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Old 10-27-2021, 08:25 AM   #1
Charlie
 
2016 25' International
2014 30' FB FC Bunk
2008 25' Safari FB SE
Canaan , New Hampshire
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 16
Thinking of downsizing from 25RB to a 16-19

Hi,

We are thinking of downsizing from a 25 to a 16 or 19.

A little background:
We've had various sized Airstream trailers over the years. We've had 2 - 25 foot (25FBT & 25RBQ) with a 30 foot bunkhouse in between when our daughter was younger and bringing friends on our trips. Prior to that we've had various RV's from popups to Class A motorhomes so we understand there are trade off's with anything you choose. We've camped for 39 years. I think it all depends on your camping/traveling style.

We currently have a 25RBQ International Serenity. Now that our daughter is in college, working during the summer and traveling with us less we are thinking of downsizing.

We are currently semi-retired and will be retiring fully in another year and want to travel the US.

We don't spend much time in our Airstream. We use it to sleep and shower. We cook almost everything outside.

We have 2 tow vehicles so that's not an issue. We just think that something smaller would allow us more flexibility and would be easier to tow.

My questions are below:

1- Has anyone downsized and regretted it? What are the pros and cons based on your opinion?
2- Is a single axle vs double axle that different when towing an Airstream (ie: handling)?
3- I guess storage isn't an issue because we bring minimal stuff with us
4- Will fuel mileage increase or stay the same?

Thanks to anyone who can offer any advice based on what they've experienced.
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Old 10-27-2021, 10:45 AM   #2
Rivet Master
 
2007 16' International CCD
Vintage Kin Owner
Somewhere , Colorado
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 620
Partly to bump this thread and increase your chances for multiple opinions I will respond with our experience downsizing from a 23’ to 16’. To answer your questions in order:

1) absolutely no regrets, and we would not consider upsizing. However, others on Airforums have reported the opposite. There are so many variables here, and most of them are very subjective and personal, that you will have to form a personal judgment and maybe even try it to find out if it is right for you.

The cons are all related to being smaller. The pros are that it is much easier (less stress) to tow, better in gas stations and parking lots along the way, and fits into more and better campsites. The latter is particularly important if you are into state and national parks, and almost of no significance in RV parks.

2) personal opinion is that towing (handling) is not all that different, but we don’t feel the need for a cumbersome weight distribution/sway control hitch for the 16’ and we felt it was essential for the 23’. Part of our feelings are no doubt due to the fact that we have a large tow vehicle which is longer than the trailer and weighs twice as much.

3) storage needs are totally personal, but storage is not bad in smaller Airstreams and you always have the tow vehicle for more.

4) gas mileage will improve very slightly due to the weight difference, but the largest factor is wind resistance which will not change significantly.

As you said, the biggest factors are your “camping/traveling style”.
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Old 10-27-2021, 10:59 AM   #3
Half a Rivet Short
 
2017 30' Classic
2022 Interstate 24X
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 12,709
Hi

Something else to consider as an option: ( = off in a totally different direction ).

However easy it is to get here or there with a trailer, a van may allow you to go even more places. From your description of how you camp, an Interstate 19 might even work for you.

Since you have been doing this for a while, you should have a pretty good idea of what you can life with.

Gas mileage is as much drag as weight. If you are going up mountains, yes weight matters. The rest of the time the delta between a 19 and a 25 will be pretty small.

Towing wise, the 25 is a bit easier to back up. The shorter the trailer, the faster it flips around as you steer.

Single axle (for the obvious reason) isn't *quite* as stable moving around in the trailer as a double axle. Since there is a length difference as well, this isn't that big a deal.

Bob
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Old 10-27-2021, 06:20 PM   #4
Charlie
 
2016 25' International
2014 30' FB FC Bunk
2008 25' Safari FB SE
Canaan , New Hampshire
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 16
Thank you for your reply. It is very helpful to get honest opinions.
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Old 10-27-2021, 06:37 PM   #5
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Cuddebackville , New York
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Like many, we went in the other direction- we went from a 20 to a 25.

While we loved the 20' the bed became the issue. Someone always has to crawl over the other person to get in and out of bed- which happens more frequently as you age! That alone might prevent us from downsizing.
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Old 10-27-2021, 06:48 PM   #6
Rivet Master
 
2007 16' International CCD
Vintage Kin Owner
Somewhere , Colorado
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Posts: 620
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne&Sam View Post
Like many, we went in the other direction- we went from a 20 to a 25.

While we loved the 20' the bed became the issue. Someone always has to crawl over the other person to get in and out of bed- which happens more frequently as you age! That alone might prevent us from downsizing.

We agree with the above comments about the problem of crawl-over beds in the smaller trailers, and will add a problem that at only 48” wide someone is sleeping right up next to a cold aluminum wall. That was something we disliked about our 23’.

This won’t be desirable by everyone, but in our 16’ we leave the (uncomfortable) dinette converted to a lounge during the day and use it as the “twin bed” at night. This way there is a large lounge all day and each of us has a full size bed with a panoramic window. We simply set up a portable table if we are forced to eat in the trailer for some reason.
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Old 10-27-2021, 06:55 PM   #7
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OlyPen , Washington
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We went from a 19 foot to a 26 foot after taking a 2 month trip with a large dog. After doing that I purchased a 19 foot for solo trips and short duo weekends.

