Bowlus Porsche1 6304

Performance You Can Count On

An RV gives you truly amazing ability to explore unique locations in the USA and Canada. Whether it is in your travel plans to see all 61 National Parks, take your kids back to your favorite home state campsite, or truly unplug from it all at an off-grid camping location on public lands, the Bowlus Road Chief is truly the best value because it has the performance you can count on.

Here are a few essentials to consider:

Driving

Although we all imagine those iconic national park moments, we still have to get there. That means hitching, driving, and parking. Each one of these actions has special considerations. If you’re like us, you don’t want your RV or travel trailer making decisions for you on where you can explore. The Bowlus Road Chief is genuinely the easiest – and safest RV to drive. That means that driving performance is superb. You can accelerate easily onto on-ramps, brake quickly for defensive driving. Make u-turns on a two-lane highway and you never have to limit yourself with a Bowlus Road Chief.

Camping

Most National Park Campgrounds cannot accommodate RV’s over 26’. With larger RV’s you’ll be stuck staying outside of the park and be far away from the fun. Even if sites can accommodate larger RV’s – they are not as abundant, meaning you will have a harder time making sure you get one. Additionally, many RV’s cannot be taken off of paved roads because of their very low ground clearance. However, when you are camping, you want to go off-grid or at the very least experience some rough dirt roads. The Bowlus Road Chief has some of the highest ground clearance to do this. The exterior aluminum we use is the strongest so no worries about dents and dings.

Battery

Most travel trailers or RVs cannot go off-grid and use their battery power for more than a night if you are lucky. Their systems are not designed to be off-grid – they are just intended to be at a campground with access to hookups. However, like you, our favorite places to visit, like the National parks, generally do not have hookups. This means if you have an RV that is not built for boondocking, you could end up damaging your battery or unable to work even your heater due to your battery’s limitations. The Bowlus Road Chief is designed to be off-grid. Our extensive battery banks, sophisticated power management systems and ability to run necessary appliances like the microwave and all outlets while off-grid means you can stay in all the coolest spots since you don’t require hookups and are free to enjoy yourselves.

Four Seasons

Many National Parks are located at elevation or located in desert terrain where temperatures can drop overnight. Most RV’s are not built for freezing conditions, and damage will occur. Purchasing an RV that can only be used six months out of the year is not as good value. The Bowlus Road Chief is built for every season, including winter. There is no need for concern about damage when temperatures drop since all systems and piping are inside the Bowlus shell.  As well, you’ll be warm and cozy inside, Did I mention heated floors?

We design for performance,

Geneva Long
Bowlus Road Chief

DSC00866 3

Bowlus Road Chief and RV Industry Disruption

There’s a reason for the growing number of “lemons” in the RV industry. Manufacturers want to make products as cheaply as possible, which affects the entire supply chain. Suppliers are forced to comply or go out of business. When things fall apart (as they inevitably do, thanks to shoddy craftsmanship), dealerships refuse to service RVs because they’re afraid manufacturers won’t cover the warranty.

Enter Bowlus Road Chief, shining like a paladin to the rescue with aircraft-grade armor, ready to do battle against status quo and defend the meticulous craftsmanship of old.         

We believe the manufacturer-dealership model of business is outdated. In recent years, industries of every kind have seen a boom in direct to consumer (D2C) models, and their subsequent success. Nike is an oft cited example. Back in 2016, Nike introduced its mobile application and shifted toward a D2C model. As a result, the company is well on the way to its goal of $16 billion in D2C by fiscal 2020.

The D2C model is also beneficial for consumers: there’s a direct relationship with the brand who makes the product and the product itself is often better. That’s certainly the case with the RV industry, where manufacturers send parts to dealerships to be assembled and then sold. Bowlus Road Chief is the only company to sell D2C, and has been following the model since its revival in 2012.  

Talk about an RV industry disruptor. As a result of our D2C approach we are able to:

  • Ensure that each trailer is handcrafted to meet exacting standards
  • Use showrooms instead of dealerships, providing a luxury customer experience
  • Deliver the finished travel trailer directly to your doorstep or office

Let’s explore the first two points in a little more depth to understand how exactly Bowlus Road Chief is pioneering a new way forward.

UNCOMPROMISING QUALITY

In the RV industry, there’s often a back-and-forth between suppliers and manufacturers before a trailer is ever created. Manufacturers, who assemble the vehicles, want the cheapest passable parts. Suppliers either comply or risk being put out of business. Then, manufacturers rush the actual assembly of the vehicle because they want to turn out as much product in a day as possible. The result is a growing number of “lemon RVs.”

