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Old 05-03-2016, 07:57 AM   #1
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2018 23' International
Hingham , Massachusetts
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Flying Cloud 19, 20, or 23D

Please help!

The more I've researched, stalked, obsessed - the more confused I am. I thought we were 100% ready to purchase a new 23D last week. Seriously ready. I'm having second thoughts because I love the idea of a Bambi. But I'm so torn.

Any input on FC v. International Signature would be welcome too. We were 100% FC and now I'm second guessing that.

2 Adults (5'5 & 6'0)
1 son 19 (5'10)
1 son 17 (5'10)
1 dog 40 lbs wet!

Tow Vehicle: AudiQ7 or VW Tourareg

If we use the TT 100 times, here is my gut for occupancy:

4 of us: 5 times (w dog probably)
3 of us: 20 times (w/ dog probably)
2 of us: 40 times (w/ dog half of the time)
Just 1!: 30 times (w/ dog a few times)

Hopefully this second guessing is normal. This is our first purchase after years of dreaming. We have rented RV's. But never a TT.

Thanks in advance!
Jaime
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Old 05-03-2016, 08:36 AM   #2
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I'm not a fan of the corner bed in the 19 or 23d. Its only 48" wide, looks like it would be difficult bed to make and one would be crawling over the other.

I can't see 4 people in a 20'. Two can't sleep in the dinette and the front bed is still only 48".

The 23d has the 48" corner bed but at least it has the ability to sleep your two boys on the lounge and dinette area.

So I thnk if you guys can sleep in the corner bed then the 23d would be your best choice unless you think you tow vehicle could tow a 25. If it can I'd recommend you look at a twin bed version for comparison. When we moved from our Casita 17' fiberglass trailer to Airstream we looked at a 20, 23d, 23fb and decided to look for 25 floorplans. We ended up having to get a new tow vehicle.

As for Flying Cloud vs International its just a mater of which cabinet finish and cabinet style you like. The FC has the enclosed cabinet doors while International has the sliding door translucent doors. I'm not sure the price difference is justified between the two trims.

We stumbled onto our 2008 Classic 25fb and really love the hickory cabinetry. We looked at new Flying Clouds, Internationals including the Serenity and we are glad we have the hickory cabinets. We've decided to spend the money to have a twin bed renovation vs selling it and purchasing a FC with twins.

Kelvin
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Old 05-03-2016, 09:56 AM   #3
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Mohnton , Pennsylvania
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Welcome to the Airstream community!
Noticed you plan camping primarily as two adults and one pup.
And my two cents worth based on our very positive experiences
with two years ownership and 5,000 miles/250 nights camped
in our FC 20' FB ......we love it!
We are not large size people and fit fine in the 48" wide bed.
We have traveled for lengths of time 4-94 days at a time.
Traveled all seasons (yes hauling winter and summer clothing) and
our TV is a VW Touareg (great mileage 15-17 mpg towing)
with more than adequate storage space for all our gear.
Suggest spending more time at your dealer and find your best fit.
Closing the door of your favorite model and visualizing yourself in
your shiny tiny home on wheels will be your best outcome!
Have seen many here on the forum suggest "go as big as you can"
others recommend using a tent for extra sleeping space.
We enjoy the comfy but minimalistic approach!
Happy adventures await,
FCloud9
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Old 05-03-2016, 10:19 AM   #4
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I absolutely love my Flying Cloud 20. It's the right size, cuter than a bugs ear and has the most awesome galley I have ever seen in an Airstream. It comfortably sleeps 3-4 and has everything I need. I love that it fits in smaller camp spaces that larger trailers can't get into and that opens up lots more camping options.
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Old 05-03-2016, 10:29 AM   #5
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2014 20' Flying Cloud
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Welcome to the forum! I recommend you take as many of your family as you can muster, and go see new trailers in person and in dog. The 19 and 20, and probably the 23 also, are going to seem too small IMO.

Full scale inspection will make your dilemma very real very quickly.

Talking about this here could quickly lead to "analysis paralysis."

