Why Are Airstreams So Expensive? A Breakdown of Their Worth

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Why are Airstreams so expensive? Yes, they look stunning and have a good reputation in the world of travel trailers. Wherever you travel, an Airstream will earn you compliments from fellow campers and others you encounter on the road. Do the aesthetic beauty and compliments justify the exorbitant price tag?

Currently being a product of Thor Industries, Airstreams began their journey at the hands of Wally Byam. He built the first one in 1931 to fulfill his dream of building a light travel trailer that can be towed by a car. Mr. Byam paid the most attention to quality and durability, which certainly paid off as you can still find a few units from the 1930s on the road these days. We’re going to find out if the superior Airstream quality can be a good reason for the high price.

Why Are Airstreams So Expensive? A Breakdown of Their Properties

A brand new Airstream can cost somewhere between $35K and $150K, depending on the model and features. Airstream Basecamp is the lowest on the price spectrum, but an Airstream Classic can cross this margin, priced at $170K to $180K.

Why are airstream trailers so expensive? It appears that everything, from design to the materials and brand value, contributes to the high price. Here are the fine qualities for which the trailer is famous for:

Airstream quality
Airstreams are expensive yet beautiful.

The Cosmetic Beauty

The Airstream does not look like an average motorhome you normally see on the road and campsites. With a streamlined design and silver exterior shell, it gives off a silver bullet feel that somehow denotes the company’s resiliency during the post-WWII economic recession.

From a practical viewpoint, this design gives the trailer exceptional durability without adding too much weight. The double aluminum casing wrapped around a steel structure keeps the weight low and decreases drag.

The distinct silver body catches attention and makes your trailer stand out from the rest at a campsite. The non-painted metal exterior is easy to maintain and does not deteriorate easily under any kind of weather.

Materials and Construction

The high-grade materials and painstaking manufacturing process also play a part in the hefty price tag.

What are Airstreams made of? A seamless, aircraft-grade aluminum shell wraps around a steel framework to make the exterior of an Airstream. After adding insulation, an inner aluminum shell is riveted on from the inside. The assembly involves intense labor and care since each rivet is put on by hand. Mechanical labor is avoided to save the framework from damage and create a perfect seal.

Due to the unique design, it’s not possible to drop furnished pieces and appliances from above. They are hand-carried inside the trailer and installed manually. Only the sub-floor has plywood in the trailer’s all-metal construction. The windows have tempered glass and every other component is made of high-quality materials.

what are airstreams made of
The Exterior is made of aircraft-grade aluminum that is light but strong.

Everything, from top-notch components to manual labor and meticulous construction process, bumps up the production expenses.

Longer Lifespan

Why are Airstreams so expensive? Because they last for a long time. Many RV brands keep the price low by compromising with features and quality, but not the Airstream manufacturer. Production of these trailers involves exclusive attention to details, ensuring quality and durability.

An Airstream’s all-metal framework mimics the WWII-era aircraft design. High-grade materials and thoughtful engineering have made the trailers incredibly tough and long-lasting. In fact, Airstreams don’t wear down like mobile homes from other brands. A double frame houses the only plywood in the sub-floor to slow down the rotting process.

For these reasons, these trailers survive much longer than any other RVs from popular brands. It’s not rare to find a 40 or 50-year-old Airstream on the road. If taken good care of, they look pretty much brand new even after all these years. These trailers have every quality to become a family heirloom.

Unique Furniture Design

Another reason for Airstreams’ high price tag is the exclusive furniture design. Call it a disadvantage or privilege, the Airstream furniture pieces have unique shapes and designs. They are made to fit the distinctive interior. The company makes the furniture and installs them inside by using manual labor.

Just like the exterior design, the interior decoration and features of an Airstream are different from most RVs from other brands. Its interior is eye-pleasing and modern, contrary to the dark and rustic feel of other RVs. The use of plenty of tempered glass fixtures provides better outdoor views and keeps the campers a bit closer to nature.

Brand Value

Another solid reason if you are wondering why are Airstreams so expensive? Airstream has a certain brand value among the RVers. Many people don’t consider it as just a trailer, but a way of life. Living in an Airstream is a luxury and it can give people a certain sense of being a part of something special. It has become the ultimate dream for many people to buy an Airstream and be a part of the Airstream Community.

why are airstream trailers so expensive
Airstream defines a way of life and has an excellent resale value.

The brand value also leads to a better resale value than other trailers. Most RVs depreciate up to 20% in their first year. But that does not apply to these beautiful silver mobile homes. You will get a good price even for a decade-old Airstream.

Does the Airstream Price Worth It?

Why are Airstreams so expensive? It’s clear from the discussion that the high price tag comes from three factors: aircraft-grade aluminum shell, extreme attention to quality, and legendary brand value.

Even without the resale value, these trailers are absolutely worth their price due to their incredibly strong construction and long lifespan. Plus, their road performance is excellent. The lighter body is easy to two and the design does not create much air drag. If you think of all the advantages trailers offer, you might be able to overlook the price and definitely cannot help falling in love with them.

About Chris Coleman

Chris Coleman is an interesting travel blogger and outdoor photographer with a great sense of humor. He owns an RV Accessories shop in New York City so he has the knowledge necessary to provide thorough reviews and give advice on how to choose the right products for RV travel. He puts all that RV knowledge and experience to good use in his sharing posts. Besides product buying guides/reviews, Chris also writes informative articles, how-to articles and RV camping guides in his own interesting viewpoint. Chris’s blog is one of the most reliable information sources for RV campers no matter if you're an expert or a determined beginner.

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