Bowlus Road Chief

Testimonials

We just had to let you all know…

We just had to let you all know…

We don’t usually write testimonials but after our first month in our Bowlus Road Chief we just had to let you all know just how happy we are with our decision. What a breeze to drive, and operate. The continuous hot water and super large shower is the perfect end to our day. Our beautifully appointed cocoon of a bedroom delivers us a consistent perfect night sleep. Our only regret was waiting five years to buy a Road Chief – our biggest mistake ever! Order yours today!

Wow! Wow! Wow!

Wow! Wow! Wow!

I just took delivery of my Endless Highways I ordered online and all I can say is Wow! Wow! Wow! It is as amazing in person as it is on your website. Just went for my first long weekend camping and it was so much fun! Thank you to everyone at Bowlus for making my Road Chief my favorite purchasing experience ever!

We wanted to be transported to another place, both mentally and physically.

We wanted to be transported to another place, both mentally and physically.

We bought our Road Chief not just to have a luxury trailer, but because only its history, legend, and timeless design could provide the nostalgic escape we were looking for. We wanted to be transported to another place, both mentally and physically.

Our first trip took our family of four three weeks and thousands of miles to the middle of the continent. It would not have been the same without our Road Chief. It sparked conversations and provided a place of respite and reflection. We even enjoyed outdoor showers on a few private, sunny days!

We’d also be remiss to not commend Bowlus on their wonderful support. Every time we had a question they were quick to respond and genuinely happy to help guide us along. We haven’t owned a trailer before and they made sure we weren’t alone.

Can’t wait to head out for another adventure!

We were both smitten.

We were both smitten.

My spouse noticed it first.  We were sitting on the runway waiting for the airplane to take off when she handed me a section of the newspaper and said “look at this.”.  It was an article about the Bowlus Road Chief and the effort by the Longs to reintroduce the camping trailer. We were both smitten. While we had been taking our children camping ever since they were young, it was tent camping from the trunk of a minivan.  We loved camping, but now that our 3 children were nearly launched I had grown a bit tired of the all the work involved in breaking down camp. We reached a stage where we would hike and visit parks but stay in a hotel or rent an AirBnB.

Reading about the Road Chief that morning changed all that.  We spent the next year reading about campers, 5th Wheels, RV’s as well as what we could find about the Road Chief.  We even did the unexpected, and went to a few RV shows to get a better understanding of the lingo, the culture, the options, and the prices.  We joined a few discussion boards and read about the problems with many of the campers, we read the discussions about Airstreams, where we even saw a lot of back and forth about the Road Chief, particularly about the price.  Many of the articles were critical, even though it was clear that the writer they had never stayed in one. Writers who took on the assignment from their publications of using the Road Chief wrote glowing reviews, and occasionally we see a response to a critical posting by a few people who owned one.

It was easy, without even having seen it in person, to recognize how special the Road Chief was.  The design and the quality of the construction was readily apparent. We were initially forced to take the word of reviewers to get a sense of the ease of handling, and the joy of using it.  We have family in California and hence we took the opportunity of a family event to plan a trip to Hendersonville, NV to see the Road Chief in person. Helena Mitchell graciously spent several hours with us as we looked in and at the model sitting in their showroom.   She patiently answered our questions, many of which were probably quite naïve. She tried to explain how to use the camper and discussed some of the adventures she had undertaken, both on her own and with her husband, John.

Upon visiting with the real thing, but despite never having spent a night in a any form of camper, we took a big leap of faith and decided that ordering the Road Chief and a fancy new car to pull it, would be the perfect way to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary.  We fully expect that our trailer will outlive us, and we hope it will be inherited by one of our children or grandchildren.  We also look forward to the time in which we will be able to take grand-children on short camping trips with us.

About a year or so after we ordered it, it was ready and we able to combined a family event in California with the pick-up of our trailer in Nevada.  John Long, greeted us in Hendersonville, where we tried to go through everything. Unfortunately, we had a relatively short time to return to work (we live just outside of Washington DC) and so, after pulling away from the Bowles showroom we spent most of the time driving from one camping ground to another.   It was a trial by fire rather than a vacation, but it all worked out. No more morning soreness and none of the work of breaking camp. When it was time for lunch, we simply pulled into a rest area. Somewhere in Indiana we were both certain that we had made the right choice. Once on the road we did have a concern about one of the systems, but a Geneva Long quickly answered our question.  She has been there, on the phone or by email, at least two other times, when we had questions.

