As the 2022 model year comes to a close we launch our 2023 product roll-out, the transition is a moment to stop and look back on one of the most eventful years in company history. RV road trips are still top of mind for many travelers as a result of the pandemic, the eStream Concept Travel Trailer laid the groundwork for an electrified era of innovation, and the Airstream Heritage Center officially opened its doors on 90-plus years of incredible history. Keeping our eyes on both the past and future is part of our DNA, but with more and more people discovering the joy of Airstream travel, our curiosity was piqued: What was the most popular model and floor plan for new customers? And what does that say about what our owners want the most when they hit the road?
Choosing the perfect Airstream model and floor plan is a decision that can take months or years — or even decades. The decision to take the plunge leads to asking many new questions, watching hours of walkthrough videos, visiting dealerships, and comparing specifications, features, and amenities. Dialing in the Airstream for you starts with understanding what you want out of your travel lifestyle and then matching that with the perfect Airstream floor plan.
An Overview of the Results
With both curiosity about the choices new Airstream owners made over the course of the last year and the knowledge that their decisions might help others on their own journey to ownership, we dug into the data from July 1, 2021 to July 1, 2022. Here's what we discovered:
- The Most Popular Silver Bullet Floor Plan is the 27FB.
- The Favorite Silver Bullet Single Axle Floor Plan is the 22FB.
- The Most Popular Silver Bullet Airstream Model is the Flying Cloud.
- The Most Popular Model and Floor Plan is the Basecamp 20.
Keep reading to find out some of the reasons why these floor plans and models made the top of the list and also the runner-ups that nearly claimed the top spot in 2022.
The Most Popular Silver Bullet Floor Plan
The iconic travel trailers with the curved aluminum shell have held the nickname "Silver Bullet" for years due to their shiny exterior and aerodynamic shape, enabling them to roll down the highway like a stream of air. The riveted aluminum hasn't strayed far from its roots 90 years ago, but has continued to evolve to meet the needs of the modern explorer. Our Silver Bullet product lineup ranges from 33-foot residential-style all the way to lightweight, 16-foot travel trailers that enable smaller vehicles to tow them. Which one was the most popular throughout model year 2022? Answer: Of the 19 unique floor plans during this time, the 27FB was the most popular, representing 18% of the Silver Bullets.
What Do Owners Love about the 27FB Floor Plan?
A 27FB measures exactly 28 ft. from the rear bumper to the center of the hitch, has an 8' 5.5" exterior width and has a maximum trailer capacity (GVWR) of 7,600 pounds. Their size and weight mean they can be towed by a wide variety of trucks and large SUVs. Overall, the 27FB floor plan checks a lot of the boxes that Airstreamers are looking for in a travel trailer that needs to provide every luxury of home while on the road.
With the bed situated at the front of the travel trailer, the 27FB’s main entry opens to the large living space. Featuring a convertible dinette, lounge, and galley all encapsulated by windows that wrap around the end cap. Whether used as a work station, a spot for family dinners, or a place to relax and socialize, it quite literally becomes the "living" room in this versatile floor plan.
The galley includes a gas stovetop, oven, sink, cabinets, microwave, and refrigerator in an easy-to-manage layout. Move up the hallway toward the bedroom and you’ll find the lavy with toilet and sink directly across from a shower. The bedroom has an option of a queen or twin bed and a beautiful panoramic window that offers brilliant views just about any time of day.
One of the many draws of the 27FB is the careful balance of interior space and storage availability. Overhead storage is found above the dinette, above the kitchen counter, and in the bedroom. Cabinets below the kitchen countertop and a slide-out pantry hold just the right amount of food, utensils, and cookware for long or short-term travel. A large wardrobe with a clothing rack is intentionally placed right in the middle of the floor plan, providing equal access to those staying in the master bedroom or living room.
Whether solo traveling or bringing along friends and family, the 27FB has sleeping capacity for up to 6 people between the convertible dinette, convertible lounge, and master bedroom. If the Flying Cloud or International are on your radar, you can expand the sleeping capacity to 7 with the addition of the optional front bunk. Speaking of optional features, this floor plan offers several upgrade opportunities such as solar panels, a convection microwave, or an additional air conditioner. Looking for the beloved rear hatch? You'll find it in the Flying Cloud and International. How about a powered standing desk? This is exclusively available in the Flying Cloud.
The Flying Cloud, International, and Globetrotter models made up 55% of Airstream travel trailers sold during the 2022 model year. What's the difference between these models? Watch the comparison video and get an inside look at the popular 27FB floor plan featured throughout.
The Silver Bullet Runner-Up
Coming in directly behind the 27FB as the second most popular Silver Bullet Airstream floor plan is the 25FB floor plan. With the same general layout and model availability, 17% of new owners opted for the 25 ft. 11 inch version, narrowly missing the top spot on the podium.
What are the differences? And why 25FB instead of 27FB?
