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-   -   Help! Caravel or Bambi 19CB - opinions wanted :) (https://www.airforums.com/forums/f548/help-caravel-or-bambi-19cb-opinions-wanted-212957.html)

DennisL 08-17-2020 12:44 PM

Help! Caravel or Bambi 19CB - opinions wanted :)
 
Looking for some help from this community. I am in the process of purchasing a 2021 19CB, either Bambi or Caravel. I'm Seattle based but will be taking it for a few months at a time to work from the road, while exploring the country and all there is to see. I've been in love with airstreams since I was a kid (38 now) and am finally going for it. I can imagine what life on the road will be like - but am looking to this community for some actual feedback based on your experience in doing it!

If you have a good knowledge base of the new bambi and caravel, they have identical floor plans. I am fairly confident on the 19CB - it seems the best option for me with a tacoma. Someday I'd like to go bigger, but that size seems well enough for now, maybe my forever trailer- who knows.

But I cannot decide on which trim level to get - Bambi, or Caravel. It's a jump in price, so I need some help deciding!

My question for you all (Thank you in advance for helping me out!!)
Is the Caravel worth the additional 12k.
The parts that seem appealing to me, but I would love your comments and opinions:

(PROS) as I see it are:
-Ducted AC with digital thermostat (is the AC on the Bambi much louder?)
-Dimmable/recessed LED lights (I assume this will be a nice feature while spending weeks at a time in RV parks)
-An electric side to the water heater (Saving Propane when parked for 1+ months)
-An electric heat pump option (The bambi has a heat strip, unsure if this works well enough long term or not...again, propane savings as long as I'm not worried about keeping the belly heated in sub freezing conditions)
-Wheel bearings that do not need to be serviced (How big of a deal is this, really? I don't have much of a sense for what I'm signing up for here)
-Suspension, versus leaf springs only (Do you really notice the difference when towing between the two?)
-Stainless rock guards up front versus the 3m film only (Does this become an issue? Do the stainless guards help quite a bit?
-Additional awnings (How important is it, while in a sunny location, to shade the windows from the direct sun - or is their tint good enough?)
-Screen protectors on the screen door (worried my 25lb terrier could bust through the screens)


CONS, or unecessary seem to be:
- The glass storage sliders (I like the classic roll ups - they hide things and offer full access when open... the glass looks good when empty, but when my stuff is in there it will probably be a distraction.
***Does anyone know if you can get a Caravel with the Bambi storage type or add/remove features?
-The dark trendy finishes - they are nice, i suppose, but I still want it to feel open and light.
-the porthole windows - they look nice, but they dont open. Not sure how big of a deal that is.
-Rear bumper for additional storage/protection if someone pulls into me
-1000w inverter

Thank you SO much in advance. I appreciate your tips and opinions.

Shiny16 08-17-2020 02:21 PM

If you are spending month at a time then the Caravel for the AC alone. It’s day and night from the Bambi.

PB_NB 08-17-2020 02:29 PM

Hi Dennis, Welcome aboard!

We looked at these differences as well. We have the base level trim but in a 2019 Sport 22FB so we got the ultra-leather dinette which is nice and easy to care for.

There are a few things that I would like from the Caravel trim.

- The blinds (our trailer has 3 windows with mini blinds) which are really crappy but these can be upgraded to a roll up style.
- Partial operable windows compared to the nice big opening windows on the Caravel.
- Interior lights are too white and bright. The Caravel lights are more natural.
- Stainless Steel rock guards can be added.
- We really like to brightness of our Sport interior and found the Caravel a bit dark.

Some things that didn't matter to us:
- We have only used our AC for 10 minutes (for testing) and found it very loud. We don't use it when we camp but we spend more time camping in the shoulder seasons.
- The inverter that comes with the Caravel might just be replaced if you start to upgrade your power systems.

We were also looking at weight conservation and the current Caravel is heavier than the current Bambi by 25 lbs. at the tongue so that makes a bit of a difference. For a comparison, our 2019 22FB has a tongue weight of 422 lbs and the 2021 Caravel 19CB has a tongue weight of 550 lbs. This should be a big consideration for your Tacoma. You can count on 600 to 650 lbs (or more) on the tongue once you put some stuff in the trailer. The 2021 Bambi will be a bit less.

Not too sure about the suspension but ours seems quite smooth. As far as brake and bearing maintenance, I think it is a give in that you get in there and have a look periodically regardless of what the manufacturer says.

I am currently looking at adding the rock guards, changing the light fixtures and blinds. I have already gone through the power systems and have that part tuned up. I have replaced any stock items with more robust connections and components, The stock solar offering would not do it for me as it is pretty basic.

Hope this helps!

PB_NB 08-17-2020 02:41 PM

Also, the Tambour roll up storage doors in our Sport are not the greatest. We have 4 compartments and only one roll up door works smoothly. 2 are very tight and hard to get going and the last one is way too tight and has started to separate.

I was considering changing these to sliders like the Caravel.

I have requested new ones under warranty and will see if those work better.

DennisL 08-17-2020 03:05 PM

This is all super helpful! Thank you @pb_NB and @Shiny16 for your feedback. This is such a hard call for me, and the tongue weight comment is a big one. Curious to see how I find out from a reliable source whether or not that's something to worry about for my Tacoma.

Shiny16 08-17-2020 04:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DennisL (Post 2398794)
This is all super helpful! Thank you @pb_NB and @Shiny16 for your feedback. This is such a hard call for me, and the tongue weight comment is a big one. Curious to see how I find out from a reliable source whether or not that's something to worry about for my Tacoma.

The difference in tongue weight is 525 verses 550. Granted the actual weight will be more. I don’t know the capability of your Tacoma but If 25 pounds makes a difference you should probably be looking at a different trailer or a different truck.

