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Old 05-21-2018, 09:36 AM   #1
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Why did you pick an Airstream?

As I continue to be an Airstream wannabe, sometimes I find myself waffling. For the same money, I can have a four-season 5th wheel with integrated generator, full kitchen, full living room with fireplace, a dinette, king size bed, and a shower you could swing a cat in.
I am attracted to the AS design, the minimalist lifestyle, and the mystique, kind of like why motorcyclists buy Harleys when they know better bikes are out there for less.

Why did you go for the Airstream, when other, better, less expensive alternatives are available?
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Old 05-21-2018, 09:43 AM   #2
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I am also on the fence, subscribing to see other's comments.
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Old 05-21-2018, 10:02 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acheron2010 View Post
As I continue to be an Airstream wannabe, sometimes I find myself waffling. For the same money, I can have a four-season 5th wheel with integrated generator, full kitchen, full living room with fireplace, a dinette, king size bed, and a shower you could swing a cat in.
I am attracted to the AS design, the minimalist lifestyle, and the mystique, kind of like why motorcyclists buy Harleys when they know better bikes are out there for less.

Why did you go for the Airstream, when other, better, less expensive alternatives are available?
I picked Vintage airstream. I dont need a generator but perhaps 1x per year and I use the same propane external genset I use for backup power at my home.
I go vintage because I love the look, like to do some customization and they are affordable. Also the systems are very simple and easy to repair or replace. I dont need integrated systems like heat and hot water or complex automation.
I find good solid trailers that are ready to camp but maybe need a little TLC. I expect to replace some items such as fridge or air conditioning and those costs are very predictable.

I generally prefer to shower at the campground so having a small shower is not a big problem for me.

We dont go fulltime but have spent 30+ days cross country this year in our 31 foot airstream. For shorter trips we use our 26 foot Overlander.

I did buy a used 5th wheel, 39 feet to use as a cabin while we built our home but could not imagine taking that on the road. Would be more than a little challenging and stressful to me to get that into many campgrounds but of course people do it all the time. If I had need to sleep more than two on a regular basis or four very infrequently I might prefer a different brand trailer or fifth wheel.

I would not pay the very high price for a new airstream to effectively get the same experience I get with my old ones. But some people just like new and as long as they have the financial ability to do that I dont begrudge them.

Hope this provides some insight about not only why I buy airstream but how I buy them.
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Old 05-21-2018, 10:06 AM   #4
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You are correct, and then again you are not. twelve years ago we were originally drawn to Airstream because of the iconic style. We had never owned an RV of any kind before, and were somewhat shocked at the price of an Airstream vs. other travel trailers. We also found that good used Airstreams were quite pricey.

At first we considered renting a travel trailer to try out the RV lifestyle. We found that this was also very expensive. We looked at other travel trailer, and that most of them were pretty junkie.

We finally decided that we would try an Airstream, and see how it worked out. We felt that if we didn't like the RVing thing, we could at least get some of our money back.

WE ended up buying a brand new 2005 Safari 25FB. WE felt that we got a really good price. We started camping in the Airstream and found that we really liked it.

Here we are, twelve years later. We are approaching 1,900 nights of Airstream camping. we have been all over the United States and Canada several times. We have not yet tired of it.

We traded our 2005 25FB in 2013 for a slightly used 2012 23FB. The 2005 brought a very good trade in value. A year later and 180 nights of camping, we decided that we wanted to go back to a 25FB. We traded the 23FB on a 2015 25FB. The trade in value of the 23FB was almost what we had paid for it.

Each time we replaced our Airstream, we shopped and researched extensively, and always went back to Airstream. There really is not a better travel trailer out their for less. There are bigger, but not better.

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Old 05-21-2018, 10:14 AM   #5
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Unique and COOL!

