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Old 12-14-2013, 05:41 AM   #1
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Kicking tires

My wife and I have started the process of deciding to jump into our first RV. I have been attracted to the airstream mystic for years.
We are two to five years away from me retiring and are intrigued with the ability to explore and move around the country. Her passion is long distant road biking and mine is golf, an rv seems like a great solution from trying out different locations for both addictions I mean hobbies. Funny thing is we started our married life out (37 1/2) years ago in a tent, it's all we could afford for a honeymoon but camping was so etching we enjoyed and continued until kids became prez-teenagers.
So here we are back looking at an upgrade version of how we started our life together.
Being the analytic type I'm driving her crazy with all my "research" Over scoured this extremely helpful forum for last two months, have read everything available on airstream website, visited BTCamper in St Louis who were very helpful and searched all available dealer websites I can find .
Any input on my lingering questions would be appreciated.
1. We actually prefer the Flying Cloud line, weight and the more mid-modern look. Is the 27' too large for first timer? I would prefer to avoid the buy, trade, take the depreciation road that I've read many forum members have taken.
2. We don't have a tow vehicle (mine is Porsche booster hers is honda odyseey). If we get a 27' it appears that we will need more than half ton, is that true?
3. Would prefer not having a third motorized vehicle, what is adequate tow vehicle that can also be good daily driver? Not used to commute but to transport bicycle, groceries and long distant road trips?
4. Haven't read if anyone's actually uses their airstream for golf trips. Recommendations for picking spots?
Thanks for any insights
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Old 12-14-2013, 06:36 AM   #2
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I too started off tenting on my honeymoon many years ago. Then progressed up through bigger tents and pop-ups to hard shells and 4 different Airstreams. Last spring I got my first vintage motorhome which I am currently refurbishing.

My advice at this time is to buy a used Airstream trailer and use it for at least a year before buying new. Some general thoughts.... '73 and older do not have a gray water holding tank and the older units will usually need more maintenance. If you enjoy doing a lot of stuff yourself then vintage is the way to go but the newer rigs have more modern conveniences. For long trips or full-timing 25' or larger but no one "needs" more then a 30 footer in MHO.

If the loaded weight of the trailer is more then 4,000# then think truck and if it is more then 6,000# think 3/4 ton. The modern trucks are more comfortable and easier to drive then the cars of 25 or so years ago. Get an extended cab with the standard bed. And there again there are many very good used ones out there. My current truck is a Chevy 3/4 T standard cab with the long bed (I sometimes take a motorcycle along). The only real disadvantage to a truck is parking and maneuvering in tight spaces.

This and other websites have much good advice so you are right in doing your homework first. Good luck and we will see you down the road.
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Old 12-14-2013, 06:37 AM   #3
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I think you will find most all of the truck manufacturers offer half ton trucks with HD towing packages capable of towing a 27' Airstream. You may also consider some of the larger SUVs.

Sorry I can't help you with the rest as we only ride bikes recreationally, and don't golf.

And welcome to the forum.
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Old 12-14-2013, 06:42 AM   #4
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Welcome! I hope you find your perfect Airstream. I don't think that a 27ft is too large.
We started out with a 31ft, went to a 28ft and back to a30ft. Those extra couple feet give a lot of extra space.
I will leave the towing debate to others.
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Old 12-14-2013, 08:11 AM   #5
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Welcome

The Airstream Forum is a great place to get "lots" of information. As in all things, take away what you want. You will get good information here along with many varying opinions.

We tented it until our second daughter was born then we purchased a used tent trailer. We camped out of that for 17 years then got a hybrid for the luxury of a bathroom and refrigerator. We KNEW that we wanted to travel and with just a couple of years before retirement we purchased a slightly used 25FB. Ours is a Safari and I agree with your take on design. While the Internationals are cool we probably would not want a Classic with the mouse fur walls. There was never a doubt that we might not like traveling with a trailer so the decision was an easy one for us. IF I could have afforded it at the time I would have purchased new and as a matter of fact, we are starting the search for a 27 now. Our timing isn't right today but hopefully soon we will have one.

Bikes? We like to ride ours too and added a bike rack to the back and it works very well. We tow with a Tundra and really like the whole experience. A half ton will work with a 27 but you will have to be careful if you want to add lots of stuff to the bed. The last I checked, a golf bag doesn't weigh very much. While I like my Tundra, it is not a daily driver for us. The Ford Eco-boost advertises great mileage when not towing. There are many members who drive one of these so I am sure they will chime in soon enough.

