Airstream Inc. is reviving its classic Bambi and Caravel travel trailers with a modern twist.
“There’s a trend in the RV industry right now that we call ‘small is the new big,'” said Bob Wheeler, CEO and President of Airstream. “Bambi and Caravel are nimble, lightweight travel trailers that can be towed by many SUVs, and they’re perfect for those new to RVing, as well as experienced travelers who might want a smaller footprint.”
“Bambi” has been a moniker for Airstreams since the 1950s. Now, the nickname has become a new line of trailers, starting at $48,900.
Starting at $60,900, the Caravel is also a nod to the company’s past. “Caravel”, a term for a small, fast Spanish or Portuguese sailing ship, represents Airstream founder Wally Byam’s love for the sea.
The names might evoke nostalgia, but according to Eric Davis, a salesman at Haydocy Airstream of Columbus, the models appeal to a new demographic of Airstream customers — young or novice family campers.
Airstream used to target older customers eager to travel the country after retirement. Nowadays, the company is turning to families who want to live and work in a mobile, compact, modern space.
“A lot of the younger clientele have the opportunity to do their business inside their Airstream trailer,” Davis said. “They go see the world, and they’re doing everything inside their Airstream trailer.”
Both models have modern exteriors and a lightweight, compact design available in 16-, 19-, 20- and 22-foot floor plans. Smaller, single-hitched trailers like these are an apt choice for families with smaller vehicles, Davis said.
“We have a lot of people who walk in the door and point to their car and ask, ‘What can I tow with that?’ I always tell people they’re asking the wrong question,” Davis said. “They should ask, ‘Where can I go with that?'”
Last week at Alumapalooza, an annual Airstream festival in Jackson Center, Ohio, Davis met with a couple already interested in the new models, pre-release. To say these new models are hitting the ground running is an understatement, he said.
Davis is a self-admitted Airstream fanatic. His father worked at the Airstream factory for 20 years, and Davis worked in the factory’s mail room when he was 7 years old.
However, even he can admit to one downside of the Airstream brand — the cost.
A number of features add to the cost of all Airstreams, not just the Bambi and Caravel. Imported aluminum used by Airstream is costly, and so is the monocoque construction technique used to build the trailers. But that careful construction method fully seals the trailer, Davis said, leaving no chance for leaks.
It makes the Airstream “the best travel trailer for all seasons,” he said.
“We pride ourselves on being a hand-made product,” Airstream CEO Wheeler said. “Not a cookie-cutter product that’s pumped out by robots.”