Why are Airstreams so Expensive? Real Facts Noboby Will Tell You

Camping sounds fun, but why not try to use airstream for your next country trip? The airstream is very eye-catching and easy to recognize when driving on the highway. As the shining beacon of nomadic life, these campers have a long history and have passed down generations of legendary handicrafts. When it comes to anything on the wheel, we can truly appreciate the incredible attention to detail, but what we should point out in this article is why airstreams are so expensive?

What is an Airstream?

why are airstreams so expensive

Airstream is an American brand of travel trailers and motor homes. Their shape and polished aluminium frame are easy to distinguish. When ordinary people think of RV or travel trailers, fun lovers think of the airstream RV. For good reasons, they are the most popular brand in the United States. These RVs are of high-quality, made of high-quality materials, and carefully assembled. If you want to buy your first RV, you should consider buying an Airstream.

Brief History of the Airstream

Wally Byam invented the Airstream brand in 1931. At that time, he built the trailer out of mason stone and plywood, and finally tried to install stoves, toilets, and water pumps to make it a convenient RV. In the end, Wally combined the aircraft manufacturing procedures he learned during his service to create a rigid and aerodynamic piece, hence the name “airstream.”

Read More: Is it Legal to live in a Camper in Your Backyard?

Why are Airstreams so Expensive?

Airstream is an American travel trailer brand with a firm reputation in the market. The unique appearance, shiny polish, and aluminum artistry make these trailers worth the investment. What makes people incomprehensible is the high price of Airstream trailers. Although everyone is wondering why airstream is so expensive, here are some possible reasons to know.

Top Appearance 

why are airstreams so expensive

The airstream trailer is made of high-quality aluminium sheet. Aircraft-grade aluminium is immersed in the steel frame. It is not only the high-quality aluminium but also the labour that makes these Airstream trailers more expensive. Airstream has always believed in providing high-quality products, and this is what makes them unique.

Did you know that airstream manually places each rivet to ensure a flawless seal? Manually building it directly means more construction costs and the recruitment of skilled labour. One can easily understand why airstream is so expensive.

In other words, high-grade materials and laborious manufacturing processes have also become part of the high price. The aircraft-grade seamless aluminium shell is wrapped on a steel frame to form the outer part of the airstream. Upon putting the insulating layer, the inner shell is then attached using rivet pins. Since each rivet is done by hand, the assembly process involves a lot of care and labour. The mechanical form of labour is mainly left out to prevent damage to the frame and form a perfect finishing.

As a result of the unique design, furniture and appliances cannot be dropped randomly. They are carried into the airstream trailer and manually installed. The windows are equipped with high-quality glass, and all other parts are made of high-grade components as well.

Long Lifespan 

Just as with any product produced, so is the life expectancy of a travel vehicle. We can estimate that most travel trailer brands can last 10 to 20 years, but some exceptions exist. Furthermore, it isn’t strange to see an Airstream that has been used for nearly 40 years. This doesn’t happen by luck or accident.

An adequately maintained airstream can exist indefinitely, as well as outstrip the real owner quickly, perhaps for other generations to use to extend its life. Because of this sturdiness, Airstream trailers can better sustain their value much farther than every other brand. Although it is unlikely to treat a trailer as a significant investment, if you decide to sell the trailer, you would be sure that you would get a considerable resale value to a certain extent.

If the body made of aluminium is quite efficient, then why do other manufacturers harness it as well? This is mainly due to cost, as other materials used for this construction are relatively less expensive. Many manufacturers also tend to engage in price competition, rather than on quality.

Also, airstream’s all-metal frame mimics the aircraft design of World War II. Thoughtful engineering design, as well as high-grade materials and makes the trailer extremely strong and durable. Airstream will not wear out like other brands of mobile homes. The double frame accommodates the little plywood under the floor to reduce the process of decay. Due to these reasons, airstreams have a longer service life than other RVs of popular brands. As mentioned earlier, it is not uncommon to find a 60 or 70-year-old Airstream in motion. If you take adequate care of them, even after these years, they still look brand new. In all, airstreams have all the qualities that make them a generational heirloom.

Easy to Tow

In the past few years, one of the reasons Airstreams became famous is the convenience of towing. This starts from the bottom. The airstream was made to keep the centre of gravity very low. 

Most travel trailer manufacturers build above the wheels, but the airstream is built between the wheels. This lowers the floor and the frame, thereby lowering the centre of gravity. To enhance this, the water tank is kept inside the frame so that the weight is adequately controlled. This means that in the event of an emergency lane change, the trailer is unlikely to swing and fall.

The airstream campers also use a rubber torsion shaft instead of a spring suspension, which is not only more durable but also provides better stability. On the other hand, if the weight of your towing vehicle is incorrect, the towing airstream may cause stress and danger.

Major Gas Saver

airstream living

Due to the stylish, aerodynamic structure, the resistance on the airstream trailer will be reduced, which will save you a lot of fuel costs. The cost savings can be as high as 20%, which is not too shabby, considering that the replenishment cost may exceed $100.

