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Old 04-16-2007, 08:43 PM   #1
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First Trip in the Base Camp

Hey, for all of you interested in how the Base Camp holds up in a long distance camping trip--here my first report.

My husband, Jerry, and I left Chicago for a two week trip to Canyon de Chelly in eastern Az and just returned Saturday. We pulled the Base Camp with a Honda Ridgeline and inside the Base Camp was a Honda Shadow Spirit 1100cc motorcycle plus our gear. We drove over 3500 miles and we had a fabulous time. We sometimes forgot that we were pulling the Base Camp.

The Base Camp is just great and caused a crowd everywhere we stopped. One guy followed us off I40 into a gas station just to ask "what is that thing?" We had a sherriff deputy stop us in Oklahoma (lights and sirens going) just to warn us to "stay awake and get enough rest" and ask "what is that thing you are pulling?" At the campgrounds, we had up to 12 individuals per night "what is that thing?" You get the idea. At first it was fun and we met neat people, but when I couldn't get dinner on the table, it got a little old. Jerry (jokingly) started asking $10 a tour. On the highway, most folks thought it was a fancy horse trailer. In the campgrounds, they were taking bets on what it was.

It is incredible easy to pull. However, The gaskets on the doors were put on wrong at the factory and we shipped alot of dust as we drove. I had to clean every time we stopped. (Not my favorite activity!) We purchased some weatherstriping in New Mexico and fixed it the best we could. When we returned to Chicago, we stopped at our local dealer and they will be redoing all the weather stripping and adding more to plug as much of the leaking as possible. There is a vent in the floor to pull air for the ceiling maxi-vent and that will need some filtering as well. I don't like road dirt in my trailer, as you can tell. Our dealer, Chicago Airstream, has been very accomodating and helpful with this, the only issue that we have discovered.

It took us a few loadings and unloadings of the motorcycle to make it smooth. I will admit that we did motel it a few times on long, late travel nights, because unloading the motorcycle was more than we were up for. We do believe that on future trips, that will not be so much of an issue because we have improved as we practiced. On our first night of unloading the motorcycle, we thought that the entire campsite would line up the lawn chairs for the evening's entertainment! Lucy and Desi, move over.

That being said, we loved having the motorcycle and toured around quite a bit. Next time we take the motorcycle, we will plan to stay longer at each location. Since it takes some time to unload and re load the motorcycle, the Base Camp will really become our basecamp. For all of you spry youngsters out there, taking a motorcycle or other toys in and out and camping may not be an issue.

All the systems worked great. It was easy to get our stuff for daily living organized for easy of use. The bed was comfortable, but we added our thermorest pads covered with a sheet because we have bad backs. Wow, it was comfortable. The gallery area holds so much stuff, it is incredible. We added a little plug-in electric heater to use on cold nights. We didn't have to use the air conditioner on this trip. However, we did use it on an previous short trip to St. Louis and it worked fine.

Although we took the attachable tent, we didn't use it. The campgrounds that we stopped at all had asphalt pads and the one national park where we stopped had boulders at the end of the short pad that prevented using the tent. We will use it this summer, and I will be happy to share our experiences with the tent if anyone is interested.

I personally would like more available water. The Base Camp only comes with 3.5 gallons of water. I like to cook on these trips and more water would be helpful. We added another 5 gallon container, but we are trying to figure out a better solution.

In Canyon de Chelly, the campground had no electric hook ups, but we did fine. The battery ran the lights and water pump. We didn't push it with the heater or hair dryer. In the one cold morning (26 degrees) we turned on the burner to heat coffee water and it heated us up enough to get out of the sleeping bags and dress comfortably. We will be adding a propane heater, though, as well as the electric one just for cold, unplugged nights.

We found ourselves going outside for eating and enjoying the evenings and the stars, but returning inside for a warm, comfortable sleep. In fact, one of the great things about the Base Camp is that you do spend time outside. We met great people and watched the stars and had wonderful conversations. We shared good food, stories and tales of the road.

The people most interested in the Base Camp seemed to be boomers and older. Those folks who camped in tents in their earlier years, saw this as a great alternative to pulling a larger RV.

The Base Camp surely isn't everyone's cup of tea, I know that. But if you want to take some toys and don't mind a portapotty and a spit bath every now and then, a Base Camp can provide a great time.

