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2021 Airstream Basecamp Off-Road Travel Trailer: An Even Bigger Model Begging for a Highway Hiatus

Have your adventure…and your luxury, too.

There are bigger Basecamps about to be established in the woods, in the form of the new 2021 Airstream Basecamp 20 and 20X. The all-terrain travel trailer—and its off-road-enhanced X-Package variant—is a longer, taller, and wider version of the original Basecamp (now known as the Basecamp 16 and 16X), Airstream's best-selling travel trailer that was originally launched in 2007 and redesigned in 2016. All Airstream trailers share a nomadic heritage of free-spirited travel, as well as an aluminum aesthetic, but the modern-looking Basecamps are specifically tailored toward gear-hauling outdoor adventurers.

The Basecamp travel trailers—designed to be smaller, lighter, and higher off the ground—are made from the same riveted aluminum as Airstream's other traditional travel trailers, but have a shape that differs from the iconic "silver bullet." The rear swoops up, creating an aggressive departure angle that won't drag through every tiny dip in the road. Large wheels and tires, rock guards, and wheel flares protect against rocks and debris. The larger Basecamp 20 and the 20X were created to satisfy customer desires for separate eating and sleeping spaces. As you may have surmised, the 20 and 20X are 20 feet long, giving them four feet on their smaller siblings.

Indeed, in most dimensions, the Basecamp 20 outmeasures the Basecamp 16, allowing for more friends, features, and storage. The 20 and 20X pack a 27-gallon fresh water tank, 28-gallon gray water tank, and 21-gallon black water tank versus the 16s' 21-gallon fresh water tank and a 24-gallon gray and black water combo tank. The newer models also add two stabilizer jacks for a total of four, can sleep four people instead of two, and have a 4.3-cubic-foot refrigerator versus a 3.1-cubic-foot unit. The base weight is 3,400 pounds, up from 2,650, while the 20s' GVWR of 4,300 pounds is up by 800. Finally, the furnace is rated for 16,000 btus versus 14,300, an external shower is fitted in place of a passthrough, and the whole thing rolls on 16-inch wheels versus 15-inchers. Simply put, the Basecamp 20 is the big brother of the Basecamp 16.

The size advantage of the Basecamp 20 over the Basecamp 16 really shows when it comes to the interior. The Basecamp 20 is about four feet longer overall and 10 inches wider inside than the Basecamp 16, and the additional square footage allowed Airstream to completely revamp the interior layout and add tons of additional storage. At the forward-facing panoramic window, a Basecamp 2-exclusive, 43x78-inch convertible U-shaped dinette can also serve as a lounge and bed. It seats up to five, and the table swivels in a way that allows occupants to get in and out of one side without pushing the surface into others on the opposite side.

The addition of the dinette necessitated relocating the kitchen counter, cabinets, sink, and range top to the midsection of the trailer, across the hallway from the full wet bath with a shower, sink and toilet. The all-electric refrigerator has an optional microwave stacked on top. Basecamp 20 interior d cor options for the seating, laminates, cargo bags, and flooring include Forest Ridge, Red Rock, and Glacier Lake; these are shared with the Basecamp 16.

Like the Basecamp 16, the rear flex-space of the Basecamp 20 can be used for storage, sleeping, and eating—just with more room, and it's accessible through a 26x46-inch rear hatch with a roll-down screen. Remove the tables for an open floor and the area can be used to store bikes or other gear, and the space can also be converted to a massive bed that measures 78 inches by 82 inches. (For reference, a king-size bed measures 76 by 80.) The space can also transform into half beds, or become a workstation or dining area with the tables in place. In all, there are seven different bench configurations.

For those desiring even more off-road durability, the Basecamp X-Package, already available for the Basecamp 16, is also offered on the Basecamp 20. The 20X includes beefier tires (Goodyear 235/85R16 DuraTracs), stylized aluminum wheels, stainless-steel stone protection up front, tinted window guards, underbody skid protectors, a lift kit that adds an extra three inches of clearance, and a two-step entry instead of a one-step entry. There's also a fully enclosed tent that attaches to the door side of the trailer, creating a large patio for additional socializing or covered outdoor storage. The Basecamp 20 starts at $45,900, and the Basecamp 20X starts at $48,900.

All iconic Airstream touring coaches and travel trailers—including the Flying Cloud and Classic—are handbuilt at the Airstream headquarters in Jackson Center, Ohio. According to Airstream—and we couldn't agree more—it doesn't "actually build travel trailers. Instead, we build someone's retirement, their well-deserved vacation, or their retreat from a hectic day." We'd be happy to retreat in the new Basecamp, that's for sure.