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Old 11-06-2008, 10:18 AM   #1
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1966 24' Tradewind
Chicago , Illinois
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Airstream or Pop-up?

Airstream or Pop-up?

We are a young family and Ive been camping since I was a tiny tot, would like to introduce camping to my husband and tots, what are the pros and cons of Airstream vs Pop-Up?

1). I love Airstreams, always dreamed of having one, cant park it in our subdivision, but will find a place to park, should it be indoor storage in winter?
2). Pop up can store in my garage.

Only want to spend 20K or so, should I go for an Airstream fixer or maxed out new pop up? Any advise would be great guys! Thanks!
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Old 11-06-2008, 10:24 AM   #2
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1972 25' Tradewind
North Vancouver , British Columbia
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The Airstream is way cooler than any pop-up. Enough said! Welcome to the forums!
Cameron & the Labradors, Kai & Samm
North Vancouver, BC
Live! Life's a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death! - Mame Dennis
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Old 11-06-2008, 10:25 AM   #3
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1972 25' Tradewind
North Vancouver , British Columbia
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By the way, you should be able to get a very nice Airstream for $20k.
Cameron & the Labradors, Kai & Samm
North Vancouver, BC
Live! Life's a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death! - Mame Dennis
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Old 11-06-2008, 10:27 AM   #4
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1956 22' Safari
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Conifer/Evergreen , Colorado
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Thumbs up Welcome to the forums!

For $20K you could get a nice relatively new or vintage Airstream that wouldn't need much work - not a fixer.

My parents have a pop-up and we have camped with them a bit. The advantages I see are:

  • A/S wil last a lot longer
  • A/S has better resale potential
  • Easier to set-up upon arrival
  • You are in an enclosed trailer - not a tent
  • Temperature is easier to control - both heat & cold
  • You can stop to "use the potty" or have lunch while on the road - great w/kids
  • Definite "cool factor"
  • Uh...thinking.....:
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Old 11-06-2008, 10:30 AM   #5
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1993 21' Sovereign
Colfax , North Carolina
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The Sport 17 is not too far from that 20K figure, and it's brand-new.

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I don't know if they have one, but you can call Airstream of Arkansas:


Or Colonial Airstream:

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Or Out-Of-Doors mart:

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Old 11-06-2008, 10:36 AM   #6
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1968 28' Ambassador
Cedaredge , Colorado
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We had a pop up last year and bought or '68 airstream this last spring.... The pop up did work, but there wasn't much storage...
You had to put everything away when you moved
no bathroom or shower
small water tanks
Cold, when cold out
Loud when in a camp ground

The good

They are easy to tow... We pulled ours with our 4-runner
Go up mountain roads rough ones

Air stream

Ours was useable when we got it...But we are redoing it, see pics here ( http://www.airforums.com/forums/f44/...dor-44644.html )
love the batheroom. Shower and tub for the kids. door, a really one...
great kitchen, full fridge and frezzer
Great heater
has room for the kids if the weather is bad (popup didn't)
just hook up and leave.. No putting stuff away...
It great for traveling with... If kids need to go to the bathroom just pull over.
Have lunch on the road.... or just pull over and sleep.

Safer than a pop up too.... Bear, Peple etc..

If you want to spend $20,000 you could buy a very nice used AS "airstream" for that price.... Check the classifieds here on this site....you spend $12,000 on a large big pop up and it's not much lighter some of the big ones weigh 5000# +...

If I had the money to buy an airstream in the beginning i would have...

It depends on your Tow Vehicle too.... Do you have something big enough to tow a 25' airstream?

May you have at least one sunny day, and a soft chair to sit in..

2008 5.7 L V8 Sequoia
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Old 11-06-2008, 10:51 AM   #7
2006 16' Safari
Eugene , Oregon
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We sold our A-Liner a year ago and replaced it with the Bambi. A-liners or Chalets are a nice alternative to the canvas pop-up. I could set up the A-liner myself in a few very easy minutes. It was easily storable in our carport. It was quirky and charming in its own fiberglass way.

Making products for people who like the outdoors. Copyright Columbia Northwest 2008.

We traded up for the lovely silver egg, with its bathroom and shower, but not because we didn't still love our A-liner. (The newest A-liners do have a bathroom option, too.)

It's a lifestyle, storage, financial, preferential choice. Enjoy whatever you get!

