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What Is An Airstream Basecamp?

What Is An Airstream Basecamp? 

The renowned “silver bullet” RV known as the Airstream is perhaps the most identifiable RV on the road. But, what’s an Airstream Basecamp?

You may be surprised by the punch these lighter Airstreams pack.

Curious? Let’s dive in!

What’s the Airstream Basecamp?

Airstream’s Basecamp models are among the smallest travel trailers Airstream has brought to the market. Initially, Airstream launched the Basecamp in 2007, and the model underwent a full redesign in 2016. In 2020, Airstream released a new version, the Basecamp 20, which it also offers with an X package. 

The most current Basecamp retains Airstream’s aluminum facade. However, its exterior design is unique to the model and unlike the traditional rounded shape of the classic Airstream. 

Although small and light, all Basecamp floor plans have a bathroom. While these are space-saving wet baths, they’re surprisingly spacious for such small, light trailers!

All Basecamps also have a kitchen and a lounge area that becomes a bed come nightfall. Efficient use of space and light-weight construction materials make the single-axle Airstream Basecamp a competent travel trailer for almost anyone and any tow vehicle.

Airstream offers four floorplans built on trailers from 16’ to 20’ long. As a result, these are designed to be towed by an SUV – even a Subaru Outback. We’ll take a look at all four.

But first, we’ll answer the critical question for most shoppers: “How much do they cost?”

Airstream Basecamp Price

The Basecamp is Airstream’s least expensive model. The 2021 Basecamps range from $39,100 for the Basecamp 16 to $48,900 for the Basecamp 20X.

Let’s take a look at all four Airstream Basecamp floor plans in detail and see how they compare!

Airstream Basecamp Floorplans

All Airstream Basecamp floor plans include a kitchen, two-burner propane stove, spice rack, lots of storage, a propane/electric or all-electric refrigerator, and a wet bath with shower.

Basecamp 16

The Airstream Basecamp 16 sleeps two people and is the smallest of the Basecamp floor plans. With a length of 16.25 feet, it is 7’ wide, has an exterior height of 8’ 7.5”, and an interior height of 6’ 3.5”. Additionally, it has 15-inch wheels

The Airstream Basecamp 16 has a payload capacity of 850 pounds. It weighs in at a dry weight of 2650 pounds and a GVWR of 3500 pounds. (GVWR refers to the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating, which is the maximum loaded weight.)

Additional Basecamp 16 Specs

The Basecamp 16 has a 21-gallon freshwater holding tank and a combination gray and black water (waste) tank of 24 gallons. That would certainly require careful monitoring when boondocking without sewer hookups!

The Basecamp 16 has a shower pass-through, which allows the showerhead to be passed from inside to outside for rinsing off puppies, kids, kayaks, shoes, etc.

This unit has two propane tanks totaling 40 gallons of propane, a 9,000 BTU air conditioner with a heat strip, and a 14,300 BTU propane furnace. All Basecamp models have a Truma display which controls cabin heat as well as hot water and power. 

The 16-foot versions of the Basecamp have a 3.1 cubic foot propane/electric refrigerator and two stabilizing jacks.

The Airstream Basecamp 16 has a starting retail price of $39,100.

Basecamp 16X

The specs of the Basecamp 16X are nearly equal to those of the 16. It’s 3 inches greater in exterior height than the 16 but has the same interior height. Additionally, the 16X has a dry weight of 2700 pounds and a payload capacity of 800 pounds. 

So how does the 16X differ from the Basecamp 16?

The Airstream Basecamp 16X has a lift kit with larger wheels and tires to offer greater ground clearance for more rugged travel. It also incorporates stainless steel stone guards to shield the aluminum shell and the front panoramic windows from damage caused by flying road debris.

The Basecamp 16X starts at $41,800.

Basecamp 20

The Airstream Basecamp 20 is longer, wider, and taller than the 16. This makes room for other changes as well. For example, while the 16 has a shower pass-through, the 20 has a dedicated outdoor shower as well as an indoor shower/wet bath.

Perhaps more noteworthy, while the 16 has the shared gray/black water tank (into which the sinks, indoor shower, and toilet drain), the 20 has dedicated tanks for each. 

Basecamp 20 Specs

The Airstream Basecamp 20 sleeps four people. The 20 has a length of 20 feet, it is 7’ 9” wide, has an exterior height of just over 9′, and an interior height of almost 6’ 7”. It has 16” wheels.

The Basecamp 20 has a payload capacity of 800 pounds, a dry weight of 3500 pounds, and a GVWR of 4300 pounds. 

With greater holding tank capacities, the 20 also has a greater capacity for boondocking. This unit has a 27-gallon freshwater tank, a 28-gallon gray water tank, and a 21-gallon black water tank.  

This unit has two propane tanks totaling 40 gallons of propane, a 9,000 BTU air conditioner with a heat strip, and a more powerful 16,000 BTU propane furnace. Like the Basecamp 16 and 16X, the 20 and 20X have a Truma display that controls cabin heat as well as hot water and power.  

The 20-foot version of the Basecamp graduates to a 4.2 cubic foot all-electric refrigerator and adds two more stabilizing jacks for a total of four. A unique feature of the Basecamp 20 and 20X is a 43 x 78-inch convertible U-shaped dinette/lounge area that seats up to five people. The table swivels to allow easy movement in and out, and it additionally converts to a second bed.

The Airstream Basecamp 20 has a starting retail price of $45,900.

Basecamp 20X

The Airstream Basecamp 20X has very similar specs to the 20 but includes a lift kit that adds an extra three inches of clearance and a two-step entry instead of one.

It rides on tougher 16-inch Goodyear DuraTrac tires and has aluminum wheels. Like the 16X, the 20X offers stainless-steel stone protection in the front. It also has underbody skid protectors for driving over rough terrain. 

The Basecamp 20X comes with a fully enclosed tent that attaches to the trailer’s side, creating a large covered patio. 

The Basecamp 20X starts at $48,900.

Is the Airstream Basecamp Worth It? 

Airstreams are unquestionably popular, but they aren’t for everyone. They’re expensive, and there are many other small, lightweight travel trailers available at a fraction of the price.

But, if you’re an Airstream enthusiast who appreciates its quality and durability and in the market for a rugged travel trailer that will endure years of adventure, the Basecamp may be just the ticket to your ride.

The Airstream Basecamp is the “little buddy” to the classic silver bullet RV, but it shines in its own way, and its versatility is undeniable.

Small enough to be towed by an SUV, the Basecamps pack a lot into a little bit of space and make the most of their small package.

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