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Old 08-23-2019, 07:52 AM   #1
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Ordering a 27 - Rear Hatch option worth it?

Hello!

Iíd like to hear about any real world experience with the rear hatch that has been available on past models. The rear hatch is now an option for 27í Airstreams. Iíve seen this feature on the Eddie Bauer and Tommy Bahama at RV shows in the past and I was really drawn to it. Iím hoping some Airstreamers can share their feedback on living with the hatch and in their opinion, whether or not itís worth the extra cost. The factory option costs $7,500!

A quick backstory on our search for an Airstream and what weíll be doing with our trailer; we will be ordering new and full-timing in our Airstream Flying Cloud 27 as of February 2020. For the first year, weíll essentially be boondocking for the most part. Then moving where the trailer will sit in an RV Park in the Florida Keys more often than traveling and camping. Weíre set on adding the second A/C unit to the Airstream to combat the south Florida heat. But wonder if weíll ever use the rear hatch because of the heat. We have maybe 20 days of cold weather here. We would definitely use it on those days. Weíre already putting nearly everything we have into this purchase. So the cost of the hatch has me thinking it might not be worth the extra money. I know that I WANT it, but I donít need it. Weíll be towing with a 2017 Toyota Tundra and will be very close to maxing out on payload, so itís probably smarter for me to spend that $7,500 on a trade into a 3/4 ton truck. But then again... we wonít be moving the AS that often. And Iíd rather not daily drive a 3/4 ton truck.

For those that have experience with the rear hatch... would you say itís worth the $7,500? Any reasons not to splurge on one? Does it affect the AS ability to stay cool? Does it add a lot of extra weight and reduce the carrying capacity by enough to matter? Thoughts?

Thanks for the help!
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Old 08-29-2019, 11:19 AM   #2
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Following, I like the idea of the rear hatch but wonder if it is worth the trade offs.
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Old 08-29-2019, 12:15 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kay0 View Post
Following, I like the idea of the rear hatch but wonder if it is worth the trade offs.
We placed an order for a 2020 Flying Cloud with the hatch today. After spending hours at the dealer looking at the hatch and non-hatch 27FB, the hatch seems to be worth it.

From what I can tell so far, here are the pros and cons after checking out both options and talking to a salesman who’s been an Airstream owner for 20+ years:

Pros:
- Just awesome. Too cool.
- Increased re-sale value.
- Feels significantly bigger inside when the hatch is open.
- Loading/unloading.
- Did I say “awesome” yet?

Cons:
- You’re going to need that second AC unit in hotter areas. The cold air instantly leaves the trailer when you open the hatch. I don’t see us using it during the day 90% of the time. It’s just too hot here in Florida to keep it open. But our winters are great, it will see plenty of use from December - February.
- The dinette table is actually about 6” smaller. A little less room around the dinette table. Larger folks might notice this but it didn’t seem to bother me.
- There’s two beams that surround the hatch on the inside. I noticed it against my back when sitting a certain way, facing the TV. But with throw pillows it’s a non-issue.
- Increased maintenance? I’m sure the weather seals or the hatch struts will need replaced after some time.

One of my concerns was added weight from the rear hatch. Considering my tow vehicle and the limited carrying capacity on Airstreams, I wondered how much weight the hatch would add. The salesman claims, like the second AC, the addition in weight is minor and is nothing to worry about. But we’re ordering a new unit so he would probably say anything lolololol..

I’ll report back with more as soon as I can. We take delivery in December. Just in time to actually use the hatch here in south Florida.
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Old 08-29-2019, 01:07 PM   #4
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We like ours, especially when we back up to a trout stream or river.
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Old 08-30-2019, 05:56 AM   #5
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hatch

I LOVE my Tradewind, but only for a hatch model would I ever change/ buy etc. MPJ
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Old 08-30-2019, 06:52 AM   #6
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I have no direct ownership knowledge but I spent some time in 27’s with hatch and without hatch at dealership recently and I would definitely get with hatch if I could. Interior roominess felt great with it open, enhancing that feeling of camping and being outdoors. Opening it up on nice days would be beautiful. Also the ease of loading things in and out that way really appealed to me.