At Bowlus Road Chief, we build our travel trailers right here. Our skilled craftspeople spend hundreds of hours handcrafting each Road Chief to meet exacting standards. Additionally, we use only the highest quality materials for our purposes; or, as we like to call them, honest materials. That’s because the wood interior is crafted from real birch. The teak bathroom is truly teak. And the gleaming metallic shell is made from 2040 aluminum, the same alloy used to create aircraft. There’s a reason people have stopped us in the street to call the Road Chief in tow “art on wheels.” We take no shortcuts when it comes to workmanship. We make no compromises when it comes to quality. Every Road Chief embodies the vision of Hawley Bowlus, mingling the artistry of the past with the modern luxuries of today.

A LUXURY CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

Rather than a parking lot dealership with RVs packed in like sardines, we offer a luxury showroom in Las Vegas. This has several perks. First, it’s a highly personable experience that allows you to connect to the product. You can explore at your leisure and ask our experts any questions you may have. It’s also a much more relaxed experience. We’re honest about whether or not a Road Chief will suit your needs and aren’t interested in pushing product on the wrong audience. That’s part of why, in five years of production, no Road Chief has entered the secondary market. In other words: all of our travelers remain in the hands of their original purchasers.

As a technology company, we also bring the luxury tour experience to customers! You can step inside a Road Chief in the comfort of your own home via our virtual tours. It’s just one of many ways Bowlus Road Chief is disrupting the RV industry.

THE ROAD CHIEF ADVANTAGE

Disruption can be a very good thing, especially when an industry is spiraling downward. What’s happening to the RV industry is not dissimilar to what happened with the American automobile industry in the ‘80s. The Big Three (Chrysler, GM and Ford) faced a serious crisis because they could not keep pace with a changing industry. When Americans started opting for Japanese and German cars instead, the Big Three were forced to make some serious changes. That’s the thing about being a consumer: in the end, you hold the true power.

We’ve heard what RVers have to say about the industry. More than that, we’ve listened. Bowlus Road Chief is proud to be an RV industry disruptor. We introduced the world’s first lithium battery-powered travel trailer and it remains the only vehicle on the market that can last up to a week off grid. Heated floors and personal charging stations are two more industry firsts to our name. And we do it all in the spirit of modern adventure.

Ready for a better way to travel? Reach out to our adventure guide at adventureguide@bowlus.com or (855) 426-9587.

Stay innovative,
Geneva Long
Bowlus Road Chief

 

Bowlus JohnLong HelenaMitchell 1

Behind The Adventurer: Helena Mitchell

On our new series Behind The Adventurer, we interview those who inspire us to take to the open road. In celebration of Mother’s Day, this week I will be interviewing my mother Helena Mitchell. Helena runs our sales team, and you probably recognize her as the friendly voice on the other side of the telephone. If you haven’t met her yet, drop us a line. She would love to chat about why a Bowlus Road Chief would be perfect for you and always has special tips and tricks to offer to make your Road Chief adventures unique and special.

Let’s get started:

Geneva Long: What three words would you use to describe your travel philosophy?

Helena Mitchell: To travel thoughtfully. I’m always inspired and refreshed by land travel. What does that mean to me? I love to start with a plan. That means to me stopping when the mood strikes,  eating well, sleeping soundly. And most importantly no rushing.

GL: How do you incorporate your travel philosophy into everyday life?

HM: I love travel journals and beautiful landscape photography online and on Instagram. They allow you to slip away for a few moments and dream of “where’s next?” Being organized so having a spot where I can tuck away a list, an interesting thought or note that later encourages what could be – I love.  And I like keeping a record of those fabulous spots you never want to forget (but I do) and want to return to is nice, so John and I aren’t trying to reach back attempting to remember “where was that place, we got those amazing eggs?”.

I’m right now I’ve been playing with a digital travel journal options like Day One, and am interested in the video/photo power of Polarsteps. If someone reading has a recommendation, please let me know!

GL: How do you strike a balance between adventure and relaxation?

HM: Let’s be real; I’m at the age where bouldering is out of the question. So for me, adventure is relaxation. It might start with a fantastic hike in a State or National park. Then discovering a small town with an incredible coffee spot and then chat with some locals that are doing something that gets us inspired to later talk about new ideas and trends. I love that so much of our traveling provides conversation starters along with glue that keeps us together.  

GL: One thing you can’t travel without?

HM: A Bowlus Road Chief. It’s true. Like many of our owners we’ve been fortunate to travel the world; however, I don’t find air travel as compelling as it once was. I love traveling America and Canada (and hopefully soon Mexico)  in incredible comfort while discovering sweet finds. I enjoy having the food I enjoy, a bed that guarantees me a good night sleep, a good shower and a “place” for everything – truly brings me joy!

GL: Who is your go-to travel buddy?

