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Old 01-03-2016, 12:50 PM   #21
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Walnut Creek , California
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This decision is a compromise. When you go big it's harder to get into and out of tight spaces. Bigger costs more, maybe not for the coach, but certainly in fuel consumption and the purchase price of a tow vehicle. The positive is more space, easier tire upgrade path, bigger tanks, bigger refrigerators, and in some ways a nicer looking trailer (full windows on both ends look nice). What is not to like?

The problem with used is availability. Travel is your friend. Do not feel you have to purchase local. Find the coach you want, verify it's condition (yes, they leak), budget for upgrades, and enjoy the smiles.

Good luck with your search and travel safe. Pat
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Old 01-03-2016, 12:58 PM   #22
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2014 30' Classic
Princeton , Iowa
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One thing on the forum you will get a lot of opinions. Well my opinion is that I like our 30' Classic the best. I pulled ours with a Tundra 5.7 and then went down to a 5.3 Silverado and am happy with it. The Tundra was great, but I "busted"it. I get around with the 30' fine. Some one mentioned Youtube vidios. The dealer in New Jersey does a fantastic job on them. Only you can decide, but take the extra money on big TV and put it in the trailer.
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Old 01-03-2016, 01:08 PM   #23
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2016 27' Flying Cloud
Olympia , Washington
Join Date: Nov 2015
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Our RV & Airstream Story ---

Dear New Member,

This fall, my sweetie & I (both retired) traded-in our 32 ft 5th wheel for an AS, before which we did a lot of reviewing & shopping. Initially, our plan was to buy a FC 23 FB. Eventually, we went to our local dealer, AS Adventures NW, in the Seattle area, & did the whole tour of AS trailers from smallest to largest. While we continued to want a Flying Cloud, we quickly became impressed with how much more spacious a 25 was relative to a 23; the 25 (and the 27) has a floor plan that works for us remarkably better than that of the 23. Also, we found that the 25 weighed approx. 700 pounds more, which we thought would not result in much effect in its towability, and costs approx. $6,000 (perhaps 10%) more. Also, a number of dealers either stated or intimated that a 25 was the smallest trailer they would recommend for a couple who wanted to use the trailer for more than occasional camping. This recommendation has since been strengthened by reading similar recommendations from other members on Air Forums. All in all, we concluded that the 25's benefits far outweighed its relative disadvantages (additional weight, length, & cost). Therefore, our plans for getting a 23 became superseded.

Between the two of us, we've had a number of RVs, from my old 8 ft Lance camper on a F-150 to my sweetie's & her ex-husband's Winnebago and then 45 ft Prevost motor coach (at approx. $1.5M), so we wanted the next one for both of us to be "our last RV." Furthermore, numbers of dealers told us that RV owners typically "trade-up" after several years, and we wanted this RV to become "our last RV" & this transaction to be "our last trade-up." Particularly after having bought the 5th wheel, which turned out to be a mistake for us, it became worth it to us to spend a little more time and money than we had anticipated to get what we hoped would be "our last RV." At that point, we began looking at the 27, the 28, & the 30. The layouts of the latter two didn't work for us (the dinette opposite the kitchen didn't work for us), but we found the 27 to have a couple of features we liked: a wrap-around double bed and approx. 2 ft more storage area in the kitchen & clothes-closet areas, at an increased weight of approx. 600 lbs. and an additional cost of approx. $6,000 (another 10%). Also, one long-time AS owner (currently a 25) & dealer told us that a constant problem with the "equatorial" (east/west) bed layout in the 25 is that the person sleeping next to the wall has a hard time getting out of bed in the middle of the night (which, as old geezers, we do), and the person sleeping next to the window invariably hits his or her head on the overhead storage bins when getting out of bed (ouch!) --- and also that the "longitudinal" (north/south) bed is far more easily made (because it has access on both of its sides). I asked him why he had not moved up from a 25 to a 27, & he replied that most of his trailering was spent boondocking on one-lane, narrow, forest trails, and he thought the 25 was more maneuverable than the 27 for that. Therefore, we turned our attention from the 25 to the 27.

