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Old 08-13-2010, 10:27 PM   #1
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Question How big is too big? Newbie Ponderings...

Hi All... I'm new to the site, still in the process of looking for an AS that will be right for us, and thought I'd introduce myself (and ask a question or two...)

We recently sold our Scamp 13 with the intent of finding an older Airstream (or Argosy) that we could fix up to give us the ability to camp in comfort for longer periods of time. Having come from a Scamp (which my aging mother referred to as "a cute little torture chamber") even the smaller Airstreams seem big.

My question is this: my wife and I want to be mostly in national forest / national park campgrounds. What is the largest trailer that would be a comfortable fit in this setting? We're used to being able to park *anywhere* with the Scamp. Will a 25 or 26 footer make it hard to find campsites? There seem to be more trailers in this size available than the smaller ones.

Our main goals (after dealing with the limitations of the Scamp) is to set a trailer up with:
1. a queen size or two twin beds (I'm willing to make some mods to make this happen)
2. a permanent dinette for two.
3. a bathroom/shower

What size range should we be looking at?

cheer,
Matthew L
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Old 08-13-2010, 10:35 PM   #2
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We have a 22' and find it very adequate for our needs. We also intend to camp at state and national parks. We haven't made that many trips yet, but so far we only found one place that limited the trailer length to 25'. Our bed is only a double, but we find it perfect even though we sleep on a king at home. You will enjoy the bathroom and shower, especially if you will be doing some boondocking.
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Old 08-13-2010, 10:46 PM   #3
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We have a 25 FB and have fit easily into every state, county or federal campground we've been to.

Mostly though we boondock in the Calofornia desert and Oregon woods and have never had a size related issue while dirt roading or off roading.
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Old 08-13-2010, 11:12 PM   #4
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I might be a bit biased,....but I do think the 40+' dual axle Rail road versions were a "bit" toooo long.

However...
a 3 axle 34 ft version seems to fit in all the places I've been to and I've never thought about getting a longer trailer...
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Old 08-13-2010, 11:35 PM   #5
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We have a Scamp 13 but found our VW camper more comfortable. You will like camping in the 25, but it's a whole new world of towing compared to the Scamp. "Jeez this thing is big."

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Old 08-14-2010, 08:21 AM   #6
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We have a 25 Safari. We camp throughout the west in national forest, state parks and national park campgrounds. While our Safari might not fit in every space, we have found it too big for only the most primative campgrounds and suitable for 95% of those we visit.
Forest service campgrounds are at the end of forest service roads and our Safari navigates those also without problems. As long as the road is graded and suitable for a passenger car, it is suitable for our Airstream.
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Old 08-14-2010, 08:55 AM   #7
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We restored/updated a 65 22' Safari and boondock in National Forests in Upper Michigan all the time. It is just the right size for us. Easy to pull (we use a 1/2 ton pickup), lots of room, 2 couches that fold out to beds. I've included a couple of pics. Best of luck on your hunt for an Airstream...Tim
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Old 08-14-2010, 09:16 AM   #8
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The desirable size is a function of how many days you are going to use it per year. You will notice the too small syndrome if you camp for long periods of rainy weather. Having pets along also requires a larger size. The longer you stay in it, the more you will wish by bought it two foot longer.
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Old 08-14-2010, 09:27 AM   #9
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I once talked to my dealer regarding the number of newer Airstreams that he takes in on trade. The answer was that the bulk of new trailers that he takes in are because the original purchasers realize they should have gone bigger. Small has its advantages but if you are a first time buyer and you are buying new, think long and hard regarding small. Think about storage space, think about the length of your trips, the amount of time spent in the trailer. Think about that corner bed and crawling over your partner for a bathroom break. It all takes it toll over time, and regrets are expensive lesson to learn.

I have one friend who struggled over going with a 25' or 27'. They took the 25' and after two years sold it because of space.

Jack
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Old 08-14-2010, 11:04 AM   #10
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Spent about a year, in a trailer with a corner bed,,,,never again.
Airstream, or non Airstream, corner beds get old real fast.
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Old 08-14-2010, 11:38 AM   #11
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Greetings Matthew!