We can hardly wait to get back on the road again!



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Old 04-16-2007, 08:54 PM   #2
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Great Report...

we are all very visual minded around here, would love to see pics if you have any.

p.s. Welcome Aboard


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Old 04-16-2007, 08:56 PM   #3
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Thanx for the report. We need to see some pictures of a Basecamp in actual use.
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Old 04-16-2007, 09:10 PM   #4
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Great trip

There was little doubt in my mind that the Basecamp would be a welcome addition to the right family. Thanks for sharing your first adventure...and as most of us would them pictures.

Travel is in my blood, adventure is my passport, aluminum is my favorite construction medium, and therefore, an Airstream was my destiny.
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Old 04-16-2007, 09:23 PM   #5
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I have only seen the outside of the basecamp in pictures but how do you fit a Honda Shadow in there? I know that the Honda Ridgeline has a stowage compartment under the bed but have you thought about one of those 40 gallon and up water bladders which fit in the bed of the truck? I don't know how the sidewalls are built but my Chevy has areas on either side for 2X4's so that a sheet of plywood can be added and other gear put on top of that. If you had light gear you wanted in the bed then I would assume it could be placed on top of the bladder as long as nothing is sharp.

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Old 04-16-2007, 09:25 PM   #6
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Wonderful Caryl to hear of your fine experiences with the new Base Camp. Now that you are accustomed to celebrity on the road your celebrity here will feel natural. I think the Base Camp is a very sharp versatile camper. I had wondered about sleeping during the course of hauling toys along the way and you seem to have that field tested and ready to plan the next trip. I think the traveling pattern might be somewhat like we experienced when traveling with our fold down trailer, that it is best to reach your destination and unpack and stay longer at your stops to minimize work and maximize fun. I think you will really enjoy the tent extension of your living area when you have the opportunity to set it up. I am anxious to see pictures as well when and if you have them available.

The deputy stop is a great story! Thanks for the thorough review we are all so excited for you. I know I myself would chase you down for the opportunity to see your Base Camp. You might have to fire up the chain saw and let out the big dog when you get to a campgrounds to have more privacy.

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Old 04-16-2007, 10:15 PM   #7
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Great report. Thanks for the details of how it works with a "toy" in its tummy. Would love to see pictures of the motorcycle inside. I know you will enjoy each trip more than the least that's the way it has been with our Airstream.
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Old 04-17-2007, 03:51 PM   #8
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Thanks for the was great reading about your adventures in your new rig. Post pics if you have any. We would love to see the rig in action!
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Old 04-17-2007, 04:37 PM   #9
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Great report...I love the Basecamp...what a clever idea!

Agree with yukionna...give us some pics!

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Old 04-17-2007, 05:32 PM   #10
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Pics, Pics, Pics!!!!!!!!!!!

We're such a demanding group....aren't we ?

Thanks for the great report and welcome to the Forums!!!
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Old 04-17-2007, 07:08 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Caryl
Honda Shadow Spirit 1100cc motorcycle plus our gear.
I have a Honda Shadow Aero 1100cc and it is a long bike. Longer than a HD Fatboy, in fact. Good to hear that these will fit inside a Base Camp.
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Old 04-17-2007, 10:52 PM   #12
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I will try to get some pictures for you all. I'll have to figure out how to post them!
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Old 04-17-2007, 11:08 PM   #13
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The doors (rear) of the Base Camp are very wide. The sofa-benches on each interior side flip up and there is plenty of room. We put a ramp in place and drive (sort of--you would have to see it) the motorcycle in. There are tie down holders on the floor and we just tie the motorcycle in place. The airstream website has some good pictures to illustrate this. Then at camp, we roll the motorcycle out and flip down the seats. Later, the seats pull together to make a double bed.

Thanks for the ideas on the water. The Base Camp has a sink with two portable water jugs underneath. One has a pump and when it is empty, you easily switch the pump to the other container. Each container holds 13 liters. I have decided to purchase a couple more containers--there is plenty of room for them under the sink. Then we are not running to the water spigot so often to fill up. I have some physical limitations and the smaller water containers are easier for me to manage. I just don't want to be lugging them back and forth so often and I don't want to run out of water in the middle of something.
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Old 04-18-2007, 01:29 AM   #14
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Nice report, welcome to the forums!

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