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Old 01-16-2022, 05:02 PM   #1
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2022 27' Flying Cloud
Avon , Connecticut
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Newbie Question: Indoor vs. Outdoor Airstream Storage

I'm going to be a new Airstream owner come April 2022, we are very excited. I've never owned a RV of any sort and I have to find a place to store our new 27FB Flying Cloud here in New England. I'm most concerned about the winter snow piling up and roof wear and tear in the freeze and thaw. How important is indoor storage vs. outdoor storage? How much abuse is it on the shell to just keep it outside year-round? Any thoughts on a winter covers? Do they scratch the clear coat and aluminum? Thanks
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Old 01-16-2022, 06:27 PM   #2
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Tons of RVs of every make love outside as a matter of course. My diesel pusher and now my Globetrotter live in covered storage here in Florida. It’s not a full indoor space, just a concrete slab with a roof for about 40 spots. I have a spot on the north side and in the center of the space so my trailer never gets any direct sun or rain. I think it makes a huge difference to the lifetime of any RV plus it’s a good place to do just about any work. Also helps Keep rodents at bay since it is not near any woods.
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Old 01-16-2022, 08:34 PM   #3
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2020 23' Flying Cloud
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As Jondrew says, make love outside. (Sorry, couldn't resist. You can blame it on the autocorrect.)
The Florida sun can be brutal on membrane roofs, which is why we have an Airstream, which does live outdoors. The sun anywhere eventually takes a toll on the caulking around roof penetrations. A roof overhead lessens the aging, but you'll still need to keep on top of it (NPI) because oxidation and time on the road will degrade those materials eventually. The clearcoat and painted roof will hold up well indoors or out. Covers are not great because they do scratch the clearcoat and retain moisture (= mold). Plus, they'll get shredded by the wind after a few years.
You probably don't need to worry about snow, based on my years in Illinois with an SOB.
The main thing you want to avoid is any accumulation of leaves and pine needles, which get waterlogged and stain everything under them and in the path of the runoff. Better to park your trailer in the open if you can't find indoor storage. ("Where can I find a facility?" and "How do I keep my Airstream secure in storage?" are regular queries on this forum.)
Enjoy your new trailer!
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Old 01-17-2022, 03:54 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GetawA-S View Post
As Jondrew says, make love outside. (Sorry, couldn't resist. You can blame it on the autocorrect.)
The Florida sun can be brutal on membrane roofs, which is why we have an Airstream, which does live outdoors. The sun anywhere eventually takes a toll on the caulking around roof penetrations. A roof overhead lessens the aging, but you'll still need to keep on top of it (NPI) because oxidation and time on the road will degrade those materials eventually. The clearcoat and painted roof will hold up well indoors or out. Covers are not great because they do scratch the clearcoat and retain moisture (= mold). Plus, they'll get shredded by the wind after a few years.
You probably don't need to worry about snow, based on my years in Illinois with an SOB.
The main thing you want to avoid is any accumulation of leaves and pine needles, which get waterlogged and stain everything under them and in the path of the runoff. Better to park your trailer in the open if you can't find indoor storage. ("Where can I find a facility?" and "How do I keep my Airstream secure in storage?" are regular queries on this forum.)
Enjoy your new trailer!
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Old 01-17-2022, 05:03 AM   #5
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There have been a few recent threads mentioning snow load on an Airstream and it appears that snow load itself isn't an issue. I know our coach is outside all winter here in Wisconsin, and since gravity works even in the winter even with the snow piled high there are no additional leak issues as it melts.

Freeze/thaw issues? Unless you're parking in a heated or temp controlled space the temps swings will still be there. Our Airstream is in the barn right now, but the temp is pretty much exactly as outside. I'd even think that having a snow cover would limit the temp swing since it's a pretty good insulator.

The big issue is like others have said - sun damage. Even up here in the north we have to do inspections from time to time for damage caused by the sun, although it's certainly not an issue like for those in the south. Keeping the trailer out of direct sun will also minimize interior damage from UV rays. If you do keep it outside, be sure to keep the windows covered on the inside to prevent sun fading.
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Old 01-17-2022, 09:13 AM   #6
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I have always stored trailer inside. The storage place keep temperature above freezing and plugged in.

