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Old 04-27-2008, 08:28 PM   #1
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2019 23' International
La Habra , California
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 961
Images: 3
20 FT SE towing experience

We think we have found a floor plan we can live with. Now for the questions.
I have always towed a dual axel trailer and was wondering how it will be different? Moving forward will be fine but what about backing up? I think the trailer reacts faster as you turn the wheel of the tow vehicle. Did that get a little getting used to? How about sway? How is the lay out inside? For those that have one, we would appreciate any input/advice anything that comes to mind. The bath room looks roomier than the side bed models, is it?
Thanks very much in advance.
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Old 04-28-2008, 01:51 PM   #2
Vintage Kin
Fort Worth , Texas
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 8,014
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Rule of thumb on any trailer is that the shorter it is, the "harder" it is to back in (given that one is positioned correctly before backing). Shorter trailers do react faster to given inputs. My very long TV rear axle to TT axle center is slow to react by comparison to a single axle trailer of the size you've chosen. That said, you'll get used to it soon enough, and it won't matter at all.

Sway shouldn't matter given proper rigging. Many threads available on this forum. Don't, please don't, buy the argument that anti-sway isn't needed on smaller trailers. There are good choices available. I went with the Hensley Arrow because I wanted no compromise. As an ex-truck driver it wasn't a question of skill, it was of reducing the margins for error to as close to zero as possible.

If you match your TT and TV well, then the towing aspect will be almost nil, beyond good highway practices. Every rig is a little different as you've indicated. Me, I'd have to remind myself that something that small was actually back there. It's good to know how long the entire rig is. As mine is 63', I have to take care in all kinds of ordinary situations, and plan accordingly.

I seriously doubt that there is a better towing trailer than an Airstream.

As to size it kinda comes down to how much time you spend inside versus comfortably outside. And the length of the trip. The more time used, the easier, IMO, a trailer is to use, no matter the size. Outdoor furniture is the key for this boy.

When we are inside I am the one reading, my wife watching television. So we go to the lengths necessary to see that each is quite comfortable.

The Airstreamers will chime in shortly, and give you the benefit of their experience.
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Old 04-28-2008, 03:41 PM   #3
just jd.
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2007 20' Safari SE
San Diego , California
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 298
I've think the trailer is quite responsive to steering wheel inputs, but simply resisting the urge to crank on the steering wheel is key.

I have the Reese Straight Line WD setup (includes the dual-cam anti-sway) and find it plenty comfortable with an F150 SuperCrew.

Layout: The kitchen couterspace is pretty awesome, and plenty of storage fore and aft -- including the giant cavern under the FB!

Most all the wiring and plumbing is eminently accessible, which is pretty handy!

That said, consider:
  • Lack of a comfortable couch/lounge for viewing videos and "lounging about";
  • The one wardrobe is pretty small for two adults;
  • There's only one furnace vent (holding tanks have dedicated heat strips);
  • Fairly limited space up top for mounting solar panels;
The ability to store the rig on our seriously-tight-access property outweighed these potential cons for us. Otherwise we'd have gone for the 23' Safari, with it's dual-axles, lounge, and more wardrobe and open roof space.

If maneuvering it into a very tight space is your prime limitation (as was our case), consider using a front-mounted hitch on your TV: you'd be amazed at how precise you can be this way, and get it into spaces you'd might not consider with a traditional hitchup.

2007 20' Safari SE/LS // 12063 //CA-5// ("ex") 2916
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Old 04-28-2008, 05:39 PM   #4
2 Rivet Member
2007 20' Safari SE
Janesville , Wisconsin
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 32
We bought our '07 20'SE last November for its shorter length, lighter weight, larger kitchen area, and separate shower area.

Though I liked the looks of the 16 and 19 foot models, I knew I would never be happy with little to no counter space.

So far, we love our little camper! We took our first trip last month with our 20 year old, and, believe it or not, we didn't feel cramped!

Our hitch set up is identical to 5cat's setup, and, after some adjustments, we couldn't be happier with how it tows.

Since this is our first camper, I couldn't comment on dual axle vs single axle handling. I would imagine dual axle would be preferable if, heaven forbid, you had a flat tire.

Good luck in your search!
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Old 04-28-2008, 07:20 PM   #5
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2014 25' Flying Cloud
Cuddebackville , New York
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 3,853
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I agree with the above posts. My wife loves the counter space and we fit just fine with two adults and two dogs. We get to stay in the state and national campgrounds where bigger rigs won't fit. I have the Reese sway bars just for the added safety, but my wife towed it to Montana and back last year without a worry. We've always towed shorter trailers (horse mostly) and the Safari backs up just fine.
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Old 04-28-2008, 08:31 PM   #6
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2019 23' International
La Habra , California
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 961
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One of the reasons for this size is parking it as someone mentioned. We would like to get rid of the additional expense of storing our trailer. This size would fit in my driveway. The 23 ft might fit but I would have to trim some of my homes roof in that corner. Which ever way we decide the storage space is gone!
Thanks again for your responses.
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Old 04-28-2008, 09:42 PM   #7
4 Rivet Member
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Currently Looking...
Fort Walton Beach , Florida
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 478
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We purchased our 20' SE in October, 2007......have spent 12 nights in it during five excursions.

It is great to tow.....no sway with Reese equalizer bars (without sway control).....even passing semi's on the x-way. Average around 11 mpg with a Dodge Quad Cab Hemi (60-65 mph).

It is harder to back up than a tandem axle, but you get the hang of it quckly.

It is great to park both the TV and Trailer in a double parking slot.

You appreciate it's smaller size the first time you wax it.

Holding tanks are quite small......two days max boondocking with conservative use.....individual use may, of course, vary this figure.

Everyone that sees the inside of the unit comments on the galley counter space and size of the bathroom.......my wife loves the rear kitchen.

Now, for the only irritant......and it has been a big one for me.....is the bed arrangement and not having a couch to relax on. True, the dinette is big enough for four people to sit, but that straight back cushion gets a bit tiresome. You can let out the dinette and place pillows strategically around the side to realax on, but the location of the television above the refrig becomes a pain-in-the-neck quickly if you're not lying down. This had become such an irritant that I was considering trading for a 25', but after analyzing the pros and cons of changing units. I came to the conclusion that we really liked everything about the 20 footer, except for the bed. Thanks to another forum member (Soldermedic), I heard about Glastop (manufacturer of boat and RV furniture). Within the next month, I will change out the bed for a Flexsteel ultraleather sleeper sofa. It is a bit of an expensive option, but should provide a lot more versatility. The couch will have a pull-out storage drawer, but we will lose over half of the current under-bed storage area (we didn't use it that much anyway). The unit has electrical/television plugs in the bed area, so a second tv will be added. Hopefully, this change will make our 20' SE "perfect" for us. BTW, I should tell you that the standard bed is fine for two people to nap on, but is a bit cramped for a good night's sleep (unless both of you are not very big).

Hope this helps with your decision.

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Old 04-29-2008, 07:31 AM   #8
2 Rivet Member
2007 20' Safari SE
Janesville , Wisconsin
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 32
Let us know how the sofa works for you, once you get it installed.

I am interested in how comfortable these are for sleeping.

I can see how one would want a sofa to lounge around on, especially for longer trips or rainy days.
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