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Old 01-02-2017, 11:29 PM   #1
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Bambi Sport 16 full time?

Has anyone done this?

I have fallen for the 16 foot Bambi. I travel full time for work in the medical field and I have a Jeep Wrangler JKU that I love with all my heart. The ONLY AS it can pull is the Bambi 16. Other light trailers for other companies would never hold up. At first I was appalled... live in a tiny Bambi, or sell the Jeep for a larger TV. But the idea has grown on me and I love the simple elegance of having just enough of things I truly love.

I already have done the major task for getting rid of things.... previously all my belongs loaded into my Buick lesabre.... but I am further trimming things down. I currently am staying in a tiny one bed studio with a kitchenette similar to the Bambi, though the fridge is probably 4 cubic feet.

I am playing with the idea of taking out the dinette, extending to cooking counter and putting more storage under it and on top of the water tank, then a simple chair by the door. This may not be necessary though, as I think I can get all my possessions in it.

I am worried about heating and cooling.

Has anyone done this... full time for YEARS in a bambi? One person and one 18 on dog. Is it doable?
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Old 01-03-2017, 07:33 AM   #2
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Vernon , Arizona
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I have not done it and I have just gotten my Bambi. I wanted to add one item to your list of things to think about. The Water tank and Black/Grey waste tank is also very very tiny.

Where would you be staying? If you have the ability to easily dump then not an issue. But, you may also be spending all your times around those tanks for full timing.
“I believe in everything until it's disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it's in your mind. "
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Old 01-03-2017, 03:21 PM   #3
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I would recommend NOT doing any interior renovations until you have tried living in the Bambi for a month or more
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Old 01-03-2017, 04:17 PM   #4
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If you think of your Bambi as a high class solitary confinement cell, I guess anything is possible.

As for heating? As long as you're plugged into the mains you can run an electric Dyson fan or ceramic heater all day long, but should the power fail, having a Platinum Cat that would run off propane and battery as back up would be advisable. You may want to do your winter travelling around California or Arizona.

Cooling; again your A/C (if you have one) will run off the mains. If not a window unit could be jury rigged if you weren't having to drive around for a period of time. If not I'd figure out a way of mounting one or two Maxxair units on top (one blowing in and one blowing out). Summer time up north in Alaska.

Waste tanks; unless you're permanently connected to the campground sewer system you're going to be on a first name basis with a waste tote on wheels; which can be a bit of a chore I'd imagine.

Goodluck with your dream.....because it's certainly not mine.

Per Mare, Per Terram and may all your campaigns be successful.

“It’s a recession when your neighbor loses his job; it’s a depression when you lose your own.” "Harry S Truman"
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Old 01-03-2017, 04:48 PM   #5
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Like so many good vehicles, when properly set up for towing they are capable of more than they are rated for. The hitch and weight distribution system will need modification or reinforcement.

Here's a fellow who has towed a 22' Sport around the country with a Wrangler JK. There are others, I've seen an early 2000's Airstream 23 Safari behind a JKU.

Originally Posted by Icy View Post
25000 km, 21 states, 4 provinces and through the rocky mountain's. Averaged 15L/100km's without heavy winds. Jeep was prepared by CanAm RV in London Ontario, Jeep was equipped with a 3.6L, 6 speed manual and 3.73 gears. In all our travels from Ontario to Florida to California to BC and back home we had "0" problems towing.
Great SUV and a great trailer.
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Old 01-04-2017, 11:58 AM   #6
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too small for me, from tanks to space...just saying....
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Old 01-04-2017, 12:33 PM   #7
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I just did a month in my 16' Sport, and think I could have done quite a bit longer. The reasons it worked:
1. Good campground with full hookups, including sewer, and a nice bath house for the periodic shower with more elbow room. The better commercial campgrounds are pricey, though, so a year in one will set you back. I could have easily rented an apartment for what I was paying (but where's the fun in that?).
2. My truck bed for storage of shoes, boots, extra clothes and supplies, and a cooler to supplement fridge.
3. Beautiful location so I could spend a good chunk of time outside.