HM: It previously was our sweet, dear Dotty girl. She was our Portuguese Water Dog who was the best company anyone could ever ask for. She passed last fall after 14 wonderful years together with a send out on a beach in Malibu surrounded by love and her favorite treat of bananas. So now it’s often just John and I. They say opposites attract and John hates a plan. So it’s always an interesting balance when we travel.  It has taken years but now we usually agree at lunch we’ll decide where we will stop for the night (instead of at 8 PM) and we try never to drive past 4 PM so we can get in his walking miles to continue his journey with heart health. Traveling is about compromise and discovery and if your travel buddy is open to those two concepts you are guaranteed to have a wonderful time!

GL: Favorite snack on the road?

HM: I love, love, love to have an assortment of excellent cheese, fruit, nuts, vegetables along with hummus and crackers for a stop along the way.

GL: The soundtrack of your travels?

HM: Music connects me to the people in my life. I like it when my travel mate picks the tunes. So when I’m out with Geneva, it’s a reflection of her interests, and when I’m out with John, it’s his. When I’m alone, it can run from talk radio to CBC (if I want to catch the Canadian vibe) to the latest hits.

GL: How do you start planning your next trip?

HM: I’ve always got a handful in the hopper.  I like being ready with a few possible agendas so if we can grab the time we go.  So if you called and said let’s get going this afternoon, I’d be ready. That means that I’ll stock it with small luxuries like fresh Road Chief bed linens, a good book, hiking gear and a bottle of wine or my favorite tea and gluten-free cookies.

GL: What does a typical day of road tripping look like for you?

HM: I love having a cup of tea in bed to start the day. It makes me feel like I’m at the Four Seasons on wheels while I consider the day which usually includes a simple breakfast,  a hike, a rest and then a fun activity for the afternoon. Dinner can be anything thing to something insanely good we prepare ourselves, to finding a fantastic a local restaurant. I’m a reformed night owl, so now I am enjoying going to bed early so I can catch the sunrise through our Road Chief’s “eyes.” That’s the definition of a wonderful day!

GL: Most epic to you, road trip route?

HM: I can rhyme off the greats, and they have been truly awe-inspiring. They took us on adventures and experiences I could have never imagined like the Dempster Highway and any trip along the coast of Canada and the USA. I love how magical moments can also happen when it’s least expected. I was driving with our son across the country when we stopped late one Friday night on Route 66 exhausted and hungry. We happened upon a burger stop with fantastic food and DJ playing country from his phone with a speaker. Just 30 people out for milkshakes joyfully two-stepping around the picnic tables. It’s what I love about traveling.

GL: Where is your happy place?

HM: It’s a Road Chief. When I’m on our adventures, I love how the Road Chief offers everything we need. So easy and so fun. I also love seeing how it has transformed our lives and the lives of our owners and future owners as they make their purchasing decision. It is truly a privilege when people share their hopes and dreams with you. How they choose to create their lives is truly inspiring.

GL: Next road trip you are dreaming of

HM: So many. Winter in Yosemite. Revisiting the National Park locations of photographers like the Kolb brothers, Ansel Adams and Stephen Shore to be inspired to shoot more photography even if it’s only on my phone. A way back tour of 1982 (it was an insane year). Top of my “dream”  list is probably Ireland and Scotland in a Road Chief.

GL: If you stop at just one place, go here:

HM: I will somewhat embarrassingly share my secret and long obsession that started in 1994 for mini horses. There are mini horse farms you can visit, and they make my day! If you have one that’s your favorite, please let me know.

GL: One piece of advice you would share with travelers?

HM: Buy your Road Chief and start your adventures today! One thought I come back to lately almost daily is how time is rarely valued despite it being one of our most precious non-renewable resources. Until late, I always thought there was an endless supply.  After all, it seemed I could create more simply by staying up later and multi-tasking more. But living that way never created more happiness with the small exception of occasionally getting ahead on a never-ending “to do” list. So lately I’ve been more focused on what can bring more happiness. Nothing I love more than helping people get on the path to more adventures and love the rewards of joy, fun and love it creates in their lives.  For me, those feelings created in adventures are always “time best spent.”

bg eh 1 2

The Most Reliable RV on The Market

When you are looking for an RV, finding the most reliable RV is essential. It’s something that helps you ensure you get good value for your money but means you can continue spending time adventuring with your RV, not stuck with it in the repair bay all summer (yes, this is the reality at most dealers due to lack of parts and knowledgable service technicians).

Here are a few essentials to consider:

Reliability

We understand having an issue with low-quality parts is frustrating. So, we start with the best in class materials and combine those with artisan manufacturing techniques, the same ones that built the Road Chiefs of the 1930s. We use best in class parts for everything right down to the screws. For example, we use stainless steel screws, so there is no risk of rust. We use marine grade parts because it makes a difference.