I know this doesn't help much. BUT an Airstream is unique and just plain COOL. There is nothing like washing your Airstream in front of your house with drivers stopping and yelling "Love your Airstream! It is sooo cool!!" AND there is no other RV brand that has a community/following like Airstream. We have a '17 Classic 30 Twin. I LOVE the Alde heating system: it is responsive (meaning it maintains temp within 1 degree) and QUIET. Can't say quiet enough...once you have slept through an RV furnace cycle you will know what I mean. Also for us, slide-outs are nice for the room BUT are just plain dirty. When you slide them back in, whatever has happened outside rain, dust, etc. comes into the trailer. As far as a 4 season camper, no brainer for us...we don't do cold/cold camping. If you are camping in February, do it in Arizona.

Bottomline: worth every penny (and there were a bunch) we spent on our Elsa!
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Old 05-21-2018, 10:29 AM   #6
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I too waffled until I went to local RV lot and walked through a few 5-10 year old non-AS trade-ins. After that my decision was much easier.
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Old 05-21-2018, 11:32 AM   #7
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It's very subjective.
I was downsizing from a motorhome that was just too big for one person, and expensive to maintain! It served me well, but time to move on.
I knew I could buy a really nice box trailer with more storage, and more homelike interior for less money, but nothing appealed to me except the Airstream. Yes, it's expensive, but I rationalized that if I hated it, I'd be able to sell it and recoup most of my investment.
So, I took the leap of faith. I must say, after driving a motorhome with a trailer across country, the Airstream and truck is a breeze!
I look at it and say, "That's really a cool RV."
Yes, I'd like Corian countertops, and raised panel cabinet doors and cherry wood everywhere, and real leather chairs, but all those things added way too much to the price for me. I thought, "This is a camper, and I have a dog." I got the 26U queen. No regrets other than wanting to GO.

Now, I look at restored classic Airstreams like the Orvis, and think, "Darn, that's beautiful!" (What was I thinking, I've got three projects I need to finish on a NEW one!)
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Old 05-21-2018, 11:42 AM   #8
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Too many reasons to list them all but a few positives that come to mind that won us over are:

1) Better quality than the competition (Some have issues but still better than the competition).
2) Hand made!
3) Iconic - Oldest RV company still in business.
4) Retro - Outside look goes back to the 1930's yet inside is totally modern!
5) Best service & support network out there between users, dealers and factory.
6) Best rally and sociability factor in the RV world (We've met most of our best friends through Airstreams (and camping)).
7) Extremely comfortable to camp/live in.
8) Extremely fun! They're just fun!!!
9) Huge selection of models and floor plans for most budgets.
10) Made in the U.S.A.
11) Better towability and safety than the competition.
12) Although they do depreciate, they hold their value better than the competition by far.
13) With care, will last for generations, as in decades. Simply can't say that about the competition.
14) High end feel throughout.
15) Fun! Did I mention they are oh so fun!!!!!

Friends feel free to add to my list because there are a lot more reasons to buy an Airstream but these are a few that pop to mind off hand.
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Old 05-21-2018, 11:44 AM   #9
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For me it was simply an Airstream or no RV. I really appreciated the styling and, since I had never owned anything else, there wasn't a sense of giving up space/amenities/etc. My in-laws have a massive 5th wheel and while the amenities are nice, I also didn't want to tow my condo where I go.

Our 27FB is the perfect size for us (we upgraded from our original 19') and has plenty of space for two persons. At the same time, it does give me a bit more of a "feel" of actually being out in the open wherever I am. When I'm in the in-laws' 5th wheeler, I literally have no sense of not being in a house.

Lastly, I was always kind of depressed looking at regular trailers that fade over time. I like the shiny, iconic styling of the Airstreams and how they seem to remain timeless. Mine is a 2008 and you wouldn't know it to just look at it.
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Old 05-21-2018, 11:58 AM   #10
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Price vs Value

I always knew my first and last RV would be an Airstream simply because they hold their value best. I too brought used and refurbished and updated it to my needs -- a great value. I own a trailer that is pushing 50 years old now, and with a modicum of care will last decades more. What other brand, typically made of cheap, formaldehyde-infused plywood can routinely claim that kind of value?

