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Airstream Trailers Are Great, But Do They Have Challenges?

Airstream Trailers Are Great, But Do They Have Challenges?


When it comes time to buy an RV or trailer, you have a lot of choices. From fifth wheels to Airstreams RV trailers, you can easily find a reason to buy or not buy a specific brand. 

Though Airstreams are a popular choice among Americans (in fact, it’s the brand RV we own), there are some challenges to ownership. 

Airstream at sunset

Airstreams are expensive.

The shiny aluminum bodies sure look clean, but they’ll also cost you a pretty penny. 

Over the past decade, Airstreams’ prices have gone way up. You can start with the smallest Airstream, the Basecamp, at roughly $38,000 base MSRP, and make it up to the most expensive, Classic Airstream, at nearly $160,000 MSRP.

New Airstreams are for those who are very invested in living life on the road and understand that driving any of the trailers off the lot will heavily decrease the value.

Think buying used might save you money? You could be right. However, the interesting thing to consider is that small vintage Airstreams tend to cost more than larger units.

Airstreams are narrow.

Unlike some travel trailers, Airstreams are pretty narrow. They don’t offer any expandable slides, which means you’ll pay more per square footage as you move up in trailer length. 

You won’t be able to sleep as many people efficiently as you would a trailer with slides or a 5th wheel RV.

Some new Airstreams do offer bunk beds, but you will most likely only find two twin-bed layouts if you are buying used.

There’s not a lot of exterior storage.

Many RVers expect to have exterior storage on their trailers, but you won’t find much of it on an Airstream. Most Airstreams only offer exterior doors that allow you to access hard to reach places such as the back of the refrigerator or the external knobs for the water heater. 

If you need extra storage for gear or essentials, you won’t find it in an Airstream.

Of course, there’s a benefit to having a lack of exterior storage. Airstream’s look damn good on the outside!

Big windows make it hard to control the temperature.

Owning an Airstream means having lots of windows. They basically revolutionized the wrap-around front window in the ’70s. 

Although most people love that they can see out in every direction while camping in an Airstream, it does make it hard to control the temperature if you’re not following the RVer season (always sunny, but not too hot). 

Big windows make it hard to keep the heat out and in, so if you’re looking to buy an Airstream invest in some Reflectix and good insulation to make temperature control a little easier. 

Airstream groups can be cliquey.

Even die-hard Airstreamers will tell you that some Airstream groups can be cliquey. There are Airstream-only rallies and events held every year, and some people take their Airstreaming life very seriously.

There are even Airstream Only campgrounds across America.

Though there are other groups out there that exist, many of the original Airstream groups have a purist mentality. Not all Airstream groups are created equal, though, so do your due diligence, and you may find some that are perfect for you. 

To Avoid or Not to Avoid Airstreams

As I stated earlier, there are always reasons to avoid buying any travel trailer or RV brand. 

Airstreams are no different than most brands, as they have both pros and cons. If you’re heavily invested in a life on the road and don’t mind a trailer without pop-out slides, an Airstream may be an excellent fit. 

If you’re curious to test an Airstream trailer, you can stay at an “Airstream Hotel” to get a feel for the lifestyle.

Like I said earlier, I’m an Airstream owner, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. But, I’m not blind to the disadvantages of traveling in an Airstream RV trailer.

Learn About the Disadvantages of ALL types of RVs:

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Ron Lapp

Friday 23rd of October 2020

I just ordered the Airstream Atlas RV. On surface other than being very expensive, it doesn’t seem to have the issues you mentions with regard to the trailers. It has a slide out and an almost king sized Murphy bed. The bathroom is a dream. But it’s suitable for only two unless two others bring a tent.

How about reviewing that RV. I’ve looked at others in its class and nothing seems as good. But you do pay more for quality.

Tony M

Tuesday 4th of August 2020

Second paragraph begins "Though Airstreams are a popular choice among Americans..." You must have the most creative definition of "popular"! By my definition of popular, Airstream is perhaps the most Unpopular brand I can think of! I have multiple times been in a campground with literally over 2,000 RVs and seen not a single Airstream among them. I virtually Never see one on the road, while I see regular RVs all the time. By observation, Airstream must have such a minuscule market share, I've often wondered how the brand even survives! If it were not owned by a parent company, it would have become extinct long before now I believe.

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