Only two years hence, and we constantly look for opportunities to use our camper.  Instead of renting at the beach, we camped near the Delaware shore. When one of my children graduated from graduate school in Cambridge MA, we camped outside of Boston and then spent a long weekend on Cape Cod.  We have taken long weekends near our home in Maryland and have taken longer trips to Shenandoah National Park. Last summer we spent time in Acadia National Forest in Maine followed by two weeks in several of the Canadian National Parks in Nova Scotia.  We circled the Nova Scotia peninsula and then took a high-speed ferry from Yarmouth NS to Portland ME. This summer another child is graduating from college and we have already booked campsites outside Denver, CO. From there we are planning a a trip to Lassen Volcanic National Park in California, and then Lake Tahoe, by way of San Francisco.

We have learned what is important to pack and what is not; how to negotiate the trailer with our 80 lb. dog, and how to handle frozen food.  Backing up was the scary part, particularly since the trailer turns on a dime, but by the end of last summer, for the first time, I was able to back up a long and straight driveway, without having to make and adjustments, on the first attempt.

We have two regrets about the Road Chief.  First, because we are both still working full time, we do not have the time necessary to take many longer trips.  Second, we have not yet found a practical way to undertake trips abroad with our Road Chief.

The truth is, we miss our Road Chief when it has been too long since we last “hit” the road.

Endless Highways edition was right for me

Endless Highways edition was right for me

Saw a Wall Street Journal review of the Bowlus Road Chief and immediately knew how Mr. Toad must have felt when he gazed upon an airplane for the first time.   I did my web research, exchanged a number of phone calls with Geneva and Helena, and finally decided that the Endless Highways edition was right for me.

In August, 2017, Mr. Jennings (a beagle) and I departed NYC for Henderson, NV to pick up our new Road Chief.  Everywhere that we stopped the Road Chief attracted considerable attention; it seemed as if people knew that here was something special and that it should be paid attention to.

Since that time, there have been many weekend trips traveling the narrow, twisting roads of northwestern Connecticut and the similarly  narrow, twisting roads on New York’s Adirondaks. Through the rain, snow and blue skies, the Road Chief has been a welcome and reliable companion.  I’m happy that I have it.

It’s my job to travel.

It’s my job to travel.

It’s my job to travel. As a photographer, I’ve worked in over 140 countries and all 50 states, so I’ve spent a good portion of my life in airports, on planes, and in hotels. As a result, when I’m not on assignment, my wife Lisa and I consider it the ultimate luxury to navigate the world by car, while pulling our mobile home. We travel slowly, meeting incredible people along the way, while savoring everything around us.

We’ve owned a couple Airstreams in the past, which were wonderful, except for the fact they were perpetually in the shop, getting repaired. After a few years of this, someone suggested that we check out The Bowlus Road Chief, so we went to the factory in Oxnard, met the Long family, were smitten, and immediately ordered one.

We’re thrilled that we did, as our “Mobile Cottage”, as we call it, has revolutionized the way we explore. Because of its monocoque design, it weighs less than half of one of our old trailers, so we pull it with our car, instead of a pick-up truck. We’re delighted with the artistry of its design, as well as the high level of craftsmanship in its construction. It’s gorgeous.

We feel nimble and light, and the freedom that comes with a solar panel and cassette toilet cannot be underestimated. From needing full hook-ups in cramped RV parks, we now feel free to camp comfortably in National Parks for weeks of untethered endless hiking, skiing, and adventuring. We love it.

This past fall, our trailer proved its mettle, as it survived the Woolsey Fire in Malibu. I was working down the coast that fateful day, so I couldn’t get back in time to pull it to safety, as the fire was raging at a clip of a football field per second. For ten long days we agonized, fearing the worst. We thought that we’d lost our beautiful trailer and everything in it. Finally, when I was able to get through the police blockade, I rushed to where I’d parked it, and found it completely unscathed, gleaming in the California sunshine amidst the debris. Everything around it was burnt to a crisp, including a brand new Chevy pick-up, a Harley Davidson, a huge backhoe, as well other trailers. I can’t explain our luck, except that perhaps the burning embers just bounced harmlessly off of the aircraft grade aluminum. Whatever it was that saved our Road Chief from certain destruction, we now call it our miracle trailer. Long live “The Mobile Cottage!”.