When our local dealer quoted us a price on the 27 that seemed excessive to me, I began calling dealers from NJ, through OH & IL, & throughout the west coast. When a dealer in central CA (Toscano RV) gave us a quote on the 27 around the retail price of a 23 & also offered to buy our 5th wheel at a reasonable price, we thought the drive down to central CA from Seattle was worth saving the $7,000 relative to what our local dealer has quoted us for a 27 (and who would take the 5th wheel as a trade-in only at a substantial discount). Thus, we got the 27 & an unplanned vacation in central & northern CA, OR, & back home (along with a new AS & no more 5th wheel, thank God --- the smaller, lighter AS works much, much better for us than the larger, heavier 5th wheel, whose two slide-outs we don't really miss).

To tow the 5th wheel, at 9,000 lb dry, we had bought a 2015 Ram 2500 Laramie crew-cab 4x4 short box w/Cummins diesel. When we got the AS, we added the dealer's recommended Blue Ox anti-sway hitch, at approx $600, which I installed in less than an hour. What I can say is that the combination of the Ram, the Blue Ox, & the AS 27 really works for us; I have no problem driving it 500-600 miles/day --- it's like the trailer's not even there (except for the extra weight, which the Ram diesel handles uneventfully). My only regret is the marginal mpg. Driving the Ram at 60-65 mph dry, we get 20-22 mpg; towing the AS reduces that to 13-15. Perhaps I should be glad; towing the 5th wheel, we got 10-12 mpg.

An addendum: Perhaps I should add that I have a 150 lb Harlequin Great Dane & my sweetie has a 15 lb Shih Tzu, both of whom are avid travelers & fit comfortably in the 27, and the extra (what is actually an extra approx. 3) feet of the 27 relative to the 25 is mostly in the middle of the trailer & doesn't add significant extra accommodation for the dogs; so for the dogs alone, the 25 would have worked just as well.

Especially if you intend to use the trailer for any significant time as a couple, I hope you'll give the 25 another look. My best to you two however you choose to proceed.


Richard Wills
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Old 01-03-2016, 01:17 PM   #24
Flying Cloud 27
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Union Hall , Virginia
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We went in to buy the FC 25, but liked the layout of the 27 better. It's easy enough to pull....I do it with a Sequoia.
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Old 01-03-2016, 02:31 PM   #25
2014 30' International
Scarborough , Ontario
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 28
We went through the same agonizing process for three years, until we found Airstream. That solved the question of which manufacturer!
Next came:which model.
We asked, we consulted the Forum, we talked to dealers, all adding more thoughts each time, but no answers!
Then we started asking a question of long time owners and dealers: "When folk trade in their Airstream what do they replace it with?" By far the majority said "with a longer model".
So, as we can't afford either the time or the money to experiment and keep changing, we went straight to a 30' International. Our TV is a 2012 F150 Ecoboost.
The two of us are happy as heck and convinced we made the right choice. Yep, the 30' can't get into every campground, but that's not been a problem, and pulling a 30' is really no different than a shorter one once you get used to it (100 miles is enough!).
That's what we did in your situation, and we have no regrets.
Best of luck - you will love your Airstream!
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Old 01-03-2016, 03:06 PM   #26
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2010 27' FB International
Mechanicsburg , Pennsylvania
Join Date: May 2011
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When we first started looking I thought the 25 foot option would be best. But we ended up finding a gem of a 2010 27ft Intl CCD FB and it has been perfect for us as our first Airstream. We travel with a small cat but my wife is a crafter so the extra space is priceless. The walk around bed and two night stands make the bedroom highly restful and comfortable.

Our original tow vehicle was a 2012 Chevy Silverado 1500 with the 5.3 V-8 and tow package. It was adequate but after a trip from Cental PA to Jackson Center, OH, I felt the need for more in terms of power and load carrying capability. So I upgraded to a 2012 Silverado 2500 HD diesel: wonderful match of power for moving and stopping. About the same MPG when not towing and about 2MPG better towing.