PB_NB 08-17-2020 04:05 PM

Tongue weight becomes a big concern when you approach the maximum. If it is 680 lbs. you will be close to that with the Caravel. Keep in mind that this comes off your payload of ~1,500 lbs.

That was one of the key factors for us when considering our trailer. Our Honda has a tongue max of 600 lbs so we are under that but if we put some fresh water in the tank, we will be close to 600 lbs. Airstream has a published weight of 422 lbs. for our trailer. so we have quickly added almost 50% more while being thrifty with the additions.

There is probably a Tacoma website that you can review for towing.

I think it is best to layout the weights and what you expect for cargo and post it back here to get some Airstream with Toyota feedback. There are a lot of similar combos found on this forum.

DennisL 08-17-2020 04:58 PM

Thank you! This is a lot to think about. It will take me some time to figure out just how much weight I'll be hauling with us. But as a base, I have a canopy and a rooftop tent, so right there I bet I have 300lbs... I'll try and run the math and put it back up here.

Such a hard decision. I've wanted an airstream as long as I can remember, and have always had it narrowed down to a bambi 16/19 (back when that just mean single axle). Now that there are two finish levels in the same plan, it really makes it hard to decide. I figured the 19' was the better layout for 3k more than the 16 with a dedicated shower and 3 extra feet of space, but maybe the 16' caravel is the better choice with that great back window at the bedroom and ultimately less strain on the tacoma. Hard to know with a girlfriend and a little dog how much of a difference the 3 feet will make and how important that dedicated shower will be over several months on the road (especially with no inventory on the west coast to get inside for ourselves) but it all comes down to what I can tow safely with my truck, otherwise I get into a whole other conversation about upgrading both my truck and getting the trailer...

This forum is really great - I appreciate peoples feedback and perspective. If anyone has a 2016 or newer 6 cyl Tacoma, with tow package, I'd love to hear your perspective as well!


Quote:

Originally Posted by PB_NB (Post 2398809)
Tongue weight becomes a big concern when you approach the maximum. If it is 680 lbs. you will be close to that with the Caravel. Keep in mind that this comes off your payload of ~1,500 lbs.

That was one of the key factors for us when considering our trailer. Our Honda has a tongue max of 600 lbs so we are under that but if we put some fresh water in the tank, we will be close to 600 lbs. Airstream has a published weight of 422 lbs. for our trailer. so we have quickly added almost 50% more while being thrifty with the additions.

There is probably a Tacoma website that you can review for towing.

I think it is best to layout the weights and what you expect for cargo and post it back here to get some Airstream with Toyota feedback. There are a lot of similar combos found on this forum.


Shiny16 08-17-2020 05:56 PM

You really don’t have an extra 3 feet of space with the 19. You do have a separate shower. That’s where the 3 feet goes.

Uke player 08-17-2020 06:13 PM

Hi Dennis: We have a 2006 19 bambi and love the size. It goes anywhere. Many state campgrounds limit the size and we find at 19 feet, we fit. We were thinking of going up in size but noticed that all you get in the next size or two up is a bench seat and center aisle whch is of no use to us. However we are not full timers. But we are looking forward to longer trips when we retire say up to a couple months at a time and feel confident 19ft. is perfect.

Spinonedad 08-17-2020 06:20 PM

Pay the extra, you won’t be sorry
The first time a rock flies up and hits the front

PB_NB 08-17-2020 06:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DennisL (Post 2398828)
Thank you! This is a lot to think about. It will take me some time to figure out just how much weight I'll be hauling with us. But as a base, I have a canopy and a rooftop tent, so right there I bet I have 300lbs... I'll try and run the math and put it back up here.

Such a hard decision. I've wanted an airstream as long as I can remember, and have always had it narrowed down to a bambi 16/19 (back when that just mean single axle). Now that there are two finish levels in the same plan, it really makes it hard to decide. I figured the 19' was the better layout for 3k more than the 16 with a dedicated shower and 3 extra feet of space, but maybe the 16' caravel is the better choice with that great back window at the bedroom and ultimately less strain on the tacoma. Hard to know with a girlfriend and a little dog how much of a difference the 3 feet will make and how important that dedicated shower will be over several months on the road (especially with no inventory on the west coast to get inside for ourselves) but it all comes down to what I can tow safely with my truck, otherwise I get into a whole other conversation about upgrading both my truck and getting the trailer...

This forum is really great - I appreciate peoples feedback and perspective. If anyone has a 2016 or newer 6 cyl Tacoma, with tow package, I'd love to hear your perspective as well!

When you go to the 16, things will definitely get easier for your Tacoma to deal with from the towing capacity but the Caravel 16 is still starting at 490 lbs. Not too sure why it is so heavy on the tongue. The Bambi 16 is 430 lbs.

With the 16, you will have a shared grey/black tank which does make boondocking a bit of a challenge as this will dictate how long you can stay out there, where as separate tanks give you the ability to stay out longer.

Have you looked at the 22 foot models, they seem to have the lowest tongue weight next to the 16 footers.

I can see the Bambi 22FB being reduced to ~430 lbs. of TW by simply changing the batteries to a pair lithiums. This gives a fair bit of headroom to add water and stuff to the trailer and still keep the weight down. You could use the same strategy on any other Bambi's or Caravels and drop ~ 65 lbs off the tongue.

The 19CB and 20FB have higher TW's due to how things are positioned over the axle.

Your Tacoma won't have any issues with the Gross weight of these trailers since they all max out at 5,000 lbs or less for the 16's.

The "3 foot" question is a great one!

