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Old 01-11-2017, 06:49 AM   #1
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Jayco vs Airstream: Help Me Gain Perspective for our Year-Long Trip

My family (2 adults, 3 kids) have long wanted to have a year-long adventure of traveling the US. Were finally at the place where we can do so and have been looking for an RV. Early on, we settled on the Airstream due to its quality construction, ability to hold its value and even the community aspects. We like the Flying Cloud because of the bunks. But it is expensive.

This last weekend we hit an RV convention and were surprised to walk inside a well-reviewed Jayco Jayflight that had two bunk beds inside, a larger floor plan with slide-outs, extra amenities such as an outside cooking area...and it was one-third of the price. I wouldn't say its made quite as well, and based on what I've seen online, it wont hold its value, it's heavier and its not quite as pretty on the outside by comparison, but for a one-year trip, it could be more comfortable for a family of five.

So Im looking for a bit of perspective, Jayco-ers. Are we finally seeing the light? Is it more realistic to consider a Jayco for our situation? Or, since we're planning on traveling a lot during the year--less staying in one place for a while--is the Airstream still a better solution?

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Old 01-11-2017, 07:10 AM   #2
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You may be asking a partial audience. Most have already ruled out Airstream. They are pretty but for me, I could not spend lengthy periods in one.

In my experience, those that full time spend more time inside than the weekend or vacation campers.

An Airstream would be a lot cramped for that lifestyle with 3 kids.

I would rather try and sell a 1 year old Jayco than a similar Airstream.

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Old 01-11-2017, 07:15 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by norty1 View Post
You may be asking a partial audience. Most have already ruled out Airstream.
For sure, but that's why I posted here. I also cross-posted the same question on a popular Airstream forum to contrast and compare.

I would rather try and sell a 1 year old Jayco than a similar Airstream.
That's an interesting statement--why? From what i've seen, the used Airstreams (in good condition) sell very quickly for higher amounts, which is one reason we were leaning that way. Have you seen differently??
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Old 01-11-2017, 08:26 AM   #4
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IMO - family of 5 full timing for a year would make a slide mandatory. I think you will quickly appreciate the space more than the looks or interior styling.

I've had 2 Jayco in 6 years, no issues at all with respect to build quality. My neighbor had a brand new Bambi that developed an incurable water leak after 8 months. He ultimately traded it in on a new Airstream, don't recall the model. That one trade in hit essentially cost him in depreciation what my entire 29QBH cost 2 years used.

His situation might be isolated, and I think airstream does have a reputation for higher quality, but the $60-80 price tag is just too high when a new and very nice SOB TT can be had for $40-$50 less.
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Old 01-11-2017, 08:39 AM   #5
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I would agree with the other posters so far. And it's true, I'm a bit biased.

Sure, Airstream has a great reputation, and they are supposed to be quality trailers, but they too have their problems and limitations.

For us, Airstream was a complete no go primarily for price. We simply couldn't (can't) afford one. The second con IMO is the interior styling. I just don't like them on the inside, but that's more personal taste. As was mentioned before, they don't come with slide outs; another big con.

For the space, quality, warranty and support (assuming a good dealer), Jayco is hard to beat IMO. It's just a good value. I'm not too worried about resale on my trailer either since the plan is to keep it for 10 years or so. Assuming you have this epic, year-long road adventure, you might consider that you'd want to keep the trailer after. For me, it would be difficult to just turn the lifestyle on or off just like that; I'd still want to use it for weekend trips and vacations.

Having said all that, if you can afford Airstream and you can reconcile any short-comings, it's a fine trailer and you should get one. But I don't see us ever owning one.

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Old 01-11-2017, 08:46 AM   #6
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I like the outside looks of an Airstream. However, every time I walk inside one, I get turned off. Partially I am not into the modern look. One thing I have noticed, Airstreams do not have slide-outs, to open up the internal space to have additional room to move around. For example, if someone is cooking inside the Airstream, everyone else needs to be outside or seated, no running around as there is no floor space. Most Jayco TTs have at least one slide-out. Even the small slide-out in my X23B make the HTT feel roomier.

Have the kids gone shopping with you? If not, I would bring them to both dealerships, ditch the salesperson, and spend an hour in each unit that you like. Dig through both of them, think about where you are going to put all your “stuff” that everyone will have with them. Then think about how you are going to use the TT, both on nice days and rainy days.

If you can financially justify an Airstream, I would strongly consider looking at a 5th wheel. They are very roomy, most have good basement storage space. I noticed recently on the Jayco website they are coming out with a new HT Eagle 30.5MBOK. I think this would be one of my first choice rigs if I was able to do extended trips like yours. Kids and parents both get a bedroom. Plenty of space to sit and relax, space to get away from each other. This 5ver, does not look to be too big to tow, and 5vers tow much nicer than a bumper pull TT. Possible downfall, you would need a ton crew cab pickup to tow it.

I bet if you compare the deprecation after a year based on base price, they are not too far off from each other. Airstreams probably hold their value much better over the long haul, aka 5+ years down the road. Also be willing to negotiate the price. Commonly you can purchase a new Jayco for 20-35 percent below MSRP, especially if you shop around or buy at or time it close to a local RV show.

No matter what, I would have all 5 of you in each unit for an hour, talking it over, and see how easy it would be to maneuver, and store your belongings.

One thing to note; Jayco’s have a two year warranty (new units), I think Airstream has a one year warranty. All these units are hand built, they all seem to have little issues that are found after the first few trips. So buy it, use it locally for a few months before your big trip, to work out any bugs.

Also consider your TV (tow vehicle). The tow rating is based on an empty vehicle with only an average sided driver (#150-175) and a full tank of fuel. No passengers, no stuff in back. Every pound of stuff you add, you reduce your towing capacity, and kids bring a lot of stuff.
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Old 01-11-2017, 08:50 AM   #7
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Jayco vs Airstream: Help Me Gain Perspective for our Year-Long Trip

If for no other reason, I'd go Jayco because of the slide out. I've owned both non-slide and slide campers and wouldn't own another camper without a slide out. Especially since your talking 5 people...

There are other reasons... but they are subjective. For instance, I don't care for the look inside nor out of a airstream. However, my father in law loves the look.
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Old 01-11-2017, 09:03 AM   #8
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I think Airstreams are wonderful, I love to go in them at the shows to look around. But I don't think I'd find one suitable for our use. As others have pointed out a slider or two (or three ��) make a huge difference in interior space and with 5 on board (and 3 of them young-uns who will probably want their space) I think that'd be paramount. And you did come to the wrong place for an impartial opinion, it's like going to a Houston Texans pep rally and shouting out "Yea Patriots!!!" ��

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Old 01-11-2017, 09:07 AM   #9
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Biggest factor for us was the floorplan.

Based on your original post, it sounds like you're talking about my camper, maybe not, but it meets all of those criteria. You won't find an airstream with anything close to that floorplan.

If I was camping with 5, I want a camper almost big enough to come with its own zip code. People tend to enjoy having their own space, especially when on the road for that long.
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Old 01-11-2017, 09:13 AM   #10
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Get the Jayflight use it for the year, keep it and keep on camping after that! You can get a 28BHBE for around 25K or a 32TSBH for around 30. I have no experience with Airstream other then knowing they are well above my paygrade.

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