(The issue became moot for us when my wife fell in love with the 28 floor plan. No hatch offered on that model.)
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Old 08-30-2019, 07:44 AM   #7
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If your Tundra has a factory tow package it is rated for 10,500 lbs. the 2020 FC 27FB GVWR is 7,600. Without your belongings 5,868. So you can carry 1,732 of stuff. Thatís a lot of stuff.
I would love a rear hatch so I can put a pair of e-bikes in and/or not having to lift the kayaks up onto the truck.
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Old 08-30-2019, 08:35 AM   #8
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We have the rear hatch on our EB25 and love it especially for loading and unloading kayaks.
We ditched the dinette and put in power recliners. It was uncomfortable for TV viewing and the rear hatch door frame braces got in the way even with a bunch of pillows. I cut the table down to approx. half width and installed it along the couch so we sit side by side on the couch when we eat.
We spent a lot of time in the Keys last winter and it was hot. We have 1 AC and never had a problem cooling to our comfort level but needed to close the shades on the sunny side and roof and we deployed our single awning for side shade. I guess if we were there in summer 1 AC would not cool enough. The rear hatch has no insulation and can be a problem when it is near freezing only. We solve that with an extra electric heater. It doesn't seem to matter much when it is hot.
Our hatch doesn't leak and has never been a problem - except when I don't open the hatch fully and I hit my head on the chrome handle that sticks out. OUCH! I made new strut brackets to replace the originals because some Airstreamers have had problems with them bending but I have not had an issue yet. I have that solution and I carry the parts with me just in case.
The hatch doesn't get used as much for open viewing from the inside when it is too hot or cool. When the weather is more moderate it is nice. I have a 4G cell booster mounted in the rear of the trailer and I open the gate and sit outside under the hatch and get a strong signal. I don't get a signal outside from the booster otherwise. It's also a good place to view the TV if you want to watch from outside.
We replaced all the screens in the trailer with fine mesh to keep the no-see-ums out but the screen on the rear hatch is not easily replaced (with my skill level) so it lets the little guys in.
We purchased the trailer used and it was not a "Need" item but we are happy to have it.
FYI if you want a bike rack for the rear CAN AM in London Ontario has a really good one that you can install on the hatch and bumper. It can be installed to tip down with the bikes in place so you can open the rear hatch and not remove the bikes.
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Old 09-15-2019, 06:13 AM   #9
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It is a great option, but too expensive for me. If I was a retired NFL Lineman, l would think it was worth it.
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Old 09-23-2019, 08:18 PM   #10
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Whatís the Tundraís payload?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeocamperAS View Post
If your Tundra has a factory tow package it is rated for 10,500 lbs. the 2020 FC 27FB GVWR is 7,600. Without your belongings 5,868. So you can carry 1,732 of stuff. Thatís a lot of stuff.
I would love a rear hatch so I can put a pair of e-bikes in and/or not having to lift the kayaks up onto the truck.
I think theyíll be closer to the max payload than the tow max. Check the door sticker to see what the payload is on that Tundra.
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Old 09-24-2019, 07:42 AM   #11
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We have the 27TB and absolutely love the backdoor. It was the key reason my hubs was willing to upgrade. One huge downfall.. we have a English Bully that has to be kenneled or outdoors with us. He went through the screen! Keep in mind if you have animals. BTW we are in GA and use the door all the time.
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Old 09-24-2019, 11:04 AM   #12
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Thank you all so much for the info and feedback. Especially from TRIPPPIN. Thanks! Iím glad we decided to add the hatch option. I think weíll appreciate the hatch when we have the opportunity to use it. Iíll just have to be careful with it - Iím sure repair costs would be pretty steep for the hatch.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffmc306 View Post
I think theyíll be closer to the max payload than the tow max. Check the door sticker to see what the payload is on that Tundra.
Payload on my Tundra is 1,400 lbs. If Iím being realistic, Iíll have little to no payload capacity available to me after hitching up the 27í. Iíll have to be very cautious about cargo and move as much of it as I can to the trailer.
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Old 09-26-2019, 09:06 PM   #13
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Great idea.. but there are issues where the opening does not match the door (since doors are pretty consistent size, the issue must be with the frame. Of course that only happened once.
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Old 09-27-2019, 11:53 AM   #14
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The 27í Tommy Bahama is my only aspiration I would consider trading my 22í Sport for... that hatch is amazing.
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Old 10-25-2019, 12:59 PM   #15
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Just curious, which dealer did you order from? And if you don’t mind % off of msrp? Have been looking and really like this exact floor plan as well.
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Old 10-26-2019, 09:20 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyCash View Post
Just curious, which dealer did you order from? And if you donít mind % off of msrp? Have been looking and really like this exact floor plan as well.
We purchased from Airstream of South Florida (North Trail RV). They took about 15% off MSRP. Airstream of Tampa could have ordered for us for a couple thousand less, but weíre really happy with the dealer weíre purchasing from and how helpful theyíve been through the process. Airstream of Tampa felt like they sling Airstreams like a used car dealer and the customer service just wasnít there.
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Old 11-08-2019, 10:38 AM   #17
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You will love the hatch. It is open as much as possible when we are camping. When backed up to a gorgeous desert view (Arches NP), a gorgeous river (Great Smokey Mountain NP) or snow capped peaks (Grand Teton NP), having the hatch open while having dinner and a glass of wine is a truly amazing experience. We don't watch television - ever - so I can't speak to how it might impact that. It is hard for me to imagine though that there is anything on TV that would outdo the view out the hatch.
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Old 12-26-2019, 10:42 AM   #18
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Weíve had our 2020 FC27 with rear hatch for about a week now. Weíve spent a few nights in it and so far the rear hatch option is absolutely worth the cost. The weather has been great in our area lately and weíve kept the rear hatch open more often than not.