Good luck,

Peter

PS and ditto to Steve about the galley in the FC20, but not for more than 2 people IMO. Plus dog.
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Old 05-03-2016, 10:42 AM   #6
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Wildwood , Missouri
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We camped in a pop up for many years. When my two sons got into their teens I bought a very nice four man tent from REI. They put cots in it, and were much more comfortable than in the pop up with Mom and Dad. We took 90% of our meals outside on the picnic table with tarp over it. We could all fit inside at the table, if we needed to.
We started with a 19' Bambi, but the corner bed, and the very tight bathroom were not working for us. They seemed fine at the dealer. (Im 6'5" though).
I would go with the most room you can pull safely. I've seen several other posts from folks that went to a larger trailer from the Bambi. (There are a lot that have gone from a 23 to a 25 also).
Jeff
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Old 05-03-2016, 10:58 AM   #7
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Best advise that I received on this forum was to go one size bigger then I thought I would need. The price difference was not enough to be a deciding factor so I went bigger.
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Old 05-03-2016, 10:58 AM   #8
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Looks like 4 people is the minority. Have you considered a 23D Bunk? Adds an extra bed over the queen so only have to make up the dinette when traveling with 4. Not sure of the weight restriction for the bunk, saw a post that said the weight limit for a 30' bunkhouse was 150lbs.

If you are thinking of twin beds, the smallest is a 25'.


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Old 05-03-2016, 11:03 AM   #9
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2016 23' Flying Cloud
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Vote for 23D FC

Heard the International sliding doors open while traveling. Don't know if true or not. We have a 2016 23D FC and love it.
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Old 05-03-2016, 12:10 PM   #10
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2018 23' International
Hingham , Massachusetts
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Thank you so much! I wish we lived closer to a dealership. Every reply was helpful. I'll keep you posted. My gut is we'll end up with the 23D. I actully like the bunk idea just for storage. None of us would fit in the bunk. Well, Tessie would! The dog. Just don't want to much Airstream when it's just me! That is single handily my sticking point. We love tents... Thanks again! Jaime
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Old 05-03-2016, 12:21 PM   #11
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We had a 20. For your needs anything less than a 25 will keep you second guessing as long as you own it. It's far more spacious, has more liquid storage tank capacity, larger tires and brakes, the 25 has 15" tires, self-adjusting brakes and Never-Lube bearings, you will hardly notice the difference towing except that it will be a little more stable.

Two axles provide better braking, and if you have a flat you can proceed to a safer spot to change it, or remove one wheel and proceed to a tire repair shop at reduced speed to let them change it.

The 25's can also be modified to your changing life needs, twin/queen bed conversions, seating conversions between dinette, sofa, or recliners. It's all the trailer you will ever need.

Many report very good results towing this with A7/Touareg, we use a Ram pickup with the small 3.0 diesel and it's very satisfying in performance and economy. If you need to carry the whole bunch at once and a bunch of gear, have them meet you at the campground with their car.
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Old 05-03-2016, 12:45 PM   #12
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We currently own a 19' Bambi and a 23'FB, though I will probably sell the Bambi in the near future. As soon as I can emotionally let it go.

The Bambi served us well for eight years and we love how cozy it is. But the 23FB is just more functional. It has a 60"x75" bed that is not only larger, but there is access on three sides and easier to make up. 39gal fresh water tank vs. 23gal in the Bambi, a separate bath area, plus a lot more storage, larger refrigerator, counter space and increase in Net Carrying Capacity (NCC) of over 500lbs.

We also prefer the narrower profile than the larger models.

We are a party of two plus dog.
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Old 05-03-2016, 12:51 PM   #13
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We have 19", love it. When we have four grandchildren, they go in tent right outside door.

I was very very confused. I went and put deposit on a hardly used top of line 25'. When I went to pick it up the fabreeze smell was gone and let's just say there had been no winterization for a few years. It was perfect otherwise, but I walked away. My personality had me desparate for an Airstream, it was December in NJ!

Next I found a brand new 25' , great price. Put deposit down site unseen. I got cold feet thinking of pulling that long for my needs( I use for work travel 160 nights a season, plus vacations). I called next day and the dealer very graciously returned my deposit.

Then my sister found the one I have now
in Va. Price was fine, we met half way. There are blemishes on skin That were not disclosed to me ( never use brillo to remove sap). It was not a deal breaker. We start Season four in Airstream on Sunday wih Trip to KY. I am very very happy with what I have and it works for me, although still like that 23D!

