So we had a basic criteria in place to include a range of years, ; we really wanted a 1990-2000 trailer, but we knew we would have to be flexible. We thought 25 feet would be perfect. Our first Airstream “Stella” was 31 feet, and we loved the storage and space inside but found it difficult to comfortably maneuver into state parks, national parks, and small private campgrounds that we like to camp in. We currently have a 1963 Shasta Airflyte that we restored,; it is 17 feet but has no real bathroom. This trailer is great for weekends and getting into smaller campgrounds but is not very feasible for full timing. So from our experience and listening to others, we knew 31 feet was too long, and we knew that 20 feet was going to be too small.
We knew the kind of campgrounds we enjoy staying at and know that we will be traveling greater distances to visit family and places we want to see. We became really interested in boondocking while researching a trailer in Oregon. The thought of staying off the grid sounded attractive, and many times the camping is free. This reinforced the idea that we needed to keep our escape pod short. As we talked and visited trailers in the 25 foot range, we began to notice a flaw in our thinking. Going full-time is very different thean weekend or weeklong trips. Everything we need has to go with us as we travel. We want to keep our house, but the financial reality of keeping the house and being on the road don’tidn’t seem to go together. Maybe we needed to think bigger.
We always enjoy talking to the various campground hosts that we meet at campgrounds. With our positive experience hosting guests in our home through Airbnb, we knew that being campground hosts would be a great way to meet new people, cut the cost of staying in the campground, and give us something to do. So we needed a trailer that supports extended stays in a locations but is still lightweight and easy to tow.
We have looked at lots of trailers, and price was also a consideration. We have an all i-inn budget but had to balance the purchase price against the upgrades and modifications we might need to make the trailer work for us. Lower purchase price means more money for upgrades and renovation. Higher purchase price means we have to accept the trailer in the condition it is in and not spend as much on upgrades and improvements. Since we have renovated several houses and two RV’s before, we knew we could tackle more projects, so we were leaning towards making sure we had money in the budget for upgrades and improvements.
In the end we decided to change our criteria, and the new criteria is
- 1970 – 1999
- Trailers we saw that were before 1970 were missing key features we wanted. Trailers newer than 2000 were just too expensive.
- 25-28 feet long
- Trailers under 25 feet long were too small to fit our full time lifestyle,; we were still concerned about going too long and not being able to camp in the campgrounds we like. We were beginning to see a picture in our mind of the kind of interior features we wanted and how we need extra length to achieve our plan.
- Low weight
- the lighter the trailer, the easier it is to tow, saving money on gas, and we still wanted a boondock option.
- We had to find the sweet spot between purchase price and upgrades to stay under our all –in budget.
Now the challenge was to find trailers that met the criteria…. We will talk about the three finalist in the next post………