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Old 11-06-2008, 10:59 AM   #8
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1964 17' Bambi II
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Schererville , Indiana
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I had an Apache pop-up for many years. My kids were small & we fit okay. I got older/weaker & decided upon a travel trailer. Got a big Prowler & we sprawled. Then the kids grew up & I sold everything. Missed the camping. Got a vintage Airstream. Loved it, loved it. Kids started coming back to vacation a bit. Got a bigger Airstream. Love it more. I started small because I never towed anything & it was more affordable for me. If I could have started with an Airstream, I certainly would have. As said previously, the ease of set-up, storage, and most importantly, the bathroom are reasons to have a travel trailer. The reason to have an Airstream? Because I always longed after one & now I can! Not to mention, they never wear out like canvas & you don't to tell your kids the entire time it's raining, "Don't touch the canvas!" You could get a really sweet Airstream for $20K. I vote go for it!

1964 Bambi II
1988 Avion 32S
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Old 11-06-2008, 11:05 AM   #9
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1966 24' Tradewind
Placerville , California
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Been there, done both...

We bought a new Coleman in '83 to take our growing family out of tents and vans. Then in '89 we bought a new large Coleman to keep up with our 'growing' (just 2, girl and boy) then teens. The popups (tent trailers) were just great and our family did create many happy times. In '94 our son joined the Navy (still there) and our daughter married in '96. Our soon to be son-in-law was a frequent guest on our camp trips. Lynn and I finally went on a trip...just us...and that became an eye opener. First we 'traveled' with the tent trailer, overnight stops, rather than camping. It immediately became obvious that we sorely missed the kids. Yes we did in more than one way. The kids were our 'crew' to help with deploying and packing the tent trailer! We really enjoyed the times with the many camping experiences with them but our new adventures meant overnight travels which meant tiring set-ups and take-downs. We sadly sold the tent trailer and tried a 5'er but that was not us. Since we had a classic (convertible TV) we decided on a vintage travel trailer. 2 1/2 years ago we bought our '66 Trade Wind and are loving it. But that has brought on a new challenge, 2 grandsons. Our daughter has since bought her family a large tent to house (camp) her growing family right next to our Airstream. Would you believe that their tent is silver with blue trim! They have even joined us at a NorCal Rally and are looking forward to the next one.
Neil and Lynn Holman
FreshAir #12407

Kirk Creek, Big Sur, Ca. coast.

1966 Trade Wind

1971 Buick Centurion convertible
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Old 11-06-2008, 11:11 AM   #10
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1998 28' Excella
Dolores , Colorado
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Welcome to the forum.
I would suggest getting on Airstream.com and take a look at dealers in your locale. With the problems in the economy right now you may be able to pick up an A/S that would suit your needs. Several of the regions across the U.S. have web sites that you can link with off the Airstream website and they also have classified sections also.
Good luck in your search.
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Old 11-06-2008, 11:26 AM   #11
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Lapeer , Michigan
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We had first an 8' pop-up then a 14' pop-up. They are a great awning screen house basically. I think people who go directly to their campground and spend much time at the site benefit most from it's usage.

The Airstream is usable in transit while traveling to your destinations, provide more storage in having overhead storage cabinets, do not require you to transfer its contents before and after usage. The hard sided unit will allow you in bear country where pop-ups and tents are forbidden, hold temperature more efficiently, provide noise insulation and more security than screen and canvas structures. It extends the seasonal use and is much more comfortable in amenities. Airstreams have windows, and pop-ups are windows. Zipping and unzipping and tying up ends only to have to repeat that sequence in reverse when it rains or cools off and then back again is a hassle. Up at morning sun and heat over the bed...but we loved the sound of rain on the popups!

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Old 11-06-2008, 11:41 AM   #12
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Cuddebackville , New York
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We started with a hybrid to see if we liked camping with a trailer. We did, so we got the Airstream and never looked back.

Condensation was an issue we had to be very careful about with the hybrid. Another was noise. The tent fabric doesn't block any noise from generators and neighbors, where the AS does a great job on that.
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Old 11-06-2008, 12:12 PM   #13
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1966 24' Tradewind
Chicago , Illinois
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Airstream vs. PUP

Thank you all for your generous replies, I keep checking in to read them as they come in. Im going to push for Airstream!
I agree with all your points! You are all right as far as holding their resale value, I see some in the weeds, 30 yrs old, for big bucks still!
You just about made up our minds on this! It is a costly decision to make and Id rather not go to the PUP to save money and end up buying an A/S a few years later.

We will be going to the Chicago RV Show In January or Feb 09 to look at all the models, I hope Airstream will be there!

