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Old 09-13-2015, 09:38 PM   #1
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Saint Peters , Missouri
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Single person full timing in an Airstream?

I will be retiring in less than a year and plan to full time in a RV. I was always thinking motorhome although I always sorta lusted after an airstream. And having a tow vehicle to use for sightseeing and errands would be a perk. I have owned a couple B's, couple C's and one non-airstream trailer over the years.

My question is if it's feasible to drive, park and back-up a smallish airstream by myself? I'll have to say I was always a bit paranoid about getting in a situation with my trailer that I couldn't get out of. That never really happened but it always worried me.

Do you know of people that own these and use them with noone to direct them?
I know most RVers are really helpful at a campground but I'm hoping to boondock also.

Any advice would be very helpful. Thanks in advance!
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Old 09-13-2015, 10:35 PM   #2
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2014 20' Flying Cloud
Cathedral City , California
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I am single and tow a 20 foot Flying Cloud Bambi with ease. I highly recommend the iBall Wireless Camera System.

It makes hitching up a breeze. I flip up the hitch locking lever and place the magnetized camera there. I have also placed the camera on the back of my trailer to help when backing up in tight spaces.

Having a good road assistance plan makes traveling less stressful for me as well.

Happy trails!

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Old 09-13-2015, 10:39 PM   #3
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2014 30' Flying Cloud
Los alamos , New Mexico
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Go slow, many miracles happen out on the road. Traveled for 35 years in another sport adventure, many times by myself, we call them small miracles when you find your way out of a jam--especially with an Airstream--you will attract attention easily. A smaller unit will be more forgiving, your call on size. Just take it it a day at a time, just being out there full time, will be the "mother of invention". Roll on.
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Old 09-14-2015, 12:50 AM   #4
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Won't say "no problems" having been helped out of a couple of messes by nice passers by. But you can get yourself into a mess in the parking lot of your local grocery store without an Airstream tagging along. Just be ready to accept help graciously - and respond graciously. I got stuck trying to make a turn-around at night where I actually missed the right driveway. Two PA troopers gently guided me out, then took me for coffee.... you bet your booties I bought them donuts!

Today is a gift, that's why they call it the present.
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Old 09-14-2015, 04:57 AM   #5
2016 25' International
Littlestown , Pennsylvania
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Hi. I am a retiree, single female, and take 3 month trips out west - alone on the road. I have a 23 footer and a TV with a backup camera. It takes practice but now I'm an expert (IMO) of backing up/hitching up, parking, and getting in/out of tight gas stations. I was petrified at first, but, it's just getting used to your rig. I've never towed a TT before I bought my Airstream. Now, I'm considering upgrading to a 25 footer.... Good luck. It'll get easier.
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Old 09-14-2015, 05:44 AM   #6
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Normal , Illinois
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"My question is if it's feasible to drive, park and back-up a smallish airstream by myself?"

Yes.....of course it is! I have driven over 20,000 miles by myself since my husband died.

Stay small. It makes life simpler in many ways.... campsites easier to find, maneuvering not like parking a jumbo jet and lots of flexibility for boondocking.

Have a great time.

🏡 🚐 Cherish and appreciate those you love. This moment could be your last.🌹🐚
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Old 09-14-2015, 10:29 AM   #7
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Lynnwood , Washington
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I've never had a problem with getting help to back up. RVer's are the friendliest people on earth.

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Old 09-14-2015, 10:31 AM   #8
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2004 28' International CCD
Cocoa , Florida
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X-truck driver here.. I have trained many drivers in my past life, and I can tell you this.... Your adrenaline will race the first couple of times backing up. But I will promise you that it will become easier every time!!! You will be backing OTHER people's trailers in no time... Just have fun and don't stress..
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Old 09-14-2015, 10:38 AM   #9
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Aldie , Virginia
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Single Airstreamer here - though not full time. On the whole hook up and back up thing.
re hitching up: This weekend when leaving Virginia Highland Haven, in the rain, I encountered the worst ever experience hooking up alone I've ever had. It took me five times to exit the car to get the ball centered under the hitch...

re backing up: things became alot easier when I realized I could move two feet, put the vehicle in park, get out, check things, move another two feet, rinse and repeat. 9 times of 10 when its blocking someone else trying to get through on the drive, they'll offer to help; which I usually decline and continue on my own.

re backing up #2: did you know you can drop your jack halfway through, decouple, re-orient your vehicle, re-hookup and continue?

