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Old 01-03-2016, 07:18 AM   #1
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2016 27' Flying Cloud
Hartsburg , Missouri
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Buying our first airstream, 23, 25,or 27?

After weeks of looking at other trailers we finally looked at airstreams and knew right away nothing else would do. We have narrowed our search to preowned, 2000 or newer, front queen bed and rear dinnette. We are currently debating between 23, 25, and 27 ft models. Have pretty much ruled out the 23 because we like the extra couch space with the dinnette in the longer models (but like its lighter weight). Like the bed orientation better on the 27', and the tongue weight is actually lower, so is there any reason we should be hesitant to step up from 25 to 27? Tow vehicle is currently a Tundra, but plan to upgrade that in future to whatever we need. Will be retiring in a few years and plan to travel a couple months a year. We are so glad we found this forum, its a wealth of knowledge and great people!
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Old 01-03-2016, 07:40 AM   #2
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Kansas City , Missouri
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Congratulations on your decision.

My first recommendation is to visit Bill Thomas RV in the St. Louis area. Jesse was our salesperson there. They were a very good dealer and have been in business a long time. Seeing units in person is very helpful.

(we also visited the dealer in Springfield MO and were underwhelmed with their knowledge). The dealer in Des Moines IA was very good also, but we preferred to give our business to an in-state company.

Second recommendation is to really study the full layouts, features, windows, storage, bathrooms, on the various models you are considering. By study I mean look at the Youtube videos and anything you can find on various dealer websites across the USA. Because the sales brochure with the floor plan can't convey the lines of sight where sunlight and open-ness differ on the units. How the storage differs between FC and other models. Also consider where there are operable windows. We went with a 22 (also true on the 23 front bed) in part because we wanted a window that opens in the bathroom.

You want to get to the point that you can see the outside of a unit, and know which unit it is based on window and vent locations. This will help you understand what is where in the units.

Literally make a list of all the items you will need to travel with, and determine how they would be stored in various models. If you want to be able to bring a weeks worth of food, is there room for that? Can you fit all items in the trailer, or will some need to be stored in the vehicle? Are you OK with that?

Another strong point to consider is if you will be traveling with dog(s), where will the dogs "go"? Is there space for them and still room for you to walk from bed to bathroom without having to step over a dog?

To answer your general question on size, personally --just my own, personal opinion* (not meant to start WW3 towing war) is that the Tundra (which is what I have) is great for a trailer up to a 23, but I would probably want more power for something 25 or larger. Especially because over mountain towing is very much a part of where we want to visit. Payload will be fairly maxed out at a 25 with gear.
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Old 01-03-2016, 07:50 AM   #3
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Whatever tow vehicle you decide on, remember that length does NOT always equal weight, especially with older models. The Tundra owners in this forum seem to like their vehicles and I am sure will be able to help with advice.

As far as livable length is concerned, there are many discussions about the perfect size on this forum. The general consensus appears to be, from what I've been reading, that the 27' models are the sweet spot for extended travelling.

We bought a 34' model because a: it was available at a great price and b: we got three kids. But we know that we'll be keeping it forever, even when the kids will be gone in the distant future. We love the space, we love the way it tows and we love the light weight of the 80' models.
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Old 01-03-2016, 08:08 AM   #4
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I had a 2010 Tundra 2x4, Double Cab with a load sticker payload of 1465lb. I have a 2008 Classic 25fb which has about 1100lbs of tongue weight and used an Equalizer hitch with 1000lb bars. The longest trips was out to Orlando in 2013 and a trip out to Utah in 2015. The Tundra has the power for a 25 and some owners are towing longer Airstreams. A 27 shouldn't be any different than my heavy Classic. The average hand calculated mileage towing to Utah and back was 11.9mpg. I try to keep it at 60mph.

Here is a video of my ascending I70 from Frisco, Co to the Eisenhower tunnel.
https://youtu.be/xMslHcUFfEo

You should be fine towing a 25 or 27 with your Tundra, as long as its the 5.7L version. Like you said you can upgrade later.