We love the access that our Road Chief gives us to America’s wonderful sites

We love the access that our Road Chief gives us to America’s wonderful sites

We love the access that our Road Chief gives us to America’s wonderful sites; it has been perfect for us and our two Jack Russell Terriers. As represented, we find the size, weight, ease of pulling, quick set up, and efficiency of design ‘just right.’ To us it’s luxury travel in our Lexus with a complementary first class, convenient and very comfortable mini-mansion. The Road Chief is eye catching and we never lack for waves, thumbs ups, questions or photographs at every turn and stop. Photography is a passion of ours and we are hiking enthusiasts and always active. We can’t think of a better way to do both than with a Road Chief. Thanks Bowlus!

We looked at all kinds of RV options for about five years before purchasing our Bowlus Road Chief.

We looked at all kinds of RV options for about five years before purchasing our Bowlus Road Chief.

We looked at all kinds of RV options for about five years before purchasing our Bowlus Road Chief. Why did we buy? First, the light weight made it possible for us to buy something that would check all of our boxes. It is unbelievable what quality construction, technological advancements, comfort, and true luxury are packed into this 24-foot dream trailer. It handles like a dream on any road. With 85 mph speed limits on Utah’s interstates or crossing the bridge at Hoover Dam with 40 to 50 mph cross winds, you absolutely forget it is behind you. I swear that several times driving down the highway, we look in the rear-view mirror and are startled to see that we have a Bowlus behind us. The craftsmanship is superb, bringing together both American and European components – talk about a show-stopper.

We have now taken two major trips. The first was last fall in picturesque Utah, and the second was a 6,600 mile, six week trip to the east coast. The two of us plus our two dogs loved every minute of both trips. We are heading out again soon for a couple of weeks and are planning another trip for two months in late spring. Then next fall, we plan on going from Arizona to Nova Scotia, timing the fall colors of New England.

We can honestly say that we have not had one day of buyer’s remorse. We consider everyone at Bowlus as family. Our advice is to go order one today and enjoy this remarkable Road Chief experience.

Thank you for taking us on this wild ride!

Thank you for taking us on this wild ride!

Before I was ever a woman, I was a girl who married a boy fourteen years ago. I didn’t know much about life – I was comfortably miserable in my small world and terrified of adventure, the ocean and camping. He lived for all of these things. He packed a backpack on our honeymoon to Italy and I packed two suitcases. We continued on with life joking about how being opposites was fun but really, life was black and white with gray smeared on top. Two kids, separate dreams and twelve (very) opposite years later, we had fallen to our knees yet again, disconnecting and reconnecting in a tangled beautiful mess of highs and lows and a small fortune spent on therapy.

Somehow, with guidance and will, we held on just by letting go. I was loved at my worst, and, patiently, he got my best. This is where our Bowlus adventure begins even though we didn’t know it at the time. I realized I needed to “let go” and suddenly found myself wanting to do just that. Where could we go just the two of us that was so out of my box? I got out a map. Iceland. That will do just fine, thank you. There was one rule for this trip we considered our marriage salvation – no rules at all. Get on a plane, reserve a camper (seriously?) and get in it and go. No destination. No plan. No fear. Just the two of us and an Atlas. The old beater of a camper was adorned with a hodge-podge of old sheets. Not a single pillowcase matched another piece of bedding, and it was clear this thing had been lived in by a thousand other lives. Perfect. Just perfect. I needed to let go and suddenly this city girl was winging it in a beat-up camper with the name “Duke” etched on the side. Our whimsical plan of a trip was life changing. We were two lost souls married to the strangers in one another who managed to find each other and Duke was our vehicle. We set up picnics on the side of roads, laughed at how “lost” we’d get and hiked some of the most breathtaking part of the Earth side by side. We slept through the cold nights huddled close in the mismatched sheets and dried off from natural hot springs with thin mismatched towels. As we returned Duke to the dealer, we promised him we would somehow reincarnate him in the States.

