We’re three weeks in and I’ve decided to take inventory of the items I brought aboard. My list actually came out to be 101, but I feel I stayed very true to what I started with on the original list — only adding a few things here and there like my Hanging Monkey Potato Peeler. I thought I’d give you a rundown of the Top 10 things I’m glad I have, and wouldn’t want to make this journey without.
1. Dyson Hand Vacuum
This is hands-down the best thing on board. It breaks down to fit inside a plastic bin, which neatly fits under the couch. It has 3 attachments that allow me to pick up everything that comes inside — from dirt and grass to dog hair. The carpet attachment allows me to vacuum the furniture too. If you’ve ever had a Dyson, you know what a lifesaver they can be. After three weeks of hard use, I love this item almost as much as Deke loves his Xbox.
Dyson DC31 Handheld Vacuum Cleaner [Amazon Link]
2. Sewing Machine
I wasn’t sure how this was going to work out. Sometimes I wish I’d have picked a hobby with smaller equipment, but I love to sew and I’m going to make it work. The machine itself actually gets stored in the truck, but everyday I bring it in and set it up on the table and get to work. I find that as long as I’m organized, it all works out ok. Also, if you’re lucky enough to stay in a park with a community room, I’ve found that they’re more than happy to let you haul your stuff inside for a day and set up on a table.
SINGER 7469Q Confidence Quilter Sewing Machine [Amazon Link]
My book library
I’m a book person. I worked at a bookstore. But I love my nook (that Deke basically had to force me to agree to buy – “But what about the feel of the paper?” I cried). I have 40+ books downloaded and at my disposal for a read anytime outside under the awning. I’m really happy I have it.
Cooking provides its own set of challenges in the Airstream, but I love to cook and this is the one tool I can’t live without. It’s small (which is a bonus) and once you have it, you’d be surprised how much you use it — even not so great meals always taste better with a little freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. And how about some fresh grated lime zest with that gin and tonic? Can’t beat it. And who wouldn’t want to eat my homemade apple crisp with a little fresh nutmeg? See? You need the microplaner.
Microplane Grater/Zester [Amazon Link]
5. Microfiber bath towel
At first, I doubted the effectiveness of the microfiber bath towels we got at Whole Earth Provisions. They’re thin, they don’t come in fun colors and they’re only-kind-of-soft. To me, a bath towel should be huge, fluffy as a cloud and preferably have stripes or polka dots. But, once I realized that while living in a trailer bath towels are utilitarian not decorative, I embraced microfiber. They don’t take up a lot of room and they dry incredibly fast. Enough said.
Eagle Creek Travel Towel [Amazon Link]
6. Ingrid’s crystal bowl
On my 100 items list are 10 things that I don’t have to have a reason for. They aren’t multifunctional, they aren’t light or small, they’re just things I want around me because they’re beautiful. One is a crystal bowl that one of my very best friends, Ingrid, bought for Deke and me when we got married. It’s a heavy, deep red bowl that sits in a place of honor on the table, right in front of the window so everyone can see it. Sometimes its empty, sometimes it holds apples or limes or keys. It’s beautiful and reminds me of great things.
Keeping your feet dry is paramount in an Airstream
In any park, after it’s been raining all day, you do not want to go out in regular shoes. You’ll ruin them. Bring a pair of wellies. Trust me. I wish they made them for dogs.
8. Black Diamond Lantern
I know, how great can a lantern be? Um, awesome, that’s how great. This little Black Diamond was insanely expensive by my standards, but we had a gift card for REI, so we got it. It works incredibly well, throwing off a ton of light and packs up easily at the end of the day to store. It runs on 4 AA batteries and also has a hanger at the top so you can hang it from a tree or your awning. When all our other cheap things die, I’m going to buy more of these.
Black Diamond Apollo Lantern[Amazon Link]
9. Collapsible Dish Rack
I saw this at Bed, Bath, and Beyond and thought it was the best I’d seen for washing dishes. I’d been to several stores trying to find something that wouldn’t take up a lot of space on the counter and could collapse away, but most were metal and bulky. This is lightweight, has held up to several loads of dishes a day and folds easily to put under the sink. It even has a little drawer that catches extra water — you slide it out when you’re done and dump it in the sink.
Automatic soap spitter – just like in public restrooms!
