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Old 10-28-2016, 10:16 AM   #1
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Buying Help: Advice from International 23D, 23FB and 22" Sport Owners :)

Hi!
My hubby and I are planning on getting our first airstream (gasp!) and we would like some help from veterans. We are young couple looking to travel in our airstream for 3 months a year in the summer and maybe some more weekend/ week trips in addition. We plan on having the two of us (small people) and our two medium sized dog travel across the country, hike everything and go to every national park available.We will be working remotely from laptops a few hours a day and doing outdoors things the rest. When not in use, we will park it in our backyard to rent out. We will be traveling from Atlanta to the PNW and back- (read: much traveling) Being complete novices at towing, we wanted something compact and efficient but also want to have this thing for the foreseeable future without needing to upgrade in size. We will have to sell one car and buy a TV so thats not an issue. Prob get a tow capacity of 7,500 lbs, V8, plan to have a small amount of extra storage in car.

We are considering International 23D and 23FB and the Bambi Sport 22FB. We don't really care for the styling of the Flying Clouds. The sport is lighter and more narrow which we think will be easier to maneuver in mountainous terrain specifically PNW and Canadian Rockies, but is it really that much harder to tow a 23"? Does the double axel really help stability? Im leaning toward the 23D because the layout gives us a bit of a 'living room' as well as the dinette and I like all the plush accommodations since we will be in it 3 months at a time. Thoughts?
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Old 10-28-2016, 10:39 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Bambii View Post
Hi!
My hubby and I are planning on getting our first airstream (gasp!) and we would like some help from veterans. We are young couple looking to travel in our airstream for 3 months a year in the summer and maybe some more weekend/ week trips in addition. We plan on having the two of us (small people) and our two medium sized dog travel across the country, hike everything and go to every national park available.We will be working remotely from laptops a few hours a day and doing outdoors things the rest. When not in use, we will park it in our backyard to rent out. We will be traveling from Atlanta to the PNW and back- (read: much traveling) Being complete novices at towing, we wanted something compact and efficient but also want to have this thing for the foreseeable future without needing to upgrade in size. We will have to sell one car and buy a TV so thats not an issue. Prob get a tow capacity of 7,500 lbs, V8, plan to have a small amount of extra storage in car.

We are considering International 23D and 23FB and the Bambi Sport 22FB. We don't really care for the styling of the Flying Clouds. The sport is lighter and more narrow which we think will be easier to maneuver in mountainous terrain specifically PNW and Canadian Rockies, but is it really that much harder to tow a 23"? Does the double axel really help stability? Im leaning toward the 23D because the layout gives us a bit of a 'living room' as well as the dinette and I like all the plush accommodations since we will be in it 3 months at a time. Thoughts?
We spent 3.5 months this summer in a 23D. It was cozy but comfortable and easily towable by most V8 half ton trucks. It's length and 8 foot width is a real advantage in many state and national parks and fuel stations.

In out opinion, the 23D feels roomier and more open than the 23FB. The couch and front dinette in the 23D make having friends over much nicer. That being said if you are both on the tall side, you might feel cramped in the corner bed. The couch does pull out into a nice full bed.

We just moved up to a 2017 25FB (26 feet) from the 23D. We loved our 23D but wanted more room, a separate shower, concealed AC and better viewing at campsites that the rear dinette offers. We also moved up to a 3/4 ton diesel RAM, primarily for the exhaust braking and increased cargo capacity for extended journeys.

Yes, dual axel trailers are somewhat safer than singles. We had a 19' Bambi before the 23D.
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Old 10-28-2016, 12:56 PM   #3
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Wow, that sounds great! Thanks for the advice. It seems that the majority of people on here start out and grow bigger. I guess, you just get hooked and want to go streamin more and more with the comforts of home.
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Old 10-28-2016, 03:23 PM   #4
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If you have not camped or towed before do not buy NEW. You will not be completely satisfied with your first trailer and therefore should not incur the steep depreciation of purchasing new.

Storage will be the biggest issue you will have to overcome so consider your choice of TV as part of the equation. You can modify a Suburban or Van with additional doors for secure storage over pickup with a cap.

