Our Airstream travel trailer is mostly original, though the previous owner made improvements such as install a new air conditioner, a new hot water heater, and replace copper water lines with PEX tubing.
You can see pictures of when we bought the Airstream here.
We’ve owned our 1969 21′ Globetrotter Airstream for about eight weeks now, and we’ve traveled about three week and 1,000 miles on the first leg of our RV trip around America.
In those eight weeks, I’ve made some improvements to the travel trailer to ready it for a year long tour of the US and to accommodate a family of four.
All improvements were made for function, not aesthetics, and I’ve spent a total of $6,313.56 so far to get the Airstream and systems up to speed.
Here are most of the major modifications I have made to the trailer, with the associated costs.
Building a bed
Creating a full sized bed in the front for the wife and me. The two kids sleep in the back in another full-size bed.
Relatively low cost for this fix. Spent $69.84 on lumber and hardware.
Building a pantry
I ripped out the gas furnace. It took up a lot of space, and it was less needed now that the electric air conditioner had a heat option. In it’s place, I built a simple cabinet pantry.
A labor intensive but low cost improvement. Had most of the lumber around the house, but spent $36.19 on the shelves, trim, and hardware.
Upgrading the kitchen
The old gas range and oven had to go. The oven door was busted and the range was too close to the edge of the counter, making it dangerous because the two kids could pull down hot pots and pans.
In its place, I built a shelf for a really sharp Breville smart electric convection oven and installed a two burner gas range, set back from the edge of the counter.
I had the lumber for this project, but had to buy the oven, gas stove top, and some gas line fittings. Also, we bought an efficiency microwave that sits on the counter, but it isn’t pictured here.
Total cost for upgrading the kitchen including cost of appliances, $544.17.
I’ll throw into this category the little Weber gas grill we also purchased to help round out our cooking capabilities, adding another $149.99.
Professional mechanical and other work
We also had some professional work done on the trailer to ready it for the trip.
We’re having a custom ZipDee awning built for the outside of the trailer, which we expect will extend our living space. The awning will be bright red to match the trailer’s red wheels.
We installed a battery system that powers the lights, fans, and water pump in the trailer when we’re not plugged into shore power. The neat thing about this system is that when the Tahoe is pulling the trailer, the alternator in the Tahoe is charging the battery in the trailer.
We of course did the typical mechanical work. The brakes were repaired, trailering electrical replaced, and a brake controller added on the dash in the truck in case we start to jackknife.
Total costs for the mechanical work and custom awning, $3,114.52.
More to come here, as we’re putting the trailer back in the shop in April for awning installation, new tires, and some mechanical fine tuning.
Generators for Another Power Option
It turns out we’re heading to some pretty remote areas in the country where electricity is limited or unavailable. We want to keep our comforts, like air conditioning, the electric oven, and microwave, so I invested in a couple of super sweet gas-powered Honda generators.
These generators are small, quiet, and they can be run individually or in parallel. When run in parallel, we can run our entire trailer through a single 30 amp plug.
Total costs for the generators and parallel kit, $2,283.92, plus another $114.93 for safety gas cans and straps to store gas for generators.