Nothing brings a family together quite like a road trip and a pickup truck. Trucks haul toys to the beach, gear to the mountains, and stuff to the desert. They can be used to help relatives move or even for an elegant night on the town. Although cars can get you from place to place, trucks help make memories. And that's exactly what we set out to do when the folks from Airstream called and asked if we'd like to use one of their trailers, which was too big for even most SUVs to tow, for a weekend getaway. As fast as we could say yes, we fueled up the truck, loaded up the family, and headed off on another adventure.
The Airstream trailer that we took on our adventure was a Classic model. Now, we know what you're thinking: Classic doesn't sound like the upscale vision of Airstream that we all have these days, instead this should be the lower end of the lineup. Alas, that opposite is true. The Airstream Classic model line is the top of the iconic trailer manufacturer's offering. The 2020 Airstream lineup goes Basecamp, Nest, Bambi, Caravel, Flying Cloud, International Serenity, Globetrotter, and finally Classic.
| To tow the 2020 Airstream Classic, we opted for a 2019 Ram 1500. This Ram 1500 is equipped with the company's four corner air suspension, powered by a 5.7L Hemi V-8 engine, and equipped with 3.92:1 axle gears. This meant the truck could tow just north of 11,000 pounds.
For our adventure, we would be taking a 30-foot Classic from the confines of urban Los Angeles north for some fresh air along California's costal wine country. To tow the Airstream Classic, we opted to use a 2019 Ram 1500 fitted with the company's four-corner air suspension and 5.7L Hemi V-8 engine. With 3.92:1 rear axle gears, this truck was rated to tow more than 11,000 pounds. This was fitting, as the 30-foot Classic weighed in at just under 8,000 pounds dry. We figure after adding water and gear ,we were towing closer to 9,000 pounds—still well under the truck's limit.
We'd had experience with Airstream in the past, having taken a Flying Cloud to Sequoia National Park, but nothing could have prepared us for what the Classic had to offer. We'll get the hard part out of the way first: The Airstream Classic that we used in 30-foot configuration carries a price tag of $156,400. From talking to Airstream owners at the campground, we figure you can negotiate a little off that price, but not much.
| We had zero issues towing the Airstream with the Ram 1500. Over the course of 500 miles, we averaged a touch less than 10 mpg. The truck's blind spot monitoring system helped to keep us safe, while the air suspension kept the whole setup level.
When it comes to the Classic, nearly everything is standard. Looking through the build sheet, there are very few options. Aside from the obvious—the hand-crafted aluminum exterior—the chassis is also constructed from aluminum for light weight and durability. The trailer's bearings are lubed for life, and the brakes never need adjusting. Combined with the torsion-sprung axles, this makes the Airstream Classic not only a joy to tow but also to own.
Moving inside, everything we found in the Classic was high-quality. The seating surfaces were soft and comfortable, and the queen size bed, specially made for Airstream by Tuft and Needle, was amazing. The 9-cubic-foot refrigerator was larger than most home units—OK, that's a bit of an exaggeration, but still, it felt huge)—and combination microwave/convection oven/air fryer proved to be quite the conversation piece. We loved that all the lighting was LED and dimmable.
Despite being confined to a defined space with no available slide-outs—Airstream doesn't offer slide-outs for obvious reasons—the Classic never felt small or cramped. Sure, the cheaper trailers next to us had multiple slide-outs, but honestly, we never missed them. We found the bathroom to be plenty spacious for the deeds that needed doing, and full disclosure, we didn't use the shower.
| 004 Airstream Classic Trailer Roadtrip Adventure
We found the kitchen to be more than adequate, with all the comforts of home and then some. The combination microwave/convection oven/air fryer was the talk of the campground, and the stainless-steel oven and cooktop were nicer than ours at home. And the fridge was large enough to hold food for a family for probably a week or more, depending on how many beverages need to be kept frosty.
All of the comfort and convenience aside, the technology is what really blew us away. It was love at first sight as we worked our way through the large color touchscreen. From it, we could control every aspect of the Airstream Classic, from dimming the lights to turning on fans. It controlled the air conditioning and heat, extended the awning, and even turned on the power inverter. We could also monitor tank levels, propane gas levels, and how the batteries were doing. If so equipped, you could also check the status of the trailer's tires through its tire pressure monitoring system. Next to the main screen was a second screen, which controlled the water heater, and a third screen that controlled the audio system.
Over the course of our four days—and three nights)—with the Airstream Classic, we had the most wonderful time camping and making memories. The trailer attracted all sorts of attention from folks at the campground and on the highway, and our 2019 Ram 1500 towed the extra long trailer with ease. At the end of the day, we're thankful for having a truck in our life, as it makes heading out on adventures like these a breeze.
| The Airstream Classic comes standard with 16-inch aluminum wheels wrapped in LT225/75R16 Michelin tires.
| For smaller items the Classic offers exterior storage compartments. And yes, they have LED lighting.
| Motorized stabilizer jacks are located at all four corners under the trailer. The controls for these are found on the outside of the unit near the front door and are housed behind a locking stainless steel door.