Congratulations on your upcoming adventures! I think you'll be thrilled once you find your Airstream. Message me if you have any specific questions about our quest and I'll be happy to reply
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Old 01-03-2016, 03:40 PM   #27
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Looks like you're getting lots of input! It's a sign of welcome from the AS community.

We went through the same decision. Finally concluded the corner bed 23 wasn't to our liking and the 27 was nice but so was a 30' AS or a big diesel pusher motorhome. The goldilocks method told us the 25 was just right. Time has proven that to be true for us.

Our TV is a 2014 Tundra crewmax with the 5.7. We've been to 11,000 feet in the Rockies (which is a 10,995' climb from our home in Florida). We can cruise at 75 on flat ground (but I won't tell you what that does to the MPG of a Tundra) I have not felt we were under-trucked. However, we are a couple and the Eddie Bauer is easy to load with stuff that other folks might put in the truck bed. I have put our rig ready-to-camp on the scales are we are at max weight on the truck. If we had more gear, bigger dogs or a couple of teenagers we would have to get a truck with more payload.

All the best with your decision and your AS adventures!
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Old 01-03-2016, 04:00 PM   #28
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2012 25' Flying Cloud
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For long-term use, know that Airstream seating is currently all flat plywood benches with a cushion on it. (With the exception of the Classic which has a sofa.)

25 (which is really 26) comes in rear or front bed. New 26U is rear bed. 27 and 28 (which are both really 28) come in rear or front bed. All offer twin bed option. Owners like their front bed for the rear view, owners like their traditional rear bed for the practical reasons.

We like our 25RB (smallest of the large Airstreams) for it's great tow ability with a half-ton truck or SUV, good combo for the money if money matters and great maneuverability. Traveling six months every year, we upgraded many items. Our best money went into improved seating for comfort and a Hensley/ProPride hitch for safe and effortless towing.
Doug and Cheryl
2012 FC RB, Michelin 16, ProPride 1400
2016 Ram 1500 Laramie Crew Cab 4X4 Ecodiesel 3.92 axles

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Old 01-03-2016, 05:46 PM   #29
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2006 25' Safari FB SE
Livingston , Texas
Join Date: Mar 2015
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This is definitely 'to each their own' but fun to see what others like. My next Airstream will have ducted air, windows that tip out fully, a bed that orients side to side (One that faces the other end of the trailer feels claustrophobic to me), two fans, full size wardrobe, an oven and no dinette, plus it has to be the wide body.
There are no bad choices.
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Old 01-03-2016, 06:16 PM   #30
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2016 27' Flying Cloud
Hartsburg , Missouri
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 412
Wow what a response

Thanks everyone for your input and knowledge. You've confirmed a lot of our suspicions and gave us some new things to think about, like considering 28' too. We're not afraid to travel to get what we want and flexible enough to go with what turns about to be the best deal. We know we can get by to start with our Tundra, but when it comes time to buy a new truck in the next year or two I suspect we will pursue something with more payload,and will give more thought to the idea of considering diesel. Will post what we end up for both a trailer and tow vehicle.
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Old 01-03-2016, 07:22 PM   #31
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2004 25' Safari
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1968 17' Caravel
Fountain Valley , California
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I would recommend the 25' if you are going to be keeping your existing tow vehicle for awhile. If you decide to upgrade the tow vehicle to a 3/4 ton, then the 27' would also be great.

Without going into details, I had a 27' and was towing with a 1/2 ton pickup so was pretty much at it's maximum load. I towed with it for several years, but wound up rolling the 27'. Still have the 1/2 ton pickup (Silverado) but replaced the 27'AS with a 25'AS. The 27' had appreciably more storage space than the 25', but that in itself can be a problem if you aren't judicious in what you pack on board.

A great improvement with any 1/2 ton pickup is to replace the tires on the pickup with the higher pressure tires like the ones that come with the 3/4 or 1-ton pickups. The more rigid sidewalls appreciable increase the anti-sway characteristics of the tow (of course you need the anti-sway trailer hitches as well).

