Oliver vs. Airstream: the numbers - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-10-2017, 08:56 AM   #1
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Name: Clay and Cait
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Oliver vs. Airstream: the numbers

We recently toured the Oliver Travel Trailers factory and posted a review in the forums, which got a lot of feedback through different outlets. A recurrent comment we’ve been hearing is regarding Oliver’s price tag, along the lines of ‘if I’m going to spend that amount of money on a trailer, I might as well get an Airstream.’

Interestingly enough, we have also toured the Airstream factory and have evaluated Airstreams in-depth. The high-end quality of both the Oliver and the Airstream does make them very comparable. So we decided to rise to the challenge and see if Airstreams and Olivers really are equal in the travel trailer market in terms of build quality, options, and price.

Check out our side-by-side comparison, including numbers, of the Oliver Elite II and the Airstream 23 lineup here: Oliver versus Airstream Review – Two Plus Lu

I'd also like to note that we have done this with no collaboration or input from Oliver or from Airstream. We were just so impressed with what Oliver is building that we wanted to try to dispel some of the preconceived opinions about this trailer.

Thanks for reading!
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Old 06-12-2017, 09:45 AM   #2
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Name: Darral
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SUPER comparison and thanks for taking the time to assemble that article. People debating between Airstream or an Oliver would be wise to review this information as it seems you left "no stone unturned"!

Unfortunately, for my wife and I's style of camping at present with me working, both are off my "radar". The Scamp 13' suits us fine for now. But if I was choosing between the Airstream and Oliver today, it would be the OLIVER hands-down!! I dont care ONE hoot for the "upkeep" on the Aluminum on the Airstream.

Oh....compare the repair bills as well should you get a dent in the Airstream!!
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Old 06-12-2017, 10:22 AM   #3
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Thank you so much for the kind words Darral, we do hope this article is helpful for those on the market and debating. Happy travels!
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Old 06-12-2017, 04:42 PM   #4
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New Hampshire
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Excellent comparison! Like yourself, I grew up aspiring to be an Airstream owner. But once I learned about Oliver travel trailers, I knew an Ollie would be in my future. I became an Ollie owner in June of 2016 and love it.

I do agree the ability to enjoy dry camping is one area where an Ollie excels. I prefer dry camping in state and national parks and my Ollie is perfectly equipped for that style of camping.

You mention how the white interior can be viewed by some as a disadvantage. Like yourself, I saw it as an opportunity to tailor the fabrics and color scheme to my individual preferences. As an owner of a big sloppy dog, the fabrics are all Sunbrella materials and the fiberglass is very easy to clean. Ollie owners with dogs understand the value of the Oliver interior.

One last comment. My Ollie is parked outside with no shelter 365 days a year. My winters are spent in Northern New England. I have been amazed at the sturdy and problem free design. After a typical snowy winter, my Ollie experienced no problems. If your goal is to maximize your free time camping, rather than performing maintenance chores on your travel trailer, an Ollie might be just what you seek.
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Old 06-12-2017, 05:41 PM   #5
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Name: Mike
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This is a good article/comparison. We also went through this process a couple of years ago comparing an Oliver Elite II and an Airstream 23FB. After visits, number crunching and thought we made our decision and are happy to be Oliver owners. The price for both is scary, but as a planned retirement purchase worth the investment.

Buzzy makes a good point on the white interior. Most view it as a blank slate waiting for personalization. It's easy to clean, easy to hang things on and is obviously durable. Mike
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Old 06-12-2017, 10:28 PM   #6
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Name: Pat
Trailer: Escape 2013 19 ft
California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TwoplusLu View Post
We recently toured the Oliver Travel Trailers factory and posted a review in the forums, which got a lot of feedback through different outlets. A recurrent comment we’ve been hearing is regarding Oliver’s price tag, along the lines of ‘if I’m going to spend that amount of money on a trailer, I might as well get an Airstream.’

