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Old 03-09-2018, 11:53 AM   #21
Len and Jeanne
 
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2005 16' International CCD
2015 19' Flying Cloud
Creston Valley , British Columbia
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It depends upon who is going camping and what is your camping style.

We (perversely it would seem) prefer the small AS because we like getting into funky old BLM, USFS, and NPS campgrounds where anything longer wouldn't fit into most of the campsites. We try to spend most of our time out-of-doors, so interior living space isn't such an issue. We also approve of smaller footprints.

If you love to cook, you might consider the 20' Bambi with the rear kitchen.

We are an older couple (recently now with one very large dog, who's kind of a work-around when we're all inside.) For a family, or more than 1 dog, you'd probably want something larger.

We weren't so keen on the "sharkfin" Sport. Oftentimes your best view is out your back window. The bathroom in the back blocks it off. The interior decor seemed a bit cheesy compared to the Flying Cloud (which we have) or the International.

You can get optional stone guards and rear bumper added to the Sport, which we would recommend.

With a smaller unit, a truck w/ a topper (cap, canopy) is a big asset for storing camping and recreational gear. There isn't much storage space within the little guys. We towed the 16' Bambi with a Tacoma and now have a Tundra.

We've spent up to 8 weeks in a Bambi (currently midway through 7 weeks in the Mojave Desert) and you'd be surprised at how many people stay out even longer in assorted Casitas A-chalets, Scamps, vans, Escapes, and tear drops.

But if you want more room and a bigger vehicle, then used is definitely the way to keep down the cost.
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Old 03-09-2018, 12:36 PM   #22
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You will see the trend here is "bigger is better", and yes...obviously a 30' trailer has a ton more space to spread out and live like you aren't "camping" to see the outdoors. Which is fine, we all get to decide what is more important to us. We settled on a Sport 22FB because it fit our current TV (as it would yours) and every future TV we will likely own for the foreseeable future.

A critical piece of the decision should be where you want to camp. it doesn't matter that you F650 can tow a 20,000lb trailer if you can't fit the thing anywhere you want to camp. I would suggest looking at a sampling of the campsites you expect to visit and determine the maximum sizes those allow, here in Oregon we have a some sites that won't even accommodate our 22' + our midsize SUV. When looking to book a group/family trip with family members that have much larger RVs and TTs it was very difficult to find sites that would accommodate those larger vehicles.

If you plan to tour private premium lots that cater to Class-A's and allow Airstreams because they are "cool", then you probably don't have to worry. But if you expect to visit the natural wonders of the west, be sure to actually look at the camp site limitations.
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Old 03-09-2018, 05:25 PM   #23
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I know it took us nearly 12 months to get our 5 year old trailer at a reasonable price ($40K for a 5 year old 25'). Made offers on a few but took that long before finally was successful. Thus if trying to get a fairly good discount on a good trailer - can take a while (and you need to check airstream want ads nearly every day - as the real good deals go within days; and recommend having the cash ready.
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Old 03-09-2018, 10:40 PM   #24
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Thank you, everyone, for taking the time to share your thoughts, experiences and suggestions with us. We were going to buy the TV first, and have now been thoroughly talked out of that! We'll also be taking our time to explore options, as many of you suggested.
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Old 03-10-2018, 05:14 AM   #25
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We hope it helps.

As for AdventureAS's post on Andy Thompson at Canam RV in Ontario Canada's ability to make seemingly impossible towing combinations work; he can work wonders. He has engineered a Chrysler 300C to tow a 30' easily, so many options are open to you.

Take your time, for if you pick right, the trailer will outlast your TV.

Cheers
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Old 03-10-2018, 06:53 AM   #26
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Hi

Ok, so the next item on the list is "design margin". You are setting up a system that involves the tow, the trailer, and all your stuff. There are a bewildering set of numbers you can look at to work out what is what. ( = it's not just a 5,000 lb tow limit, not even close). Even *with* all the numbers "in spec", you may or may not be happy. Your setup may do fine "out of spec", how good an idea that is .... opinions vary.

One very basic (and thus over simplified) example:

One of the glories of camping is that you get to decide what to bring along. That stuff weighs something. Your 5,000 lb tow rated vehicle might have an 800 lb payload rating. Just what that number relates to .... again a matter of debate. The payload gets soaked up first by the weight of the tongue of the trailer. That might be 400 lb. Next it gets used up by passengers who weight more than 125 lb each. Toss in the dogs ..... In our case the "5,000 lb tow rated" vehicle we owned would handle the trailer only if we left half the crew at home. (weight details of the crew omitted to protect the not hardly innocent )

Take a look at *all* the numbers on your vehicle before you decide it's going to work for your application.