The summer I decided to change to a 3/4t truck and ended up with the 2014 Ram Cummins
The reason was in the near future we plan extended travels out west. I wanted 4x4 and more payload so I could switch from a tonneau cover to a camper shell which I felt would offer more storage flexibility. I went with diesel because the typical 3/4T chassis is 1000lbs + heavier than a 1/2T chassis. I figured the gas engine would be working harder when solo and towing so I decided to go diesel.

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Old 01-03-2016, 09:09 AM   #5
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Park City , Utah
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From our experience we bought a 23 foot corner bed 2 years ago. Used it for 4 months with 20 nights of camping and decided it was to small. Bought a 25' front queen bed and couldn't be happier. Tow with a tundra around the west a lot of hills no problems. No need for a bigger truck in my book. It's used with my wife and a 7 year old who sleeps on the couch.
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Old 01-03-2016, 10:30 AM   #6
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Go with the 27!

Quote:
Originally Posted by frthompson View Post
After weeks of looking at other trailers we finally looked at airstreams and knew right away nothing else would do. We have narrowed our search to preowned, 2000 or newer, front queen bed and rear dinnette. We are currently debating between 23, 25, and 27 ft models. Have pretty much ruled out the 23 because we like the extra couch space with the dinnette in the longer models (but like its lighter weight). Like the bed orientation better on the 27', and the tongue weight is actually lower, so is there any reason we should be hesitant to step up from 25 to 27? Tow vehicle is currently a Tundra, but plan to upgrade that in future to whatever we need. Will be retiring in a few years and plan to travel a couple months a year. We are so glad we found this forum, its a wealth of knowledge and great people!
Good for you! We purchase our first 23 foot Silver Cloud about two years ago and just 5 months ago we upgraded to a 28 Intl Serenity. I wish we had asked the same question! The larger unit is a joy to camp and the towing feels almost the same. We pulled the 23 with a Tundra w/Supercharger and now pull the 28 with a Chevy 3500 Duramax diesel. The towing is actually easier with the 28. The main thing is the comfort of the larger unit! If you are going to be spending lots of time...get big!!
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Old 01-03-2016, 10:37 AM   #7
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

First off, welcome the the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

As to your questions, we have some extensive experience with two of the Airstreams that you are considering. We have had three Airstreams over the past ten years. We have been out camping in our Airstreams for almost 1,800 nights and have towed them about 150,000 miles all over the United States.

We started off with a new 2005 Safari 25FB. This was the first year of the 25FB. There was no 27FB until a year or two after that. FB's did not exist in the early years of your search criteria. In 2013 we downsized to a used 2012 23FB. We had it for about a year, during which we spent 150 nights in it and towed it 15,000 miles. We decided it did not suit us as well as the 25 did. In 2014, we traded again on a new 2015 Flying Cloud 25FB. We are now up 200 nights in the new 25, and have towed it 20,000 miles. This is the Airstream that we are going to stay with.

The 27 is a great floor plan also. We just don't want to deal with the additional two feet. Our 25 fits nicely in the alley behind our house. A 27 footer would be too much for a comfortable fit.

We have towed with 3/4 ton Suburbans and A Silverado Duramax. These have done a great job. Your Tundra should be able to get you started and you can see how comfortable you are with a half ton platform.

Good luck in your quest. You are on the right track.

Brian
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Old 01-03-2016, 10:51 AM   #8
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Denver , North Carolina
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Bigger is always better if you have an adequate tow vehicle. Then it depends where you want to go. If you like nice parks with all the hook ups, then you will be glad for the extra space. If you have boondocking in mind 27" may pose its challenges. We have a 27" and wish we had a bit more room. Rainy days can make for a more than gloomy day especially if you are sharing that precious space with an 88 pound dog.
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Old 01-03-2016, 10:53 AM   #9
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Are you planning to stay in many state or national parks? If so, there seem to be many more spaces for trailers 25' and shorter. The longer the trailer, the harder to find a spot. Same with storage and parking.