Airstreams are far from perfect, riddled with endless flaws in production, (I know, even at the outrageous sticker price!) but with few exceptions, the basic design is solid and robust enough to last decades, and outlast the original owners.

A tip: if you are looking for a 5-star spa/hotel experience, camping isn't for you (although a new Airstream will come closest to that experience). If you don't mind working with tools, or getting your hands dirty, if you kinda enjoy building things, if you can understand plumbing and basic electricity and have at least jr. high carpentry skills, then you will love owning, towing, setting up, troubleshooting, fixing and and camping in your Airstream -- the newer the model, the more of the latter than the former.
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Old 05-21-2018, 12:51 PM   #11
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Because the guy next door had one ... well that was when I was a kid, but he never purchased a wrong thing. You get bit and it's all over. We looked, the others did not compare.

The fifthwheel world and the MoHo world are different. If you want to live in a coach, you have different objectives.

We travel. We don't live in a trailer. The AS is the best solution for us. It tows better, fits better and gets more smiles.

Do your research and get what works for you and your lifestyle. Pat
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Old 05-21-2018, 02:31 PM   #12
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why Airstream

As a child of the 60's, my family of 7 were in a camping club. Most members had Airstreams. We had a very nice Holiday Rambler. Fast forward 50 years. We looked at all brands of travel trailers for 2 years. At first we said no way would we pay 60k plus for a travel trailer. RIGHT! We took delivery of our 2017 International Serenity 23D in may of 2017. No contest. We visited 9 different places in past 12 months. Tows easily. When you stop for fuel, people want to see inside. No regrets on price paid. Remember, if you purchase new, call around till you find model you want and get at least 20% off of MSRP. Go to another dealer if you can not make that deal. We purchased from a dealer 750 miles away from our home in N. Carolina. Great trip to pick it up. Go to several different dealers. Sit in all the different models and floor plans. You will find an Airstream that fits your needs. Yes, it will have teething problems, but in the end you will have an Airstream that will last you the rest of your life and then some. Happy Travels. Welcome to the Airstream community. It's the best!
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Old 05-21-2018, 02:58 PM   #13
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When we were looking at RV's the biggest issue for us was my wife is claustrophobic. When we walked into other RV's the windows were small and they were dark. When we walked into an AS it was light and bright. She liked the feeling (We have 21 windows in our RV). It felt like she was outside.

Also we could instantly tell the quality difference. Not to say AS's are perfect. They aren't. And you will need to repair them. But they seemed more solid and had better materials in our opinion.

Also my son was going to buy a used RV that wasn't an AS and he just couldn't do it. They just looked junky and they all seemed to smell. Terrible resale. But AS's have excellent resale value and maintain the value due to the quality. If we didn't like it we could at least quickly unload it. We would take a hit but not as big of a hit.

Notice how you never see AS's on the side of the road with a "for sale" sign on them?
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Old 05-21-2018, 03:03 PM   #14
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For me, the difference is mainly in 2 areas. I initially was drawn toward the social-club aspect of the WBCCI and AIRForums rallies, and that turned out well for us. The 2nd thing, in theory at first but supported by experience, is that the Airstream is better for traveling than most other trailers, the others (like the giant 5th-wheels the OP described) are better for sitting still. We give up some storage and a half-bath and "cat-swinging space" when parked but in return we get vastly better aerodynamics and ease of towing.

If I were going to be a reverse snowbird and only travel far 2x/year to escape Texas heat, a 5th-wheel beast and a dually might be a good fit. But if I'm only traveling that much, would a cabin at one end or the other make better sense? I think the more miles you're going to cover (per trip and per year) the more the Airstream is the better choice.
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Old 05-21-2018, 03:25 PM   #15
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Highly efficient design refined over almost 100 years of iteration. Such efficient use of material and space is hard to achieve.

