What else can we do?

We often marvel, as we sit cozily in our not so big house, how comfortable and complete our 25′ Airstream trailer is. The compact design is complete with almost every feature we could want inside. Last night we were musing about improvements we could make to our house. This is really easy to do — we can see the entire interior from any vantage point within.

More difficult, though, is determining what would improve on this wonderful RV. We can easily generate this list of changes we think we would like:

  • 1. A larger refrigerator,
  • 2. a walk-around bed,
  • 3. card-playing space for six,
  • 4. better insulation all-around,
  • 5. a two-inch lower toilet seat,
  • 6. a gravity floor vent for fresh air venting
  • 7. firmer sofa cushions,
  • 8. more LED lighting for boondocking, or
  • 9. more battery capacity would improve our RV’s liveability.
  • 1. Would you like a larger refrigerator than the supplied 6 cubic foot one? This refrigerator has been sufficiently large for over two years. If and when it fails we could opt for the 7 cf replacement Dometic refrigerator — it fits in exactly the same space. Don’t know, we might be able to tell a difference. We sure wouldn’t get rid of a perfectly good fridge to increase capacity by only 16 percent.
  • 2. A lot of people we talk to say they just couldn’t survive with a corner bed. It’s all we’ve had in our two Airstream Internationals (Our Argosy had a pair of twins, but we never slept in it). Their concerns are very justifiable — your partner knows if you try to get out of bed from the wall side, and there is no making the bed without climbing onto and all about it. While this may be tough for some people, we love it. A corner bed makes great use of the limited space we have in our RV’s 8′ X 23′ interior. A walk-around bed would be nice but we’re not willing to sacrifice what little floor space or closets we have to gain it.
  • 3. We’re fortunate and grateful our friends invite us to their larger RVs or park models to play cards. It’s nice to get together as three couples for card games or board games. And we just cannot do this in our Airstream trailer. We might gain enough table and chairs space if we removed our L-sofa and a dinette bench. We love the sofa and appreciate the storage under it, too. We’ve told friends we have room for drinks for six, dinner for four, and sleeping for two. Unfortunately, this Airstream isn’t going to have three couples playing at one table.
  • 4. Airstream trailers (and not all, but many other brands, too) have only two inches insulation in the walls and ceiling. We can tell distinctly we are lacking more insulation several times a year, notably in very hot and very cool climates. More insulation would increase our comfort in very warm climates and would reduce our heating energy during cool spells. While we don’t suffer indoor condensation problems others complain about, better insulation all-around would be nice but this isn’t an improvement we’ll see on this travel trailer.
  • 5. The 2005 Airstream 25, apparently in both the Classic and the International, has a bit of a high toilet seat. Short people need not apply — they might be jumping up and back down and it just doesn’t seem safe. Jim is 5’10” and his feet don’t rest on the floor sitting on this toilet. This feature seems an engineering goof by the designers. We can remedy this one without too much ado by adding a small section of raised floor. We’ll have to be careful where we draw the line for the 2″ raised floor. It would be pretty ugly to stub your toe and fall headlong into the shower.
  • 6. A gravity floor vent would allow us to make up the needed combustion air for our oven, stove, or catalytic heater. A floor vent would be guarded from inclement weather. A floor vent would reduce drafts from opening windows. And, it would provide the needed make-up air very close to the combustion. Wally Byam apparently thought it was a good idea for his own trailers but, for some reason, didn’t get them into the production units. We can do this and may at some point.
  • 7. Our RV’s bed mattress failed after a year of full-timing. We replaced it with a wonderful solid latex rubber mattress, a lot more supportive and, unfortunately, a lot heavier. The manufacturer’s sofa cushions seem to be similarly poor for the purpose. Since the sofa lacks any innersprings and the cushions sit on plywood forms, we need higher density foam cushions. Several of you have reported your success in doing this and we’re looking forward to this improvement.
  • 8. We boondock somewhat regularly in the summer and fall when we enjoy visiting state and national parks. Some of these parks allow camper savings by opting out of utilities and others just don’t have the utilities. Either way, we benefit by using as little battery-powered stuff as we can. We have LED lighting in the washroom, our wardrobes, and on the porch light. We will, this year, install an eighteen inch LED strip over the kitchen sink and counter. We may find other applications as well to extend our battery power when off grid.
  • 9. Almost two years ago we replaced our two group 24 12v marine/rv batteries with a pair of Interstate 6v 2200s, golf cart batteries wired in series for 12vdc. We gained more battery capacity and might be at a good match with our two 120 watt solar panels. Last fall, while boondocking at the Sun Valley Jazz Festival, we enjoyed great sunshine most days. And we really only had enough battery for one day at a time. It seems we could, with another pair of 6v golf cart batteries, gain all the battery capacity we could want for nights and weekends. This may be something we can easily accomplish.
  • These potential changes aren’t, any of them, must haves. Some aren’t feasible at all in this RV. But these are the biggest things we can imagine would improve this almost ideal space. Some of these changes are included in other, larger, RVs. All these options are available by some means in many RVs. If we find ourselves in the market for another RV we would include these as important criteria.