| 008 Airstream Classic Trailer Roadtrip Adventure
| The freshwater tank holds 54 gallons and is situated perfectly above the axles. The tank is protected from the elements and even features a heating element for cold weather camping. The fill port is housed behind a locking stainless steel door, preventing unwanted contamination.
| Around back are a pair of storage areas—one in the bumper and one in the trailer. The trailer storage is lockable; the bumper is not.
| As you can see here, there is a fair bit of storage space in the rear compartment.
| Every detail of the Airstream Classic is elegantly designed, right down to the LED tail lights.
| All of the windows on the Airstream Classic feature awnings, except for the most forward window. Even the small bedroom side window has its own awning. The only negative is that these are manually opened, unlike the main awning which is power.
| At the rear of the trailer we find both another awning and a large window into the master bedroom.
| Hookups are found on the driver side of the trailer, as is standard in the industry. The Airstream Classic uses a 50-amp shore power hookup, and it features a built-in pressure regulator for city water, an LED light for the tank dump valves, a black tank flush inlet, and hookup for cable or satellite TV.
| Behind the other locking stainless steel door lives an outdoor shower, perfect for rinsing off from the beach or mud run before heading inside.
| The final side opening conceals the refrigerator mechanicals.
| Around back, we find the standard rearview camera. This camera wirelessly transmits to a remote screen that can be moved from truck to truck.
| Everyone's favorite feature was the integrated doorbell. That's right, the trailer has a legit doorbell. If you camp with kids, prepare for it to be worn out from use.
| If this were our trailer, we'd take this sticker off the window before even leaving the dealer. However, it does point out that you can control most features through the Airstream app, which is just mind-blowing.
| Because the 30-foot model we had features a rear bedroom, there's a place for a recliner at the very front of the unit.
| It took us a minute or two to figure out who to extend the footrest in the Airstream's forward recliner. Turns out the power inverter had to be activated, despite being plugged into shore power.
| The dinette features a Corian top and is power adjustable. When fully retracted, it can be converted into another bed.
| Looking toward the front from the kitchen you can see the storage and seating areas.
| From the same spot in the kitchen looking into the rear, you can see the closet, bathroom, shower stall, and queen bed. The hallway is tight but manageable.
| The Airstream Classic's kitchen rivals most homes. It features Corian countertops and a Kohler sink faucet. As you can see, there's plenty of counter space as well.
| A stainless-steel oven is standard, though one of the few options is replacing the oven with shelving.
| The three-burner stove top is the perfect size for most meal prep. And the stainless steel construction makes for easy cleanup.
| Here it is, the big conversation piece of our trip. The Airstream Classic comes outfitted with a microwave that doubles as not only a convection oven, but also an air fryer.
| Airstream also supplies owners with matching Corian sink covers for additional counter space or storage.
| The rear suite has an adjustable queen-size bed and plenty of storage space both above and below the bed.
| Conveniently located next to each nightstand is a 110-volt outlet and a pair of USB ports for charging devices. Also located on the passenger side is a set of controls for the adjustable bed.
| Not getting out of bed is the name of the game. Case in point, this control panel is located on the bottom of the rear most storage cabinets, giving sleeping occupants control over lighting functions without getting up.
| The bedroom features a second flat-screen TV, along with lighting controls and controls for the adjustable queen bed.
| Airstream partnered with mattress maker Tuft & Needle to create a mattress specifically for the trailer. We can attest, it was mighty comfortable.
| You had better believe the closet of a $150,000 trailer is lined with cedar wood. And boy it smelled good!
| Among the more interesting features is this hidden compartment we found in the closet.
| Although not huge, this lockbox can be used to stash valuable items while you're away from the trailer, doing extensive wine tasting, for example.
| The wildest feature of the Airstream Classic, in our opinion at least, was the heated towel rack in the bathroom. We weren't told about this standard feature prior to departure, so figuring it out left our jaw visibly agape.
| A smart DVD player and pair of USB outlets are found in the cabinet above the dinette.
| One of the things Airstream does well is adding lots of windows for tons of natural light. The Classic features not one, but two skylights. And this is in addition to the Fantastic fan with automatic rain detection sensor.
| The Airstream Classic comes standard with 240 watts of solar panels installed on the roof. This gauge is mounted above the stove and monitors how much power the panels are generating at any given time. Naturally, we couldn't get a good photo of the panels because they are mounted to the roof.
| As part of being a "smart" trailer the Airstream Classic also features a Wi-Fi router with service from AT&T, much like GM's OnStar service. The first year of service is included with purchase (as it should be for $150k).
| We love the push-button light switches used throughout the trailer. This panel is the main light control panel found just inside the door. This one controls the power main awning in addition to lighting.
| Our favorite feature, bar none, was the lighted exterior grab handle. And yes, it was fully dimmable as well.
Smart Control Center
| All of the functions of the Airstream Classic can be controlled from one of the three touch panels on the wall. The big panel is the main control interface, while the small one controls the water heater and heating unit, and the lower panel is for the audio system.
| From the panel you can control exterior lighting
| interior lighting
| bathroom vent fan and main vent fan
| the tire pressure monitoring system, if equipped
| tank, A/C, and electrical system monitoring
| lights, pumps, awning
| front and rear air conditioning units
| more tank and electrical monitoring, along with tank heater control
| and the four different trailer 'modes'.