Under the leadership of CEO Geneva Long, the Bowlus brand returned to the market in 2014 with a new-and-improved Road Chief travel trailer. The modern resurrection of the 1930s classic camper immediately garnered enamored attention and the company established itself as a new player with a historically rich background. This week, Bowlus took its next evolutionary step for the brand by launching its biggest, most-advanced, and most expensive trailer yet, the Road Chief Endless Highways. Thanks to built-in battery power, it can go off the grid for up to a week at a time.
In 2011, an original Road Chief built in the '30s was sold at a Gooding & Co Auction in Scottsdale, Arizona, for $187,000. Now, Bowlus has announced its newest model starts at $185,000, a $48,000 upcharge from the base-level Road Chief On the Road model, which starts at $137,000. We mention this to display the durability, desirability, and longevity of the Road Chief's brand, design, and quality.
If the Bowlus aesthetic looks familiar, it's because the flashy metal exoskeleton draws an easy comparison to Airstreams. According to the Bowlus website, the founder Hawley Bowlus' original idea and design "quickly found both admirers and would-be copycats, including Wally Byam of Airstream, who attempted to duplicate his work." Now Bowlus is back to take back part of a market that it claims to have started.
At 309 inches long, the Endless Highways model is roughly two feet longer than the On the Road Model. It's 80 inches wide, 102 inches tall on the exterior (76 inches of height on the interior), has a base weight of 3,300 pounds, and has a GVWR of 4,000 pounds. It has a hitch weight of 200 pounds, and a net carrying capacity of 700 pounds. It can sleep four and dine four, and it has the capacity for 19 gallons of fresh water.
The Road Chief has a monocoque construction of a TIG-welded aluminum spaceframe and a riveted 2024 T3 aluminum exterior shell. Eighty aluminum panels, 5,000 rivets, and 100 hours of polishing give the Road Chief its shiny aerodynamic bullet appeal. Each unit is hand-built in California.
Inside, the Road Chief has equally impressive materials with real wood, aluminum, steel, and luxury fabrics. It features a 12-volt fridge and freezer, a microwave that can run on battery power, a two-burner Italian stovetop, a stainless steel countertop, a stainless steel sink, a full-length mirror, a vanity with a medicine cabinet, and two wardrobe closets. It also has air conditioning, heat, heated floors, and a hotel-style bathroom with an indoor/outdoor Italian marine shower head. The shower is further elevated with teak flooring and seating. The interior can be ordered in two themes, and American Southwest-inspired upgrades are also available.
Sleeping arrangements offer traditional camper trailer flexibility. Two twin beds in the main sleeping quarters can be converted into a full king bed, which has custom mattresses and eco-friendly and organic linens. The sofa and armchairs can be converted into third and fourth beds.
For those who can't live without a connected lifestyle, the Endless Highways Road Chief has a mobile router with a 3G/4G modem. USB charging ports are built into the dining table.
For those who are buying this camper to get away, the Road Chief's best feature is its Bluetooth-equipped power management system that uses 4kWh lithium-iron-phosphate batteries. According to Bowlus, a single charge will last up to a full week off the grid, even when using appliances, and an optional 120-watt solar panel can help, as well. The system also has a 2,000-watt pure sine-wave inverter that can boost 120-volt AC power from 15 to 30 amps.
For a basic comparison, a similarly-sized Airstream Globetrotter starts at $111,400 and can sleep six people, but design, quality, and luxury features obviously separate the two.
The Bowlus Road Chief Endless Highways is available now, starting at $185,000. For more information, visit Bowlus.