Piggy Bank 08-17-2020 07:06 PM

The airstream dot com website now has a nifty "compare model " feature.
https://www.airstream.com/travel-tra...cb,bambi--19cb

Lots of benefits on the Caravel that make life easier/better/more fun

Range hood
3 burner cooktop
Rear storage bumper
Inverter
heavy duty stabilizers
nicer step

plus the AC being ducted. If you intend to work from the road at all this may be important as it's quieter.

englishw 08-18-2020 10:18 AM

This article was really helpful for me in making my decision. https://www.airstream.com/blog/compa...avel-trailers/

Also, the tambor doors limit the size of the bins. You get more space with the sliders.

I think you are making a huge mistake by not having a bumper and rock guards.

The inverter is a nice upgrade too.

All told you can add the other things to a Bambi but the price will end up being the same in the end with the after market items.

jswaney 08-18-2020 11:27 AM

Dennis,
You are on an exciting adventure.
I bought a 2009 16rb DWR International. It essentially has many of the 2020 Caravel features for its day in 2009. Rock guards, wrap around windows front and back. A truly lovely device. I put 10000 miles on it last year without a single problem.

I did stop in Jackson Center at the mothership and had them do a 10 year refresh, most everything to a 2020 Caravel option list. It was a long list...LED lighting in and out, new A/C, Inverter, Digital TV, and on and on. It does not want for anything. $11000.00 later I drove away. Most people would never do this, I get it. I bought it for the long hall and want it perfect. The quality io work was only average and 5 items had to be redone by my local Airstream dealer. Ultimately I love my Bambi, its a tank, so durable.

I do wish I had ducted Air. My new A/C is very loud. It tows like a dream. I watched many YouTubes from owners before I found mine. One thing I remember about an owner comments was from s guy downsizing to a 19. He said that there were some 19í with a wet bath verses a walk in shower. His comment was he personally would rather have the wet bath and additional space than the separate shower and toilet. Many women may not agree. I do not know if that is a consideration on the 2020 models. Best of luck.

John

jmatthewmc 08-18-2020 11:56 AM

We made the same decision in 2020 and went with the Caravel. I think we would have added rock guards. We just preferred some darker accents and the ducted A/C. Cleaner look. It is more but we felt it was worth the extra expense. Enjoy

DGeorge 08-18-2020 12:55 PM

It is a hard choice, but usually it comes down to "you get what you pay for". I have a 2020 Caravelle 20' that I have taken all over the country. It has been great. The rear bumper storage is really nice for stuff you don't mind getting wet or dirty. I don't know about weight, but the tacoma may not be enough truck if you add stuff in the bed as well as in the airstream. Better look at the GVWR and add up all the lbs. of stuff you might have.

Halford1 08-18-2020 01:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Shiny16 (Post 2398843)
You really donít have an extra 3 feet of space with the 19. You do have a separate shower. Thatís where the 3 feet goes.

yes plus lavatory sink with mirror. more overhead storage and more storage under the bed.

I shopped for 19' and found that the 19' has more storage even though I have yet to fill ALL overhead storage in my 16' Bambi.

Toasterlife 08-18-2020 01:21 PM

You did not mention the fridges - if you plan to boondock even occasionally you will need a fridge that runs on propane.

Again when boondocking awnings are critical as deployed awnings plus a fan will extend the range of temperatures where you can be comfortable without AC. Even where generators are allowed, they are rarely welcomed by your camping neighbors.

Rock guards - don't leave home without them.

Since we mostly boondock I am not a fan of any additional electronics which will "go bad" at the least convenient moment and least accessible location - I am thinking of electric awnings and such.

Also anything that communicates with your phone - like the AC etc. may not always respond well to software "upgrades" or locations lacking cell phone service.

Think about how you want to use your rig - and where, you plan to use it.

Prettygood 08-18-2020 03:32 PM

1 Attachment(s)
If you can afford it, the very long list of upgrades on the Caravel are clearly worth the difference. So many of them make a huge difference in the comfort and usability. Here is a handwritten comparison to my 2019 Sport which is like the Bambi with a few small differences. Attachment 376224

PB_NB 08-18-2020 03:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Toasterlife (Post 2399149)
You did not mention the fridges - if you plan to boondock even occasionally you will need a fridge that runs on propane.

Again when boondocking awnings are critical as deployed awnings plus a fan will extend the range of temperatures where you can be comfortable without AC. Even where generators are allowed, they are rarely welcomed by your camping neighbors.

Rock guards - don't leave home without them.

Since we mostly boondock I am not a fan of any additional electronics which will "go bad" at the least convenient moment and least accessible location - I am thinking of electric awnings and such.

Also anything that communicates with your phone - like the AC etc. may not always respond well to software "upgrades" or locations lacking cell phone service.

Think about how you want to use your rig - and where, you plan to use it.

We tend to rely on the manual devices rather than electric awnings and jacks.

I can still operate them so I lean towards them for simplicity. The style items on the Caravel can be adapted to create your own hybrid Bambi. I think this way you can add what you want without as much of the upfront cost.

There are several items that I am working on to make our trailer more comfortable but inspired by the Caravel finishes.

If ducted AC is a high priority, then the Caravel trim level is a must from the beginning. Most other items can be added over time.

guskmg 08-18-2020 04:49 PM

You can quieten an A/C considerably by installing MicroAir's EasyStart. I am amazed at how quiet my two A/Cs are after that mod especially after initial cool down.
guskmg

DennisL 08-18-2020 05:16 PM

An Update
 
I cannot believe I've waited this long to jump on this forum - it's incredible. The past 48 hours have been intense in me weighing all my options. I'm not there yet, but I've certainly landed on a few things. From Tacoma forums and this forum, it sounds like my truck WILL pull this trailer, but if I'm being honest with myself - in trying to tow it across the country comfortably - I probably have the wrong rig. That part is sad, because I truly love my tacoma and have spent such time and effort getting it all set up for overlanding. That said - WHO KNEW we'd have this crazy pandemic that would make for such a unique time in our lives, and the possibility to take my full time job on the road...so a shift might be necessary whether I have a bambi OR a caravel... so that's the first thing.