We picked up our Bowlus, the 10th in production, in March of 2016 and began the first of many adventures. Duke (as we call it) has now been through 18 states, countless state parks, on a ferry to cross NY to VT, and even in front of the Biltmore estate! The Bowlus is elegant minimalism…it teaches our children how to respect the small space we share and to appreciate the art of living in the most beautiful, comfortable silver bullet under the canopy of a national forest. The folks at Bowlus have thought of it all, from the floor heating to the screen door to the creative storage space, but they never knew how they would transform the lives of our family and re-energize our marriage. Thank you for taking us on this wild ride!

We found the Bowlus Road Chief through an article in the Wall Street Journal.

We found the Bowlus Road Chief through an article in the Wall Street Journal.

We found the Bowlus Road Chief through an article in the Wall Street Journal. We were near retirement but had not really talked about camping at the time. The Bowlus looked like a trailer that could change that. After a very engaging conversation with them, we decided that we were in. We traveled to their Henderson showroom and picked out the theme along with the schedule for pickup. Upon delivery, we traveled the 1900 miles to pick it up with our 2010 V6 Toyota Rav4. We weren’t looking forward to driving it back over the Colorado Mountains, but our Rav4 had absolutely no problem pulling it. This trailer received LOTS of attention and is a cinch to pull. So light that you can hardly feel it back there. The experience at Bowlus when we picked it up was wonderful. We were told that it would take about two hours, but it turned out to be more like four hours and we got so much great advice and instructions from them. They were very thorough and went through everything. The delivery visit very much exceeded our expectations. Once we got home, we used it right away for a fall weekend in the Door County, WI. This camper is everything we ever could want in a camper. Lightweight, high quality, comfy, easy to use.

We’ve already road tripped to places we would otherwise never have gone,

We’ve already road tripped to places we would otherwise never have gone,

We’ve already road tripped to places we would otherwise never have gone, like the cool rustic hot springs in the middle of nowhere in Idaho, and we’ve just barely scratched the surface of places on our list. Living in the Pacific North West, our Road Chief is already a seasoned ferry traveler with crossing to and from Bainbridge, up to Vancouver Island and various inland BC ferries.

We can’t believe how much is gracefully contained under that shiny shell.

We can’t believe how much is gracefully contained under that shiny shell.

We can’t believe how much is gracefully contained under that shiny shell. Sometimes we pull up next to giant motor homes and wonder what they could possibly need all that space for. It is very comfortable for us, and we’ve hosted happy hour for four with ease. Our dog loves it too and has his very own drawer dedicated to dog toys and supplies. He thanks you for not heating the floor under the table so it stays cooler for shaggy pups.

We spent nearly five weeks and 5,200 miles on the road with our new Road Chief

We spent nearly five weeks and 5,200 miles on the road with our new Road Chief

We wanted to write and let you know what a wonderful summer of excursions it’s been. We spent nearly five weeks and 5,200 miles on the road with our new Road Chief and loved every minute. We have been to see family and friends; we returned to places we’ve not been since childhood; and we spent time in new places we can’t wait to get back to next spring.

For two people who swore they’d never buy a camper, we had a blast traveling the U.S. and can’t wait for more. What turned us around and into travel trailers is the uniqueness of the Bowlus Road Chief. Its design was unlike anything we’d seen before, the quality is incredible, and while the price tag seemed high at first, we realized that the weight of any other trailer we might have bought would have required us to buy a new car, too. We simply love that we can tow the Road Chief with our Jeep Unlimited.

The one thing about owning a Bowlus is whether you expect it or not, you quickly become Bowlus Ambassadors. Everywhere we’ve gone so far – Nevada, Utah, Colorado, N. Dakota, S. Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and New Mexico – we run into admirers who are full of wonderment and questions. We have our Bowlus story down to about two minutes now and have been the recipients of more thumbs-ups on the road than we can count. More people than we imagined actually know the history of Hawley Bowlus and his Road Chief and simply ask, “Is it an old refurb or a new one?” So far, we have found only those who love it. As do we. So, as fall and then winter descend on Colorado, we are happy to report that our Road Chief is tucked away in her indoor storage unit all plugged into a newly installed power outlet. We’ll be spending the next months making our travel plans for April when the snow clears from the mountain passes and we’re once again on the road.

