Today’s RV review is of the 2023 Airstream International 23FB. Like all RV manufacturers, Airstream is continuing to evolve and stay current. But Airstream is also really unique in truly being an iconic brand that is true to its heritage. And, in some ways, building better trailers than they did in the past.
Oh, the comments I bet we’ll get over that. But it’s true.
Recently I was camping with a group of other content creators including one who was camping in an Airstream. He was rather new to the experience and was really surprised by a number of things in the trailer. The biggest surprise, to him, was how well-insulated the trailer was.
We were camping in August in Colorado and daytime temperatures were in the upper 90s. Many of us were sweating, while this camper wasn’t. So it made me think that an Airstream trailer is likely quite well-insulated.
Further, you could extrapolate that this good insulation would pay off in summer and winter.
Airstream sells a number of lines of trailers that fall into specific categories. The International is sort of the mid-sized Airstream line and is the same size as comparable Flying Cloud models. These are available in body lengths from 23 to 30 feet. The International and Flying Cloud both offer the same models and floor plans but the International has more equipment and, thus, carries a higher price tag, as well.
Some of the things you’ll find on an International, for example, include a standard backup camera. But the things that most intrigue me on an International are the awnings over the back window and over the road side of the trailer. Oh, and the awning over the camp side of the trailer is a power awning. But then, this is true of lots of trailers.
Those road-side and rear awnings do a lot to shade the windows and, this summer, I was noticing that when I was camped with the road-side windows facing the sun I got a tremendous amount of heat in the trailer.
In fact, when I went to Lippert Owners School, something I think all RVers should do, I learned that Lippert makes awnings that can be attached to the road side of an RV and are powered by battery. Yep, I’m very intrigued.
But you don’t have to do this if you have an Airstream International.
Airstream windows and awnings
The other advantage of having these awnings is that you can have the awning out and also leave the window open if it happens to be raining. I suppose you can leave the window open anyway, but it’s probably not a good idea to do so if it’s raining but you don’t have that fancy awning out.
On the subject of windows, Airstream is one of the only RV companies that makes their own. And those windows are riveted into the body of the trailer. They can open up to almost 90° from the side of the trailer—providing tremendous airflow.
But if it’s not enough, there’s also a high-performance vent fan in the ceiling.
For 2023, Airstream has gone to a 12-volt TV and, if this is anything like the one in my own trailer, I think that was a great decision. You don’t need to run an inverter if you’re boondocking but also want to catch up on vintage episodes of Gilligan’s Island. Or whatever.
They did get rid of the Blu-ray player, though. So if that’s a biggie for you, these are pretty easy to find. But so many of us just stream content nowadays that having a spinning media player of any sort just seems so … well … 1990s.
In a cabinet near the TV there is a household power outlet as well as an HDMI, so it’s prepped for that vintage Blu-ray player. But you could also use something like an Apple TV or other streaming device.
More cool features in the Airstream International 23FB
I like the dining table in this trailer. It sits on a telescoping pole mount and can swing around like a planchette on a Ouija board.
The bedroom curtains are light-blocking fabric. It adds warmth to the interior which might otherwise be a bit more IKEA than some campers are used to. Speaking of the bedroom— there are two choices of beds for this model: a shortie queen or two twin beds.
That queen sits sideways in the Airstream International 23FB. That means it has to be a shorter length to fit and also allow you to walk around it. The twins don’t have this issue and are five inches longer, so taller campers might go this way.
The kitchen consists of a decent-sized counter space with a single square sink and a three-burner cooktop. There is a standard microwave, but you can also opt for a convection microwave. That’s your only oven, so choose carefully.
The best thing ever in Airstream
I think one of the best ideas I have ever heard in the RV space is Airstream’s QR codes. The company has placed QR codes in various places throughout their models that are links to information about that system or area.
If you get stuck while you’re out camping, you can scan the QR code and it takes you to more information about that function of the trailer. It’s a brilliant idea. So why haven’t other RV companies copied this, since it seems so simple yet so useful?
I asked another RV company about this and they very specifically told me that they don’t want to provide anything that can be construed as advice in case someone misuses it and sues them. So that’s what the world has come to. I also wanted to Three Stooges eye poke the individual when they said that—just because. Phooey on you, chicken RV decision-maker.
Boondocking and travel access
Airstream trailers don’t have slide rooms. That also disproves the stupidity I’ve heard other RV decision-makers share with me when I ask them why they don’t offer models with no slide. They also feature more traditional folding steps—so mid-journey access is easy as pie.
Airstream is now offering a 300-watt rooftop solar package with improved solar panels over previous model years. There is also a solar-charging port on the side of the trailers. That means you could put something like the Go Power! DuraLite solar panels that I have.
There are a few givens with an Airstream. One of those is that the outside storage is relatively limited compared with some other travel trailers. But there are also absolute advantages over other travel trailers.
One of those is the composite flooring in an Airstream, which is a product that is reputed to last much longer than the traditional plywood of past generations. The only other RV company that I know of that’s using this material is Ember, although theirs is twice as thick.
Is an Airstream worth about twice what other trailers sell for? That’s a decision you have to make for yourself. The fact that the company has about a two-year waiting list for their products shows that there are certainly enough people who would answer “yes” to that question.
More from Tony
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Tony comes to RVtravel.com having worked at an RV dealership and been a lifelong RV enthusiast. He also has written the syndicated Curbside column about cars. He also works closely with a number of RV manufacturers to get an inside look at how things are done and is a brand ambassador for Rockwood Mini Lite with his wife, Peggy.
You can also check out his RV podcast with Peggy.
These RV reviews are written based on information provided by the manufacturers along with our writer’s own research. They are based on information from a single unit and may not reflect your actual experience. Shop your RV and dealership carefully before making a buying decision. We receive no money or other financial benefits from these reviews. They are intended only as a brief overview of the vehicle, not a comprehensive critique, which would require a thorough inspection and/or test drive.
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