Shopping trailers- Airstream thoughts

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DonPam

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Dayton, OH
We are looking at trading campers. Currently we are pulling a 34? Travel Trailer and are considering an Airstream based on the perceived durability and perceived value retention. Are there any forum users or moderators that have made the jump from a traditional travel trailer to one of the comparably sized (length) Airstream? I recognize that comparable size may not be the best choice of words since they are not really comparable since the Airstream doesn?t use slides. They really are smaller.
We just spent a fair amount of time looking at them. The interior and exterior fit and finish is beautiful, but I?d understand if someone said quirky and not for them. I?m wondering if you made the jump, how did it go for you? Is it as trouble free as they say? Do they really hold their value? If you want to share pros/cons that?s good! They don?t have the cargo space that a typical TT has but maybe I don?t need as many tools to go with me.??
Thanks for the feedback!

BTW, we are pretty heavy users from a road Warrior standpoint (mileage)
 

donn

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Airatream used to be nice trailers.  They were bought out by mega builder Thor several years ago and I understand quality has suffered.
Personally I feel they are way overpriced.
Still the majority of stuff AS uses is the same stuff used in the cheapest RV on the market.
I still remember helping friends swapping their things from a 15 foot trailer to a 22 foot Airstream.  We parked door to door passing stuff across.  After a while his wife said stop!  She was out of room and we atill had a bunch of things to go.  Needless to say a lot of their things went in the garage.  They kept the Airstream less than two seasons, trading for something with more room.
 

solarman

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Texas
donn said:
Airatream used to be nice trailers.  They were bought out by mega builder Thor several years ago and I understand quality has suffered.
Personally I feel they are way overpriced.
Still the majority of stuff AS uses is the same stuff used in the cheapest RV on the market.
I still remember helping friends swapping their things from a 15 foot trailer to a 22 foot Airstream.  We parked door to door passing stuff across.  After a while his wife said stop!  She was out of room and we atill had a bunch of things to go.  Needless to say a lot of their things went in the garage.  They kept the Airstream less than two seasons, trading for something with more room.


quite true..

Airstream trailers are very much like the Harley davidson, they are dinosaurs in a modern world, they inspire nostalgia and offer post second world war "romanticism"
at a high price...

both, in my opinion are poor representations for their purpose.

you own one to "buy" into a lifestyle.. that's all..

if you need functional performance then get something else..





 

Gary RV_Wizard

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I've heard the "quality no good since Thor took over" lament numerous times since the changeover, but there doesn't seem o be any evidence to support it. I've heard the same outcry from the oldtime owners when Country Coach got bought out. Change always  inspires nostalgia and fondly remembering the good old days.

Airstream does use some very high quality (expensive) materials inside and out, so they are a high cost unit. And the cachet of the Airstream name means they can be successful even at ultra high prices.
 

DonPam

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Dayton, OH
solarman said:
quite true..

Airstream trailers are very much like the Harley davidson, they are dinosaurs in a modern world, they inspire nostalgia and offer post second world war "romanticism"
at a high price...

both, in my opinion are poor representations for their purpose.

you own one to "buy" into a lifestyle.. that's all..

if you need functional performance then get something else..

Your point about ?functional performance? hits home. We love the RV/TT experiences and trips we are taking. I DON?T like the constant little things to adjust, tighten, or replace at conclusion of every trip. So, if not Airstream, where does someone look for the dependable and functional performance?
Is a 5er the answer? Is it a specific brand built better than the other? We like to think our Grand Design is built pretty well, and the Mfr. has always been there to support us when there were significant issues. My irritation, (not complaint) comes from the nagging little stuff that is always showing up.
 

SeilerBird

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St Cloud Florida USA
DonPam said:
Your point about ?functional performance? hits home. We love the RV/TT experiences and trips we are taking. I DON?T like the constant little things to adjust, tighten, or replace at conclusion of every trip. So, if not Airstream, where does someone look for the dependable and functional performance?
Is a 5er the answer? Is it a specific brand built better than the other? We like to think our Grand Design is built pretty well, and the Mfr. has always been there to support us when there were significant issues. My irritation, (not complaint) comes from the nagging little stuff that is always showing up.
Most RVers spend 95% of their time living in the RV and 5% of their time driving it so it does not make any sense to me to downsize the living part of an RV. How well built an RV is has nothing to do with how long it will last. How long it will last depends on the amount and the quality of the servicing that it receives. As an RV gets driven down the road it rocks back and forth with the wheels being the pivot point.  The vibrations and swaying will always cause problems with any RV no matter how well they are built. It is a problem that is inherent with taking a house and driving it down the road at 60 miles per hour. Lots of bumps and potholes. I never buy new because I don't want a manufacturer to support me. I buy used and I pay someone to travel to me to fix any issue I have. I hate the idea of dropping off an RV at a dealership and telling them to call me when it is done. I have read too many horror stories of waiting six months for a part to show up, meanwhile you are making payments and not enjoying the RV.
 