We are not only hooked, we might be slightly addicted to our trailer and the adventures it allows us to have. We are grateful that you brought back this old classic, and did so bigger and better than Hawley Bowlus probably ever imagined.

We are having so much fun with our Road Chief.

We are having so much fun with our Road Chief.

We are having so much fun with our Road Chief. We are working our way across the country whenever we have the time and storing it along the way. We flew to Atlanta to pick it up and drove to Pittsburgh, camping, hiking, and rafting along the way with the kids. It was so much fun. Next is the end of the month – we’re are flying sans kids and driving through Vermont and winterizing him in New Hampshire.

The Road Chief is very comfortable.

The Road Chief is very comfortable.

The Road Chief is very comfortable. We’ve camped in Death Valley in the summer and in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the winter. The size is perfect.

To give you a sense of towing efficiency, with a ML350 Bluetec that gets 28 miles per gallon (MPG) without towing, we got 16 MPG towing our old Airstream. We get 23 MPG towing the Road Chief. We experience absolutely no sway in heavy crosswinds. And when you’ve unhitched it from the tow vehicle, one person can push it around the campsite.

They are not expensive when you consider what you get for the money: top quality materials, design, systems, fabrication, and performance, with no need to purchase a tow vehicle.

Love our Bowlus Road Chief!

Love our Bowlus Road Chief!

Love our Bowlus Road Chief! We use it for EVERYTHING! The six of us (three humans and three furry friends) just drove down to Apple Valley last night, Road Chief in tow, to pick up our brand new German Shepherd. Seven week old Fritzi is in love with the heated floors.

The new Road Chief is respectful to the original design

The new Road Chief is respectful to the original design

The new Road Chief is respectful to the original design while employing state- of-the-art design, materials and mechanicals. So how does an Airstream compare to a Road Chief? It doesn’t, unless you think Ginsu to Masamune can be compared.

If you consider it an expensive toy, then you have little knowledge of fabrication material or appreciation of fine workmanship, utilization of space, and design clarity. The Bowlus is certainly the best-built trailer in the world. It has no frivolous pseudo-luxury, no televisions or 200W sub-woofers, no granite counters, reclining chairs, automated awnings. It’s lightweight, rugged, nimble, the finest materials (2024 T3, maple, teak, stainless…), and everything fits and is quality. Inspecting a Road Chief, you can feel the love and care in the artisans’ expert craftwork, which is so totally void in any other travel trailer. No one else is capable of manufacturing at this quality level.

The Bowlus is 24 feet long. For the same price, you can buy six or seven more feet of wet, buckling floors, missed rivets, stripped screws, sticky windows, white box appliances, cheap carpet or puckering vinyl, oil canning skins and superficial glamour. From the viewpoint of a fabricator, the Bowlus Road Chief offers much more for the money. Bowlus Road Chief LLC operates with a very different ethic than other travel trailer manufacturers. Please don’t misunderstand, I’m not bashing the “others”, it’s just absolutely factual that Bowlus Road Chief far exceeds any other travel trailer.

We love the twin bed configuration

We love the twin bed configuration

We love the twin bed configuration – so comfortable and the resulting great night sleep (no jamming into a double or climbing over limbs to get to your side of the bed) is perfect. It is SO nice to be able to separate the sleeping area from the living/galley area for those of us who don’t keep to the same schedules.

This afternoon we went over every inch of the Bowlus Road Chief.

This afternoon we went over every inch of the Bowlus Road Chief.

This afternoon we went over every inch of the Bowlus Road Chief.

My wife absolutely loves the trailer. Towing will be a breeze with our new crossover. The size is just right for us and the quality of the engineering and craftsmanship is unmatched in the RV world. As much as we loved our Airstream, the Bowlus is in a league of its own.

Washing a trailer could be a chore but…

Washing a trailer could be a chore but…

Washing a trailer could be a chore, but with those lines and rivets it is like polishing a jewel.

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