Reasons:

1. I am a second generation Airstream owner. My parents stored their trailer outside. Besides that the trailer got very dirty, my mother had to clean out the rodents and ants every spring.

2. UV light does a lot of damage in places you might not think of. Tires readily deteriorate.

3. I do not have to winterize the trailer.

4. The batteries stay topped off.

5. The storage location offers a service for cleaning the outside (and detailing the inside.) At the end of every season, I have the outside cleaned. This keeps it looking good. I suppose I could clean it myself, but I do not like climbing ladders and worry about falling from an uneven roof.

6. At resale, I think it will be a big plus that the trailer has always been stored inside.
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Old 01-17-2022, 09:15 AM   #7
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The desert sun ate my SOB (some other brand) alive. I have mine stored in covered storage. Airstreams seem to handle the weather changes quite well.
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Old 01-17-2022, 09:23 AM   #8
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From the owner of a 30 year old.

As has been said…. No cover. It will scratch that beautiful finish.

I have owned two virtually identical 1988 airstreams. Virtually identical except in where they were stored…I don’t know their full history but….

The first was stored outside. The clear coat had failed. It had hail damage. In doing the remodel I found several places where the floor had rotted. I stored it outside uncovered, and after I polished it I began to see places where the bird excrement was etching the aluminum.

The second was stored either indoors or covered. Almost no floor rot. The clear coat looks almost new except for the places where limbs have scratched it. The difference after 34 years is quite noticeable. I now keep Bella parked under a cover with a metal roof.

One other note: all Airstreams leak (well, except for some of the ones which have just been pressure tested and sealed). 90% of the leaks stay inside the walls. With today’s subfloors you’ll never know it. But they do leak. I know that the new Airstream is parked outside until you buy it, and it’s outside while you are using it. But the rest of the time I prefer mine to be protected.
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Old 01-17-2022, 09:36 AM   #9
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Hi

Your trailer has all sorts of "stuff" going through the shell and roof. Each place is caulked. That caulk is not as happy sitting out in the elements all the time compared to sitting indoors. Depending on who you have do the work, a full up scrub down and re-caulk can be many thousands of dollars. That pays for a lot of storage.

Pretty much everywhere, you can get hail storms. Hail and your AS are not friends. The wrong storm ( = big hail) can do a lot of damage in a short time. Getting that damage repaired will pay for even more years of storage.

All "indoor" means in this context is a roof overhead. Heated is not required. Power is not an essential item. Even walls are not 100% needed. Yes, power is nice and we now have it where we store. The gotcha is that the price goes up as the features get added. I'd rather spend 1/5 the money on the basics vs all the bells and whistles. ( $1,000 a year vs > $5,000).

Bob
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Old 01-17-2022, 10:02 AM   #10
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Well after keeping my '04 Classic slide out in indoor storage for all of about 2 early years of it's life, I can tell you storing inside, or at least under cover will add years to the life of your Airstream. UV for one is the biggest destroyer of plastics used in hatch covers, air conditioner shrouds, skylights, window treatments and tires. It also keeps outdoor pollutants off of your trailer. Also living in the central US we are subject to hail and other severe whether issues, so I have a lot of comfort knowing that I'm under cover when the severe weather warnings go out.

Inside storage however is expensive but in my case I have a good friend with a giant insulated garage who has allowed me to allow me to park in that garage at a nominal rate.

I've attached a picture of the garage and a picture of my trailer taken last year. Inside storage has treated it well.

Jack
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Old 01-17-2022, 10:32 AM   #11
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Indoor if available, temperature control if you can, 30 amp power great, 110 works
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Old 01-17-2022, 02:55 PM   #12
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The original post describes the two choices as options. Many people (including me until recently) don’t have an indoor option. There was literally no covered storage available within a reasonable distance. So, for 7 years, our AS has been stored outside. It’s done fine but it would have done better indoors or under a roof at least.

I believe the enemy anywhere except the desert SW is water. Rain, snow, high humidity, condensation… it doesn’t matter. It’s all water and it all rots stuff in RVs. In the desert, heat and direct sun are the culprits. Locally, there are other factors such as corrosive salt in the air here in coastal FL.

Over time, water will get in to trailers stored outside and it will do damage. Regular inspections and maintenance can only slow the process.

