My wife and I just arrived at home from an eleven day camping trip, the shakedown cruise for our new 2020 International 23FB. We camped in Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. I’ll start off by saying that we had a great time, and we are very happy with the Airstream purchase so far. We slept for ten consecutive nights in the Airstream at campgrounds that included private campgrounds, state parks, a KOA campground, and a winery in the Harvest Hosts network. It was a fun time and a wonderful leaning experience. My 2018 GMC Denali 1500
towed like a champ, even in heavy headwinds and crosswinds across the Badlands of South Dakota. This was serious wind; the kind that blows highway signs over and makes it difficult to open your car door.
I have a few observations, comments and questions for those of you with more experience.
- I’m pleased with the overall build quality of the Airstream, but there are a few things that seem odd to me. The first is the wire shelves in the pantry. They don’t lock into place firmly, and every time we set up camp, all the shelves were piled up in the bottom of the pantry and all the food items went all over the place. Is this normal? I have remedied this situation for now with some zip ties to hold the shelves in place, but it seems like a poor design.
- The Airstream website and promotional materials lead one to believe that there are USB ports for charging devices in many locations. I’m stumped by this. The only ones I’ve found are in the bedroom nightstand. There’s one in the locker above the dinette, but it connects to the stereo and doesn’t appear to have enough power to charge an iPhone. What’s up with that? Only two USB ports in the trailer for charging?
- The refrigerator and freezer worked very well! They kept the food cold and the ice frozen on either LP gas or electric power.
- The ZAMP 180 watt solar panels installed on my roof by the dealer seemed to work well. We camped for four days in Custer State Park with no hookups, and we had plenty of power.
- The other Airstreamers we met seemed like very friendly people. They were eager to talk and share their experiences.
- Highway towing was very easy. The trailer never felt like it was swaying or bouncing around, even in heavy wind or when we were passed by an eighteen wheeler at high speed. It was very stable overall, and I’m impressed with the design. We did experience some bucking/bouncing of the truck over highway expansion joints in some places, especially Illinois and Wisconsin. That was unpleasant.
- When using battery power, how low is “too low” to continue to provide power? On the fourth day of our South Dakota trip, the power meter read 11.4 volts, but everything worked fine. How low can you go before things won’t work?
- When in storage with a 110 volt trickle charger, will setting the battery disconnect switch to “store” prevent the batteries from charging?
- Is it good practice to put some fresh water and a tank deodorizer in the Black tank when storing the unit, or is it better to empty and flush it?
Thanks for taking the time to read this long post and for any thoughts or advice. We’re thrilled to be part of this group.