If you're planning to buy used, be sure to read the threads on this forum about floor rot. See the thread I started about my '07 International. I love it now, but as the saying goes, I wish I knew then what I know now.

Glad to have you on board!
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Old 01-03-2016, 10:59 AM   #10
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My husband left it to me - and I liked the 27FB with the 2 night stands and orientation of the bed so you can see the full length of the trailer. The 23 was out because I wanted an icebox. Once we settled on the trailer, we decided on the truck.
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Old 01-03-2016, 11:08 AM   #11
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You are definitely on the right track with your choices of Airstream. If you take the time to look under the classified tag above, you will see that I have a beautiful 2014 27FB Flying Cloud, and, if interested, my 2015 GMC Sierra 2500HD SLT crew cab, including a matching bed cap and bed slide for sale. They are both in excellent condition, and I am only selling them because my wife and I have decided that a large class A would better fit our needs as full timers. My e-mail address is rgmhog1450@msn.com and phone, 717-682-4769. We plan to sell or trade both vehicles in Feb or March. Regardless, good luck in your search.
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Old 01-03-2016, 11:15 AM   #12
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Much of it depends upon your usage. We had a 25' FC and camped in NM, AZ, UT in the summer and having only 1 AC was not quite enough- barely got below 78 in the bedroom. We looked into getting a second AC installed, but once we heard how quiet the ducted AC is in the newer models, we bought a 2015 and went up to 30' International. (with the non-ducted AC units it is difficult to watch TV with the AC on full blast). I felt the 25' was big enough, but we hated the bed situation - too hard to get around the back of the bed. We looked at the 27's but the extra storage is hard to beat, plus we will have plenty of room for the grandkids they start tagging along in the next year or two. I tow with a 2014 5.7L Tundra 4x4 with tow package and could barely notice the difference between the 25 and 30'. Just this past summer I put over 7000 miles on it towing from MD to UT and NV and back. Many of us tow with Tundras on this forum. I just can't justify the added cost for diesel, and don't feel the need for a 3/4 ton. Might feel different if we were full timers, but now we usually do one 5 week trip every summer, and then at least one long weekend every warm month.
Here we are stopping over at a rest stop somewhere in Kansas.Click image for larger version

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Old 01-03-2016, 11:22 AM   #13
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23', 25',or 27'

Consider when making your bed, do you have any mobility problems? On our 25', after repeatedly whacking my head on the overhead storage and nearly knocking my self unconscious, we upsized to the 27'. Being able to walk around the bed to make it up is a real plus, and additional storage in the kitchen including a microwave is very welcome.
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Old 01-03-2016, 11:30 AM   #14
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From one who owns and loves a 23' Airstream, it is definitely on the small side.

The largest size difference between these three is the jump from the narrow-body 23' to the wide-body 25' (which is actually 26' long.) After that jump, the floor plan differences may be more important than size.
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Old 01-03-2016, 11:32 AM   #15
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We have extensive experience with two 25FB's. One was a queen and the other is a twin bed configuration. The queen was a little more difficult to make. The twins are significantly easier.

The twins have better outside storage. This is also true on the 27FB.

Brian
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Old 01-03-2016, 11:49 AM   #16
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One tiny fact: the 27FB is actually 1" longer than the 28. We love our 27FB, but don't choose it because you think it's shorter than the 28.
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Old 01-03-2016, 12:18 PM   #17
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Your first decision to opt for an Airstream is right on. You are very lucky to have happened on the Forum. You too will get great and diverse advice from our fellow posters.

We are about to complete our first year in our Flying Cloud 27 FB Twin. Yes TWIN. We really like the feeling of spaciousness we get...look down the entire center of the trailer and you will see. You can easily get to the overhead storage. Beds are easy to make. If you are camping with a group it becomes a second gathering room with two sofas and a TV! We usually make the front dining area up as a lounge area with lots of pillows. Super comfy and great cuddle space.

