Editor’s Note: The following article by Ryan Bradley appearing on Fortune’s website offers a first-hand account of the author’s experience towing an upscale Airstream trailer supplied by rental firm Airstream2Go.
Everyone always wants to see what the inside looks like, right away, before anything else. The outside is so gleaming and recognizable, the trailer looks so much like it is supposed to—a silver bullet, an outer-space way station, an Airstream—that the mystery of the interior becomes heightened on the threshold, which in our case was in a parking lot in downtown Las Vegas, across the street from where Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh lives in a post-modern trailer park. What’s that? Do you even need to ask? Yes, he lives in an Airstream.
This Airstream — 28 feet long, eight feet wide, and about 7,000 pounds — was to be our home for the next five days and four nights. My roommate, Miguel, and I have experience sharing tight spaces. We lived together as college freshmen and sophomores, in bunk beds both years. This situation was quite a bit nicer. I would have an almost queen-size bed in the back (they can’t call it a full queen-size bed because the curves of the Airstream demand pleasing curves along the mattress, and the rounded corners disqualify), and Miguel would sleep up front on a really soft, fake-leather couch that converted to a double bed. There were a stove, a dining nook (also convertible into a bed), a bathroom, a shower, and more storage space than we knew what to do with, much of it preloaded with high-end pots and pans and kitchenware.
Our trip was a throwback with a modern twist, an all-American version of glamorous camping — glamping — out to the great big red-rock canyons in Utah and back. But we didn’t buy the shimmery silver American icon; we rented it—and the GMC Denali to pull it. This wasn’t a one-off journalistic stunt. For the first time in history you, too, can now forgo plopping down upwards of $100,000 to buy an Airstream and instead spend about $4,000 to $10,000—length of trip and trailer depending—to rent one and temporarily live this dream. The rental company, Airstream2Go, is the only licensed and authorized Airstream rental in the world. It has a good pedigree. Its founder and CEO, Dicky Riegel, ran Airstream for several years (and tripled sales); he then ran Airstream’s parent company, Thor Industries Inc. based in Elkhart, Ind. Now Riegel is off on his own, with fleets in Las Vegas and Los Angeles and, in the summer, Bozeman, Mont.
Riegel started Airstream2Go for three reasons. First, he wanted to try something new and different and create his own thing. A startup fit the bill. Second, he loves Airstreams dearly, bleeds silver, as they say, and owns two (one he’s converted into a pool house, and the other he hauls with his vintage Chevy pickup). And third, he was tired of saying no to all the people who asked—and this happened at least once a day, every day—if it was possible to rent one.
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