When we tell people that we own an Airstream, the response is often something like “Oh, you mean the silver ones?”
It’s a striking brand, that’s for sure – the silver rounded shape, the rivets, the standout aluminum body. However, not all new Airstream models are the same, and its more difficult than it should be to find the differences. Even Airstream’s own website tends to blur the lines between their multiple models and layouts.
While shopping for the Big Weaz (our 27FB International CCD), we looked at a ton of different Airstreams. We learned a few secrets that many experienced Airstream owners already know that really helped us find the perfect model. Hopefully these secrets will help you find a perfect model as well.
In general, Airstream sizes range from 16′ to 30′, but there smaller and larger exceptions.
Secret #1 – Size is often the first limiting factor when finding the perfect Airstream. Longer trailers often equal heavier trailers, so you’ll need to know how much weight your tow vehicle can pull before you buy. Trailer Life Magazine is a good place to find your vehicle’s towing capacity.
Secret #2 – We’ve mentioned this before on Weaselmouth, but size is often the bumper to hitch measurement, not the length of the aluminum section. In other words, your livable space is much shorter than the length.
Secret #3 – Size typically determines the floorplan, and different models of the same size often share a very similar floorplan. For example, the 25FB International, Flying Cloud, and Eddie Bauer Edition are nearly identical in layout.
Airstream Model Secrets
The naming scheme for Airstream’s models is not always black and white, and it changes from year to year. If you’re looking at Airstream Travel Trailers from the mid to late 2000’s, you’ll see a few main model line names. Most recently, they’ve pared these lines down to 3 or 4 based the layout, type of decor and quality of materials used. They also market these lines toward specific audiences.
Secret #4 – Know the differences between the models. For the most part, we found the following:
- Classic Limited – the Cadillacs of Airstream – all luxury, all top of the line interiors with real wood and leather, but with a more traditional camper style decor
- International – higher end with a decidedly European style decor- similar to the Flying cloud with slightly higher quality interior components.
- Flying Cloud – the mid-class Airstream – quality interior parts with decent style, but with a slightly more economic spin than the two above.
- Sport / Eddie Bauer – for the outdoorsy type – rubber floors, extra hatches, and smaller, lighter sizes make this perfect for weekend excursions
Secret #5 – Not all Airstream models come in all sizes. For example, the Sport line stops at 22′ while the Classics start at 27′. After you find the size range you want, its easier to narrow the models line that has these sizes.
Here is a chart of the sizes and models for 2011.
|International||16, 19, 23, 25FB, 27FB, 28|
|Flying Cloud||19, 20, 23, 23FB, 25FB, 27FB, 28, 30|
|Classic Limited||27FB, 30, 31|
The floorplan was biggest deciding factor for us. We narrowed our size to between 25′ and 28′, and we really liked our first International CCD so we wanted to stick with that model line. So it came down to the floor plan between the 3 sizes (25 FB, 27 FB, and 28). Here are a few things we found in the process:
Secret # 5 – Floorplan differences are often give and take based. For example, The 25 offers closet space in the bedroom, but only 1 night stand. The 28′ has a seperate dinette and couch area, but less counter / kitchen space. We found the 27FB to be a great compromise between all three, but your mileage may vary.
Secret #6 – FB means Front Bed – This means your bed is closest to the towing end of your trailer (and the door is near the back). We like this because we can back into an RV spot and look our our panoramic windows above our dinette at woods or water while we eat.
These were a few of the more important secrets we discovered while choosing our perfect Airstream. How about you? Have you uncovered any secrets while searching for Airstreams? Are there factors important to you that we’ve not listed here?