Oliver VS Airstream: Which is better?

Airstream trailer at an RV park

Both Oliver and Airstream are travel trailers that have excellent quality standards and, as a result, compatible prices.

Airstream has many trailers to offer and Oliver only has two models. For direct comparison, I have chosen the Airstream Caraval 19CB, which is similar in size and price to the Oliver Legacy Elite. Likewise, I chose the Airstream International 23FB, which is similar in size and price to the Oliver Legacy Elite II.

Based on our criteria, the Airstream Trailer came in as more desirable than the Oliver Travel Trailer. The criteria are as follows:

  • Price and Financing
  • Floor Sizes and Floor Plans
  • Tank Capacities
  • Lead Times
  • Weight Ratings
  • Construction Techniques
  • Interior
  • Options
  • Warranty
Price and FinancingTie
Floor Sizes and Floor PlansAirstream
Tank CapacitiesTie
Lead TimesAirstream
Weight RatingsOliver
Construction TechniquesOliver
Standard Features and OptionsAirstream
Oliver vs Airstream Comparison

Price and Financing

Unit price and financing are two of the top categories that travel trailer buyers consider when purchasing a trailer.


If you ordered your Oliver Legacy with all the options, the price would be $91,005, while the comparable Airstream Caraval 19CB would be $81,225. The larger and more expensive Oliver Legacy Elite II, with all options, would price out at $110,175 while the comparable Airstream International 23FB at 111,675 with all the bells and whistles coming in at $111,575.


Airstream has their own financing through Bank of America, offering terms up to 20 years. Oliver Trailer also offers financing through Epic Finance. If you purchased a trailer for $94,400 for 20 years, with no down payment, at 6% your payment would be $676.31.

Both Airstream and Oliver are similarly priced and both offer financing, therefore, they tie for this category.

SpecificationsOliver Legacy EliteAirstream Caraval 19CB Oliver Legacy Elite IIAirstream International 23FB
Base Price$65,500$77,300$73,500$109,100
Cost With All Options$91,005$81,225$110,175$111,675
GVWR5,000 lbs.5000 lbs.7,000 lbs.8000 lbs.
Dry Weight (Approximate)3,700 lbs.4000 lbs.4,900 lbs.5000 lbs.
Tongue Weight (Approximate)370 lbs.550 lbs.490 lbs.500 lbs.
Outside Length18′ 5″19′ 5″23′ 6″23′ 9″
Outside Height to Top of A/C9′ 2″9′ 7″9′ 8″9′ 9″
Outside Width6′ 6″8′7′8″
Inside Height6′ 1″6′ 6″6′ 6″6′ 7.5″
Inside Width6′ 2″7′ 7″6′ 7″7′ 7″
Fresh Water Tank Capacity32 Gal.23 Gal32 Gal.37 Gal.
Grey Water Tank Capacity32 Gal.29 Gal.32 Gal.37 Gal.
Black Water Tank Capacity15 Gal.18 Gal.15 Gal.17 Gal.
Refrigerator Size4.5 Cu. Ft. (3-way)4.3 Cu. Ft. (12v)4.5 Cu. Ft. (3-way)6.8 Cu. Ft. (12v)
Costs and Specifications (Oliver vs Airstream)

Floor Sizes and Floor Plans

Here, we’ll compare sizes and floor plans.


Oliver Travel Trailers have two sizes, the Legacy Elite, a 18′ 5″ trailer and the Legacy Elite II, a 23′ 6″ trailer. Airstream, on the other hand, has a ridiculous number of trailer sizes ranging from the 16′ Basecamp to the 33′ Classic and everything in between. If you’d like to see some prices on these other Airstream trailers, click here.

Floor Plans

Oliver trailers have a total of three floor plans; one for the Legacy Elite and two for the Legacy Elite II. In contrast, Airstream has a whopping forty six floor plans! This makes Airstream a clear winner in this category.

Tank Capacities

Both the Oliver Legacy Elite and the Legacy Elite II have the same tank capacities, while the Airstream Caraval has smaller tank capacities than either of the Oliver trailers or the Airstream International 23FB. The size of the freshwater tank of the Airstream Caraval 19CB is less than any of the trailers listed in the chart, but the black water tank is larger, while the grey water tank is slightly less than Oliver. The Airstream International has larger fresh and grey water tanks than any of the other trailers and also has an additional 20 extra pounds of propane on board. Since a 20 lb propane tank has nearly 4.6 gallons of propane, we’ll count each as 5 gallons to round up. There are 7 gallons in a 30 lb propane tank. The total number of gallons for Airstream is 185 while the total gallons for Oliver is 190. This number is so close that I’m calling this a tie.