Interestingly enough, we have also toured the Airstream factory and have evaluated Airstreams in-depth. The high-end quality of both the Oliver and the Airstream does make them very comparable. So we decided to rise to the challenge and see if Airstreams and Olivers really are equal in the travel trailer market in terms of build quality, options, and price.

Check out our side-by-side comparison, including numbers, of the Oliver Elite II and the Airstream 23 lineup here: Oliver versus Airstream Review – Two Plus Lu

I'd also like to note that we have done this with no collaboration or input from Oliver or from Airstream. We were just so impressed with what Oliver is building that we wanted to try to dispel some of the preconceived opinions about this trailer.

Thanks for reading!
Thankyou so much for your excellent review ! I even bookmarked to read again ! Pat
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Old 06-12-2017, 11:46 PM   #7
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I've admired Airstreams as the gold standard and thought they were beyond what I might be able to get. But I also realized that width was a huge issue while towing and have had to be very careful with trailers I've had that were 8'+ in width. I was never looking for a luxury apartment, just quality and practicality.

I prefer remote places that are off the grid. Camping, for me, means remote and self sufficient.

I saw an Oliver Elite years ago and was really impressed. It just looked like a lot of fun and very useful.

Then I discovered the Elite 2 and got serious. This is the first trailer for me that is really worth using in all conditions and worth keeping.

For once, I'm favorably impressed, rather than disappointed, in so many of the features it has and methods they used to build it.

An Oliver is still a relatively simple design, but carried out in a very high quality way. It's not loaded with flashy interior features that look good on the lot. Its got hidden features the make live easy while traveling and camping. It's built for all weather use and for actually living in while camping. Simple things like a large battery bank located over the axles, room to open the truck tailgate while hooked up, a clean under carriage that has no hanging down pipes, a large pantry, the ability to pump water into itself from an outside container, serious insulation that keeps it cool in summer and protects the water system from freezing in winter and a narrow, easy to tow design that makes me want to go somewhere at the drop of a hat.

Airstreams are beautiful trailers, but they are designed for a different kind of
use. More like a luxury weekend apartment.

Then we can debate fiberglass vs aluminum. Aluminum is beautiful and will hold up fine if nothing ever happens to it, but it dents easily and is hard to fix. Aluminum and fiberglass are superior to a sticky with a rubber roof, but it's pretty hard to argue against fiberglass as the most durable and easiest to fix. Have you seen pictures of an Airstream after a hail storm? Yikes.

I bought an Oliver and I love it.
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Old 06-13-2017, 12:34 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raspy View Post
I've admired Airstreams as the gold standard and thought they were beyond what I might be able to get. But I also realized that width was a huge issue while towing and have had to be very careful with trailers I've had that were 8'+ in width. I was never looking for a luxury apartment, just quality and practicality.

I prefer remote places that are off the grid. Camping, for me, means remote and self sufficient.

I saw an Oliver Elite years ago and was really impressed. It just looked like a lot of fun and very useful.

Then I discovered the Elite 2 and got serious. This is the first trailer for me that is really worth using in all conditions and worth keeping.

For once, I'm favorably impressed, rather than disappointed, in so many of the features it has and methods they used to build it.

An Oliver is still a relatively simple design, but carried out in a very high quality way. It's not loaded with flashy interior features that look good on the lot. Its got hidden features the make live easy while traveling and camping. It's built for all weather use and for actually living in while camping. Simple things like a large battery bank located over the axles, room to open the truck tailgate while hooked up, a clean under carriage that has no hanging down pipes, a large pantry, the ability to pump water into itself from an outside container, serious insulation that keeps it cool in summer and protects the water system from freezing in winter and a narrow, easy to tow design that makes me want to go somewhere at the drop of a hat.

Airstreams are beautiful trailers, but they are designed for a different kind of
use. More like a luxury weekend apartment.