The differences between the floor plans are mostly attributed to the fact that the 25FB is about 2 ft. shorter in length. Most areas and items, such as the dinette, lounge, appliances, lavy, and shower are unaffected but you'll notice less countertop space, a smaller wardrobe, and a thinner slide-out pantry to make everything fit inside the smaller shell. Depending on your travel style, preferences, and who is coming along for the journey, having less space may be a good thing because it's an opportunity to bring less stuff! A key difference with the 25FB is the orientation of the queen bed which is rotated 90° compared to the larger floor plan and positions the headboard on the street side of the shell. While a bedside table may be missing from one side, having the bed at this angle offers a beautiful view out the front panoramic windows that never ceases to amaze.
Overall, the 25FB is a tenacious contender that wraps up almost every feature of the 27FB in a more compact form factor. It matches the tank capacities of the 27FB, qualifies for the same optional features, starts at a lower price point, and weighs less than its longer sibling. Could we see a new champion of floor plans next year?
The Favorite Single Axle Silver Bullet Floor Plan
The Bambi and Caravel models offer four different floor plans inside the iconic Silver Bullet shell, but you'll only find 1 axle (2 wheels) under them because of their lightweight and nimble nature. This assemblage made up 37% of what new owners towed home last year in this category. Of that generous portion, 31% of customers determined the longest floor plan – the 22FB – is the best choice for their adventures yet to come. Step inside the virtual 22FB floor plan 3D here.
What Owners Love about the 22FB
Other than the (somewhat) obvious fact that it's the longest of the single axle Silver Bullet floor plans which means more space and storage, this floor plan incorporates design considerations that make the livable area inside the shell more enjoyable with each use. Strictly looking at the layout of the space and not the differences between Bambi and Caravel, the 22FB brings elements of the larger Airstream floor plans into a much smaller size.
As you step through the entry door located on the rear street side of the travel trailer, you'll enter to find the large convertible U-shaped dinette at the center of it all. Acting as the hub for living, working, cooking, relaxing, and enjoying time inside the Airstream, the dinette sets the stage for what this floor plan is all about: Flexibility. Located at the back of the floor plan inside the rear end cap is the 3-piece bathroom, placing the shower, sink, and toilet all conveniently inside one room that also includes storage, a personal mirror, outlets, and towel bar.
All of the kitchen appliances are neatly lined up on one side of the travel trailer while the dinette top acts as an additional countertop and food preparation space. Perfectly placed in the front end cap is the master bedroom which includes a full-size bed, blackout shades, overhead storage, under-bed storage, and a hamper built into the side of the bed. Because the bed is masterfully engineered with the contour of the rounded end cap, every view is the best view out of the front panoramic and side windows.
Check out the primary differences between the Bambi and Caravel models and get a more detailed look at the popular 22FB floor plan featured in our video.
The Single Axle Runner-up
Claiming the silver award (wink wink) in the second position for single-axle Silver Bullets is the 16RB floor plan. This tiny, yet mighty Airstream made up 26% of the new Bambi and Caravel owners during this time and continues to prove that big things can always come in small packages. Measuring in at just over 16', you'll find everything you need inside a compact and highly efficient layout.
What Owners Love about the 16RB Floor Plan
The smallest member of the family thoughtfully maximizes the number of flexible living areas so you can have everything you need while also avoiding the unnecessary. From a layout perspective, the front dinette and rear bed are at opposite ends while the kitchen and bath are neatly placed in between. Because of the contoured shape of the bed and the design of the Airstream dinette, they fit perfectly within the shell end caps, leaving the entire aisle for moving between the spaces. This floor plan includes a combination waste tank that merges the contents of the gray and black tanks. It also features a space-saving wet bath, all with the intent to simplify the experience and utilize every inch within the tiny frame.
One of the clear benefits of this option is the indisputably small size, decreasing the likelihood that owners will need to shop around or acquire a different vehicle for towing the lightweight beauty. While many single-axle Airstreams can be towed with smaller vehicles with a V6 or comparable engine, the 16' is the shortest and lightest that also carries the iconic style of the Silver Bullet. The Caravel 16RB has a maximum trailer capacity (GVWR) of 4,300 lbs. while the Bambi has a GVWR of 3,500 lbs. — opening up a world of opportunities for several different types of vehicles, including everyday SUVs, crossovers, wagons, minivans, and an ever-expanding list of electric vehicles (EVs). Keep in mind that all of these vehicle types should be properly equipped and we recommend using a quality weight distribution hitch such as Blue Ox.
The number of windows (Caravel 10, Bambi 7) throughout the cabin makes the interior feel larger than it is while also allowing plenty of natural light to flow in. On the Caravel version, a rear panoramic window spans the entire bed area, creating the perfect backdrop no matter where you're parked. Intentionality is at the forefront of not only the design of this floor plan but also the mindset of the owner. Channeling the wanderer's connection to nature, valuing experiences over stuff, and finding excitement from not sitting at home in an armchair is exactly what the 16' does — all while still being able to bring along the comforts of home.
Which Silver Bullet Airstream Model is the Most Popular?
The unique badges found on the exterior of each Airstream are almost as iconic as the aluminum shell itself. Dating back to the earliest days of company history, our badges capture the model's identity — both in style and personality. Which one of those Silver Bullet badges was most popular in 2022? Answer: The Flying Cloud.