Re personal safety when alone boondocking: I find that if you get one of those porn store blow up dolls, inflate it and leave it leaning against a window where its visible, people tend to leave you alone.

2021 Airstream International 25FBT +Hatch +50A
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Old 09-14-2015, 11:02 AM   #10
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2016 30' Classic
Apache Junction , Arizona
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Pretty much full time here. I love it so much that I have upgraded to a 2016 Classic. When considering your trailer take care to match up your tow vehicle to whatever trailer you decide on.
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Old 09-14-2015, 11:10 AM   #11
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ABSOLUTELY can be done. The longer the trailer, the more careful you need to be when backing without assistance but, yes, you can do it.

"GOAL" = Get Out And Look. Practice backing in a large, empty parking lot first. Early Sunday morning in large shopping malls are ideal for this (mind the light poles!). Back up camera has already been mentioned but, you should STILL use the GOAL method too.

Back SLOWLY, keep your hand at the 6 o'clock position on the steering wheel. That way, when you want the trailer back end to go in a particular direction, you just SLIGHTLY move your hand in that direction, to start the trailer moving the way you want it to. Once the trailer has started its' turn, SLIGHT steering adjustments will get the job finished.

If you have never attended an RV Boot Camp, DO SO! The money and time will be VERY well spent. Escapees RV Club run an excellent RV Boot Camp. Other groups do too. Mistakes made with RVs are often expensive and, sometimes dangerous. Attending an RV Boot Camp WILL make you a safer, more confident RVer.

You CAN do this! Good luck!
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Old 09-14-2015, 11:18 AM   #12
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Green Cove Springs , Florida
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Single person full timing in an Airstream?

<edit> Well said up there, NY24 . </edit>

A vote of confidence and a thought: if in doubt while backing up, get out and walk around - early and often. Even with two of us, if the driver says "are you sure?" to the person providing instruction from outside, the correct response from the person on the ground is "Please hop out and take a look with me." So, when we're backing up we both walk around the rig anyway. Yes, we take longer to back into a spot than many. We're fine with that. The job gets done eventually, nobody's crying over dented aluminum, and we learn something every time.

When a kindly person offers to help you back up or to park your trailer for you, remember it's not their trailer that will hit a rock or tree and they will not be liable for damage without things getting incredibly messy. So, walk around anyway and keep the process running at a comfortable speed. Keep an eagle eye out for low-hanging branches or rooflines - kindly volunteers often forget to look up.

BTW, we've never let anyone park our trailer for us. If they did, we wouldn't learn anything useful.

We love the rear view camera on the back of our trailer. It's no substitute for walking around, but it's a great help when parking and awesome at letting us know when someone's following closely or about to pass.

Our worst place for parking these days is actually at our covered storage facility. The facility is great and its location is good, but the slots are narrow, we're backing to the right (e.g. curb side), and there are poles on the curbside of our spot. Eeep! So, if you're using a storage location, pick one where it is relatively easy for you to park. We're on the waiting list to move to a friendlier spot there, but we'll probably have to wait until spring - everybody's looking for covered storage this time of year.
Rocinante Piccolo is our new-to-us 2016 Interstate Lounge 3500 EXT
(Named for John Steinbeck's camper from "Travels With Charley")

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Old 09-14-2015, 12:08 PM   #13
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1978 31' Excella 500
Barrie , Ontario
Join Date: Dec 2012
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Woo, Welcome, I too am an retired female truck driver and I own a 31' AS and I travel alone well my cat always comes with me,,,. When you first start towing try to get help from a reliable source. When backing by yourself always get out and check, I don't use a backup camera but many times I wish I had one. Take your time and don't try to drive too many hours stop often and don't drive after dark until you have a few miles under your belt. Good Luck !!
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Old 09-14-2015, 12:16 PM   #14
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2013 22' FB Sport
Winter Park , Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 27
I am on my solo maiden voyage with my new (used) 22FB Sport. I've had one previous camper--an 18 footer.