If you think you will be moving around, all the better I think -- gives you an opportunity to dump the tanks if you've been in a public campground without sewer, exposes you to the great adventure of seeing different parts of the country, gets you to to the right climate for the time of year. This is where the small trailer hits its stride -- easy to pull around and there are more campgrounds available to you.

I think I could do a year and love it. Years on end? Not sure.
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Old 01-04-2017, 12:54 PM   #8
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I had a 2015 sport 16' Bambi. Loved it for the "cute factor", but not very comfortable to sleep or sit for more than 15 minutes. While on a mountain trip, with full hookups, I was rained in for 4 days solid! I decided to upgrade and simplify my tasks during travel.

Keep in mind, I found it did not work for me, but, you, I am sure, are significantly younger. It may very well work for you. I suggest you spend a while inside of one...practice doing things you will normally do....get on the bed, move around as you would while sleeping. (The bed is difficult to make....pretend to change the bedding.)

Sit at the dinette....for 20-30 may cease to be comfortable after a bit.

I don't mean to discourage you, just to encourage you to perhaps check out one a bit larger. My thinking.... You will need to be comfortable, get a good night rest...before going to work. Good luck.
Evelyn & Mikki,(chihuahua) or Nikko (Pomeranian mix) Near Denver, Colorado
TV: 2015 Nissan Pathfinder 2015 BAMBI 16' Sport
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Old 01-04-2017, 01:21 PM   #9
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I had a bambi 16' sport and have a hard time imagining full timing in it. Maybe with a larger tow vehicle that I could store some totes of things in. maybe. For me it was a little too small to travel in by myself for 5-6 weeks at a time. It's mostly storage space, now I've a 19C and the storage is more than double and it just works better. My two cents and depending how you slim down it might work for you. I don't need lots of stuff but the 16 just doesn't have much room. I also second the advice of using it for awhile before you start pulling out the dinette etc.
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Old 01-04-2017, 04:51 PM   #10
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where there's a will there's a way. I've got to believe the Bambi comes with a furnace out the door and that there is an A/C option - definitely make sure you have both. The good news is the smaller space will heat and cool rapidly and minimize energy use. We've met people that have full timed in a Scamp, a Prevost, and everything in between including the back of a pick-up with a shell on it. We also know people that have $350K motorhomes that are used for a couple of long weekends in the summer for grand-kid outings. On changing the interior I agree with the other posters - use the trailer as it is built for a few months first. It's amazing how well thought out the Airstreams are, after all they have it in their decades and decades of design DNA. We tried turning the dining area of our 23' into a dedicated bed area without making any permanent changes to the trailer and it just did not work day to day. Now we use it as it was designed and it all works with the traffic flow, storage, day use and night use, etc.. Plus it will, not may, but will affect resale value if you rip things out which may or may not be a consideration. Something to consider - we have a 13'X13' canopy that we set up, we take along x-pen sections to set up which are long enough to go around the canopy area to contain our dogs and that is where we spend most of our day when we are at the campsite. I take along an outdoor kitchen set up with a Coleman stove and I do most cooking outside. That makes the trailer the place where you sleep, get out of the rain, and get ready in the morning space. Something to think about ..
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Old 01-04-2017, 08:34 PM   #11
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Sure you can. You have to try, right? Find a used 16'er. Make sure that everything works - turn everything on to test it. Check the floor - pull the covering on the floor up under the dinette next to the front wall, in front of the door, and in the rear storage are, looking for rotted wood. Find any? walk away or get a quote to fix that (and the leak) from an Airstream dealer.
Don't travel to areas that are freezing in winter. Be careful traveling to areas that are too hot in summer - you don't want to leave your dog in there all day.
Enjoy the adventure.
No WD, but a great DW!
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Old 01-04-2017, 10:45 PM   #12
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Thanks everyone!

