Fig. (1) A 21-foot Airstream Globetrotter.
Fig. (1) A 21-foot Airstream Globetrotter. (Tim Tomkinson)



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The original American road-trip trailer, designed in 1931 by Wally Byam, was inspired by Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis. Byam’s initial design involved a tent built atop a Ford Model T chassis, but the tent leaked. He then came up with the iconic teardrop shape, opened a factory in Ohio, and produced many aluminum models, like the Cruiser and the Wanderer. Airstreams were the first travel trailers to have kitchens, heating, insulation, and plumbing for bathrooms. Unlike some breakdown-prone camping vehicles (see West­falia), about 75 percent of the Airstreams ever made are still on the road. The rest have been converted into spare bedrooms in Portland, Oregon.

From Outside Magazine, August 2015
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Lead Photo: Tim Tomkinson