Bob
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Old 03-10-2018, 09:10 AM   #27
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I'd say first decide how many people the trailer is expected to accommodate on a trip. Kids?
Then decide what's important. Lay in the bed, crawl into the shower, stand at the galley, sit in the dinette. How difficult is it to move around? Can you pull up your pants without opening the bathroom door? Where will we put our stuff?
Then, don't overspend. Worrying about paying for a toy takes all the fun out of owning it.
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Old 03-11-2018, 05:27 AM   #28
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Hi

Consider that this can be a "hybrid" approach. Kids tend to have friends. Toss in a few of them for each of three kids and the trailer is now 54' long . Kids in a tent (or three tents) is a very valid solution to that problem. If the "kids" are grown with family, the same sort of solutions may apply. Target the "most of the time / most likely" crew and not the max possible.

Bob
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Old 03-11-2018, 07:31 AM   #29
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If you have time and interest, here are 2 fairly long threads about this topic from when we were figuring out the same thing.


http://www.airforums.com/forums/f295...es-120231.html


http://www.airforums.com/forums/f295...-a-136645.html

For what it's worth, when we started the search we had a Honda Pilot. Before we purchased we traded for a Toyota Tundra V8 pickup. We purchased a 22 sport. Liked very much for 2 adults and a dog or 3 adults, but in our real-world testing was not adequate for 4 adults. (this will involve either someone sleeping in the vehicle, in the tent surrounded by "bears and wolves" or on the floor of the 22 and at least one person may be crying.)

When our 22 was damaged in a minor accident we went to a 25 twin to get the larger water capacity, beds that no one had to climb over to use the bathroom, and full sleeping space for 4 adults and a dog.

If our 22 had not been damaged we probably would have kept it much longer, but would have eventually wanted a 25 size before we retired. So faced with the repair or trade situation we chose that opportunity to step into the larger one.
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Old 03-11-2018, 07:57 AM   #30
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Hi

One thing about starting now to work this stuff out - In most parts of the country this is "down time" for the RV dealers. For most of them, peak season starts in late May. Right now, there is not a lot going on at most showrooms / lots. They do have inventory, but it's just sitting there. We found that it takes hours and hours of sitting in / looking at / fiddling with the various models to sort things out. That's a lot easier to do when you don't have a big crowd ....

Bob
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Old 03-11-2018, 08:31 AM   #31
ZOZ
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Get What You Want

I completely agree with picking the AS that meets your needs and then buying the tow vehicle that will pull it.

We talked with AS owners and walked through all the models. At least what few were available to walk through.

The RV shows are a good start to see the AS models but some of the ASs on the floor were sold with yellow tape blocking the open door entrance to them and a sign saying "This AS is sold. The new owners would like you to look through but not walk through."

For us, it was more sensible to buy a new AS than to find a comparable good previously owned AS as the price differential was close.

Buy the biggest TV you can afford. With towing capacity, it's better to have and not need than to need and not have. You don't want to go too big if your TV is used for transportation other than with the AS exclusively.

I traded my 2017 GMC Canyon 3.6L to the 2018 GMC Sierra 6.2L specifically to tow the AS. I have prevoiusly owned Sierra's. For me, the Sierra is also appropriate for everyday travel without towing anything.

There are no hard and fast rules except what works for you.

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Old 03-11-2018, 12:16 PM   #32
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In September/October of 2012, we were in the UK so my wife could relieve her brother of the responsibility of taking care of Mum at the nursing home for a month or so. We were brainstorming a new home construction idea. Having had experience in my family with building homes, I suggested an on-site abode to provide housing as I provided oversight of the project. I remembered seeing Airstreams in the past and went to the factory website.

I already had a 2007 Mercedes ML320 CDI diesel I could use to tow said abode and looked up the tow rating (I had spec'd a factory hitch with trailer wiring when I ordered the car in October of 2006). With the relevant weight numbers in hand, I looked at my options on the Airstream web site. It looked like my largest option was a 19' International Serenity model (we preferred that interior trim). I found a dealer in Los Angles and started the negotiation process (sight unseen).

