Rallies are one of the best things about Airstream ownership. If you've never tried a rally, let me tell you—as a former skeptic and a self-professed introvert—rallies are great.
I could go on all day about the benefits of visiting rallies, but since this blog is being written while I'm attending one, and there's a lot I want to do, I'll keep it to the bullet points:
Top reasons to attend a rally
- meet more fellow Airstreamers
- get technical help or advice
- explore areas and local points of interest that you might have overlooked
- re-engage with Airstream friends you have missed during the pandemic
- enjoy camaraderie with others, instead of camping anonymously
I know some people (like me) aren't interested in being "social" all the time. I learned early on in my rally experience that there's no expectation that you'll be attending every organized activity, and no pressure. In fact, many local (club unit) rallies have only one or two activities on the schedule, and those are usually just campfire gatherings or potluck dinners. So you always have time to yourself to relax or explore.
What you need to be rally-ready
For the most part your preparation for a rally will be just like preparing for any long weekend camping trip. I do recommend a few extra things, however.
Most people like to put out their full social decor at a rally, or perhaps their best "glamping" fashion. For sure, bring the Zip Dee chairs and a patio mat, because combined with the Airstream's awning it creates a very inviting social space. If you want it to be more private, consider attaching a Zip Dee Solar Shade.
I always recommend everyone use an Electrical Management System (EMS) to protect their Airstream against power glitches. If you're at a big rally like I am right now (the Airstream Club International Rally in Lebanon TN, with nearly 800 units expected), there's a higher risk of power glitches.
At big rallies, I consider an EMS to be absolutely critical. I wrote a whole blog about that subject, which you can read here.
Some rallies require Airstreams to be "daisy-chained" to water or connected to spigots that are further away than usual. The same can be true of power, so you may need extra water hose and power cord.
Power cord extensions are readily available from a variety of RV supply stores and even on Amazon—but be ready for a bit of sticker shock if buying a 50-amp power cord extension. (There's a lot of copper in there!) If you're not sure if you'll need it, check with the rally organizer first.
Extra water hose, on the other hand, is not a big problem. It's easy to carry an extra 50 feet of water hose with our Ultimate RV Water Hose, and it can easily withstand being run over by trucks, which is a common issue at rallies where water is being daisy-chained. Fifty feet of vinyl water hose is hard to fit in your storage compartment, and the hose will likely pop if a truck drives over it.
After those essential basics, what you take to a rally is a matter of your own style. If you're a good cook or baker you can't go wrong bringing food to a rally, to share with others. You'll be instantly popular, believe me. If you're a natural host, lay out your best outdoor setup and let the other attendees know they're welcome to visit. You'll be inundated with new friends quickly.
Musicians are always popular at rallies, especially in the evening when a campfire or circle of chairs may be forming. Well, perhaps not all musicians—my kazoo hasn't been well received—but if you're handy with a guitar and know when to stop playing, expect a few fans to show up.
Or, you might just want to lay back, do your own thing, and watch the rally happen around you. That's OK too. The nice thing about rallies is that you can do what you want. Take in as much or as little as you want.
It's peak rally season in much of the US right now so if you're able to join up with some other Airstreamers (and you've gotten vaccinated), I heartily recommend it. Don't miss the best opportunities you'll have to re-engage with people after the long hiatus we've all endured in the past year.