Buying used is always good advice but finding something that meets your needs can be very challenging. I personally am not handy enough to take on a vintage trailer. Around 2010 they made lots of improvements with LED lights and electronics. Again, if you are going to keep it for a long time, new is a good way to go.

Best wishes and welcome to the forums.
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Old 12-14-2013, 09:48 AM   #6
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I have been towing my 31' with a 1/2 ton Nissan Titan for 9 years and some 55000 miles. Can you carry your bowling ball or Moslem safe collection? No. Are you going to climb a 7% grade without downshifting? No. But, for me, the combination has worked out very well. My Titan is pretty dated compared to the Tundra or the Ecoboost but Nissan is planning to update the truck for 2014 including making a 5.0 liter Cummins diesel available.

Bottom line, you can tow a 27' with a half-ton. You can also tow it with a well set-up sedan. My wife and I got passed on the Mobile Bay bridge by a Chrysler 300 towing an early 80's 31' Excella. The rig looked really sweet - dead level and rock solid in a pretty brisk crosswind.

Now, if you want or need to carry lots of stuff, a 3/4 ton is an idea.

By the way, everyone I know that went small to start, has fleeted up. We started with a 31' because it was cheap (there are lots of them). Turned out to be a very happy accident; there is lots of storage, big tanks and the rig is really easy to tow. We live in it half the year and I can't imagine doing that in anything smaller.

I would also start out with a gently used unit. Why jump in for big bucks, take a big honking hit of instant depreciation and then find out you don't enjoy the RV?

Join us! Come over to the shiny side...

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Old 12-14-2013, 10:14 AM   #7
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There is no such thing as a trailer too big. My first trailer was a 28. Now I have a 30. There are people on here that tow 30 and 34' trailers with Odysseys, Siennas, and Quests- even Jettas-
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Old 12-14-2013, 10:29 AM   #8
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Perhaps you might want to rent one and try it out. I believe Ive heard of a place that rents them but Im don't recall where. Another alternative would be to rent a class C motorhome and see how the floor plan works for you. You will learn a lot in a week and can take that experience and apply to your AS decision. We decided that the 27FB would work for us and we are very happy with it. We don't go out for trips longer than a month and it has met all of our needs. As for towing, you will get many opinions. I think when you hear that its "probably enough". it isn't.
Good luck,
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Old 12-14-2013, 12:09 PM   #9
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Thank you all for suggestions. I would rather not worry about repairs so will most likely do new (or a gently used 1 or 2 model years old)
Like the idea of replacing the Odyssey with 1/2 ton, the Ford or maybe look close at the new Ram 1500 diesel (the honda is a '10 fully loaded touring model but is only rated for 3500 max tow.)
Thanks again and I will continue to look and compare
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Old 12-14-2013, 12:17 PM   #10
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

Welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

We have gone the opposite way of most Airstreamers. We have downsized. We started out 8 years ago with a 2005 Safari 25FB. We used it extensively, spending almost 1,400 nights in it and towing it 120,000 miles. Last month we traded it in on a Flying Cloud 23FB.

The 25FB is a very livable unit. Some of our trips were 10 weeks long, and we never tired of the layout.

Our tow vehicles were two 3/4 ton Suburbans and a Duramax Silverado. The Suburbans did a good job, but the diesel pick-up is a fantastic towing machine.

Do your research and take your time. Good luck at finding the perfect Airstream.

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Old 12-14-2013, 12:17 PM   #11
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Don't want to sound too negative here, but if you don't want to "worry about repairs", you might reconsider even getting an RV. Seems like there's always something to fix, but mostly minor stuff.
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Old 12-14-2013, 12:31 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by moosetags View Post
Welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

We have gone the opposite way of most Airstreamers. We have downsized. We started out 8 years ago with a 2005 Safari 25FB. We used it extensively, spending almost 1,400 nights in it and towing it 120,000 miles. Last month we traded it in on a Flying Cloud 23FB.

The 25FB is a very livable unit. Some of our trips were 10 weeks long, and we never tired of the layout.

Our tow vehicles were two 3/4 ton Suburbans and a Duramax Silverado. The Suburbans did a good job, but the diesel pick-up is a fantastic towing machine.

Do your research and take your time. Good luck at finding the perfect Airstream.