I then found this forum and discovered Andy Thompson at CanAm and what he could do to my car to tow a heavier trailer. We revised the size to a 2013 25FB International Serenity. The literature did show a walk around for the cross frame bed, right? We ordered in the street side and rear awning package, a 155 watt solar panel (basically useless to recover from overnight furnace use at the Albuquerque Ballon Festival in October) and Centramatic wheel balancers.

When we returned to Phoenix, I drove to CanAm in three days (2,200 miles), had the hitch modification done to the car and the Hensley Arrow stinger was shortened and slightly bent to help preload the lift arms and returned back in three days. Two days later, I drove to LA to pickup the trailer. I discovered there was no walk space between the bed and the front of the trailer.

On the drive the home with the 25FB, there were no towing issues even on the climb out of Palm Springs on I-10. The car dropped back to 4th gear and maintained the posted 55 mph without strain. After loading the 25FB for camping, the car stained with new noises to tow the unit to the scales with minor inclines (trailer now weighed about 6,900 pounds fully loaded).

I re-grouped and acquired a 2012 Ram 2500HD Cummins and that solved the towing issue for the 25FB (and was more than adequate for the current 2014 31' Classic).

On our first trip, I nearly knocked myself out sitting up in bed when my head hit the overhead roof locker in the 25FB. We had a challenging incident at the Joshua Tree national park which we resolved. We had a family camp out in the mountains and came to realize this floor plan did not work for us with the cross frame bed. And the dealer installed solar control head was placed at face level beside the bed bed and started flashing as the sun came up awakening my wife.

Twins in a 25FB International Serenity would have been an over $6,000 option at that time, but twins now are a no charge option. We would probably still have the 25FB if it had started with the twin bed option and we thought we could live with the other issues.

I saw a used 34' Classic on the dealer's lot one day and went home and got my wife to see it. We loved the hickory wood interior. However, the 11,500 pound GVW of the 34' Classic was too much weight for my new Ram 2500 HD combined tow vehicle and trailer weight. Within the week, we ordered a 27FB Classic.

After several weeks went by and we were still discussing the 25FB layout, the other issue we were not pleased with was the dinette area of the 25FB floor plan and having to have your neck turned 90 degrees to view the television. Both the 25FB and 27FB floor plans are identical for the back 15 feet of the trailer and use the same dinette & sofa cushions in both layouts.

We changed the order for the 27FB Classic to a 31' Classic for just the $3,000 list price differential and the rest is history.

Then we contemplated an Alaska tour and thought since we had invested over $50,000 in the upgrades of the Classic , we would get a smaller, less expensive unit as a sacrificial anode for Alaska. Thus we acquired one of the last of the 2015 23D International Serenity models that had all three options of the street side and rear awning, convection microwave and converter.

I was able to re-use the Hensley Arrow hitch from the 25FB that I had kept and, since we had upgraded the 23D to 15" Michelin tires, the 23D hitch was at the same elevation above the ground as the 25FB. We use the 2007 Mercedes to tow the 23D and all the settings were the same for the hitch on both the 23D and 25FB. On the way home from the East coast dealer, I stopped by CanAm and Andy Thompson fine tuned the trailer - hitch - car combination to the point it feels like the rig is on steel rails.

I tow the 23D at 55 mph as the maximum speed and all is well even in the mountains. Our 23D scales 6,063 pounds fully loaded for camping. The Classic with the Ram 2500 I run at 65 mph maximum when towing or the lower speed limit as appropriate.

We take trips with both rigs, but the Classic becomes our summer cottage in the mountains at an Airstream only RV park (Ponderosa Shadows) in Lakeside, AZ where we have a membership. We take the Classic on some rallies and the 23D to others where parking spaces are more restricted in length. The 23D will fit in probably 95% or more of the older RV parks in the West.

So one needs to determine their plan of use for the RV dream. Then one goes to the various dealerships to see what brand becomes of interest followed by lots of visits experiencing the various floor plans. The comes the reality of money in pocket versus the cost of this dream.

After the floor plan and trim level are selected, then one does the tow vehicle square dance trying to get the real weight related data for each vehicle examined. Then seeing how much funding would be available if the trailer is purchased, a tow vehicle can be selected.

Before any paper work is signed, a lot of soul searching now starts to determine if this major purchase is doable.

Good luck on this part of the project.

