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Old 09-17-2005, 11:44 PM   #1
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Wanting Info On Best Airstream To LIVE IN...

Wasn't sure where this should be placed in the forums...

I just joined the forums and did so specifically because I've been considering purchasing an Airstream to live in as a home. I'm a single 33 year old guy who is a confirmed bachelor and very happy. I have lots of friends who understand my quirks (so no need to "fix me up" with anyone!).

Thing is, I have paid rent for the last ten years for an apartment that is likely smaller than some of the 25' Airstreams I've seen online. I'm very comfortable living in a small space but tired of paying $500+ a month for that as it seems a huge waste in the long run.

So I need advice on choosing an Airstream TRAILOR that is perfectly suited as a home that can be parked and left in one spot.

I absolutely love the interiors of some of the nicer Safari's and hope they are actually inhabitable for long periods. In other words, I hope they stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter without costing me an arm and a leg in a place where it gets hot in the summer and cold in the winter (Oklahoma). I currently live in Southern Louisiana but plan to move near Tulsa Oklahoma in a few weeks for a job opportunity.

Just please note, I know virtually nothing about Airstreams. I've seen them over the years, felt they all looked really neat, but until recently the thought never came to mind of "future home," until some friends mentioned it and said they can so easily see me living in one of these...

All responses and suggestions would greatly help.

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Old 09-18-2005, 12:34 AM   #2
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Uh, not to worry ... been a member of the forum for 2 years now & have never seen anyone try to "fix up" any 2 members .... just their Airstreams. So we ain't gwine jump in there with your first concern. All 33-year-olds should be single anyway, so what's your problem with that?

As for your second issue, well, a confirmed bachelor such as yourself, whatever your "quirks," should know that no amount of opinion takes the place of empirical evidence. So continue to scout 'em out, bro.

But rest assured ... that perfect fit imagined via your $500-a-month mind will find a cold singles bar in hell before it meets up with your standards, which are: Airstreams that are cold in the winter in a hot place & hot in the summer in a cold place? Yet inexpensive? Especially for someone who knows nothing about "trailors"?

My mortgage runs me probably $2000 a month despite perhaps 31k tied up in "trailors," none of which I would live in.

Stick with the cheap rentals. And stay single.
Of course I'm an elitist. Look around you.
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Old 09-18-2005, 05:00 AM   #3
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my sediments exactly

the kid has "hit the nail on the head" pretty much, unless of course you get a job working in canada in the summer, and arizona in the winter...
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if something is too good to be true, its usually gone before i get there-mister boffo
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Old 09-18-2005, 05:06 AM   #4
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A 25' to 28' would be good for a single person. Consider the International CCDs for contemprary styling and ease of cleaning. The new Special Edition Safaris are equally easy to clean, but have the more conventional (wood grained) decor. The Classics have more expensive decors, but weigh a little more. Go for a queen size bed. Make sure that you have an adequate tow vehicle to handle the trailer that you decide on. Best of luck.
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Old 09-18-2005, 07:05 AM   #5
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. , Maine to Arizona
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We bought used. There is much danger out there for a used buyer, I know the hard way. Watch out for floor$ and frame$, spend time or get $omeone who knows. I like the 30' with Queen rear bed. Large enough to sleep well, small enough to move when you have to with what you can get to move it. Did not get married 'til 34, still a little young I think. This is a great Forum to learn about Airstreams and have some fun.
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Old 09-18-2005, 09:22 AM   #6
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1989 34' Excella
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Airstreams originally were made for travel. That still remains their forte. If you are just looking for a cheap place to live and do not expect to move often, there are better solutions. Some of the newer 34 footers are more like small appartments and people use them for wintering in Texas or Florida. They then spend the summers up north. It is cheaper than keeping two houses. Some of the newer units have better insulation and some have double pane windows which make them more livable in widely varing climates. Older units are not so climate friendly. You could buy a cheap mobile home in Oklahoma, that is not movable, with alot more square foot and better suited to the climate and then sell it when you next time you decide to move for a lot less than you would expend for an Airstream and not be as comfortable. Mobile home rental parking is alot cheaper than apartments and you may pay more to rent a campsite than montly rent for parking a mobile.
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Old 09-18-2005, 09:55 AM   #7
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I recently purchased a 24ft ('68 Trade Wind) and while I consider it to be of excellent size for traveling and passable for short term accomadation in one location (say maybe a few months); I dont think it would be at all acceptable for long-term parked housing. There simply isnt enough space for starters. When your traveling you expect to spend the majority of your time outside, this is not the case with normal living. The lack of room to move around in in bad weather and the lack of storage would get old all to fast. I think I would reconsider. Hope this helps

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Old 09-18-2005, 11:09 AM   #8
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Cozy Livin'

I been livin in a 32' excella for a year now. For me its a dream. Yea most folks need/ want way too much space and cannot relate to such tight quarters. Their loss I say. Do learn as much as possible on this site. You will. I started in the dark myself. But I read the data here all the time. If you dont, you may hate your choice. If you use this site, it will be great. Go for it. Life is so much more flexible than we think...
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Old 09-18-2005, 12:11 PM   #9
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Can be done

I would willingly live alone in my wide-body 28 Classic (actually 29' long). The wide body makes a world of difference in usable room, so look for a late 90s or newer trailer. The only thing I would miss is my workshop.
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Old 09-18-2005, 12:24 PM   #10
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1972 25' Tradewind
Willis , Texas
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livin in a camper...

