Skip to Content

Best Airstream Alternatives To Consider [2022]

Best Airstream Alternatives To Consider [2022]
Latest posts by Justin Caldwell (see all)

Airstream trailers are instantly recognizable as an icon of American camping. Sleek, stylish, and durable, these trailers upgrade your tent to a full-fledged house on wheels. Whether it’s the Airstream Basecamp or another Airstream trailer—they’re pricey, but they hold their value really well, and they’re everywhere because people love them.

However, if you’re having a hard time justifying the cost, but you really want something similar, you’re in luck. There are plenty of Airstream alternatives out there from lookalikes to the modern retro interior, you’ll find the perfect knock-off that’s right for you.

And for the record, some of these alternatives are even better than the Airstream. Check them out for yourself.

My Top Picks

In case you don’t want to wait until the end of the article, here are our top picks for the best airstream alternatives:

Bowlus

bowlus Endless Highways

This Airstream predecessor features an aerodynamic, bullet-like appearance better. Some people even mistake these for Airstream models, but the truth is that Bowlus is the original alumnus travel trailer originally engineered and manufactured in 1934 by aircraft builder and engineer Hawley Bowlus. When Bowlus returned to exclusively building aircraft, former employee Wally Byam took the design and adapted it to create the original Airstream Clipper. 

There are several notable differences between Bowlus and Airstream; construction and material quality are just two. Using 2024 aircraft-grade aluminum Bowlus focuses on using top-of-the-line construction methods and materials. Along with giving extra attention and love by handcrafting each trailer. 

Bowlus offers three different models of How to find the thing where we guess end balance, best X, best win, etc . Each model has the same floorplan but boasts different features. So you can decide which is right for you!

  • Endless Highways
  • Endless Highway Performance Edition
  • Terra Firma

Their most luxurious model, the Terra Firma, features a king bed that can be converted to two twins, a full bathroom, a living area with a sofa and a dinette, and kitchen. It’s also pre-wired for solar panels and has a state-of-the-art power management system supported so you can truly go off the grid for weeks at a time.

Terra Firma also features an 8 kWh lithium iron phosphate battery (The Endless Highways has a 4 kWh lithium iron phosphate battery) that provides enough power to run the air conditioning for up to eight hours without hookups. The bathroom features a full-length bathroom mirror, two-bathroom vents instead of one, and continuous hot water.

The most lightweight and aerodynamic travel trailers ever made, mid-size SUVs or even electric vehicles like the Tesla Model X can easily tow a Bowlus. With a low hitch weight, even a small adult can hook it up in minutes.

The modern features included in a Bowlus Terra Firma luxury travel trailer make it the best Airstream alternative for those looking for a top-of-the-line aluminum travel trailer.

Pros:

  • Aerodynamic
  • Most luxurious travel trailer available
  • Easy to pull with a small SUV
  • Plenty of amenities in a small space

Cons:

  • Expensive

Living Vehicle Trailers

2020 Living Vehicle Trailers

These Airstream lookalikes are an extra level of both luxury and price. They are also considerably heavier than either the Airstream or the Bowlus. They are perfect for someone that wants an actual home on wheels with the ability to have all the comforts of home. But you won’t find yourself off-roading easily with this monster. 

You’ll find yourself enjoying the feel of a luxury loft with a fold-out porch and other amenities. But you’ll lose the vintage feel of the Airstream. With its boxy shape, this travel trailer is decidedly modern. Some will love it, and some will hate it. 

The modern interior features bright white cabinetry with a healthy dose of real wood for a clean industrial look. Effective use of space makes this small travel trailer the perfect size for two people and maybe even a couple of children or guests.

The downside here is that there’s only a one-floor plan, so if you don’t like it, you’re out of luck. However, there are a lot of possibilities for upgrades and customizations. In fact, you may find used models on the Living Vehicle website or elsewhere.

