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Old 05-08-2017, 09:25 PM   #81
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We like our classic, we enjoy it, if I look back ,I wouldn't do it again, there are other good travel trailers out there for less than half the money.....it is what it is..
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Old 05-13-2017, 06:45 AM   #82
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I saw some new Airstreams at an RV show, with prices in the $70-110k range. Worth it? With known items like filiform corrosión, sagging axles, cheap RV components (in most cases the same stuff as in a $15k white box trailer), leaks and rotted floors, susceptible to hail... I'd say no.

We bought our 25' Safari new in 2003 for $30k. Other than corrosion, belly skin falling off, and being totaled due to hail (bought the unit back from the insurance company so now I only have $10k net into it), the trailer has been fun.

At $30k I was disappointed. At $10k I'm good.

For $80k? No way!
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Old 05-13-2017, 07:14 AM   #83
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One of the reasons I like my Airstream so much is the ease of towing and the way it handles on the road. I also like the lower profile which is part and parcel of having non leaf style suspension. Tow a 30' big square box trailer that sits high up on its leaf springs on a windy day and you will notice the difference. Also as the knees grow older I appreciate fewer steps into the trailer.

I've owned a rubber roofed square box and while it had it's good sides I can tell you that in 3 years it was deteriorating so quickly that I doubt I would have kept it anywhere close to the 14 years that I have owned my current Classic. I would think that the economics of an Airstream do justify themselves based on how long you keep it if you buy new. Used units are a good buy dependent upon their condition. If you are a trader and want the latest and greatest, then no. But if you are lucky and can find the one you can stay with over the years, the cost justification will eventually be there.

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Old 05-13-2017, 10:15 AM   #84
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So we are in the initial stages of researching and setting a budget and I want to know if Airstream really is worth the exceptionally high cost? Are their any competitors even close to their quality that should be considered?
*******

At a RV Show in 2006. my wife and I stepped into all kinds of trailers. All under one roof and within a short walking distance from one brand to the next.

Many trailers were attractive on the exteriors, but the interior reminded me of my mother's family room... with the electric fake fire place. The carpet. The interior cabinets. The couch, easy chairs and the slide outs to make it even more... spacious.

It came down to the Arctic Fox and Airstream, which is like comparing an Onion to an Apple. The Apple, aka Airstream, was a distant front runner over everything, except maybe the 'military grade pop up camper trailer with canvas'.

Then it came to single axle or double. Since we Boondock 80%+ of the time, double axle was the obvious choice. Then to length. Choosing the 23 foot was perfect being a half foot narrower and we, being new to towing a trailer, made sense, owning a 2006 4.7L Tundra 4x4.

The 25 foot, after using the 23 foot for eight years, was the 'End of the Airstream Trail', for us. Buying off the lot, the microwave was a waste... and it involved the noisy exhaust fan everyone seems to complain about and replaces, shortly after purchase.

The 25 foot and our back country travel pushed me into a heavier truck, F350 diesel 4x4. A match that there is no equal in tow vehicle and trailer comforts in comparison to the Tundra and Land Cruisers, we own,... until the Oliver 23 foot and Oliver II 25 foot began production of fiber glass molded... modern technology and from what I read... quality exceeds expectations.

Airstreams are not a Bus with a washer and dryer... but for those of us who want something other than Mom's Living Room being hauled into the mountains and gravel roads... we are the happiest Boondockers one will ever find camped among the wilderness of the Wild Western USA.
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Old 05-15-2017, 11:57 PM   #85
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Worth it?

Is an Airstream worth it? I love this question!

I am getting close to being back in the market for an Airstream for the first time in ten years and began looking this past month. Due to cost my initial search has focused on non-Airstreams.

Yet I am immediately back to where I was ten years ago. The more I look, the more I realize I am an Airstreamer to the core.

My first Airstream, a 1973 Tradewind, had a $2,600 purchase price. I bought it to full-time, which I did for 2.5 years. Including purchase price I ended up with $15,000 in it and it was one of the best times of my life (to date).

There are some other vintage trailers that I could easily love as much as my Airstream, but the white bread box trailers and fifth wheels that are so common will never speak to me. The class A motorhomes of our times seem grossly excessive.

The Airstream/vintage communities I was fortunate enough to become part of also added a value that is impossible to quantify.

And consider this, the fact that so many tens of thousands (maybe more) of Airstreams that are 30 years old or older is mind-boggling. Tell me one other brand that can say that?