Brian
Brian. I've actually rad many of your threads,
Are you finding the 23 comfortable enough for extended stays? But if I remember you also like sleeping in the truck camper.
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Old 12-14-2013, 12:32 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by moosetags View Post
Welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

We have gone the opposite way of most Airstreamers. We have downsized. We started out 8 years ago with a 2005 Safari 25FB. We used it extensively, spending almost 1,400 nights in it and towing it 120,000 miles. Last month we traded it in on a Flying Cloud 23FB.

The 25FB is a very livable unit. Some of our trips were 10 weeks long, and we never tired of the layout.

Our tow vehicles were two 3/4 ton Suburbans and a Duramax Silverado. The Suburbans did a good job, but the diesel pick-up is a fantastic towing machine.

Do your research and take your time. Good luck at finding the perfect Airstream.

Brian
Great point, but new hopefully minimizes any major repair bills.
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Old 12-14-2013, 10:01 PM   #14
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Thus far we have only spent 15 nights in the 23FB. We believe that it is going to work for us. The bed is the same as in the 25FB. The refrigerator is smaller but we have the one in the truck camper for backup.

Brian
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Old 12-15-2013, 05:12 PM   #15
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Smile 2014 Ram 1500 with tow pkg seems fine for International 27FB

We just acquired our first Airstream and are towing it with a 2014 RAM 1500 with a full towing package,crew cab and short bed. It's rated to tow 9,900 pounds, well over the max weight for our 27FB International Signature. The load capacity of the truck also significantly exceeds the normal tongue weight for this trailer. We went with a truck because we couldn't find an SUV that met our criteria for towing capacity (max trailer weight + 20%), though we would have loved to tow via the new Jeep Cherokee with its diesel engine.

For the small amount of towing we've done so far, this truck seems to have plenty of pulling power and plenty of stopping capacity that syncs well with the trailer's brakes. We live on a very steep hill and had no worries at all going up or down. The truck itself also giving us a great ride. We'll see what happens over the "long haul", as we hope to keep and enjoy both vehicles for many years. The one thing we've since decided to add is a canopy over the truck bed to give us more externally accessible secure dry storage, because Airstreams suffer from such a paucity of that very thing. We'll put our bikes and other fun things in there!

We dropped one of the normal vehicles from our "fleet" of two cars to replace it with a TV because we can't stand the idea of more than two drive trains in our household, though the gas mileage on short trips around town is admittedly atrocious. Because of the short bed it's relatively easy to park, but as first time truck owners we're very glad to have the front and back sensors and reverse camera, all of which help us park and drive more safely.

BTW, we found the Costco car buying service to be extremely helpful as we shopped for a truck. It was really nice not to waste hours and hours haggling, and still get what seemed to be a good price.

Happy shopping, I hope that helps.
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Old 12-15-2013, 07:12 PM   #16
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Don't want to sound too negative here, but if you don't want to "worry about repairs", you might reconsider even getting an RV. Seems like there's always something to fix, but mostly minor stuff.
Steve, you so right. Trailers are like boats - they break sitting still. There is always something to be done. It does not seem to matter if it is new trailer or used.
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Old 12-15-2013, 07:35 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SchuHouse View Post
My wife and I have started the process of deciding to jump into our first RV. I have been attracted to the airstream mystic for years.
We are two to five years away from me retiring and are intrigued with the ability to explore and move around the country. Her passion is long distant road biking and mine is golf, an rv seems like a great solution from trying out different locations for both addictions I mean hobbies. Funny thing is we started our married life out (37 1/2) years ago in a tent, it's all we could afford for a honeymoon but camping was so etching we enjoyed and continued until kids became prez-teenagers.
So here we are back looking at an upgrade version of how we started our life together.
Being the analytic type I'm driving her crazy with all my "research" Over scoured this extremely helpful forum for last two months, have read everything available on airstream website, visited BTCamper in St Louis who were very helpful and searched all available dealer websites I can find .
Any input on my lingering questions would be appreciated.
Cool

Quote:
1. We actually prefer the Flying Cloud line, weight and the more mid-modern look. Is the 27' too large for first timer? I would prefer to avoid the buy, trade, take the depreciation road that I've read many forum members have taken.
I have, in several years on airforums and rv.net, never heard of someone new to RVing trading down to a smaller RV than the one they originally purchased, though about 10% of people new to trailers get out of it because they can't back up a trailer of any size, and there are a substantial number of people who quit doing it just because they don't like the lifestyle.

