We Go Camping in an Airstream Basecamp 20X
The little trailer that’s big on adventure and style.
If there's one thing we love more than anything else, it's getting out and exploring the world around us. A great way to do this is with a travel trailer. And sometimes it's best to have a trailer that is not a bloated rolling house on wheels, rather a nimble mobile domicile that can go anywhere. Enter the Airstream Basecamp and the new for 2020 Basecamp 20 and 20X.
Airstream has built the Basecamp to be a go-anywhere, do-anything hub of outdoor recreation. It's packed with thoughtful and useful features, while leaving behind a lot of the fluff that's not needed in the great outdoors. We've dug deep into what makes the Airsteam Basecamp X special, along with the new for 2021 Basecamp 20 and 20X. We won't rehash those here, so hit the links if you need to learn the basics before proceeding.
When Airstream asked if we wanted to give the new 2021 Basecamp 20 a go, we jumped at the opportunity. We've spent time in the larger Airstream Flying Cloud and Classic models, so of course we were excited to get into the smallest of the Airstreams for a weekend.
Planning on spending time with the standard Basecamp 20, we lined up a 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk for towing duties. However, when we picked up the trailer from the local Airstream dealer it turned out to be a 20X model. It would have been a better fit to tow behind a Trailhawk than a Trackhawk, but it's the hand we were dealt. Speaking of bum deals, we also ran into the issue of the entire West Coast being ravaged by horrible wildfires. Because of this, all national forests were closed during our time with the Basecamp, along with heavy restrictions (both fire and COVID related) being placed on other campsites and public lands. Thankfully, we found a spot at a lake not far from home and salvaged the weekend.
One of the first things that we noticed about the Airstream Basecamp 20X is how great the trailer towed. We've got a wealth of experience towing all sizes of trailers under our belts, and this Airstream was the best single-axle trailer we've ever towed. It stayed straight and true to the tow vehicle with no weird wagging or wandering. It was very maneuverable and easy to reverse (though short single-axle trailers are no walk in the park to reverse to begin with). It's also quite nice that the Basecamp 20X is light, weighing just 3,500 pounds (including propane and batteries). Fully loaded, the trailer can get up to a max GVWR of 4,300 pounds. This allows for 800 pounds of water, food, gear, etc. to be loaded into the trailer, which we're certain we did.
The next thing most people will notice about the Basecamp is the additional rear door. This door is a touch wider than the standard front door and provides the ability to load gear directly into the Basecamp. We used the rear door to load a pair of full-size 26-inch bicycles. Using the six tiedown locations provided on the trailer's floor we were able to easily secure the two bikes inside the Basecamp. With the boattail rise of the rear of the Basecamp, it was a tad tough lifting our heavy e-bikes into the trailer, but with two people it's no big deal at all. We also had plenty of room to load in a child's bike and a bicycle trailer, as well.
While the Basecamp trailers aren't huge, they use the available interior space quite well. Our Basecamp 20X tester claimed room for four to sleep, and with both the rear and front seating areas able to convert to beds, we believe it. Four adults might be a challenge, unless everyone is already real cozy with each other, but a family of four easily fits with room to spare. We found the Basecamp to have plenty of storage space and cabinets, and the overhead storage racks were useful and fit in with the adventurous theme of the Basecamp.
The Basecamp is designed to be used off the grid and comes with a 27-gallon freshwater tank. At first glance that may seem small, but unless you're planning on extended showers, we've found it to be plenty for a weekend away. Our test trailer had the optional 180-watt solar panel setup, which is great for camping in temperate climates. If you opt for the air conditioning or microwave, however, you'll need to connect to shore power or use a generator. We easily powered the Basecamp with a pair of Yamaha suitcase generators.
Overall, our short time with the Airstream Basecamp 20X was quite enjoyable. We had plenty of room to sleep a family of four, loads of space for our adventure gear, a galley that made feeding everyone easy, and a fairly comfortable bathroom (it's the little things that make all the difference). And being an Airstream, we got plenty of attention (including more than one on compliment while on the freeway). For those looking for a lightweight trailer that's built with adventure in mind, look no further than the Airstream Basecamp.