By Alex Lauer / June 19, 2019

Who Do We Have to Bribe to Bring This Airstream Competitor Stateside?

Eriba's new Touring 820 trailer is breathtaking. Wait, what's Eriba?

Eriba Touring 820 Camping Trailer Airstream
Eriba's new Touring 820 trailer is the talk of the RV world, but can you actually buy it?
Erwin Hymer Group

In January, 60-year-old travel trailer company Eriba unveiled its new flagship model: the Touring 820. New Atlas called it “possibly the best-looking large camping trailer” at Germany’s CMT, a tourism and leisure trade show. Other U.S. outlets reported on it as well, and we acknowledged it as a road-tripping beaut, but there was no info about a U.S. release. And so we waited.

Last week, it cropped up stateside again. I mean, who can resist? The Touring 820 has all the space and luxury (and aluminum) of an Airstream, leaning toward their more futuristic designs, but with even more expansive windows. Curiously, there were still no details in the article about when Americans will be able to buy it.

Never one to leave a trailer in the corner, we decided to get to the bottom of Eriba, a company that has, until now, mostly evaded our purview.

Eriba Touring 820 Camping Trailer Airstream
The sleek profile of Eriba’s double-axle Touring 820 trailer. Check out those panoramic windows. (Erwin Hymer Group)

First things first, what is the Touring 820? It’s a super-sized version of Eriba’s award-winning, compact Touring trailer. At 28-feet-long and 6.6-feet of standing height inside, the double-axle 820 is the next logical step for the company whose lineup features plenty of behemoths but almost no modern design. It’s the right size and aesthetic to compete with Airstream’s larger models, just as the original Touring bears a passing resemblance to the Nest.

Inside, the 820 doesn’t offer revolutionary, space-age design, but it does offer something most buyers will appreciate even more: a more realistic replication of home. As New Atlas writes, the “rounded furniture takes inspiration from modern yacht design,” and if anyone knows how to bring the comfort of your residence into a vehicle, it’s yacht designers. Another notable update is the Smart Home system, which allows you to manage things like the battery, water and gas from your phone.

Eriba Touring 820 Camping Trailer Interior
The Touring 820’s interior takes after yacht design. Look ma, no right angles. (Erwin Hymer Group)

OK, it looks stellar and is priced on Airstream’s level (starting at $85,300), so can we buy one or not? The short answer: North America was this close [picture me holding my thumb and forefinger one millimeter apart] to getting them, but it all went up in flames.

The long answer: Eriba’s parent company, the Erwin Hymer Group — a Germany-based international manufacturer of RVs and trailers — had an outpost on this side of the pond called the Erwin Hymer Group North America. They were planning on bringing the smaller Touring trailer to the continent, even exhibiting it at RV shows, until the Ontario-based subsidiary abruptly shuttered in February.

The reason? Erwin Hymer (a European RV leader) was acquired by Thor Industries (a North American RV leader) to create “the world’s largest RV manufacturer.” But EHG North America was cut out of the deal and effectively hung out to dry. The main reason for killing it off seems to be financial mismanagement, but that aside, this new mega-company doesn’t need Eriba’s Airstream-competing Touring trailers. Why? Because they own Airstream.

In other words, not even your reality-escaping trailer adventures are safe from the monopolization of industries. And for now, it looks like Eriba won’t be getting that U.S. stamp in its passport. But here’s hoping that changes once the dust settles from this merger.