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Old 01-22-2017, 08:41 AM   #1
1 Rivet Member
Dallas , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 8
Newbie Intro-Shopping for First AS, looking for advice


My wife and I have started the discussion about looking into getting our first TT, and have come down with a serious case of "aluminitis."

My apologies up front, I can get long winded, I'll try to keep this post to a reasonable length.

First, the introduction...
My name is Ryan, my wife and I are in our mid 30's, we live in Dallas, have 3 dogs, and welcomed our first born back in August.

I work 12 hour shifts, 7 days on, 7 days off, 7 nights on, 7 nights off (EMS helicopter pilot)

We are looking to start taking advantage of having every other week off and doing some travelling one week a month or so, maybe a long weekend here and ther. Looking at destinations that would be do-able considering the one-week-at-a-time constraint (Arkansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado, Texas Coast), or in other words, places that are reachable considering up to a full day of travel or less each way.

Now the tricky part, and more specifically, where we need some advice...

We have looked at a couple of floor plans at one RV show, plan on going to another next month, and trying to plan a trip to Vogt in Ft Worth when schedules allow.

I realize floor plans are somewhat a matter of personal preference, but I'm looking for advice on the pro's/con's of different lengths given that the majority of what we'd be doing would be limited to trips of one week or less (with perhaps the occasional 2-3 week trip once or twice a year if I take time off).

Now, as it pertains to TV...
I currently own a VW Touareg TDI, Gen 1, 2012 that I am waiting to hear from VW concerning the pending buy-back settlement. There might be an option to replace it with a 2014 Ford Explorer (5,000# tow capacity) at a great deal from family, but I realize that would limit our choices on trailers.

Alternatively, I'm looking at Sequoia/Yukon/Tahoe as a replacement vehicle...main consideration is that I regularly have the 3 dogs and the baby in the car on my days off, add the wife when we would be travelling.

Total payload I would plan on packing for a week's trip:
500# - People + dogs
200# - clothes, baby supplies, dog food, miscellaneous equipment
100# - additional\unexpected\safety margin

I guess what I'm asking is this-
If I go with an explorer, I figure we have about 600# of payload to play with, which limits us to 23ft or less, and really, anything other than the sport models is getting close to pushing the limits.

Can anyone comment or provide some feedback on the limits of the shorter AS models for 2 adults, 1 young child, and 3 dogs for trips limited to 1 week or less?

Conversely, other than the $ savings of replacing the VW with the Explorer and the lower acquisition cost of the shorter AS's, can anyone make the case for going with Sequoia/Yukon and a 25-27ft AS?

If you've made it this far, thanks for reading...any and all help is appreciated,


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Old 01-22-2017, 09:19 AM   #2
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2012 25' Flying Cloud
Battle Lake , Minnesota
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A little more info . . .

Can you keep the Touareg TDI? With the low rpm torque of the diesel, 8-speed transmission, excellent stability and handling, large brakes, and great fuel economy it's a near ideal tow vehicle for a mid-size Airstream. It's limitation is interior space and load carrying capacity. As with most any tow vehicle, it's success will be determined by the quality of it's weight distribution system, and ability to carry and distribute the load evenly and within it's axle ratings. Some of the load will be distributed back to the trailer axles. For a mid-size Airstream towed by a unibody vehicle, the hitch receiver will probably need reinforcement to take the torque applied by the weight distribution hitch.

How big are the dogs?
Doug and Cheryl
2012 FC RB, Michelin 16, ProPride 1400
2016 Ram 1500 Laramie Crew Cab 4X4 Ecodiesel 3.92 axles

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Old 01-22-2017, 09:33 AM   #3
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Dallas , Texas
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Thanks for the quick reply!!!

I won't know the specifics on the buy-back option for a couple more weeks.

That being said, I love the Touareg for all the reasons you mentioned, but the option to sell it back to VW for a (potentially) decent profit is going to be a hard deal to pass up.

I haven't made up my mind 100%, but I want to make sure I look at all options. The real issue with the Touareg is that while it's great for daily use with just the baby, dogs, and gets pretty crowded with another adult on board. Add on top that a long drive for travel, and the extra room of one of the potential replacements becomes pretty attractive.

The dogs are 60#, 45#, and 40#. And while I don't want to think about it, the 60 and 40 are 11 years old, while the 45#'er is only 1. So I'm also trying to weigh long term effects into the decision process. We are hoping to try for another baby in the next year or two, so looking forward 4-5 years down the road, we realistically could be talking 2 toddlers and 1-3 dogs.
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Old 01-22-2017, 10:03 AM   #4
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Long-term planning is essential for something this expensive, when we bought our new 1978 VW Sirocco our son and small dog could both sleep in the back seat on trips. Ten years later he left for college, his 6' 5" body could barely squeeze into the driver's seat.

Wirth 2 adults, 2 (or more) growing kids and 1 - 3 dogs, you might want to look at a Ford Expedition (still has the full independent suspension and a low rpm torque EcoBoost engine) and 28' Airstream which separates the dinette and lounge. The difference in maximum total load (GVWR) of a 25' and 28' is 300 lbs, when loaded with travel gear it may have less hitch weight than a loaded 25' or 27' Front Bed model.

