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Old 05-05-2007, 09:05 AM   #1
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Safari 25' FB questions

We just joined the forum and retirement is one year away. We plan to hit the road for those extended trips we've been waiting for -planning to be part timers for now. Over the years we have gone from pup tent, fold out, 24'& 30'trailers, 24',30' MH, and last a 17' casita which we decided was really too small for extended trips.
We are narrowing down our rv choice to a 25'FB Safari, towed by a Suburban. (although reading about leak problems gives me second thoughts)
Our questions are: Boondocking concerns-does anyone carry a generator-where? Can't believe you can just rely on solar and inverter.
Is the safari insulated well enough for winter camping? (we like mountains and snow activities) Heated/insulated tanks?
Does anyone carry bicycles on the back of Safari? We will have our kayaks on the roof of the Sub. Thanks for help in making our decision.
MJ & Barrie
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Old 05-05-2007, 10:15 AM   #2
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Welcome

Hello MJBear,

There are a lot of us on the forum with Safari 25FB's. Although it has only been made since 2005, it appears to be the most popular current model in the Airstream lineup.

To answer many of your questions use the search function, that way you can get the benefit of many current and past threads with many details which would be of interest.

I will take a shot at a few of your questions.

Suburban is a good choice if it is equiped properly, I would recommend a 2500 (3/4) model with a tow package. There are hundreds of threads on the subject. Winter/cold weather camping is possible understanding that there are issues in freezing temperatures. I would suggest against the "SE" versions because the aluminum interiors are colder. Yes they have heated tanks and the belly has a pan. Solar won't cut it for most folks, generators, especiallly the small 2000 watt Hondas are the most common used (you need two hooked together to run A/C) and are light and can be stored in TV or AS. Most would argue against hanging anything off of the back of your AS, get a roof rack for the bikes/kayak on your Suburban/TV.

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Old 05-05-2007, 11:07 AM   #3
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Hello MJ & Barrie -- welcome to the Forums!

I don't know what you mean about leak problems. There is nothing particular about Airstreams or the 25' FB models that make them more prone to leaks than any RV. We still would wish for factory quality control that is in line with the asking prices!

Almost all private campgrounds have electric plugins. Most national and state parks have reservable electric sites. I don't mind not getting one of those sites -- and actually prefer quiet nat'l or state forest campgrounds where hookups are uncommon. Shady sites are more common up here so I haven't had to use the AC much. It would be a different story if I were in a more open area of the country. I use one quiet Honda eu2000i once a day to keep my batteries topped up. This is important if one has to run the furnace fan at night.

Serious boondockers can extend one freshwater tank and set of batteries for up to a week (no lights to speak of, no furnace fan...). That is tough to do but possible. Solar cannot keep batteries charged during more active camping use -- and that is just talking about the 12 volt draws. Inverters cause use of more 110 volt appliances and solar-battery combinations hit the wall even harder. Nice idea ... but there's just not enough collecting area up top. And loading the Airstream with the weight of more batteries isn't a solution either. The Honda genset works for my purposes and is a fraction of the price of the questionably effective solar.

Putting bikes on the back bumper of an airstream is not a good idea. The bouncing is amplified by angular momentum and lever arm principles -- the frame behind the wheels is not built for that and could develop some significant problems.

I fully concur with John that a 1/2 ton 'burb doesn't have the capacity to take the loaded 25' tongue weight of around 950#. Modern comfort demands have made these trailers a lot heavier than Airstreams of 20-30 years ago.

Plenty of winter threads here -- it's not easy to do. Fox River brands are supposed to be about the best winter insulated camper and are perhaps a fraction better than Airstream. Real cold would be tough to do either way.
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Old 05-05-2007, 04:41 PM   #4
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good info

Thanks for your replies and suggestions. Figured the bikes on the back were a bad idea but one can hope, it would be such a convenient spot for a short person. We hope to do a bit of spring skiing/snowshoeing but that means some cold camping. What is a "Fox River" couldn't find anything on the internet. Did you mean Artic Fox? Bigfoot is also supposed to be 4 season, but we liked the Airstream layout and it's reputation for towability.
We don't have a Surburban right now, have had a few in the past. Just got rid of our VW Toureg as a "lemon" so we are about to purchase the tow vehicle, appreciate info on that for sure. Thanks
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Old 05-05-2007, 04:49 PM   #5
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Yeah, Arctic Fox sounds right...
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Old 05-05-2007, 06:18 PM   #6
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I have a 2006 Ford Expedition pulling a Safari 25FB SE without a problem. The 2007s and 2008s should do even better.