You shouldn’t be concerned with the structural integrity of your travel trailer or RV. Steel frames with poorly made roofs and sides reasonably leave you worried about how your RV will continue to hold up against the elements. We use aircraft grade aluminum and rivets. We manufacture to aircraft tolerances and use the same 2024 aluminum that modern airplane manufacturers build their exterior. We have a full monocoque design, meaning there is not any place for rodents to come into your Road Chief (you would be surprised how common this is with other RVs).

Integrity

The RV industry has a reputation for crude execution and dissatisfied consumers. It comes as no surprise that over 91% of the industry is owned by three huge public corporations, Thor Industries, Forest River and Winnebago. Even Airstream is part of one of these large conglomerates (Thor Industries). Due to the pressure of quarterly results and annual executive bonuses, the RV industry needs to continue selling RVs as cheaply as possible. This pressure leads to an inferior product and a lack of empathy or considers for the customer. Bowlus Road Chief is independently family owned, and we focus on our relationship with you, our customer.  When we design the Road Chief, we are doing so because we want to share our vision with the world and fulfill your needs, not because we have earnings reports demanding it. Our independence allows us to craft the Bowlus Road Chief the way we want to, make our customers’ needs our main priority, tell our story in an authentic voice and celebrate those who desire to adventure on their terms.

Product Support

We understand getting a new RV can feel overwhelming, the manuals for most RV’s are incredibly unhelpful, and dealers will only provide support if you make a service appointment. The Bowlus Road Chief is genuinely the most user-friendly RV there is. When you make your production payment six months before delivery, we give you access to all of our manuals. We’ve worked hard to make sure our owner’s manual is not just a book of warnings but provides helpful information on how to best operate your Bowlus Road Chief in a way that is easy to understand. Plus, we offer product support assistance by email five days a week with an on average two hour response time. Our product support is available directly with our factory team, the same people that happily assembled your Road Chief and cared about your experience.

Maintenance

You’ve heard the horror stories, waiting up to 6 months to get an appointment at your local RV dealer only to find that the repair will take another six months because they can’t seem to get to it. Other manufacturer’s don’t give instructions on how to even do the maintenance yourself, and with a poorly manufactured product, regular service seems to be a necessity to keep your RV from the falling apart. At Bowlus Road Chief, we take a different approach. The Bowlus Road Chief has yearly recommended maintenance that can be performed yourself or by bringing your Road Chief into the factory to have the same technicians that assembled your Road Chief service it. We also, of course, offer repairs at our California factory and pride ourselves on having available within two weeks of your request. You won’t find yourself waiting months to get in for service with us. Additionally, we resolve 95% of service issues within a week. We aim to get you back on the road as fast as possible.

Kind Regards,

Geneva Long
Bowlus Road Chief

Bowlus JohnLong GenevaLong 9049

Behind The Adventurer: John Long

The Return of The Road Trip

On our new series Behind The Adventurer, we interview those who inspire us to take to the open road. Who better to be our first interviewee than my father & business partner, John Long. There is nothing better in our opinion than being able to continue our shared passions of design, adventure travel and craftsmanship through our family business.

Let’s get started:

Geneva Long: What three words would you use to describe your travel philosophy?

John Long: Serendipitous, it’s a journey, not a destination, Impulsive.

 

GL: How do you incorporate your travel philosophy into everyday life?

JL: Travel is a break for me. It’s all in my desire to have a new experience, to meet new people, to see new locations. I like to live my plans wide open.

 

GL: How do you strike a balance between adventure and relaxation?

JL: I try for adventure but as I’m 65, I need to recharge along the way. I like to plan my days with our Road Chief as follows: exhaust myself with a 3 mile brisk walk in the morning and another 3 mile brisk walk or hike in the early evening and spend the rest of my time doing what I love. Last December I had some trouble with my heart and needed to have a stent put in, since then I have been working on building my strength over longer hikes and am happy to have worked up to 7 miles per day.

 

GL: One thing you can’t travel without?

JL: My camera. Shooting landscapes is one of my favorite aspects of travel. I shoot on a Sony Alpha 7riii with a 24-105mm F4 lens most of the time. This year for the holidays, I got a DJI Mavic Pro drone, which I have been loving.

 

GL: What book are you reading right now?

JL: My family comes from Iceland and there is nothing I love more than reading novels from Icelandic writers or Icelandic Sagas. I’m currently reading Butterflies in November by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir.

 

GL: Who is your go to travel buddy?

JL: My go to travel buddy is my wife and business partner Helena Mitchell. She’s always up for any adventure. Recently, I’ve taken some very fun father-son trips with our son to share our passion of nature photography and videography. Having shared experiences together is really important so we can have time together.

 

GL: Favorite snack on the road?

JL: Granola or nut mixture that reminds me of my summers working for the BC Forest Service counting trees in Northern British Columbia and the Yukon and all the backpacking trips I took in my 20’s.