"Oh crap, I might just need to get a different truck"

OR - I might need to downsize to the 16' trailer... but with two people and a dog, it seems like MOST folks agree that the 19' is the way to go (still curious to get a poll on this one!!)

Second thing is, after reviewing the long list of upgrades on the caravel, i've determined - I can modify lighting myself with custom LED strips, etc. I can modify the stereo. I can always add the awnings. I can add protectors on the screen door for my pup. I can add an electric jack... the list goes on. What I cannot do is add the ducted AC... and my work requires a lot of conference calls. With inventory being so low, I dont think I can get into both options to see for myself just how loud the AC is... but I want to know - realistically - is it worth 12k to get a trailer that has ducted AC (plus all that other fancy stuff that's not really necessary)?

I plan to drive to the southeast this winter, spending time in florida, the carolinas, georgia, etc... it will be winter, but I'm thinking it will still be pretty warm in those places, so the AC is likely going to be necessary.

Thank you again - seriously - this is the best. I look forward to paying it forward once I'm truly in the family. At the moment my deposit is going towards building a 19 bambi... still hoping to know with certainty whether or not to make a change to that darn caravel (I know, these are funny problems to have... but I'm thankful to be in the position to even have these chats so I hope you all understand the struggle here :)




Quote:

Originally Posted by PB_NB (Post 2399220)
We tend to rely on the manual devices rather than electric awnings and jacks.

I can still operate them so I lean towards them for simplicity. The style items on the Caravel can be adapted to create your own hybrid Bambi. I think this way you can add what you want without as much of the upfront cost.

There are several items that I am working on to make our trailer more comfortable but inspired by the Caravel finishes.

If ducted AC is a high priority, then the Caravel trim level is a must from the beginning. Most other items can be added over time.


DennisL 08-18-2020 05:17 PM

This is the first I'm hearing about this... I'm going to look it up!!


Quote:

Originally Posted by guskmg (Post 2399251)
You can quieten an A/C considerably by installing MicroAir's EasyStart. I am amazed at how quiet my two A/Cs are after that mod especially after initial cool down.
guskmg


Lockie 08-18-2020 11:47 PM

We looked hard at the 19 and found that we loved the bedroom windows in the 16RB. I added a sink in the wet bath and I think we dealt with the one issue that bothered us. I also didn't want to change my TV and the 16 was a the perfect fit for us. We felt all the Caravel upgrades to be worth the money. Were you able to spend some time in both of them? Good Luck, Nice problem to have;)

DennisL 08-22-2020 11:30 PM

The perfect solution. But I do have a question
 
2 Attachment(s)
All - thank you for all the help. I wound up finding a 19í 2017 bambi international. Itís beautiful. Iím buying it end of this week, but I have a few questions. I donít know anything about the previous owners - they lived in Idaho I think. The trailer looks super clean but I noticed big brown sealant gunk on the roof in my photos. Is this normal? Should I be worried??
Any other things to look out for when buying used?? Things to be sure I check or confirm are included?

Thanks!!

Moodywelman 08-23-2020 11:59 AM

Lots of conflicting information here. We have, over a 60 year span, had many RVs and have probably made almost every mistake possible. But we have learned a bit along the way.
1. A good weight distributing hitch is essential.
2. I suspect a goodly percentage of the rigs on the road are overloaded but do just fine.
3. If there is any question in your mind as to size/options, go up rather than down. You will regret it later if you donít.
4. A 1000watt inverter isnít much better than no inverter. Look at the current draw of your appliances. Upgrade to at least 2000watts and you can run most appliances (not the air conditioner). Lithium, lithium, lithium.
5 if youíre not going to be boondocking (except for the occasional night) disregard #4 above.
Enjoy, itís a great lifestyle.

DennisL 08-23-2020 12:57 PM

Thanks for the tips! Any thoughts on the sealants on the roof? Also, what kind of total cost would I be looking at for lithium battery upgrades and a 2000w inverter?


Quote:

Originally Posted by Moodywelman (Post 2401420)
Lots of conflicting information here. We have, over a 60 year span, had many RVs and have probably made almost every mistake possible. But we have learned a bit along the way.
1. A good weight distributing hitch is essential.
2. I suspect a goodly percentage of the rigs on the road are overloaded but do just fine.
3. If there is any question in your mind as to size/options, go up rather than down. You will regret it later if you donít.
4. A 1000watt inverter isnít much better than no inverter. Look at the current draw of your appliances. Upgrade to at least 2000watts and you can run most appliances (not the air conditioner). Lithium, lithium, lithium.
5 if youíre not going to be boondocking (except for the occasional night) disregard #4 above.
Enjoy, itís a great lifestyle.


PB_NB 08-23-2020 01:04 PM

The messy caulking at the seams is typical but the blob at the AC unit probably should be investigated further.

DennisL 08-23-2020 01:08 PM

Thank you!! Yeah, my logical brain told me the same thing. Iím now in love with this trailer, and absolutely want it. But I donít want it to leak or to find out that I bought a lemon.


Quote:

Originally Posted by PB_NB (Post 2401444)
The messy caulking at the seams is typical but the blob at the AC unit probably should be investigated further.


LBelle 08-23-2020 01:17 PM

Dennis,
Kind of late to jump in but for what it is worth - we love our 2015 19' International! Without doing a careful side by side comparison it seems the new Bambi's are more "basic" than those from 2015 (2019 too?) My only caution is re the Tacoma - it can do it but it is marginal as a TV for the 19er'.