An Airstream is special. It not only speaks to the wanderlust in many of us, it's an American icon that few other RVs will ever be.

I echo the sentiment to buy used to save money, and yes, new or used, you'll have maintenance issues (as you would in a house or anything man-made).

Get your Airstream and enjoy! I can't wait to get my next one.

And be sure to subscribe to my friend Rich Luhr's magazine Airstream Life.

Here's a link to my tribute to my 1973 Airstream: http://1973airstream.blogspot.com/

Jim Breitinger
Salt Lake City
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Old 05-16-2017, 04:38 AM   #86
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I really like my 72 Overlander. I put time and money into it, but I know how all the systems work, and how to repair them if they fail. It's not just a recreational activity for many of us. It's a lifestyle.
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Old 05-16-2017, 11:23 PM   #87
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Utahredrock-- we love the Utah red rock!

We're with you. We actually wanted a small trailer, so we that we weren't towing some over-loaded blimp down the highway, and so we could fit into funky little BLM campgrounds in southern Utah.

Especially at the small end of the scale, the 16' and 19' Bambi models just don't have any peers. There is no comparison with soft-sided pop-ups, A-frames, Casitas, Scamps, Bolers, Trilliums, Casitas, Escapes, T@Bs, teardrops, you name it.

Good taste? If you've got it, flaunt it.
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Old 05-17-2017, 05:36 AM   #88
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I can only say we have had 3 Classics; 29', 30' 28' and now a 25' Safari....
We will never ever get any other brand as there are none that will ever be comparable. All were recent years used in great condition. This way most punch list has been taken care of by the previous owner and we could add our own improvements without concern of changing a new rig. Get your Airstream and go camping. Summer is here, enjoy. Safe travels..
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Old 05-17-2017, 05:59 AM   #89
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I switched from a 17' Casita to our preowned 2008 Classic 25fb in 2013. We had some remodeling done to it to make extended travels more comfortable: queen to twins, rear dinette modified for recliner, kitchen cabinet under the TV.

We looked at conventional trailers and didn't like any of the floor plans and we didn't want to tow a 34' behemoth. Didn't want a slide to mess with and we like the open feel with all the windows. After we have both lost our parents in the last several years we figured life is too short, our daughter is out of our wallet now so why not. Must be a midlife crisis thing but instead of a Harley or Corvette I went with Airstream.

Kelvin
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Old 05-17-2017, 07:43 AM   #90
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It appears that for "most RV owners", only a tiny percentage vote "it is worth it" with their pocket book. What percent of RV's in use out there are airstreams? It must be absurdly small.

For folks that scored used models and have enjoyed very low cost airstream ownership, it seems very easy to explain "its an icon, it looks amazing, and I got it for ____ price and can sell it tomorrow for that much or more."

That price tag above could be a number that when provided to passing people of interest, they would not fall over backwards in shock.

Then there are those who own an airstream, and are annoyingly asked "how much did that thang cost?" - and the answer if given would be perhaps double or even triple the amount they were assuming in their head.

One has to dig quite a bit deeper to explain the value perceived that justifies such "shocking costs"...

Discussing perceived value among AS enthusiasts is much easier.

Discussing perceived value of owning costly newer (or even lightly used models) to non-AS studied folks is an uphill battle.

We are 3-4 years into owning our new AS, and we could not be happier....kinda hard to rationalize quickly the purchase to the shocked masses that would be "blown away"...which I kinda understand.

I find it "worth it" hands down, but I can easily see how it is a niche market...

Also, it may be even smaller market if the RV market was not mostly just garbage statistically.....the competition is not very deep.
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Old 05-17-2017, 08:42 AM   #91
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Hi

This is a topic that has been going on for a while. I can remember my grandparents struggling with it in the 1950's. My parents struggled with it after that. My wife and I have gone back and forth on the "is it worth it" topic for the last 40 years. There is no "one size fits all" answer. It is *highly* dependent on what your economic situation is. It also is a function of what you want to do (or not do). There are trailers that cost a lot less. There are "full sized" motor homes that cost a lot more.

All that said, to somebody who (finally !!) made the decision - yes for me / to me / right now they are worth it. Should I have done a 30' 30 years ago? Probably not a good idea. Back then a set of several tents made far more sense.