P.S. Originally bought the 1/2 ton pickup as was towing our 17'AS which we also still have.
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Old 01-04-2016, 09:44 AM   #32
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2013 30' Classic
Greenwood , Mississippi
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None of the above...
Get a 30'...
2013 Classic 30 Limited
2007 Silver Toyota Tundra Crew Max Limited 5.7 iForce
2006 Vivid Black Harley-Davidson Road King Classic
1999 Black Nissan Pathfinder LE
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Old 01-04-2016, 10:34 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by m.hony View Post
None of the above...
Get a 30'...
Which always reminds me . . . when we are in camp we often think a larger camper would be terrific and we should get one (this often leads to a larger tow vehicle). Then we get out on the road touring the country, getting into gas stations, parking lots and camp sites, we are thankful for what we have.

We like them all, different sizes at different times, noting that all Airstreams are tiny by today's RV standards.
Doug and Cheryl
2012 FC RB, Michelin 16, ProPride 1400
2016 Ram 1500 Laramie Crew Cab 4X4 Ecodiesel 3.92 axles

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Old 01-04-2016, 10:41 AM   #34
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Our original Airstream was a 25' Classic twins, we loved it. It had the best usable area, great storage space, never felt cramped. But, we saw the new 30 Classic and really wanted the queen bed, so that is what we have. There are things I really liked about the 25, but overall glad we have the 30. I honestly think you would be happy with any Airstream 25' and up.
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Old 01-04-2016, 10:52 AM   #35
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2004 30' Classic Slideout
Fenton , Missouri
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One of the biggest reasons for trade in's is size. Personally space and interior layout will be the biggest factors for you, especially since you are planning some extended travel. Since you are considering a larger tow vehicle for the future, I'd go with the 27' model if you can find an interior layout that works well for you. I've had two Airstreams, first a 27' model and now a 30'. 3 feet of additional storage were very much welcomed. Especially since we have a couple of dogs underfoot. While we have not used any national park campgrounds, we have never found that having a 30' trailer limiting as far as available sites to camp in.

Jack Canavera
AIR #56 S/OS#15
'04 Classic 30' S.O.,'03 GMC Savana 2500,'14 Honda CTX 700
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Old 01-04-2016, 11:04 AM   #36
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2012 25' Flying Cloud
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I would agree any Airstream 25 and up would be ideal for retirement travel. At that size you get the wider body, larger tires and brakes, larger tank storage, ducted furnace, a little more living room to spend evenings in, and heavier axles to carry it all.
Doug and Cheryl
2012 FC RB, Michelin 16, ProPride 1400
2016 Ram 1500 Laramie Crew Cab 4X4 Ecodiesel 3.92 axles

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Old 01-04-2016, 11:27 AM   #37
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2014 28' International
undisclosed , Idaho
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We went with 28' for our first AS, which, oddly enough, is one inch shorter (27'11") than the 27' AS. The main reason we went with the 28' was the living room set up. You could comfortably lounge on the L-shaped sectional without having to dismantle the dining table (which on the 28' is separate and not part of the main couch). I believe weight of 27' and 28' is the same. Good luck!
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Old 09-15-2016, 06:36 PM   #38
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Eugene , Oregon
Join Date: Sep 2016
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great thread -- have enjoyed reading all of the responses
We are close to purchasing a (new) 2016 signature with front bedroom
Torn between the 25' and 27'
My only hesitation about the 27' is the limitations at national parks and other campgrounds -- is this really the case?? I have never seen restrictions but before this (upcoming) wasn't watching
We'd like to park the trailer in campsites (even if no hookups) and don't want to limit our options

I've started looking at the (few) park websites trying to ascertain how often the sites are limited to 25' and haven't found any yet


thanks in advance
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Old 09-15-2016, 06:46 PM   #39
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I think the limitation is mainly in older national parks.

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2013 Classic 30 Limited
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Old 09-15-2016, 07:25 PM   #40
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The only limitations in NP's is the guy in a 60' space with a tent.
This is the strangest life I've ever known - J. Morrison

2015 Airstream International Serenity 27FB
Chevy Silverado 2500HD Duramax Diesel

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