Airstream Launches Nest Compact Travel Trailer
Lightweight Fiberglass Construction is Modern Departure from Tradition
Airstream will launch a new travel trailer in 2018, bringing the company’s sleek styling down a size class with the fiberglass-bodied Nest.
If the Airstream Nest looks familiar, that’s because it’s based on a design by Robert Johans, who founded Nest Caravans in 2013. Airstream acquired the startup in March 2016, continuing development on the fiberglass trailer project in-house with Johans as project manager.
“We saw the acquisition of Nest as an opportunity for Airstream to curate the kind of good design we feel is essential,” said Airstream President and CEO Bob Wheeler. “Nest is modern, it’s functional, and it’s innovative in a way you rarely see in this industry.”
Outside, the Nest is very obviously a fiberglass travel trailer, but it does get Airstream-chic styling features like a wraparound front picture window (styled to look like a pair of ski goggles, no less) and single round taillights bookending a rear entry door. Dipped in silver over white gelcoat and built on a semi-monocoque chassis, the Airstream nest should be pretty durable, and the liquid-mercury paint definitely recalls the company’s stainless steel products.
Four inches longer and 1 inch wider on the outside than the similarly sized Airstream Basecamp, the Nest is a significant 6 inches wider and 3 inches taller indoors, with 24-gallon freshwater and 30-gallon black water tanks. That means a bit less claustrophobia and long-haul comfort than the Basecamp, which can sometimes feel a bit cramped.
Those slight size increases add up to a significant price jump. Priced at $45,900 (or $9,500 more than a Basecamp), the Nest will likely be marketed as a premium luxury product. Inside, it gets contemporary gloss-white cabinetry that resists fingerprints and dirt, premium fixtures and cabinet hardware, and a laminate countertop. A two-burner stove, microwave oven, and two-way 3.2-cubic foot refrigerator provide decent accouterment for cooking on the go.
There are two floorplans available: 16FB and 16U. The FB model comes with a permanent queen bed and two-seat dinette in place of the cabinet, while the U gets a large side cabinet and five-seat dinette that converts to a queen bed. Both models get a wet bath with shower and toilet and a spacious coat closet. Two interior colorways—Wingspan White and Clutch Blue—offer pleasant, modern styling.
Filled with propane and fully charged batteries, the Nest weighs in at 3,400 pounds with a tongue weight of 375 pounds. Well within the towing capacities of most midsize crossovers and SUVs, the Nest has a payload capacity of 600 pounds for a combined weight rating of 4,000 pounds.
All in all, the Nest looks like a good traveling companion for small families and couples, if they can stomach its somewhat steep price. With premium construction that should outlast many of its less expensive competitors, as well as a more attractive design inside and out, it should offer a more premium ownership experience for those that can afford it.
The Airstream Nest is in dealers this month.