Fresh WaterBlack WaterGrey WaterWater HeaterLiquid PropaneTotals
Oliver Legacy Elite32 Gal.15 Gal.32 Gal.6 gallon(2) 20 lb.95 Gal
Airstream Caraval 19CB 23 Gal18 Gal.29 Gal.0 gallons (tankless)(2) 20 lb.80 Gal
Oliver Legacy Elite II32 Gal.15 Gal.32 Gal.6 gallon(2) 20 lb.95 gal
Airstream International 23FB37 Gal.17 Gal.37 Gal.0 gallons (tankless)(2) 30 lb.105
Tank Capacities: Oliver vs Airstream

Lead Times

Oliver trailers are sold factory-direct while Airstream trailers are sold by dealerships. Lead times on Oliver Trailers are 5-6 weeks. Lead times on Airstream trailers are not published, but I found a 2022 Airstream Caraval 19CB for sale a little over 400 miles away from me. However, the closest new Airstream International 23FB that I was able to find was a 2023 model that was nearly 1800 miles away. Still, if I wanted a trailer right now, I could go out and purchase and Airstream.

While lead times for Oliver trailers are certainly better than the lead times for most molded-fiberglass trailers, you can go out, right now and buy yourself an Airstream. Therefore, Airstream is the winner in this category.

Weight Ratings

Weight ratings on the Airstream trailers are slightly higher than Oliver trailers; however, the Airstream trailers have more square footage because they are wider than the Oliver trailers. Plus, with lower dry weights, the carrying capacity of the Oliver is a little higher. Still, if you are looking for a lighter-weight trailer, the Oliver has a slight advantage in this category.

TrailerGVWRDry Weight
Oliver Legacy Elite5000 lbs3700 lbs
Airstream Caraval 19CB5000 lbs4000 lbs
Oliver Legacy Elite II7000 lbs4900 lbs
Airstream International 23FB8000 lbs5000 lbs
Weight Ratings Oliver vs Airstream

Construction Techniques

The construction techniques between Oliver trailers and Airstream trailers are quite different.

Oliver Travel Trailer Construction Techniques

Oliver trailers are made of molded fiberglass. Two molds are made for the top half of the trailer and two molds are made for the bottom half of the trailer. Both the top and bottom have an inner and outer shell that are connected together to create an incredibly durable trailer with superior insulating properties. Fiberglass for the shells are initially injected into the molds and then hand rolled to shape a construct that is rigid and strong.

Before the shells are connected, the wiring is sandwiched between the inner and outer shell, creating a very clean, modern look. The entire shell is bolted to the frame. The frame is made from lightweight aircraft aluminum, using a jig to make sure that every frame is the same. Sacrificial zinc anodes are placed in strategic locations to prevent corroding of the galvanized frame. The double step and back hitch are both welded to the frame. To reduce stress on the road, Oliver employs the Dexter easy-flex suspension and gas shocks. The Dexter never-lube axle assures that you never have to grease or repack your wheel bearings and the trailer is outfitted with 10-ply truck tires.

Airstream Trailer Construction Techniques

It takes 350 hours to make every individual Airstream Trailer. Airstream builds trailers to last a lifetime, and they do! The construction process begins by cutting, bending and shaping 1200 square feet of treated aluminum. The aluminum is then riveted together to make the entire shell of the trailer. It is so strong, that the aluminum shell can stand on it’s own. The shell is then attached to the chassis. The chassis is a steel ladder-style frame. A corrosion-resistant coating is applied. Holding tanks are placed within the frame to provide a lower center of gravity. An piece of aluminum is placed on the under belly to protect the holding tanks and frame. This design increased the already fabulous aerodynamics of the trailer.

Airstream camped next to a lake

Rubber torsion axles are added to the frame. An independent suspension absorbs road vibration, extending the life of tires and the trailer in general. The wiring and insulation are installed on the inside of the trailer. Windows and doors are added. Insulating vinyl is applied to the interior skin with glue.

Construction Comparison

Molded fiberglass is very resistant to dings and dents, whereas aluminum is not. Additionally molded fibergass is very easy and fairly inexpensive to repair. Most boat builders can repair molded fiberglass. The aluminum panels on Airstream are expensive. If you damage your Airstream, you will need to replace the whole panel, and that become costly. The single, uniform shape of the molded fiberglass preempts water ingress because there are few locations for the water to enter. The gas shocks of the Oliver trailer will absorb more of the shaking created by movement on the road. This helps get you further off the beaten path. The rubber of the torsion axle of the Airstream will need to be replaced within 10 years, while the leaf springs of the Oliver can last decades. You can find more information about Oliver Trailers here.