Then we can debate fiberglass vs aluminum. Aluminum is beautiful and will hold up fine if nothing ever happens to it, but it dents easily and is hard to fix. Aluminum and fiberglass are superior to a sticky with a rubber roof, but it's pretty hard to argue against fiberglass as the most durable and easiest to fix. Have you seen pictures of an Airstream after a hail storm? Yikes.

I bought an Oliver and I love it.
Loves your review also . Pat
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Old 06-13-2017, 12:41 PM   #9
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Servicing an Oliver Trailer

We are in the market for a trailer and were considering an Airstream, but I have been concerned about the many quality issues I've read about in the AS forums. I am very impressed with the Oliver trailers. The quality looks excellent. My question to Oliver owners is about service and repairs. Since you buy the trailers direct, how do you get issues fixed if you do not live near the factory? We live in Seattle. To Thank you in advance for any information you can share on this topic. Happy Travels!
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Old 06-13-2017, 01:18 PM   #10
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Lyn,

You could call Oliver and ask them that very question. They are absolutely committed to covering all problems with their trailers. There are always going to be some issues and the owners all have different responses to those issues.

When someone buys a new Oliver they get a couple nights paid for as part of the deal, at a local RV Park. It's not a lot of time, but enough to make sure everything is working. Then, if there is an issue, Oliver takes care of it immediately.

Have you been to their website to participate in the discussions?

https://olivertraveltrailers.com/forums/

BTW, if you ever get down to N. Nevada and would like to see one, PM me.
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Old 06-13-2017, 02:20 PM   #11
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Name: Mike
Trailer: Oliver Elite II
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xpeditionist View Post
We are in the market for a trailer and were considering an Airstream, but I have been concerned about the many quality issues I've read about in the AS forums. I am very impressed with the Oliver trailers. The quality looks excellent. My question to Oliver owners is about service and repairs. Since you buy the trailers direct, how do you get issues fixed if you do not live near the factory? We live in Seattle. To Thank you in advance for any information you can share on this topic. Happy Travels!
This is a good question, one that I had as well before we purchased. Oliver will address any issue in the best way for the owner. Several examples:
I had a broken drawer mechanism. I texted the service manager. He sent me a new one the next day.
I had a plumbing issue (vent pipe not fully connected) that I could not handle. Oliver told me to take it to my local RV repair shop who fixed it. Oliver paid the bill.
I had an issue with my solar controller. Working with Oliver service and Blue Sky Solar, I mailed my controller in to Blue Sky who repaired and mailed back with modified re-installation instructions. No cost.
I had a couple of very minor issues that I waited until the Oliver Rally in May to get fixed while in Hohenwald. Fixed at no charge.
It's easy to get a hold of the service manager by email, text or phone call. From my experience it's clear to me that Oliver stands behind their product. Mike
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Old 07-19-2017, 05:09 PM   #12
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Name: Quinn
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Washington
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xpeditionist View Post
We are in the market for a trailer and were considering an Airstream, but I have been concerned about the many quality issues I've read about in the AS forums. I am very impressed with the Oliver trailers. The quality looks excellent. My question to Oliver owners is about service and repairs. Since you buy the trailers direct, how do you get issues fixed if you do not live near the factory? We live in Seattle. To Thank you in advance for any information you can share on this topic. Happy Travels!
Hi Lyn, We live about 15 miles from Seattle, and we're also in the market for an RV, Oliver is high on our list. We had the same concern. We visited an owner of a 2015 Elite in Portland, OR 2 months ago. They shared with us that when they towed their Ollie back from TN, the axle was damaged due to not enough grease (to keep it simple). It ran hot and needed major repair. The owner went to a local shop for a fix and Oliver re-reimbursed them. (I'm sure Oliver addressed this with their vendor to avoid future issues.) I assume there are various RV or repair shops across the nation Oliver works with to help on the major items, or at least reimburses owners who have their own local relationships. We also saw a 2016 Elite II in Carnation, WA last month - the community of Ollie owners is very helpful and great!
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Old 07-19-2017, 06:37 PM   #13
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Airstream. The best of the best and holds its value.
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Old 07-19-2017, 06:50 PM   #14
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Airstream. The best of the best and holds its value.
I will respectfully disagree with you when it comes to the term "best." THAT is subjective. I can afford one, but do NOT want one. That is the BEST decision for me. Because I already own the best trailer. In fact I own two and neither are aluminum.
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Old 07-19-2017, 07:11 PM   #15
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A year ago we had the opportunity to purchase a 2014 Oliver, former factory model, that was sitting only 60 miles from us for $39,900. I loved it. Terry had reservations. It had a smaller fridge like our Casita's. There was no stove (Terry likes to bake). I felt they could have been more efficient with the storage under the seats. Terry made the call and we passed (I still regret not buying the Ollie). Besides in a former life I farmed and had Oliver tractors!