History and Fun Facts
Originally introduced in 1949, the Flying Cloud has a storied past that originated with Wally Byam's love of the sea. The model was named after a clipper ship that set the world's sailing record for the fastest passage between New York and San Francisco. After Airstream opened a second factory in Jackson Center, Ohio, the first travel trailer came off the production line in September of 1952 with the serial number O-0001. This model year 1953 Flying Cloud is proudly on display in the Airstream Heritage Center today.
Since the reintroduction of the Flying Cloud model name in 2009, it has offered the most diverse set of floor plans of any Airstream in the history of the company and has continued to give customers the perfect balance of amenities, options, and capabilities. The family-friendly nature of the model includes a light and airy décor and exclusive floor plans optimized for bringing everybody along for the adventure.
The 30' Flying Cloud with a master bedroom in the front offers a bunk bed option that sleeps up to 8 people or the ability to choose an office version, placing a convertible desk where the bunk bed would otherwise be. We can't forget the 27FB and 25FB are also available within the Flying Cloud lineup, making up a large portion of the popularity of this model. It's possible to get a 23', 25' with a rear bed, 28', or 30' option with the same look and features seen in the two top floor plans.
What’s the Most Popular Model and Floor Plan?
The topic of plenty of campfire conversations, a common question at RV shows, and an enduring Google search (with 4,720,000 possible results), there's really only one answer to the question of "What's the most popular Airstream model and floor plan combination?" Answer: The Basecamp 20.
What Owners Love about the Basecamp 20
Airstream is a company built on the concept of community, kinship, and learning through life’s experiences no matter where the road may take you. The Basecamp 20 is the culmination of that spirit and commitment to ongoing product development for enabling adventure with the comforting experience of the familiar. This popular combination resulted in 20% of the newest members of the Airstream travel trailer community throughout model year 2022.
When you want or need to go a little further off the trail, the Basecamp 20 gives you almost no reason to hesitate. The optional X-package features a lift kit, larger Goodyear off-road tires and stylized wheels, stainless steel front stone guards, and tinted window guards. See all of the interior and exterior details in the 3D model here or experience it in augmented reality here. At just over 20 feet, its size makes it one of the lightest and easiest-to-tow options. With a unit base weight of 3,400 lbs. and max trailer capacity of 4,300 lbs., it can seamlessly trail behind an extensive list of the common SUVs, smaller trucks, or even your camper van.
This floor plan isn’t just longer – it’s also taller and wider than the Basecamp 16. By extending the floor plan by four feet and reconfiguring the layout, the space feels significantly larger and serves the needs of the modern nomadic family. Encapsulated at the front with the panoramic windows is the U-shaped dinette that seats up to 4 people and also converts into sleeping space for up to 2 individuals. Beside the table, the all-electric refrigerator and optional microwave are positioned for quick access. The kitchen counter, cabinets, sink, and range top are located directly in the middle of the floor plan across the hall from the wetbath.
The ultra-flexible living space can be used as an open floor for tossing in gear or bikes, half beds from the sides or front to back, as well as a massive complete bed that measures 82 in x 78 in. The latest model year 2023 updates have continued the innovation trend for the Basecamp with the transition to composite flooring and upgraded solar power.
There you have it! These most popular models and floor plans represent data from owners who have recently joined the #LiveRiveted community. Did your favorite(s) make the list? Learn more about all of our travel trailer models, configure your perfection combination, or keep reading to discover some questions you should be asking yourself as you embark on your Airstream journey.
Questions to Ask (Yourself) Before Buying
Before choosing your Airstream model:
- What’s your interior design preference?
- What sort of amenities are must-haves?
- Are you contemplating a rear hatch?
- What’s your vehicle's maximum towing capacity or what vehicle do you need to safely tow your favorite?
- Where and when are you looking to travel?
- How much time will you be spending inside the travel trailer? Is it for weekend trips, multi-week, or even full-time?
When choosing a travel trailer length:
- What are your space needs, and will they change over time?
- Are you comfortable with towing longer travel trailers?
- Will you be working remotely?
- How much storage space is going to be needed?
- What sort of budget do you have in mind?
- What sleeping capacity do you need?
- Where will you keep it while not using it?
- Understand the differences between a 3-piece bathroom, lavy and stand-alone shower, and wetbath.
While considering bedding:
- Traveling solo, with a partner, or exploring with the family?
- Do you need bed space for kids or guests? Read more about measuring sleeping capacity, types of lounges, and convertible sleeping spaces in travel trailers.
- Love powered bed options?
- Do you want a bunk for extra sleeping space?
- The Queen Bed vs Twin Beds decision — It may seem a bit awkward at first if you travel with a partner, but choosing a twin bed option has three major benefits (depending on your travel use cases, of course). First, twin bed configurations extend the floor space that is available which makes the travel trailer appear longer and opens up walking and preparation space. Twin bed floor plans also create an additional lounging or working space during the day when you don't necessarily want to lay in bed or if you want to create your own space while your partner is set up at the main dinette. Lastly, you can make trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night without disturbing your partner.