 

GL: Soundtrack of your travels?

JL: Sweet, sweet jazz. I also like listening to Radio Plays and Podcasts. My favorites are Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar and Saga Thing.

GL: How do you start planning your next trip?

JL: I don’t. Planning is overrated and with a Road Chief you don’t have to. I like to use my 30 minute scramble. To do this I: Pull up the Road Chief to our front door, Load what we need, empty the fridge of our home into the fridge in the Road Chief, fill up the water and simply go!

 

GL: What does a typical day of road tripping look like for you?

JL: I like to skip off early on a Friday afternoon and take as many small roads as a we can. I loved reading Blue HIghways for some inspiration while driving. I stop as many times as we wish, again my philosophy is on the journey not on the destination.

 

GL: Most epic to you, road trip route?

JL: When I was young, I loved reading the story of Zikmund and Hanzelka, two Czech engineers who drove across most of the world in a Tatra 87. When Helena and I retired (for the first time), we were looking to celebrate in a special way and reconnect with our children. I was inspired to take our 1947 Tatra T87 on a big trip around North America with our family and my best friend from 7th grade and his family. We called it the Three Ocean’s Tour and dipped the Tatra’s front tire in the three oceans surrounding North America, Atlantic, Pacific and most difficult Arctic Oceans. It was on this trip that Helena said to me “Wouldn’t this be better in a trailer?” and so I went to find our 1935 Bowlus Road Chief. It was the trip that started our obsession with the Bowlus Road Chief.

Helena and I are planning on re-doing the Three Ocean’s Tour and dipping in the back wheel of a Bowlus Road Chief to all three oceans again.

 

GL: Where is your happy place?

JL: The bedroom in our 1935 Bowlus Road Chief. I restored it by hand myself and every time I go inside it I’m overwhelmed with the feelings of what my family has devoted themselves to for the last 10 years and feel very lucky.

 

GL: Next road trip you are dreaming of?

JL: There are so many road trips left on my bucket list. There are two very special ones I will share with you. First, I would love to drive the ring road in Iceland with a Bowlus Road Chief. You could say this requires quite a bit more planning than my usual packing scramble but easily doable. Second, I’m inspired everyday by the trips I hear that our owners take in their Bowlus Road Chiefs. I would love do Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada in a Road Chief.

 

GL: If you stop at just one place, go here:

JL: Any Bureau of Land Management campsite. It fits perfectly with our travel philosophy and have enjoyed so many wonderfully serendipitous experiences while camping at these, meeting the most interesting people who share many of my passions. Geneva’s favorite camping location is a BLM site just four hours north of our workshop, so that is my favorite location for our family to go group camping together.

 

GL: One piece of advice you would share with travelers?

JL: See the country before you can’t. Don’t wait. There is nothing like a big health scare to make you realize just how little time you can have. For truly the first time in my life, I realize time is more precious, there is more reasons to celebrate the small things, more reasons to reconnect with family, more reasons to just say yes to something new and exciting. So every time I think dang I’m getting old, I make sure I go make more memories because you just never know when the fun might be over. With my renewed health I am so grateful and take nothing for granted anymore.

image001

Why We Don’t Believe in Big RV and Why You Shouldn’t Either

Megacorporations have long been a part of our cultural landscape, but we don’t always realize the pervasiveness of their reach. For instance, many adventure enthusiasts are still under the impression that Airstream, which makes just a few thousand trailers per year, is a small and craftsmanship-oriented company. However, since Airstream was acquired by Thor Industries in 1980, many Airstreamers have lamented that the quality took a downward turn…a trend that continues today.

Over 91% of the RV industry is owned by Thor Industries, Forest River and Winnebago. Their tour de force: selling as many RVs as possible for as cheaply as possible. It’s because of this approach, which has indoctrinated most of the industry, that the RV industry has a reputation for crude execution and dissatisfied consumers. Take a look at any of the hundreds of forums filled with angry, disillusioned RVers.

The big RV supply chains work like this: suppliers make the parts, which are sold to the manufacturers who assemble the parts. Then, the finished RVs are sold to dealerships. Dealers sell these to consumers. A lot goes wrong throughout this long supply chain. In order to be profitable, RV parts are produced as cheaply as possible (often in China) and manufacturers throw the parts together as quickly as possible. For consumers who finance these RVs, their purchase rarely outlasts their payments and the cheap subcomponents fail just after the warranty ends.

In his illuminating series The RV Industry Death Spiral, journalist Greg Gerber writes that “As a full-time RVer I can see through the industry’s smoke and mirrors. The industry talks a good talk and markets the heck out of the lifestyle. But, it drops the ball big time when it comes to QSV—quality, service and value.”

