It’s almost spring for folks in the Northern Hemisphere. People are already planning summer camping trips. The American makers of those iconic “silver bullet” luxury Airstream travel trailers have what they say is the industry’s first initiative to offset carbon emissions.

Travel trailers are towed with vehicles. Airstream also makes touring coaches. Both are associated with burning fuel that creates emissions. The company’s Caravan to Carbon Neutral program is a partnership between Airstream and the National Forest Foundation.

Through the initiative, Airstream will pay to plant more than 118,000 trees in partnership with the foundation.

Talk about guilt-free camping. “Glamping” is short for glamourous camping. Which rhymes a bit with tree planting.

The 118,000 trees are projected to help sequester the estimated carbon generated by the first year of driving all the new Airstream travel trailers and touring coaches manufactured in 2021 (and RV sales have risen during COVID).

The estimate includes the carbon emitted during the manufacture and transportation of Airstreams from the company’s Ohio production facility to dealerships throughout the United States.

Owners of the aluminum-clad campers also can purchase carbon reduction kits to pay for additional trees in the ground.

The kits come with custom details, flags to display on an Airstream and other “virtual signifiers,” including a badge in Air Forums, where Airstream owners hang out online.

There are three levels of kits available through Airstream Supply Co.: silver for $50, gold for $100 and platinum for $250.

Silver, for instance, funds foundation efforts to plant 50 trees, sequestering an estimated 25 tons of carbon over their lifetime. That’s equal to driving a passenger car for 62,000 miles. And the cost of the kit is tax-deductible.

The company is pitching the program as one that offers good vibes. As noted on the website:

“What could possibly improve an Airstream adventure into the wild? How about knowing that you are protecting magical places by offsetting your carbon emissions and supporting our National Forests? That would feel pretty good, right?”

Apparently, 96% of Airstream owners surveyed by the company last year said they were concerned about the state of the environment.

Whether campers choose the kits or not, the company notes that a 2008 industry study found that RV vacations are more environmentally friendly than flying, driving and sleeping in a hotel. “But we felt we needed to do more,” Bob Wheeler, Airstream’s CEO, said in a news release. Wheeler is also an executive committee member on the board of the National Forest Foundation.

Airstream is reportedly looking into more sustainable travel options, including ways to make it easier for electric vehicles to tow an Airstream and further electrification of the company’s travel trailers. The company already offsets electricity at its production facility through renewable energy credits and its vehicles are Certified Green by TRA Certification Inc.

published 2022-06-14 13:58:08