Cooperhawk

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We purchased a 1985 Airstream 345 Turbo Diesel motorhome in 1996 and owned it for nearly twenty years finally selling it when we purchased our Journey.  It took us all over the US several times and gave us very little trouble.  We also joined the Wally Byam Club which is the official Airstream club sponsored by the company.  Here's my observations.

They are well built.  The entire structure is not unlike an aircraft in that the ribs, exterior, and interior are all aluminum.  This makes them a lot lighter than other units.  They also dent pretty easy but unlike fiberglass can be repaired easily, maybe not cheaply though.

All the systems were of top quality.  We had two furnaces, two air conditioners, built in appliances such as blender, mixer, ect with the power head right int he counter.

The club was OK, but we did get the elitist impression from them and in the end did not participate much.

We worried a lot about storms and especially hail.  Hail can ruin an Airstream quickly.

In the end we really enjoyed the unit but as we got older we wanted more room.  It was kind of like living in an aircraft.  We had no slide outs.

I know about Thor and all the rumors but my impressions were that for a few years the quality went down a bit, but then bounced back.  The resale of the units still holds pretty good and a large percentage of the units manufactured are still on the road many years later.

We really did enjoy the unit and on some occasions so many folks wanted to see inside that we put up signs indicating what times tours would be available.
 

jackiemac

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Here in th UK there's a show called "Flippin' RVs".  Last one was about Airstreams.  Most were older being renovated.  Interesting. You might find episodes on line if interested.

We like the space the slide outs provide. The 5th wheels I've been in are very spacious and I like them a lot.
 

jackiemac

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Gary RV_Wizard said:
Restoring and using old Airstreams has reached cult status in the USA.
Our friends in Washington State have been doing one up since early 2016, it's hopefully going to be ready for full camping this year. I think Harold likes working on projects more than the idea of camping. His wife is the opposite and desperate to get out on the road. I'm looking forward to seeing how it's turned out.

No doubt this will hike up the price of the "normal" ones...
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Their cult status means they do hold their value remarkably well (for an RV, anyway).  Whether they hold up better than, say, a DRV Mobile Suites or New Horizons Summit or even your Grand Design is harder to say.

The people with the financials to buy a high quality RV are mostly buying 5W rather than TT, so there isn't really much competition for the Airstream type/style.  Most buyers feel the 5W is a better choice for towing a large RV. Perhaps why you don't see many offerings from Airstream above 30 ft.
 
S

sightseers

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They say no other trailer tows as well as an Airstream    :))
 

Cooperhawk

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sightseers said:
They say no other trailer tows as well as an Airstream    :))

Our Airstream  345 Motorhome weighed in at 16,000 lbs.  Our Journey Motorhome, same length, weighs in at 26,000.  The difference in weight makes a huge difference in driving or towing.

We had a friend that was towing a 34 foot Airstream trailer on I90 and got caught in a heavy cross wind.  It rolled the trailer over into the median totaling it.  His Suburban was not damaged.  Weight does have some advantage.
 
S

sightseers

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Gary RV_Wizard said:
Who says that?  Airstream marketing?  ;)

The more aerodynamic something is the better it cuts through the air....     

It makes sense Gary.....you don't see too many square airplanes.    ;D

I don't know.    I can't even afford an OLD Airstream.

If I was a single man... My dream rig would be a good pickup... and an Airstream.  :)) :))

But, ... I'm just not too sure I want to be a married man,  in any non-slide RV.....  8)
 

Cooperhawk

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sightseers said:
But, ... I'm just not too sure I want to be a married man,  in any non-slide RV.....  8)

Well exactly.  In fact we now have two slides and I want four.
Course those intimate brushes passing each other in the Airstream were good,
but getting a little old for that now. :(
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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The more aerodynamic something is the better it cuts through the air....   

It makes sense Gary.....you don't see too many square airplanes.    ;D
If "better" means you can go faster or maybe use a bit less fuel, I could agree. Many owners, though, would place higher value on resistance to sway and superior handling in cross winds.  Those who like to camp in rugged or "natural" places would rate good road clearance a necessity as well (Airstreams are low and notorious for dragging easily).
 

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