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Old 04-29-2021, 07:31 AM   #1
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Finger Lakes , New York
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Starting to shop for Airstream. Need advice.

Hi, everyone. I have been lusting after Airstreams for some years. We have camped quite a bit in our popup camper, all over the country. We have traveled in it for weeks at a time, comfortably. We love the open spaciousness of it.

Now we are thinking about starting to do more extended/snowbird type camping, and a camper trailer seems to make the most sense. Airstream seems to be the only brand of camper that has the large windows that we need, and that is decorated and styled well.

At first I was all over the Globetrotter 30 RB, because of that big wall of 3 windows. But 30 seems like a bit much to tow and maneuver, so I started looking at the 27 FB's in the different trim levels. It seems very similar, albeit with two windows on that wall instead of three. But still a very open living space, apparently.

But then I noticed the 25 FB's seem to have essentially the same living space as the 27s, but just slightly smaller closets and such. Is this correct?

Keep in mind, this is all from looking at them on the Airstream site, since my closest dealer (Buffalo, NY) has zero in stock for the foreseeable future. I really would like to spend some quality time checking them out in person, however I might pull that off. (Is Alumapalooza a good place to do this?)

For instance, I have no idea if I will fit in the bathroom and shower with any degree of comfort. I'm a very big guy, 6'3”, size 52 jacket. It's hard to find a car I can fit in, much less a camper bathroom.

So after all this, I guess here are my questions:

Is there a huge quality-of-life increase with the 30RB over the 27FB? Or the 27 over the 25?

Although I love the style of the Globetrotters, I would probably forgo that cool wraparound banquette for the opening hatch in the International or FC. Thoughts?

How is sleeping for more than two people? Are the dinettes comfortable at all for sleeping? With those separate cushions, I imagine the cracks between them might be uncomfortable, long term. How easy is it to set up for sleeping every night?

Is storage as limited as it appears? If we want to bring outdoor chairs, grill, stove, table, rug, etc., do they typically just ride on the floor inside while traveling? How about water hose, black water drain hose, etc.?

Thanks for taking the time to read my long post, and I appreciate any guidance anyone can provide.

David
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Old 04-29-2021, 07:41 AM   #2
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If you are large you *definitely* want to try the bathroom on the GT first.

I’m 6’, 200 lbs and I find the bathroom in my GT 27FBQ extremely tight.
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Old 04-29-2021, 07:43 AM   #3
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Wow, a lot of good questions. I'll hit just a few. We have a 25 RBT.

IMO, twin beds are the way to go- a camper queen is not as big as a real queen.

The bathroom in the RB is bigger than in the FB.

The shower will be cramped, but hey, it's camping. You can always sit on the built in seat.

We find storage to be more than adequate. We especially like the RBT for the huge rear exterior storage. You get the same thin in the front of the FBT, but the LP tanks get in the way.

If you find yourself heading to our area (right where NY, NJ and PA meet), you'd be welcome to have a tour of ours.
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Old 04-29-2021, 07:43 AM   #4
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All I can address is towing. My first Airstream was a 31’ narrow body. We towed it over 80,000 miles in the lower 48 and Canada with no problems.

My current trailer is a 27’.. As far as I can tell, there is no difference in towing effort or behavior. The newer trailer is 6” wider but that is a non-issue. We have only towed it about 7500 miles so far…

The first trailer had a Reese hitch with friction anti-sway. The current one has the Reese Dual Cam. Both rigs track straight and true. I have never experienced a “white knuckle” moment.

Storage is always tight in an Airstream. That is the only reason we have a pickup with a shell.
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Old 04-29-2021, 08:38 AM   #5
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I shall comment on trailer length.

Most recently, I went from a FC30 to a Classic 33. There is no discernible difference in how the trailer acts/works/handles behind my truck. I have also towed a 27 foot Airstream, but not extensively. I definitely find the 30-footer easier to back in than the 27-footer. The 33 is even a bit easier. The longer the trailer, the easier to back up.