I would be spending most of my time in RV parks with hookups for electric and sewer.

I have considered the 19, but I feel I would rather have a wet bath with more room than try cram into that tiny shower in the 19. I figure I can also shower at the gym or campground shower.

Good advice on not going crazy renovating right away. Most of what I wanted to do would rely on any try structural changes, but it may be worth giving the dinnette a try in case I find it works just fine.

I also like the "get up and go" aspect of the 16 and it would be easier to park and back up alone (my dog isn't much help).

When I was in the 19 I wasn't impressed. I felt it barely had more storage, wasted a lot of space, and I could not really function in the shower. But, there is more leg room.

I guess I see a lot of people online living in vans and it seems almost doable until the no kitchen, no bathroom problem. so I kind of think if the AS as a rolling bath and kitchen with a bonus bed as well.

I've been looking at some screen porch options which may help extend the space a bit.

If I went larger the shower is my major concern.
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Old 01-04-2017, 10:54 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by SheBop View Post
If I went larger the shower is my major concern.
The 22' Sport has a really nice shower, but the layout isn't as nifty as the 16' (in my opinion). We just got our 22' Sport and with some reconfiguration, I could see it being more comfortable for full timing than the 16', mainly due to the large full bath and larger bed.
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Old 01-05-2017, 07:15 PM   #14
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I just watched a YouTube video "Living Simply". A British man was giving a tour of his Airstream. Do they have different floor plans overseas?

I'm going through a "residential downsize" and will be living in my 2014 Bambi Sport 16'. It's my retirement plan, but I'm determined to enjoy life while I'm still working. (A personal goal is to get her out at least once a month. I did pretty well last year meeting the goal.)
So I'm educating myself through the forums, various small living articles and YouTube.
As I watched the for mentioned video I was intrigued by the "UK floor plan".
And it got me wondering. How many floor plans does each model have? Of course the layouts may change from year to year but in general...

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Old 01-05-2017, 08:40 PM   #15
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We have a 2008 Ocean Breeze 16' Bambi and 2 of us made a full month trip last year. It's very easy to tow through mountain roads. Our International Ocean Breeze has panoramic windows both front and back with window on the door and with back storage bumper. They make a big difference with lots of natural light and full view off the back bedroom compared to the current sport model. We spent most of the time outdoor and always parked with full hook up and used the camp central facilities as needed. The dinette was made to permanent bed with more storage under it. We covered the gas stoves with extra-large tray and used portable microwave and induction stove to save gas. We also used screen tent to expand our living space. It worked well when the weather was nice. When it rained or was too cold, it's quite tight inside. We packed light and storage was not our big problem. If you want to live in it full time, look for the 2008-2009 models with panoramic windows on both ends. You will enjoy it more.
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Old 01-05-2017, 08:44 PM   #16
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If the Jeep is non-negotiable, how 'bout pulling it behind a motorhome?
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Old 01-06-2017, 06:14 AM   #17
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As one who has had both a 16 and 19 Airstream the addltional storage and space to move around the 19 is a major improvement. The over head bins in the 16 are smaller and have a roll top door which takes up space. I'd estimate they are 1/3 to 1/2 again larger and there is one more in the 19. The closet is larger and doesn't have the water heater in it, the fridge is larger and there is storage space below it, above it and has a very nice pantry on the side. The shower is a big deal, the wet bath works fine for a trip but gets to be a pain dealing with the curtains all the time not to mention the wet floor for hours after use. It may seem bigger than the shower on the 19 but with the toilet in there it really doesn't work out that way. The shower on the 19 is bigger than you think, works great and is far less a pain to clean and use. The 16 has a microwave hanging from the upper cabinet next to the dinette this makes it a little tight in the kitchen and makes things seem smaller, the 19 has the microwave/convection oven under the stove and it's just works better and feels roomier, not to mention the exhaust fan over the stove that the 16 doesn't have. As mentioned folks have full timed in a scamp, so you can make it work but my experience is those 3 extra feet in the airstream go a long ways towards feeling comfortable and organized.
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Old 01-06-2017, 09:36 PM   #18
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Alluminati.... your response does bring up the one other option I have.... go big and get a full in motor home. Totally doable... but although I could probably swing it, my thought is this would be a much more dramatic increase in expenses. Not only would it cost more, but I would have two vehicles to insure and care for.

