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Old 08-01-2020, 12:07 PM   #1
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Newbies looking for our first Airstreem

Hi We are getting ready for retirement years and want to buy our first Air Stream,
A dream of mine. We are just starting to seriously look and would appreciate any all help in finding our first. My husband doesn’t want to go big at first. I don’t want too small either, so I think we are settling on a fly cloud 23 or similar. Any advise on buying from a private seller verse an RV lot.?
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Old 08-01-2020, 12:16 PM   #2
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Welcome Aboard 👍

It may be good to start looking for an Airstream...one werd.

Good first choice...but look at as many as you can in person. We realize it's hard once Aluminitus strikes but try not to rush.

Sweet Streams...

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Old 08-01-2020, 12:26 PM   #3
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A 23'-25' is quite workable for a couple, if you aren't full timing and don't need as much storage. We are very happy with our choice of a 25' Flying Cloud. You also need to consider what you will use to tow the trailer, and the capabilities of that vehicle. Be aware of the payload and other weight ratings on the door jam sticker.

If you want a 3 year warranty you may want to buy new, but if you want to save some money, you can look for one that has already had initial issues handled and buy used.
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Old 08-01-2020, 12:28 PM   #4
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Newbies looking for our first Airstreem

As a semi-retired couple with 4 smallish dogs that travel with us, something in the 23-26 foot range is compact and easy to handle on the road, but big enough to be comfortable. Dittos to Bobs comment to sit and simulate living in as many models as possible before buying anything.

Ours is a 22 foot International CCD from 2007. It does have dual axles. Most 23 footers nowadays are the smallest with dual axles, IMHO an important safety feature on the road.

Look closely at sleeping arrangements, bath and shower setup, storage, and general ‘move about the area’ flow inside the Airstream cabin.

Ducted air conditioning is a plus, ditto walk-around bed. The rest of it is a personal choice as are all things. Do good research. Try to avoid complicated electronics stuff, as it can be ‘more stuff to go awry at the worst possible time’. Manually operated switches are both reliable, and positive acting.

In any case, be sure to get a thorough walk through and training on how to tow before you hit the road. Look through the forums for massive arguments on tow vehicles, hitch systems, and tools to carry.

Form your own carefully researched opinion on these important subjects. Not everyone has the exact same situation or needs. There are a lot of STRONG opinions out there being pushed as “facts”.
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Old 08-01-2020, 03:50 PM   #5
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We were in a pretty similar situation. Just my wife and me. I thought I wanted a 23. Went to a couple of RV shows. There is a big consignment dealer here in Houston. They had a couple of 23 configurations and a 25 FB, which was great because it was salesperson free. Spent a lot of time looking at Colonial Airstream videos, although there was no way I could buy from them. All that got us to settle on a model, a Flying Cloud 25RBT. It's more than enough for a couple. The 23 would be enough, but I didn't find the dinette comfortable and I liked the bigger tanks on the 25 because we will boondock. Things like that are purely personal choices without a right or wrong.

Then we started looking for one that was 1 - 5 years old, preferably from a private party. Ended up with a new one that was a prior year model and had been on a dealer's lot for a long time. I am not sure that is presently possible given the Covid demand. The new one has some issues that we need to get corrected that would have been sorted out with a used one, but it also has a three year warranty. Plus having to buy from a dealer is, in my opinion, unpleasant. But it worked for us.

The one thing I would have done differently is that I should have bought a trailer two or three years ago. We have had fun with ours.

Anyway, good luck with your search!
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Old 08-01-2020, 04:52 PM   #6
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Welcome!

We think that a 25 footer is the sweet spot for us and are probably one of the few people who went from bigger to smaller; usually folks go the other way. We had a 30' Classic and while it was a very full featured and comfortable trailer it presented problems getting into some of the campgrounds (primarily boondocking off the grid) that we wanted to go.

For a couple with no kids at this point (except for our Lab) a 25 has plenty of room. A 23 would also have worked in terms of living space and we liked the combined bathroom/shower of the 23's but it had smaller tanks and we also felt we would miss the dinette/lounge layout of the 25. Just a matter of personal preference.

I prefer to purchase new but there are good reasons to also buy pre-owned if you can find the right former owner and trailer, Do follow the advice that has already been offered regarding making sure that you have a tow vehicle that is capable of pulling whatever trailer you choose and, maybe even more importantly, that it has adequate payload capacity (different than towing capability) to handle the tongue weight of the trailer you decide on plus all of the stuff you want to carry. It's a very common issue that people overlook and you will find plenty of discussion around the subject on this forum.

Finally, I'll reinforce what has already been mentioned about trying to spend as much time in the trailer layouts you are considering as you can. It can all be pretty overwhelming so take your time and have fun. Good luck!
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Old 08-03-2020, 12:10 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ColleenA View Post
Hi We are getting ready for retirement years and want to buy our first Air Stream,
A dream of mine. We are just starting to seriously look and would appreciate any all help in finding our first. My husband doesn’t want to go big at first. I don’t want too small either, so I think we are settling on a fly cloud 23 or similar. Any advise on buying from a private seller verse an RV lot.?
Colleen;
My husband and I too are nearing retirement, well he has been retired for 4 yrs now and I will be in 9 months.

