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Old 06-24-2020, 10:24 AM   #1
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Kent , Ohio
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Set up for a family of six?

We're really new to this, but considering jumping in next year. I've read a lot of the forums and articles, and I'm trying to sort out what might be a workable option for our family.

We have a family of six (two adults, 1 heading to college, 1 in high school, and 2 in kindergarten. Yes. It is a wide age spread.)

Something that will reasonably sleep 5 is probably ok - the little two can share a bed for now, and the oldest (our only girl) may not be joining us that often in a few years. Sleeping room for all 6 is probably better, though.

Our typical use case is 1-2 week trips. We are in Ohio, so we might go around the Great Lakes or down to Florida or the Smokey Mountains or (my goal) out west. (We were supposed to go to Yellowstone and Grand Tetons this year but we got cancelled due to COVID.) As long as laundry is available occasionally, we can pack pretty light. (We've finally passed the days of needing a double stroller - yay!)

As it happens, I need to get a new car, probably a large SUV, next year anyway. It would be great if we could find something that could work both to haul the kids around on a daily basis and also serve as a TV.

All of these things in mind, is there a combination of AS and TV that those of you with experience would recommend? I like the rear hatch option on the Flying Clouds, but I'm not sure if a 27' is too big to tow or too small to fit us all? (I'd like the best of both worlds, not the worst... ) And for the TV, safety is really important, so I don't want to overload, but I also am not sure a truck will hold us all that well for a long trip.

Does anyone have a Goldilocks solution for us? Thanks!
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Old 06-24-2020, 10:39 AM   #2
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1973 31' Sovereign
Mantua , Ohio
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Hello Neighbor!

I noticed you're from Kent, so you might recognize "Mantua." Anyhow, we've got a family of 5 and we've done a bunch of research as for TV and AS combinations. As it sits, the option that seems to make the most sense is a cargo van. They have the cargo capacity, seating, and towing to handle everything. As for the airstreams, none of the factory floor plans seem to suit what we were looking for well. We have 4 center beds in a 2 bunk, 2 bed configuration, the front bed that converts to and from the table and bed. We've also toyed with the idea of a rear bed as well. This is all custom designed because we're restoring an airstream. I'd love to chat more. Our eye seems to gravitate towards the globetrotter layouts, but I think the flying cloud seems to sleep more. Cheers!
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Old 08-02-2020, 09:18 AM   #3
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I'm curious to see what people post here. I'm in a similar situation. We just ordered a 2021 Flying Cloud 30FB Bunk. We normally travel with 4 but now with friends 6 is looking like the new number. We are searching for a TV that can carry 6 adults and tow the TT. I'll be watching this thread closely.
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Old 08-02-2020, 10:18 AM   #4
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2020 23' International
Houston , TX
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Would definitely look at bunks in the trailer.

As for TV, I would first look into 2500 Chevy Suburban or Ford Excursion. The Suburban would likely be a little easier as a daily driver.
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Old 09-06-2020, 09:27 AM   #5
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I do know Mantua! Are you doing all the work on the restoration yourself or having someone do it?
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Old 09-07-2020, 09:30 AM   #6
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1973 31' Sovereign
Mantua , Ohio
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We've done almost all of it ourselves. We had a welder do the frame, though I helped out a small amount with that as well. As it sits now, the interior is going in and should be done relatively soon.



Have you been able to find anything that suits your family?
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Old 09-07-2020, 10:08 AM   #7
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I will propose a unusual solution. Hear me out.

Your needs may actually be best served by having 2 vehicles come on your trips, vs purchasing a vehicle with enough payload for 6 occupants and gear capacity with 6 people to still safety tow a larger airstream.

This is essentially a math problem. Read up on payloads, towing weights, tongue weights, gross vehicle capacity until you fully understand all of these concepts. And understand how to tease these numbers off the vehicle specs. They can be confusing.

Essentially, payload is the amount of weight your vehicle's frame and components can carry (vs weight your vehicle can pull and start/stop--which is towing capacity). Think of it this way, I can carry in my arms maybe 100 pounds (payload). I can push a shopping cart with my arms that has several hundred pounds in it.

There are not a lot of vehicles with enough payload and seating for 6 adults, and some gear, plus the hitch weight of a larger airstream (25-30). I doubt any current manufactured SUV has this rating. If they do, they may be large for a daily driver, and more expensive than you want to spend.

Diesel pickups have this rating, but seating for 6 can be a tight fit.

Ford econoline vans did, but these are not made any more. Same with larger 2500 Suburbans, and Excursions.

But-you could probably tow the trailer you want with mom and dad and the 2 younger kids along with many vehicles out there. Gas pickups, suburbans, etc.

So have the 2 older kids bring their own vehicle.

The additional fuel expense is very likely minimal in comparison to the cost to buy a suitable tow vehicle for 6 adults to pull your rig.
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Old 09-07-2020, 11:41 AM   #8
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Airstream 30 Bunk or Airstream + tent.
I agree a van is the best tow vehicle, diesel?
Any pickup truck won't seat four kids in the back, and cars won't tow the 30 bunk.....okay, maybe a Suburban.
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Old 09-07-2020, 11:59 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duramax3oh View Post
Would definitely look at bunks in the trailer.

As for TV, I would first look into 2500 Chevy Suburban or Ford Excursion. The Suburban would likely be a little easier as a daily driver.
2013 was the last year for the 2500 Burb.