BTW the tow vehicles we have are an 06 Chevy Trailblazer EXT and an 03 Lincoln Navi. Are those sufficient for a 25' or less? Im sure a dealer will tell me they are!
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Old 11-06-2008, 12:45 PM   #14
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1999 34' Limited
Darien , Wisconsin
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We started out with a pop-up many years ago, then got our first Airstream and now have moved up to a 34 footer.. Airstream is most definitely the way to go.
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Old 11-06-2008, 12:51 PM   #15
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Northwestern Ontario , - on the backside of the map and just above the big green spot
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We were pop-up folks for many, many years and loved it. Brought two kids up in it and travelled to both ends of the country with it (and them). Our Airstream entered the picture a few years ago and here's why:

- kids were grown and gone (a while back)
- got tired taking down wet and putting up wet
- got tired of public bathrooms/showers (my wife would say tired is an understatement for her)
- started doing cold weather camping
- started liking more "comfort" items.

More simply put - we just got older.

We love the Airstream but at times still miss the camper - most notably the sounds of nature - once the doors and vents are closed in any trailer I think you would be hard pressed to hear much of anything except yourselves and the TV program you are watching. This may sound a little silly but we hadn't thought of this - and it has turned out to be something we note on just about every trip. It's probably also prudent to note that the cost differential between the two is pretty significant - not only in purchase price, but operation (tow vehicle, gas etc.) and maintenance.

Having said that we deal with "missing" the pop-up by talking about the "good old days" - then go fix a martini, turn up the heat, and pop in a movie.

The pop-up is still in the game - we gave it to the kids - with the proviso that they NEVER even THINK of asking to borrow the Airstream ....

Bambi - 2002 (The Toaster)
Pathfinder - 2009 (The Buggy)

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Old 11-06-2008, 01:05 PM   #16
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1991 34' Excella
Princeton , New Jersey
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There is one clear disadvantage to an Airstream. It was designed for 2 people.

Now I have slept 6 in mine but I repeat my comment it was designed for 2.

In 40 plus years of camping I have used a tent, a canoe, a 2 man hunting pop up, tandem axle pop up, an SOB trailer and now an Airstream. Each has it's advantages at the time.

If you have kids just consider their space and how and when it will effect your space.
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1991 34 ft. Excella +220,000 miles, new laminated flooring, new upholstery, new 3200 lbs axles

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Old 11-06-2008, 02:18 PM   #17
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1993 21' Sovereign
Colfax , North Carolina
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Originally Posted by Jezibels View Post

BTW the tow vehicles we have are an 06 Chevy Trailblazer EXT and an 03 Lincoln Navi. Are those sufficient for a 25' or less? Im sure a dealer will tell me they are!
Both are adequate for a smaller trailer, though the longer the wheelbase the better the handling. You would need WD and sway control to use either. The Lincoln would probably be the better tow vehicle, because of its greater mass and larger engine. By the way, the "smaller" trailer will vary by year of trailer. a 25' nearly new Airstream weighs in at about the same as an earlier 30 foot coach. A mid-1970's 25 foot would weigh around 4,500 pounds or so empty, a 2005 25' CCD can weigh nearly another ton more than that, depending on equipment.
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Old 11-06-2008, 02:56 PM   #18
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1963 24' Tradewind
San Diego , California
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Bought a brand new tent trailer 2006 Starcraft 14 RT, off road model with a 4x8 toy ( or whatever) hauler on the front. It was self-contained toilet, shower,etc. Sold it and purchased my first AS a 63 Tradewind LOVE IT !! All RV's have pros and cons, however with my AS i feel like I have a new extened family. I never went on a tent trailer rally or even heard of one.
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Old 11-06-2008, 03:04 PM   #19
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2007 27' International CCD FB
Everett , Washington
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We went straight to the airstream and never turned back. Love it, love it, love it!

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Just call us Jean & Bill :-)
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Old 11-06-2008, 03:32 PM   #20
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2011 28' International
Rock Hill , South Carolina
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I have had both. I now have the Airstream and love it, but still miss my pop-up. The pop-ups are great for kids and if you love the sounds and feels of camping. A pop-up can be opened up all around and get great breezes throughout. The sounds of crickets, frogs, etc. are so much more clearly heard in a pop-up. That said, they are about as sound proof as a tent. The pop-up will get you off the ground, but still feel like a tent. They are easy to tow and can be purchased for much less than an Airstream. They do lack in the storage department. You will find that you will still have to carry everything else, much like tent camping. I love my Aistream now. My two boys are mostly grown and one is gone, so my wife and I went for the A/S "upgrade". We have visions of traveling in it for years to come. (As a Scoutmaster, I still get my desired amount of "real camping"...in tents)

If your kids are small, I would say go for the pop-up first and then move on to an Airstream later. That's just my $0.02.
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