Exotic Furniture Design

travel trailer airstream

Another reason for the high price tag of Airstreams is the unique furniture design. Airstream furniture, which is called an advantage or privilege, has a unique shape and design. They are manufactured to fit a unique interior. The company makes furniture and installs it manually. Just like the exterior design, airstream’s interior decoration and functions are different from most RVs of other brands. Its interior is pleasant and modern, contrary to the dark and rustic feel of other RVs. The use of a large number of toughened glass fixtures can provide better outdoor vision and bring campers closer to nature as well.

The Brand with High Respect 

Airstream has placed its company as a luxury brand with high reliability. Their goal is to attract clients with disposable funds, and they are looking to offer products that guarantee an experience of luxury. With the attractiveness of luxury goods, price tags also follow. It is hard to predict the profit margin of any travel trailer firm accurately, and most brands will not release these numbers publicly. We can estimate that considering the quality of manufacturing and the components used, the profit margins of Airstreams’ are the same as many other brands. Airstream is extremely unlikely to provide a streamlined budget model because it may destroy the brand image they have cultivated over the years.

There are some followers and lovers of airstream who have a high demand for trailers, which in turn can keep the second-hand market healthy. Compared with most other brands, the rate of depreciation of airstream is prolonged. The firm was founded by the visionary Wally Byam as earlier mentioned. Wally hopes to invent a medium through which people can travel around the world while enjoying all this magical earth can offer. This led to the birthing of the airstream.

In addition to the marketing of trailers, Wally also provides a medium for like-minded people to meet by organizing gatherings and the owner’s community. These communities and clubs are currently very active and will still unite to help each other. Airstream is as well an American branded company that has been manufacturing trailers at its Ohio plant for many years. Other firms also manufacture travel trailers in the United States, but the Airstream brand is happy that they have long used professional employees to produce trailers in the United States.

Reduced Maintenance Costs

Since airstream does not reduce quality, you will spend less time on care and maintenance, which is usually the cost of many other brands. The average maintenance cost of other trailers and RVs can be as high as thousands of dollars per year.

Beauty

rvs inside

The airstream does not look like the standard motor homes you usually see on roads and campgrounds. The streamlined design and silver shell give people the feeling of silver bullets, which, to some extent, illustrates the company’s resilience during the economic recession after World War II. From a practical point of view, this design allows the trailer to have excellent durability without adding too much weight. The double-layer aluminum shell is wrapped in the steel structure, which is light in weight and reduces resistance. The unique silver body attracts people’s attention and makes your trailer stand out in the campground. The unpainted metal shell is easy to maintain and will not deteriorate in any weather.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are airstreams worth it?

We think they are worth it. Except for classic cars or rare treasures, when is the last time you saw something on two to four wheels which can mark high prices, and saw where people could eat and sleep for millions of miles before being sold at the same price as the purchase price (if not higher)? Yes, we have nothing else of this nature aside airstreams. Also, it is evident from the above discussion that the high price tag of airstream comes from three factors: aircraft-grade aluminium casing, high attention to quality, and legendary brand value.

Even without resale value, are airstreams worth it? The answer is still yes; these trailers are definitely worth the money due to their sturdy structure and long service life. Besides, their driving performance is excellent. The lighter body can easily be towed, and the design does not produce too much air resistance. If you think of all the advantages that airstream trailers have, then you may ignore the price and absolutely cannot fail to fall in love with them.

How much should I pay for an Airstream? 

Buying and owning an Airstream trailer is a “bucket list” item for many people, but sometimes, people are shocked when they ask and find out how much does an airstream cost. Currently, airstream’s cost between $38,000 and $150,000. 

Are airstreams heavy?

Airstream travel trailers are like other trailers in the world, which means that more information is needed to determine the towing weight than the basis weight. A version such as the 2019 Sport weighs 2,860 pounds. 2019 Feiyun weighs 3,852 pounds. The 2019 international signature weight is 4,761 pounds.

Why are Airstream caravans so expensive?

The three main reasons Airstream caravans are so expensive are: the aluminium body structure, legendary reputation and use of high-quality components. Over the years, the Airstream brand name has become synonymous with high-end and luxury internationally, which also helps increase the price of its trailers.

Do airstreams leak?

Airstreams may leak upon usage. Over time, the seals on the airstream will break due to wear and tear, causing leakage. However, it is well known that the airstream has a longer service life than most campers and is easier to fix than some common camper during a leakage.

Should I buy a used Airstream?

If you want the best and most reliable mass-market trailers you can buy, then airstream is worth the price. The more you plan to use, the better value for money you get here. If you want to get the best value proposition, then buy a used airstream for sale.

Can a jeep pull an Airstream?

Yes. The average towing capacity of most jeeps is 2,000 to 4,000 pounds. This means they can pull an airstream.

Are airstreams good in hot weather?