Be careful, the 2021's come with a very capable engine, but P rated tires, less GVWR, lower axle ratings, great grocery getters though.
A bit sad actually.


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Old 09-07-2020, 12:00 PM   #10
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2019 25' Flying Cloud
Hendersonville , North Carolina
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Big AS and bunch of people

Go get yourself a 2017 or newer Nissan NV3500SL Passenger van. It has a 8700 LB tow rating, 2500 LB cargo capacity (if you remove some of the seats, it comes with seating for 12 people) the cargo capacity increases by the amount of weight taken out by removing some seats, has 375 HP V8 engine with right at 400 LB FT of torque. These are really nice to drive vans. Does not drive like you would think a 1 ton rated van would drive like. Check one out soon. Get the SL model as it is loaded with all the good stuff as standard equipment.

The Chevy Express/GMC Savana Passenger vans in the 2500/3500 series are capable towers but drive like the truck they are.

The newer Ford Transit WAGONS (vans with an interior, not a stripped out cargo van) has awful tow ratings in the 5000 LB and lower range. An older Ford E Series van would do the job but you would need the V10 engine model or a 2010 or older Diesel model. Good luck and Happy Hunting.
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Old 09-07-2020, 01:16 PM   #11
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2007 27' International CCD FB
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I think you know this may take a bit of creativity, but it can be done. Perhaps working a bit out of the box. It of course will also depend on what level of comfort you have with various options. I'll share what I do and what works for me. And perhaps add a couple more ideas.

I on occasion travel with a family of 6, which includes 2 young kids (7 and 10yrs old), and my retired parents. Have even done 7 in a pinch when my single brother joins us.

My rig is a Lexus LX570 (aka Toyota Land Cruiser) and Airstream 27FB twin.

The LX has standard seating for 8. When traveling with 6, I stow half of the 3rd row for gear and stuff. My older daughter takes the other half of the 3rd row and enjoys the wide space to herself. My parents take the outboard seats in the second row, and young son takes middle position, with all having plenty of room. The seating comfort, ride quality, and accouterments are luxurious enough to go all day.

The 27FB layout is already setup from the factory as a 6 sleeper, with 2 in the bedroom, 2 on the pullout sofa, and 2 in the dinette. I've done some modifications to support how we like to use the space however with more flexibility. In the twin bedroom, I've added a bridge over the walkway to create a single gargantuan bed, dwarfing an oversized king. My immediate family of 4 can sleep comfortably in that space, with my parents sleeping on the pullout sofa, and leaving the dinette intact. Or my oldest daughter will sleep in the bedroom with my parents, wife and I on the pull-out sofa, and son on the dinette.
https://www.airforums.com/forums/f34...ng-211877.html

There's other ways to do this as per the great suggestions prior.

Some other thoughts if you want more accommodating spaces.

Tow vehicle - Toyota Sequoia would be a great choice in my mind. As it's less expensive than the Land Cruiser, is larger with a longer wheelbase, and has independent rear suspension for incrementally more stability.

Trailer - the 30 models have the obvious advantage of being larger, but they have larger fresh water tanks too which can make a useful difference.
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Old 09-07-2020, 06:46 PM   #12
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Please check the figures yourself, but I believe that the Sequioa and Tundra share the same chassis and engine. I don't think you will have sufficient payload for 6 adults and their gear, and the trailer, with either of them.
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Old 09-08-2020, 09:39 AM   #13
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As mentioned above, when the kids were smaller we did it (6 + Dog) with our 2002 7.3 Excursion and 27FB. Now that they are in their 20's one will bring their own vehicle for mobility and we fit 4 or 5 to sleep plus a tent or hammock depending on how cozy people want to get. It's when they start bringing partner friends it gets overcrowded. There's always the EX to sleep in for peace and quiet!

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Old 09-09-2020, 05:44 AM   #14
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Also, FWIW, a tent as the solution is a bad one in our experience.

Our first rig was a 22 sport. Had sleeping space for 3 but not for 4.

Family trip in Yellowstone and GTNP. Rain, wolves and bears in the campground, cold weather, dad was in the tent 1 night, daughter slept in the aisle on the floor one night in tears. Did not work out well.

We now have a larger airstream.
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Old 09-09-2020, 07:12 AM   #15
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A tent is eminently doable, but not everywhere. When the kids were small (the youngest is now 32) we had a MH that would carry everybody, but not sleep everybody. (We also had 6.) We slept girls in MH, boys in tent. Worked well, but we didn't camp anywhere with large predators. Rain and cold weather, we would do. The tent turned the rain, and you bundled up for the cold. You have to use a little common sense.
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Old 09-09-2020, 07:31 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Piggy Bank View Post
Also, FWIW, a tent as the solution is a bad one in our experience.

Our first rig was a 22 sport. Had sleeping space for 3 but not for 4.

Family trip in Yellowstone and GTNP. Rain, wolves and bears in the campground, cold weather, dad was in the tent 1 night, daughter slept in the aisle on the floor one night in tears. Did not work out well.

We now have a larger airstream.
Reminds me that of two of my good friends and I take the AS out for "boys camping" once a year. On the 3rd trip one of us brought a hammock as he couldn't sleep with the snoring racket from the other two of us. He hung it up in camp and tried it in the afternoon as we were making evening cocktails. "Oh look!" I said to the other person not in the the hammock, "It's a bear burrito"! We all laughed.....no one slept in the hammock overnight. - Brad
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