Welcome to the Forums!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mattlyon View Post
Our main goals (after dealing with the limitations of the Scamp) is to set a trailer up with:
1. a queen size or two twin beds (I'm willing to make some mods to make this happen)
2. a permanent dinette for two.
3. a bathroom/shower

What size range should we be looking at?
When looking at Vintage Airstreams or Argosys, you will most likely find more of the center twin layouts with front lounge than almost any of the available variations. In the Argosy line, there are several variations that you might find interesting. When I first read your post, I immediately thought about the Argosy 22 and 24 rear door models as each had a standard dinette with either a pair of twin beds or a double. The scan below illustrates these two floorplans:




Another option that offers the advantage of a more compact width (7' rather than the usual 7' 8") is the Minuet series available in 6.0, 6.7, and 7.3 Metres. These coach's used light weight construction methods and some experimental materials to keep weight severl hundred pounds below the similar length standard coaches. The Minuets were available between 1977 and 1979 and the typical floorplans are in the scan below:




Whether looking at an Argosy or an Airstream from the Vintage Era, you are less likely to find a fixed dinette than in a similar sized Brand X travel trailer. In the Argosy travel trailers the dinette was usually a $50 extra-cost option. A credenza table folds and stores in a cabinet against the sidewall of the coach and folds open in front of the front lounge. I came from first a truck camper and then an 18 foot Nomad travel trailer both with fixed dinettes, and the front lounge crdenza or compact drop-leaf table were among my favorite teatures of my coaches as the dinettes tended to be so much wasted space for me.

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin
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Old 08-14-2010, 11:38 AM   #12
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A 13' Scamp fits in a lot of spots.

What size trailers/rvs are in the campgrounds you use? Do you see 25+ foot trailers?

While I agree that the larger trailers fit in many campsites, they clearly do not fit in all of them. Especially older NFS campsites in rugged terrain where the the access roads are too narrow with sharp curves, overhanging brush and small sites.

I see this question a lot and the answer is pretty simple for those who already camp. What type of rigs are in the sites you visit?
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Old 08-14-2010, 11:40 AM   #13
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Matthew L.,

First off, welcome as a new memeber to the forum. As you can see I am a fairly recent member also. Here is a couple of observations from my own trailer use. I currently have a 19 foot Komfort but am looking to acquire my neighbor's 25 foot Excella Classic. My wife and I also do mostly Forest Service, boondocking etc. type of camping. My current trailer (Komfort) has to have the bed made up each night which I have found is not my cup of tea. Never again, my next rig will have permanent sleeping arrangements. We have found the 19 foot length not too bad except for not having a permanent bed. We spend most of our time ouside of the trailer and eat most of our meals outside at a picnic table etc. My neighbor's 25 foot is more than enough room for me and solves the sleeping issues. Now all I have to do is convince them it is time to sell it to me. Hope my musings have helped some.

Tim
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Old 08-14-2010, 11:41 AM   #14
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In the Vintage Airstream Category the 22' Safari or the 24-25' Tradewinds are great trailers, easy to park and will be an easy pull. My Tradewind has a front section with a fold down gaucho/ coucho and a partition that closes the back area off as a separate room with twin beads giving some privacy from kids. It's just big enough but not too big.
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Old 08-14-2010, 11:49 AM   #15
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Hi Matthew and welcome to the forums! We have a 13 foot Boler (exactly the same as a Scamp...see website link below). We also have a 23 foot Airstream. Wow! What a difference 10 extra feet make! We haven't been to any US national parks yet, but we are going to Yellowstone in 2 weeks. This trailer is a good size, but the bed isn't. It is about 3-4 inches wider than our Boler bed. Very cozy! Take a measuring tape when you look at trailers to measure the bed.

There are also so many layouts that the overall length of the trailer may not matter as much to you. You can get your "top 3 wants" in many smaller trailers. For example, the new 23 Front Bed Flying Cloud has a queen bed that my 23 doesn't. Argosys and Airstreams of all vintage have some great layouts.

Personally, we have found that the corner bed on our 23 is way easier to get in and out of than our side-to-side bed on our Boler (You can crawl out the bottom rather than crawl over the other person). However, we won't keep the 23 forever. Our next Airstream will have a walkaround queen (I'm dreaming of a 27 FB) or 2 twins. The 23 fits our needs perfectly right now.

Happy shopping! Look at as many trailers you can to get a sense of layouts.

Lisa
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Old 08-14-2010, 11:58 AM   #16
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Like tkasten, most of my stays are in more primitive places, boondocking. I can almost always get my 23' Safari into a "tent" site, and that's big plus for me.

The tradeoff seems to be that while I'd almost always like more room, a screen porch, a swimming pool, and perhaps a bowling alley, I'd have a hard time getting a bigger unit into some of those spaces. I'm an inveterate backpacker, however, and even a small trailer such as your Scamp would usually have seemed like ultra-luxe if I could have gotten it to the places I hike to ... so some of this is pure perspective. When I bought, I was actually looking for a 25'er ... but in the end, I bought what I could find, and I have no real regrets.