DennisL 08-23-2020 01:23 PM

No worries being late to the game :) until I hand over a cashiers check next Thursday I am still collecting all the info I can, so thank you!

I know about the Tacoma :/ but for now Iíve decided that with a blue ox/ and brake controller Iím going to start with it. If it doesnít work well- Iíll reluctantly trade it for something bigger :)

Quote:

Originally Posted by LBelle (Post 2401448)
Dennis,
Kind of late to jump in but for what it is worth - we love our 2015 19' International! Without doing a careful side by side comparison it seems the new Bambi's are more "basic" than those from 2015 (2019 too?) My only caution is re the Tacoma - it can do it but it is marginal as a TV for the 19er'.


gertntrudy 08-23-2020 02:40 PM

Hi and welcome!!!
I’m not sure as there was no caravel in 2017 but we bought the 19’ CB flying cloud and it’s a dream.
Single axle and Bambi frame. It sounds like they are switching things up a bit. I’ll say this, we are FT’ers and the recessed AC along with a real oven was why I chose this house on wheels. I did here that the Caravel fridge does not run in propane? That would be a deal breaker for us. I do love the more modern features but if you Boondock and run off grid on solar you will need propane option. Take your time and pick the right trailer for you is my advice. There’s a lot to think about.
Have a blast
Oh, get the screen door front for the pup!
You’ll be glad you did.
And
We towed for a minute with our GMC savanna and it was alright but we sold and bought a beautiful used 2013 tundra with the tow package and it’s a DREAM! You can’t even feel her back there!!!
And we go to wild spots so it really is about you.

DennisL 08-23-2020 02:46 PM

Thanks for this info, Gertntrudy! We plan to be part timers - to explore what full time life in this little rig will feel like. I am so curious what tips you'd have for us on storage solutions or just little things you had to learn the hard way. The full oven seems great - and the AC honestly was what pushed us over the edge on the higher end model (this 2017 still costs more than a brand new 2021 Bambi 19CB) but we thought it was worth it for all the creature comforts! Please feel free to brain dump AS MUCH info as you want. I'm a detail nut and want to do this as well as we can. Our plan is to live part time in many cities along the west coast, then travel east through the lower half of the states to beat the Seattle winter, traveling back to the Pacific Northwest for the warm season in 2021. The critical detail for us is 2 full time employees continuing to work from the road... so internet and comfortable place to work become critical in us making this work. Outside of work we hope to just enjoy where we are, bike ride, paddle board, hike, generally speaking just get out on adventures. Anyway - please let me know whatever you can and thanks again and again to this community for the continued responses!!


Quote:

Originally Posted by gertntrudy (Post 2401497)
Hi and welcome!!!
Iím not sure as there was no caravel in 2017 but we bought the 19í CB flying cloud and itís a dream.
Single axle and Bambi frame. It sounds like they are switching things up a bit. Iíll say this, we are FTíers and the recessed AC along with a real oven was why I chose this house on wheels. I did here that the Caravel fridge does not run in propane? That would be a deal breaker for us. I do love the more modern features but if you Boondock and run off grid on solar you will need propane option. Take your time and pick the right trailer for you is my advice. Thereís a lot to think about.
Have a blast
Oh, get the screen door front for the pup!
Youíll be glad you did.


Shiny16 08-23-2020 02:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gertntrudy (Post 2401497)
Hi and welcome!!!
Iím not sure as there was no caravel in 2017 but we bought the 19í CB flying cloud and itís a dream.
Single axle and Bambi frame. It sounds like they are switching things up a bit. Iíll say this, we are FTíers and the recessed AC along with a real oven was why I chose this house on wheels. I did here that the Caravel fridge does not run in propane? That would be a deal breaker for us. I do love the more modern features but if you Boondock and run off grid on solar you will need propane option. Take your time and pick the right trailer for you is my advice. Thereís a lot to think about.
Have a blast
Oh, get the screen door front for the pup!
Youíll be glad you did.
And
We towed for a minute with our GMC savanna and it was alright but we sold and bought a beautiful used 2013 tundra with the tow package and itís a DREAM! You canít even feel her back there!!!
And we go to wild spots so it really is about you.

Not really pertinent to this thread but for future readers looking for info. The compressor refrigerator should not be a deal breaker for boondockers. This seems to be a common misunderstood response by those unfamiliar with them. If anyone is interested in more information just search these forums.

Searching 08-23-2020 09:35 PM

19 ft vs 16 ft
 
We had the 16 ft Bambi but found it too small for my wife and I plus dog. We were always squeezing around each other. We traded up for the 19 ft Bambi this year and love it. It is the perfect size for us. We didn't want to go larger because we wanted to be able to get into the smaller sites in State Parks and also when we visit the kids, be able to fit into their short driveways. It has been great this summer. The separate shower is a big plus from the 16' wet bath. We actually use the shower now rather than the campground showers or jumping into the lake. There is much much more interior storage in the 19' vs the 16', so much so that we don't use it all up on our typical 3 week jaunts.

We had a propane fridge in the 16' and it worked great. We have the compressor fridge in the 19' and it keeps the food colder but does tax the batteries a bit. We have two 90 watt solar panels on top and two AGM batteries on the tongue and in sunny weather while boondocking they are able to keep us above the 50% state of charge for 2 to 3 days without overly fussing too much about electric usage. If the weather is not sunny while boondocking, then one full day (2 nights) seems to get us in the nervous zone for the batteries (mid 50's state of charge). We could probably do better if we conserved electricity. I will install lithium batteries when the AGM's die and I anticipate this should give us easily a 4 to 5 day boondocking experience and more if I add some portable solar panels to chase the sun around. In any event after 4 or 5 days and I am filling up the grey water tank and running out of fresh water and need to do something or move on.

