In the world of commerce, some corporate collaborations simply make sense — this is one of them. REI Co-op has been providing equipment to outdoor adventurers since its inception in 1938, which happens to be a few years after Airstream started building travel trailers for campers. And today the two enthusiast companies come together to create the REI Co-op Special Edition Airstream Basecamp travel trailer — a sustainably designed unit catering to fans of the outdoors and both trusted brands.
Bringing It Together
Plans to create this partnership have been in the works for 10 years. Sources say it took a while for both parties to determine the products that would best represent the companies. “We’re honored to partner with REI on this special edition Basecamp travel trailer, and this partnership is another example of the efforts we’re taking to help reduce the carbon footprint of travel across the world in an Airstream,” said Airstream president and CEO Bob Wheeler.
REI Co-op has been supporting campers with quality products for more than 80 years, but since 2019 the company has noted an uptick in demand for vehicle-supported camping items such as refrigerators, shelters and rooftop tents. This new collaboration with Airstream brings together the car camper and the backpacker, with the intention of adding more convenience and amenities to enhance the outdoor experience.
Changing How People Camp
“REI has seen an expansion of the types of products people are buying and the ways in which people are camping, particularly from a rising customer segment that is younger, more diverse, and more spontaneous,” said Isabelle Portilla, divisional vice president of REI Co-op brands product strategy and design. “This special-edition travel trailer collaboration is a great solution for vehicle-supported camping that enables a comfortable and personal experience, whether . . . booking Hipcamp reservations, or being self-sustained at a more remote location,” Portilla observed.
The basis for this special edition is Airstream’s popular Basecamp 16X. The entry-level model in the trailer maker’s lineup, this versatile unit features a large rear hatch for easy loading, panoramic front windows, a convertible dinette, a stove, a refrigerator, sleeping space for two, and a full bathroom with a shower. The standard X package for the Basecamp provides additional equipment so campers can head a bit off the beaten path on further adventures, featuring a 3-inch lift kit, all-terrain tires, stainless steel front stone guards, solar front window protection and an increased departure angle.
To supplement the special features of the REI Basecamp, Airstream includes a number of distinguishing features to set this special edition apart from standard models. Touches of iconic REI green can be found throughout the trailer, including special REI badging, rear hatch trim and a green strip across the front tank propane cover, emblazoned with “AIRSTREAM.” The iconic REI color can be found throughout the interior, and an REI Co-op badge is stenciled onto the cabinetry above the refrigerator.
Sustainable Materials, Features
The customer bases of both Airstream and REI are sustainability-focused, so designers outfitted the REI Co-op Special Edition Airstream Basecamp with this in mind. This unique travel trailer gets outfitted with cabinets constructed from lightweight and sustainably-grown birch, special stain-resistant fabrics made from post-consumer recycled materials, and a cutting board / sink cover produced from recycled paper. The trailer also features a recirculating water heater that eliminates the need to run water down the drain while waiting for heated water to emerge from the faucet. The Basecamp also happens to be the most aerodynamic trailer in the Airstream lineup, making it more fuel efficient as well.
Off the Grid
The REI Co-op Special Edition Airstream Basecamp caters to the adventurous customer who, as Wheeler pointed out, wants to “get further from the asphalt and stay there longer.” To that end, the REI Basecamp can be equipped with rooftop solar panels producing up to 360 watts, and store the energy produced in a 200Ah lithium battery bank for considerable off-grid operation. The Basecamp also has an advanced UV-LED water filtration and purification system and an optional composting toilet.
Take It With You
Thanks to the Airstream Basecamp 16X’s large rear hatch, the trailer can be easily loaded with various recreational equipment required for outdoor adventuring, such as kayaks, bikes or even a hammock if the daily adventure entails staring at towering treetops in between naps. Well-placed gear tracks on the floor and wall easily secure items for travel as well as during overnight stays.
Buyers of the REI Co-op Special Edition Airstream Basecamp also get a 25-piece REI kit full of goodies designed to enhance camping adventures. These include REI Co-op Camp Flexlite Dreamer Chairs, Camp Roll Table, Camp Blanket, cooking utensils, mugs, multiple stowage cubes, a first-aid kit, an outdoor cutting board with knife, a deck of playing cards and much more.
For adventurous spirits who enjoy spending the day hiking, biking, swimming or generally taking part in outdoor activities, the Airstream Basecamp is appropriately named — since it actually makes an excellent basecamp. With its raised ride height, the Basecamp 16X can be towed with ease and be set up far from civilization. After a day playing hard in the great outdoors, owners can return to the Basecamp for a shower, a hot meal, a cold beverage and a comfortable bed. The next morning campers can (after appreciating the luxury of an actual toilet in the middle of nowhere) cook up breakfast and head out for their next adventure.
The Airstream REI Co-op Special Edition Basecamp has a base starting price of $52,900 and can be ordered immediately from an authorized Airstream dealer. REI Co-op members will have first access to these special travel trailers, but they will be generally available by late August.