It is an option, but part of me aims to live well below my means as a path to serenity, security, as well as flexibility to have fun and enjoy life.

Still, if the Bambi is gunna drive me to drinking... might be better to spend the money

So glad I sought out this forum, you've given me a lot to think about. I will look into the ninteen footers as well. But, I'm seeing some incredible resale values, so I think I also feel I could give it a go and shoulder a reasonable loss if needed to go bigger if it doesn't work out.

I will check out the nineteen and look at that shower again...
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Old 01-07-2017, 06:19 AM   #19
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The definition of a boat or yacht is as follows; "a hole in the water that you consistently pour money and time into it". Airstream names one of their motorhome models "Land Yacht" which also is a set of wheels on land that you consistently pour money into it.

As an owner of a Classic Airstream 310 turbo diesel motorhome, I have first hand knowledge of this effect; luckily for me I do most of the work on it myself, or I'd have been bankrupt along time ago.

I'd stick to a 19' (shower, far more storage and room to move) 3852 lbs- 4500 lbs max, 550 tonque weight with an economical tow vehicle like a Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon (even comes with a turbo diesel) or a Honda Ridgeline. If saving even more money appeals to you; you could tow it with a Toyota Sienna or Honda Odyssey, as these vehicles can be picked up for cheap on the used market, and with the right setup would tow a 19' easily.

Per Mare, Per Terram and may all your campaigns be successful.

“It’s a recession when your neighbor loses his job; it’s a depression when you lose your own.” "Harry S Truman"
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Old 01-07-2017, 08:36 AM   #20
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My wife and I currently part time (3 to 5 days a week) in our 2015 22FB Bambi "Chick" about 1.5 hours from our house at an RV park with full hookups. We originally purchased our Airstream for weekend camping and as a first step into full timing. Our reasons for purchasing this particular size were...

1. I could pull it with the 2013 Honda Ridgeline we already had. Total trailer weight full of water, LP and gear is 3840 lbs.
2. Separate shower. We both shower in it nightly when here.
3. It was not as expensive as the 20' FC.

We keep our toaster oven in the Airstream. If/when we transition to full timing in this trailer (sell the house we part time at) the only change we would need to make from our current arrangement would be to rent an air conditioned storage unit so we could keep all but a few days worth of our clothes nearby. We have a set of 4 stackable plastic drawers in the closet and room to hang clothes on both sides of it.

It was 14 degrees F with a wind chill of 6 degrees F at 6 am this morning. When we are here, we run the furnace to keep the water tanks and plumbing pipes from freezing and supplement that with a small electric heater to reduce LP consumption. We use the fresh water in our tank when the RV Park water supply is frozen at at the hose bib. When it warms up later today, I will re-fill my water tank and flush the black tank. When we leave "Chick" we unplug the electric heater and set the furnace as low as it will go and lock the door.

In the heat of summer, we turn on the a/c when we get home from work and the trailer cools off in no time. We cool it down and shut it off for bed.

We have modified our 22FB in the following ways...
1. Moved the base of the dining table to widen the space in the galley.
2. Removed the under bed storage door so it becomes a heated space (winter months only).
3. Installed roller shades on the bedroom side windows.
4. Hinged the bed platform to ease access to the under bed storage when the storage door is installed.
5. Changed all the light bulbs to LED's.

I keep a locked deck box at our site to store a spare LP tank, table top BBQ grill and lawn chairs.

Hope this info helps with your pursuit. Good luck.

2015 22FB
2013 Honda Ridgeline
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