I tow with a Ford 150 and find it more than adequate, in fact quite pleasant. So I can't lend you any insight as to how the Tacoma will work out.

If I was full timing, I would go for the ducted air conditioner. We have the regular air conditioner and I have installed the Easy Start. The Easy Start is great for running the air conditioner when you don't have 30 amp service and it does remove the loud thump noise when the compressor starts up, but even with the Easy Start the regular air conditioner runs quite noisely. Too much noise to easily carry on a telephone conversation when it is on more than low speed. With the Easy Start, it just doesn't have that thump which is a nice benefit. I have been in a Caravel with the ducted air conditioner and they are much quieter. You will appreciate that.

I will probably be adding a stainless steel rock guard to the Bambi. Even with good mud flaps on the truck, rocks do seem to dent the front of the camper.

We had to add a screen door protector because of our dog.

Hopes this helps with whatever choice you make. Welcome and hope to meet you down the road.

Halford1 08-24-2020 10:44 AM

I just sold my 16' Bambi last Monday. sold it at the very first showing... Seems the seller in other town not far from me, acts real strange.... he keeps changing his mind constantly. I am thinking about dropping this 2017 19' Flying Cloud and go for 2019 19 FC in other state which is selling for a reasonable price and the another one 2017 19' Flying cloud with Flamma Bike Rack and solar at a low price. I am concerned about the issues those bike rack has.

I love my previous 16' Bambi but its too small for me and my wife. I like the separate shower, also. bigger fridge.

Saluda372 10-15-2020 02:20 PM

We looked long and hard. Went with the Caravel, cheap ? No, but we felt the differences were worth it. Didn't want buyers regret for not getting these features. Good luck.

Halford1 10-15-2020 11:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Shiny16 (Post 2398843)
You really donít have an extra 3 feet of space with the 19. You do have a separate shower. Thatís where the 3 feet goes.

I just sold my 16' sport and bought 2019 flying Cloud 19CBB the 3 feet is huge difference. The wetbath took a lot of room which made the interior so small in the 16' Sport. All 19's has more open space once the shower and toilet moved toward rear. The Bifold door helps also. My wife and I do not have any regret in buying the 19 footer. The interior storage is awesome.

rushmo 10-21-2020 10:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DennisL (Post 2398740)
Looking for some help from this community. I am in the process of purchasing a 2021 19CB, either Bambi or Caravel. I'm Seattle based but will be taking it for a few months at a time to work from the road, while exploring the country and all there is to see. I've been in love with airstreams since I was a kid (38 now) and am finally going for it. I can imagine what life on the road will be like - but am looking to this community for some actual feedback based on your experience in doing it!

If you have a good knowledge base of the new bambi and caravel, they have identical floor plans. I am fairly confident on the 19CB - it seems the best option for me with a tacoma. Someday I'd like to go bigger, but that size seems well enough for now, maybe my forever trailer- who knows.

But I cannot decide on which trim level to get - Bambi, or Caravel. It's a jump in price, so I need some help deciding!

My question for you all (Thank you in advance for helping me out!!)
Is the Caravel worth the additional 12k.
The parts that seem appealing to me, but I would love your comments and opinions:

(PROS) as I see it are:
-Ducted AC with digital thermostat (is the AC on the Bambi much louder?)
-Dimmable/recessed LED lights (I assume this will be a nice feature while spending weeks at a time in RV parks)
-An electric side to the water heater (Saving Propane when parked for 1+ months)
-An electric heat pump option (The bambi has a heat strip, unsure if this works well enough long term or not...again, propane savings as long as I'm not worried about keeping the belly heated in sub freezing conditions)
-Wheel bearings that do not need to be serviced (How big of a deal is this, really? I don't have much of a sense for what I'm signing up for here)
-Suspension, versus leaf springs only (Do you really notice the difference when towing between the two?)
-Stainless rock guards up front versus the 3m film only (Does this become an issue? Do the stainless guards help quite a bit?
-Additional awnings (How important is it, while in a sunny location, to shade the windows from the direct sun - or is their tint good enough?)
-Screen protectors on the screen door (worried my 25lb terrier could bust through the screens)


CONS, or unecessary seem to be:
- The glass storage sliders (I like the classic roll ups - they hide things and offer full access when open... the glass looks good when empty, but when my stuff is in there it will probably be a distraction.
***Does anyone know if you can get a Caravel with the Bambi storage type or add/remove features?
-The dark trendy finishes - they are nice, i suppose, but I still want it to feel open and light.
-the porthole windows - they look nice, but they dont open. Not sure how big of a deal that is.
-Rear bumper for additional storage/protection if someone pulls into me
-1000w inverter

Thank you SO much in advance. I appreciate your tips and opinions.

DennisL, did you get your AS? Which one did you choose? We are buying a new 20FB, and will also be towing with a Tacoma. I had originally wanted the 16 Bambi, but my wife rejected the wet bath. Then we keyed in on the 19CB, which we loved until we looked at one. We didn't like the weird bi-fold door on the bathroom. You didn't say if you're married, but we felt that the bed, being adjacent to that cumbersome bathroom door would be awkward for having to get up during the night. If you're on your own, though, I think the 19 would be fine. Our dealer had a Caravel 20FB coming within the month, so we jumped on it. We don't have it yet, and are getting pretty antsy for it. I'm a little nervous about towing the 20 with my Tacoma, but the dealer doesn't seem worried. I hope he ( and several other posters on this site ) are correct, but at this point, I can't imagine crossing the rockies with it. I think the weight of the 20FB represents about 70% of the recommended max for the Tacoma. I think I'd feel more comfortable at about 50%. which would be the 16 Bambi. So every little creep upward adds to the weight, the length, the $$$ and so on. And voila we go from the 16 Bambi to the 20 Caravel. But, back to your original question about whether the $12,000 difference is worth it, I think if you can swing it, I'd say yes, for sure. The ducted AC, the powered jac, and the window package, I think will make a lot of difference. I'd love to hear if you have gotten yours, and what your impressions are. Best, Rushmo

DennisL 10-21-2020 11:09 PM

Hi Rushmo! Man, I am so excited to see this post - knowing what I know now, and after this past few months I have a LOT to share - in fact, we should probably just get on the phone!! So here's a few things.