You will soon realize that the longer the trailer the easier it is to tow and back up. So don't skimp assuming that is a good choice.
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Old 10-29-2016, 11:35 AM   #5
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23D for seven years, and happy

We have a 23D, I always thought I would like a 23 FB, but friends bought one, and found they had no place to relax except the table and the bed. Plenty of closet space in the 23D, fits in almost all NP and Nat. Forest spots, as well as BLM lands. We got a good solar system, spend five to six days boon docking, tow with a Mercedes Benz 350 and have put on around 100,000 miles. Still love it. Wife and I (I'm around two fifty) fit snugly in the bed, the two cats travel with us and love the adventure. Buying used is a good recommendation, but hard to find. We got ours during the economic slow down and got one someone decided to trade for a 27ft. If I changed it would be to the 25 ft. but I know it would stop us from some places we have gone. Try the one that appeals to you. You can always trade after you recognize your needs. We probably won't, but that's us. We went from tent to the 23D and still find it a luxury.
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Old 10-29-2016, 11:37 AM   #6
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Smile 2015, 23 fc fb

Lv our 23 FC FB - but had to take out U-dinnette and replace w goucho couch to get there. Fold-up table for dining/working/corresponding/counter space. FC = great storage. Full bath across back has window that opens & separate shower. Double!!! sink crucial for dry camping/boondocking.
Husband tracked down previously leased 2013 Yukon XL Denali w tow package (in my mind most important item on a tow vehicle) as TV.
Photo of revised interior on photo page.
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Old 10-29-2016, 12:10 PM   #7
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Our 22fb

Rather than buy, why not rent one for a month and see if you like trailering at all and if so then if the size you rent, works for you. My wife and I rented a 19 ft. Bambi for a month, made a loop from San Jose to B.C., had a great time. We had been considering buying an AS prior to our renting. Too make a long story shorter, we ended up buying a new 22'FB from Bay Area Airstream and love it. By the way, our '12 Acura MDX with tow package worked great. Good luck, and enjoy!
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Old 10-29-2016, 12:14 PM   #8
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Research. Define your traveling lifestyle.

You are doing the right thing by enlisting the folks on this forum. Going used has many advantages. We have been in our 2015 23' FB Flying Cloud continuously for 10 months with two dogs (under 20#) and everything is now "dialed in". Ours was purchased new at the end of the model year with a price advantage however selection was limited. We purchased a 2016 Silverado (gas with a tow package and cap) which serves us well towing all over the mountainous west. As we love the National Parks, spending lots of time outdoors, and boon-docking the 23' has been ideal. The queen bed works for us and entertaining inside is not important. Thoreau's living room was the forest. So is ours. A 25' may work better for your life situation but of course is more $$$ and not as easy to find a spot to park. Good luck in your quest.
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Old 10-29-2016, 12:28 PM   #9
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Buying used is very sound advice. I sold my 2014 23D two weeks ago via an ad on Airstreamclassifieds.com, a part of Airforums.com. You could save a substantial amount over MSRP minus discount.

Most/many used late models are in excellent condition. Airstream are a very hearty breed and most owner tend to baby their trailers.
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Old 10-29-2016, 12:50 PM   #10
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We just bought a new 2017 FC 23D. No prior experience, and trailer won't even be delivered until December. So not much experience other than boat and work trailer towing.

We looked at new and used, the price difference wasn't enough for us to go used, and my wife likes new houses and cars. If money is an issue I would have gone used, but we are at a fortunate place where we can afford the new.

We have the dogs and two kids, so we got the bunk version. We will only be extended camping, 7-10 days, not living. We looked a lot and spent a lot of time in them looking etc. I know it's not the same as actually using it and living in it, but we liked the setup as you described. Our only concern was the. Ed in back is SMALL compared to the king in the house.

If it was just me and the wife full time, I would have ginw with the 23FB, bigger queen bed, and we really liked the bathroom in the back.

Maybe in 11 years when the last kids graduates high school....
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Old 10-29-2016, 12:56 PM   #11
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We just traded in a new 18 ft retro looking travel trailer for an Airstream Flying Cloud 25 FB. Our TV is a 2016 MB GLE350 diesel [towing capacity is 7200 lbs.]. CanAm RV beefed up our factory installed hitch, added one more anti sway bar, we now have two and put on a weight distribution hitch. Having increased our length of trailer by 7 feet and 2000 plus pounds, I feel more comfortable driving the AS than the retro 18 footer.
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Old 10-29-2016, 01:07 PM   #12
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If buying used and intend to finance, make sure you talk to your bank first to determine how they will value the used trailer and what percentage of that value will they loan you.

Most banks use the NADA wholesale value as the basis. It is usually much lower than the true market value.
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Old 10-29-2016, 02:22 PM   #13
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Wife and I have a 2015 23FB International Sig. and love it, it has plenty / a ton of storage. We are old (60's) and getting in and out of the front bed by the window can be a PITA. The FB's bed is a queen, the 23D's is a full. I recommend a two axle unit, they are more stable.

We have two big Labs and things are very tight with the two dogs if the weather is nasty.

We just ordered a 30' Flying Cloud because we are two years from retirement and will be spending the winters in the south.

So our 23 FB is for sale, it has the full awning package which really keeps the sun from baking through the windows.

There is a big price difference between 2015 and 2016 23' AS. 2015's do not have ducted A/C and the 2016's do. That added about $6,500.00 to the retail price. The non ducted A/C's are noisier when running.

