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Old 06-01-2017, 07:42 AM   #1
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harrisburg , Pennsylvania
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Trailer length for fulltime boondocking

Hi, everyone. Fairly new to forum, but have read many posts already. I'm planning to order new 2018 international serenity 25-30ft, and will be fulltime boondocking in a different place everyday. Anywhere from backcountry to as close to downtown Miami and Los Angeles as I can get while working assignments there. Will be me, wife, 2 year old, 2 month old, and 90lb doberman pinscher. I would obviously like as much room as possible, but need to be able to dry camp in parking lots and such and will be driving daily to a different spot. Must be at least a 25' for the larger black tank. Anyone have any real world boondocking experience with 25, 27 or 30' airstreams to give feedback on how much of a difference these lengths will play when looking for places to sleep as stealthy as possible. My pregnant wife and I and dog all lived in a truck camper in los angeles for several months so I'm sure the 25 is doable if maneuvering will be that much of a difference. Thanks for any advice.
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Old 06-01-2017, 08:51 AM   #2
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My pregnant wife and I and dog all lived in a truck camper in los angeles for several months so I'm sure the 25 is doable
OMG!
An Airstream will seem like a palace!
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Old 06-01-2017, 08:55 AM   #3
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This has got to be the most unusual post I've ever read on here. Someone wants to spend north of $80,000 on a new Int'l Serenity and then boondock every night in a different place in LA with a wife, dog and 2 kids? How fun!
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Old 06-01-2017, 09:03 AM   #4
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Hi

I would strongly suggest heading over to Colonial and spending some real time in each of the candidate AS models. It's a three hour drive over on I-76. You probably can guess how I know this

It sounds like you will soon be dealing with 5 in the AS (yes the dog counts). There is no magic formula for what works. It all depends on how you (all) fit in this or that space. 25' will always be shorter than 31' both inside and out. My observation is that short matters far more in National Parks than it does in normal boondock locations. Getting to and from downtown here or downtown there will be a bit exciting with any 8.5 foot wide 9.5 foot tall gizmo. 31 feet will never turn quite as tight as 25 feet.

At least based on what I've seen, the process of "ok, I'll take the job if I can park in the company lot" is pretty common in many areas. Some outfits even have full hookups available. At least looking at what is in the lot, I have never noticed anybody being picky about what length is or is not acceptable.

Bob
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Old 06-01-2017, 09:12 AM   #5
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In external appearance terms, I can't imagine any difference at all between a 25', 27' or 30' brand new shiny Airstream travel trailer.

Same for 'maneuvering'. There was virtually no difference between the 27' and 30' AS trailers we've owned (both '16 FCs) in terms of towing, backing into a site or parking.

There is however a huge difference in livability for us in the extra 3'. The 30' layout just works for some reason.

Good luck, hope it works out for you.
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Old 06-01-2017, 09:47 AM   #6
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Thanks for all the replies already. Just some background: I will be traveling for work indefinitely, so RV is a must. I know an $80-$90,000 RV isn't cheap, but in one month in LA last year we spent $4,200 in hotels, which is why we bought the truck camper, and we will hopefully be keeping this thing forever. Also, hospital parking lots in LA are horrible to find parking, we struggled some times with the truck camper. We had our dog trained as a service dog not because we need a diabetic response dog (we are both nurses), but because you can't leave a dog in a hot truck all the time when you need to go in places. We HATE rv parks. Such a hassle when you move around every day or two. In southern California at least they were noisy expensive and we would long for the weekends when we'd pull off a canyon road in Azusa, Ca and boondock next to a stream. So this will likely be our life from now on. We are not like most people. We mostly live outside, and can sacrifice for a more adventurous lifestyle. I've read some posts here where people say when traveling a lot that there is a huge difference between a 25 and 30' airstream. Others say that don't notice a difference. Just looking for some insight from those of you who have driven many miles in both urban and rural areas towing your airstream. And, yes when we have time we will be taking the trip to colonial.
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Old 06-01-2017, 10:47 AM   #7
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Not sure you can get there from here . . .