#1, I just finished up three weeks on the road. Not married, but do have a girlfriend, and she was with me. I weigh about 165 and shes about 110... so we're small humans. The bed was tighter than the queen in my house, but we managed just fine. We both get up here and there to pee- and we didnt have too many issues - sort of just a part of living in the trailer. What was nice was that, instead of camping and unzipping a tent - there was a toilet right there!!

The folding door wasnt a thing in 2017, so our door is on a 45 degree angle... not ideal., but again, we're small so it works.

All in all, im SO glad I got the international signature and not a bambi as I LOVE the creature comforts - so good move on the Caravel. I wont focus on the layout of your trailer, because its purchased and its going to be amazing, and in truth - if you dont love it - you'll just trade it in and get a different one. But the meat of the subject is the old tacoma.

So. For starters. I just bought a 2020 F150 Lariat super crew with max tow package... (which tells you where I landed on things)

Heres the important detail on the tacoma... open your door and read the GVWR of the truck. There is a sticker inside your driver door and it says "TIRE AND LOADING INFORMATION" and the first main line says "the combined weight of occupants and cargo should never exceed XXX" This is the critical number. On my truck (2017 TRD off road 4 door) it says 950lbs... so, running that math. Tongue weight on the 19' trailer is 550, which leaves 400 pounds... Leer canopy is 200... which leaves 200 pounds, my james baroud rooftop tent (which I know I should just take off) is 100, which leaves 100... that 100 has to account for me, my girlfriend, our dogs, and ANY gear we want to carry in the truck. Long story short, you'll likely wind up at, very close to, or likely over your payload. This means that if you go to a Certified CAT scale and weigh your axles that back drive axle will likely be over it's GAWR (gross axle weight rating) especially if you load up your trailer and fill the fresh water tank to do some boondocking.

SO then, here's the reality of it. The truck can pull it. Overloaded or not, I am convinced that there's got to be a factor of safety allowing for it to pull that load. I did 3000 miles with it, and we were ok. So, in short, with a weight distribution hitch and your tacoma, you should be ok. BUT you just spent over 70k on a trailer. You want to feel confident and certain that you're safe. So after reading 100's of threads on this very subject trying to figure out what I could do (I even bought $1000 worth of Load rated E tires when I was in Montana to help stabalize our load) I just caved and traded the truck.

I loved my Tacoma - but one fellow airforums friend said some words to me that resonated which were, "my life is changing, and I need to change with it" so I swallowed a pill and bought a 1/2 ton truck that can safely and comfortably tow my trailer and then some, and now I'll move on. Hopefully my gas mileage is slightly better as I was getting 12.5mpg with the stock tires and 11.5mpg with the new cooper AT3 load E tires... which meant filling up every few hours.

Also - heading west out of Jackson Wyoming on a pass that had 10% grade the tacoma could not pass 25 mph... I have a 6 sp manual, I was floored in second gear, and that's all I could get out of it. Brutal.

If you want to chat more, let me know!
All my best
Dennis


Quote:

Originally Posted by rushmo (Post 2424561)
DennisL, did you get your AS? Which one did you choose? We are buying a new 20FB, and will also be towing with a Tacoma. I had originally wanted the 16 Bambi, but my wife rejected the wet bath. Then we keyed in on the 19CB, which we loved until we looked at one. We didn't like the weird bi-fold door on the bathroom. You didn't say if you're married, but we felt that the bed, being adjacent to that cumbersome bathroom door would be awkward for having to get up during the night. If you're on your own, though, I think the 19 would be fine. Our dealer had a Caravel 20FB coming within the month, so we jumped on it. We don't have it yet, and are getting pretty antsy for it. I'm a little nervous about towing the 20 with my Tacoma, but the dealer doesn't seem worried. I hope he ( and several other posters on this site ) are correct, but at this point, I can't imagine crossing the rockies with it. I think the weight of the 20FB represents about 70% of the recommended max for the Tacoma. I think I'd feel more comfortable at about 50%. which would be the 16 Bambi. So every little creep upward adds to the weight, the length, the $$$ and so on. And voila we go from the 16 Bambi to the 20 Caravel. But, back to your original question about whether the $12,000 difference is worth it, I think if you can swing it, I'd say yes, for sure. The ducted AC, the powered jac, and the window package, I think will make a lot of difference. I'd love to hear if you have gotten yours, and what your impressions are. Best, Rushmo


rushmo 10-22-2020 09:52 PM

Dennis, thanks for the reply. I have tried to answer you three times, but keep doing something wrong. Anyway, I can't do it now, but I will definitely respond to you soon.

rushmo 10-23-2020 05:48 AM

Dennis, finally getting around to a response after several false starts. I’m glad you were able to get something you like, and I think the floor plan of the 19 is very cool. I like that the bed and dinette are separated so that, in a pinch, you could conceivably have an overnight guest. Not sure I will want to do that in the 20 as the dinette is right next to the bed. It would be one thing with a grandkid or two, but doesn’t seem very practical otherwise.
Anyway, as you say, the meat of this thread is the Tacoma as a TV. I won’t have the extra weight that you talked about, but I can still see maxing out pretty quick. Right now, though, I can’t trade my Tacoma, so we’re going to start out towing with it, and see what happens. I think we’ll be fine here in relatively flat N. Texas, but the mountains are probably not in the picture yet. I mentioned all this to my salesman yesterday, and he seems to think we’ll be fine with the Tacoma.
I did find a Cat Scale about a mile from the dealership, so when we pick it up, I plan to go there first and get a baseline dry weight. At least then I’ll know where I’m starting from. I’m hoping to make it at least a year before I have to think about trading the Tacoma. My salesman told me yesterday that he’s getting two trailers on Saturday, so hopefully one of them will be ours.
It’s been great talking to you, and I really appreciate your input, as our situations are so similar.
I hear it’s getting ready to get cold up your way, so I hope you’re ready. Best to you, Rushmo!

