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Old 09-11-2007, 08:08 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
Denver , Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 5
Mountain adventurer looking for a mobile base camp.

Hello! I've been backpacking, climbing, biking, mountaineering, and snowboarding all over Colorado and the Western States for about 3 years now. I've decided that I need a little more support for my travels in the form of a mobile "base camp". I've seen a couple of flashy silver bullets on the highway this summer, which peaked my interest in Airstreams.

I don't know much about models and accessories, which is why I am here. My first constraint is price. I am looking for a camper in the $5,000-$10,000 range. Obviously the age of the unit does not matter to me. 60's, 70's, 80's, as long as it is durable and long lasting (a department I've heard that Airstream excels over other brands).

My ideal camper does not need to be very big. It should be able to sleep 2 comfortably but 4 if necessary. I also work in the construction industry and often travel for work. I would love a camper that I could live out of for a week and call "home" to avoid the monotony of a hotel room on the road. It would be nice to have a sink, refridgerator, and toilet, and possibly a shower.

Lastly and very importantly: heat. I do a lot of backcountry snowboarding during the winter time in the Rockies, and I would like to be able to pull up to a trailhead parking lot and spend the night comfortably before an early morning hike. Refillable propane heat tanks would be ideal.

So there you have my long introduction! There is a lot of information on this forum and I look forward to diving in!
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Old 09-11-2007, 08:42 PM   #2
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2005 28' Safari S/O
Paradise , California
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Hi Luca, Welcome to the forums! You have landed in the right spot for information and camraderie regarding Airstreams. You should be able to find a usable AS in your price range, if you don't mind driving to pick it up. Since you live in Colorado, you are centrally located in the US, so you have an advantage over us coastal folks in that regard. You might start your search in the classified section on the tab at the top of this page.

The size AS you purchase is determined by the size of you tow vehicle or vice versa. You wouldn't want to put a size 11 shoe on a size 13 foot. The result would be painful just like towing a large AS with an underpowered, too small a tow vehicle. What is your tow vehicle? Would something like this suit you?

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Old 09-11-2007, 10:23 PM   #3
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2006 19' Safari SE
Tucson , Arizona
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Welcome, are in the right place to do your research and find the right Airstream for yourself. You might want to check out the relatively new model made by Airstream called "Basecamp" which might be just the ticket, though it may not provide all the ammenities you'd like....worth a look-see as an option, though. You can see them at the Aristream website and you can find more information on there here in the forum... If that's not your cup of tea, the vintage route is a good one for you. Poke around in the subforms and you'll find lots of useful info...

Good luck, and again, welcome to the party!
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Old 09-12-2007, 09:33 AM   #4
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Denver , Colorado
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The 21 footer looks just about perfect! I'd be pulling it with nothing smaller than a Chevy 1500 with a V8, which should be plenty of power.

I'd rather go with a vintage model over a new one.

I have been reading the "winter" forums and I'm a little scared. It looks like it is not as easy as possible to keep the airstream heated from propane. A lot of people are recommending an electrical hookup or a gas generator, which I don't want to deal with.
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Old 09-12-2007, 10:05 AM   #5
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1956 22' Safari
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Conifer/Evergreen , Colorado
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Welcome to the Forums from a fellow Coloradoan!!

Airstreams, especially vintage ones are really intended for three-season use. I wouldn't think of full-timing or spending lots of back-country camping in the winter months. A weekend "roughing it" is one thing...using it for home base for an extended period of time in the winter is another.

The biggest concern I would have is two-fold - water & heat. In the vinatge trailers, some of the water lines and the black tank are under the floor and that area is not heated unless there is a ducted under floor furnace. Your black water system would pretty much be out of service in the mountain winter temperatures. Staying warm is not as big of a problem by itself, as long as you have lots of propane, you can keep toasty warm.

Another concern is condensation...they don't have dual paned glass and aren't insulated well enough to keep if from forming - especially with cooking moisture (and showers if you figure out the water thing).

One of my all-time favorite "winter threads" is by RubySlipper - if you haven't yet read it, it's a hoot and gives a down to earth perspective from the field!

If you were down here in Denver - no big deal most winters, but in the would definately be an adventure! Not sure if it would be the kind you are looking for though ~

Good luck in whatever you decide to do!

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Old 09-12-2007, 10:43 AM   #6
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Although you need a base camp

I don't think the new Airstream Basecamp model isn't geared up for much more than a day trip for someone who needs to carry a motorcycle or ATV. They cost about 20K and weigh as much as my 20 footer that has a kitchen, bathroom, and furnace.
As Inside Out has said, most of the water systems will be unusable
in freezing temperatures. Airstreams are fairly airtight and they will develop
their own weather systems inside. People will breathe out or sweat about a gallon turns into rain. I thought I had a leak when I first started winter camping.

I do camp while my trailer is winterized..I use a jerry can for water supply and a portapotti for waste. What I am thinking about doing is putting a 5 gallon paint bucket under the sink, and have the sink drain directly into the bucket. The grey water will stay warm inside the trailer. This will enable me to take a bird bath in the sink.
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Old 09-13-2007, 07:40 PM   #7
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Denver , Colorado
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Thanks for all the feedback. It looks like the Safari is about the size I'm looking for and a 70's model fits my price range. I'm going to start scouring the classifieds, but if you run across anything please let me know!
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