I havenít been able to open the hatch from the outside of the trailer as of yet. The exterior hatch handle doesnít seem to operate as described in the owners manual. Iíve asked a couple other hatch-model owners if they have similar difficulties with the outside handle and they seem to be equally as confused about how it works. However, I donít mind opening the hatch from the inside of the trailer. Iíll eventually have a dealer look at it.

One other concern... the hatch doesnít line up with the trailer body perfectly. One of the bottom corners of the hatch is a little off. I seem to be the only one that notices but Iím also looking for every possible imperfection. Considering that Airstreams are hand-built, I understand that every trailer has its little imperfections. It doesnít seem to affect function or performance at all.

Overall, weíre very happy that we spent the extra money on the rear hatch option.

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Old 12-27-2019, 06:52 AM   #19
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Rear hatch latch

I have a 2012 EB and assume the latch is the same.

Unlock the latch with the key.
Lift the latch handle.
Turn the latch handle counter clockwise to the limit - it goes about 1/4 turn, the deadbolts are now retracted.
Return the handle to center position and use the handle to lift the door open.
(If you can't turn the latch handle clockwise or counter clockwise it is locked)
Close the door.
Turn the handle clockwise to the limit - it goes about 1/4 turn.
Pull on the handle to confirm it is dead bolted.
Return the handle to center position and push the handle back in place into its recess.
Lock the latch with the key.

I can't access the trailer at the moment so I am going from memory so
if it doesn't retract the deadbolts tuning counter clockwise I may have mixed up counter clockwise to retract and clockwise to secure.

As far as the fit goes in my opinion if it doesn't leak and doesn't look like the gaps are way off I would accept minor gap variance in that case.
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Old 12-27-2019, 11:15 AM   #20
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My Eddie Bauer 27FB the key turns right to unlock and the handle turns clockwise to open. Backwards of what seems natural.
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