Pros and cons:
  • 2 axles vs. 1. 2 axles = more stable and WAAAAY easier to backup. There is a notable difference.
  • More storage vs. less
  • Depending on the configuration... how willing are you to make the bed up every night and put it away during the day?
  • Small trailers fit in tent sites
  • Cute factor for smaller rig
  • Less tow vehicle is needed for smaller rig

Have you considered a double axle 23' ?
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Old 10-27-2021, 06:58 PM   #8
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2021 19' Caravel
Wilderness , MO
Join Date: Mar 2020
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Some random thoughts. We full-time in a 19cb. From the first time we saw a 19cb, we knew it would be perfect for us, and it is. Our mpg today was 15.7. Out tv is a Jeep Gladiator Sport S w/tow package. It's nimble. Because of it's shorter length it has better approach and departure angles then larger units, therefore it can go places (BLM - Forest Service) it's larger siblings aren't able. For us a 16' would be too small. The open floor plan of the 19cb is very open for it's size. Once you get the hang of it, it is very easy to back up. When the moments arise that we talk about getting a larger unit, it isn't long before we say, "Nah, why would we do that?" My wife says that it is easy to clean the inside and doesn't want to go about cleaning something larger. The 19, as well as the 16, has a front dinette with a large wrap around window, the 20 and the 22 don't, which is why we went with the 19. The 19 has a dry bath. The corner bed is perfectly cozy for us. Good this helps.
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Old 10-27-2021, 06:59 PM   #9
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2019 22' Sport
High River , Alberta
Join Date: Aug 2006
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We went from a 1975 27’ (centre twin layout) in need of restoration to a 22FB.

The 22 not much easier to tow. I really can’t detect a difference in stability with the single axle.

Fuel economy is marginally better - the 2019 22 is only 7’3” wide. New 22s are 8’. Your 25 is 8’5.5”.

The bathroom is excellent. Shower is spacious and functional.

Double bed is good - but you’ll be giving up the ability to get up without crawling over.

It is 4 or 5 feet shorter than your 25. It is easy to handle and easy to park. We bought it for travelling, so I think I understand your motivation.

So I think you would like the 22, but you would find it narrow and you would end up missing the 25.
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Old 10-27-2021, 07:02 PM   #10
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I should add, we are both in our sixties and yes, one of us has to climb over the other in the bed, but it's not a problem, not at all.
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Old 10-27-2021, 08:20 PM   #11
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2017 25' International
West Lake Hills , Texas
Join Date: Dec 2020
Posts: 597
If grandchildren are in your future, would the smaller trailer accommodate one for a two-week trip. We’ve done the two-weeker. Just this week we had two grandchildren (ages 13 and 11) for a weekend at TOG. Can’t imagine that working with a a smaller trailer. OTOH, maybe you switch back when the time comes.

Or, to paraphrase Vasily Borodin (Sam Neill) in The Hunt for Red October, “Perhaps I shall need two Airstreams.”
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Old 10-27-2021, 09:19 PM   #12
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Golden , Colorado
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Rent the models you are considering. This is what we did to determine we still wanted another 25 RBT. No wet bath. No crawling over each other to get out of bed. No setup and tear down of the bed each day. Room for our GSD. Really did not notice much difference in towing the various models. Have ordered solar and 3” dexter lift. To us there is no substitute for extra room and comfort.
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Old 10-27-2021, 09:27 PM   #13
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2020 23' Flying Cloud
Sebastian , Florida
Join Date: Nov 2019
Posts: 854
dbms_l,
We went from a 22Sport to a 23FB FC, mainly because we are light sleepers and found the unducted AC to be unbearably loud. Other considerations were more overhead storage, useful bumper/Aframe storage and bigger tanks. The extra width is noticeable (inside and on the road) but not a decision point. Mileage went down by maybe one mpg ( now roughly 13 vs 14 for the narrower 22Sport, was 11 with the earlier SOB). I think the biggest consideration for the two of you may be the gray tank capacity, if you shower in your unit. If you frequently camp without a sewer connection, how often will you be willing to make that trip to the station?
It sounds like you two have plenty of experience to come up with a good plan. For us, traveling to state parks and COE’s mostly, a smaller trailer would not bring that much more flexibility.
Happy retirement!
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Old 10-27-2021, 09:45 PM   #14
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2017 20' Flying Cloud
Williamson County , Texas
Join Date: Apr 2017
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Just to throw in some more comments, we had considered whether there would be advantages to going longer, and frankly the more we camp and travel with our 20' Bambi FC/FB (aka now a Caravel), the more we like it. We love the galley, and for some odd reason it is better (in our opinion) than anything we looked at up to 27' (go figure). Our 20' also has ducted A/C and and a "full" (i.e. not a wet) bath just to clarify that. Our two dogs are both under 40 lbs and neither of us are especially large or tall, so the variations in sleeping arrangements are fine. More interior volume also takes more energy to heat and cool obviously.
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Old 10-28-2021, 05:49 AM   #15
Charlie
 
2016 25' International
2014 30' FB FC Bunk
2008 25' Safari FB SE
Canaan , New Hampshire
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 16
All good points. We appreciate them.

