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Old 02-23-2021, 12:30 PM   #1
Heb
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2018 23' International
Happy Valley , Oregon
Join Date: Feb 2021
Posts: 16
Newbie advice! Caravel 20 or FC23

Hi all!

I have been lurking for a few years and we are finally ready to pull the trigger! Looking to buy either a Caravel 20 or a Flying Cloud 23FB and are looking for advice between them. I have read through everything I could find comparing the old FC20 to FC23. Anyone owned both?

We intend on being weekend warriors with lots of 3-5 day weekends and 2 trips of 1 week or longer a year. Mostly national Parks. I will also be using the AS every third weekend to stay close to work when I am On Call (less than 30 minute response time).

We love the kitchen and layout of the 20, the huge kitchen and division of space. Only possible concern is the bed. I am 6’2”, wife is 5’2” both slender/athletic build. We have a 2 year old. Then there are 2 small blue heeler a who might tag along depending on destination.

I have towed extensively with dual axel cargo trailers, boats, snowmobiles, etc. the single vs double axel does not really bother me with either. I have towed both, can back them, know to keep an eye on all tires. Mostly concerned with family space. We want to be outside mostly. We are coming from years of backpacking.

Having bigger bed/a bedroom vs bigger kitchen??? Worth the extra $20k? We are only 30 so a long way from retirement or spending more than 2 weeks in it on vacation.
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Old 02-23-2021, 12:55 PM   #2
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2020 23' International
Evergreen , Colorado
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My wife and I compared a Caravel 20FB to an International 23FB, and ended up buying the International 23FB. The bigger bed was one of the deciding factors. We're both thin, but I'm 6'4" and she's 6'0". The bed in the Caravel just wasn't quite big enough for us. The kitchen in the Caravel is great, no doubt about that. Like you, we prefer to spend our time outside whenever possible. Neither the 20FB nor the 23FB will give you a huge amount of lounging space inside. The 23FB twin helps with this a bit, but it's still tight. I had a custom cushion made to convert the dinette to a lounge/couch, and we occasionally use that. Overall, we have been very happy with the 23FB. I'd make the same choice again.

The Caravel 22FB might be worth considering also, if you haven't looked at that one. It's basically the same layout as the 23FB, but it doesn't have the space on the front side of the bed and the nightstand that the 23 has.

Good luck and enjoy the process!
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Old 02-23-2021, 12:58 PM   #3
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2015 20' Flying Cloud
Kingsport , Tennessee
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As my wife said, we're not living in our Airstream, it's a tent where we don't have to sleep on the ground anymore, can cook inside, and not have to head across the campground to a bathhouse in the middle of the night. Either would cover that perspective....

I initially liked the 20, but, decided I had to have dual axles and a larger bed: I'm 6' but 'athletic' was 30 years ago, now we're both more plump: so I was expecting to get a 23FB, but was considering a 25' or whatever else I came across (I was shopping used to make the budget go further). Ended up popping in on my dealership, and they had a lightly used FC20 available, that worked w/ the budget, but... it wasn't a queen and it wasn't dual axle. But, I laid down in the bed and thought about it awhile, and realized that it wasn't 'too' small. So I had to do some thinking.

I had in my head I wanted dual axles for safety, if a tire went out while towing. But, I finally recognized, if a single axle wasn't 'safe', they wouldn't sell them... just use good tires, TPMS, and I let go of that fear. And: while we're not skinny anymore, we're not full-timers either: weekends, several week-long trips here or there, during the summers a two-week trip... we can stand to be a bit cozy for a week or two at a time, didn't 'have' to have the queen bed. But, important point for my wife: she'd much rather have the savings of going w/ the 20 over a bigger one.

SO, we were back to the FC20, and went for it.

Suggestion: go spend time in the 20' Caravel, sitting in the dinette, imagining being in there on a rainy day, then go sit in the FC 23FB, and imagine being there. Imagine the stove in use while sitting in the 20', vs the 23. I came to finally think the 20 is a better layout, even if the bed is a little smaller. But, your opinion may differ. You've got to look and see what you think.

