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Old 11-24-2015, 08:12 AM   #1
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27 FCFB for boondocking?

My wife and I plan to retire in 2017. We are looking closely at the 27 FCFB. We want to boondock as much as possible from Sept thru Nov and Jan thru April somewhere warmer than Michigan. My wife really likes the 27 FCFB. I am concerned about the ability to get it into boondocking locations. What are your thoughts. Is the 27 FCFB too big?
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Old 11-24-2015, 10:04 AM   #2
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People get 40 foot motor-homes onto boon docking locations so a 27 footer will not prevent you from boon docking in the SW. Of course, the smaller the trailer the more options you will have, but a 27 foot front bedroom model offer sufficient room and storage for long term use by a couple and can fit in most boon docking places.

If you are planning on doing a lot of boon docking look into solar (not Airstreams package as that is a waste of money and a piece of junk) and upgraded batteries. There are lots of excellent threads about these subjects on the forum.
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Old 11-24-2015, 10:15 AM   #3
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You have asked a question that is almost impossible to answer. I suppose you could just say "it depends" and be done with it. One person's idea of boondocking is not the same as another. I went from a tent trailer to a 21ft hybrid and now our Airstream. Every step up made me give up some boondocking options. Some people consider camping in a state campground boondocking. We used to go up logging roads and camp in fields. In that case, no, your 27FB might not work.

Where have you boondocked in the past? The "locations" I once used won't work for me anymore. Steep gravel roads with tight hairpin turns are out. Heavily wooded roads with overhanging tree branches are trouble as are deeply ruttted fields. Consider where you want to camp and you should be able to answer your question. We still boondock in our 25 but not like we used to.
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Old 11-24-2015, 10:47 AM   #4
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Check out Aluminarium's blog and their website Campendium.

Nothing like seeing what others do with similar size Airstreams to answer your question.
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Old 11-24-2015, 11:15 AM   #5
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That's the size we have and we exclusively boondock and dry camp. I think it's a perfect size and we have yet to be thwarted by anything we've encountered.

Granted, it would appear I camp in grass a lot. Not sure how that works out. But I mean we've been all over. We're boondocking in Yuma, AZ right now ontop of a hill, no problems getting up there.
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Old 11-25-2015, 11:01 AM   #6
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We have a 27 FC FB and absolutely love it. Now that we have solar panels, boondocking is a lot easier than it was - it works perfectly. I love boondocking more than my husband does so we don't so it all that often, but when we do, it's great to have everything you need, right there with you. We know how to preserve water well now and have lots of little battery operated candles to save energy at night - romantic too!

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Old 11-25-2015, 11:53 AM   #7
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The 5th & 6th picture. Where is that please? I don't think I would have ever left with views like that. Drop dead gorgeous! Me wants to go to that same spot.
Happy Thanksgiving to you & your family.
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Old 11-25-2015, 12:07 PM   #8
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With the wide body Airstream models (25 feet and longer), the cross section is a constant in terms of wind resistance or drag. If truly not in older National parks, then the length may not be as critical either. An Airstream has much less ground clearance than most square white box units. That is something to consider.

Where we have gone off road, our 31' Classic could go where the 25FB went. The issue may be a 5 mph speed of advance due to the washboard road, but the destination is the goal any way.

There is a dealer in Michigan, but they do not have a huge inventory. I suggest a long weekend to Lakewood,NJ where Colonial Airstream is located. They usually have over a 100 units in stock all the time with all models and mixtures of interiors there. Their website is very informative with lots of photos.

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Old 11-25-2015, 12:22 PM   #9
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We have a 27 FCFB and do like to drycamp and boondock. I am looking at the lift kit for Dexter axles and would recommend them. Solar is definitely a good option and we got the Airstream factory system. I would recommend the factory unit. You can save money with other systems but Airstream integrates it well and it is covered under the factory warranty.
We love the Airstream but out west the relief makes for some tough situations with a long and low trailer.
Good luck and have fun !
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Old 11-25-2015, 12:55 PM   #10
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Going solar is a great choice, and with fresh batteries eliminates concern over power consumption, except for extreme cold where you definitely need a heater. We have had solar for 9 years with no issues. However, the late season trips you will not get much sun (especially in Yosemite Valley) and a generator is probably a requirement. Home Depot now sells a huge inventory online - shipped right to your door. I agree about the lift kits from Dexter axles. It will add about 2 5/8 inches to your clearance.
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Old 11-25-2015, 03:09 PM   #11
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We have a 25 Safari and camp frequently off the grid primarily in forest service campgrounds but sometimes on public lands where there is no campground.
99 percent of the places we go, would be accessible to a slightly larger trailer. Some older forest service campgrounds have tight sites and tight turns but there is usually one or more sites that accommodate a larger trailer.
The biggest impediment to Airstream off road camping is ground clearance, next is 8 1/2 foot width, next is height, last is length. Because of the overhang, length does effect ground clearance.
My advice is to scout ahead for new camping places with a solo vehicle and once you find it remember where the ruts and rocks are and go around them slowly. You will soon develop a feel what you can and cannot get into comfortably.
The stock factory Airstream is marginally suitable for boondocking. The primary limitation is battery capacity to go more than one night. Fortunately there are lots of threads on how to modify your trailer to make it more suitable.
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Old 11-25-2015, 04:05 PM   #12
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Wonderful pictures, BoldAdventure!

JCrango-Bob Martel has pretty much nailed it, as have others here. It depends on where you want to boondock! We have a 28' International, and it can be tight even in some parks made for camping--our overall rig is just under 50 ft. And in some more rural campgrounds, the roads are so narrow and liberally lined with very solid tall trees, so we may well have to walk the path first to think through and tight turns.