Windows windows windows. Most SOB trailers are closed dark boxes. Amazes me every time I'm at an RV show.

Airstreams (because of the way they are made) can be renovated when other trailers cannot. They stay on the road longer as a result. Also they seem to hold up much better besides.

Lack of sliders and other features reduces cognitive load on me when I'm using it: the trailer has one configuration that is the same whether I'm stopped on the roadside or camped out for weeks.

It's made to move: low center of gravity, large tanks, low wind resistance, short height, axle design etc. are all optimized for easy travel rather than sitting in one place. I like to move a lot on my trips.

I hate all those logos and graphics on the SOB trailers. Nothing more ironic and self-unaware to me than a 40 foot fifth wheel with a 60" TV on the outside that says "Prowler" with a swoosh.

Built in community: the airstream club is a unique value add and no other RV product has a community like it.

Lastly, I'm not a believer that the things you buy make you cool, but the Airstream seems to bring joy to all who see it. Here in the Northeast they are less common, so we get beeps and waves, people stopping in, people asking to take photos etc. It's a good feeling.
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Old 05-21-2018, 04:03 PM   #16
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The main reason we bought an Airstream was due to the smell of the box trailers. Didn't matter what level of finish we went into, there was a harsh chemical smell that my wife could not get used to. Didn't know if it would go away with use, but couldn't take that chance. The Airstreams don't have that. At least the ones we've been in don't. And all the other reasons listed by everyone else.
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Old 05-21-2018, 04:22 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acheron2010 View Post
As I continue to be an Airstream wannabe, sometimes I find myself waffling. For the same money, I can have a four-season 5th wheel with integrated generator, full kitchen, full living room with fireplace, a dinette, king size bed, and a shower you could swing a cat in.

I am attracted to the AS design, the minimalist lifestyle, and the mystique, kind of like why motorcyclists buy Harleys when they know better bikes are out there for less.



Why did you go for the Airstream, when other, better, less expensive alternatives are available?


1. Best resale value
2. Windows, windows, windows (light, light, light)
3. Easier to tow than big white boxes (I have had both.)
4. Excellent interior design
5. I like the look.
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Old 05-21-2018, 04:30 PM   #18
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Growing up in the 1950s, my Dad decided we needed to travel each summer to some part of the country so we could experience all the sights. We did that for 6 years in an Airstream (all seven of us). After a busy career that did not allow for taking extensive trips, hence no travel trailer, we finally bought an Airstream. Having grown up with one, there was really no other choice. Now, we take the grand kids around the West and spend lots of weekends in the summer fly fishing and glamping. Even in Colorado, where there are a lot of Airstreams, our 2005 Classic still turns heads.
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Old 05-21-2018, 06:05 PM   #19
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Why Airstream? Because almost everything else is junk.

I have owned a 67 small canned ham Scotty that was not to bad looking back

Next was a 78 Airstream that was a good trailer but I sold when my first daughter was born.

Then I had an A 1986 36ft Shasta 5th wheel that was only mediocre and then...


A 2002 gel coat 11000lb piece of junk 30' Coachman with slides that literally fell apart in the yard. I hauled it off in scrap in about 20 PU loads. NEVER AGAIN.


I went back to the Airstream from now and forever with a 70 model currently. 27ft and 4600lbs that pulls like a dream after white knuckling a Cummins half to death pulling ship anchors. Made you so after traveling you just wanted out of the truck and a nervous wreak. You could not even enjoy yourself knowing you had to pull it back.


Sonny boy you get what you pay for and buy this stuff by the pound, I live right down the road from the largest RV dealer in Okla. I laugh every time I pass their lot stuffed full of gel coated dolled up throwaway FEMA wannabe slapped together trash.. HA.
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Old 05-21-2018, 06:29 PM   #20
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We didn't.....

......Our Dog found it behind a barn, said he wanted to do Water Trials. 😂



Bob
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