Pros:

  • Modern design
  • Sleek architecture
  • Customizablet

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • No variety
  • Very heavy – you’ll need a super duty truck to move it
  • Not designed for weekend camping adventures

Oliver Travel Trailers

Oliver Travel Trailers

These cute little guys are a bit more affordable than an Airstream camper and they offer a compact living solution that makes effective use of the space inside. They don’t look quite as modern on the outside, but they’re built from more affordable materials, which helps keep the price down.

The molded vanities provide an upscale interior, with amenities like a full bathroom. The extra durable fiberglass interior means you’ll experience less visible wear and tear and a sleek, modern look.

You can customize things like your awning color, graphics colors, interior upholstery, and flooring. There are three awning colors to choose from, 25 graphics colors, 8 upholstery options, and 7 flooring options.

There are dealers all over the United States, so finding an Ollie to tour in person is easy and convenient. There are referral programs, you can tour their plant, and make your entire experience more personal.

Pros:

  • Customizable
  • Accessible
  • Affordable
  • Durable construction

Cons:

  • Hard to find used models
  • Limited features
  • Fewer luxury features (compared to the Airstream and Bowlus)

Further Read: Oliver vs Airstream Comparison

Homegrown Trailers

When it comes to camping, living minimally and sustainably may be top of mind. While the Homegrown Trailers don’t immediately spark an Airstream alternative feel, they should be added to our list because of the way they exude a natural, camping feel.

They’re the perfect mix of class and self-sufficiency. Outdoor Magazine rated them the most eco-friendly trailers on the market. They’ve tried to make environmentally friendly decisions whenever they can.

It looks almost as if IKEA made a travel trailer. The interior is basic but beautiful. Clean lines and natural wood makes you feel like you’re camping among the trees. And with wood paneling providing a log cabin look on the outside, you’ll truly have a mountain home on wheels.

There are two models available. The Timberline is the largest model with an upscale design and a more sleek exterior. It sleeps 3-6 and has optional solar panels. You can also choose between bunk beds, a dinette, or both.

The Woodland model is a bit smaller. It only sleeps 2-4 but it comes with solar panels as a standard feature. A 12-gallon freshwater tank is more than you get with large fifth wheels, so you can truly go off the grid here.

Homegrown Trailers

Pros:

  • Highly attractive rustic design
  • Sustainable
  • Eco-friendly
  • Affordable
  • Large water tank

Cons:

  • Hard to find used models

Happier Camper

Other than a cute name, the Happier Camper travelers are a fun and exciting tribute to the old Winnebago-style campers. They’re retro and proud of it. Flare sides, 70s turquoise, and rounded corners all throwback to a time when flower children were the norm.

Embrace nature with a camper that helps you get closer to it. Designs include the HC1 and the Traveler. The HC1 is small and mighty while the Traveler gives you a bit more space in a versatile package.

Both floor plans feature the Aptiv System, which is a trademarked interior allowing versatility, flexibility, and efficient use of space. Just design your Aptive interior with the features you need from sleeping to storage.

Each Aptiv cube is interchangeable so you can mix and match, switch in and out, and set up your camper how you need it right now.

The Aptiv System is even available for van installation, just in case you want to turn your current vehicle into a Happier Camper.

Happier Campers are lightweight enough to pull with a standard car, so your entire life doesn’t have to change to experience a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The possibilities are truly endless.

Best Airstream Alternatives

Pros:

  • Aptiv System
  • Versatile
  • Lightweight
  • Charmingly retro
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Very small
  • No bathroom

Dub Box Trailer

Here’s another adorable take on the retro feel. It’s slightly more expensive than the Happier Camper, but it’s also slightly larger. They’re marketed as great food trucks and retail trailers, so if you’re looking for a cute way to take your business on the road, look no further.

With the two-tone vintage colors, you’ll be tickled at first glance, and every glance thereafter. The fiberglass construction means it’s ultra-light and durable, too. You’ll experience a spacious interior, thanks to an efficient design.

Make your Dub Box to order for exactly what you want, or choose one of their many existing floor plans. They have a wide range of sizes and configurations to choose from. In fact, much more than anything else on our list.