Conversely, the longer the trailer, the harder to negotiate tight right-hand turns on city streets (think triangle hypotenuse).

In the grand scheme of things, a few feet either way makes no difference--assuming your tow vehicle is of adequate grunt.
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Old 04-29-2021, 09:09 AM   #6
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db4570,
The biggest showers are in the 28’ rear beds and the 30’ rear beds. Lots of shoulder and foot room. Safety and comfort in the bathroom is a top priority for us.

Call Colonial sales at (732) 367-7095. Either Patrick or Nick will give lots of very knowledgeable advice. Definitely worth the 5 hour road trip.

Good luck!
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Old 04-29-2021, 09:20 AM   #7
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big steps

Quote:
Originally Posted by db4570 View Post
Hi, everyone. I have been lusting after Airstreams for some years. We have camped quite a bit in our popup camper, all over the country. We have traveled in it for weeks at a time, comfortably. We love the open spaciousness of it.

Now we are thinking about starting to do more extended/snowbird type camping, and a camper trailer seems to make the most sense. Airstream seems to be the only brand of camper that has the large windows that we need, and that is decorated and styled well.

David
David,

At the risk of being lambasted by the faithful (and possibly not answering your question), I'm going to go out on a limb and make a comment on your basic premise. "Snowbird camping" implies cold, certainly to my Texan bones. Airstreams are really 3 season campers. The basic insulation is better now but still not in keeping with a true 4 season camper. The windows are single thickness and not particularly well sealed in my mind. More windows make this more problematic. Obviously, it will be way better than a pop-up but you might look at a Bigfoot or Artic Fox.

I await my pummeling....

Bill
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Old 04-29-2021, 09:37 AM   #8
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Good luck, we were never able to actually walk our exact unit until after we ordered one. Did get to see many similar and near year models. We were extremely happy with what we ordered.
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Old 04-29-2021, 09:38 AM   #9
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I also have a 25’ RB twin, and the floor space and exterior storage you gain with a twin is substantial, be sure to think that one through. Shower space is tight in all of them, I don’t think trailer length changes that but the shape of the shower does vary slightly across the various lengths. Bathroom space is also consistently snug, the RB is said to have a slightly better (larger) space than the FB by many folks but at the moment I can’t spell out why that’s true for you. Regarding length overall, one other consideration is where you plan go. My wife and I intend to spend substantial time in national parks, and the longer your trailer is, the fewer site options you have, and the 25’ airstream length is said to be optimal for that mission (a primary factor for us). We have to plan/pack carefully to optimize the available space, but we do ok. If national parks is not a primary objective for you, more space (length) is always nice to have. The wrap around windows on each end is a very nice thing too, not all lengths offer that, keep an eye out for that detail. Best option is probably try to catch an RV show where airstreams are on display. Hope that helps you
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Old 04-29-2021, 09:44 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eagletoo View Post
. . .
Call Colonial sales at (732) 367-7095. Either Patrick or Nick will give lots of very knowledgeable advice. Definitely worth the 5 hour road trip.
. . .
Bingo!

Bruce nailed it.

There is absolutely no substitute for sitting in all the various models, talking things over, and taking careful notes and videos, especially with occupant size parameters on the radar.

Avoid analysis paralysis . . . call Patrick ASAP and book the trip IMO. This important step could be completed by Sunday May 9th if the timing works out. Done! . . . and ready for the next steps. Don't forget the RV market is red hot now, and a new Airstream may take many months to build after the order is in.

Patrick may have some "lightly used" good quality recent models, which is often the best route for a new purchaser to take anyway IMO.

Colonial's YT site is good homework for now:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaZ...aSI6-WO4zm3VGQ

Good luck, David.
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Old 04-29-2021, 09:45 AM   #11
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Hi

First off, forget about trying to work this out just from the spec sheets. You simply can't do it. Also forget about ordering one now and getting it in less than a year. (sorry about that). The whole world is going nuts buying RV's.

