It’s official: Airstream and REI, a match made in heaven, have joined together in creating a special edition, small-footprint off-grid travel trailer that’ll get exploration-loving recreationists closer to the wilderness they’re so passionate about. The utility-focused Airstream Basecamp travel trailer serves as the activity hub, the transportation means to getting outdoor gear (enter REI) and its users straight into the heart of nature where it belongs. Airstream and REI had fun on this project—maybe too much fun. The result oozes passion and makes us want to ditch the city immediately.
The 2023 REI Co-Op Special Edition Airstream Basecamp collaboration starts with the nimble Airstream Basecamp 16X, which is the smaller 16-foot Basecamp travel trailer (there’s also a 20-foot version) outfitted with the off-road X-Package. This off-road package includes a 3-inch lift kit, an increased departure angle, Goodyear Wrangler 235/75R15 all-terrain tires wrapped around special aluminum black wheels with chrome detailing, stainless steel stone guards shrouding the front, and window protection for that awesome panoramic front. Suited for bumpy trails, an occasional mild water crossing, and steeper driveways, the X-Package doesn’t magically make the Basecamp an overlanding trailer.
Spruced-up styling comes courtesy of REI Special Edition décor. New Spruce, a color commonly associated with REI, can be found on the LP shroud, the rear door jamb and trim, and the exterior badging. Elements of the New Spruce green carry into the interior to help distinguish it from the Forest Ridge, Glacier Lake, and Red Rock Basecamp interiors. Soft Knoll fabric upholstery, 50 percent post-consumer recycled polyester, has a stain repellant finish to guard against the aftermath of adventuring. A green slate galley top and UV coated birch-ply cabinetry add warmth. The raised-coin vinyl floor is grippy and durable, built atop a composite (not wood) sub-floor. There’s even an Airstream + REI logo’d entrance mat.
The easy-to-tow 2,700-pound REI Special Edition Airstream Basecamp has plenty of creative storage for 800 pounds of trailer and recreational gear. Bikes and gear can be loaded through the larger rear hatch door, and there’s under-bed storage, lockable storage inside the entry door end cabinet, overhead storage, tie-down hooks, and an aluminum L-track storage system on the floor and walls. The rear dinette (with its two green slate table tops supported by aluminum pedestals) can be converted into a complete bed (76-in x 76-in) or a half bed. For even more space, we were intrigued by an optional fully enclosed attaching tent with Air Tube Technology.
Two cool standard features focus on water, a precious resource when off-grid. The first is a water filtration system; water purification is an off-grid must. A pre-filter and UV-LED Smart Drinking Faucet allow for disinfected drinking water straight from the 21-gallon fresh water tank (filled with potable water). The second is a recirculating water heater, which means water doesn’t get passed to the faucet until it’s the right temperature. It stays in the tank until it’s warm enough, so you don’t put water down the drain while you wait for it to heat up.
Two cool optional features focus on solar power and the potty. Okay, these are completely unrelated, no matter how we try to connect them. For those times when a power source is not an option, there’s an optional 360w flexible rooftop solar panel system with a 200Ah lithium battery bank powered by Battle Born batteries. This maximizes unused roof space with four flat, adhesive panels. The second optional feature is a composting toilet, which eliminates the need for flushing and uses significantly less water, resulting in less water draining into the 24-gallon gray/black water tank.
Last but not least, there’s some REI swag included in the deal in the form of a 25-piece REI Co-op + Airstream Basecamp product kit that includes REI-branded and partner-branded products. Included, for example, are two Flexlite Camp Dreamer Chairs, Campwell picnic table and bench covers, OXO kitchen utensils, towels, mugs, a rechargeable lantern, various sizes of Pack-Away Cubes, and a Camp Roll Table. Airstream says there’s dedicated storage for all this stuff inside the Basecamp. There’s also an REI shower caddy that we saw listed separately in the specs.
The standard 2022 Airstream Basecamp 16 starts at $46,000. This REI Special Edition ones runs $52,900—but remember, it gets the X-Package and the full REI treatment. This special edition can be ordered through Airstream dealers immediately, and there’s even a sweepstakes that’ll land an REI Basecamp in the driveway of one lucky REI member.