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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)

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


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