The Airstream's first satellite dish

Living in an Airstream Full Time

Richard Charpentier Airstream Blogs 1 Comment

Okay, okay, okay…….I get it.  Folks gotta know.  So, we’ll talk about it today.

I look at my daily stats.  The searches.  There are a good number of “HDR, Photography, Southwest, Arizona, Photographer, etc, etc, etc” searches.  But lately the top searches (in the past few months) are on Airstream living, full-timing, living in an Airstream full time, and so many derivatives on the subject.

People are really searching on this lately.  I mean a lot more than I’ve ever seen.  A lot more than when I was on the road with the Airstream.  Something is up.

What’s up people?

5 years full time in the Airstream now.  There was a break in the beginning.  2006 November through January.  I was barely in the Airstream.  Medical stuff, trying to restart the “old” life in engineering, a treatment path that went down a bad route, recovery, and return to the Airstream in search of a new place to hang my hat.

I found it.  Prescott.  The intention was to be out of the Airstream within a year of the time I found the new place.  Didn’t quite go the way I expected.

You have to understand, at the time everything hit the fan the Airstream became a lifeboat.  Illness, divorce, and a quest to find a place that worked with what I was told originally was a rare autoimmune disorder that made me hyper allergic to all things….well, all things earthly.  The Airstream was a well enclosed compact environment I could manage.  And it was home.  Much as a life boat is home when you dump off a sinking ship.

I have to say though, living in a life boat for 5 years is a bit much.  Fortunately though it is a nice lifeboat as they go.  Well designed, good storage, comfortable.  All the amenities to be sure.  So, luxury life boat.  🙂

Unintentionally a full – timer

It was not my intention to ever be a full time Airstreamer.  Rather, when it was purchased the idea was to use the Airstream as base camp on some epic adventures.  Stay in Banff Canada for a month, the “summer home” in Pittsburgh, NH, those types of things.  I could see a few months in the Airstream, but always in the end a return to a larger non-portable home.

When purchasing the Airstream it didn’t cross my mind that I’d spend 5 years in it.  Had I known then what I know now I would have gone larger than the 25 ft Safari Six Sleeper.  Sure, it’s just me, but 200 sq feet of space is…..well…..small.  Maybe a 28 footer with a slide out like Bert & Janie have?  Yeah, I think a few more feet with a slide out would do the trick.  If you’re thinking about full timing, go bigger.  There’s one thing I’ve learned.

Living year round in the Airstream

Prescott Arizona is a good place to be a full time Airstreamer.  You wouldn’t catch me living year round in it in New Hampshire.  Warmer climates during the winter months help.  In addition to my main gas heater in the Airstream I have two electric heaters.  That helps cut down on gas usage during the cold times.

The summer finds me running the AC a lot.  Honestly, I’d like the larger AC units as well.  Once again though, I hadn’t initially planned to full time so thinking about Air Conditioner sizing wasn’t in mind.  Be sure to check out what AC is in the rig you’re looking at.

Overall the Airstream has held up well with 5 years of use.  The carpet could use replacing, the cushions on the dinette are in desperate need of replacement, and I long for a real bed.  The “full sized” bed with it’s curving corner isn’t the easiest to make, and the foam mattress leaves something to be desired.  I’d love to have a Select Comfort in the Airstream, but with the configuration of my Safari it’s not going to happen.  Honestly, if the bed were addressed I could easily do another  5 years.  🙂

Wrapping up

So there you go Airstream curious folks.  You can easily full time in an Airstream, even a smaller one.  You will have to manage your space, avoid accumulating too much, and be happy in a smaller space.  It’s workable.  And I think I understand the increasing searches on the subject.  During hard economic times the idea of a very small space with very low costs is appealing.  Granted, my monthly rent and electric are pretty cheap compared to the former mortgage and heating bills in my former house.  So yes, full time RV’ing can lead you to some great savings!  Or if you’re like me, it leaves you able to direct your finances elsewhere… a small business for example.

Good luck in your searches.  And if you do start full timing, drop me a note.


Comments 1

  1. Thanks for the update. I originally found your blog through a Google search for Airstream. So nice to return to the ‘roots.’ I do appreciate the photo info, however. I learn something almost every day.

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