Anyhow that is my 0.02 worth.
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Old 10-29-2016, 02:24 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lindaebrewer View Post
Lv our 23 FC FB - but had to take out U-dinnette and replace w goucho couch to get there. Fold-up table for dining/working/corresponding/counter space. FC = great storage. Full bath across back has window that opens & separate shower. Double!!! sink crucial for dry camping/boondocking.
Husband tracked down previously leased 2013 Yukon XL Denali w tow package (in my mind most important item on a tow vehicle) as TV.
Photo of revised interior on photo page.
Hi lindaebrewer, we have a 23FC and just love it. Could you send a pic of your gaucho couch? I'm trying to figure out how to make one and maybe your pic can help.
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Old 10-29-2016, 03:33 PM   #15
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Hello! We just purchased a Flying Cloud 23 FB. We've only had 1 weekend trip in it so far so we are certainly not experts. We traded way up from a SylvanGo tent camper. You really need to go and sit in the different models if possible. Also make a list of needs, wants, and things you can compromise on. For us a queen bed that I could get in and out of without climbing over my husband was a non negotiable. The little bit of lounger you get with a 23D was not enough to sell me on the smaller bed and corner bath. The 23fb has a great bath across the back. We love to sit outside so the lounger was no biggie for us. We love national parks and want the ease of towing. The 23 ft AS was the largest we could tow safely with our grand Cherokee summit diesel. Everyone is different of course. We are not retired yet. Maybe when we are in a few years we will want to trade up. Good luck!
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Old 10-29-2016, 03:44 PM   #16
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I have had 23' International, 25', 30' Classic, and a 34' Classic.
With that being said, I do have a little experience. One of the main item that you ask advise on was the 22'-23', the 23' will be cramped with two dogs. The plus side is staying with two axles. The negative side is, you will not be able to go from a 14" wheel a 16"wheel, with out a lot expense, with ether one. The 16" will give you a lot more flexibility in the type of tire that can be used.
So making a long story short, I would go with a 25' Safari, it would be big enough for a couple, and your dogs, would lend itself to many up grades like wheels and tires. And is no harder to pull then the smaller trailers. The 25' will give you a lot of flexibility in your floor plan. Hope this helps.
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Old 10-29-2016, 04:23 PM   #17
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To answer one of the original questions: we've owned both a seven-foot wide, single-axle Airstream (our Argosy Minuet) and an eight-foot wide, tandem-axle one. We didn't notice much of a difference in towing ease or stability, other than the piece of mind that came with the second axle.

You can't really upgrade to 16" wheels on a 23' (because they typically have six-lug bolt patterns compared to the five-lug hubs on a 23'), but you can get 15" wheels that improve upon the standard 14" ones and their typical Goodyear Marathon tires. (We did that modification to our trailer.)

We are pretty happy with our 23' trailer, but I do wonder if you'd want something with more open floor space (say, a 25' twin) for long trips with the two dogs.
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Old 10-29-2016, 07:05 PM   #18
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We bought the 23'D model and enjoyed it. The rear bed is a bit small. We were OK though would have enjoyed a couple extra inches of width. The W/C area is very tight. I can just manage to use the toilet "and" have the door closed. The wife is OK. The four wheel units are easy to trailer. I think they are easier than the two wheel units. I can't be more specific because our other model AS is a 16' Sport and 16' is different from 23' regardless of 4 vs 2 wheels. The 16' Bambis is a piece of cake to trailer. Bottom line, the 23D International Serenity is a beautiful unit with a "few" issues. I recommend it.
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Old 10-29-2016, 07:58 PM   #19
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We recently chose between the 23 D, 23 FB and the 25 FB. The 25 FB is so much more trailer for a mere 2' longer and 5.5" wider. The floor plan is similar to the 23 FB but with a functional dinette table instead of the U table. If you are going to spend that much time in it, the extra storage and larger floor space will go a long way. It won't change the towing vehicle. Any half ton truck or larger suv can pull either trailer. Avoid the 23 D, the bed it too small at 48" wide. The 23 FB and 25 FB have a real queen size at 60". Our 22' had the 48" size bed and drove us crazy.
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Old 10-29-2016, 08:16 PM   #20
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Greetings,

Most anything that could be said has already been shared but I wanted to share from a blog I read when I was shopping about RV living and pets. A gentleman wrote a good argument for a 25' size when he shared about his dog - he found that his space had to be considered too- floor space. He ended up recommending a 23 or larger for one dog. He was speaking of RVs in general, but just a thought. It is best to grand spend time trying out everything in the floorplans to get a "feel" for living. Imagine the dogs laying around and if there would be adequate space to walk around with them. Some models have little floor space and more cabinetry.
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