There is a learning curve to backing up a trailer, but it's not that bad. A backup camera on your tow vehicle helps immensely when hooking up alone.

Other than that, it all gets easy pretty fast.
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Old 09-14-2015, 12:46 PM   #15
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2007 25' International CCD FB
Somewhere in , Texas
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I am so excited because I will be traveling full time in my Airstream this fall. Maybe we could create a little club. By the way, I am scared too, but I like living on the edge of Yikes!
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Old 09-14-2015, 12:51 PM   #16
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2016 25' Flying Cloud
1997 21' Excella
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I'm single, retired and go on extended AS journeys, alone. This year I installed a Voyager wireless backup camera on my new AS. Never needed one for the last 20 years ( though the tech. was not readily available then) but it sure works great and takes a lot of guessing out of it. But, out of habit, I still get out as much as in the past to just make sure. PS: the camera saved me a big boobo this summer. there are many threads out there for you to get info. on a backup camera, all kinds, all pricies. I highly recommend one. Don't be worried or discouraged about going it alone. It is easily done.

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Old 09-14-2015, 01:16 PM   #17
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2011 19' Flying Cloud
Tempe , Arizona
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I'm a single Airstreamer; bought my first trailer ever 2 1/2 years ago, my retirement gift to myself. I've traveled from AZ to PA twice, and have had only minor issues. Backing up hasn't been one of them! Backing up gets easier; installing a rear view camera on the back of the trailer was the best thing I did! The camera is actually of more use when driving on freeways so well worth the investment.
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Old 09-14-2015, 01:21 PM   #18
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2004 22' International CCD
2015 30' International
Box Elder , South Dakota
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Single here, with a 22' CCD. You get better with practice! Get a repositionable back-up camera, or one for each vehicle. Or another alignment tool like those tennis balls on telescoping magnetic mounts.
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Old 09-14-2015, 01:41 PM   #19
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2009 27' FB International
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Greensboro , North Carolina
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Single, female, OTD, backing problem

First, OTD=older than dirt, FYI

On my third AS, had a 44' moho as well...backing up, I have a camera in the rear of the trailer, but, this is not how I back up. Two good mirrors, understanding what the word "slowly" means, and the most important point......the direction you push the bottom of your TV's steering wheel is the direction the trailer will head...sort of.

As a trailer backs up, the angle of the steering wheel has more influence the more one backs, so, once the trailer is at the angle desired to back around an obstacle, the wheel must be straightened up slightly.

Did I say "slowly"? The best thing to do is to practice in an empty parking lot, set up cones or something, then practice. I regularly stay at the large fuel stations, backing my 30' Serenity not slots between trucks, roughly 3' clearance on each side. Also, when backing into a space, make every attempt to have the TV and trailer lined up so you can back straight in......much easier this way.

As to driving on the road, I will drive for up to 14 hours, but, I may stop for several short times during this period. Usually I will show about 3 hours stopped time each 14 hour day. I stop often, immediately if I feel tired, may take two or three 10 minute naps...

I drive about 60 - 65 mph when towing. The sound system may be playing anything from audio books, music, news, or old time radio, or off. I even change sun glasses to add to the variety during the day.

And, in less than 48 hours, i will be heading to Wisconsin again, meeting up with the Wisconsin Unit at Road America. May drive 600 or more miles the first day...

So, anyone can do this....oh, one more thing, I do get out and check myself when backing. I NEVER rely on someone else guiding me, except, a professional truck driver in a truck stop...they understand what is going on in most cases.
Happy trails and Good Luck
Ms Tommie Fantine Lauer, Greensboro, NC
AIR #31871 KQ3H
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Old 09-14-2015, 03:01 PM   #20
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2015 30' Classic
Sherwood , Oregon
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We have a 25' with a RVS camera on the trailer plus the TV has a back-up camera. Married 50 yrs and plan to stay that way so the boss stays in the passenger seat when I back to hook up or into a camp site. Practice, practice, practice before you head to a camp ground the first time. As others have emphasized; slowly, slowly, slowly whenever you are backing and if you have any doubt, get out and look! You will do fine, we all had to learn how to do it. Welcome to the Forum and good luck!
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