Airstreamers congregate at day’s end, 1960
Marcelle Boulanger collection
There is an alternative to staying in a hotel. You can bring your home with you.
Inspired by the taught skins of airliners, American Wally Byam designed a trailer body made of riveted aluminum that was light enough to be towed by the average car. He baptised it the ‘Airstream Clipper’. It was lightweight, aerodynamic and elegant – and designed with the traveller in mind. It included all of the comforts of home and then some – kitchen, shower and a cosy bed.
Byam’s motto, “adventure is where you find it, any place, every place, except at home” seemed to catch the spirit of the times. Because of its superior design and the freedom it offered travellers, the Airstream became a social phenomenon. Perfect strangers assembled in large caravans, criss-crossing the continent in posses of travellers.
The Airstream once had a stranglehold on the North American market. Today, it has countless imitators. Trailers, camping units and mobile homes now come in every size and description and remain a popular way to live the experience of the Gaspésie.