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15th of August 2018

Automotive



Airstream’s $40,000 Baby Trailer Gets an Off-Roading Upgrade

If you’re considering adding some #vanlife to your Instagram feed but lack either (a) a van, or (b) a place outside your Bushwick walk-up to stash the 28-foot Airstream Land Yacht, consider the Airstream Basecamp. At 16 feet long and 2,635 pounds, the silver bullet’s baby brother is svelte enough to be towed with most midsize SUVs and short enough to slide into a New York City parking spot.

If that wasn’t convenient enough, this week Airstream released an optional upgrade to make the Basecamp even better suited for your off-road adventures. The X-Package comes with a 3-inch lift kit that increases ground clearance and all-terrain tires from Goodyear, a stainless steel front stone guard to keep the rolling home looking shiny and new, and a solar protector for the big front windows to keep things cool and private. (The package brings the Basecamp’s base price up from $34,900 to $39,600.)

I spent a few days in the Basecamp last summer, during my annual pilgrimage to Monterey for the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The light weight and limited length make it easy to tow, even for a novice like myself (though I learned the scary way that fast-food drive-thrus are no place for trailers). The front half of the unit holds the galley (sink, stove, microwave, mini-fridge) and some surprisingly capacious cabinet space. The bathroom offers just enough room to use the toilet or take a shower (an either/or proposition), and the bench seating in the back half converts into a full-size bed.

Enjoying life in the Basecamp requires a combination of logistical zeal and zen. The small space encourages slow, measured movements. You have to be ready to spend a few minutes setting up the bed every night, and converting it back to the bench-and-table setup every morning. Minimalism helps: The less stuff you bring with you, the more room you’ll have for yourself.

These things are not my personal strengths, but it didn’t matter much. That’s because I was using the Basecamp the way the name implies you should: not as a home, but as a place for snacking and sleeping breaks between time spent outdoors. So the new X-Package is the logical move for Airstream: The extra capability means you’ll be able to spend more time out in the field, and away from home base.

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