We just bought a commercial garage in a garage condo complex. It cost several X the AS value, but it’s a salable asset. It’s not clear what the net cost will eventually be, but the direct costs are hundreds per month. Now the AS (and a few other toys) can live our my golden years indoors in AC.

IMO, indoor, AC space is the king. If you can even find it, it’s costly, but preserves the trailer. The added cost is probably not financially justified. It’s likely cheaper to store a trailer outdoors and get less for resale as a result of weather damage than to pony up the cost of dee-luxe digs. But since the question was indoor/outdoor? that’s easy… indoor.
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Old 01-17-2022, 06:17 PM   #13
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Been storing my campers indoors for the last 20 years...2 truck bed campers and now our '21 25' international. MI winters can be harsh. So many benefits:
Stays so much cleaner
No UV damage
No thermo cycling of seams which lead to leaks
No winterizing
I make camper up-dates and conduct maintenance service during winter
Campers remain in so much better condition. The prospective buyers of my previous campers all commented on how good a shape they were in and my last one sold more then I was asking for and more than I paid for it.

Any kind of cover you can provide will benefit longevity and reduce up keep maintenance.
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Old 01-18-2022, 05:29 AM   #14
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Congrats

Here in New England I prefer indoor during the winter.
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Old 01-18-2022, 06:33 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SVTRIDE View Post
Been storing my campers indoors for the last 20 years...2 truck bed campers and now our '21 25' international. MI winters can be harsh. So many benefits:

Stays so much cleaner

No UV damage

No thermo cycling of seams which lead to leaks

No winterizing

I make camper up-dates and conduct maintenance service during winter

Campers remain in so much better condition. The prospective buyers of my previous campers all commented on how good a shape they were in and my last one sold more then I was asking for and more than I paid for it.



Any kind of cover you can provide will benefit longevity and reduce up keep maintenance.
A bit off topic, but what type of trailer dolly is that? Happy with it?
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Old 01-18-2022, 07:24 AM   #16
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Hi

I think a lot of the "indoors with A/C" debate also revolves around what that sort of storage costs where you are. If it's $5,000 to $8,000 a year that's not unusual for this area. In some areas folks report 2 to 3X those numbers. How accurate that data is .... I have no idea.

If it is correct that they pay more than $20K a year for storage (and I find that sort of number very hard to believe ....) , it would be very difficult to justify that in terms of depreciation on any AS that I know of ....

Yes the A/C setup storage with your own garage door and all the other perks is a pretty unique sort of thing. There are multiple twists and turns. The "call them up and they will have your trailer out in the lot for pickup in 10 days or less" approach is one of them. I'm not a big fan of doing it that way. I suspect it's cheaper ....

Bob
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Old 01-18-2022, 07:26 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richard5933 View Post
A bit off topic, but what type of trailer dolly is that? Happy with it?
Probably one of these. I keep thinking of getting one, but the max tongue weight is 900 pounds per the ad. I'd be pushing that with my current GT (which is probably over that) not to mention the 30' I have on order

https://parkit360.ca/products/force?...BoCtegQAvD_BwE
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Old 01-19-2022, 04:51 AM   #18
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FWIW . I pay $2880/ year for indoor storage with valet service. No AC but kept above freezing. 50 amp connection when stored. By valet service, I mean they will fill with water, check tire pressure, and start refrigerator as well as put the trailer out where I can hookup to it. I tell them when I want to pickup (even Sundays) and it is ready when I ask.
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Old 01-20-2022, 06:31 AM   #19
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Hi

One concern some folks have is the "shuttle around all the time" feature of a system where they go "unpack" the trailer from their storage or lot. The worry is that somebody gets careless and there is a scrape. Given the cost of that sort of thing on an AS, even something minor could be pretty expensive.

That said, I don't think I have ever seen a post from anybody who actually *had* that sort of damage happen. If so, that puts it into the same category as "what if the place burns down?". It could happen, but there are no "happened to me" reports. Thus other than "it rarely happens" no way to gauge how it fits in-between building fire and meteor impact.

Bob
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Old 01-21-2022, 05:29 AM   #20
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In my storage location, I would say 80% of the other units are giant class A motor homes. My Airstream looks pretty puny next to them. But what this means is that aisle widths are large. I think there is little chance of a scrape.
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