Yosemite is a beautiful place, worthy of a week of your time. Each year hundreds of people tow their campers to get the most comfort out of their National Park trips, so Nissan invited us out here, to learn how to tow an Airstream on a closed course.
All right. We’re going to the Armada to do a maneuverability test. I’m in the group with everyone who hasn’t towed before. I’ve seen a lot of people tow boats. Used to live in Michigan. Used to go fishing a lot. But I was always the guy in the passenger seat, so now good to be in the driver’s seat. We’ll see how that goes.
Is it weird that I’m more nervous about this than the first time I drove on the track?
– Stay nice and close to that cone.
– And don’t think about where the trailer is. Only think about where your car is.
– I just got out of the Armada. We were doing a towing slalom course, which is right behind me. Basically, what you do is just kind of ignore the fact that you’re towing a trailer at all. Just keep your eyes forward, don’t look back, and we’re going to try to get as close to the cones as possible. And it was relatively easy. I mean, I didn’t really hit any cones. I just kind of had it in my mind that this is just a slalom test, like any other slalom course I’ve ever been on. Only I was going way slower than any other slalom course I’ve ever been on. And the trailer just kind of follows you as you go along. So instead of looking back, which will cause you to hit cones, just keep those eyes forward, and look where you’re going.
So the second test is the turning test. So if I was to turn like I would a normal car, I have something behind me, I’m going to cut that corner a little too soon. So basically what you do is you go through a little bit further, cut the wheel a little bit harder than you would normally, and the trailer should just follow you, no problem.
I’m going to hop in. We’re going to do a right turn, a left turn, and then kind of like a circular course. Hopefully we don’t hit any cones. They’re cones, not people, so even if I do, it’s no big deal. But I’d still like to keep my ego intact. All right. Here we go. Doing our turns.
I’m just outside Yosemite with Airstream’s Gary Aiken. He’s going to walk us around this Basecamp X.
– The Basecamp and the Basecamp X is designed for that weekend warrior, that outdoor adventurer, somebody who’s going to go out, hunt, fish, a triathlete, something like that. So there’s a number of things that are special to the Basecamp X that are different from the Basecamp itself. And that has to do with the three-inch lift for superior ground clearance, a little more off-road, you know, rock guards on the windows and up on the front part of the aluminum to protect it if you’re going off-road or you’re taking on a rugged alley.
And you can get to the inside. It’s very convertible and has a lot of storage space. For example, you’ll notice there’s a rear door that goes along with the side entry door. But the rear door is really a luggage door. The idea is you can load things, like your bikes, or a kayak, or surfboards, when it’s configured this way. But you can also configure this with one or two tables. And these tables also go down to a lower height. And these two sides make out into a bed. So a very convertible design, but still very compact. Also a wet bath and a fully functional galley, with a sink, stovetop, microwave, refrigerator.
– How heavy is this particular model?
– 2,585 empty.
– And about 3,500 pounds gross. So you can carry about 900 pounds of gear with you.
– And what’s the price on the Basecamp, and then the Basecamp X?
– The Basecamp itself starts at 37,9. And then the Basecamp X package that goes along with it is about a $2,000 premium over that then.
– Welcome inside my custom Airstream.
So we are outside of Yosemite National Park in AutoCamp, a park that has over 80 custom Airstreams for you to sleep in. And I just want to give you a quick tour. So as soon as you walk in, you can see we’re in kind of like a living room area. You have a couch. It can be a pullout for someone to sleep on. You got your coat hooks here for you to hang up your gear.
Moving along here, we have a little ottoman, nice for sitting around. We’ve got some Jiffy Pop to make popcorn outside by the fire. A little kitchen area. Cupboards here, dustpan. Fire extinguisher, very important. Drawers with utensils. Sink works. [INAUDIBLE] Got some more necessities up here.
It’s very important for me to state this upfront– we’re not camping, we are definitely glamping. If you think this is camping, you’re wrong. If– at any point, if you have, like, this shiny of copper cookware, you’re done camping. You’re definitely glamping, which is fine. Sometimes, you know, treat yourself.
So these cabinets over here– got more utensils, got your plates, glasses, coffee mugs, cutting board, that sort of thing. Moving over to this cabinet, you got your microwave. And the ever-important cast iron cookware, even complete with a Lodge cast iron brush. That’s probably what I’m missing at home. I always hate cleaning my own. Ooh. A little dirty.
Below, got a mini fridge. It’s currently empty.
– You want to rinse your hands real quick, if you want?
– I’m going to rinse my hands off after getting all the dirt on it from the cast iron, before I make every single cabinet in here black with fingerprints. All right. Cool.
Yeah, so more storage. Got little TV stands here, and a little closet for your clothes. I’m just going to keep my clothes in my bag while I’m here. Then you have, like, heat, electrical, that sort of thing down there.
Moving on through this door next to the thermostat, we have the master bedroom– really, the only bedroom. Comes with a nice large bed. There’s even a TV over in the corner here. It doesn’t feel small on the inside. It feels like everything’s been thought out very well. The bed is– oh my gosh. I haven’t sat on this yet. This is like memory foam. This is super nice.
Got some more storage here. Well thought out. Doesn’t get in your way. It’s really nice. You need to warm up at night, got a wall heater right here. That way you’re not freezing your butt off when it’s cold out.
The one place we haven’t touched upon yet is the bathroom. And this is one of the more luxurious bathrooms in a camper I’ve ever seen. You got the nice honeycomb tile down at the bottom, subway marble tile on the walls. Big shower. Look at how huge the shower is. I mean, I’m not very tall, so like, if I was like 6’4″, I’d probably be having an issue, like the guy behind the camera. But he’s shaking his head. So no, he’s not having an issue either. And then you got your toilet and a huge sink.
And we are in California, so you’ve got to conserve water. So yeah. Great location right outside of Yosemite National Park. Great hotel room. And you know, you feel like you’re one with nature without really having to be one with nature or carrying a backpack around. But it’s really easy to get right into the mountains from AutoCamp at this location.
So finally, outside. Nice little patio set and chairs where you can set that cast iron pot, and a little fire pit here. You can cook your food, sit down and have dinner, go to sleep.
So if you’re not as huge ultra-light backpacker who likes to carry your tarp and everything with you, and you’re more of a city slicker, but still want to get to Yosemite, AutoCamp is a great way to do it. You have all the amenities you’re used to at home, right out in nature.