Following the model of its parent company, Airstream satisfies dealers first and consumers second. It may portray itself as being an authentic and homegrown business, but this is largely a marketing gimmick that leverages a long-ago past. They use the same quality parts and to a great extent, the same methods of construction as Thor Industries’ “white box” RVs.

Bowlus Road Chief is independently owned and we focus on our relationship with you, our customer. We are able to grow and develop in a way that is meaningful and organic. When we design a Road Chief we are doing so because we want to share our vision with the world and fulfill your needs, not because we have earning reports demanding it. Our independence allows us to craft the Bowlus Road Chief the way we want to, make our customers’ needs our main priority, tell our story in an authentic voice and celebrate those who desire to adventure on their terms.

Our Road Chiefs have soul in a market of soul-less recreational vehicles. We reject the traps that many other RV brands set for consumers. We are our own supplier, manufacturer and dealer. We subscribe to a factory direct model because we don’t want to compromise on quality.

We do not primarily use RV parts. We opt for marine and aircraft materials. Our iconic shell is crafted from 2024 aluminum—which is, for example, the same material used to construct a Boeing jet. Our aluminum is 5-6 times the price of softer, dentable aluminum used in an Airstream. Our interior is real wood, compared to Airstream’s paper or plastic veneer. Our rivets are aircraft-grade. The rivets used in an Airstream are the same you might find in belts or pot handles. Many of our parts (electrical system, electrical monitoring system, power converter, inverter, lighting fixtures, showerhead, sinks, etc.) are marine-grade, meaning they are long lasting and extremely durable. RV-quality parts are not built to endure. In other words, we don’t cut corners at Bowlus Road Chief.

Why the painstaking effort? It’s simple. We believe in the spirit of modern adventure. As a family-run business, our love of the Bowlus Road Chief has its roots in our own cross-country adventures in Road Chiefs. It’s why we revived the brand in 2011 with a small-but-mighty team of skilled artisans. We are on a mission to empower other travel-lovers to adventure on their own terms, for a lifetime. To fulfill that, we do all we can do to provide you with the ultimate luxury off grid adventure vehicle and we thank you for joining us.

Declare your independence,
Geneva Long
Bowlus Road Chief

Bowlus26White 00229 1

Introducing the NEW American Southwest Inspired Color Palette

This week we have some big news. We’re introducing our new limited-edition color palette for the On The Road Edition: Spirit of the Dunes. Like Heart of the Canyons, it draws on a Southwestern landscape. Spirit of the Dunes was inspired by the White Sands National Monument, so the taupe upholstery shines like gypsum dune fields reflecting sunlight. The gypsum granules are actually transparent, but they scratch each other and sun rays catch on their imperfections, giving the desert its luster.

When you step into the space, the light-colored upholstery causes the interior to recede, making the Road Chief’s spacious floor plan appear even more open. The fabric is the texture of shagreen, an exotic rawhide inspired by the rich, pebble-like appearance of shark or stingray skin. Historically, this fabric was favored by French aristocrats and then by 1920s and ‘30s designers. It’s an elegant complement to the Bowlus Road Chief (which was part of the 1930s Streamline Moderne movement) and it pairs perfectly with the luxury interior of honest materials like aluminum, stainless steel and birch. The On The Road Edition is complete with yours & mine closets, heated floors, cellular routers and boosters, and an en suite bathroom featuring an expanded shower with Italian fixtures and endless hot water. And every bit as splendid as its namesake.  

By all accounts, the White Sands National Monument shouldn’t exist. Gypsum easily washes away in the rain, but the landscape’s unique structure and climate keep the desert pristine. The sight of it (and the fact that it exists at all) is miraculous. We’ve certainly had our fun there, as have a few of our customers. In naming this palette after the White Sands, we hope to imbue your On The Road adventures with that same sense of wonder and enchantment.

Check in next week for a White Sands itinerary, and reserve your Bowlus Road Chief in Spirit of the Dunes today!

Bowlus26White 00281

Why the Road Chief is the Perfect Mobile Office

The future of work is remote. According to data analyzed by Global Workplace Analytics, telecommuting has grown by 140% in the past decade. That number accounts for full-time employees only. Remote work is appealing because of the freedom and comfort it allows. You get to choose where you work, when you work andbe honestwhether or not you work in your pajamas. And with great freedom comes endless options. For many of our owners, the Bowlus Road Chief is the ideal option for a home office: cozy, mobile and a home-unto-itself, it’s everything workers need to make the most of their workday.

“We’re photographers so we’re always using our computers or charging (or streaming something). We had to limit our off grid time with our Airstream. Now we can be “in nature” and have access to everything we need to take the best shots with our Road Chief.” – Bowlus Road Chief owner. 