You very much need to get a look (and sit in and wander in) representative trailers. They don't change a lot year to year. A 2019 is as good to go sit in as a 2021. Check around and see what might be where. We drove over to Colonial in NJ to look at stuff. It's not exactly "local" to us. It was the only way to see anything, back a few years ago. Today, I have no idea who might have what.

We headed over thinking that the 25 was what would work for us. We spent some time sitting here and sitting there. We tried to do this and that. Our conclusion was that the seating and clearances simply did not work for us. To many pinch points. No way to really get comfortable for us. Also no real way to deal with three > 100 lb dogs *and* the people.

Next up, we spent some time in the 26 to 28' models that they had on the lot They didn't have one of everything. Of the ones we looked at, each "solved" one or two of the issues in the 25'. None of them really did it all.

Next stop was the 30' Classic. That took care of all the issues and that's what we bought. I had spend maybe three months looking at specs and working out distances. You could have won a pretty good bet about which one we would buy.

Indeed a lot of the issues were not immediately obvious, even being able to get into the trailer. A lot of the seating issues only became apparent as we moved around and where able to sit here or there for a while. Strange things like tables with very tight clearances at one corner really needed you to try getting past them to spot.

Length wise, weight wise, towing wise, once you go past the 25', you are dealing with pretty similar trailers. Sure, they are bigger. The tow vehicle most folks put on a 27 is the same thing they pick for a 30. It is very rare to find a site that does fine for a 27 and will not fit a 30.

If you want to fit into "lots of sites" all over the country, you need to stay below 19' long. Once you go over that, you will start to find limits on what you can do. That said, in many many months on the road, we have never had a problem finding a big enough site anyplace we wanted to go. Indeed you may not find *any* sites some places, simply due to the reservation process ..... schedule adjustment is our answer to that.

Fun !!!

Bob
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Old 04-29-2021, 09:51 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wrhnco68 View Post
David,

.... "Snowbird camping" implies cold, certainly to my Texan bones. Airstreams are really 3 season campers. ...
I think he means "Snowbird" as leaving the north and heading south for the winter. I always hear the term about people who winter in Florida.

But agree with you on the winter aspect if it means cold weather camping
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Old 04-29-2021, 09:54 AM   #13
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Snowbirds go south for the winter . . .

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Old 04-29-2021, 09:54 AM   #14
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A lot of comfort issues deal with specific interior layouts that models within the same length have. For example while the queen beds are not true queens, the compromise is in the length not the width. Twins are usually longer than the queens, but don't forget that the twins tend to have a curved end to conform with the body of the trailer. That might bother you. Some dinettes are only usable for short people or kids. The sofa's tend to be wider than a twin and have some good lengths. Use caution on the larger beds that are pushed up against walls. If there are two of you in it, there will be the need to climb over the other party if you need a bathroom stop overnight.

Closet space is a premium when you have to deal with coats and other warm clothing. Also remember if you have dogs, they will be underfoot and I've had a number of friends didn't consider the space they need.

Bathrooms are all important. I've had a side bathroom and a center bath. Side baths are okay but you are dealing with usually a shower, toilet and sink together. Center baths like mine are nice because the shower is on one side and the other side has the sink and toilet. A lot more room to maneuver.

Going back to queen beds vs. twins. In trailers with a queen bed, access around the sides and bottom of the bed is minimal. The bedroom in those trailers is for bed use only. A twin bed bedroom has an isle and a center drawer table that between the beds. You can technically get dressed in that bedroom. You can't do that easily in a bedroom with a queen bed.

One of the nice things we do at the Moraine View forums rally each year is have open house trailer tours. We encourage future owners to camp out at our rally and look at the different varieties of Airstreams there. You can gain some great insites at these rallies.

