Airstream, purveyor of luxurious tenting trailers which might be nicer than maximum Car and Driver editors’ homes, has reintroduced its Caravel line of light-weight and comparably less expensive trailers. Unlike the agency’s fiberglass-bodied Nest trailer, the Caravel is instantly recognizable as an Airstream, because it shares the long-lasting vivid aluminum construction, rounded roof, and wraparound front window of the emblem’s large fashions. Intended to attraction to (properly-heeled) first-time camper-trailer consumers, the compact Caravel lineup includes 16-, 19-, 20-, and 22-foot lengthy models, each with a unique floorplan with room for 4 campers.
A car parked at the aspect of a avenue: Airstream’s iconic outdoors design and contemporary indoors styling makes the Caravel the maximum elegant compact trailer at the campground. © Drew Dorian – Car and Driver Airstream’s iconic outdoors layout and contemporary indoors styling makes the Caravel the most stylish compact trailer on the campground.
Since the unmarried-axle Caravel—our instance changed into the shortest, sixteen-foot-lengthy version—can be towed by way of a mean mid-size SUV rather than requiring a half of- or three-area-ton pickup truck, we deliberate a long weekend getaway the usage of our long-term Subaru Ascent as a towing automobile. We may be beginner campers, but armed with the Caravel’s owner’s guide and some tips from the nearby Airstream dealership, we set off for Michigan’s Grand Haven State Park at the sandy shores of Lake Michigan, an smooth three-hour power west from our headquarters in Ann Arbor.
A truck is parked in a car parking zone: Airstream Caravel © Drew Dorian – Car and Driver Airstream Caravel
Loaded up and Truckin’
The Caravel proved pretty clean to tow behind the huge Subaru. Cruising at seventy five mph is the trailer’s happiest pace, monitoring directly and feeling hunkered down with minimal swaying within its lane. Keeping that speed constant, although, required consistent running of the Ascent’s turbocharged 2.Four-liter flat-four, which buzzes noisily at 3000 rpm. Tugging the Caravel, the Ascent’s continuously variable computerized transmission (CVT) regularly avoided strolling close to its maximum efficient pinnacle ratio, which helped to drop our gas financial system to about nine mpg. After our trip, we briefly hooked up the Caravel to our long-time period Volkswagen Atlas to see if the VW’s clearly aspirated V-6 and eight-speed automated may make less complicated paintings of transferring the Airstream, however we managed the identical nine mpg, and the trailer failed to experience as stable as it did at the back of the Subaru.
The Caravel’s short normal length makes it clean to maneuver in opposite, which become a boon once we reached our campsite. In only a few minutes (and best tries), we were subsidized into our website and ready to detach from the Subaru. Leveling the trailer on a much less-than-tabletop-flat surface with its 4 manually retractable stabilizing jacks proved to be a extra hard undertaking. The integrated level at the tongue of the Caravel confirmed that regardless of what we did, we were always quite some distance off. It wasn’t till we retracted the jacks on one side so that the left tire changed into touching the floor that we subsequently got it right.
Airstream Caravel © Drew Dorian – Car and Driver Airstream Caravel
Hooking up to the website’s 30-amp electric provider was as smooth as connecting one side of the supplied electricity cord to the camper’s electric panel and the other quit to the energy source. The Caravel’s onboard inverter mechanically can provide strength to the various outlets, USB ports, and appliances. Our take a look at camper got here geared up with the non-compulsory 90-watt solar bundle ($1700), which juices the Caravel’s onboard battery with enough electrons to keep the fridge cold for as a minimum some hours while off the grid.
Getting Away from It All
Staying in the as-examined $65,284 Caravel rarely can be taken into consideration “roughing it.” Airstream has packed all the essentials plus luxuries which includes aircon, a gas furnace, an electric powered warmth pump, onboard Wi-Fi, an incorporated Bluetooth stereo, a mini fridge, a fuel stove top, and a microwave into its smallest camper. Even the smallest version feels a ways roomier inner than its dinky outside measurements suggest. With the curtains fully drawn, the trailer feels open and ethereal and nevertheless quite at ease at night with the sun shades closed. The bed room features a flat-display TV with an HDMI hookup, so we were able to spend some hours catching up on our modern-day Netflix obsessions. A roof-top antenna and a integrated Blu-ray player offer opportunity leisure options.
Airstream Caravel © Drew Dorian – Car and Driver Airstream Caravel
Faux timber laminated half of-partitions visually separate the bedroom from the relaxation of the Caravel’s indoors, and a patterned curtain may be pulled to offer privateness. The richly coloured veneer contrasts sharply with the kitchen’s white-and-black motif and the trailer’s brilliant aluminum walls. The driftwood-coloured vinyl floors mimics timber planks and became easy to keep clean with a easy broom. Carpet might had been a chore at our beachfront locale. The black vinyl cushions for the dinette are the sole letdown in an otherwise present day and convincingly excessive-give up indoors. The material feels cheap, and the backs of the cushions are not secured to the wall, so that they pass round except you stay flawlessly nonetheless.
The major bed—positioned within the rear and snuggled up next to a 2d wraparound window in our take a look at model—is set the dimensions of a complete mattress. For two human beings, it is an intimate dozing situation satisfactory perfect for couples who do not thoughts the close proximity. The Caravel’s dinette may be transformed to house an additional two guests through dropping the desk element down and the use of the unsecured lower back rests to complete the bed.
A bus this is sitting on a desk: Airstream Caravel © Drew Dorian – Car and Driver Airstream Caravel
Almost All of the Conveniences of Home
Overhead garage above the Caravel’s kitchenette and eating vicinity is considerable for a weekend of camping and could likely provide enough garage for even per week or two away, but standard cereal containers are too tall to suit, developing an trouble for our breakfast plans. Luckily, there’s a ground-to-ceiling closet with a door between the bed room and the kitchen. Our different kitchen-related gripe worries the lack of counter area. Utilizing the dinette’s table is a good substitute, however foodies may additionally find the longer 20-foot version and its L-formed kitchen counter to be greater convenient.
We lucked out with temperate climate throughout our stay in Grand Haven, so we had no want to apply the built-in air-conditioning unit or either of the Caravel’s heaters. In the call of checking out, we did kick the A/C on and close up the home windows to look how speedy the cabin would cool off, which failed to take long, and, in contrast to a few rivals, the Caravel is equipped with ducted vents strategically positioned in the course of the indoors to assist diffuse the cool air. All Caravel models come equipped with a ceiling-hooked up exhaust fan with a rain sensor that shuts it down and closes the cover routinely—a feature we had been satisfied to have whilst a line of showers passed via our campground in a single day.
A truck is parked in a parking lot: Airstream Caravel © Drew Dorian – Car and Driver Airstream Caravel
At the stop of the weekend we had been bummed to p.C. Up and head back to the actual international, as Airstream’s shiny little camper had introduced a welcome respite from workweek pressure. The sound of crashing waves, the absence of an alarm clock, and the shortage of a rigid itinerary sincerely contributed to our relaxation, however that could be had with any beachfront resort room. It’s clear that the Caravel—itself a form of rolling lodge room—provides an element of freedom that a brick-and-mortar lodge really can’t. And for the Airstream’s fee, we might expect not anything much less. It might require some duties upon arrival at a campsite to get it prepared for use, however in our enjoy, the Caravel changed into really worth the attempt.