Take a tour of this island-themed travel trailer described by the author as a “cabana on wheels.”
By Lazelle Jones
For RVers who dream of palm trees, tropical breezes, and a resort-style resting spot, the Tommy Bahama Special Edition travel trailer may be the perfect getaway vehicle to consider. Airstream Inc. has collaborated with Tommy Bahama, an island-inspired lifestyle brand, to create this RV. A Tommy Bahama Special Edition Type B motorhome also is available.
The Tommy Bahama travel trailer is offered in two lengths — the 19-foot 19CB and the 27-foot 27FB. By its very design and décor, this RV model seems to suggest vacation, relaxation, and good times.
Immediately recognizable as an Airstream by its all-silver exterior, this RV is dressed from top to bottom with a 0.3-mil skin of riveted aluminum. Exterior lines are rounded, as they have been since the 1930s when the first Airstream RVs moved from thought to reality.
The Tommy Bahama is a cabana on wheels. Whether RVers spend a long weekend surfing, sport fishing, or barbecuing at Cape Hatteras on the Outer Banks; poking around and behind the dunes on Texas’ South Padre Island; or enjoying a long-awaited trip to Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, both Tommy Bahama floor plans have got travelers covered.
The obvious length difference between the 19-foot and 27-foot floor plans permits end users to choose the right unit for their personal lifestyle needs. But before detailing additional differences, let’s first note the similarities.
Both models are “all Airstream.” Standard features in the 19CB and 27FB include an electric tongue jack (with manual backup crank), which permits effortless coupling of the RV to a 2.5-inch ball that’s mounted to a Class III receiver hitch. At the rear, the bumper disguises a vehicle-wide compartment beneath a steel diamond-plate cover. And everywhere in between are a bevy of additional features, most of them standard. These include practicalities such as four powered heavy-duty stabilizer jacks with a stainless-steel lockable compartment, and a probeless tank monitoring system, plus handy features such as panoramic front windows with blackout shades, and an exterior shower with hot and cold water.
The interior colors, wood, and upholstery are the same in both floor plans. Interior wall coverings suggest a beach or island getaway, with the calming green of a tropical leaf motif. Macchiato wood surfaces dress the cabinetry and wood-panel walls. Polished plantation wood shutters and blinds grace the interior. The floor is covered with luxury woven vinyl, and LG Hi-Macs brand solid-surface material covers the galley countertops. Throw pillows and other special decorative items further advance the Tommy Bahama island theme.
Utilities in the 19CB and 27FB include twin propane cylinders, totaling 14 gallons; two Group 24 deep-cycle house batteries; a demand water system; a 6-gallon water heater; and 13,500-Btu (19CB) or 15,000-Btu (27FB) roof air conditioners. Optional heat strips can be added to the A/C units to take the chill off without running the forced-air furnace. For both floor plans, 30-amp electrical service is standard; on the 27FB, 50-amp service comes with an optional dual A/C with heat pump.
Structurally, the 19CB and 27FB feature semimonocoque construction. The extruded aluminum wall and roof members are unitized with the steel platform to which they are attached. Eco-friendly EcoBatt insulation, with a vapor barrier, is used throughout. This is a shell-in-a-shell, with insulation wrapped around to keep the inside warm in cold climes and cool when it’s hot and humid outside.
The aluminum walls and roof are treated with fluorocarbon UV protection. An aircraft industry process called buck rivets fastens and sandwiches together the structural members, insulation, and vapor barrier. The floor is insulated. Holding tanks are enclosed and housed beneath the floor; thanks to electric heat pads, the tanks and water lines are protected even when outside temperatures dip below freezing. (When camping in such conditions, RVers will want to use a holding tank antifreeze.)
A torsion-type axle and suspension system is used; this means no solid axles or leaf springs. The 27FB comes mounted on four tires, while the 19CB is based on two. Both units utilize Goodyear ST225/75R15 tires.
Airstream recommends adding an aftermarket sway control/load leveling device to the tongue to improve towing performance. The seven-pin electrical connector accommodates all functions associated with the running lights, stoplights, turn signals, emergency blinkers, charging from the towing vehicle’s alternator, and brake controller.
