Not only did we have a baby last year, we also added Clemson the Airstream to our family! It started with a very expensive panic/impulse purchase in April or May of last year. We both kind of freaked out at the thought of being trapped at home, unable to travel at all during the pandemic, especially when it seemed like the safest place would be out in the middle of nowhere surrounded by no one.
Of course, Airstream of Utah was conveniently having a virtual sale right around this time! With nothing better to do, we thought we might as well look at some Airstreams. We had always talked about eventually buying one and had been faithfully tent-camping for years, but using public restrooms while pregnant during the scary pandemic times was a no-go for me.
There is a bit of a twist in this story in that Clemson is not actually the Airstream we purchased originally. We ended up buying a bigger one because we were worried the 16 foot Bambi was too small. We went with the 22 foot Bambi and ended up really not liking the layout of the trailer. The extra space seemed wasted on the bathroom and the layout didn’t really work for us, but I’m glad we started off with the larger one because if we hadn’t I think we would’ve always wondered if Clemson was too small for us.
Because it was a big investment for us and we just really didn’t love it, we ended up trading it in and getting Clemson in February of 2021! Clemson is a very small 16 foot Airstream Bambi and is absolutely perfect for our family (and will be perfect when we add a second baby, but we’ll probably have to upgrade when we have a third baby but we will keep you posted)!
We’ve been on a few trips with Clemson this year and it’s been so fantastic to be able to stop and not have to use public restrooms, have a space to lay down and breastfeed or let Sophie play for a bit, and we’ve even spent the night at a rest area instead of a hotel! As an added bonus, Sophie and I have taken many naps in the trailer while Kevin works on finishing our basement.
We are looking forward to many more adventures with Clemson and even though we are already thinking we’ll have to upgrade as our family grows, we are planning on keeping Clemson for life! It will be perfect for us to travel in once we are empty-nesters. One reason we wanted to invest in an Airstream is because they really do last forever. I really wanted to buy an old one and completely renovate it, but Kevin (as the person who would have had to do 99% of the work) did not want to do that with a baby on the way, so maybe we will do that in the future.
Full disclosure, we did not pay cash for Clemson, we have a loan and a monthly payment and although we’ll pay it off early, it’s still a loan. Airstreams are not cheap! It was an impulse purchase that we were thinking would happen five or ten years down the road. We’re really happy about it, but will be even happier once it is completely paid for! Some of our best memories are from trips where we tent camped, so I definitely don’t want to give off the vibe that this was necessary for us to buy for travel.
One thing that factored in to my decision is I actually really hate hotels! Even if I pay good money for a really nice hotel, I always feel like it’s not as clean as it could be and it’s still not my bed/not my sheets. I have to bring my own blanket and pillow. With Sophie, it’s really nice to have a space that she feels comfortable in that we know is baby-proofed and safe for her. Also, it’s much easier to pack when you have all that space to just throw last minute things in!
The gas mileage towing the trailer is not great, not cheap, but it’s worth it for me to be essentially towing my home with me. And yes, I did want to buy the Airstream and live in it full-time but Kevin is not entirely ready to be a full-time nomad, so we’ll try again in a few years. Maybe once we’re done having kids and they are a bit older I can convince him!
I told Kevin he should make a Youtube channel so he can talk about all things Airstream and traveling with a baby, because really I am just along for the ride and I’m taking care of Sophie while he does all of the driving, setting up camp, etc. Comment on this post if you want him to start a Youtube channel — maybe we can get him to do it!
You can check out the Clemson The Airstream section of the blog for new travel posts and also follow Clemson on Instagram at @clemsontheairstream! If you enjoyed this post and want to support my work, you can buy me a coffee!