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Old 10-19-2009, 05:35 AM   #1
New Member
Currently Looking...
Belfast , Maine
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 3
Question So many models how do I choose?


I've been reading the forum for months and getting great information. And I'm also confused about the different models to chose from.

Desired length will narrow down my choices. Because I may want to live in my airstream for months at a time with my large dog, I want a large enough trailer. I also want to boondock; frequent national parks which I read has a length restriction of 22' (is this true about all or most national parks?); and have a manageable towing experience. So 22' seems a good size. But if national parks are not that exacting, I could consider 23'. Much bigger seems rather daunting to tow (I've never towed anything).

Then looking at recent/used trailers, there are many models that come in this length. I know configuration is a factor, but is there a place on the forum that explains the differences between models...Safari, Sport, etc.? Or could someone give me a breakdown and their opinion on the best ones out there?? I know this is a lot to ask, but any information would be greatly appreciated. Annie
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Old 10-19-2009, 05:46 AM   #2
Rivet Master
1977 31' Sovereign
1963 26' Overlander
1989 34' Excella
Johnsburg , Illinois
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 2,944
Go to your local Airstream dealer and get in side several for yourself. If there is a rally close by go to that. Airstreamers are friendly and will usually allow you to see their trailers. You need to get inside of a half a dozen trailers before you get to appreciate whether you can live in one. A lot also depends on the weather when and where you will be using it. Being locked inside a small trailer with a big dog for three days of rain can be a life challenging experience. The large more modern State and National parks accept a bit larger trailers.
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Old 10-19-2009, 08:49 AM   #3
Rivet Master
1960 22' Safari
in the wilderness , The great Mojave Desert
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 4,077
Go to where the Airstreams are and try them on.

Are you comfy on the bed?

Do you fit in the "Throne room" with the space to do what needs to be done?

Shower fit?

Do you like the usability of the floor plan? If all those are yeses and not it'll do's then you have found your trailer.
I'd rather be boon docking in the desert.

AIR# 13896
CA 4

Yes, we have courtesy parking for you. About an hour North of Los Angeles.
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Old 10-19-2009, 08:59 AM   #4
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1966 24' Tradewind
Placerville , California
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 3,328
Images: 2
Our 24' Trade Wind has allowed us entry to all the places we've gone to. It's easy to tow and manuver. However, it is vintage and we perhaps would prefer something a 'little' longer and wider as to more comfortably include our grandsons and of course their parents on the few times that they join us. A late model 25 footer should perhaps be your limit.
Neil and Lynn Holman
FreshAir #12407

Kirk Creek, Big Sur, Ca. coast.

1966 Trade Wind

1971 Buick Centurion convertible
455 cid

1969 Oldsmobile Ninety Eight
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Old 10-26-2009, 01:48 PM   #5
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1986 25' Sovereign
Gainesville , Georgia
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 89
Hey Mainely Fun - we are currently in a search as well. We have 4 peeps but NO DOGS and have settled on a 19' Bambi for several reasons (despite its relatively short stature):

1. Unless you have a non-standard truck type thing you really shouldn't tow anything heavier than a 19' Bambi IMO. Any "half ton" V8 vehicle just isn't safe...definitely a 1 Ton (like an F250 or a 2500 Chevy) for the longer trailers. For example, we have a Chevy Tahoe, 2002 model, and it will tow a healthy 6800 lbs...but by the time you add the trailer with the people and the DOG FOOD you start to encroach on that safe zone of 80% of rating - particularly if you've "never" towed anything...going up on top of Mt. Khatadin dare I ask?

2. though some of the SPORT models are lighter/longer...they just aren't as nice IMO and don't have useful floorplans.

3. GO INSIDE SOME and LAY ON THE STUFF as the folks here say. I know up in Maine there aren't a whole lot of dealers (if any), but I've been through the models at Bates RV in Florida a number of times...a mere difference of 2 feet makes a fairly significant living difference. I'd love a 23' Safari with a Rear BR - seems the PERFECT trailer for our family but alas they are TOO expensive and a bit on the heavy side. Some would disagree with me and say " one size bigger - you won't regret it!!"

4. The model names are EXTREMELY confusing. I have learned that the following generally applies:

Sport - light and not as nice on the inside
Safari/Flying Cloud - very nice trailers
International - Upgraded
Classic - Very well appointed - Expensive

Now they of course make variations of these like the Safari SE (special edition) which is much like an int'l, but not quite, etc...very, very confusing and designed so dealers can relieve you of the majority of your cash I'm sure.

Good luck out there!!
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Old 10-29-2009, 02:15 PM   #6
1 Rivet Member
Bradenton , Florida
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 18
I would like to jump in here and ask if mid baths are preferable to a rear bath layout. Do the different water tanks stay where they are? Or, are they placed closer to the plumbing in the different floorplans?

I have spent time on sailboats and most of it is spent above deck. I do not forsee large periods of time spent inside the trailer. I plan on going out on a full time basis and from what I am learning here, I hope to find some special spots and stay there awhile. The weather will be the largest factor on where I go.

Prior to coming up with this wild idea, I always thought that you could spot an airstreamer by the polished rock on his bolo string necktie.

I am making no hard choices until I do some walkthroughs and laydowns. For me, it will all come down to dollars. And how long they will last with the different package sizes.

I am having a pretty good time here,,,,

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Old 10-29-2009, 02:21 PM   #7
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1986 31' Sovereign
Miami , Florida
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 3,092
Blog Entries: 13
If you are alone, smaller (~25') is better. If a couple, there are a lot of 31' units out there. Ours has taken us all over the country and we have seldom found a limitation as to size to keep us out of any state, federal or municipal park. Lots of storage and it tows and tracks like a dream.

Ours is a mid bath and we like it. It also keeps all that weight in the middle of the rig.

Just my two cents.

PS - we have towed it over 35000 miles now with a 1/2 ton (Nissan Titan) with zero white knuckle moments or mechanical breakdowns.

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