Quote:
2. We don't have a tow vehicle (mine is Porsche booster hers is honda odyseey). If we get a 27' it appears that we will need more than half ton, is that true?
The various opinions out there can be better understood when you realize that there are two ways to ask the question:
i) "I already have a half ton truck, can I pull a 27' with it?"
ii) "Is a half ton truck the ideal choice when shopping for a tow vehicle for my 27'?"

I would suggest that perhaps a 3/4 ton truck might be a better choice, if you do not already have a tow vehicle.

Quote:
3. Would prefer not having a third motorized vehicle, what is adequate tow vehicle that can also be good daily driver? Not used to commute but to transport bicycle, groceries and long distant road trips?
You will receive many recommendations. In general, anything capable of towing a 27' comfortably will be a compromise as a daily driver, but it can be done.
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Old 12-15-2013, 10:55 PM   #18
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SchuHouse,

My wife and I, this last winter, were in the same position, nearing retirement, wondering. We ended up ordering a new 2013 Intl Serenity 27 FB. We figured it would be good to have to practice. Not to mention at the rate Airstream is raising their prices we better get one before they become unaffordable. It arrived early summer, so far we've travelled about 2,500 miles. Retirement is still a few years out. The 27FB is really nice. We really like the bedroom arrangement and the kitchen area.

I'm towing with my existing 2003 Ford Expedition. Its essentially the shortest wheelbase F-150 turned into a SUV, except it has independent front and rear suspension. Its a gas V8, 260 HP. It tows the trailer just fine. My last trip to Death Valley we crossed five passes over 7,000 feet and two over 8,000. We camped below sea level. Sure, it was slow up some of the steeper grades but it made it. My Expedition is 11 years old so I'll probably replace with a new F-150 in a few years and gain 100 more HP and 50 more ft/lbs torque while getting better mileage. To my mind a 3/4 ton diesel truck is overkill and unnecessary for this trailer.
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Old 01-04-2014, 09:06 PM   #19
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Schuhouse,
Our first trailer was our 2012 30 Flying cloud. Not too big at all, pulls like a dream. Maybe takes a few trips getting used to backing up the long cigar, but that would be the case for shorter unit to. We love the Flying Cloud also, some of the reason was price but the other was the added storage as compared to the international. Sometimes I wish we didn't have the mini blinds, but then other times, I'm glad they are there. I started pulling with a 1/2 ton Chevy 1500. It did the job, but I was always stopping for gas. TV now is a 2500 Chevy Duramax, I now have to check the rear view mirror to be sure the Airstream is still there. Just love the combination. I need to say that I also love the truck for a daily driver. I've driven pickups for the last 30 years and use to them as a daily driver. This diesel is comfortable, quiet and with 6 ft bed, not really a problem to park most places.
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Old 01-04-2014, 09:38 PM   #20
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In September of 2012 while I was overseas and had never been in an Airstream, I did all the paperwork to acquire a 2013 25FB International Serenity. When I arrived at the dealership to pick the unit up at the end of October 2012, I suddenly realized that the illustration in the 2013 factory catalog floor drawing of that model that implied walk around space around the cross frame queen bed did not reflect the truth of the matter. I was reminded of this oversight daily by my wife. After our first trip, we realized we needed to do something different as this floor plan did not work for us.

I stopped by the new local dealership in May 2013 and on their lot was the last (#25 of 25) made 2011 34' Classic in a used state. I looked inside and saw all the space and wood interior. I went home and brought the wife to see this unit. We both liked the wood look, so now we had to discuss the floor plan. So last May we ordered the 27FB Classic with twin beds. By October after another camp out and the Ballon Festival where we viewed many models of Airstreams, we switched to the model 30 Classic with twin beds. The up charge to go from a 27FB to a 31' Classic while still in the "on order" stage was only another $3,008, a bargain.

I am currently in Ohio watching the unit be built (today is 4 Jan 2014). Our unit is sandwiched in the production line by 16' to 31' Airstreams of every trim line. It is a memorable experience to see how some flat aluminum sheets are turned into the masterpiece of design in five days or so.

Our existing 2500HD Dodge diesel is adequate for the 5' longer and 2,700 pounds heavier Classic trailer. However, it lacks the GCVW ratings to tow a 11,500 pound GVW 34' Classic.
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