Quote:
Originally Posted by poodlemaster View Post
Hi, everyone. Fairly new to forum, but have read many posts already. I'm planning to order new 2018 international serenity 25-30ft, and will be fulltime boondocking in a different place everyday. Anywhere from backcountry to as close to downtown Miami and Los Angeles as I can get while working assignments there. Will be me, wife, 2 year old, 2 month old, and 90lb doberman pinscher. I would obviously like as much room as possible, but need to be able to dry camp in parking lots and such and will be driving daily to a different spot. Must be at least a 25' for the larger black tank. Anyone have any real world boondocking experience with 25, 27 or 30' airstreams to give feedback on how much of a difference these lengths will play when looking for places to sleep as stealthy as possible. My pregnant wife and I and dog all lived in a truck camper in los angeles for several months so I'm sure the 25 is doable if maneuvering will be that much of a difference. Thanks for any advice.
Quote:
Originally Posted by poodlemaster View Post
Thanks for all the replies already. Just some background: I will be traveling for work indefinitely, so RV is a must. I know an $80-$90,000 RV isn't cheap, but in one month in LA last year we spent $4,200 in hotels, which is why we bought the truck camper, and we will hopefully be keeping this thing forever. Also, hospital parking lots in LA are horrible to find parking, we struggled some times with the truck camper. We had our dog trained as a service dog not because we need a diabetic response dog (we are both nurses), but because you can't leave a dog in a hot truck all the time when you need to go in places. We HATE rv parks. Such a hassle when you move around every day or two. In southern California at least they were noisy expensive and we would long for the weekends when we'd pull off a canyon road in Azusa, Ca and boondock next to a stream. So this will likely be our life from now on. We are not like most people. We mostly live outside, and can sacrifice for a more adventurous lifestyle. I've read some posts here where people say when traveling a lot that there is a huge difference between a 25 and 30' airstream. Others say that don't notice a difference. Just looking for some insight from those of you who have driven many miles in both urban and rural areas towing your airstream. And, yes when we have time we will be taking the trip to colonial.
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Old 06-01-2017, 11:23 AM   #8
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And what do you plan to do with your sewage and take on water

I think you are dreaming
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Old 06-01-2017, 11:34 AM   #9
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Is buying used an option?

It would seem you are the practical type.

Having a warranty ties you to a dealer or factory service - which given you are working and with a family would be inconvenient dropping your 'house' for service.

Used brings a lower cost to own, and selling later has a lower transaction cost since the depreciation has already occurred.

A used trailer will also possibly have had the 'bugs' worked out.

And of course if you decide the 'size' you selected doesn't work, you can change it.

I would look for one with the Awning Package either way. They make a huge difference in managing radiant heat.

Solar also, but the general opinion here is the factory panels, controller and single stage Inverter / charger are expensive for what you get.

Several board members are very knowledgeable on Solar and can advise (I am not one).

Again, good luck.
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Old 06-01-2017, 11:53 AM   #10
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I love my 27FB Airstream but...

I think it would be a real PITA to pull that trailer all over LA, with their traffic and lack of parking. We took a long trip over and up the Pacific Coast Hiway and enjoyed it a lot but the worst part of the trip was traveling thru LA.

If I were you, I would sell your truck and camper, buy something like a Winnebago Via, which is a small motorhome built on a Mercedes Sprinter chasis.

The Mercedes Sprinter based motorhomes are much better for moving often and in crowed traffic of the city. They have more storage than the Airstream and they have built in generator for power along with solar.
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Old 06-01-2017, 12:26 PM   #11
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I lived in LA from 1965-86, and my 42-yr old daughter, born in LA, continues to live & work there. I've just returned from a 5 week, 7K mile trip to see my son, in San Antonio, and daughter, in LA. After having parked my AS 27 in an RV park in the Palmdale area, an hour north of LA via the I-5 & Antelope Valley freeways, in order to drive my truck down to LA to spend some time with my daughter, let me tell you that LA traffic, even during the middle of the day, is horrendous!!! I simply can't imagine attempting to pull an AS in it, at least off the freeways & on the surface streets.

My daughter lives in the Hancock Park neighborhood, near the LA County Art Museum. We had lunch near there, & I left in my truck to go back to the RV park around 1 PM on a Wednesday. It took me roughly half an hour in bumper to bumper traffic to just get to the freeway entrance, not more than a mile, and the Hollywood Fwy North was full even then. Imagine what it might be during rush hours. And I thought Seattle traffic was bad, geez!

I shopped extensively attempting to find someplace to park my AS near LA, and the best I could find was Lancaster/Palmdale/Valencia, an hour north, or out towards San Bernardino/Riverside, an hour+ east. I mean no disrespect, but if you think you're going to haul an AS around LA finding one free place after another to boondock for free overnight for a period of a month or so, you're a better man than I, Gungha Din.
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Old 06-01-2017, 12:27 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by RVDreamer View Post
I love my 27FB Airstream but...

I think it would be a real PITA to pull that trailer all over LA, with their traffic and lack of parking. We took a long trip over and up the Pacific Coast Hiway and enjoyed it a lot but the worst part of the trip was traveling thru LA.

