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Old 04-17-2007, 10:25 PM   #1
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How much space does one girl need?

Hi Everyone,

I'm Myra, and I'm new to the forum. A bit about me: I'm a 43-yr-old single woman with a small dog and a cat. I'm a writer and my work goes where I go. (Just need a high-speed connection). Last year, I worked real hard and made good money, but it nearly killed me. I had no life. What's more, the cost of living here in Los Angeles (where I live) is so outrageous that I had nothing left over. What a waste. I'll be dead in a few years if I keep it up.

I started looking at vintage Airstreams the other day and fell in love. I've been researching living in an RV full time. I would love to tour the country and just be free for once in my life. I want to do this for a year. When I find a town I like enough, I'll put down roots.

So my question is: How big of an Airstream do I need? Any suggestions on what to buy? And what do I tow it with? I'll probably need a new reliable SUV to pull it with.

Thanks for your suggestions..

Myra Winter
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Old 04-17-2007, 10:52 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mwinter

Thanks for your suggestions..
Hi Myra,

Welcome to the forums, you ask and we'll ansewer.

Something in the 20' to 25' range would be comfortable for full timing.

A suggestion... pick your trailer first, then the T/V (tow vehicle).
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Old 04-17-2007, 11:00 PM   #3
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Myra, Sounds like a great plan.... I know for myself, that space was not as much of an issue as what I felt comfortable towing. I really wanted something 22' with dual axels. Hard to find. After looking for a long time I settled on a 25' Tradewind. I am happy with it for now. But, if I was doing a lot of travel, I would want something smaller. I like to live small. And especially love the challenge of owning only what is necessary and finding a way to store it. BTW, I am currently remodeling my trailer and do not live in it (I just dream for now!).

The other big decision is your tow vehicle. I bought the cart before the horse, which was good and bad. I really had to go to school on towing and got lots of help from this forum. Use the search function and you can get a real education.

Good luck and happy hunting! Pam
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Old 04-17-2007, 11:02 PM   #4
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Hi and welcome to the forums! you are not alone. I too am in my 40s, single and have a cat.

Depends on your personality. Mine. I like room. I have an 06 Classic 31. there are several of us full timing. Some move around some realatively stationary. I am a mix of both. I work for 8 months in two locations. then travel for four months. I would say in the high twentys to low thirties.
I two my 31 with a Ford F-250 diesel. truck weights 8,000 pounds when towning. trailer around 8,000 pounds. can be up to 10,000 pounds.

Pick the trailer first. get the weight fully loaded and then go shopping for a properly sized tow vehicle.
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Old 04-17-2007, 11:07 PM   #5
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Hi, Myra. I would suggest a 20'er or smaller since it's only for one person and a few pets. Might be easier and less expensive to haul around. And you said, maybe for only one year? Maybe some of our "Rosie the Riviter" ladies will chime in and help you.
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Old 04-17-2007, 11:49 PM   #6
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How much space? Depends on your needs. I would suggest going to an Airstream dealer and checking out the various lengths of the models to get an idea of what size trailer will meet your personal storage needs. Once you figure out the length you need, then you need to decide if you want a new or a vintage trailer. The tow vehicle decision is last as it depends on the trailer. For example a vintage 17' trailer weighs around 1800 pounds whereas a new 19' trailer weighs in at 4500 pounds. Those two trailers have completely different tow vehicle requirements.
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Old 04-18-2007, 01:06 AM   #7
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Welcome to the forums Myra!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mwinter
I started looking at vintage Airstreams the other day and fell in love.

So my question is: How big of an Airstream do I need? Any suggestions on what to buy?
Since it sounds like you are already set on vintage...get yourself to a vintage rally open house to look at some of the different layouts. It'll be fun to kick the tires & look at all the different models & things folks do to them. Also the Photo Archives would be helpful for you get an idea of size and layouts.

For me, for full-timing, I would want a 22-24...probably 24 foot because they do have two axles - which the more miles you plan on traveling the more likely to get a flat. Any smaller, like the 19' models and smaller typically have a gaucho/bed which is made up & down everyday/night. Not bad for camping but a PITA for full-timing - I spent 70 nights out in 5 months & it got real old real fast. Bigger ones are great, but as mentioned before they mean a bigger tow vehicle and more to tow...just depends on your "needs" & how much "stuff" you wanna haul around with you.

Good luck in whatever you decide to do...boy am I jealous!!!

Shari
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Old 04-18-2007, 01:08 AM   #8
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Welcome Myra.

I think listening to those who have taken the plunge and are now full timing it with an Airstream is about the best way to determine what will meet your needs. Michelle has done a lot of traveling with her set up this past year and kept all of us appraised of her travels and how the unit has worked, and from that I know I've certainly learned a lot.