Regarding the corner bed: we had a Winnebago View Class B/C with a corner bed and that is something we have to think about because although it worked for us we didn’t love it. We did think about leaving the dinette folded down because we rarely use the dinette in our current Airstream. We would just leave the dinette folded down all the time.

Renting one might be the way to go. We will look in to.

If we keep our current 25RBQ we may convert the Queen to Twin beds because my husband has to scoot down to the bottom of the bed to use the bathroom in the middle of the night so a corner bed wouldn’t be much different other than it is narrower and your face isn’t up against the wall.

I guess there are some trade offs and we will have to consider if towing a shorter trailer is more important than sleeping in a corner bed.
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Old 10-28-2021, 10:31 AM   #16
1 Rivet Member
 
Birmingham , Alabama
Join Date: Apr 2021
Posts: 7
16 rb

We have a caravel 16rb. So easy to tow. Downside for us (60 and 71 yrs) is the crawl over bed and small tanks. We decided to sleep on dinette bed as well. Way better. If you like extended boondocking, it’s probably not the best choice for you.
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Old 10-28-2021, 10:49 AM   #17
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2021 16' Caravel
Encinitas , California
Join Date: May 2021
Posts: 2
Yes! No! Maybe!

My wife and I have both a 2014 27fb and a 2021 16 caravel that we’ve had now for about a year. We love them both, but they’re very different. Taking showers. Camping with family or friends. Extended stays of several days at a time… no brainer. Take the big one. Boon docking. Spontaneous changes in itinerary. Tight smaller campgrounds. Absolutely love the Caravel… and that wrap around panoramic window by the bed can’t be beat for sunrises off the beaten track (not to mention the coziness of the double bed).

We’re firm advocates of buying the 16! … and keeping the 25…
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Old 10-28-2021, 10:52 AM   #18
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2014 25' FB Flying Cloud
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Georgetown (winter)Thayne (summer) , Texas & Wyoming
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 4,273
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbms_l View Post
Hi,

We are thinking of downsizing from a 25 to a 16 or 19.

A little background:
We've had various sized Airstream trailers over the years. We've had 2 - 25 foot (25FBT & 25RBQ) with a 30 foot bunkhouse in between when our daughter was younger and bringing friends on our trips. Prior to that we've had various RV's from popups to Class A motorhomes so we understand there are trade off's with anything you choose. We've camped for 39 years. I think it all depends on your camping/traveling style.

We currently have a 25RBQ International Serenity. Now that our daughter is in college, working during the summer and traveling with us less we are thinking of downsizing.

We are currently semi-retired and will be retiring fully in another year and want to travel the US.

We don't spend much time in our Airstream. We use it to sleep and shower. We cook almost everything outside.

We have 2 tow vehicles so that's not an issue. We just think that something smaller would allow us more flexibility and would be easier to tow.

My questions are below:

1- Has anyone downsized and regretted it? What are the pros and cons based on your opinion?
2- Is a single axle vs double axle that different when towing an Airstream (ie: handling)?
3- I guess storage isn't an issue because we bring minimal stuff with us
4- Will fuel mileage increase or stay the same?

Thanks to anyone who can offer any advice based on what they've experienced.
We had 3 different model 25's and now have the 28'...requires bigger TV (3/4 or 1T, IMHO) If I was to go back down, it would be to a 25'. 23' for us is too small...friend had one for 2 years...we traveled quite a bit together, and he said his 23'D was too small for him...he now has a 25'. I don't care for the long lounge seating in the 25 and 27 models, which is why we got the 28 back in 2017....but you can have that seating re-done to include a lounge and storage drawers with vs the long lounge, at a few locations including Ultimate Airstreams in Portland. https://www.ultimateairstreams.com/s.../Living_Dining
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Old 10-28-2021, 11:07 AM   #19
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2003 25' Classic
Zanadude Nebula , Milky Way
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I won't advise....We had a Safari single axle 23' for 18yrs and a 25' Classic for 17yrs so far.
Two semi adults and 1 dog all the way.

No regrets.

Bob
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Old 10-28-2021, 11:21 AM   #20
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2015 25' FB Flying Cloud
2012 23' FB Flying Cloud
2005 25' Safari
Santa Rosa Beach , Florida
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 12,473
Images: 5
We had a 2005 25FB for eight years. We spent 1,400 nights in it. In 2013 we downsized into a 23FB. We kept it for a year and camped in it for 150 nights.

We decided that the 23FB did not fit our needs. The 6" reduction in width was very noticeable as it is taken out of the aisle. We also didn't care for the shower being in the bathroom. The biggest negative was the 18 gallon black tank which we found almost useless for our camping style.

We didn't find that the 23 was any more maneuverable than the 25. There was not any noticeable difference in fuel mileage.

In 2014 we traded the 23FB for a new 2015 25FB. We have now had New Lucy for 7 years and we have camped in her for 700 nights. We will be sticking with the 25FB.

Brian
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