While you can’t cram a family in here, you and your spouse could have a very meaningful vacation, giving you a chance to share some close quarters and reconnect with one another. It also comes with a portable toilet and a portable outdoor shower, so you can enjoy some of the comforts of home.

This is a fabulous way to be one with nature and enjoy the great outdoors.

Dub Box Trailer

Pros:

  • Vintage
  • Custom
  • Affordable
  • Durable
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • Small

What Makes These Airstream Alternatives?

Airstream Inc is known for its quality campers. They have always retained their value well, and owning an Airstream is a bit of a status symbol among die-hard camping enthusiasts. They’re well-built, durable, and attractive.

Modern Airstream trailers have a touch of retro and plenty of modern amenities, so when it comes to finding worthy alternatives, there are many things to consider.

The Look

Airstreams are highly recognizable. You know exactly what an Airstream is when you see one. Some of the alternatives on our list qualify as close seconds because they look similar.

For example, the Bowlus has a similar aluminum shape but with a more aerodynamic feel. In fact, you might even mistake them for Airstreams if you don’t know the difference – which makes sense because the Airstream design is an adaptation of the original Bowlus.

While they look similar, there are some subtle differences. Each one has its own unique shape, and you’ll quickly be able to decide which one will fit your needs and style. 

The Feel

Often, it’s not about how the camper looks but how it feels. Some of our alternatives give you a feeling of superiority. The Bowlus, in particular, gives you a lightweight, maneuverable travel trailer with a best-in-class design and modern features.

But the Living Trailer is a luxury apartment on wheels, complete with a fold-out porch, perfect for those who want to focus on glamping over camping. 

Clean interiors give way to gorgeous views, allowing you to enjoy nature. Some of these alternatives are better suited for campgrounds or used as a home on your personal land. While others are perfect for off-grid camping!

best airstream alternatives trailer

The Amenities

Most modern trailers have everything you need for a long weekend in the woods. Airstreams come in all sizes, as does our list of alternatives. If you’re looking for something a little bigger that can sleep your whole family, you’ll find it here.

If you’re looking for something more comfortable than a tent on the ground but that doesn’t include all of the conveniences you have at home, we have that, too.

Really, the amenities are as vast as you want them to be. Some don’t have bathrooms, while others have full bathrooms, full kitchens, extra beds, huge water tanks, and solar panels.

The Price

The unfortunate business of luxury trailers is that they come at a price. Some of our contenders are Airstream alternatives simply because they offer similar amenities at a similar price point. Others are actually more expensive than a similarly sized Airstream.

However, we’ve included plenty of more affordable options for you, too. Not everyone can afford to break the bank for a small weekend or vacation vehicle.

Camper Buying Guide

How do you decide which is best for you? First-time campers may have some difficulty, but there are a few factors to consider, and the decision will become clearer the more research you do.

Size

Size is critical. Are you towing your camper with your existing vehicle or are you going to purchase something larger? There are plenty of small travel trailers that are lightweight enough to tow with a car or a small crossover.

However, if you have a large family and you need the extra sleeping space, you may want to consider something a bit larger. You’ll also need extra storage for your clothes.

Keep in mind that most trailers make the most effective use of space that they can, and for a long weekend, you can get by with something a bit on the small side. However, if you’re taking extended vacations in your trailer, consider long-term comfort as well.

Features

Can you rough it? Some people would rather glamp than camp. If you can’t stand the thought of going more than 24 hours without a shower, you might need a camper with a full bathroom and a big water tank, so you can still have your scalding hot ‘me’ time.

On the other hand, if you love to be one with nature, and you have no problem ditching the luxury, you’ll be content in something that makes it easier for you to get a good night’s rest and cook a meal over the fire to recharge for tomorrow’s hike.

trailer inside view

Price

No camper is going to work for you if it doesn’t fit in the budget. Luxury trailers (even small ones) cost a lot of money. This isn’t a flippant expense. It requires thought and planning. Don’t commit to a big price tag just yet. Do some more shopping.

