything has a proper value. Please help me to understand why the price is soo much higher, is the value truly there.
Thank you in advance for taking the time to respond. Tom

good question Tom! i'm very new to airsteaming , in fact have yet to even take mine on the road yet. I bought mine simply because i find the big white plastic fiberglass trailers just plain ugly. They may cost way less and have more storage but for me it's more about "style" and really enjoying traveling in an iconic travel trailer. Some prefer staying in big box type chain hotels, I'd rather find an independent "quirky" motel with character in the rooms etc. some people love eating at chain restaurants, I like finding independent places with owner / chef cooking. It's just my personal distaste for anything too dull and generic. I could go on & on ... I suspect there's something in the psyche of airstream owners. It's like buying a Toyota v a BMW, both get you from A to B, one more reliably with lower costs , the other will take you on one hell of a ride and make life far more pleasurable!

MarkR 10-10-2015 04:52 PM

You might be happier spending $5k on a 70's Airstream at the end of it's life and paying one of the Professional Rebuilder / Customizers the cost of a new one and it'll probably be twice the quality and exactly what you want.

Having said that, if, for you, "bottom line" is the bottom line then there may not be an Airstream, or any towable trailer that you'll be happy with.

Good Luck.

Mrjkq 10-10-2015 05:53 PM

Having owned a 40ft pusher (2006) & going to a travel trailer after is a major change of direction. We traveled the US in the MH, sold it but still wanted to stay in the game, so to speak. Our AS is small, extremely comfortable, easy to tow & most of all it's a quality built RV, perfect no, but very good. We made the trailer MISTAKE before buying our AS by purchasing a cheaper low quality glitzy brand & quickly sold it. My 2 cents.

Cyclist 10-10-2015 06:30 PM

I agree with dkottum's comment. We've towed around North America for the past two years and have been very pleased. There have been several relatively minor issues but when under warranty, they were dealt with right away by several dealers. Now out of warranty, we've only had one problem (loosening door hinge) that was a relatively inexpensive fix. What drove us to the brand was a combination of modern design and light/brightness inside. All other RV's we've looked at were dark caves inside in comparison.

Bill M. 10-10-2015 06:42 PM

If you can find a trailer you like better for half price buy it. No need to waste money on a Airstream.

StreamNTyme 10-10-2015 08:22 PM

Airsteam is an American Icon.. even a "cult" like Corvette or Harley owners.
If it is for you, you don't have to ask, it is for those that appreciate it, no matter what breaks, leaks or needs maintenance or repairs ... we love Airstreams.

To this day we get asked questions about where ever we go..No white box ever did. My cousin has a newer white box looks old compared to ours, people think it is new.

We have had 4, loved them all. Made many changes to all our Airstreams. We would have no other brand as no other brand is comparable.
Buy what you will be happy with.

Glenritas 10-10-2015 08:56 PM

The beauty of the Airstream is it's rounded ceiling and corners .
They seem larger inside then a same size box trailer because the eye doesn't see a defined intersection at the ceiling/wall/corner.

They have less storage space. This means you will only pack what you really need and save the weight of hauling stuff you thought you mite need but haven't touched in 3 years.

They are aerodynamic . Way less effect from the wind.

The biggest fear is hail. Find cover under a bridge or service station.

As for storage you've got that covered .

Where and when and what seasons do you plan to travel ? If you plan to snowbird your golden.
If you stay in the NW spring summer and fall no problem.
If you head to the desert in summer expect to be warm .
If you head north in winter ... brrrrr .
If you head to the other side of the rockies in spring and summer ... Look out for the weather.

Have good insurance on the trailer that covers hail.

This may be a plus or a minus depending on you ... You will be in an ICON and the center of attention wherever you go. Be prepared for questions and stories.

If you go Airstream . Have lots of FUN with it and the people you will meet along the way.

Silverflames 10-10-2015 09:01 PM

As mentioned above. You can find a older AS, find the year style you like, and then take it to a professional restorer. Colin Hyde is up in NY he can give you ideas on what a shell off for restore will cost. Then you can have it built to your specs, you will know what your getting, and it will last another 60 years. I've seen posts where people built their replacement frames out of Stainless steel.

Either way an AS new or restored will last 3x as long as most white boxes.



The reason AS last so much longer than any white box is the design. Aluminum outer walls, Aluminum framing, aluminum inner walls.

Up side to a travel trailer is you get to your camping spot, DC the TV and can head out.

Up side motor home passengers can get up and move around.

On a side note check out Livin Light they build all aluminum white box style trailers.


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