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Old 04-26-2017, 07:42 PM   #1
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Downsizing

After 12 years retirement and snowbirding (8 years with Airstreams) throughout the southern states and extensive travel to and from our destinations we bought a winter home in Arizona, our favorite winter retreat. We now have this home and a home at the lake in Minnesota, we no longer need the FC25, so we sold it.

We have never used our Airstream to go camping, but as a comfortable place to live while on the road six months a year. The travel still appeals to us, but we will downsize this fall for continued travel about the country.

We traveled the country for 35 years in VW Camper vans and still believe it is the best way to tour the country. Go anywhere, stop for the night anywhere and be ready for sleeping in a moment.

So the decision is, shall we look at some of the newer compact camper vans with some off-road capability? Or, the new Airstream Base Camp concept which has appealed to us greatly since introduced as well for similar reasons, and adds a bath which is quite a luxury. And it limits the need for on-the-road campgrounds which we never really cared for? We have a great tow vehicle and comfortable daily driver with our Ram EcoDiesel.

We'll be thinking about these choices this summer with the emphasis on travel a month or so each year, seeing more of the country, not extended camping. Any suggestions or thoughts based on your experience is welcome.
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Old 04-26-2017, 07:58 PM   #2
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How exciting.

Have you seen the Hymer vans? Those came to mind when I read your post.

http://www.gohymer.com



Also besides the basecamp, you might look at the AS bambi lineups for additional options at similar price point and likely more comfortable beds. To be sure the basecamp may give more ground clearance than the bambi models.

Also in the fancy-vans are some of the customizations shops.

I would think you might choose to base your decision on power needs, and off-grid and off-road requirements. Will you require air conditioning where you want to camp, and if so how can that be powered?

Best of luck as you start your research.
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Old 04-26-2017, 08:10 PM   #3
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Thanks Piggy Bank. We haven't needed air conditioning in our snowbird seasons, don't even have it at home.
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Old 04-26-2017, 08:14 PM   #4
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That being the case, my opinion is that the 22 sport has more operable windows than just about any other available option. Great bed, Great bathroom, Great kitchen.
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Old 04-26-2017, 10:24 PM   #5
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After happily owning and using two VW campers, we bought our 19' Bambi new in 2002 and have used it ever since.

We loved the VWs and having our "house" always with us was a great source of fun. So why the change? We like being able to leave our trailer parked and use our tow vehicle for day-long excursions. No need to pack everything up to go off for the day, the bed is permanently in place, and the bathroom with a large shower is a welcome luxury.

Of course, on those day trips, there is no making coffee, tea, or lunch in the middle of the day, but everything is a compromise!

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Old 04-27-2017, 09:21 AM   #6
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Congratulations on your next chapter. It will be exciting to see which direction you choose next.

Will you continue to move between homes with the seasons.

Did you end up outside of Tucson.

Maybe we'll run into you at a 4CU event some time.
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Old 04-27-2017, 12:38 PM   #7
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Actually we ended up with a home in Mesa, AZ where she has family and went to high school, and we both love the winter climate, conveniences, and ease of getting around and out of town. We'll spend about half the year there and half at the Minnesota lake house.

Our travel back and forth will be as in past years, 1-2 months traveling widely to see the country and visit family. We just love the travel but prefer to travel light and with the least fuss as possible (I'm 71 and this is the 5 to 10 year plan, we'll see after that).

The camper vans have worked well for us in the past, and we look forward to the simplicity. The Hymer van Piggy Bank suggested is near exactly the facility we need. We also like a really basic travel trailer, Basecamp would be on the large size, a tear drop is too tiny.

Ideally, we would be able prepare simple meals, take a shower, and have a comfortable bed, have a furnace and water heater, battery capacity and charging for a couple of days at a time. The Hymer van and Airstream Basecamp both offer this.

We also want some ground clearance for back roads and boon docking, as well as maneuverability when we travel through city traffic (it's getting worse, we were in San Francisco and Los Angeles last fall, Washington DC a couple of years ago, the big cities are automotive hell).

So I think the choice comes down to tiny campers with as little fuss as possible as we move about the country, a camper van such as the Hymer or a tiny travel trailer such as the Basecamp (great concept, the only Airstream we will consider).

We're just starting this search, all suggestions greatly appreciated.
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Old 04-27-2017, 02:53 PM   #8
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Old 04-27-2017, 03:24 PM   #9
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Years ago I almost got a Roadtrek when they were simpler and based on a GM van chassis with the floor dropped down between the I beams, to give standing head room in what looked like a van pretty much from the outside. The newer ones with larger RV boxy bodies are less desirable IMO. If a decent body could be found, money to rebuild the drive train might be worth it.

A step up in size from a VW but smaller than a Hymer etc..
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Old 04-27-2017, 05:06 PM   #10
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Sounds like you will soon be a new Basecamp owner. Keep those smiles rolling down the miles. Pat
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Old 04-27-2017, 05:54 PM   #11
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Hi dkottum: Gee, we haven't been back to your Battle Lake since we moved to Colorado. We miss it dearly. Grandma is doing well in Good Samaritan down the road from you. We hope to get back with the Airstream this summer.

Congratulations on your winter home. It makes a lot of sense to me. I think you have a lot of options for your boondocker rig. I like the idea of a trailer over a camper van because I can unhook and not have to horse around a big van. I don't like horsing around my big pickup I use to pull the Airstream. But like you said, you are very used to the "Westfalia" type camper van.

Boondocking water and power are significant considerations to make life on the road easier. Otherwise a campfire, tent and sleeping bag make things much less complicated.

Let us know what direction you go when the time comes.

David
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Old 04-27-2017, 06:06 PM   #12
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If you have the cash, check out earth roamers. Love those things, maybe someday.
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Old 04-27-2017, 07:17 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
We're just starting this search, all suggestions greatly appreciated.
This became available a few hours ago.

Bigger than a teardrop smaller than a BC
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Old 04-27-2017, 07:32 PM   #14
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Once the kids will have grown to a stage where they don't want to hang with the parents anymore I think we'll switch from our Airstream to a custom built 4x4 Sprinter van.
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Old 04-27-2017, 08:01 PM   #15
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Quote:
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How exciting.

Have you seen the Hymer vans? Those came to mind when I read your post.

http://www.gohymer.com
I had no idea that Hymer is now selling in North America, that's fantastic news.

These are sensational vans of the highest quality - friends of ours in the UK own a 1970's model on a Mercedes base. It is the most comfortable, livable and drivable camper I've ever spent time in and after 40 years it still has everything original - because nothing has ever broken.
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Old 04-29-2017, 09:00 AM   #16
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Have you been in a BC? That thing is TEENIE TINY. A Bambi will be a much better choice personally. The BC is good for a weekend get away, but for 1-2 months of travel, i truly don't know if the BC will work, its SMALL!
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Old 04-29-2017, 09:41 AM   #17
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The fact that you already have a tow vehicle, and like it, it would be an easy decision for me....17' Casita.

More room than a Basecamp, everything you NEED, easy to tow, robust fiberglass instead of fragile aluminum, and about half the cost.
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Old 04-29-2017, 09:54 AM   #18
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Once you have crossed to the shiny side and experienced the smiles, it's almost impossible to go back to fibreglass.

Of course there are exceptions. Pat
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Old 04-29-2017, 10:18 AM   #19
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Once you have crossed to the shiny side and experienced the smiles, it's almost impossible to go back to fibreglass.

Of course there are exceptions. Pat
I know what I've suggested is blasphemy on an Airstream site, but I've actually owned both, and for the reasons I've stated, fiberglass is better.

Airstream is like a cult.
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Old 04-29-2017, 10:40 AM   #20
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We recently sold our beloved 16' Scamp. It has everything you need, but the sleeping is tight. It requires less "overhead" than an Airstream from a towing ease and maintenance standpoint. We towed with a off road modified Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, and also lifted the Scamp 2" for rugged campsite access. We got just as many thumbs ups and were constantly answering questions and giving trailer tours to curious people. It didn't have prestige, but it sure was an efficient package.
We are now enjoying the extra space in the AS 19'.
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