It's usually the two of us. We have and will do one or two 2 week trips per year and weekend outings on the other 10 months. We normally utilize national and state parks so have already learned lots about dry camping. All is good with our FB 27 Twin for this application. Storage issues never a problem. In fact we have empty cupboards all the time. Only challenge has been our single AC unit. When Very hot it cannot do the job. The non colored aluminum exterior absorbs much more heat than a white painted box trailer. We opted to install a second awning and the problem minimized.

We opted for a Ford 3/4 ton diesel for tow duties. We live in California and are doing lots of mountain driving in the Sierras and Rockies. Driving is safe, quiet and effortless. If you are unaware, diesels can employ an "Engine brake" to assist in maintaining a safe downhill speed. IM EVEN COMFORTABLE WITH MY LOVELY WIFE DOING HER SHARE OF THE MOUNTAIN DRIVING!

Lastly...Rex and Rosie (Our truck and Airstream) are great conversation starters whoever we go. People are ALWAYS interested.

Best of luck. What ever you choose to do you will surely have a great time.
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Old 01-03-2016, 12:24 PM   #18
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Airstream Size Considerations

Quote:
Originally Posted by moosetags View Post
We have extensive experience with two 25FB's. One was a queen and the other is a twin bed configuration. The queen was a little more difficult to make. The twins are significantly easier.

The twins have better outside storage. This is also true on the 27FB.

Brian
We looked at 25/27/28, liked the 27 best (microwave); energetically agree with Brian's recommendation to think carefully about twin beds with additional walking/co-exist space vs. double bed, but twin beds must be ordered specially. They're worth it. WRT towing, has been my experience a properly powered and equipped half-ton will comfortably pull up to the 27', probably the 28 too. Lots of folks tow with standard small block V-8s or Ford Ecoboost in the half-ton's comfortably, but if you expect to boondock (with tanks other than empty) and/or get close to max towing weight, a diesel or big V8 motor avoids the feeling you're beating the horses to keep up speed. Choosing a tow vehicle is the subject that produces the widest range of opinions. Whatever you use, we're fortunate the Airstream, due to its design, weight and shape, allows workarounds in tow vehicles other brands wouldn't have room for. Good luck, welcome to the forum. 66c
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Old 01-03-2016, 12:33 PM   #19
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FORGET THE 25' FB!! GO WITH THE 27'er.
The "East-West" bed in it is very comfortable but is a real 'bitch' to get in and out of on the Fwd. side. (3" clearance between bed/wall)
[I too hit my head on the storage bins several times]
Also, I found the storage space to be rather sparse, after upgrading from a 23' Hi-Lo that had 'tons' of storage space.
So, I traded in my 25' 2015 'Cloud for a 30' 2016 'Cloud. It has a "North-South" bed that is easier to get in and out of.
It has much more usable storage space, especially outside. and while I haven't had it 'out' yet, (It's In Winter Storage at CanAm), it towed pretty well with my Ford F-150 EcoBoost, during the trial run.
When checking out the various sizes, check the floor plans for little things like Wardrobe width/size, and does the bedroom have a closet or nightstand bedside. Go for the closet. I went to a 30' over the 27' for those reasons; bigger wardrobe etc.
The extra weight of the 30' was negledgable, and within the Ford's ability.
I'm looking forward to some very comfortable usage this year.
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Old 01-03-2016, 12:34 PM   #20
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We were in your position, just getting ready to retire. We went to alumapalooza last year not owning a trailer. Lot's of people had their trailers open to look at and there were all sizes of new ones on display. We decided on the 27 because of the bedroom layout. I pull it with a chevy tahoe and so far we are satisfied. I think you will be fine with the tundra, you may slow down going up large mountains but personally i'm not in any hurry.
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