John
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Old 05-06-2007, 07:38 PM   #7
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I have a 25FB I use in Winter camping. I bring a Honda 1000 generator to recharge the batteries to run the furnace. The furnace keeps your tanks from freezing and you roasty toasty. The batteries will run out after a day of lights and furnace so hookups or a recharge is mandatory.
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Old 09-18-2007, 06:39 PM   #8
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Charging Batteries

Do you charge direct to the battery or do you plug in from your electric line? Can you use the Honda 2000IEU plugged in and run heater etc. and charge the batteries at the same time?

Thanks,
Jim Triplett
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Old 09-18-2007, 07:04 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trippy
Do you charge direct to the battery or do you plug in from your electric line? Can you use the Honda 2000IEU plugged in and run heater etc. and charge the batteries at the same time?

Thanks,
Jim Triplett
Jim,

With the 1000 I charge the batteries directly. If I'm using the 3000 I run it through the inverter.
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Old 09-18-2007, 08:57 PM   #10
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Thumbs up Welcome...... New Yorker

Good luck in your AS search, although we don't currently have a Stream dealer in NY, their's plenty of good info and knowledgeable folks here to help.

Any questions, just ask, it's a great place to learn Stream'n
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Old 09-18-2007, 10:13 PM   #11
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I have the Honda 2000. Plugged into the same place you plug shore power. It charges the batteries when the battery switch is activated in the trailer along with any other, including the furnace but excluding the a/c, that you have running.
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Old 09-18-2007, 11:13 PM   #12
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It all depends...

Quote:
Originally Posted by MJBear
We are narrowing down our rv choice to a 25'FB Safari, towed by a Suburban. (although reading about leak problems gives me second thoughts)
Our questions are: Boondocking concerns-does anyone carry a generator-where? Can't believe you can just rely on solar and inverter.
Is the safari insulated well enough for winter camping? (we like mountains and snow activities) Heated/insulated tanks?
As John has mentioned and as we have compared notes camping side-by-side nearly identical 25FBs, there is a difference between the SE model that he has and our less sexy non-SE model (ignore the notation under our avatar...there is no choice for the non-SE model we have). Because the SE has an aluminum interior skin and panoramic windows, it is relatively warmer in the summer and relatively cooler in the winter. How much is hard to say for sure but several degrees either way, perhaps 4 or 5, is probably a good working number.

We've been very pleased with the charging ability of our factory-installed solar panels with the glassmat batteries. We have boondocked for as many as 4 days while mostly in the fog and still never drew the batteries down below 45% remaining charge. All the major systems except for the microwave/convection oven run on batteries or gas. If you aren't extravagant, I'd say that 3 or 4 days without a charge from the tow vehicle or other external sources is certainly doable.

We find that the limiting factor for us is the size of the grey water tank. In the 25FB there are good sized tanks of 37-39 gallons for fresh, grey, and black water. I'd gladly trade black tank capacity for more fresh and grey if we could.

With your considerable experience with camping, I should think you are the best judge of your needs for electricity and water over a few days unplugged.

Good luck. Whichever model of 25FB you choose, I'm certain that you will get years of pleasure from it. There are good reasons that this size and configuration is or seems to be the hottest seller in the Airstream lineup lately.
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Old 09-20-2007, 07:02 PM   #13
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As John has mentioned and as we have compared notes camping side-by-side nearly identical 25FBs, there is a difference between the SE model that he has and our less sexy non-SE model (ignore the notation under our avatar...there is no choice for the non-SE model we have). Because the SE has an aluminum interior skin and panoramic windows, it is relatively warmer in the summer and relatively cooler in the winter. How much is hard to say for sure but several degrees either way, perhaps 4 or 5, is probably a good working number.