Jack
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Old 04-29-2021, 10:02 AM   #15
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We have a 22' Bambi, so I am not really replying to your questions about bigger units. But what I am replying to is this: I sleep on the dinette, and my husband sleeps on the so called "queen". I have no problem sleeping on the dinette (with the dog no less) because I use an air-mattress and sleep like a baby. As for the idea of snow birding. We snow bird, Maine to Florida. What that essentially means is we leave before it gets cold or hot (depending on where we are). Last "season" we left late to come to Florida because we waited to get vaccinated in Maine, so we arrived in Florida in March. One night it did get a bit chilly, but hey, we had coats, blankets, and our dog, so we all snuggled and survived. We also have a portable heater that heats the whole place up if needed, as well as a portable fan, to cool us off, but since we like sites without electricity, etc, we are used to "roughing it".
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Old 04-29-2021, 10:07 AM   #16
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We have a 27FB Twin so I can't speak to the 30+...the bathroom in it is small. I'm 6'2, 220, and I can tell you the sink cabinet is not ideally located for someone like me. At a recent trip to the dealership I noticed a 25 that had a recessed cabinet under the sink to allow more leg room when sitting...not sure if that's a model change or what, but would be worth researching if you are looking to stay in a camper that has the split shower/bathroom model. That simple fix would make things a lot more comfortable.
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Old 04-29-2021, 10:17 AM   #17
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we have a 25 FC and if i have it to do over, i would get a 28, to keep table, and change back to recliners. I would also buy a few years old, so all of the bugs have been ironed out and cost is a little better.
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Old 04-29-2021, 10:23 AM   #18
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Welcome to AS life.

Five years ago, I was in your shoes. Fortunately, I found a multi-decade AS manager/sales person, to whom I asked, "What AS would you recommend?"

He had a very simple answer: If you want twin beds, get a 25; if you want a queen bed, get a 27." Mainly because the queen bed in the 25 is across-ways, and getting up from it often means hitting your head on an overhead locker and possibly having to crawl over your bed mate --- while the queen bed in the 27 is length-ways, with access on its three sides.

We got the 27 and have never looked back.

Good luck in whatever you choose (although I will say that the bathroom in our 27 is none too spacious --- my father was more like your proportions, and I think he would have had a hard time in our 27's bathroom).
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Old 04-29-2021, 10:39 AM   #19
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Grapevine , Texas
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Searching / trying

You must “field test” the Airstreams you are interested in purchasing!

I recommend looking for a local Unit of the WBCCI membership in your area, find a rally nearby, and drop in to peruse the many models that are owned by veteran Airstreamers. One thing you will learn….most owners love showing off their silver bullets and giving all the advice you can handle.

Google search for Wally Byam Caravan Club International, or merely “Airstream Club” and I am sure there is one close. Now that COVID restrictions are beginning to get relaxed, rallies and events are happening all over. Call Jackson
Center to find a club if no luck elsewhere.

We love our 5 year-old 25’ FC FBT. Next one will be the 27’ version just for closet, galley, and such. Bike rack on the rear, storage in front. The twin beds give you substantially more floor space, which is really appreciated. Queen bed chops that off, and is not a full-size queen.

Rumor has it that some State/National Parks restrict trailers to 25-feet, which may prohibit anything longer. We have had no problem with our 25’. We also like the “front bed” setup since who wants to sit at the dining table and stare at the rear end of your tow vehicle! Backing in to most spaces give you a picturesque vista out the back!

Good luck and forge on!
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Old 04-29-2021, 10:51 AM   #20
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Thanks for all the replies so far.

To clarify: by "snowbirding", I mean going south in the winter, north in the summer. So no temperature extremes.

The bathroom size sounds really critical. Looking at the floorplans on some of these, I wish I could remove 6-12" of the wardrobe/closet and add it to the bathroom dimension.

I think I am leaning toward the twin beds, although being as broad-shouldered as I am, I wonder if the rounded edges would be uncomfortable.

As far as size, we plan to camp a lot in national parks, and other parks that might be a little tight, which is the main reason we want to keep it a manageable size.

That dealer in NJ sounds like they might be worth a trip. It looks like they may actually have a few in stock.

We are in no hurry for this. I don't make big decisions quickly. Although, I imagine if I finally find the one we want, order, it, and have to wait a year for it, it could be torture.

Keep the suggestions and experiences coming.

David
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