The real fun starts when the rig is sitting in your driveway getting loaded for the first trip.
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Old 04-10-2018, 06:31 PM   #33
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We will also be towing with a V-8 Tundra. First timers. Did you put a shell on the truck bed? Leave it open? Don't know what truck TVers do.
Thanks
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Old 04-10-2018, 10:43 PM   #34
Len and Jeanne
 
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We put a shell (aka cap, canopy, topper) on our Tundra. We have room for more camping gear now than we would normally take. Oftentimes we've got a generator, gas can, jerry cans of water, life jackets, paddles, lawn chairs, folding tables, picnic cooler, and so on. No problem.

I think the only reason not to cap the back of the truck would be if you wanted the truck for some other purpose when you weren't towing your AS, as well; like moving hay bales or furniture.
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Old 04-11-2018, 02:58 AM   #35
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We have a tonneau cover, and the generator and other things we bring fit nicely underneath.
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Old 04-11-2018, 03:14 AM   #36
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Have a Tundra 4x4, 5.7l, tow package, fiberglass shell, bed slide. Great truck. Will be very upset when I sell.

I like to carry about 500 to 600 lbs of stuff: Two canopies, tables, chairs, stoves, jacks, tool chest, etc.

I am over payload capacity. Way over. Go back and reread uncle_bob post #26. Understand payload capacity and towing capacities.

But all is determined by how YOU camp. I bought a trailer that is too small. 99% of the time it is just wife and I. But I feel terrible when my two adult sons sleep in a tent in the rain and cold, too cramped sitting inside during a cold or buggy evening, etc. That 1% is very important to me, and I will put up with the issues of owning a larger trailer.

This is a very informative thread. Every post is spot on. Print out the entire post. Tape it to your refrigerator door in your home. Then read it every time you open the door. It will save you time, money, and anguish.
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Old 04-11-2018, 04:34 AM   #37
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Welcome to the forum hoopwood. As for me, I bought used to limit my loss on resale. Found mine on Craigslist, a slightly used '99 for 15k. I knew in 5 minutes this is ''the one''. If you have some house cleaning skills, buy used and read this forum. YouTube is your shop teacher on maintenance. I looked for two years, seen a few that didn't tickle my fancy until...this one. Good luck hoopwood...hoopwood has a nice ring to it.
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Old 04-11-2018, 05:48 AM   #38
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We will also be towing with a V-8 Tundra. First timers. Did you put a shell on the truck bed? Leave it open? Don't know what truck TVers do.
Thanks


We also have a Tundra V8. We decided not to get a cover for several reasons.

1-we find it really easy to load and unload the truck bed being able to stand up in it. It's easier to reach all parts of the bed. I'm a shorty middle-aged person, and I step onto the tire, swing my legs over the sides, and pop right up into the truck bed. Get down the same way. I find it much easier to step down safely this way on the knees than trying to get down from the tailgate.

2-We travel with our bikes on occasion, and much easier with no cover.

3-We are weekend and vacation travelers, so things aren't exposed 24/7/365

4-We got a hard plastic large tool box that is lockable. We keep our generator, gas can, and such in it. Padlocked and locked with a cable lock to the bed. Yes I know that an enterprising thief can cut these things, but then they can throw a brick through the windows too.

5-We national park camp a lot, and as such we will have 2 large coolers with us on long trips. Much easier to wrestle these in an open truck bed. We also use cable locks to lock these to the bed. There is room in the back seat for them for "bear areas" as well. Tundra is a great travel truck!

When we went on a 10 day trip with our 2 adult kids to Yellowstone 2 years ago we kind of looked like the Beverly Hillbillies, but it all fit.
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Old 04-11-2018, 09:59 PM   #39
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Pocahontas et al, FWI we tow with an F150and originally I thought a canopy was the way to go but my wife said no (and I always listen to her��), she said a “topper” AND she was right!! The canopy can give you a bit more space for stuff and it would be nice to have a kayak rack on the top BUT the topper/tonneau was the best for us: ours is a DiamondBack (aluminum, opens front and back, locks, strong...) and things are easy to get at, it is weather tight, items are safe from thieves, and it can handle 400# on its top. But the other big advantage over a canopy is the additional viewing - it is easier to monitor the trailer and the rear view in general.
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Old 04-11-2018, 11:34 PM   #40
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We have a tonneau cover on the current Tacoma. I hate the lack of storage. Our 08 had a cab height fiberglass shell. Much handier storage space than under the blessed tonneau cover, and better access-just send much younger daughter in for the unreachable stuff
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