This was confirmed by a dealer who thinks the same thing. He says the SE model is definately NOT insulated as well as the NON SE. That inside convering does add insulation. Panoramic windows are a big factor too. Less windows equals more insulation thus a cozy feel.
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Old 09-20-2007, 09:17 PM   #14
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The SE does have a lot of glass in the back. I've no other trailer experiences to compare to but I can pass along our first hot weather experience. Last month we had the 25' FB SE down in Florida for a week. Was pretty darn hot - in mid to high 90's with humidity to match. Site had some late afternoon shade.

I kept the AC on all the time. In morning, evening and night it easily kept things cool at about 72 inside. By noon we were fully baking in the sun - I'd crank the fan to high, pull the window shades, and the AC was keeping up but barely - managing to keep it around 75. It stayed pretty comfortable though with low humidity inside. On the hottest day I closed off the bedroom door to keep it a bit cooler back where I was working.

The extra light, openness and views of the SE rear cabin and it's shiney metal liner are IMO, well worth any extra heat loss/gain. (I might be rethinking that after our first winter in Colorado tho :-) )



...........Scott
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Old 09-21-2007, 06:18 AM   #15
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I have regretted the SE a couple of times during the heat of the summer. I'm also sorry that the skylight is now standard on the SE model. We ordered ours without it, but by the time they constructed ours, it had become standard. Even with the shade, you can still feel alot of heat coming through. One thing we didn't order was the wrap around windows for the front of the trailer which really makes a difference in keeping it cooler up front. That was a good decision.

On a positive note, over the years, there won't be fabric on the walls and ceiling to collect odors and get dirty.

Teresa
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Old 09-21-2007, 09:56 AM   #16
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Teresa, we had a 25'SE FB before the Classic and traded it after a hot trip to Oregon. We also noticed that the cloth interior muffles noise as well as insulating from the heat and cold. As far as all the openings for windows and skylights they do let in heat and cold. We also opted for no front wrap and the bedroom temperature stays comfortable and more constant. I will be getting some bubblewrap insulation to put behind the curtains in extreme temperatures. We already use inserts in the vista views on a hot sunny day. That and the awnings help a lot.
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Old 09-21-2007, 10:20 AM   #17
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While shopping we walked through a suicide door 2005 25' FB with a skylight in June '05. The skylight shutter was pulled shut and I was still amazed at the amount of infrared hitting my face anytime I was nearby. That taught us not to order the skylight on ours. The living/working area of the FB line is plenty bright with the Vista Views and all the windows in back. These Airstreams just don't need a skylight IMO.

Is the skylight a feature? Maybe the factory thinks so. It sure simplifies the production to put it in all of them (I'm not up to date on that fact). If you try to get one without, you'd want your dealer to find if the factory will impose the $500 change order fee to leave it off. Less work -- maybe they wouldn't charge you. Avoiding the change order fee is your objective. I don't know if I'd get too crazy trying to recoup the cost of a not-installed skylight -- the wholesale price isn't enough to let it spoil the deal. You've got more leeway working a discount on the whole package with the dealer. In spite of this being the most popular model for Airstream right now, overall factory busy-ness isn't what it was in 2006!
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Old 09-21-2007, 10:54 AM   #18
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We have a 30' Safari...the original Front Bedroom! and we love it. Ours doesn't have the skylight. I was on the fence about getting one but had read so much about the heat gain. Instead of the skylight, we have a fantastic fan and find that with the tinted cover of the fantastic fan we get plenty of light but don't get the heat gain that we felt in the skylight models, plus, if you burn the biscuits, you can exhaust the smoke much quicker than the hood vent will. You might be able to substitute a fantastic fan for the skylight.
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Old 09-21-2007, 11:05 AM   #19
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An aft fantastic fan comes standard and it will do the job. Ditto on extra light coming in there. The skylight would only be 2-3 feet away from the fan. I don't know -- can they even be opened?
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Old 09-21-2007, 03:42 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CanoeStream
An aft fantastic fan comes standard and it will do the job. Ditto on extra light coming in there. The skylight would only be 2-3 feet away from the fan. I don't know -- can they even be opened?
The kitchen fan in our unit opens (of course) but only vents outward due to its proximity to the bathroom vent. You don't want to draw sewer gases back into the trailer. The skylights can't be opened to my knowledge.

The light that comes in is through the tinted cover. I don't know that there is very much more that comes in when it is open than when it is closed, but there seems to be very little heat gain from it.
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