If the Japanese-built X-Cabin small trailer left you feeling a little claustrophobic, Airstream has the shiny aluminum fix you need. Not only does its all-new Trade Wind trailer offer loads more space inside, sleeping up to five people, it’s designed to put space between you and the park-bound hordes, providing a full suite of off-grid amenities meant to support and coddle campers during boondocking. It’s an impressive marriage of old-world hospitality and new-world technology.
Airstream will always be closely associated with beautiful, museum-grade retro-modern campers that look best parked next to the striped knolls of a vineyard, or at the head of a hanging-light-bedecked glamping pad. And while Airstream is always happy to lean into that image, it doesn’t mean it can’t have a second side to its personality. For the past few years, the company has been slowly and steadily growing a lineup of off-road trailers and vans meant to support off-road/off-grid exploration and adventure hunting.
What Airstream had not previously done was focus those two divergent sides into one singular product. The Trade Wind is its first effort toward that end, and while it won’t be towing its way across the Rubicon Trail in one piece, it is designed to support recreationists looking to make camp deeper in the wild. It appears to be a direct answer to similarly high-end off-grid offerings from alu-bodied competitors like Bowlus and Living Vehicle, albeit at a lower price of entry than either.
Unlike the small Basecamp series, the Trade Wind is a traditional Airstream through and through, measuring in at just over 26 feet (7.9 m) long according to the precise measurement on the spec sheet (rounded down to 25 feet in marketing materials). It lands between the International and Globetrotter in the company’s travel trailer hierarchy and relies on two axles to roll its mass onto a scale that points to a gross vehicle weight of 7,300 lb (3,311 kg) – certainly not a new-gen featherweight trailer aimed at EV owners, then.
All that body isn’t going to maneuver as freely off-road as a 16-foot (4.9-m) Basecamp X, but Airstream does prep the trailer for forest roads and long gravel drives. It adds in a 3-in (76-mm) suspension lift and a set of 29.3-inch Goodyear Wrangler Workhorse 225/75R16 all-terrain tires for improved navigation over semi-rugged ground.
The Trade Wind is less about full-blown off-roading and more about off-gridding. Airstream says it carries the largest battery bank, solar array and power monitoring system of any Airstream travel trailer manufactured in company history. Guided by its work on the electric-motivated eStream trailer concept, the company integrated a heated 810-Ah Battle Born lithium battery bank into the chassis and wired it up to a 3,000-W inverter capable of running the air conditioner and available microwave.
The 600-W solar setup that helps keep the battery running while unplugged from shore power is also one of the largest ever for an Airstream. Once back under the high wires, the Trade Wind can plug in via a 30-A “SmartPlug” external hookup. And since campers will probably want to check back in with the real world at this point, the SmartPlug hardware also includes quick-connect coaxial and Ethernet hookups.
Inside, the Trade Wind is designed to be an incomparably comfortable place to spend a trip, offering accommodations and appointments to rival a hotel or VRBO. It features a single floor plan at launch, sharing the 25FB layout already featured on Airstreams like the Flying Cloud and Globetrotter.
A highlight of the floor plan is the panoramic rear lounge, which comes complete with a tailgate. Those sitting at the dining table or on the adjacent sofa can enjoy views through the open tailgate and surrounding windows. The central table can also be removed so owners can load bicycles, fishing poles, camping supplies and even kayaks.
Just across from the end of the side couch that extends back from the dining lounge, the well-stocked main kitchen block includes an L-shaped countertop, triple-burner gas stove, oven and large, rectangular sink. Buyers can swap the oven for an optional convection microwave oven with air fryer. Across the aisle, the 227-L fridge stands alone, ensuring free and easy access.
The cross-aisle dry bathroom is up next, featuring a shower room in front of the fridge and a toilet room with sink fore of the main kitchen block. The roomy full-beam master bedroom takes up the front of the trailer. At launch, it’s offered exclusively with a near-queen-size bed, and dual twins will be added as an option in the future. The dinette converts to a double bed, and factoring in the extended sofa, Airstream reckons up to a total of five people can make a home of the trailer during camping trips and road travel.
Other standard features include 27- and 24-in smart TVs, Bluetooth speakers with surround sound, a 30K-BTU furnace, QuietStream A/C with heat pump, tankless on-demand hot water, LED interior and exterior lighting, and 148-L fresh and waste water tanks. Airstream launched the new model on Tuesday for a starting price of US$129,400.
published 2023-10-02 05:20:38