Why Are Airstream Campers so Expensive?

Airstream campers are strikingly bold and easily recognized as they travel down the highway. As shiny beacons of nomadic living, these campers have a storied past and exude generations of legendary craftsmanship. We can truly appreciate prestigious attention to detail when it comes to anything on wheels, but what we can’t figure out is why Airstream campers are so expensive.


The Airstream brand was created by Wally Byam when he built his first travel trailer back in 1931. Back then, he was constructing the trailers out of Masonite and plywood, eventually experimenting with installing toilets, stoves, and water pumps to make them travel trailers. Eventually, Wally incorporated the aircraft construction procedures he learned while in the service in order to create a stronger and more aerodynamic design, hence the name “Airstream.”

By 1936, the newly found Airstream company released “The Clipper,” which boasted a riveted aluminum body, had room for four and could carry its own water supply. This was the first of Airstream campers that we know and love today and it retailed for $1,200, which was expensive back then because it was during the Depression era.

Fast forward through the decades, and the Airstream company has lived on, ever-improving and evolving their products to make them more accommodating, shinier, and ultimately pricier.

But why are they so pricey?

The short answer is that they are hand-built and are constructed of very quality materials. The long answer is that Airstream campers and RV’s are basically built like airplanes, staying true to Wally’s original idea. The riveted aluminum construction is unlike any other and to top it all off, you can find top-notch luxurious amenities in just about every Airstream camper, whether is from the 1950s all the way to today.

Since Airstream campers are built so well, they are downright reliable. This means that you’ll spend less on maintenance every year in comparison to other brands currently on the market and you’ll save money on fuel, too. That’s right, that aerodynamic shape comes in handy when it comes to fuel efficiency. Apparently, there was a method to Wally’s madness.

An Airstream camper isn’t just made to go the distance when it comes to traveling, but it’s made to be with you for the long haul. Not just because it’s reliable, but also due to its utterly timeless design. This quality plays a huge part in resale value as well. Yes, just like a pristine classic car, Airstream campers have been known to hold their values well and even sell as much as their original prices decades later.

Are they worth it?

We definitely think they are worth it. Aside from a classic car or rare exotic, when was the last time you saw something on two to four wheels that can command a high entry price, see millions of miles worth of use where people are eating and sleeping in it, and then be sold for the same price as it bought for, if not higher? Yeah, we can’t think of anything else either.

In case you’re wondering, Airstream’s current lineup includes travel trailers that can sleep 2 and start around $37,000 as well as much larger campers that can sleep 5 and cost about $150,000. They’re not cheap, but at least not we know why.