You may find that something in the 25' range would be a good starting point. If you then determine you require more space you'll at least have a sound base of knowledge to go from, and it is also a size of trailer that is reasonable to tow and learn the ropes with. Actually, even smaller for the learning curve is better yet but then you are stuck with having to sell and move up and that in itself can be a frustrating experience. You'll find through using the search component of the forum how others have dealt with things like keeping a litter box in a trailer, the criteria they've used for selecting a trailer and tow vehicle, and don't hesitate to ask questions.

IMHO it's best to purchase the trailer, then you are assured the tow vehicle you purchase will meet the requirements. I also encourage you to consider taking an RV towing course from a professional firm if you do not have a lot of experience towing a trailer. There's a lot to be learned and the worst place to be learning things like backing into a tight camping spot when you don't have reasonable backing skills is a campground, with an audience. I take it you and your little buddies are the traveling crew and it's hard to teach a dog or cat on how to direct you when backing up your rig.

Also, if you are purchasing a vintage trailer, be sure you have it checked out thoroughly by a professional before you lay your hard earned money down. There are some pretty decent vintage trailers for sale and there are some that look that way but have problems. You don't want to get into something and then realize it needs work you aren't willing or able to tackle.

Don't hesitate to ask questions. The forum is loaded with lots of info but if you can't find it, don't be shy. We'd all prefer to know you've landed the right trailer and the right tow vehicle than to learn you've bought something that is less than your needs and that you are disappointed. This is a large, helpful, knowledgeable and caring "extended family" and we care for our efriends.

Barry
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Old 04-18-2007, 03:14 AM   #9
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New Life - Old Airstream

Dear Myra,

I envy your plans for a new lifestyle. I fell in love with the Airstream too. It has the aesthetic power to change your life AND the practical ability to support you in whatever you want to do.

Having said that, practice a little hard-headedness and don't be charmed by the first salesman you meet. It's a steep learning curve getting familiar with the marque and you'll need a little knowledge. My friends here on the forum, who all know more than I do, will help you.

If I was in the US the first place I would go to is a rally. See as many Airstreams as you can and learn all the bad things that can happen. Believe me, it won't put you off.

Good Luck,

Marc.

Ps. If you see an Airstream advertised or you're thinking of buying - post some pictures. We're all absolute suckers for pics and you'll get lots and lots of feedback.
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Old 04-18-2007, 03:30 AM   #10
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How much room does one girl need? Let me ask this, how many pairs of shoes have you got? Sorry I couldn't resist. I'd say 25' is a great size.
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Old 04-18-2007, 03:38 AM   #11
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How many shoes does a girl need?

Did I say they all know more than I do? I should have added that their all smart-arses too!
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Old 04-18-2007, 06:11 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wheel interested
How much room does one girl need? Let me ask this, how many pairs of shoes have you got? Sorry I couldn't resist. I'd say 25' is a great size.
LOL! Someone on the forums has/had a great signature quote something to the effect of when you are planning a trip, lay out all your clothes that you are bringing but only take half of them but pack twice the amount of money!
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Old 04-18-2007, 06:48 AM   #13
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If it were me, knowing our small dog as I do, and computers, I would say a mid 1970's Tradewind, or Overlander, with center twin beds. One of the beds can be removed to make room for a work station for you and your computer. You can also place the litter box in the bathtub so the dog won't try to eat the tootsie rolls, smaller trailers don't have bathtubs.
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Old 04-18-2007, 07:03 AM   #14
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my suggestion would be to start with something small. have you ever towed anything before? if not, it might be easier to start with something something small or see if someone has a tow vehicle and trailer you could try. also, have you considered an aistream motorhome? good luck, your plan sounds like so much fun!
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Old 04-18-2007, 08:42 AM   #15
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Myra:

Of course any answer to this question is bound to be largely subjective. After all, there are folks who don't feel at all constrained in a mummy sleeping bag & tarp, while Prince Bandar seems to feel that a $136,000,000 mansion in Aspen is appropriate -- that's quite a range, and not necessarily "wrong" at either extreme. Wants vs. needs.

I'm a newly single guy (hmmm ... lunch someday maybe?) who has struggled for storage space in an old 3,000 sq.ft. Victorian, lived happily in an 8' diameter snow cave, once made a Miata home, and existed for a season in a Jeep along with three big dawgs, a cat, and a wife. For the pup and I, the 27-footer that we now call home is like the flippin' Taj Mahal!

Oh, now and then I envy the longer living room in the largest trailers, but mor often I think Jeez, what do I need with sleeping room for 3 guests, a sit-down tub that's seldom used, and storage space far beyond that required for 3 pairs of jeans and a couple of shirts? If I could slice ten feet out of the middle of this trailer, I doubt I'd much miss it. It would be easier to heat, less to clean, and towable with something that gets 20 MPG instead of 10.
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Old 04-18-2007, 08:53 AM   #16
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You might be comfortable in a 19', but a 25' would probably be better for full timing. A 25' would require a more substantial tow vehicle than a 19'.

