Aircraft fabricator Hawley Bowlus completed construction of the first Bowlus travel trailer in 1934 for the purpose of transporting flight crews to isolated takeoff locations. It’s touted as the first aluminum riveted travel trailer in the world, even pre-dating Wally Byam’s Airstream. Now the trailer is back with a tasteful modern update.
Bowlus reports that “over half of the original Bowlus’ built in the 1930s are still around today, often held in private collections.” The lightweight 1,100-pound Bowlus was revolutionary for its time, attracting celebrity and media attention. In 2011, a 1935 Bowlus Road Chief sold at an auction in Scottsdale for $187,000. Fast-forward 90 years, and the Bowlus brand continues.
The company currently sells three models: Terra Firma, Endless Highways Performance Edition, and Endless Highways Edition. They start—repeat, start—at $265,000, $240,000, and $215,000, respectively. Let’s just say, if you’re strapped for cash—or anything short of ridiculously, lavishly, richly well-off with a suitcase full of bands—the bespoke Bowlus may not be for you. But we can still dream, right?
The trailers have avoided a fundamental technological overhaul for decades, but Bowlus has announced a few interior, exterior, and technology updates for its 2022-model-year luxury travel trailers. The kitchen has been redesigned with soft-close drawers, an improved air conditioning system, a “60-Second Hitch” towing connection assistance system, an integrated Bluetooth Smart Brake, and updated 13-diode LED taillights to clean up the look.
In all of our travels around the United States, we’ve encountered a smorgasbord of travel trailers, massive toy haulers, million-dollar RVs, high-end off-grid teardrop trailers, and overland camper vans at campgrounds, on the road, and off-grid. But we’ve never, ever encountered a Bowlus. But when we do someday come upon one, at least now we know how to differentiate a 2022 model. Now that’s a morsel of knowledge that’ll surely impress new campfire friends.