Hit the Road With the World’s Lightest Aluminum Travel Trailer

The Bowlus Road Chief aims to give classic Airstreams a run for their money.

While tasteful Hollywood stars like Matthew McConaughey pour money into restoring beautiful classic Airstream trailers, Bowlus Road Chief LLC founder and CEO John Long decided to restore an entire trailer company. The result is the new $115,000 Road Chief, a thoroughly modern revamp of the original 1934 Bowlus lightweight aluminum travel trailer.

Bowlus boasts that its Road Chief is the sleekest, lightest, and most luxurious camper available. At just over 2,000 pounds, the Road Chief weighs half as much as other “lightweight” trailers, making it practical to pull it with unorthodox tow vehicles.

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The company even helpfully mocked up this handy graphic to list all of the Road Chief’s features:

The name Bowlus comes from the camper’s original designer, Hawley Bowlus, who tapped his background in aircraft design to create a lightweight aluminum travel trailer that was built using techniques from the aviation industry. Bowlus’s signature accomplishment was his work as project manager for Charles Lindberg’s Spirit of St. Louis solo Atlantic crossing plane. 

Bowlus only built about 80 of his peerless campers before the Great Depression sent him back to work on aircraft. But now Long has revived the Bowlus design and offers the Road Chief for customers who want a modern interpretation of the classic.

Modern amenities like power outlets are kept out of sight and heated hardwood floors and air conditioning ensure that camping doesn’t mean roughing it. The aluminum body panels are secured by 5,000 rivets and are polished to a mirror finish that is sure to draw admirers. 

Maybe even Hollywood will give this new trailer a try, rather than restoring those antique Airstreams.

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