You might want to also consider a new or recent year Airstream. These units would not require as much maintenance as a vintage unit. Newer Airstreams will usually already have the equipment and systems that you will want for full-timing.

A really nice vintage unit with all of the modern bells and whistles nicely incorporated will probably end up costing as much as a new or recent unit.
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Old 04-18-2007, 09:48 AM   #17
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I lived in a 1970 Safari Special 23' single axle Airstream for about a year in the late '80s. I had my small dog living with me. It was an interesting experience. It was liveable, but if I were to do it again, the floorplans for the 25' trailers with the full-time beds and slightly larger baths are much more appealing.

A 25' trailer is no more difficult to tow than a 20' trailer, but offers a great deal more move-around room. That isn't a big deal when the weather is nice if you're an out-doors person, but when foul weather hits for three or four days, a smaller trailer can get a little close.

I know a couple of women who are or have full-timed in 25' Airstreams. It seems to be "just right" for the combination of tow-ability and live-ability.

After having and using the Safari, a '61 Bambi 16', a 325 motorhome, and a 34' tri-axle two door Airstream, I have fled the Airstream fold for a Bigfoot 25'. I like the 25' size and wanted a new trailer, but I wasn't willing to spring an additional $30k for an Airstream over the competition. I really like that, at 6'5" tall, I can stand fully upright in my new shower. That's not an option for me in any of the Airstreams . There are some other features that Airstream doesn't offer like really good insulation and dual-thermopane windows that I was able to get on my new trailer. It's not silver tho...

Good luck, and happy hunting!

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Old 04-18-2007, 09:59 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mwinter
So my question is:
How big of an Airstream do I need?
Any suggestions on what to buy?
And what do I tow it with?

Thanks for your suggestions..

Myra Winter
hello and welcome...

so you are a writer?

well write more!

without information on you, your needs, your expectations, your budget, your travel goals...

and what defines 'freedom'...

and your pets....

size is ne1s guess...

russian wolfhound and tigger the cat, or garfield and goofy?

your note suggests research on full time rv livin'...

with the many forums and books exactly on this topic...

what have you learned?

cheers
2air'

Quote:
Originally Posted by mwinter
I'll be dead in a few years if I keep it up.
true regardless of size...
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Old 04-18-2007, 10:53 AM   #19
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Myra---Wife and I are full timers so we speak from that point of view. 2air is entirely right--research-research research!!! We love it and intend to continue until we tire of it. That said: it's not all that romantic,at least as much as most think it is. It's not as simple as moving from one apartment or house to another. Storage is minimal, living ,space is minimal, maintenance is still required,probably more and with more difficulty with vintage. Holding tanks must be dumped and cleaned, propane must be refiled, food purchases done more often with less refrid. space. smaller trailers require sharing space with work and living. Your dinnette becomes a desk work area etc. It's harder to stay warm when it's cold and cool when it's hot. A flat on the road means your "House" has a flat. Things shake loose doors open and things fall on the floor making a mess. ---all that said we love it. Just wanted to point out there is much more to it than driving across country everthing hunky-dorry.
pieman & alamode
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Old 04-18-2007, 12:44 PM   #20
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As many have said it depends on your preference.

I will just relate our experience and you can log it. My wife, dog and I did 2 months on the road to Alaska and back in our 18 ft Caravel. Every night in the trailer. Worked great for us. We had plenty of room for all we wanted to bring. We had clothes for every season, four bicycles, inflatable canoe, laptop, books, dog food, extra bedding, tools and tons of food. We did minimize clothing we took but when it was all loaded we had extra storage. A cool thing about traveling the people you meet today don't know you wore the same shirt the last 5 days straight, well unless it stinks. RE: shoes - We took 12 pairs of shoes (hiking, running, casual, water, road bike & mtn bike). Also had a roof box on our truck and some stuff in the truck, but most fit in the trailer fine. We have a side gaucho and dinette and with one person there is no need to make it up every day. With two people we were fine. If I were going solo for a year I would have no problem using my 18 footer.

On tow vehicles - I really like a truck with a canopy shell. I keep the dog, bikes, generator, wood for fires, and anything that stinks in the back. With SUVs you do not have the separate "utility compartment" so when the dog rolls in dead fish you get to enjoy the smell.

If you go single axle - get good trailer tires and make sure they are trailer tires with the correct pressure. Check tires at every stop, easy to get out of the habit after a while. Oregon to Alaska, 8500 miles and one slow leak, I fixed with a plug. The tires were new on departure.

Read and research the forums you probably figured out there is information on any topic. I have seen this similiar thread topic several times.

Good Luck
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