It’s important to have a separate space to work within your home. While working in your pajamas is tempting, setting boundaries between “home” and “work” will help you be more productive, according to Harvard Business Review. Unlike many travel trailers, the Bowlus Road Chief is designed to have a separate bedroom and living room (as opposed to the living room sofa that converts to a bed). In fact, there are privacy doors between each “room” that allow you to block off the Zen-like bedroom when it’s time to get down to work.

The dinette in the living room is the perfect workspace for two, but can comfortably seat up to five for meetings and brainstorming sessions. All Road Chiefs are conveniently outfitted with charging stations for your tablet, phone and laptop. Road Chiefs also come complete with a cellular booster, so for as long as you have a bar on your cell phone, taking a conference call is no problemeven if you’re camped out in pristine wilderness. Best of all, you can run your mobile office from highly efficient solar power. The Road Chief’s incredible lithium battery allows you to spend up to a week off grid, but with the addition of solar panels, you could spend an indefinite amount of time in your mobile office without relying on hookups.

The Endless Highways and On The Road Editions are equipped with a robust router and an antenna prewired on the roof. You can create your own private, exclusive network by connecting to external WiFi or up to two cellular networks. The Endless Highways Editions also has a sofa side table that can accommodate two more (for a total of four workspaces).

The Bowlus Road Chief has all the conveniences and comforts of a “homebase”: heated floors, hot water, reliable connectivity. The bathroom and kitchen are easily accessible, so you can make a quick pot of coffee or grab a snack at any time. And yet, the Road Chief’s mobility makes it the ideal vehicle for remote work. If you’re a consultant or independent contractor, you can bring your office to clients. If you’re a photographer at a photo shoot, the Road Chief is like an actor’s talent trailer where you can retreat to decompress. Thinking of writing a book? There’s no better place to do so than in your Road Chief. Regardless of your line of work, making the Road Chief your mobile office allows you to mingle work and play, make novelty your muse and start each day with a splendid view.

Want to know more about using the Road Chief for remote work? Speak with an Adventure Guide at adventureguide@bowlus.com or (855) 426-9587.

Work on your terms,
Geneva Long
Bowlus Road Chief  

DSC 3365

The Design Secret Behind the Road Chief’s Incredible Strength

What’s in a Rivet?

The construction of a Road Chief is similar to that of an aircraft. In fact, we use many of the same techniques and materials—down to the panels of 2024 aluminum, which is the optimal alloy for applications requiring high strength to weight ratios. As with aircrafts, rivets are used to hold the aluminum panels together. There are about 5,000 rivets in a single Road Chief. More than just an aesthetic touch, these metal fasteners are responsible for the strength of the entire travel trailer.

We use two different kinds of rivets: Olympic and buck. Olympic rivets secure the “skin,” or shell, to the frame of the Road Chief. They’re simpler and less strong than the buck rivets, which are responsible for the incredible tensile strength of the Road Chief. To install an Olympic rivet, its head is inserted into the panel, above the frame. A hand riveting tool sends a jolt of force through the rivet, and the head of the rivet flares out, securing the panel to the frame. The rounded side that is visible from the outside of the Road Chief is then shaved down and polished to a shine, giving it that iconic, seamless look.

Buck rivets require an even greater level of skill. The buck rivets hold the panels of aluminum together, and all the strength of the Road Chief comes from the joining of the two (the strength does not come from the frame, which is a common misunderstanding). It takes two meticulous craftspeople and a lot of collaboration to buck a rivet. One person stands on the outside of the Road Chief with a rivet gun, while the other stands inside with a hard bar of tungsten. The gun acts like a hammer, setting the rivet to expand on the inside and securing it in place.

Sound simple? It isn’t. There’s an ideal strength-to-weight ratio with buck rivets. The flattened part of the rivet (on the inside of the Road Chief) needs to be exactly 1.5x larger than the stem of the rivet. The tungsten has to be carefully stabilized because if it slips, it can dent the interior. And the technician on the outside of the travel trailer has to be able to distinguish exactly how many “taps” of the rhythmic, machine-gun-like fire from the rivet gun result in a rivet that is within the proper spec. This is just one of the many complex processes that go into the making of a Road Chief.

Road Chief Vs. Airstream

While the process of bucking rivets is similar across riveted travel trailers, it’s the quality of rivet we use that sets the Bowlus Road Chief apart. The rivets in a Road Chief are made from special alloy that is specific to the aircraft industry. These rivets harden in the process of bucking, making them as strong as our aircraft-grade aluminum sheets.

To give you an idea of how the choice in materials affects the strength of the final product, let’s compare a Bowlus Road Chief to an Airstream. Recall that a Road Chief uses 2024 alclad aluminum, which is the best alloy for applications requiring a high strength to weight ratio. Airstream uses much softer  aluminum sheets and puts a clear coating on the sheets for additional protection. This kind of aluminum poses a few problems: first, moisture can still get under the clearcoat and create filiform between paint and aluminum. Because a Road Chief is made from “true” aluminum, Road Chief owners never have to worry about this kind of corrosion.