I will say that I find the "corner bed" just fine, but I am most often going solo. When the DW is along, it sometimes gets small.

I think you need to go to a few rallies and go through different design units and see what fits, visit a dealer or two and sit in new floor plans, lie down on the beds for a while, etc.
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Old 08-14-2010, 04:18 PM   #17
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You may have a problem locating an older trailer with a queen bed. I don't know when they upgraded to queens from doubles. Size of bed is dependent on your size—the queens are too short for us, but we solved that with some adaptations.

When we were looking, we found the corner doubles had a cramped toilet area and the bathroom door wouldn't open all the way because the bed was in the way.

Some public campgrounds have small spaces or little room to back in. We have always made it with a 25' (it is actually 25' 11"), but it can be tricky because the access roads are often very narrow. There are not as many long spaces as private campgrounds and they tend to fill first, so length can be an issue.

If you buy an older trailer you will probably have to put money into it. You'll have to check for floor rot, floor separation, bad axles and other things that often go along with older trailers. If all that has been fixed, good. My point is that older may not be a bargain unless you are willing to put up with fixing things and able to spend the money necessary.

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Old 08-14-2010, 06:34 PM   #18
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I made a similar move - from a T@B teardrop to an Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre. We've just finished a 15 day trip with the trailer so I now know what it's like to live with for a while.

First off, we love towing this narrow, short trailer. It's the same width as our minivan tow vehicle, which inspires confidence. The short length means I can turn it around in tight spaces and fit within two spots back-to-back. There is very little stress in towing, and that's nice.

But. Making a bed every night gets old. Since we sleep on a king at home, we sleep in seperate beds in the trailer - my wife in the dinette, me on the (smaller but longer) gaucho.

I also love having a dinette, but we started to leave the dinette made up into a bed and eating outside. That way we only had to make up the gaucho.

My thought (today - it changes often) is that the best combo for us - without regard to budget - would be a newer 22' Sport FB. That gives a biggish fixed front bed and a side dinette, plus a short and narrow trailer. Vintage options (which are wider, but also weigh the same or less than that 22' Sport) are a 22-23' Safari or a 22-24' Argosy with twins in the middle.

Frankly, for us, we'll probably draw a line in the sand because of tow vehicle choice, ease of towing, and my love of paying for toys with cash rather than financing. But we're young in our Airstreaming lives, so we'll see where this leads us...

The campsite thing - we've found that we simply can't get the Minuet where we got the T@B. (We could roll the T@B into place by hand and set the hand brake.) But I don't think we've encountered sites (we MUCH prefer state and provinical parks) that would fit our trailer but not a 25' trailer. That size, if you're willing to get the size of tow vehicle it needs, gives you a lot more interesting options in layout, like center bath models with a dedicated bedroom.

Just my random musings...

Tom
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Old 08-15-2010, 09:16 AM   #19
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Wow.

Thanks all for such quick and thoughtful replies! There are a lot of factors to consider...

We'll definitely be looking at vintage (or near vintage) to get a trailer we can slowly renovate as finances allow. I'd love to find a 24'-25' empty shell that someone had gutted, put a new floor in and left as a blank canvas. That being said, the vintage 2 twin layouts would probably meet our needs perfectly. Are the twin beds in these full-width twin beds or narrower?

It seems like the sites we frequent here in Western MT host some pretty big trailers. Our size concerns focus more around campgrounds we like to stay in on the west coast... Olympic Peninsula. Kalaloch and Mora campgrounds are the two primary places we base out of when we're there and I'm embarrassed to say I haven't payed much attention to the size of trailers and sites available. Anyone camped there in a mid-size AS?
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Old 08-15-2010, 11:58 AM   #20
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My guess is that the twin beds are narrow, but others with more experience will surely answer that. The last time we confronted twin beds was on the Alaska state ferry and they felt narrow. Neither of us wanted to sleep on the top bunk, so we managed to fit in one bunk—after all we've been sleeping together for more than 24 years—that's our norm. To us, bed size and type is important. As creatures of habit, we just don't feel comfortable in a bed very different from what we are used to. We find we don't sleep as well and that's very important when you're doing a lot of driving (or playing). People differ on this, but you'd better be sure because once you have the trailer, you are stuck with it.

Maybe you could rent an RV with twin beds and see how that feels.

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