Good luck,
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Old 02-23-2021, 01:02 PM   #4
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2014 20' Flying Cloud
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LNBright View Post
. . .
Suggestion: go spend time in the 20' Caravel, sitting in the dinette, imagining being in there on a rainy day, then go sit in the FC 23FB, and imagine being there. Imagine the stove in use while sitting in the 20', vs the 23. I came to finally think the 20 is a better layout, even if the bed is a little smaller. But, your opinion may differ. You've got to look and see what you think.

Good luck,
Bingo! Well said in general, Leslie.

In your situation, Heb, I might opt for the 23' . . . hmmmmm . . . . . . actually a 25' makes more sense IMO! Maybe find a good used one and go for it? We had one back in the 1990's and traveled all over the country.

You have identified the strong links in the 20-footer chain [which is what we have], but it may be too small for your family, especially if the dogs come along IMO.

Oh . . . welcome to the forum!

Travel safe.
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Old 02-23-2021, 01:13 PM   #5
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2014 20' Flying Cloud
Long Island , New York
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PS Heb -- There is a 20-footer thread here, which is long and some say tedious . . . . . . but it goes into a lot of detail if you have the time to read some of it. The documentation of various projects is fairly well done IMO:

https://www.airforums.com/forums/f54...rs-127845.html

Also are you familiar with Colonial Airstream's YouTube channel? Patrick does a great job of touring each model IMO.

Caravel 20' here:

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Old 02-23-2021, 02:22 PM   #6
Heb
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2018 23' International
Happy Valley , Oregon
Join Date: Feb 2021
Posts: 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by LNBright View Post
As my wife said, we're not living in our Airstream, it's a tent where we don't have to sleep on the ground anymore, can cook inside, and not have to head across the campground to a bathhouse in the middle of the night. Either would cover that perspective....

I initially liked the 20, but, decided I had to have dual axles and a larger bed: I'm 6' but 'athletic' was 30 years ago, now we're both more plump: so I was expecting to get a 23FB, but was considering a 25' or whatever else I came across (I was shopping used to make the budget go further). Ended up popping in on my dealership, and they had a lightly used FC20 available, that worked w/ the budget, but... it wasn't a queen and it wasn't dual axle. But, I laid down in the bed and thought about it awhile, and realized that it wasn't 'too' small. So I had to do some thinking.

I had in my head I wanted dual axles for safety, if a tire went out while towing. But, I finally recognized, if a single axle wasn't 'safe', they wouldn't sell them... just use good tires, TPMS, and I let go of that fear. And: while we're not skinny anymore, we're not full-timers either: weekends, several week-long trips here or there, during the summers a two-week trip... we can stand to be a bit cozy for a week or two at a time, didn't 'have' to have the queen bed. But, important point for my wife: she'd much rather have the savings of going w/ the 20 over a bigger one.

SO, we were back to the FC20, and went for it.

Suggestion: go spend time in the 20' Caravel, sitting in the dinette, imagining being in there on a rainy day, then go sit in the FC 23FB, and imagine being there. Imagine the stove in use while sitting in the 20', vs the 23. I came to finally think the 20 is a better layout, even if the bed is a little smaller. But, your opinion may differ. You've got to look and see what you think.

Good luck,
Thanks so much! I just wanted to hear from some folks about the same size as us. We like the kitchen layout so much better. We went to the dealership last week and spent about an hour in the 20 just did not lay down in the bed as it was already sold... we went in the 22, just did not have time to see a 23 that day. Good to know it works for some of us larger folks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis C View Post
My wife and I compared a Caravel 20FB to an International 23FB, and ended up buying the International 23FB. The bigger bed was one of the deciding factors. We're both thin, but I'm 6'4" and she's 6'0". The bed in the Caravel just wasn't quite big enough for us. The kitchen in the Caravel is great, no doubt about that. Like you, we prefer to spend our time outside whenever possible. Neither the 20FB nor the 23FB will give you a huge amount of lounging space inside. The 23FB twin helps with this a bit, but it's still tight. I had a custom cushion made to convert the dinette to a lounge/couch, and we occasionally use that. Overall, we have been very happy with the 23FB. I'd make the same choice again.