There are so many other options out there that come with just as many amenities, and a lot of them are very affordable. Make sure you get what you want at a price you can afford, or you won’t be happy with your decision.

FAQs

Need a few more answers? Here are some frequently asked questions from the world of travel trailers.

What is the best RV for the money?

Airstream really is a luxury brand, and our list of alternatives reflects that. However, there are a lot of other RV brands that don’t tout luxury. Instead, they offer affordability. Common affordable RV brands include Coachman, Forest River, Gulfstream, and Grand Design.
When shopping for RVs, consider comparable floor plans from these manufacturers and compare pricing. What you find may surprise you, especially when you consider the resale value. For example, most 27-foot travel trailers lose a ton of value the minute you drive them off the dealership’s lot, just like a car would. Our research found that if you’re looking for an RV that will retain and actually grow in value, then you should really consider Bowlus. I was surprised to learn that pre-owned Bowlus trailers often go for more than their original MSRP. 

What is the most reliable RV brand?

A lot of RVs aren’t built to last. Most people take them vacationing and only use them a few weeks out of the year. A manufacturer offering a one year warranty is counting on you using it only a handful of times.
They use cheap materials and inferior building practices that will get you by for the first few times you use it. Then they wipe their hands of it after the first year, and the rest is your responsibility.
Manufacturers who dedicate themselves to building quality include Airstream, Grand Design, Oliver, Escape, New Horizons, Northwood, Outdoors, and DRV.

Which RV is easiest to drive?

Any of the Airstream alternatives we’ve included on this list would be a cinch to drive. They’re small, and towing them behind your car is really not much different than driving your car through town.
If you’re looking for something a bit bigger, Class B RVs are much like driving a big van. Once you get into Class A motorhomes and large fifth wheels, driving complexity goes way up.

What is the best month to buy an RV?

Sales are notoriously slow during the fall months because people know that heading into winter, they are going to camp a lot less. The salesmen know this, too. They’re all about offering discounts to get the remaining inventory off the lot.
October and November are great months to buy but aim for any time in the fall to get extra attention and perhaps extra discounts on dealer stock.

Should I buy a new or used RV?

RVs are a lot like cars. They depreciate a lot almost immediately. A lot of people say you should never buy a new model either. New RVs come with warranties, so if something goes wrong, you can hopefully count on them to fix it.
However, used RVs are much cheaper, and chances are if something were going to go wrong, it already has, and the previous owner has addressed it. So not only are you paying less, you’re a lot less likely to experience problems.
There’s always a happy medium. Buying a ten-year-old RV is probably a bad idea. But if you’re buying a two-year-old RV, you’re in the safe zone for another few years. If you really don’t want to miss out on that new scent and you can afford it, buy new to your heart’s content.

Why are Airstreams so expensive?

Airstreams have an aluminum body. That’s what makes them so famous. You know an Airstream when you see it. This aluminum body is lightweight and insulated, so Airstreams are generally more aerodynamic and eco-friendly.
The material is much more expensive and assembly requires quite a bit more labor, so you’re paying for something that’s higher quality than a lot of the other trailer manufacturers produce.

The Verdict on Airstream Competitors

If you have your heart set on an Airstream and you’re willing to pay the price, who am I to stop you? They’re quality trailers with an iconic design, and you really can’t go wrong.

However, if you’re looking for the best alternative overall, Bowlus is it.

We Recommend
Trusted RV rental marketplace | Outdoorsy

Outdoorsy is safe, easy, fully insured, and has a great local selection. They're free to join and have no membership fees of any kind. Discover amazing RVs to travel in - or rent out your own!

Check price
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Living Trailer campers are much heavier, but if you need a guest house or a permanent home and don’t plan to move it, they will work as a substitute.

While our other options like the Oliver and Happier Camper provide a more affordable but still unique option. 

Further Reading on RV and Camper Models: