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Old 04-11-2019, 07:49 PM   #21
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1972 31' Excella 500
2017 30' Classic
Grapeview , Washington
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 454
Question, what have you got for a tow vehicle? This will have a bearing on AS size. Most vehicles equal to 1/2 ton set up correctly will handle up to a 25'. People will disagree w/this, what ever, real world statement. Over 25' 3/4 to 1 ton works great and is safe. Some people can live small others like big. I am not sure there is good answer to your question other than my question.

Be well, enjoy, safe travels, and best regards.
Scott & Liz
2017 Classic
2016 RAM 3500 6.7
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Old 04-12-2019, 08:15 PM   #22
1 Rivet Member
Turners Falls , Massachusetts
Join Date: Apr 2019
Posts: 14
Hi everyone, wow thanks so much for all the replies!!
To address a couple of things: I do NOT want to be cold again! At least not Massachusetts cold (ha ha). My plan is to definitely migrate with the weather while knowing that to take care of my animals I will have to make sure heat is adequate as I know the desert still gets cold at night and in winter (and can snow... I was in NM and quite disappointed when I learned it snowed there!)

-as for tow vehicle, I would love not to do diesel because you're all right this will also be my day to day truck and I will want to wander. I was thinking Ford F-250 if I went with the 31.

-I am really planning on packing light, but aesthetically I want a very light open space inside. I have been doing a lot of designing based off of whatever I see on craigslist, etc. I very much believe I would not be upset with having that much space when I'm parked. Also I need room to make art inside of it.

-Here's the big problem. Budget. I have some (but definitely not a lot o)f money saved up, and I have good friends with good skills who can help me with most of the reno, maybe minus some plumbing, but besides that I have solar/electric, carpenter, welder friends and I have a solid june-mid sept to work day in day out on this.
Since I'm in the Northeast, finding that unicorn airstream (yes I think you all have convinced me I'd probably rather have a 27- I am concerned about not being able to get into nat'l parks pads (since I am planning on trying to volunteer, that would be a huge problem and it sounds like 27 would be yes require more heating and cooling, but I'm OK to budget that. So I wish I had the money to drive out to the west coast and look at all your beautiful rust-less airstreams, but I am tight on budget and time, so need to find something QUICK so I can start working !!
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Old 04-13-2019, 10:27 AM   #23
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2005 25' Safari
Jacksonville Beach , Florida
Join Date: Feb 2019
Posts: 60
We do not live in ours full time and haven't had it very long but we looked analyzed etc for over a year go new used big or small.

We stayed in a 27 and fell in love with it but it was tough wanting to spend the money for it. So we kept looking finally found the one for us a 2005 25 Safari SS (six sleeper). It has a full true couch in the front and a dinette. It is great to be able to fully lounge on it without having the dinnete in the same area as the new ones. It is a corner bed which we debated about however ours is older so it is a bit wider of a bed than the current corner beds. Fits my 6' 2" husband and me at 5'2" along with our 17# dog that sleeps in the inside corner of it.

You may want to look at a good used one that way if you change your mind you haven't invested to much. We had a Tahoe to tow it but quickly upgraded to a 2500 HD maybe overkill to some but the added features of the exhaust break and hill decent control extra payload capacity are all the feature I liked. It doesn't mean we drive crazy it's just more of an insurance policy while driving safely already.

The bathroom is a corner bath and has one of the biggest bathrooms of the smaller ones. I'd encourage you to maybe look at this size??? IMHO I'd think it'd be good for a single person with the occasional friends tagging along.

Its funny that last night I was reading through threads and this one came up so I'm not affiliated with this person at all but it will give you an idea of our layout that I'm referencing. The only thing is ours is a jack knife sofa so it feels more like a living room sofa.

PS I'm glad we went used so we were able to up grade our truck!
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Old 04-15-2019, 04:49 PM   #24
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Turners Falls , Massachusetts
Join Date: Apr 2019
Posts: 14
You're all so helpful! Has anyone ever used Kuki Auto Consignor to purchase??
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Old 04-17-2019, 10:07 AM   #25
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1963 16' Bambi
1962 22' Safari
Yreka , California
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 1,936
I would suggest if it is just you and two cats... no larger than a 25'. Look at resale value as well, the 22' to 24 or 25' are often the most difficult size to find used, and are often a little more money... but if you plan on being in the West and working in state or national parks, you will be hampered with a larger rig. You have to also consider your tow vehicle. How big is it, and what is the total length of your rig with both truck and trailer. The larger the trailer the bigger the truck often and more expensive to pull.

If you are interested in work camping there are quite a few YouTube Channels on work camping and what you can do. There is a website called that has jobs listed, both paid and volunteer. A interesting YouTube channel is "Steve Turtle". He is a work camper and explains what jobs are like, how much money he makes, etc. Here is his url:

Anyway you do it, you will have fun! It will be an adventure, big or small!
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Old 04-17-2019, 11:15 AM   #26
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2017 25' Flying Cloud
Manchester , New Hampshire
Join Date: Apr 2018
Posts: 54
R U Sure?


I sold my company at 54. My wife and I spend about 3 months a year living in our 25FB. Going from work to full stop and living in a aluminum can is a huge change in lifestyle. You are entering your prime working years where people create the nest egg that will carry them through retirement. Hope you made a fortune in your high stress job, if not consider taking a break and trying something else. A person with a million dollars invested can draw out about 4% a year without consuming their nest egg. Thatís only $40,000 a year from which you still have to pay taxes and health insurance.

Your plan is very romantic the reality might not be. For the cost of an old Airstream that you may or may not be able to fix one could buy a very good condition travel trailer and see if this is the life you really want.

25í is enough space for 2 people and a dog, if itís just you and 2 cats I would think itís big enough.

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Old 04-17-2019, 01:30 PM   #27
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Walnut Creek , California
Join Date: May 2015
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A retirement exit plan = what will you do when travel is no longer viable. With mega $s you can pay the hospital to follow along behind. Not an option for most. So as you develop the fun plan, establish the steps to that DAY and put the plan and financing in place. Pat
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Old 04-17-2019, 01:53 PM   #28
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2018 27' Globetrotter
Vancouver Island , British Columbia
Join Date: Feb 2019
Posts: 100
Originally Posted by JSilverlight View Post
Hi! I am very new and despite having done a lot of research so far, I thought I'd ask you kind folks some questions.

I am in my early thirties leaving a very stressful job for the past 8 years. I am seeking a life change and have decided to go the way of rehabbing an airstream and heading west to volunteer at national parks (etc..).

I have thought long and hard and have been doing budgeting, research, etc. I think that I am a personable person who would enjoy the lifestyle and meeting new people.

My main concern right now is size. Since this would be just me and my two cats and I would be living in it for extended periods of time (move only 3-4 times a year?) I am drawn towards the bigger airstreams. I am seeing a 77 Sovereign Land Yacht this weekend that appears to be in a great shape with a friend who has experience rebuilding campers.

Since I only intend to tow this a few times a year, and having one so big could potentially pose a problem to myself as a single person with not a lot of experience, I was thinking that I could get friends to take vacation to travel with me (fun... and hopefully not too harrowing...road trip)

I want to live in this full time for the next foreseeable future with my two cats, and anything smaller than 20 feet seems way too small for that. I'd like input if going so large for a first time AS owner is a huge mistake ... or ..hopefully not!