The Tommy Bahama 19CB has a cargo carrying capacity (CCC) of 800 pounds, which includes fluids in the holding tanks. The gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is 5,000 pounds, and the tongue weight rating is 550 pounds. The 27FB is rated to carry 1,204 pounds of cargo, has a 7,600-pound GVWR, and its tongue weight rating is 929 pounds. RVers will need to consider the rated towing capability and the tongue weight ratings of their tow vehicle when choosing the most suitable model.
Each has a propane-fueled furnace, appropriately sized to match the cubic feet of living space. The 19-footer hosts a 16,000-Btu forced-air furnace, while the 27-footer features a 25,000-Btu furnace. Either way, the heating system is centrally ducted to the different interior areas of the coach.
In addition to exterior length and a few ratings, several major differences exist between the Tommy Bahama Special Edition units. One that sets the 27FB apart from possibly all other players in the towable market is its rear hatch, which opens up the entire rear wall. The dinette is located in this rear area, and an integrated screen allows for the feel of dining al fresco while sheltered from the elements. The hatch measures 46 inches by 53 inches and is hinged along the top. Two pneumatic struts make opening and closing effortless. An automotive-type bulb seal around the perimeter seals it tightly when closed, and a large window provides visual access to the outside. The hatch is insulated via the sandwiching of the same materials found in the other walls and the roof.
The Tommy Bahama is designed to sleep up to four. Here’s where differences exist between the floor plans. The 27FB holds a front island queen-size bed. In the 19CB, a smaller bed measuring 48 inches by 76 inches is positioned adjacent to the curbside exterior wall in the rear. The dinette in both can be made into a separate sleeping quarter; the 27FB’s bed is slightly larger.
The bathroom in the 27FB is a center-aisle configuration. On one side is a shower with a frosted-glass door; across the aisle, a water closet conceals a marine-style porcelain toilet and a lavatory. In the 19CB, the marine-style toilet is housed with the shower, with the lavatory sink separate, outside the bathroom and just forward.
Not surprisingly, the wardrobe is larger on the 27-foot Tommy Bahama, as is the two-way gas-absorption refrigerator — 4 cubic feet in the 19CB, 7 cubic feet in the 27FB. Both galleys feature a three-burner cooktop with oven. The 19CB comes with a single galley sink, while the 27FB has a double sink. A microwave oven is standard in the 27FB; an optional convection-microwave oven is available in both. The 27FB also includes a backlit Corian-topped bar complete with ice maker, ice cooler, wine rack, and other storage for spirits.
Whichever Tommy Bahama Special Edition model RVers choose, they’ll find them nicely appointed. Among the few options are electric Zip Dee patio awnings (117 inches long on the 19CB and 222 inches long on the 27FB). These long awnings shade the entire patio side of each unit. Buyers also have a choice of awning fabrics. Solar panels and a rearview monitoring system are options as well.
The base manufacturer’s suggested retail price for the 19CB and 27FB models are $76,900 and $117,400, respectively. Equipped with the options noted above, the 19CB’s MSRP is $80,259, and the 27FB’s MSRP is $126,609.
Airstream Inc., 419 W. Pike St., P.O. Box 629, Jackson Center, OH 45334; (937) 596-6111; www.airstream.com
2018 Tommy Bahama Special Edition
19CB — 19 feet 2 inches;
27FB — 28 feet
19CB — 8 feet;
27FB — 8 feet 5.5 inches
9 feet 9 inches (with A/C)
6 feet 7.5 inches (with A/C)
GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT RATING (GVWR)
19CB — 5,000 pounds;
27FB — 7,600 pounds
UNLOADED VEHICLE WEIGHT
(with LP and batteries)
19CB — 4,200 pounds;
27 FB — 6,396 pounds
CARGO CARRYING CAPACITY
19CB — 800 pounds;
27FB — 1,204 pounds
FRESH WATER TANK
19CB — 23 gallons;
27FB — 39 gallons
GRAY WATER TANK
19CB — 21 gallons;
27FB — 37 gallons
BLACK WATER TANK
19CB — 18 gallons;
27FB — 39 gallons
BASE SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE
19CB — $76,900;
27FB — $117,400
PRICE AS EQUIPPED
19CB — $80,259
27FB — $126,609