There may be nothing more American than drinking a Coca-Cola, driving a Ford, or camping in an Airstream. These brands are iconic. When you see an Airstream dashing down the highway, you might wish you had one. If you’re looking for a small trailer so you can go out and enjoy nature, you can have your wish. We’ll look at the smallest Airstream travel trailer. Let’s dive in!
Airstream is possibly the world’s most recognizable travel trailer. The aerodynamic aluminum shell glistens as it cruises down the interstate. Airstreams don’t have any slides, so the interior space is minimal, but the vintage look has lasted for 90 years.
In 1931, Wally Byam began the Airstream company in California. He had put together a travel trailer since his wife didn’t like sleeping in a tent, and several neighbors asked him to make trailers for them, too. From that moment on, his life changed forever.
During World War II, he closed the factory since the military needed aluminum, but it reopened during the post-war years. In 1952, Wally opened a second Airstream factory in Jackson Center, Ohio, where it remains in operation today.
Customers know Airstreams for their superior quality and craftsmanship. As of 2006, 65% of the Airstreams ever made were still on the road. Most owners never let go of their Airstreams, but if they do, the resale value is much higher than standard travel trailers. This is good news for owners since the initial investment is so high.
Airstreams aren’t cheap. The largest and most expensive model, the Classic starts at $188,100, while the cheapest model, the Basecamp, starts at $46,000.
What Is the Smallest Airstream?
The answer to this question is not as straightforward as one might initially think. The shortest Airstream travel trailer is the Bambi 16RB at 16′ 1″ long and 8′ wide. However, the Basecamp 16 has an exterior length of 16′ 2″—only one inch longer than the Bambi—yet has a smaller interior due to its width of only 7′.
While each camper was designed for a different travel style, it’s an apples-to-apples comparison when you look at the specs. Still, we’re inclined to name the Basecamp the smaller of the two simply because it has less square footage and a shorter ceiling than the Bambi.
Pro Tip: Want to test run an Airstream before you buy? Find out Where You Can Get the Best Deals on an Airstream Rental.
About the Basecamp 16
The Basecamp includes a 26” x 46” rear hatch to store all your gear, from kayaks to bicycles. There’s 126” of cargo depth without any obstructions, so those long fishing poles will fit just fine. It also comes with an outdoor shower, multiple charging stations, an air conditioning unit, a furnace, and a water heater.
The Basecamp 16 is 16’ 2″ long, 7′ wide, and 8′ 8.75″ tall (with the AC). The GVWR is 3,500 lbs. Rear benches provide seating for five and convert to a sleeping space for two. The front kitchen has everything you need to prepare a weekend meal.
One of the best features of the Basecamp model is the front panoramic window. If you aren’t outside, you still get stunning views. The windows and skylights make you feel like you’re camping under the stars.
Even at 16′, Airstream included a wet bath in the Basecamp with a shower, toilet, and sink. You can even use the showerhead pass-through for an outdoor shower if you need to clean up after a long day of hiking.
The front kitchen area includes a two-burner gas stove, a 12V electric refrigerator, a microwave, a sink, and ample storage. The two rear tables are adjustable and removable, which means comfortable lounging during the day and easy accessibility to sleep at night.
If you’d like to camp off-road in remote locations, you can add the X-Package for an additional fee. This upgrade includes Goodyear Wrangler tires and black shadow wheels, a three-inch lift kit, a raised hitch jack footpad, stainless steel rock guards, and a solar window guard. This package provides additional road clearance and protects the exterior as you travel off the beaten path.
Does the Airstream Basecamp Have a Toilet?
The Basecamp 16 includes a wet bath with a gravity flush toilet and a 24-gallon combined gray and black tank. As the name “wet bath” implies, everything inside the bathroom can get wet when you shower, including the toilet.
How Much Does an Airstream Basecamp Cost?
The Basecamp 16 starts at $46,000. Its big sister, the Basecamp 20, starts at $54,400. These numbers increase as you add options and install upgrades. For example, you can add a rooftop solar package for $2,400 or the X-Package for $2,700. If you order directly from Airstream, shipping and freight charges can also be over $2,000.
Pro Tip: Want to skip the towing and setting up part of camping in an Airstream? Learn more about the company that sets up camp in an Airstream for you.
What Is the Second Smallest Airstream Trailer?
The second smallest Airstream is the Bambi 16RB travel trailer. It starts at $59,300 and measures 16′ 1″ in length. It has an exterior width of 8′ and a height of 9′ 3″ (with the AC). This floorplan sleeps up to four people and has a GVWR of 3,500 lbs.
The 16RB features a rear 48″ x 78″ bed, a front dinette that converts to additional sleeping space, and a wet bath. The kitchen has a 3.1 cubic foot 12V refrigerator, sink, two-burner stove, microwave, and storage for food and cookware.
Other notable interior features include an air conditioner with a heat strip, LED lighting, panoramic front windows with blackout shades, and an on-demand tankless water heater. This RV also comes pre-wired for solar, and you can add an optional 90W rooftop solar package for an additional $2,100.
Is an Airstream Basecamp Worth It?
Any Airstream travel trailer is worth it if you can afford the upfront cost. The smallest Airstream, the Basecamp, is perfect for weekenders looking to escape and relax in nature. Because of its weight, you can tow it with almost any vehicle.
You can take it off-road and boondock for the weekend or venture to the closest campground for some fun. For a solo traveler or a couple wanting to make the weekend an outdoor adventure, the Basecamp might be the perfect fit.
If you love the look of Airstream travel trailers, you have to see these 7 Stylish Retro Campers That Embody Classic RV Camping.
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