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Old 04-05-2023, 10:53 AM   #1
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Naples , Florida
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What size trailer to purchase?

My husband and I are researching what Airstream will best fit our needs. Hoping this community can help and if there is anyone with experience that wished they would have considered something else when they bought their first Airstream. It will only be my husband and I and our 2 large dogs. We plan to use for short trips and extended trips (3+ months). I realize every model has it's pros and cons, but based on research it looks like 28+ feet is needed to have the extra width which appears to be important with the 2 dogs? The models I'm considering are the Classic, International, Globetrotter, or Flying Cloud? Anything I need to know/consider as we make this purchase? We are excited to get out there and join the community! By the way, we have never towed anything or RV'd before so we are researching and absorbing as much information as we can. Thanks in advance! Cindy
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Old 04-05-2023, 11:01 AM   #2
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The wide body (8' 5.5") is standard on 25' and larger models.

Good luck with your search. We have had 2 25' Airstreams and it was a great size for us.
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Old 04-05-2023, 11:40 AM   #3
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The wide body Airstreams start at the 25ft long models. All Airstreams greater than or equal to 25ft in length are the wide body versions. The extra 6" of walkway space makes the trailers feel much more spacious inside and it is much easier for two people to maneuver past each other in the galley area.

For long trips, we find the extra interior storage available in the 27 and 28ft trailers and the exterior storage provided by the twin bed configurations to be beneficial.

The twin bed configuration also makes the trailer appear more spacious. In addition, it makes it much easier to get dressed in the morning.

In the Queen bed versions, some floorplans don't allow easy access to both sides of the bed and one partner has to crawl over the other to use the bathroom in the middle of the night for example.

If you have cpap machines, think about where these might have to rest and where the power outlets are located. The twin bed configuration shines again here with the nightstand between the beds providing power locations and a place to put the cpap machines.

The 27 and 28ft models offer both a microwave oven and a propane oven with stovetop. The 25 ft model only offers a convection microwave and please note that the 2kw Airstream factory installed inverter cannot power the convection microwave. We personally use our microwave oven, propane oven, and stovetop and would find a convection microwave oven to be too limiting.

The globetrotter and higher trim levels provide power stabilization jacks and a power awning in addition to an upgrade in interior laminates, countertops, etc. Some folks prefer the manual operating options in the flying cloud and international trim levels, but I for one appreciate the power operation options.

Note: Some folks have reliability and functional problems with the control systems in the classic trim levels. These problems can be very difficult to diagnose and cure and can leave critical trailer functions unavailable when the system fails, locks up, or otherwise misbehaves (such as air conditioning). I have no idea how prevalent such issues are, but they can be debilitating when stuff happens. We chose the Globetrotter trim level to avoid any potential for issues.

Tongue weight and tow vehicle payload concerns: Airstreams in general have heavy tongue weights. Once you attach a WD hitch and load up the trailer, tongue weights of 1000-1250lbs are quite likely and are much higher than the Airstream specs would have you believe. Given that tongue weight is subtracted from the tow vehicle payload capacity, high tongue weights can often overload your tow vehicle and push you into a 3/4 ton or 1 ton tow vehicle. Note: 25ft Airstreams actually have a higher tongue weight than the 27 and 28ft models.

A 2nd A/C unit is pretty much required for most folks to enjoy camping in hotter, southern states.

The Airstream solar packages are pretty minimal and pricey. Many folks end up upgrading their batteries to lithium, upgrade to a 3kw inverter to run everything in the trailer (including all outlets, microwaves, air conditioners, etc), and install many more solar panels on the roof. The Airstream solar package wiring is inadequate for larger solar arrays and as of the 2023 model year, Airstream uses solar panels that are not available from other sources. If you want to upgrade your energy systems, folks often end up replacing most of the expensive Airstream solar package equipment in order to upgrade the wiring and ensure that all solar panels match.

Well, this is probably enough for now. I hope this helps :-)

We are currently on a 6 week camping trip through NM, CO, Utah, and AZ in our 2022 globetrotter 27fb twin model. We are alternating between RV parks and boondocking on BLM and National Forest land. This trailer is proving to be perfect for the two of us on extended trips and also expect it to accommodate a couple of dogs again in the future. I am posting this via Starlink while boondocking on BLM land in the Rio Grande Canyon near Taos, NM :-)

Best of luck with your trailer selection. Spend as much time as you can looking at and using trailers at the dealership. That helped us with our choice
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Old 04-05-2023, 12:22 PM   #4
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Dogs will accommodate whatever space you allow them. Get the smallest trailer which fits you and your husbands’ needs and let the dogs figure it out. (My wife and I and our Very Large dog consider our little 22’ FB to be perfect for us, and we’ve been out for 3-4 mos at a time.

Easy to tow. Easy to work with. Remember, it’s mostly just a place to sleep.
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Old 04-05-2023, 12:29 PM   #5
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The best size for an Airstream is a very subjective thing. If possible, tour a few different Airstream sizes and models. Think about where you’ll spend time and where the dogs will be, including where the dogs will sleep. You’ll want to make sure you’ve got adequate room for dog beds, dog bowls, etc. Think about rainy days when you’re all inside the trailer. You’ll need adequate space for lounging. For longer trips with big dogs, you’ll need lots of dog food. Will that be stored in your trailer or in your tow vehicle?

My wife and I camped regularly in our 23FB with a Great Dane. Our longest trip was about five weeks. I had a custom dog bed made for her that fit into the entry hallway in our Airstream. We don’t allow the dog in our bed. I stored the dog bed in my truck during the day, and I stored her food in the truck. It worked fine.

Our 23’ Airstream was a good size for us and the way we used it, but I think it would have been a challenge for longer trips. It’s all relative though. We parked next to a couple with a 16’ Bambi once at a campground, and they thought our 23’ International was huge.
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Old 04-05-2023, 12:44 PM   #6
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One of the other factors is what you intend to tow with, how much you intend to bring with you, and your tolerance for risk. The larger trailers usually require 3/4 to 1 ton pickups, specially optioned 1/2 trucks, or vehicle modifications for other vehicle types while the mid-sized trailers can be towed with a 1/2 truck or large SUV. The smaller trailers can be towed with a even wider variety of vehicles.

If you are planning on buying a new TV, then you'll be able to get one that is appropriate for the trailer you want. If you plan on using and existing vehicle, they you need to get a trailer that is within the capabilities of the vehicle.

As to the models, there is overlap in the models as far as layouts go. The biggest difference is usually due to the number of electronic vs manual features and the finishing materials (formica vs corian, leatherette vs leather, etc...) as you move through the models. Think of it like Chevy vs Buick vs Cadillac.
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Old 04-05-2023, 01:14 PM   #7
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Walk through and sit in as many as possible.
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Old 04-05-2023, 02:17 PM   #8
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This is incredibly helpful! Thank you for all the insight.
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Old 04-05-2023, 02:20 PM   #9
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We plan to choose the AS first, then choose the tow vehicle. Thank you for the insight!
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Old 04-05-2023, 02:21 PM   #10
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Thanks for the reply. I realize it is a very personal decision, just trying to see what others think. I appreciate everyone's feedback. Can't wait to find our Airstream.
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Old 04-05-2023, 04:10 PM   #11
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30 foot, rear twin.

Best bathroom, 4 outside storage compartments, couch to nap on, room to get dressed in the bedroom.
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