If you're going off road, no matter what size your Airstream, they have relatively low clearance, so you have to watch carefully for deep dips and the like. Airstream specifically says in the manual that they are not designed for off road use, but almost all of us have done it to a greater or lesser extent. But as long as your tow vehicle can handle the terrain (soft sand can be lots of fun), size in other than very restricted areas is usually not the issue.

You will definitely need a source of electricity, whether it be solar or generator, for anything but the briefest stays. And water conversation is critical to your length of stay, too. There are many threads on both of these issues to give you much more detail.

Have fun!
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Old 11-25-2015, 05:16 PM   #13
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We love our 27' Safari FB. My wife and I, along with our two small dogs, go from Maine to Monterey, CA every winter and appreciate having the "right size" trailer. We do a little boondocking on an infrequent basis and enjoy the heck out of it. We do about 15,000 miles on our round trips and we don't feel cramped for space. We can hardly wait to leave for our 4 or 5 month annual jaunt in about 10 days.

Best of luck.

Carl Le Maine-yak
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Old 11-25-2015, 05:34 PM   #14
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Thank you all for your advice. Sounds like the 27' will work fine.
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Old 11-27-2015, 09:07 AM   #15
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I have a 30' Classic and we have boondocked and camped in some crazy places. Because the wheels of the trailer are almost in the middle of the trailer, the trailer follows the TV quite well. The big thing is to go slow and watch for obstructions. Stay away from trees, yes I know first hand.
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Old 11-27-2015, 09:43 AM   #16
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We have a 25' FC FB, and there are very few places where we've taken the trailer that a 27' couldn't go. I like our trailer a lot, but a 27' with north-south bed would be even nicer!
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Old 11-27-2015, 10:01 AM   #17
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I can't speak for the rest of the planet, but we do camp annually in southern Utah, where there are big boondocking sites in a lot of national forest and BLM lands. The Utahns seem to enjoy traveling in multiple family groups with big 5th wheels. Similarly, you could over-winter near or south of Quartzite, Arizona on BLM land, joining thousands of big rigs.

We find that there's boondocking and boondocking. A repeatedly used site will have lost a lot of its natural vegetation, and may even contain broken glass & human waste, if some slobs got there before you did. In contrast, a designated BLM campground can be in a remote area and have hardly anybody else there, and be maintained regularly. But these tend to be designed for smaller units or tent-camping.

The problem of roads has been mentioned. Dirt and even gravel roads can be in rough shape with rocks and deep ruts, so it's best to inquire ahead. If you have your eye on a particular locale you can phone the nearest BLM field office re: road conditions and good boondocking sites. And roads can be impassable due to gumbo-like mud during & after a rain storm, so just stock up on essentials if you have to wait it out.

We entertained the possibility of getting a longer AS but settled on the 19' Bambi as giving us the most flexibility. Most of the more primitive campgrounds have sites for longer units, but not many and these tend to fill up. We have camped in our 19-footer for 6 weeks at a pop, but usually alternate the more remote destinations with periodic RV park overnights to catch up on laundry, email (no Wi-Fi or even cell phone service in the desert boonies,) and supplies.

I don't know what your TV would be, but a truck with a topper (cap) over the back provides a lot of storage. That way you wouldn't need a longer unit just for storage.

This is us, boondocking in the North San Rafael Swell in Utah this past October.
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Old 01-07-2016, 07:32 PM   #18
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BoldAdventure & Len & Jeanne:
Thanks for sharing the photos. I was interested in the replies to the great question jcrango asked as we're looking for an AS now with plans to use it remotely, and it'll be either a 25 or 27. My question: Could you describe the roads that lead to the sites in the photos? Thank you
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Old 01-07-2016, 08:09 PM   #19
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$hi++y bumpy washboard roads, sometimes up mountains, sometimes a lot of miles. But about 90% of the time, always WASHBOARD.

I've spent the past two months free camping, and plan to do as much boondocking as possible this year.
Family of 5 exploring the USA with a Ram Power Wagon & Airstream in tow.
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Old 01-07-2016, 10:30 PM   #20
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This particular site was just off a gravel road that is usually graded and fine for RVs, but it really depends. You can get long stretches of road in the desert that are fine, and then suddenly there's a rocky stretch, or a wash-out, or serious ruts from idiots driving on the roads when they're wet. Bring a bucket and shovel in case you have to do some impromptu road repairs. (Some would add, a chain saw if you're in the mountains.)

Just drive really slowly over the rough stuff, and plan an escape route if you can't or don't wish to continue along a dubious dirt road. Our salesman at Can-Am suggested taking along a bicycle, which enables you to cover more ground than on foot for road-scouting purposes, but it's something we've never done. One good strategy if you've got the time is to camp off a paved or good graded gravel road or in a campground for a couple of nights in an area of interest, then go off scouting in your truck or SUV during the day for more remote sites with uncertain road access. You can cover a lot more ground that way, and have some confidence when you decide on your ultimate back-country boondocking destination that you're not going to have to back a mile down a wretched stretch of dirt road.

This site in our photo is north of I-70 and that looooong stretch (105 miles) with no services between Salina and Green River, UT, in an area called Buckhorn Draw. Another beautiful area to camp in the vicinity with a graded road is called the Wedge Overlook. These are in the Price, UT BLM field office district. There are some other cool sites in the area with great scenery , but we all have our comfort zones on how much punishment we want to inflict on our trailers with rougher roads.
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