10. Simplehuman Automatic Soap Dispenser
This one was a surprise. At first blush, it seems over the top and posh. But the last thing I want is salmonella covered detergent bottles or a dish of bacteria ridden soap water hanging around the kitchen sink. That’s why this auto soap dispenser makes the list. It’s just so easy to hold your hand under the nozzle and wash up in the midst of cooking. No muss, no fuss, no residue, just clean.
Simplehuman Sensor Pump [Amazon Link]
Things I brought and quickly got rid of: second baking pan, husband pillow, big fluffy bath towels.
Things I wish I brought: extra pair of sweatpants.
Silly things we’ll never use because they don’t work well but are fun to have: Space Invader Ice Cube Tray.
How about you? Are there any things you can’t camp without? Let us know!
We’re finally here! It’s done and we’re in.
Does it live up to more than a year of hype and hope? Hard to say yet, we’re only a week in. But so far, it certainly shows the potential, but there were a few hiccups. Read on to find out what happened…
We’re less than a week away from moving into our Airstream fulltime! Things have settled down a bit from last week (except for another winter blast of sleet and snow today), and now we’re just wrapping up a few loose ends.
Wally Byam oversees our move...
Here are a few of the things we’ve done this week:
- Clothes are packed and ready for the move. We packed these in suitcases and bags that will need to go to storage when we’re done.
- I (finally) let go of my Wii and old Xbox. That leaves us with an old Macbook, external hard drive, and an xbox 360 as our complete entertainment system.
- We (also finally) got rid of our mattress and box spring. In our neighborhood, it was surprisingly easy. Just take it out to the curb!
- The last of our things have found new homes, either with friends, craigslist buyers, or thrift stores.
- Finishing up the last of our packaged foods that won’t make the move, took one last trip to the Grocery store -only the basics for 1 week!
- Lucy gets a vet visit and a bath this week – she wants to smell nice before the move.
- The Tundra got a tune up this week – oil change, tire rotation, replaced a squeaking belt – ready for the haul!
Now all that’s left is the actual move itself. We could just pull the Airstream up to our front door and load her up, but we’ve decided that our neighborhood roads are a bit too tight. Instead, we’re going to load up the Tundra Friday night, go pick up the Big Weaz, and then take her to the RV park to “officially” move in.
And finally, after a LONG time of planning and preparing, we’re over the moon to finally move into the Airstream fulltime. It’s true, we won’t be lifting anchor and fulltime travelling yet, but we will certainly be travelling more thanks to Texas’ awesome nearby parks and, oh yea, we’re living on wheels now!
So, I’ll end this post with a simple phrase we use often on Weaselmouth.com – in fact, it’s on top of our site. It comes up time and time again as we’ve streamlined our life, downsized to an Airstream, and generally changed our lifestyle to chase our dreams. It’s quickly becoming our mantra as we take these next steps, and we hope it’s something you’ll start saying as well.
It’s good to let go.
We’re 4 weeks away from moving into the Airstream fulltime and we’re extremely excited!
I wanted to give everyone an update on how we’re doing so far. Here are a few big ticket things we’ve done:
- Set a move in date of Feb. 12, 2011. Mark your calendars.
- Secured a spot at a local RV park near Dallas, TX. It’s the nicest park we’ve found within a 30 minute radius of my job (a pre-requisite for us).
- Rented a storage spot – a 5×5 indoor unit from Public Storage where we’ll keep the few things we’re not ready to get rid of yet. We’ll continually work on reducing this load as we go.
- Switched to Fulltime RV insurance – we’re using Geico for this and so far have been very happy with their rates and service.
- Tiffani is wrapping up her seasonal job and is about to take on the full time job of planning our move.
- Streamlined just about everything we own down to just the things we need and want to take.
Before we move, we’ll need to do the following:
- Put everything into storage that’s going into storage.
- Find a good temporary home for Tiffani’s artwork.
- Give away or sell a few last minute things – anyone want a gently used coffee maker or lawn mower?
- Get a real address from the UPS store, then fill out the change of address form.
- Clean up our current rental house.
- Get the Big Weaz cleaned and ready for the onslaught of fulltiming.
- Learn more about living in an RV during the colder months – avoid frozen pipes, plug any drafts.
So far we’re in pretty good shape for a Feb. 12th move. I’ll keep you updated as we go. As always, thanks for following along!
PS – What are we forgetting???
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.
25 FB Eddie Bauer Floorplan
25 FB Flying Cloud Floorplan
International 25FB Floorplan
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.
||16, 19, 23, 25FB, 27FB, 28
||19, 20, 23, 23FB, 25FB, 27FB, 28, 30
||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?