    You can probably think of more important changes you would want. We’d love to hear what you think — let us know?

    We’ll talk about our favorite improvements we’ve made to our travel trailer in our next post.

    Jim and Debbie
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    ©2010 Dreamstreamr

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    4 responses to “What else can we do?

    1. Jim & Deb, a few comments:

      #6: The older Airstreams had exactly the feature you describe, beneath the refrigerator. Airstream stopped doing this at some point (late 70s?) in favor of the exterior wall vent. In my 1968 Caravel the make-up air available from the floor vent is perfect for the catalytic heater but a little chilly on the floor on cold days.

      #9: I’d agree with the idea to add battery capacity. Your panels are large compared to your amp-hour storage. You’ll find adding another battery will greatly extend your boondock time.

      • I kick this intake vent around frequently, and Deb’s in no hurry to have see another hole cut in her Airstream. But it makes so darned much sense, particularly if (1) we put it near the combustion sources (oven, catalytic heater), and (2) if we can seal it off reasonably well when not needed. All this assumes, too, Jim arranges the underside to not scoop up rain and poop from the road. She better take the Sawzall with her next time she goes out shopping, eh?

        Our floor is always chilly when it’s under 50F outside, like now. So much for sunny Florida — high temp yesterday in the 40s, hard freeze last night. Today was better, into the low 50s. Brrr. Whatever happened to 75?

        Our tongue weight is ridiculously high now, around 1,000 pounds. One of our resolutions is to remove two 18qt totes from the front roof locker, they have paper and stuff in them. And we’ll try to reduce weight, in what we formerly called the book well, behind the sofa by removing — BOOKS.

        Still, additional batteries might find the back of the truck a cozy place to live. Put carry handles on them, swing them over toward the trailer and hook them up with a pair of 75 amp power pole connectors with welding cable.

        We could let the second pair charge on big sunshine days or free electricity site days. Or, don’t swing them off the bed, just uncoil the charging cable and plug it in while parked close to the trailer. Or, put them atop the other pair, on the A-frame, and thereby add another 124 pounds to the tongue weight. What the heck, the truck’s a 2500HD and we were going to replace the receiver anyway. . .

        Here’s a good topic for another discussion — we still have the oem GM tubular receiver under our truck. This beauty has the very short pin box welded under the tubular cross member. GM replaced our first one under warranty, bless them. And installed what appears to be the same model. So we’re looking at the Curt Class V replacement. 1,200 pound tongue weight rating! Hunky! Just might need this. . .

        Jim

    2. Check the article on receivers in the next (Spring 2010) issue of Airstream Life! After reading it, you’ll ditch that OEM GM receiver pronto! ;-)

      • Yeah, Rich, I’ve been shopping for a couple of weeks and have just about settled on the Curt 15108 or 15208. I’m calling them tomorrow for their advice for best fit on my truck. Either way I’m getting a new receiver rated for at least 1,200 tongue and 12,000 pulling, way above my current trailer. And shame on us for waiting so long to do this — we knew the old one was junk.

        Thanks for your input, and for the shameless ad for the next edition of your GREAT magazine. We think all Airstreamers should subscribe and read it — we love it.

        Jim

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