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Swift Basecamp

I guess there is more than one Basecamp on the market. Airstream has one. And Swift has one.

Swift makes their RVs in the United Kingdom. I don’t believe that they are available in Canada. They have, however, decided to enter the Australian market.

The Swift Basecamp is described as a compact crossover camping vehicle focused on pretty much the same demographic as Airstream’s Basecamp: younger outdoor enthusiasts.

As always, I find the clever use of space very interesting. And the next few photos show just how much, or how little, space can be used to full effect in a compact area.

Swift offers the Basecamp with 13 exterior paint treatments. And many of the onboard systems can be controlled via a smartphone, something, I might add, that cannot be done with our big Class A machine.

You can find their Facebook page here.

Airstream Basecamp

basecamp

We will be heading out to the RV show in Hershey next week. Billed as America’s largest RV show, we are looking forward to seeing a lot of the new models.

I have a bit of a soft spot in my heart for the Airstream travel trailers. Their designs really bring back memories of when I was growing up, probably because of all that aluminum. It looks like something from the 1950s or 1960s although the first Airstream was built in 1929. You can find an interesting history of the Airstream trailers here.

The folks at Airstream were kind enough to let me know about their new Basecamp travel trailer.

They market the trailer this way:

Loaded with innovative features that will satisfy and amaze both the experienced long haul traveler and the weekend warrior who is just getting back in their adventure groove, Basecamp is the result of nearly a decade of planning. With comfort and convenience in mind, Basecamp allows campers to stop wondering and start wandering.

This is one of their marketing photos of the new trailer:

basecampmkt

The Basecamp looks like the type of unit that would appeal to an active, younger couple without children. What fascinates me about the design of this particular trailer is the attention to detail and the use of space.

Within that really small footprint is a kitchen, a washroom with a shower, and a living and sleeping area. 16 feet long by 7 feet wide.

basecampflrpln2

 

Check out the details behind the floorplan here.

I hope they have one on display at the RV show. It would be cool to see one in person.

Garmin RV 760LMT First Impressions

Standby

I ordered the Garmin RV 760LMT from Amazon last Friday. It arrived earlier this week. I have had a chance to work with it for a few days, enough to form a first impression in case you are thinking about buying this unit.

What’s in the box?

Open the box and you will find a GPS unit, a docking station, a windshield mount, a 12V car adapter and a very short USB cable. If you want the detailed manual, you have to jump online. You can download a pdf of the manual from the Garmin site here.

What did I like?

That 7-inch colour monitor! Very nice indeed.

I also liked BaseCamp.

We have used a number of Garmin GPS units over the years so the interface itself is very familiar although the integration with their desktop software, BaseCamp, is a new experience for me. Here is a sample screenshot of BaseCamp:

BaseCamp

BaseCamp is software that you run on your computer. It is free and you can download it from the Garmin site here. To use it, you really do need to pair it with a Garmin device.

Like any new software, BaseCamp does have a learning curve. I found that it took me several tries to plan a trip with two stopovers. But, once I gained a bit of mastery over the software, it was very easy to plan and export a trip back into the GPS. Under Garmin’s main menu is an icon for Apps. And under Apps is an icon for Trip Planner. There it was. My trip to Petosky Motorcoach Resort. All ready to go.

I liked Garmin Express, another software app that runs on your computer. Garmin Express manages the firmware and map updates for the GPS. The updates are free for the life of the device. Free updates? I liked that as well.

You can tell that the unit has been designed for the RV community. It has an extensive database of over 20,000 RV parks and service locations coupled with information about campground amenities.  It also allows you to enter the profile of your RV to identify any related restrictions.

What didn’t I like?

Two different USB connectors. A mini USB connector to the main unit and a standard USB connector on the small docking unit that connects to the back of the device.

Mounting. Garmin only provides a suction cup mount. I was able to make mine work by attaching the mount to the Driver’s side window just in front of my line of sight to the Driver’s side mirror. I was able to get enough of a pivot to provide a good view of the monitor. But the mount is fussy. Very easy to pivot just a bit too far and the unit literally drops out of the mount.

Overall First Impressions?

Very positive. I am glad we bought it. I’ll have better insight into the unit once we have completed our trip to the Petosky Motorcoach Resort in a couple of weeks.

Garmin RV 760LMT

RV760LMT

The above image is from the Garmin RV 760LMT product page here.

I ordered this unit today so that we have an RV specific GPS before our next major trip with the Castaway.

The Castaway is equipped with an onboard GPS, part of Clarion’s NX405 in-dash system. I found the Clarion’s GPS frustrating to use. The NX405 is a capable head unit and the GPS software is powered by TomTom however using the touch panel for programming basic trips was a very poor experience.

We would like an RV specific GPS to help us plan our trips and stay away from things like low bridges and restricted roads. Preferably a unit that allows us to plan the trip in advance on a laptop.

The Garmin RV 760LMT looks like it will meet our needs. It features software, Garmin BaseCamp, that can be downloaded to a Mac or PC. The software pairs with the GPS and should allow us to do all of our detailed planning on our Mac and then download the plan back into our GPS.

I will provide a more comprehensive review once the unit arrives and we have had a chance to test it out.