Still, there is something beautiful about the design of the Airstream trailer – simple and elegant. And, you wouldn’t want a molded fiberglass airplane, would you?

Standard Features and Options

Both Oliver and Airstream offer many standard features that other travel trailer manufacturers will charge for. With the Airstream, the model and price point determines which features are standard and which are optional. For example, on the Basecamp, the least expensive Airstream in the fleet, a microwave is an option, while it is standard on every other model. As you reach the highest cost Airstream, almost all the features are standard. For example, with the Classic 33, Airstream’s most expensive trailer, everything is included in the price. For the sake of comparison, we’ll compare the Airstream Caraval 19CB to the Oliver Legacy Elite, and the Airstream International 23FB to the Oliver Legacy Elite II, as we did before.

Here is how both companies stack up:

Airstream Caraval 19CB vs. Oliver Legacy Elite

The Airstream Caraval 19CB comes with an amazing array of standard features for such a small trailer. There are only four options available on this trailer that are outside the purchase price: A window awning, a convection oven, a lithium battery system, and a 90w rooftop solar package. All other features are included in the price.

In contrast, the Oliver Legacy Elite has a dizzying 21 paid options. Let’s visit some of these options and compare:

Trailer Oliver Legacy EliteAirstream Caraval 19CB
High Quality MattressOptionalStandard
Ultra Fabric Standard FP (Standard Cushions)OptionalStandard
WiFi Boost/4G LTEOptional Standard
Convection MicrowaveOptionalOptional
All Electric (12v/120v) RefrigeratorNot AvailableStandard
Dimable LED LightsNot AvailableStandard
Composting ToiletOptionalNot Available
24” Flat Screen LCD TVStandardStandard
On-Demand Water Heater OptionalStandard
Lithium BatteryOptionalOptional (Dealer Installed)
Wi-Fi Boost and 4G LTEOptionalStandard
90w rooftop solar packageNot AvailableOptional
120w rooftop solarOptionalNot Available
Backup Camera with 4.3” displayOptionalStandard
Electronic Keypad Door HandleOptionalNot Available
Aluminum Storage Basket
(55 lb. capacity)
Optional Not Available
1.25” Rear Bumper Accessory Receiver
(150 lb. capacity)
OptionalNot Available

In comparison, the Airstream has many features that are included in the price, while the same features in the Oliver trailer are paid options. One area that the Oliver trailer shines compared to Airstream is in the fact that you can get 120 watts of rooftop solar over Airstreams 90 watts. Also, Airstream does not offer keyless entry. And, you can’t get a composting toilet with your Airstream. Still, Airstream has the 12 volt refrigerator that people seem to like. This option is not available with the Oliver trailer.

Airstream International 23FB vs. Oliver Legacy Elite II

The options are very similar with this comparison, except that the only paid options for the Airstream International is the 90 watt solar kit and the convection microwave. The Oliver Legacy Elite II offers the lithium platinum package that includes 640 amp hours of lithium battery power. The cost of this system is over $15,000.

Given that the most Airstream options are included in the price, I’m giving the win to Airstream.


Again, since Airstream has such a wide array of trailer models, we’ll compare the Airstream Caraval 19CB to the Oliver Legacy Elite, and the Airstream International 23FB to the Oliver Legacy Elite II.

One place where Airstream has Oliver all beat to heck is the bathroom. Both the Oliver Legacy Elite and Legacy Elite II have a tiny wet bath, whereas the Airstream Caraval 19CB has a spacious rear dry bath. This gorgeous bathroom has a shower with a built-in seat. Plus, there is plenty of storage included as this model has a storage cabinet and a medicine cabinet. The Airstream Caraval 19CB sleeps four where the Oliver Legacy Elite only sleeps two.

The Airstream International 23FB also has a roomy dry bath. This trailer also has a walk-around queen bed – a luxury indeed.

The finishes are nice on both trailers, but the Oliver trailers have a much more modern, sleek look. To me, the Airstream trailers have a contemporary, but homey look to them, but that’s just my preference.


Every Airstream comes with a 3-year Airstream limited transferable warranty. Oliver has a one-year limited component warranty, a two-year parts warranty, and a five-year body and chassis warranty.


You can’t go wrong with either trailer, but if you have to choose, my money is on Airstream.

Crystyn Chase

Crystyn enjoys traveling to new locations off the beaten path. She's passionate about RV adventure travel and her desire is to share that love with readers. She is married to Doug and has a playful German Shepherd named Trinity. When not on the road, Crystyn enjoys gardening and food preservation.

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