Airstream's Basecamp model line has been a favorite among enthusiasts for years, and it continues to captivate with its blend of craftsmanship and design. Inspired by one of Airstream founder Wally Byam’s original travel trailers, the Torpedo, the Basecamp was first produced for the 2007 model year. In 2017 it was redesigned with more amenities and improvements to enhance its off-grid capabilities and ensure a comfortable travel experience. Today, we manufacture all Basecamp 16, Basecamp 20, and REI Co-op Special Edition Basecamp Travel Trailers in this facility.
Now, you can step inside Airstream’s Basecamp Production Facility on a new video tour. Get an up-close look at each of the build stations and watch as we manufacture Basecamp Travel Trailers from the wheels up. Then, schedule an in-person tour of our Basecamp plant and see it for yourself.
Watch our virtual tour of Airstream’s Basecamp Production Facility and schedule an in-person tour today to see it for yourself.
A Best-Selling Model Line Built on an Iconic Foundation
Airstream's Basecamp model line has been a favorite among enthusiasts for years, and it continues to captivate with its blend of craftsmanship and design. Inspired by one of Airstream founder Wally Byam’s original travel trailers, the Torpedo, the Basecamp was first produced for the 2007 model year. In 2017 it was redesigned with more amenities and improvements to enhance its off-grid capabilities and ensure a comfortable travel experience.
The Basecamp Manufacturing Facility
Located in a 70,000-square-foot plant in Jackson Center, Ohio, the Basecamp manufacturing facility is adjacent to our Touring Coach manufacturing facility. Originally constructed in 1978, this facility became the home of the Basecamp production line after a substantial expansion in 2017. Here, the spirit of adventure comes to life as skilled craftsmen handcraft each Basecamp trailer with utmost precision and attention to detail.
Building the Basecamp Foundation
The manufacturing process begins in the chassis build area, with the arrival of the ladder frame chassis. Rubber torsion axles, independent wheel suspension, and wheels are meticulously installed, along with the necessary wiring and plumbing. The flooring, made of composite material for improved durability and water resistance, is carefully laid out to complete the foundation.
Crafting the Basecamp Shell
Nearby in the shell build station, the compact yet robust riveted aluminum superstructure of the Basecamp takes shape. Using fabricated steel frame jigs, craftspeople assemble the shell components. Aluminum frame pieces, pre-formed down the street in Airstream's Travel Trailer production facility, are joined with sturdy buck rivets to create a durable and iconic structure. Thermal barrier bonding tape is added to enhance insulation, while the front panoramic and side windows are installed to help flood the interior with natural light.
Attention to Detail
As the Basecamp progresses along the production line, the interior and exterior components are added in stages. From electrical wiring and plumbing to doors, plumbing lines, and LP components, every detail is carefully considered. The rooftop components, including air conditioning units, solar panels, and venting, are installed and sealed. Undercarriage body covers and fender flares are added to give the Basecamp its rugged appearance.
The Basecamp Water Check
Like every Airstream product, we put the Basecamp through a 25-30 minute water check. During this process, an Airstream associate inside the Basecamp shell looks for any leaks. On the rare occasion that a leak is found, it’s repaired and sent back for another water check. Only once we are certain that the shell is watertight does the Basecamp make its way to the final finish line where furniture, appliances, seating, and more are installed.
Installing Insulation and Aluminum Skins
Upon returning from water check, interior insulation is added to the walls and ceiling. The next step involves shaping and installing aluminum interior skins, which create a riveted shell within a shell and give the Basecamp its signature shiny interior. These aluminum skins are produced down the road at Airstream's Travel Trailer facility.
After the installation of aluminum skins, the interior trim and storage bars are carefully installed. Lighting fixtures are positioned on the ceiling, and fuse panels, heater, and battery box are laid out, mounted, and secured. The interior wiring is routed through pre-cut extrusions in the aluminum skins, and the solar panel charger and converter are also installed.
Basecamp's Wet Bath, Cabinetry, and Seating
Once the water pump, water heater, plumbing lines, and drains are installed, the wet bath is mounted and installed, and all plumbing connections are secured. A pressure test is conducted to ensure there are no leaks, and once confirmed, the shower surround and trim are installed.
The initial pieces of cabinetry for Basecamp are prepared by Airstream's wood shop team located in the nearby Class B touring coach facility. Using a CNC router, the cabinetry panels are precisely cut to maintain quality and achieve precise tolerances. The component pieces are then brought back over to the Basecamp facility where skilled associates in the woodshop construct each cabinet by hand, ensuring the same level of craftsmanship found in all Airstream products. Once built, the galley, dinette, and bench pieces are then placed in their designated spaces and secured.
Window Treatments and Appliances
Window treatments, including blackout curtains, are manufactured down the road in the sewing department at Airstream’s Travel Trailer facility. Once completed, the window treatments are delivered to the Basecamp plant for installation. Appliances such as stove tops and microwaves are also installed. Additionally, the shower doors are fitted and adjusted to ensure a proper fit and finish.
Quality Control and Final Touches
After the major components have been installed, the Airstream team focuses on the smaller details that add to the overall charm and functionality of the Basecamp. Mirrors, cushions, curtains, trim, and pedestals for the tables are carefully installed at this stage. Finally, the propane tank cover is installed as the last production item on the exterior.
Before the Basecamp is ready for shipping, a comprehensive final walk-through is conducted. The unit undergoes a thorough cleaning, followed by detailed system tests and visual inspections. Inspectors test appliances, check the LP gas system for pressure and fill the drain system to ensure no leaks. On average, each trailer undergoes 1,500 inspection points. If any item fails to meet specifications, it is promptly sent for repair. Once all inspections are completed, the interior and exterior receive a final cleaning.
Airstream utilizes 21st-century technology, including in-house software development and digital tools, to maintain lasting quality. Inspectors carry tablets with extensive checklists tailored to each model and its features. These tablets are connected to the quality department and transportation department, ensuring real-time data transmission. Only units that achieve a passing grade are released for shipping to authorized Airstream dealers.
Embarking on Basecamp Adventures
After successfully passing inspection, the Airstream Basecamp is ready to leave Jackson Center and make its way to authorized Airstream dealers, where eager customers await the opportunity to embark on their road trip adventures. From the riveted aluminum shell and durable chassis components to the hand-built cabinetry and meticulous quality review, Basecamp is an integral part of our iconic travel trailer lineup. From the initial design inspired by Wally Byam's vision to the craftsmanship and attention to detail, Basecamp embodies the spirit of adventure.
Ready to take your own Basecamp adventure? Download a Basecamp brochure and locate your nearest dealer to see our most adventurous travel trailer yourself.