Today’s 2017 Basecamp is a re-imagined version of Airstream’s original and beautiful 2007 version that was designed in partnership with Nissan Design America. Since that first iteration, they’ve taken years to concept new ideas and equip the new Basecamp with fresh innovations, more functional design features, and materials designed with comfort and convenience in mind.
Basecamp is full of smart choices that maximize space, keep things clean, and make everything from charging to cooking that much easier. It’s everything you’d want to have along with you on an adventure, and even a few things that might surprise you.
Essentials and beyond
Basecamp checks off all the boxes of what you need to get off road and off grid. And then it goes further, bringing you extras that make exploring that much more comfortable and enjoyable.
- Solar pre-wire kit comes standard to prepare you for renewable power inputs
- Bose Bluetooth® SoundLink® Color speaker included
- Smart, versatile storage solutions throughout
- Lockable technology dock and USB ports for easy charging
- Efficient ventilation, hot water, and cabin heating systems
Basecamp’s 26″ x 46″ rear hatch lets you load and unload your gear through the back of the trailer into 126″ of available cargo depth from the hatch to the galley cabinets, without having to maneuver larger items like bikes and kayaks through the main door. When the day is done, close up the rear hatch to keep the trailer cozy, or keep it open and attach the removable screen to keep the fresh air moving through.
When you’re setting up camp in the desert, the optional QuietStream™ air conditioning with two-speed fan will keep you cool. When you’re surrounded by snow, the Truma Combi Eco Plus heating system will handle both water and cabin heating with world-class efficiency.
Now the Story
With sport utility vehicles shrinking and shedding weight, smaller, lighter camping trailers have been following closely behind. The latest is the Airstream Basecamp trailer, which is actually a redesign and relaunch of a trailer that was deemed unfit for market a few years ago. The Basecamp revival gives campers a more lightweight and compact way of Airstreaming their way to multi-day outdoor adventures.
When we first saw Airstream’s announcement, we thought the Basecamp was the fruits of its recent acquisition of Nest Caravans, a notion that was supported by the launch timeframe and by the fact that former Nissan designer Bryan Thompson had a hand in creating both the Nest and the Basecamp.
However, after digging deep, we realized that this was the original Basecamp we originally reviewed in 2008, and was actually created in collaboration with Nissan more than a decade ago. (Check our original 2008 review at roamingtimes.aspx to compare the two versions) Airstream’s PR team tells that the first Basecamp was pulled after a few model years when Airstream decided that the market wasn’t quite right. After extensive research and some redesigning, Airstream now feels the market is ripe for the small, sleek Basecamp, a model that is completely independent of the upcoming Nest-based Airstream.
Airstream’s research undoubtedly ventured through the crossover utility vehicle market and took note of the small trailer/camper renaissance we’ve witnessed in the past few years. The new Basecamp becomes yet another option for adventurous young souls pulling overnighters in the wilderness, joining the likes of the Winnebago Concept Adventure Vehicle camper van, Taxa Woolly Bear trailer and Tepui White Lightning roof tent, all introduced over the past several months.
The targeted Basecamp buyer isn’t driving a V8-powered pickup truck or full-size SUV, so they need a trailer small enough to shadow a more modest AWD crossover. The ensuing lack of interior space isn’t a big deal because this buyer doesn’t want to spend the entire trip auto-touring and sitting inside an aluminum shell watching TV, anyway. He or she wants to park at a campsite or trailhead ASAP, get out of the vehicle and spend the day outside, relying on the trailer as a place to have a meal and sleep off a day of hiking, surfing, biking, climbing or whatever.
From the outside, the 16.3-ft (5-m) Basecamp looks much like it did a decade ago, with a clean, aluminum-clad shell with dark, wraparound glass. The shape is more box trailer, but the subtle curve of the roofline and angle of the rear lend a hint of teardrop. We’d say it’s a damn good-looking trailer, as contemporary today as it was when we first saw it in 2005.
Some features that have been added since the Basecamp’s last run are the full wet bath with removable handheld shower and china toilet and the standard Bose SoundLink Color Bluetooth speaker. Weight has also been trimmed down to 2,585 lb (1,173 kg), a loss of nearly 200 lb (91 kg) when compared with the 2007 model’s 2,750 lb (1,247 kg), as listed by Nada Guides.
The single rear hatch doesn’t appear to offer quite as much loading room as the double doors on the first-gen Basecamp, but it does provide direct access to the 10.5 ft (3.2 m) of load floor length, helping to get bikes, boards and boats on board without having to maneuver them around the corner of the main door. Key to that spacious load area is the multifunctional living/sleeping/dining area just inside the hatch, which breaks down to create an open aisle during travel. With the addition of a few cushions, that area can also be used as a 76 x 76-in (193 x 193-cm) full-sized bed for two, a 76 x 38-in (193 x 97-cm) single bed, and a dining/living area with two adjustable tables and seating for five.
The bathroom is centrally located. As with any wet bath, the entire interior of this bathroom is designed to function as a shower. But unlike other wet baths, this one is dressed in Airstream’s iconic aluminum paneling, as are the walls around the entire cabin.
The kitchen area is located up front and includes a two-burner stove, refrigerator, stainless steel sink and laminate top. A microwave is available as an option, rounding off the versatile, well-equipped cooking space. The multiple front windows surrounding the kitchen area give whomever’s frying eggs or washing dishes a nice, open view.
The Basecamp has a deep-cycle battery and comes prewired for an optional 160 W solar package. A Truma heater/hot water unit comes standard, as do two fans. The 22-gal (83-L) fresh water tank feeds the kitchen sink, bathroom and standard hot/cold exterior shower, and two 20-lb (9-kg) steel LP tanks provide fuel for the appliances. A standard slide-in awning creates some shade outside, and the optional patio and rear tents create extra fully enclosed shelter around the trailer. LED lighting comes standard, and air conditioning is available optionally.
The Basecamp will start appearing at Airstream dealerships in October, and reservations are being taken now. Time hasn’t been so kind to the trailer’s price, which now starts at US$34,900, which is a pretty steep rise from the $19,995 starting price from 10 years ago.
- Exterior Length 16′ 3″
- Exterior Width 7′
- Interior Width 6′-4.5″
- Exterior Height with A/C 8′-6.25″
- Interior Height with A/C (Entry Area) 6′-3.5″
- Hitch Weight (with LP & Batteries) 410
- Unit Base Weight (with LP & Batteries) 2,585
- Maximum Trailer Capacity (GVWR) (lbs.) 3,500
- Net Carrying Capacity (lbs.) 915
- Fresh Water Tank (gal.) 22
- Gray Water Tank (gal.) —
- Black Water Tank (gal.) 29 (Combo)
- 30 AMP Service Single AC with Heat Strip (9,200 BTU) OPT
- Truma CombiTM Eco Plus Heating System (14,300 BTU) STD
- Refrigerator2-way 3 cu.ft.
- Interior Windows and Skylights 8
- Microwave OPT
- Sleeping Capacity 2
*Content redacted from Airstream, C.C. Weiss of NewAtlas.com, and Roaming Times Staff. All photos courtesy of Airstream.