DennisL 10-23-2020 10:21 AM

Just a quick reply here so others searching can find it - I think you'll be fine with the Tacoma to start out. It's kinda of a similar logic to saying, you'll be ok with any golf clubs or any skis or any fishing pole to just get started, but I do think in time you're likely to outgrow it. Without the added weight I had, you'll hopefully be able to stay under your gross axle weight ratings. In the short term some folks have talked about beefier springs, load rated E tires, and even air bags. The ride was never the issue, with the Blueox 750 I hardly noticed any sway, once the trailer is up and running on a flat highway, I was able to maintain 65+ MPH no problem. It's just the power going up and down big hills, and then in little maneuvers where there's any power required, backing up a hill, etc. You feel it more and the Tacoma just feels a bit small. I bet you'd be fine with it for many years - in full disclosure I'm just a bit of a perfectionist and my crazy brain wont let me just enjoy if I am worried about anything, and I really didnt want to take the LEER canopy of the Tacoma and I did want to eventually carry a couple of E-bikes and the honda 2000 generator (Propane model... they are hard to find, but prevent ever needing to carry gasoline!) and I knew that with that extra weight plus a couple of adults, I'd almost always be over my weight.
For now - try to run your trailer with empty water tanks and fill it at or near where you camp, dont carry a ton of weight in the truck, and you're going to be just fine. That said - please post back in a few months and let me (and others) know how it goes for you - I think there's a lot of tacoma owners out there that are seeking this answer!! All my best - I hope that shipment is, in fact, your trailer!!! Ill be hooking the F150 up for the first time this weekend and trying out the bigger TV!

Quote:

Originally Posted by rushmo (Post 2424946)
Dennis, finally getting around to a response after several false starts. Iím glad you were able to get something you like, and I think the floor plan of the 19 is very cool. I like that the bed and dinette are separated so that, in a pinch, you could conceivably have an overnight guest. Not sure I will want to do that in the 20 as the dinette is right next to the bed. It would be one thing with a grandkid or two, but doesnít seem very practical otherwise.
Anyway, as you say, the meat of this thread is the Tacoma as a TV. I wonít have the extra weight that you talked about, but I can still see maxing out pretty quick. Right now, though, I canít trade my Tacoma, so weíre going to start out towing with it, and see what happens. I think weíll be fine here in relatively flat N. Texas, but the mountains are probably not in the picture yet. I mentioned all this to my salesman yesterday, and he seems to think weíll be fine with the Tacoma.
I did find a Cat Scale about a mile from the dealership, so when we pick it up, I plan to go there first and get a baseline dry weight. At least then Iíll know where Iím starting from. Iím hoping to make it at least a year before I have to think about trading the Tacoma. My salesman told me yesterday that heís getting two trailers on Saturday, so hopefully one of them will be ours.
Itís been great talking to you, and I really appreciate your input, as our situations are so similar.
I hear itís getting ready to get cold up your way, so I hope youíre ready. Best to you, Rushmo!


rushmo 10-24-2020 08:38 AM

I got the call from our dealer yesterday! We are so excited. We’re picking it up on Tuesday, and in any other circumstance, would be loaded to hit the road. But we’re having driveway/ landscaping/ parking pad work start on Monday, so we’ll need to be here. Fortunately, we have a neighbor with a nice circular drive who said park it here. So we’ll camp out in his yard till we can get things sorted out. Good luck with the F150.

Saluda372 10-26-2020 06:27 AM

Congrats and enjoy.

Halford1 10-26-2020 11:00 AM

If the f150 is used, no need for breaking in the engine. if its new, suggest that a break in period should be done. 1000 miles on limit 55 MPH. no hard braking, no towing. no fast starts. go easy while driving, then after 1K miles, you are free to do anything. The breaking in helps the engine last very long time.

dgordon 01-23-2021 09:59 AM

I'm jumping in uninvited on this conversation but you used a buzz word that raised my interest: Honda. Is your tow vehicle a Honda and if so what model and year. With a manufacturer's tongue weight capacity of 600 lbs., I know it's not a Ridgeline or Pilot... and that only leaves the Odyssey as a possibility. Would love to hear from you on this. Many thanks.

LNBright 01-23-2021 10:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dgordon (Post 2452796)
I'm jumping in uninvited on this conversation but you used a buzz word that raised my interest: Honda. Is your tow vehicle a Honda and if so what model and year. With a manufacturer's tongue weight capacity of 600 lbs., I know it's not a Ridgeline or Pilot... and that only leaves the Odyssey as a possibility. Would love to hear from you on this. Many thanks.

No, Honda as mentioned was the generator. A Honda 2200i inverter generator, used for recharging batteries and running the electricity on the AS.

He had a Tacoma, it didn't offer enough payload, he traded for a Ford F150 pickup.

I had a 4Runner, I have a FC20, and I know that there some people that tow such w/ a 4Runner, but I wasn't comfortable towing on the margin, I traded for a Sierra.


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