Airstream and Porsche Reveal the Camping Trailer of the Future

  • Airstream and Studio FA Porsche showed off a concept travel trailer designed jointly by the two brands.
  • The collaboration is the result of an idea to create a stylish camping trailer that can be towed by a small SUV or an electric vehicle and parked in a garage when not in use.
  • Styling combines elements that are characteristic of Airstream, but with thoughtful elements, including a pop-top roof to increase the interior space.

A transatlantic partnership between Airstream and Porsche has resulted in a modern-looking travel trailer concept that debuted today at SXSW in Austin, Texas. Designed to be pulled by a small SUV or an electric vehicle, the trailer is meant to serve as a vision of what an urban-inspired camper might look like.

“Our customer base is about twice as likely to own an EV as the general population,” said Bob Wheeler, Airstream’s CEO. “Towing a travel trailer reduces the range. Weight and aerodynamics play a big part in that.”

Airstream has been toying with the idea of ​​electrification; the company unveiled the eStream concept last year. That trailer had its own electrified drive system that could be used to slowly adjust the trailer’s location when unhooked from the tow vehicle, or to assist an electrically powered tow vehicle while in motion. And Airstream isn’t the only brand considering what road travel looks like in an EV future. Rival RV manufacturers Winnebago and Bowlus are both working on eco-friendly travelers with electrified options.

“We understand this future is coming. It’s already here and it’s continuing to grow,” Wheeler said of the increasing number of EVs on the road. “We know that our owners don’t park in campgrounds for summers or seasons; they’re on the road.”

While the Porsche-designed concept you see here doesn’t feature such a powertrain, the design team took great care to maximize the trailer’s aerodynamics. Rather than a rounded rear like other Airstreams, the concept features a truncated, flat design that’s better for aero, but also allows for the inclusion of a hatchback setup that could open the inside of the trailer to the outside.

The trailer’s completely level bottom is another attempt to make it more aerodynamic. The concept uses composite materials like carbon fiber to help keep the weight down. Aluminum exterior panels are used here—just as they are on contemporary Airstream products—but the brand’s rivets have been omitted in the name of reducing drag.

Purists may say that a rivetless trailer means it’s not a true Airstream, but from the looks of it, enough of the brand’s design cues are incorporated into the concept to earn its place in the brand’s history books.

“Going into this collaboration, we knew that if we tied Porsche’s hands, we would end up with what we already have,” Wheeler said. “What we ended up with is beautiful, functional and represents the brand.”

The length of the concept is similar to a 16-foot Caravel camper trailer, but the concept is more compact and shorter in height, as it is intended to fit inside a standard garage when not in use. The trailer itself can be lowered on its suspension to fit through a garage door, while an insulated pop-up roof provides headroom inside the trailer when parked at a campsite.

Inside, the concept trailer’s cabin is modern, with clean lines and cleverly integrated features. The bathroom has a revolving door to save space, and the entire enclosure is covered in beautiful curved wood trim. The kitchenette has a two-burner hob and an integrated sink; a drop-top extender can be used when cooking or when more counter space is needed.

airstream x porsche concept travel trailer


“The curvature and the softness is the most important thing,” said Steffen Ganz, chief design officer of Porsche Design of America.

The dinette, which also folds into a bed, is located at the rear of the camper’s cabin and overhead storage bins ditch traditional cabinet doors in favor of lightweight straps. Overall, the interior design is what you’d expect from Porsche Design, featuring clean lines, rounded edges and plenty of chrome and carbon-inspired color schemes.

Neither company would say whether the concept would eventually go into production, but Airstream’s Wheeler admitted the company is considering it for the future.

“We really fell in love with this thing during this process, and we’re actively trying to figure out how we can produce it,” Wheeler said. “We challenge ourselves to figure out how we can build it effectively, to produce something identical or very similar for the customer of the future.”

If the trailer does make it past the concept stage, we expect it to carry a premium price tag. Airstream’s current lineup already trades at the higher end of the RV market. The brand’s focus on premium materials and hand-built construction has earned it a reputation for longevity and a fan base that has an expectation for quality—a virtue those customers are clearly willing to pay for.

Head shot by Drew Dorian

Managing Editor, Buyer’s Guide

Drew Dorian is a lifelong car enthusiast who has also held a wide variety of consumer-focused positions throughout his career, ranging from financial advisor to car salesman. He dreamed of a Car and Driver editor since he was 11 years old—a dream realized when he joined the staff in April 2016. A born and raised Michigander, he learned to drive on a 1988 Pontiac Grand Am. His automotive interests run the gamut from convertibles and camper vans to sports cars and luxury SUVs.