As boondocking gets ever more popular in light of crowded campgrounds, I have started looking at some of the forthcoming travel trailers that are very well-suited for boondocking. The first one I was able to share with you was the Safari Condo Alto R1713. I immediately got an email from an enthusiastic Oliver trailer owner who noted that Oliver has a much more capable boondocking package available in their trailers.
We have looked at Oliver trailers in the past, taking a peek at the Oliver Legacy Elite II series. But the company does have an outstanding series of options for boondocking, indeed, as well as a strong fan club.
Oliver is an independent RV company from Tennessee that started in 2008 when twin brothers Jim and John Oliver had their fill of RV-related issues and sought to build their own trailers the way they wanted them built.
So how are they made? They have a reputation as being very well made. Part of that may be due to the Limited Lifetime Warranty on the body, the five-year warranty on the chassis and other warranties on various components.
Oliver Legacy Elite trailers are not cheaply made. The company has a policy of welcoming prospective buyers into their factory. It even has videos on their website of its factory in operation. Then, when there isn’t a global pandemic, there are rallies for Oliver owners as well as rallies for fiberglass trailer owners. I think it is evident that this company has earned quite a reputation, even though there are still people who have never heard of them.
Oliver essentially sells two trailers with different interiors: a single-axle “Legacy Elite” series and the more popular “Legacy Elite II” series. That is the larger of the two and features two axles. According to the company, the name comes from the trailers built to be legacy pieces over time.
Both of these are narrower trailers with no slide room. The single-axle trailer is 78” wide, the two-axle trailer is 84” wide.
I had mentioned that Oliver’s boondocking functionality was outstanding – and it can be. The company sells all their trailers factory-direct. That means they are able to offer upgrades and options that tailor the Oliver to the customer’s wishes.
As such, you can outfit an Oliver Legacy Elite with up to 260 amp-hours of lithium batteries along with 230 watts of solar. There’s also a 2,000-watt inverter that the company says will run the air conditioner. That air conditioner is outfitted with a Micro-Air EasyStart device.
But to further the off-grid creds, you can also get the trailer with a Nature’s Head composting toilet. That eliminates the need for a black tank altogether. This also conserves water so the 32-gallon fresh water tank goes further.
My own travel trailer has a 37-gallon tank. That allows my wife and I to spend three days off the grid including showers and everything. So I can imagine not using any water for the toilet would extend that, perhaps by a day.
But should you choose the more popular Legacy Elite II trailer, the boondocking functionality is even better. Being a larger trailer, you can get up to 630 amp-hours of lithium power on this trailer along with 340 watts of solar on the roof and a 3,000-watt inverter.
Inside the Oliver Legacy Elite, the cabinets are molded into the fiberglass. The interior feels almost more like a sailboat than a travel trailer. Both series have wet baths with the surface of the bathroom being the same glossy fiberglass as the exterior. So cleanup of the bathroom is a breeze.
Since all Olivers are purchased factory direct, there are a lot of ways one could tailor their trailer. That could be battery upgrades to include up to four lithium batteries, solar, upholstery and finishes, flooring and more.
But what comes standard are some really noteworthy things as well. These include a rear bumper made of aluminum that folds down to reveal a compartment as well as the sewer tank connection. This is a really nice way of doing this.
Oliver trailers feature a power tongue jack and two power stabilizers at the rear.
Lots of nice touches in the Oliver Legacy Elite trailers
Other nice touches include the batteries being in a compartment on a tray that slides out for maintenance. The propane tanks are also in a compartment with a port through which Oliver says you can reach to turn on and switch tanks. Of course, the compartment cover comes off so you can swap tanks.
The shell of the Oliver is molded of fiberglass in four pieces, essentially, with insulation placed between the inner and outer shell as it’s being put together. While there is very little wood in these, the drawers are wooden and are dovetailed together and have positive marine-grade latches, as do the cabinets above. The attention to detail and quality of workmanship really is evident in these trailers.
While some RVs offer huge cabinets, the relatively narrow, curved body of these means storage won’t be Oliver’s strong suit. However, there is a nice closet right at the entry door of the Legacy Elite. Also, there are cabinets all around the perimeter of the roof which are molded into the fiberglass.
Inside, you’ll either like the nautical, almost sterile feel or you won’t, period. While some RV interiors are specifically designed to offend the smallest number of people without thrilling anyone, this one is probably more polarizing. Oliver does offer a lot of variations of color and fabric so you can tailor it to a certain extent. But the walls and cabinet structures are always polished white fiberglass.
There are a few other things to take note of, including the “chassis-level” courtesy lighting which isn’t above your head. Nice.
I’ve been told these trailers tow very, very well – which you would expect with the suspension and tires they feature. Being a narrow body they’re not sticking out from the sides of the tow vehicle as much as some trailers. You can potentially use the mirrors your pickup came with rather than upgrading to fancy tow mirrors.
The Oliver twins have a passionate following
With the combination of warranty, build quality and the ownership experience, it’s no wonder the Oliver twins have such a passionate following. The Olivers have chosen to build a trailer that is going to thrill a certain customer so much that they are willing to brag about their purchase to prospective buyers.
However, whenever you’re on top of the heap everybody else is gunning for that position. For example, some of the thinking and production efficiencies of the Cortes Camper could give Oliver a run for its money. Obviously, it’s too early to tell. But the production technology Cortes is using could make manufacturing a high-quality product into a very efficient process, not unlike how Henry Ford was able to make a car for less through production efficiencies.
While these aren’t trailers everyone is going to like, there are people for whom the uniqueness or build quality or even nautical feel is just the ticket.
These RV reviews are written based on information provided by the manufacturers along with our writer’s own research. We receive no money or other financial benefits from these reviews. They are intended only as a brief overview of the vehicle, not a comprehensive critique, which would require a thorough inspection and/or test drive.
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