The Caravel 22FB might be worth considering also, if you haven't looked at that one. It's basically the same layout as the 23FB, but it doesn't have the space on the front side of the bed and the nightstand that the 23 has.

Good luck and enjoy the process!
Thanks so much, I appreciate it, we just thought if we were going longer than 20, losing the mobility and access to be able to park it in a spot meant for a car and go to the hallway kitchen we would jump to the 23 for more of an isolated bedroom feel. Do you have pics of your custom dinette cushion?
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Old 02-23-2021, 02:27 PM   #7
Heb
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2018 23' International
Happy Valley , Oregon
Join Date: Feb 2021
Posts: 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by OTRA15 View Post
PS Heb -- There is a 20-footer thread here, which is long and some say tedious . . . . . . but it goes into a lot of detail if you have the time to read some of it. The documentation of various projects is fairly well done IMO:

https://www.airforums.com/forums/f54...rs-127845.html

Also are you familiar with Colonial Airstream's YouTube channel? Patrick does a great job of touring each model IMO.

Caravel 20' here:

I read through as far as I could before falling asleep and then passing out! Fast forwarded to the end! 😂 watched a lot of those Colonial Airstream videos on the big screen and spent an hour in them at the dealership. Just looking for more perspective from a family our physical size or bigger!

Quote:
Originally Posted by OTRA15 View Post
Bingo! Well said in general, Leslie.

In your situation, Heb, I might opt for the 23' . . . hmmmmm . . . . . . actually a 25' makes more sense IMO! Maybe find a good used one and go for it? We had one back in the 1990's and traveled all over the country.

You have identified the strong links in the 20-footer chain [which is what we have], but it may be too small for your family, especially if the dogs come along IMO.

Oh . . . welcome to the forum!

Travel safe.
I wish we could get a 25’!!! They are beautiful. Don’t want to change out my tow vehicle (Tundra 5.7 CrewMax or Lexus GX460). Trying to keep length at 40’ or below for access. Thanks though. I feel like if I went 25’ it would be a slippery slope to a 27’ with the rear garage door like the Eddie Bauer Edition. (We camped in one on Cycle Oregon a few years ago! Loved it! Too big though)
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Old 02-23-2021, 02:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heb View Post
Do you have pics of your custom dinette cushion?
I'll take a pic for you this weekend when I'm at the trailer storage facility. I had the cushion made by Ultimate Airstreams in the same upholstery as the factory cushions.
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Old 03-01-2021, 03:13 PM   #9
Heb
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2018 23' International
Happy Valley , Oregon
Join Date: Feb 2021
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Spent a few hours at the dealership over the weekend and agonized through a few more hours of video tours.

We ruled out the FC23FB as we just did not find the extra money was in usable things for us.

We walked through a Bambi 22FB and thought that in the Caravel option level we would be getting something pretty comparable to the 23FB.

So back to Caravel 22 vs 20. It’s an agonizing choice.

The 20 had a couple small weak points which were the 48” wide Bed, no opening windows on the curb side, no opening window in the bathroom. And it felt tighter cause of all the cabinets. On the positives: that Kitchen! Storage place for everything, like the 20’s dinette a lot better.

The 22 feels big because it is so open. Weak points: lack of storage for everyday, dinette storage harder to access (why no side doors on thee bench like 20?), no overhead storage above the dinette (why?), no pantry, no drawers of any kind anywhere. On the positives useable kitchen space, more opening windows around the bed and in the bathroom, liked the bedroom feel of the bedroom, bathroom right by the door. Only concern with the 22 is it is a little light on storage. Otherwise a better space.

At the end of the day we ordered a Caravel 22FB... ooops. Sales lady thought it would be done by June! Anybody want to play a game and guess what day we will actually get it? Free bottle of Oregon Pinot Noir from my brothers Winery to whoever is closest to the exact date! “Price is Right Rules”
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