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Airstream Nest vs Airstream Basecamp X

Airstream Nest vs Airstream Basecamp X

We love small, functional trailers (especially Airstreams) – today we’re exploring the differences between two new classics – Airstream Nest vs Airstream Basecamp X.

Let’s get one thing straight: Airstream is the most quintessential American travel trailer on the market. As the popularity of small trailers rises, the company has been quick to adapt to consumer demands.

With the introduction of the Nest and the Basecamp, Airstream takes the idea of “small trailers” to the extreme.

Today we’ll walk you through key differences of the trailers and help you discover which unit is best for your travel style.

Let’s dive in!

Airstream Nest VS Airstream Basecamp

Airstream Nest VS Airstream Basecamp

Trailer Size

Trailer size has a huge impact on how you travel. The length can limit where (and how easily) you can park. The weight will have huge implications on your tow vehicle…and corresponding “ease of towing.”

Even the height and width will have some (albeit minimal) impact on travel.

Airstream Nest Size

The Airstream Nest measures in at 16.6 feet – from tongue to bumper. The exterior height is 9.5 feet and the width is 7 feet. Overall, the measurements make for easy parking!

The Nest weighs  3,500lbs dry – this means with no belongings on board and no water in the tank. The GVWR (how much your trailer can safely weigh including payload) is 4,000lbs. That means you can carry 500lbs worth of stuff, be it the essentials (like water) or the trivial (like plants).

Airstream says, “The Nest is nimble and light on its feet, which makes it easy to tow with a variety of mid-size SUVs.”

Airstream Basecamp X Size

The Airstream Basecamp X measures in a touch shorter at 16.25 feet. It’s also narrower (6.4 feet) and less tall (8.75 feet). However, all these measurements are pretty dang close.

The Basecamp does weigh almost 1,000 lbs lighter – coming in at 2,635 lbs. We consider that a pretty big difference. The GVWR is 3,500 lbs – giving it a payload of 865 lbs.

Even though the Basecamp is smaller and about 30% lighter than the Nest, it can safely carry 365 more pounds of weight according to the GVWR.

If you want to dive deeper into travel trailer GVWR, check out this great article by Camper Report.

Airstream brags on its design – “the aggressive departure angle and large wheels help you tackle more roads with confidence, and side skirts and wheel flares help prevent damage from gravel and debris.”


There’s no doubt that Airstreams cost a premium. Fortunately, they hold their value better than any other major travel trailer manufacturer. Let’s take a look at the price comparison between these two models.

Airstream Basecamp vs Airstream Nest Price

Airstream Nest Price

The MSRP of the Airstream Nest is $45,900. It’s a bit pricey, but compared to a $100,000 full size Airstream…its not too steep.

Airstream Basecamp X Price

The MSRP of the Airstream Basecamp is $37,400. That’s an $8,500 difference between these two models.


Typically Airstreams are known for their aluminum shells. Even though they’ve dabbled in painted aluminum (Airstream Argosy) and steel (Mercedes Airstream Van), the Nest is the companies first major foray into a non-metal exterior.

Airstream Nest Material

The Nest is largely made of molded fiberglass. This concept is similar to a boat shell; also similar to Casita and Scamp Travel Trailers.

The beauty of this material is that you need very few pieces. In fact, Airstream uses only 3 molded pieces to complete the Nest exterior shell. One downside to the material is that fiberglass weighs more and has less flex than aluminum.

Airstream Basecamp Material

The Basecamp keeps with Airstream’s roots. The body is constructed with riveted aluminum panels. This construction keeps the trailer light weight.

It looks more like a traditional Airstream because of the aluminum exterior.

Holding Tanks

Holding tanks are key to camping off grid. These two models consist of a fresh water tank, waste water tanks (both with grey & black combo), and propane tanks.

Nest & Basecamp Tank Capacity

Airstream Nest Tank Capacity

The Airstream Nest has a freshwater tank with a 22 gallon capacity. Its paired with a 30 gallon grey & black water combo tank. The propane tank can hold 4.7 gallons.

Airstream Basecamp X Tank Capacity

The Basecamp X also has a freshwater tank capacity of 22 gallons. The grey & black combo is just a touch smaller at 29 gallons. However, it double the propane capacity – measuring in at 9.4 gallons.

Design Features

Despite the similar specs of these two Airstreams, the design & aesthetic is a key dividing point. The Nest has soft edges and comfortable curves, similar to Mac products. The Basecamp is aggressive and modern, looking more futuristic

We surveyed the Vibe Tribe (our online community) and the results were pretty decisive. The design of Airstream’s Basecamp was favored 69% to 31%.

Basecamp VS Nest // Style Preference based on Vibe Tribe Survey

Basecamp VS Nest // Style Preference based on Vibe Tribe Survey

We reached out to Justin Humphreys, the Chief Operating Officer of Airstream Inc., to better understand the design differences between the Nest and Basecamp.