I've been through all the "fun" of a small trailer, a large motor home, and the other options. None of them are perfect. They all involve risk. They all have maintenance. People get away with crazy stuff sometimes. There is no absolute way to say "this one will always work" or "that will never make it". About all you can say is that the odds are better with this or that choice. Welcome to real life.

Yes, that was totally un-helpfull in making your decision. A couple of things that might help:

1) Do your homework. Forums are a wonderful thing. Study what you *really* will need to tow this or that. Look into the costs of the whole package (trailer + tow + extras). Talk to your neighbors who own Airstreams and other choices.

2) Spend some time in your choices. Don't just pop in and look for a minute at the RV show. Find a dealer and a low traffic day. Sit in all the seating. See how this and that works. It takes hours (days...), not minutes to start seeing how you fit (or not) in this or that choice (... is it more space that it takes to "just fit"?) Keep going back and reviewing each option.

3) Think about what you most want to do with your choice. Small secluded sites in the back end of a National Park place limits on your choice. Living for three summer months at a desert "deluxe pull thru with patio" place other limits. What is ideal for one is not going to be ideal for the other.

4) Have a very real and *long* conversation (though maybe not 40 years) about all the costs (and time) involved and how much the choice will be used. Talk about how how that fits into your future. Everybody involved needs to be on the same page.

5) This is a "multi loop" process. You don't just start at number 1 above and work straight to number 4. You go though it a number of times and adjust your sights accordingly. It is a process of compromise between multiple objectives. The 54' with all the push outs is great in some respects and not in others. The same can be said of the 16'. Both are ideal in some cases. You will not figure that out in one pass.

Bob
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Old 05-17-2017, 09:22 AM   #92
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To me they are worth it IF you can afford one. I really wanted an Airstream, but I just couldn't afford one....I could afford a SOB so that is what I chose. For me, it was more important to be able to travel, explore and get out in nature....to see this, what I already thought was a great country. The choice for me was either buy an SOB and go or none at all....It came down to being house/trailer poor or not. I chose not to be trailer poor.

Does that mean I don't want an Airstream....yes, I would love to have one if money were not a factor but that's not in the cards for everyone. For what I purchased my SOB for, I might have been able to get a 10+ year old AS, but then it would have needed some re-hab, which costs money also and I don't have the space nor time to do the re-hab so an SOB was it for me.

I'm out traveling, camping and loving every minute of it...that is priceless to me.
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Old 05-17-2017, 09:39 AM   #93
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Is Airstream worth the price?

[QUOTE=dmac;1949152]I saw some new Airstreams at an RV show, with prices in the $70-110k range. Worth it? With known items like filiform corrosión, sagging axles, cheap RV components (in most cases the same stuff as in a $15k white box trailer), leaks and rotted floors, susceptible to hail... I'd say no.

We bought our 25' Safari new in 2003 for $30k. Other than corrosion, belly skin falling off, and being totaled due to hail (bought the unit back from the insurance company so now I only have $10k net into it), the trailer has been fun.

At $30k I was disappointed. At $10k I'm good.

For $80k? No way!

I would NEVER buy a new Airstream anything after 2002 built by Thor is not worth the price! If i were looking I would buy a 31 or 34' refurbished or good AS built in the 70's it will last for years and it won't leak in the first rain!
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Old 05-17-2017, 10:17 AM   #94
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My 2¢ worth. From a monetary perspective, not worth it. From an experience and community perspective, worth it. If I were to shop for a trailer again, it probably would not be an Airstream... More likely a fiberglass unit like an Escape or Oliver. Our truck camper is a Northern Lite, and in my opinion, far better built than the Airstream. It doesn't have the charm of the AS, but it is certainly nicely appointed.
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Old 05-17-2017, 03:20 PM   #95
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmac View Post
I saw some new Airstreams at an RV show, with prices in the $70-110k range. Worth it? With known items like filiform corrosión, sagging axles, cheap RV components (in most cases the same stuff as in a $15k white box trailer), leaks and rotted floors, susceptible to hail... I'd say no.

We bought our 25' Safari new in 2003 for $30k. Other than corrosion, belly skin falling off, and being totaled due to hail (bought the unit back from the insurance company so now I only have $10k net into it), the trailer has been fun.

At $30k I was disappointed. At $10k I'm good.

