Originally Posted by Ryanh
I'm considering an Airstream as a retirement travel / fishing lodge / sunset watching / get away "magic carpet." I've been window shopping for nearly a year and lurking here.
Most of the time I expect to travel solo. I plan to do a lot of "boondocking" as have some land and have friends with land available for "settin' a spell." Probable tv: an F250 diesel.
1. Looks to me like a Safari 25 SE would be just the ticket for me - plenty larage for me solo and enough room for occasional guests, wife, etc. ... but to get largest tanks (big deal for boondocking), have to get the front bedroom, twin beds. Why is this?
2. Is it possible to get more than two batteries ... i.e. maybe 4?
3. Airstream - installed solar panels seem to have pretty puny outputs compared to models sold by BP, Kyocera, etc. ... any ideas why this would be?
Thanks for any help!
Welcome, I LIKE that 25 ft Safari! An F-250 should be plenty of tow vehicle for it, but DO use the SEARCH tool here and check out what the gearheads have to say about choosing the correct rear differential and extra cooling for the radiator and transmission fluid. I've found that salesmen are USELESS to know what you need. They want to sell you whatever is on the lot, and to get the best vehicle, you'll either get VERY lucky, or special order it. I went with a 2500 Suburban... and added the electric tow mirrors. They are HUGE and manually pull out about 8 inches when towing. Worth every dollar I spent. When I watch people with the clip ons I just thank heaven that I got good advice and did it right the first time.
I can't give you specific advice about solar panels, but all of the units are now pre-wired for them. You could certainly add one of your own choice after purchasing your A/S. I'd think that a ground mount unit might actually make more sense because you can move it around and adjust the angle to get the best sun. With a roof mount unit, you can end up without enough level ground to park the A/S and have the panel facing south.
You know I've got the 22ft CCD and have the two teeny 10lb tanks. I went out and bought two more "Blue Rhino" tanks, which I can carry on the roof of the Suburban if I'm going to be without hookup for a long time. (Don't want them IN the Burb with me... one tiny leak and tweety bird goes for the big nap.) The point is that you can carry an empty 10lb tank or two, and do the swap to full tanks when you get near to your boondocking site. 20 extra lbs on top of what you can carry on the tongue.... Are you planning on boondocking for more than 2-3 weeks at a stretch, and even if you are, you'll occasionally drive into town for something. I've rarely seen a rural gas station or a Wal-Mart or a hardware store that doesn't have exchange tanks.
I've only got one battery and it's good 4 days max, but I'm getting a small generator... Probably a Honda EU1000. It won't run the A/C... but if you've got air conditioning you ain't boondocking! It only weighs 37 lbs, and I can siphon gas from the Suburban's tank once a day to feed it.
Going with a second battery isn't a bad idea, but a small generator will recharge your one battery very well.
Everything comes down to weight. Batteries are heavy as are propane tanks, and an EU-3000 generator which will run EVERYTHING weighs well over 100 lbs. Ideally you want to run your trailer balanced with approximately the same amount of weight on both axles. You're better overloading the tongue a bit rather than the rear of the trailer, but even what you put in your tow vehicle can lower your hitch ball and make your trailer tip forward.
I constantly try to EDIT what I'm carrying, and I've gotten into the very good habit of checking my tire pressure on the tow vehicle and twinky religiously.
Serious Suggestion: Half the stuff you buy for your trailer in the first 10-15 days you'll end up discarding or rarely using... AND you'll have to go out and buy more stuff that you shoulda... coulda... mighta chosen in the first place. Be pragmatic and start with the minimum, make your first trip a voyage of discovery, and then gradually make the selections you need. (Oh, a good corkscrew IS one of MY necessities!)