So confusion and doubt can be part of process, it was for me.
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Old 05-03-2016, 12:58 PM   #14
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2014 20' Flying Cloud
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jck_dmb View Post
Thank you so much! I wish we lived closer to a dealership. Every reply was helpful. I'll keep you posted. My gut is we'll end up with the 23D. I actully like the bunk idea just for storage. None of us would fit in the bunk. Well, Tessie would! The dog. Just don't want to much Airstream when it's just me! That is single handily my sticking point. We love tents... Thanks again! Jaime
The local chapter of the WBCCI (*) is having events in Hingham and Plymouth in September, although you may want to purchase before then. I would guess that you could locate local Airstreams to check out before then through this chapter.

http://newengland.wbcci.net/calendar1/

Good luck,

Peter

(*) Wally Byam Caravan Club International -- the original AS social and caravaning organization.

http://wbcci.org/

PS -- You could also place a "Wanted to Buy" classified ad here, which is what I did at first. I had a perfect trailer lined up used, but a closer dealer put one on sale. Done!

http://www.airstreamclassifieds.com/
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Old 05-03-2016, 01:10 PM   #15
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Our solution....what worked for us

Actually, our son's solution. Teenage boys want their own space.
2 adults, 3 sons, 1 daughter / 31 ft TT

Our sons insisted on sleeping in their own backpacking tents, or in the back of the Suburban (seats folded down). No way would they "touch" their siblings when it came to sleeping arrangements, even though they did this in backpacking tents (with grumbles).

So, I think I'd ask for their input. It's funny, though, all the times they grumbled have become fond memories of "remember when....?"

All the best to your camping days ahead!
Susan
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Old 05-03-2016, 01:10 PM   #16
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How about this FC20 in Scituate, right around the corner from you?

Go for it!

https://boston.craigslist.org/sob/rvs/5567258036.html

Dog is with you!


PS -- Boston AS: https://boston.craigslist.org/search...uery=airstream
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Old 05-03-2016, 01:15 PM   #17
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I have a 19 flying cloud for myself and the wife. Its perfect.But no way would I get anything less than a 23 if I had your crowd.
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Old 05-03-2016, 02:13 PM   #18
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Never drove the Audii, but so far my VW has been great, went everywhere I pointed it and never left me stranded though at times I kind of wish I would have gotten the V10 tdi.
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Old 05-03-2016, 02:35 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KJRitchie View Post
I'm not a fan of the corner bed in the 19 or 23d. Its only 48" wide, looks like it would be difficult bed to make and one would be crawling over the other.
...

The 23d has the 48" corner bed but at least it has the ability to sleep your two boys on the lounge and dinette area.
As a fairly new owner myself, I'll give my take on this. We bought the 23d. After this summer, it's really just going to be my wife and I, so any of the airstreams would have worked for us. We did get to 'tour' a 16-ft bambi that we were staying next to prior to buying our Airstream. It's cozy, but way to cozy even for us.

When we bought the 23d, I kept thinking "did we make a mistake in getting it since it doesn't have a queen, but has a corner bed." ... however, neither my wife or I find it that limiting. If you have to get up in the middle of the night, it is a bit of a pain having to crawl over the other person. But otherwise it's not bad... or at least we didn't find it too bad.

Our 17 YO daughter uses the pull-out bed so we don't have to take the table down every night. It works like a charm. The table really isn't too hard to take down, but it really is nice to not have to do that. With four people though, you will have to take down the table.

I'm a huge fan of the 23d only because I love being able to gather in one area and have room. We take the table down and sit in the 'lounge' area if we watch TV at night. We've tried not taking the table down, but it really doesn't work all that well.

All-in-all I can't help but sing praises for the floorplan of the 23d. Finding sheets for the back bed is another story. We bought a set that fits that bed and my wife is going to modify a set of queen sheets for it later.

As far as towing goes, all I can say is make sure your vehicle can tow 6000 lbs and you have the proper tongue weight and GVWR... But I can't help or offer more than that.
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Old 05-03-2016, 02:45 PM   #20
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I'll leave the technicalities to others. Two plus a smaller dog is fine in a Bambi. Anything above that, you won't be happy. As others have suggested, think about having to spend the day inside because of bad weather. We've had ours for four years, just two of us, and it works......but gets tight on those rainy days. Go bigger.
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