Yes. The airstream is right in hot weather because they are constructed to ensure temperature control. Furthermore, the airstream is aware that once you are out in a motor home, sometimes, you will spend some time in less than optimal weather. Thus, they are aware that this information is vital for every RV user. In winter, it is paramount to ensure that you keep warm. In all, it is also essential to keep the trailer beautiful and cool in summer.

After placing the trailer on its chassis, the airstream begins to work using its pipes, wires and insulation. For insulation, sand and recycled glass are mostly used. Their insulation medium is known as EcoBatt and has passed the most stringent certification for air quality in the industry as a whole. In the test, the insulating material also passed all the set standards. Upon wiring and insulating everything, the aluminium core inside will be riveted on the frame of the airstream. This is why the inner wall of the airstream is kept in reasonable condition in hot weather.

Do airstreams get hot?

Yes. The aluminium wall of the airstream heats up quickly and also cools down quickly.

Can you live in an Airstream in the winter?

Yes. Most current airstream designs, manufacturing, and insulation can make a big step forward in cold weather. Even if you don’t have the latest RV technology, you can still make the airstream comfortable in winter. Also, you can do some simple things to ensure that you stay warm while sleeping in the airstream. This includes:

  • Make sure you have enough blankets. You will be surprised that people focus their attention on coats, gloves, and hats so frequently that they forget to bring extra blankets. If you want to avoid the cold, please bring a thick wool blanket.
  • Consider carrying a portable heater. Some electric heaters or propane heaters may be needed to keep the airstream at a mild temperature.
  • Have a hot meal. You may be surprised that a delicious hot meal not only raises the body temperature but also refreshes the spirit. Have you ever had a cup of hot chocolate after sledding for a day as a child? There is nothing better than this. The same principles apply. A hot meal in your 
  • Dress warmly. If you have never been out in the snow before, you may not have much experience in wearing this kind of clothes. When you are camping in the air in winter, make sure to wear multiple layers of clothes. You will want to be able to easily add and take off clothes as the temperature changes throughout the day as well.

Do airstreams have bathrooms?

Yes. Most current airstream versions are equipped with a bathroom to ensure maximum comfort for all users.

Is airstream a 4 season?

Unfortunately, specific airstream versions are not trailers for the four seasons. They may do well in summer (if you have a generator to start the A/C) and spring and autumn, but in cold winters, some airstream versions may be inconvenient because the aluminium shell usually conducts cold air directly through the wall.

Can you live full time in an Airstream?

Yes. Living full time in an Airstream can be one of the biggest adventures of your life. Overall, you will love the experience of living full-time in an Airstream travel trailer.

What kind of car can pull an Airstream?

Compared with most other travel trailers, the airstream has less resistance to the wind. Due to the all-aluminium body, the airstream is much lighter than other trailers of the same size. The aerodynamic characteristics and lighter weight allow the airstream to be towed by almost all vehicles such as SUVs and jeeps.

Should I cover my airstream?

Yes. You should cover the airstream to protect it, but if you do it incorrectly or use the wrong cover, it may cause mould and paint damage, or crack some parts of it. Also, any structure that can prevent rain, snow and sunlight from affecting your airstream can protect it in winter. If you use storage facilities, choose a covered space-it’s worth it! However, unless there is a moisture-proof layer on the ground, please try to avoid using enclosed barns and tents with the concrete ground. 

What is the most popular Airstream model?

“Flying Cloud” is currently the most popular, versatile and family-friendly airstream trailer. There are more floor plans available with this airstream than any other model, so everyone has an appealing airstream to use. The Bambi airstream models also thrive significantly in this regard.      

Conclusion

In conclusion, highlighted above are the main reasons why the airstream is so expensive: High-quality parts, a brand of luxury, and also a body made of aluminium. There isn’t any doubt that the airstream is durable and will take you on uncountable trips. Also, they have an elegant style and luxurious furnishing that even the most honest consumers will be satisfied with upon usage. In our world today, it’s not strange to change technological tools yearly and have so much disposable consumerism. On the other hand, the airstream can be traced back to an era when quality engineering and craftsmanship are used to make products that you can use for decades.

We apologize if this is a little preachy, we are quite convinced that the airstream is worth its high price. They are excellent trailers for traveling, and we believe that the price reflects the skills and engineering capabilities of the trailer production. You must have also met many owners of RVs all over the world, but we bet you have never encountered the owner of an Airstream who is thinking that they should buy an airstream alternative. Hope after reading this guide now you know why are airstreams so expensive.

Michael J. Branco
Michael J. Branco
Michael works part-time as a freelancer. Luckily he can work from anywhere, so he goes back and forth between Texas and New Jersey. When he gets leisure time, he goes off camping in Park City, and when he was in the Florida Keys, you can usually find him on the campground either RVING, backpacking or hunting. Recently hiking has attracted him. He got certified a few years ago and “get wet” as frequently as he can. He shares his traveling experiences with you at Easy Trip Guides and tries to let you know about different types of tips and tricks. “Camping is his Passion.” He is now working as a full-time content writer on our website. Michael covers the following category as an expert; Backpacking, Hiking, Survival Camping, Hunting, RV & Camping

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