Generally speaking, the Basecamp appeals to the buyer who wants to go a little further off the beaten path…the Basecamp buyer boondocks more than any of our other categories and likes the rugged features and storing capabilities of the product. 

Nest appeals to those consumers who like understated and clean design lines.  The Nest is more automotive and modern in look and feel which really hits home for this consumer. 

Although the product is great for boondocking as well, we find this customer to utilize campgrounds more. – Justin Humphreys

Airstream Nest Interior Design

The Airstream Nest has one primary layout; with two key options. You may choose the front bed to be a convertible dinette or a full time bed. Otherwise, the rear entry door leads to a hallway with a bathroom on one side and a closet & fridge on the other.

Airstream Nest Floor Plan

Airstream Nest Floor Plan

Airstream Basecamp X Interior Design

The Basecamp X has a very similar floor plan to the Nest. The biggest difference is the side entry door on the Basecamp. The door location make the inside feel a little tighter. However, many travelers prefer the side entry option.

The Basecamp kitchen is wrapped around the front of the trailer, allowing for a lot more counter space.

Both trailers have a wet bath as the only bathroom option.

Basecamp Floor Plan

Basecamp Floor Plan | Photo Source Airstream Orange County

Airstream Expert Feedback

Enough spec talk, let’s hear from a few owners and experts about their unique insight on these tiny travel trailers.

Cass from Tails of Wanderlust is a proud Basecamp owner. Here’s some perspective on her buying process:

I was in the market for a RV under 4,000lbs, but still wanted all the amenities of a larger trailer since this was going to be my full time home.

The Basecamp was the only RV to fit this bill. It’s modern style, wrap-around kitchen and a shower I could actually stand up in sold me on the interior. Then the slanted rear for an improved departure angle, and the regular car tires convinced me it could go to all the boondocking spots I wanted to drag it to.

And so far, it’s lived up to all of that!

Patrick Botticelli, aka Colonial Patrick, is one of the most well known Airstream salesmen in the USA. He’s active on all of the Airstream message boards and is usually the first to film video walk throughs of the newest models.

He has some great insight on the Basecamp & Nest:

The Basecamp is a rugged travel trailer for the buyer that has an adventurous lifestyle. The available optional solar provides a great charge for the AGM style 12V group 24 series batteries at a total of 160amp hr. to run the 12V/120V compressor style refrigerator for many days without hookups.

The available Basecamp X package includes a higher ground clearance, off road tires and heavy duty rock guards for the more off the beaten path adventurers.

The interior of the Basecamp is spacious and has a large panoramic window set at the galley area. The wet bath is functional and has plenty of room for the day to day activities. The convertible lounge makes into a large bed for up to two adults and also us convertible as a dinette. The rear access hatch is valuable for loading in bikes and adventure gear.

The NEST is an exciting new travel trailer for Airstream. The NEST is a full feature travel trailer by Airstream modeled after Wally Byam’s original Wally Bee but with modern appliances and amenities for out new generation of Airstream owners.

The unique rear entry door really opens up the floor plan and when you walk in it has a wide open feel. There are two available floor plans, the 16U with a front dinette that converts into a bed and a 16FB with a permanent front bed and a side lounge with removable dinette table. There are also two available decors, Wingspan with neutral tones and Clutch with a bold modern but retro appeal.

The NEST is capable of adding aftermarket portable solar panels with a Zamp quick disconnect at the front of the trailer.

Who’s the Winner?

We think the real winner of this Airstream matchup is you, the explorer!

Both of the models provide easy towing and modern amenities. And, most importantly, they give travelers a new twist on the classic Airstream design – allowing us to explore more!

If you’re still not sure which model is best for you….let us add a little more into the mix. Airstream just released the 22 foot Caravel. This trailer has all the classic Airstream design features…just a little smaller and less expensive.

Here’s a walk through of the 2020 Airstream Caravel.

The Best FREE Camping in the USA

We love camping across this amazing country. And, we really love it when its free. Here’s our list of the 20 Best Free Campsites in the USA.

If you haven’t tried free camping before, also known as boondocking, take a look at our beginners guide to boondocking filled with everything you need to know to get started.

Become a FREE CAMPING INSIDER and join the 100,000 campers that love to score the best site! Simply enter your email below.

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  1. Jim Breitinger says:

    Fantastic write up! I’ve been obsessed with Outdoors RV since an Xscapers event in July, but lately my obsession has shifted to Basecamp (after an earlier Nest obsession!). Reading this gave me fuel for Basecamp. I love the Outdoors RVs but even their smallest model seems so huge to me. Glad to hear you’ve stayed in touch with Justin. -Jim in SLC PS–I’ll likely stick with my little Camplite for at least another year–it’s my first non-Airstream.