Thanks everyone

Originally We wanted to buy a 16 sport. We went to an airstream vendor and took the time to walk through all the different airstream models. We ended up buying flying cloud 30 feet.
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Old 04-17-2019, 04:30 PM   #29
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Turners Falls , Massachusetts
Join Date: Apr 2019
Posts: 14
Thanks again for your help everyone. I am getting very close to going with the 31 foot and a ford f250.
And to the kind folks who are warning me to save for retirement: you're right! It's very difficult to be amongst a generation who no longer have job security like those before us where pensions were actually a thing, and you could work for one company for your whole career. Of course this is a romantic idea (this whole airstream endeavor...) and although, no, I am not a millionaire, I am choosing to pursue this now since I cannot even count on our earth being livable by the time I am ready to retire (that and probably social security will be gone ...)
ANYHOW, trying to avoid politics (or economics, or climate change) topics is difficult! But I really appreciate everyones advice.
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Old 04-17-2019, 06:08 PM   #30
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1976 31' Excella 500
St. Augustine , Florida
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 92
Blog Entries: 1
I own and love our '77 Excella 500 Land Yacht! The center bath is snug but usable. The closet space is enormous for a camper. The bedroom had twin beds and I left the frame in place for storage, but added framework on top of them to hold a queen bed. In the living room, I tore out the corner console that hid the brake booster. Also the couch/ folding bed had to go due to missing/weakened parts and structure. I just put a light rattan outdoor couch in it's place.
We pull it with a 3/4 ton truck. The diesel engine is not necessary, but the larger brakes, heavier built transmission and beefier suspension are important. A bit rougher ride comes with that extra durability. Worth it!
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Old 04-17-2019, 06:28 PM   #31
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Export , Pennsylvania
Join Date: Apr 2019
Posts: 1
Basecamp or Sport

This is my first post, so I hope that I am in the right area. I also seek advice on purchasing an Airstream. I am interested in either the Basecamp or the Sport. I am a senior citizen and would like to spend time touring parts of the U.S. I also spend time hiking and like to travel to tennis tournaments. The price of the Sport is somewhat high in my estimation but the convenience is enticing, so I am seeking information on how to buy either of these trailers. The Sport has more features but I would be satisfied with Basecamp. I do not see many of these trailers advertised used.Is it best to buy from a dealer? How much is it to maintain annually?

Thanks for comments.
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Old 04-17-2019, 06:32 PM   #32
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1976 31' Excella 500
St. Augustine , Florida
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 92
Blog Entries: 1
The problem with finding the Unicorn older AS without frame issues is that you can't KNOW if it has frames issues without an extensive frame-off restoration. That means the entire interior must be removed (gutted) to get to the bolts that hold the body to the frame. Then the body lifted off the frame on a gantry, the lower section pulled out and the floor removed to actually SEE the frame.
A huge undertaking! I did not take that route. I only inspected the framework where I could see it through the few small holes in the floor. It all looked good, with not even minor rust damage THAT I COULD SEE. Those being the operative words! I didn't see any of the rear end sag or body buckling that warns of impending doom, so I opted to not spend the major investment of time and dollars. I also didn't end up with the more 4 season-worthy AS that good closed-cell spray-foam insulation would have given me. Maybe a future consideration.....
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Old 04-17-2019, 09:43 PM   #33
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Currently Looking...
Walnut Creek , California
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Originally Posted by JanhPa15632 View Post
-- snip -- I do not see many of these trailers advertised used. -- snip --.
The used Bambi Sport 16 is hard to find, because the purchase price for a good one is higher than most will pay, so owners keep them. Most folks buy new from a dealer. Folks have had issues with the Basecamp. If you learn ALL you might find a good one for a nice price. They built the original BC a number of years ago and it is different. Most folks are holding on to them too. Talking to owners directly is path forward. Do not proceed without a full background.

The Casita is a fibreglass bubble like the Bambi. Less expensive and can be sold for almost what you pay. Research - it might be a solution for you. There are some other similar trailers.

Your plan is workable. We talked to a couple who retired with their Bambi 16 and loved the trips they took. Just understand you may have to travel and look at a lot of coaches before you find your's.

Look at the 19s, the 20s and the 22 sports to see if they might fit your budget and lifestyle. Check out the Safaris from the 2000s. Learn about problems and where to look. Consider what vehicle you will use to tow. It's part of the partnership.

Cost to maintain is variable - assume - (batteries $200/3y) - (tires $500/5y) - (brakes $500/3y) - (appliance service $500/2y) - (appliance replace $2000/10y) - (wax $200/y) - (sealing $1000/3y) - misc repairs $1000/3y). You can save if you do it yourself and it costs more if you upgrade, damage the coach, or have more than usual breakdowns.

Good Luck with the search. Pat
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Old 04-18-2019, 03:11 PM   #34
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1954 22' Flying Cloud
Golden , Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 2
I've got a 1954 flying could that could fit your needs, it's pretty much together, already has solar etc. Let me know if you are interested.
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