If I were you, I would sell your truck and camper, buy something like a Winnebago Via, which is a small motorhome built on a Mercedes Sprinter chasis.

The Mercedes Sprinter based motorhomes are much better for moving often and in crowed traffic of the city. They have more storage than the Airstream and they have built in generator for power along with solar.
I think this is a great alternative idea. Miami is tough to negotiate with a car much less a trailer. Best of luck whatever you decide. -John
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Old 06-01-2017, 12:33 PM   #13
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Hi

You do have a secondary issue: Your tow vehicle choices for a 25' are a bit wider than the choices for a 30'. That's not to say it's day vs night. You go from 7,300 pounds max on the 25 foot up to 8,800 pounds on the 30'. You *can* tow 7,300 pounds with a mid size truck. That's not to say you should. At 8,800 pounds you are into a full size truck or something built on the same chassis. Since the TV will be your only transport, moving around in heavy traffic with it is also worth thinking about.

There is another option though - just cross central LA off the list

Bob
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Old 06-01-2017, 12:37 PM   #14
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Full time reality

As a former ten year full timer, nurse and dedicated fan of the outdoors, I think you are very ambitious in your plans....that said...my advice is to buy the biggest used good condition airstream you can find, A Blue Boy, a macerator pump, a generator with lock and a CB radio.
There are places and orgs that have parking that is inexpensive or free; boondockers welcome, escapees and airstream courtesy parking.
Even in the greater LA area you can find people in these orgs that will refer you to a safe,pleasant space for more than a night. A network of supportive RV savvy types will good to have.
Truck campers are cool but a world away from the structure and needs of any RV. Older used Airstreams that have been well cared have more storage, are better constructed and do have the bugs mostly worked out.
My guess is you are a young family, ready for the adventure of the road....still health care for the pet and young ones needs to be addressed. Southern Cal. bakes in the summer as does Miami.
Good luck, safe travels, hope to see you on the road.
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Old 06-01-2017, 12:57 PM   #15
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And what do you plan to do with your sewage and take on water

I think you are dreaming
a modern composting toilet is the answer ! No stinky black sludge. Lots of info on youtube ... search away
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Old 06-01-2017, 01:23 PM   #16
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And what do you plan to do with your sewage and take on water

I think you are dreaming
Seriously? There are many people who have sold their homes and are now full-timers, including many who work, either remotely in their trailer, or in site-specific jobs, including traveling nurses, etc. I follow a bunch of them online. Many have children as well.

They dump and take on water at dump stations for ten bucks.

It's not for everybody, obviously including you, but it IS for a LOT of people.
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Old 06-01-2017, 02:11 PM   #17
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Several fulltiming in many in 30ft Airstreams:





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Old 06-01-2017, 03:18 PM   #18
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Buy a used Airstream mainly because you have no idea this is going to work for you and your family - why lose that depreciation - when you drive it off the sales lot. Let your wife check out the sleeping situation for the bedroom. One night in a 25 foot told me,"this ainta gonna work for me". Fine for that one on the outside - pure hell for getting in and out of bed for the inside - partiularly in cold weather, with blankets piled up. Twin set up - if available, would have helped. The dog will take up more room than a child - they are wherever you step next. I would not go less than a 30'. Two of us are in a 28 ft and it is simply not suited or full time living. Good luck.
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Old 06-01-2017, 04:11 PM   #19
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Look for a used model. Rent one and try it out. Consider a slide out model and don't rule out a 34. IMHO. Kids take up lots of space. A comfortable home refuge seems a welcoming necessity.
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Old 06-01-2017, 04:44 PM   #20
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No experience, so apology since that is what you requested.

The 25 is the smallest to consider, but a 30/34 is a lot of coach to move as much as you want. Best might be a 27 trade-in that was well cared for by one of those folks who can not make it without a 30. It happens and the dealer moving a coach quickly can afford a lower profit margin. The suggestion to go look is golden. Think a lot before you commit.

Thoughts - Look at where you think you would boondock. Since you may have a good perspective from your camper experience, that may provide you the info to consider. Note, your pickup camper would fit in a single parking space. The trailer and TV will not. So figure out how you can stop each night and then move on in the morning.

One of the posters here tows a trailer with a pickup and slide in camper. The camper is used for off road trips. You could do opposite. Use the camper for tight parking when the trailer will not fit. Also, a smaller trailer might work with the annex. It would also give you a place to stay if one or the other needs service.

Hope to meet you on the road. Pat
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