The Bowlus Road Chief is the original aluminum travel trailer

First built in 1934, two years before the Airstream came to be, the Bowlus Road Chief is back and it's chock full of 21st century technology.

Emme Hall Former editor for CNET Cars
I love two-seater, RWD convertibles and own a 2004 Mazdaspeed Miata for pavement fun and a lifted 2001 Miata for pre-running. I race air-cooled Volkswagens in desert races like the Mint 400 and the Baja 1000. I have won the Rebelle Rally, seven-day navigational challenge, twice and I am the only driver to compete in an EV, the Rivian R1T.
Emme Hall
2 min read
Bowlus/John Long
Watch this: The Bowlus Road Chief travel trailer has 1930s looks with 2016 tech

With most travel trailers, the inside looks like it was decorated circa 1987 Motel 6 and battery power is limited to a few days off the grid. But you have an extra $219,000 in your pocket, the Bowlus Road Chief travel trailer gets you an aerodynamic and lightweight design straight out of the Art Deco school, and the top of the line Limited Edition Lithium+ is powered by modern battery technology.

The Bowlus Road Chief Limited Edition Lithium+ comes with 4 kilowatt-hours of lithium ion phosphate batteries. These types of batteries are lighter than those found in traditional travel trailers, helping the Limited Edition maintain its svelte 2,350 pound figure. The lithium iron phosphate batteries will last for 8 to 10 years of heavy camping use, and they will not discharge over time.

Bowlus/John Long

The Limited Edition can be charged via the included solar panel, a vehicle, a generator or plugging into a 120V outlet in your home. Once up to snuff, the batteries can easily handle a family's electrical needs for over a week, or indefinitely as long as the sun is shining. So in the event of a zombie apocalypse, you don't have to give up your microwave, heated floors or 120 volt outlets. In fact, you can even run the air conditioning for a limited amount of time while off-grid.

The inside of the Bowlus Road Chief is a modern dream, all light wood, clean lines and airy open space, thanks to the large skylights. The trailer is 24 feet long and at 6 foot 4 inches of interior vertical space, it can accommodate all but the tallest Shaquille O'Neals of the world.

The living space fits five folks for dinner and then breaks down to two twin beds for sleeping. A 3-foot-by-5-foot bathroom with a cassette toilet and indoor-outdoor shower is finished in teak wood. The rear of the trailer contains a master bedroom with two twin beds that convert to a 6-foot-7-inch king-size bed. The kitchen, complete with a refrigerator and freezer, microwave, stainless steel countertops and cupboard space occupies the front of the Bowlus.

Get bowled over by the Bowlus Road Chief travel trailer

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Because the Bowlus Road Chief Limited Edition is so lightweight (for those keeping score, it weighs about the same as the current generation Miata) there are many more options for tow vehicles. When I toured the trailer it was hitched to a Bentley Bentayga, but the Bowlus claims it can also be towed behind a Tesla Model X. Modern living, indeed.

If the $200,000-plus price tag is more than you can handle, the company also makes the $137,000 Bowlus Road Chief On The Road Edition. This lower-priced travel trailer has many of the same features, but is powered by conventional batteries, giving families a long weekend of off-grid luxury camping.