Second, Airstream uses soft rivets to match the strength of their low tensile strength aluminum sheet. These are the same kind of rivets you might find in an article of clothing, like a belt. Compare that to the aircraft-grade rivets found in a Bowlus Road Chief, which require the finesse of skilled craftspeople to install. On one hand, the softness of Airstream rivets makes them much easier to buck. On the other hand, Airstream owners often worry about hail because the aluminum is so much softer and can be easily damaged by hard objects. The Road Chief is made from aircraft materials, which can withstand considerable impact (think of a Boeing plane).

Simply put, that’s the secret behind the Road Chief’s unrivaled strength: aircraft-grade design.

An awe-inspiring level of artistry goes into the construction of a Bowlus Road Chief. These legendary travel trailers are meticulously handcrafted and executed to exacting standards by our experts. That’s how we did it starting in 1934. And that’s how we do it now. We consider today’s editions to be modern heirlooms—each travel trailer takes hundreds of hours to create, because each Road Chief is created with the same care and precise attention to detail as their 1930s ancestors (many of which are still in pristine condition). It’s this heritage of uncompromising craftsmanship that makes us The Ultimate Luxury Off Grid Adventure Vehicle™.

Stay strong,
Geneva Long
Bowlus Road Chief

max di capua 984331 unsplash

The RV Industry’s Dirty Secret

There’s a disturbingly prevalent trend in the RV industry. After new RV owners take delivery, they notice the shoddy craftsmanship. Sometimes it’s immediately visible: the corner of the roof peels up, cabinets hang from their hinges or the upholstery is ripped. Other times it’s more innocuous, like a roof leak. No matter the severity, dealers will be quick to tell you that these issues “meet industry standards.”

In recent years, countless RVers have been dissatisfied with their purchases. As a result, hundreds of forums and resources have sprung up across the internet regarding the “lemon plight” of the RV industry. It’s no surprise that in a poll conducted by RVTravel, over 20% of readers stated they were not satisfied with the workmanship that went into their RV. So, what’s contributing to the declining standards of the RV industry? It’s not as simple as pointing fingers. Suppliers create RV parts which are sent to the manufacturers, who assemble the parts. They sell the finished product to dealerships. Within that supply chain, a lot can go wrong.

First, RV manufacturers build as quickly as possible with the cheapest materials available. Not only are they attempting to turn out hundreds of units per day, but the effects of rushed production are exacerbated by the lack of skilled, qualified employees. The result of all this corner-cutting is low-quality product that does not endure the test of time. In fact, very few RVs outlast their payments (which can last 10-20 years).

Manufacturers push their subpar inventory onto dealers. When unhappy consumers return to the dealership for much-needed repairs, there’s a lot of back-and-forth between dealers and manufacturers as to who’s responsible. Manufacturers have to decide whether to deny a dealer’s claim or provide reimbursement for the repair work.

Yikes. We can’t help wondering: what if they just did it right the first time?

 

The Road Chief Revolution

Bowlus Road Chief works towards a different type of relationship with our owners. We’re leading the charge toward a more honest, authentic way of engaging with consumers by opting for a direct-to-consumer model. This means you cannot find a Bowlus Road Chief at a traditional RV dealershiponly at our own showrooms (or you can view them via our 360 Virtual Tours!). All purchases are made directly from us, and in five years of production, not a single Road Chief has entered the secondary market.

Although we do purchase the highest quality sub-components available (such as the fridge, microwave and other appliances), most of your Road Chief is handcrafted and fabricated by our highly skilled craftspeople. Since Bowlus Road Chief is responsible for both the manufacturing and selling of Road Chiefs, you get the highest quality travel trailer possible (in contrast to the manufacturer-dealership dynamic that dominates the RV industry). We ensure a level of quality control unrivaled in our industry because individual parts are fabricated in-house and meticulously assembled here. In other words, Road Chiefs go directly from us to your front door.

We do this by opting for honest materials: real birch, teak, stainless steel and aircraft-grade aluminum. In fact, much of our design is inspired by a heritage of aircraft construction. In the 1930’s, Hawley Bowlus, took what he knew about creating lightweight flying vehicles and used that knowledge to craft the world’s first ultralight aluminum travel trailer. Today, Bowlus Road Chief continues that tradition of innovation and excellence. Each of our travel trailers is individually handcrafted and executed to exacting standards by our expert craftworkers. It’s what makes us the Ultimate Luxury Off Grid Adventure Vehicle™.

Travel well,
Geneva Long
Bowlus Road Chief

Let’s adventure. Travel inspiration. Technical secrets. Exclusive collectibles. Sign up so you don’t miss out.

tag