We began our search via the Airstream dealerships at first to gage what we wanted. We wanted to stay within what our current tow vehicle (TV) could handle so it was between a 20' and 23' that was within reason to start with. We ended up getting a nice used unit (2018 22FB Sport) from a private seller, got a better price by far than what the dealer had to offer on similar units, and so far we love it! There is just the 2 of us and 2 4-legged small barking units - who love it as well!

We will probably look at a 25' unit down the road when we upgrade to a larger TV. Our 2018 GMC 1500 pulls our 22FB Sport like butter, and probably could handle up to a 25' unit, but I think that is pushing it a bit. We have the full tow package on our TV which is nice as well.

In the end, if you can find a used AS at a good price then jump on it as first, you aren't dealing with any depreciation (which AS doesn't have as much of one as other brands) and it is already "broke-in" :0)
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Old 08-03-2020, 03:47 PM   #8
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I would caution you about being too accepting of warranty promises on a “barely used” unit. Dometic severely abused us on our first unit. (They, not A-S, handle the issues on their appliances.)
I second the observation about ducted air. For us, the 10 dB difference meant the difference between sleeping and NOT sleeping.
Happy travels!
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Old 08-03-2020, 03:59 PM   #9
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Welcome to the forum!

One of the many choices is whether you wish to have a queen bed or twin beds. That may make a difference in what size AS you choose as the queen bed is cross ways in some shorter units..

Look at as many as possible. Sit in them and mimic a typical day with bath and shower and getting dressed and eating and cleaning, etc. That will give you an idea of how you will like it.

Wishing you the best in your search. But don't wait. Months turn into years far too quickly!
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Old 08-03-2020, 04:08 PM   #10
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press the aluminum

Joy started looking almost three years ago. As a dutiful and loving husband, i innocently supported until i saw the "gotta have one" beast looking back at me. Shifted to full-on search mode, which is tough from Alaska.

The videos online had led us to a 26U Queen. But my first visit to a large dealer while on a solo business trip gave me pause - didn't "feel" like it had looked on line.

I arranged a day layover for both of us at an Oregon dealer while flying back to AK from AZ to visit the inlaws. Glad we did. The on-site completely changed our consensus and led to our current 27 In'l FBT.

Get your masks and go see first hand.
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Old 08-03-2020, 04:16 PM   #11
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ColeenA - Good luck with your search. Welcome to this community. There is a lot of great information on tap here from folks with a lot of experience and skills. These boards are a great resource.

Slightly used (1-5 YO) is generally as good as new for these well made campers. Front bedroom models are AS's best sellers. Time spent in an AS is the best way to evaluate what you need. Bigger will always feel "better", but you must respect your budget and carefully consider the kind of camping you want to do.

Within the limits common design DNA, AS has really created campers lines that have different "feels" to match the needs/styles of different groups of campers.

My wife & I have a 25' FC RB which is a great fit for the two of us. Enough extra room to bring our grand daughters from time to time. Be sure you wind up with a good match between your TV (tow vehicle) and the AS of your choosing. The goal is to be able to travel safely. When you have a good match up TV & AS, towing is a breeze.
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Old 08-03-2020, 04:46 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hans627 View Post
Welcome to the forum!

One of the many choices is whether you wish to have a queen bed or twin beds. That may make a difference in what size AS you choose as the queen bed is cross ways in some shorter units..

Look at as many as possible. Sit in them and mimic a typical day with bath and shower and getting dressed and eating and cleaning, etc. That will give you an idea of how you will like it.

Wishing you the best in your search. But don't wait. Months turn into years far too quickly!
I'm not very familiar with the layout in many of the <25' models re: queen/full or twin. When buying our first A/S, this site was in its infancy and we had not heard about the WBCCI yet, we were 'on our own' and coming from a queen (kinda') Casita.

The salesman at a new A/S dealership, we bought the first one from them, was really good about pointing out the differences between the twin and 'queen' sized Airstreams in the range we were looking. He is still working there and for good reason (17+ years).

Our focus was on the 19' Bambi and the 25' Safari. After the salesman pointed out the available floor space and traffic flow inside the different trailers the 25' twin ended up being the final decision. Twin beds were never a serious consideration for us until we spent a lot of time going in & out of the different layouts. A 25' queen was also on the lot. We ended up getting the twin layout with some reservations but since then we have bought 2 more A/S's, all 3 have/had the twin bed layout. The extra space and flow just seems to really work for us, especially in a curved sided Airstream trailer on the shorter side (</=25-27').

That's just an opinion, only you can make the decision for what will work for you.
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