The T@B and the Basecamp Bring Back Memories of Past RVs

Jerald Motil
RV Trader Marketing
(757) 351-8640

By Charles Gnilka

Two recent trailers by Dutchmen and Airstream pay tribute to RV history and introduce a new generation to RV travel. While baby boomers and retirees are the main customers of the RV industry, these two RVs are designed to appeal to a wide spectrum of buyers, some still in their 20s and 30s.

The T@B, made by Dutchmen Manufacturing, a division of Thor Industries, uses the design of the “teardrop” trailer, a style of camping trailer popular long before giant luxury RVs rolled onto the highway.

“What appealed to us is the unique design,” says Joe Hosinski, Director of Marketing of Dutchmen Manufacturing. “We like to think of the T@B as retro design with forward thinking technology.”

Teardrop trailers were popular during the 1940’s and 1950’s, an era marked by the excitement of air travel. The influence of the aircraft age is visible in the teardrop trailer’s curved body shape, similar to an airplane wing. Teardrop trailers faded in popularity as larger and more luxurious RVs were introduced. The timeless aerodynamic shape of the T@B attracts RV’ers looking for affordability and simplicity.

While the look of the T@B is retro, underneath the T@B is 100% modern. The skin of the T@B is made of Aluminfiber, a composite material combining aluminum and fiberglass resins along with a hi-gloss finish. Optional features for the T@B include a TV/DVD player, an add-on tent, and a port-a-potty.

While its look is eye-catching, the key feature of the T@B is its modest weight. “We saw a change in the ultralight market and a need for a trailer under 2000 pounds,” says Hosinski. Family sedans and smaller SUVs should have no problem towing the T@B, but Hosinski suggests that you make sure your car is rated to tow it.

While the T@B re-introduces the teardrop trailer, the Airstream Basecamp re-invents the teardrop style for the 21st century.

The Airstream trailer brand is an American classic. The silvery shapes of Airstream campers have been a familiar sight since a gallon of gas could be bought for pocket change.

The inspiration for the Basecamp comes from the Airstream trailers of the 1930’s. “There is a feeling of nostalgia associated with Airstream RVs,” says Eli Carder, Electronic Media Designer for Airstream. “Our customers have good memories of travels in Airstream trailers,” says Carder. “Now a new generation wants to make their own.”

Airstream’s Basecamp, designed by Airstream in partnership with Nissan Design America (NDA) and Kelty, is built from aircraft-grade aluminum and is designed for active RV’ers, featuring room for bikes and kayaks. Tent manufacturer Kelty designed an add-on tent for the back of the Basecamp to extend the living space. “The Basecamp is a combo,” says Ben Owen, General Manager of Basecamp at Airstream. “It is part trailer, part toy hauler, part tent, and all fun.”

The Basecamp’s futuristic curves draw attention everywhere it goes. When a Basecamp pulls over at rest stop or a gas station, curious travelers take a closer look. “People ask Basecamp owners, ‘What is that?'” says Owen. “They see it and want to look inside.” The interior of the Basecamp features the same space-age charm as the outside. “It’s like the space shuttle,” exclaim some awestruck travelers.

While T@B and the Basecamp attract attention with their styling and homage to the RV past, their purpose is to make a mark in the here and now, bringing back fond memories of the past and inspiring a new RV’ers to start their own journey.

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