Last September we purchased a 21' Cougar (25' ball to bumper) with an open floorplan. We loved the inside! Terry had her oven and there was room galore. In June we took the Cougar out west to Montana and Idaho on a 3,000+ mile, 3 week vacation. Turns out we disliked the exceedingly tall camper that took us out of campsites we normally go to, killed the battery in two days, and it was tippy in winds. The Cougar is for traveling a 100 miles and camping, not for miles and miles on the road.

While out west I read about a Bigfoot 25RB for sale in our home state of Minnesota. Turns out we would be driving within four miles on the way home. They were going to be gone, but promised that we had first dibs and their daughter would show the camper to us on our way home. We looked and it was as pristine as a 2003 Bigfoot could be and purchased the 25RB. Terry gets her oven, it has at least double the storage of an Oliver, and it has a 70 watt solar panel so we can go longer on the existing battery. I'm happy, not as happy as the Oliver would have made me, but the important thing is Terry is happy. Oh, the former owners were Jerry & Terry and we are Perry & Terry.

Tomorrow we go dry camping with friends who have a 2015 Airstream 23FB with 300 watts of solar. I'm sure we'll compare notes. Everyone has different needs and wants, and partners. In the end we'll be happy with the Bigfoot, but damn that Ollie was nice!

Enjoy,

Perry
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Old 07-19-2017, 07:49 PM   #16
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Airstream. The best of the best and holds its value.
"Best" must be defined, or it's meaningless. As for resale, I could sell my 2015 Escape for more than I paid for it. No, I'm not comparing my fiberglass trailer to an Airstream. I'm merely pointing out that your statement is empty without specifics that brought you to that conclusion.
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Old 07-20-2017, 05:10 AM   #17
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When a conventional trailer that cost $18k looses $3k a year it looks bad, when an Airstream that cost $70k looses $3k it doesn't look so bad. I gues it depends on if you look at % loss or $ loss.
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Old 07-20-2017, 06:03 AM   #18
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Oliver is a great trailer but the floor plan looks alot like a stretched out version of a 17 ft Casita SD (IMHO ) which we already own.
Airstream seems to be better at layout , design and use of space but also has its' issues.
The problem is they all cut corners somewhere to save on cost and you just end up with a different set of problems and irritants.
Sincr they have been building travel trailers for a 100 years , one would think they would have worked the bugs out by now.
Looking at the number of threads on this and other FG forums dealing with defects and owner issues , the answer is obviously NO
If I bought a high end FG trailer , I would expect the warranty to sit in a drawer and never be needed because the trailer was built correctly to begin with. That's evidently still only a pipe dream.
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Old 07-20-2017, 07:11 AM   #19
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If I bought a high end FG trailer , I would expect the warranty to sit in a drawer and never be needed because the trailer was built correctly to begin with. That's evidently still only a pipe dream.
Buying high end of any product does not preclude one of having problems with it.
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Old 07-20-2017, 07:56 AM   #20
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Wasn't Airstream bought out, acquired by some big corporation, a few years ago? You know, the kind of corporation that sees a cash cow profit opportunity and then guts the product quality to increase their margin. Olivers and Escapes are still owned by the original owners and their excellent customer service reflects that,
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