When I was single I lived in a 16 foot mobile scout (1985 to 1989) then moved up to a 1973 28 foot Coachman which I lived in until 1998. Can you say $45 then $70 (for 8 years)then $90 ( all in Georgia) and finally $200.00 a month when we moved to Tucson, AZ. I loved living in my campers, the ac kept me cool and the furnace kept me toasty. And although people who knew me laughed when they found out, they could'nt understand why I always had money and was able to take month long vacations, until I told them very matter of factly I don't spend $500 a month on rent! How I ended up living in a camper was the fact when I started school my choices were: camper or dorm....
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Old 09-18-2005, 12:40 PM   #11
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2 years full timing in Excella 30ft...

...and still going strong. I don't need a bunch of room I guess. I spend alot of time outdoors in my free time (fishing, hiking, riding my bike, etc). You can save money, but there's ALOT to learn about the "kind" of RV parks that are available.

You're still going to pay rent. Not 500 a month, but at least half that, and probably closer to 300-350, depending on location. And phone, and propane, etc...

If you could find a company or business, that was looking for someone to stay on their property for security reasons (some Storage Unit businesses look for this, and offer a "free" hook-up. some Big TIMBER companies too), or part time "work-camp" (like I intend to do next year) you might be ok.
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Old 09-18-2005, 04:00 PM   #12
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Colfax , North Carolina
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We used to own The Original Long, Long trailer...

And lived in it, full-time. (the 1952 New Moon trailer from the movie) However, it had an addition on it that effectively doubled the living space, and it was still close quarters. Trailer dimensions were 8' x32', lot rent was $239/month.
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Old 09-18-2005, 05:13 PM   #13
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1996 34' Excella
Americus , Georgia
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Hi Magbogs,
It will depend on how much money you would like to spend. I am 34 years old and have owned several airstreams from a 1975 to the current one that I have now that is a 1991. I would recommend a 31ft trailer as they are very popular and plentiful and have a fair size living room area.For this size trailer they are pretty much the same as far as floorplans from the early seventies thru the late eighties with only cosmetic changes as they got newer.Also if you want a rear bedroom then you will have a small bathroom. If you choose the rear bath model then the bathroom will have two closets in the bathroom itself and will have more floor space/legroom.If you can get lucky and find what I think is the ultimate 31ft floor plan it would be the rear bath with a full bed or goucho in the middle. With this combo you will have the two closets in the bathroom and two closets across from the bed/goucho which is a good bit of closet space for a travel trailer.n Now if you like having friends over alot then you might want to consider a 34ft trailer which will have more living room space and will have a dinette that can be used for seating.The 31ft trailers have a sofa and table in front only.Also if you choose a rear bedroom model with twins they can be converted to a fullsize bed with ease.
I don`t think you will have any problems with the heating and cooling during the seasons.I will say that I do try use the grill outside during the summer so it won`t labor the A/C any more than necessary. During the winter when I camp I will usually use an electric space heater and if it won`t keep it warm the I will use the furnace and it will defenitely warm it up.
Also don`t know if the interior wood colors are if any consequence but the older trailers in the seventies have a darker look. The last 31ft I had was a 1981 and it had a lighter wood which was very nice and not drab looking. I had a local upholsterer redo the sofa and the valances over the windows and updated the carpet and really made it look nicer and that was done for less than $ 900.00 . But you may be able to do those things yourself.
I have owned an airstream since 1989 and they are the easiest towing travel trailer that I know of even though you won`t be towing yours. Well I hope this info. helps and happy hunting. Davis
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Old 09-18-2005, 06:52 PM   #14
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Magbogs :

Get a late 90's 34 ft.

The cost of the campsite will be the same as a smaller unit, you won't have to kneel down to use the microwave & while seated at the dinette you'll be looking out the window under your own awning...NOT into your next door neighbour's window !!

Regards, Paul.
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Old 09-18-2005, 07:24 PM   #15
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Thank you everyone for your many very helpful replies. I could not have imagined how many replies I'd receive all within the span of 24 hours since posting my request to this forum. This shows me I joined a great, friendly and very active community!

I can see by your responses there are some basic elements I need to keep in the forefront:

>> Don't buy before I try (or at least can inspect for bugs, drugs or thugs under the panelling first).