For $80k? No way!
Relatively speaking, what does $10k buy these days? Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_20170517_161528249.jpeg
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So dmac, looks like you're WAAAAY ahead of a neon colored utility trailer with 12" tires and a tent
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Old 05-17-2017, 04:40 PM   #96
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NO........WHO CARES! I LIKE IT

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Old 05-18-2017, 10:02 AM   #97
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As others have said, buying used significantly brings down the price.

Bambi the First was lightly used when we bought it from a dealer. We soon learned that it did have bunch of stuff wrong with it, manufacturer's defects, but we had a dealer's warranty on it so they fixed everything for free.

Something to consider, is that if your fiberglass trailer needs warranty repairs, whether you could get it fixed locally or have to deal with the one factory. Airstream at least has enough dealerships that you wouldn't be too far from one of them in a lot of the US.

For anyone looking to go small:

The Escape is made in western British Columbia. Right now their production schedule is a lot faster than it used to be: an Escape ordered today will be ready in late November or early December.

The Oliver is made in Tennessee. I couldn't find whether there is a wait to get a new one. There are no dealerships, but their website indicates owners around the country willing to let you tour their Oliver, just in case Tennessee is a long distance from you. Depending upon where you live, you could have a long drive to visit one of these owners. And then your nearest owners may or may not have the model that interests you.
Casita (Texas) uses the same system, of no dealerships but owners willing to let you tour their Casita. Scamp sells directly from their Minnesota factory but I couldn't even see on their website where or how you could see one if you didn't live nearby.

A lot of fiberglass trailers are really narrow with low ceilings, to the point where they feel claustrophobic to us. For a small trailer, the Bambi has a spacious feel to it. Something to consider if you're going to be inside your RV on a rainy day or in a season when it gets dark early.

Yes, we do get questions from nosy parkers asking how much we paid for our AS. But some of them are genuinely interested, and hoping they could afford one. Trailer envy, I guess.
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Old 05-18-2017, 10:42 AM   #98
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If we are talking about smaller airstreams vs say an oliver...that is one thing.

But often, we are talking 25 and above foot airstreams....what competition do they have in the travel trailer market?

When my wife and I for 2 years prior to summer 2013 researched various RV's...we only really wanted a pull behind travel trailer (for various reasons) and for the size that we would want (all bigger than oliver, escape, casita) you just had ALL the common models of Jayco's, keystone, etc etc....we did kinda like for a *moment* this element brand of travel trailer...had a semi-distinctive look, but still pretty ugly, and ultimately that company went belly up as we considered them.

Granted, I am sure just like so many who RV out of this or that "SOB" travel trailer, IF we had gone that route, we would have fun and be by some measure "happy"...but my wife was pretty hardcore against many SOB's as we planned to park in the back yard, and she (and this will sound snooty I guess) HATED those options as a permanent large fixture in our backyard...vs the AS she really loves it.

Much has been said also on this forum about buying a 30-40K SOB trailer new, then take the depreciation hit, and 10+ years of ownership, what you have is nearly worthless...and comparatively, "pride of ownership" is arguably far off.

One could (from a certain perspective and under various assumptions) ask people who buy from the SOB competition in this general size of travel trailer: "is it worth the cost?"...

We are nearly 4 years in, and if we had to do it over again, we would buy another AS...I do wish the market had more competition however...that would drive prices more competitive, as well as perhaps better QC, etc etc....
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Old 05-19-2017, 02:05 PM   #99
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Oh, fer sure, PharmGeek. If we had wanted a big trailer, we would still be mightily impressed with the AS's sense of good taste and design. I can't comment on differences in gas mileage between, say, your streamlined 30-footer and a comparable boxy 5th wheel with multiple slide outs, but for those of us who take long trips, this might be a consideration.

The size thing for us is largely in consideration of the more remote places and campgrounds where we like to camp, where a short unit gives us a whole lot more options. Also, we're not (normally) traveling with kids and dogs, or full-timing, where a bigger unit would be a lot more sensible.

For anyone in our mentality of "small is beautiful," however, we would recommend a truck with a topper (cap, canopy) for carrying camping & other recreational gear, as the interior of the small units does sacrifice on the storage space.
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Old 05-19-2017, 11:33 PM   #100
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We just traded our 25' International for a 2015 Classic 30A so we can have a bit more room for longer stays/trips. Thought about one of those white boxes with slide-outs, but only briefly. Scheduled to take delivery on Monday, can hardly wait!

So, is it worth it? Yes, to us, it definitely is.
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