Success again will be determined by loads carried so as to stay within axle ratings and and a high quality weight distribution setup to ensure you do. Don't plan on heavy gear in the back of the Expedition or any other tow vehicle in this segment.
Doug and Cheryl
2012 FC RB, Michelin 16, ProPride 1400
2016 Ram 1500 Laramie Crew Cab 4X4 Ecodiesel 3.92 axles

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Old 01-22-2017, 11:04 AM   #5
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Scottsdale , Arizona
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Hi from AZ. . . welcome to the clan, good luck on your search, be careful out there. . . Craig
WBCCI 2851,4CU
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Old 01-22-2017, 12:07 PM   #6
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Dallas , Texas
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Thanks again for the replies...

Lots of research yet to be done and I'm hoping we can make it over to the dealership soon to get a better feel for the different floor plans as I suspect that will make some of the decisions a little more clear.

If I'm honest with myself, I'd really prefer to just go straight to a 25,27, or 28 footer, it's just that the option to get the replacement explorer at such a good price from family seems the "prudent" decision and then hold off on a trailer, or start small with the intent to trade in and grow as the family grows.

It will depend a lot on what VW offers on the buy back, so for now I'm kind of in a holding pattern until I find out more. If the buy back offer is good enough, I'd love to be able to get the explorer for my wife and trade in her 06 4Runner towards whatever TV we end up deciding on.

Decisions, decisions...

Thanks again for the input
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Old 01-22-2017, 01:46 PM   #7
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2019 27' Flying Cloud
Kansas City , Missouri
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If it helps you with your decision process, my recommendation is to plan for space for "4 adults" in both vehicle and camper.

I know I know, but you see it really does happen that fast.

And an 8 year old and 10 year old have the same virtual space requirements as 2 more adults. They will have big backpacks, big shoes, electronics with chargers, eat as much as you do, and have bikes, fishing tackle, and need lawn chairs and space to eat and sleep, pretty much the same amount of space as a young adult.

I know, cute lil' guy in his cute lil' carseat.

But really look around at the grocery store or church or mall when you are out and about. Really look at those 8,9,10 year olds. They will need space.

If you want to have enough room for 4 adults and a couple of dogs to sleep in the AS, in my opinion, a 23 D is the smallest possible unit I would be considering. And I don't like that unit really much at all because the adult bed is very short and very narrow.

IMHO, I would recommend a 25 as a AS that would work both now and continue to work as your needs change as your family grows.

Now if you don't want an AS that large, you could decide that a smaller unit (22 sport for example) is great for now, and that eventually an 8 and 10 year old, when they outgrow the table/bed, could just now sleep in a tent. Completely acceptable as an option.

Or you can get a smaller AS now, and know that you would need to trade for a larger one as your family grew up.

But if your intention is not to change ASs, then my opinion is that you should not consider under a 25 foot, and that you should obtain a vehicle capable of towing that and all you would need to bring along.

This thread I started from when we were deciding on a model may help you in your consideration of options.

Piggy Bank
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Old 01-30-2017, 07:17 AM   #8
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2016 28' International
Long Beach , California
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Newbie reply - Get a 28ft unless you are rich and can afford to keep buying a new AS every couple of years -babies turn into big kids - we have 1 kid and Nana- no dogs at this time, we started at 23ft size due to tow vehicle constraints not a good way to pick your TT size IMHO. We also figure we will have this for God willing 40+ years. So I tried to get what would last us and now am looking into a new TV.
The Wood Family
Mike Lisa & Aidan

2016 International Signature 28
2017 GMC Denali 2500HD Duramax Diesel 4X4 Crew Cab Z71

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Old 01-30-2017, 12:31 PM   #9
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How much have you camped? Tent, hammock? There is a reason for thiis line of questioning.
Peace and Blessings..
WBCCI# 30676
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Old 01-31-2017, 01:09 AM   #10
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1962 24' Tradewind
Independence , Missouri
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Posts: 363
Hey try looking for a used Airstream! I have a Vintage and it's a 24' and the tow on it is #4000 full tanks. Also you can go longer in an older model without shelling out the big bucks for both new tv and tt. When I was a kid we had a 32' A/S that was a 73 model and we pulled it with a V-8 SUV and we had my folks and my sister and brother all of us growing kids and had a blast in it. It fit us just fine. There was plenty of room for us. Having a vintage does have it's pros and cons just like a new but I love the cool factor and I get to join the vintage groups and still have a tt that's been on the road for 50 plus years.


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(VAC is Vintage Airstream Club)

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Old 01-31-2017, 04:57 AM   #11
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Dallas , Texas
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Originally Posted by cwf View Post
How much have you camped? Tent, hammock? There is a reason for thiis line of questioning.

My wife and I are both experienced tent and car campers, as well as extended backpacking.

In addition, we have both served as crew on a 70ft motor yacht (her as a stewardess and I as a mate/deck crew)-so we're not new to the realities of living/working in tight spaces, or dealing with and working on generators, water makers, shore chords, electricity and water restrictions, holding tanks, set up and tear down, docking, etc.
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Old 01-31-2017, 06:10 AM   #12
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1999 30' Excella 1000
small town , Maryland
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Welcome LimaVictor, You live in the heart of Texas. Pickup trucks are the only real cars down there. Look at gently used 3/4 ton extra cab trucks and 27'-30' Airstreams. Like will know it when you see her... I mean truck or trailer. Sorry Valentines day is on my mind. Remember shopping is half the fun. Good luck.
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