>> Make sure it is insulated and preferably double-pane glass.

>> Insure it's at least 90's or more recent.

>> Try to find one with extra width to insure I can stow my Boogie Board inside.

>> And above all else: recognize it is not gonna be the best babe magnet so my life as a poseur will be over...

Ok, funniness aside, I am a University Degreed nerdy stereotypical geek programmer. I'm currently finalizing an agreement for a job near Tulsa and honest to goodness, I'm quite comfy in a cubicle (my professional life in general) with my laptop, my iPod and my Pet Rock, so livin' la vida Airstream really seems a perfect fit for me.

I've considered mobile homes, but for some silly reason, the idea of having myself living in a camper gives me this psychological feeling like I'm forever on a vacation - the vacation that is my life.

See, told ya I have "quirks." :P

Ok, so now I gotta figure out what the price range is gonna run and how I'm gonna afford buying one...
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Old 09-18-2005, 07:33 PM   #16
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Hi, magbogs,

I've lived in Airstreams since 1992. Until this year in a '75 Argosy 28 and since March this year, is a '79 that I made a round trip of 3,000 miles to obtain. If you want to live in a travel trailer, and keep it mobile, as I wish to, you have to shed some ideas and shed some things. The old idea that with an Airstream you CAN take it with you is very misleading. You can take what you really need with you, but a bunch of your stuff needs to stay at home. (I financed a storage building at my folks' to leave my stuff in. I took half and they get the other half of the space.)

I have been very comfortable in the two trailers I've had, and I find that both 28 feet and 31 feet are okay. I like the extra living room space in the 31-footer, so that's what I'd recommend. (If you get the front gaucho and rear queen or twins, it also means that you can put your guests as far away from where you sleep as possible.)

There are Airstreams parked all over the place with folks living in them, but the trailers are not designed for that. Not only is sitting terrible on the suspension and tires, there's a notion that an Airstream needs exercise, that it needs to flex its frame and shell a little every now and again just to keep all the parts interested and working together. I like that idea, so I'm keeping this one light and road ready.

Tropical depressions willing, I'm taking my cottage down to mid-Florida for a forum rally this week. Time to practice what I preach.

I think there's a lot to be said for the late 70s and early 80s 31' Excellas. They tend to have the thermopane windows and little options that help, and they don't go for as much, foot for foot, as the little zippy wonders.

Best regards,

1975 Argosy 28 "Argosy"
1979 Excella 500 31 "Betsy"
1992 Lincoln Mk 7 LSC
2003 Dodge 2500 Cummins "TowHog"
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Old 09-18-2005, 07:38 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by maqboqs

I can see by your responses there are some basic elements I need to keep in the forefront:

>> Make sure it is insulated and preferably double-pane glass.

>> Insure it's at least 90's or more recent.

>> Try to find one with extra width to insure I can stow my Boogie Board inside.
Any Airstream unit you are likely to consider will be insulated. There are conflicting reports as to the Limited models of certain years having additional insulation, but I doubt it (where would it go?). Also, I am unaware of any double pane windows since the Corning glass units briefly available back in the 60's.

Being a 90's unit or more recent has no advantage per se UNLESS you want the wide body (8'6" vs. 8'0"). These came in during the 1996 model year, I believe, although I think there were some 34' Limiteds that were wide body in '95.

Somebody please be kind enough to correct any errors above.

Good luck to you.

'85 Sovereign, 25'
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Old 09-18-2005, 07:42 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by SafeHarbor
I think there's a lot to be said for the late 70s and early 80s 31' Excellas. They tend to have the thermopane windows and little options that help, and they don't go for as much, foot for foot, as the little zippy wonders.
I agree that the very late 70s / early 80s units can offer the best value in Airstreams today. But the "thermopane" windows" is a new one on me. I have seen many, many of these and all had single pane windows. What is the story here?

'85 Sovereign, 25'
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Old 09-18-2005, 07:47 PM   #19
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My '77 Excella 500 has the dual pane windows everywhere but my '86 Sovereign does not.

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Old 09-18-2005, 09:27 PM   #20
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Alright, so what about modifications? I'm really good with a hammer and nails, electrical wiring, etc.

When I bought my car, a 1991 Olds Cutlass Calais that has exceeded 100,000 miles and still purrs like a kitten, I also bought a huge info manual that pretty much details anything I'd ever want to know about it.

If I buy an Airstream, are there manuals I can get for it? You know, in the event I wanna rip out and replace some wiring, fool around with restoration or replace a window here or there?

Maybe I'd want to install solar panels on the roof or embed a flat screen television and surround sound into the walls. Maybe wire in a custom alarm system connected to all the windows and door. Stuff like that.

I'd really need a good detailed manual on my particular Airstream wouldn't I? Are there such manuals available?
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