As promised in last week’s post, today is all about the beauty shots of my 2017 Oliver Travel Trailer Elite II. Just like my orientation, let’s start on the outside, work around the rig and then move inside. Starting at the nose…

The Outside

The most noticeable thing about my rig is the custom graphics. Most people don’t get them, but as more customers learn it is an option, I think that will change. What better way to make a rig truly unique? I chose to have this website’s logo and my mantra put on the front. Downsize Living, Supersize LIFE. Currently, Oliver is using a photo of my rig to show customized graphics on their website. (Scroll to bottom.)

Customers also get to choose the colors for the swishes. Originally I selected double violet but then decided I liked the depth of dual-colors so settled on violet and lavender. Note that any color is optional even though only a few are shown on the Oliver website.

What you see in this nose shot is all standard with the exception of the silver round disk a little to the right and lower on the propane tank holder. That was an add-on I selected. It is a generator quick-connect so I don’t have to haul the generator to the back of the rig to hook it up (once I get a generator).

You cannot see it in this photo but on the left at the bottom is an added on propane quick-connect. With a hose, you can attach it to the connection and then to a propane device (like a grill) so you don’t have to carry additional propane bottles. I opted for only one on the front but it was an option to have another one put on the rear of the rig.

Rig comes with two 20-pound propane tanks. I upgraded to two 30-pound tanks thinking they would increase boondocking time.

Driver’s side of the rig has all the connections and access to the “basement.” Yes, it really is called the basement. Just wait, I also have an “attic.”

The area above the tires houses the batteries which is what holds the solar charge. Oliver says nearly every Elite II customer adds the 320-watt solar package to their rig. The battery is a bank of four 6-volt AMG (Trojan brand) and the best thing about them is they don’t require maintenance (such as adding water) the way many types do. Should a person not get solar, this compartment is extra storage space.

Open the compartment at the rear and find three things. First there is the outside shower, complete with a pullout sprayer as well as hot and cold water. This’ll be great for rinsing the dog. Black and gray tank valves for dumping are below the shower. Since I got the composting toilet, I won’t use the black tank but the rig is still fully equipped with everything needed for black tank usage (except the marine toilet).

Finally there is a big storage area, called the basement. Oliver provided me with a lot of tools, hoses, etc. and that’s what you see inside. I’ll make good use of the space as I get settled. The storage runs the width of the trailer but only has access on this one side so longer items will do better here. Below the compartment is the water hookup.

If you are like me, you will want to know that “fresh water” connection means you are filling up the rig’s water tank. “City water” connection means you are not using the tank on the rig but pulling your water right from the water source (ground).  You’d fill up the fresh water tank before going boondocking.

The backside includes more custom graphics. The back window serves as the emergency exit. The spare tire is a full-size regular tire. The silver bumper opens for black tank dumping and for small item storage. Those with a black tank will keep their black tank hose in there to ensure no cross contamination with other hoses.

I also added a backup camera. I talked to an Oliver owner who said this was one item she wished she hadn’t purchased and that during a recent RV driving class the instructor said backing up should be done with mirrors. That said, she said it is really helpful when driving because it can help keep track of cars when you are trying to change lanes. The monitor is decent-size and mounted in my van. I’ll have to use it for a while before I can give my assessment.

By the way, the camera is on top of the rig, not that little silver thing in the middle of the tire. I made that mistake. That silver thing is the light to illuminate the license plate. As my orientation guy told me, “It’s for the cops, not you.”

View of the passenger side of the rig (called curbside). The unit on the rear top of the rig is the air conditioner. The unit on the front top is the solar panel. (When I find someone with a ladder, I’ll crawl up there and get some shots of both.)

Spanning the length of the rig is the awning. This is standard but it is optional to have an additional awning put street side. I got mine in gray (because they didn’t have purple) to match my fabric inside.

With the awning out. Note the screen door.

At the back curbside are vents for the furnace (left) and water heater (right). As with solar, nearly all customers chose to upgrade to the Truma Aquago tankless water heater, also often referred to as water-on-demand.  The furnace has upgrade options as well but I didn’t select to upgrade the furnace. I have a standard Suburban 20K BTU (I copied that from the paperwork, no idea what it actually means).

Next to the vents is an electrical outlet.  It’s fantastic for working on the computer outside under the awning on a nice day.

To the left of the door is two more vents. The upper one is the microwave vent and the lower one is the refrigerator vent.

The steps are heavy-duty and don’t sag when stepped on. They are not automatic, however, so you have to remember to fold them in when moving the rig.  There is a handle both outside and just inside the rig for pulling yourself up and helping with balance. I haven’t felt unsteady either getting in or out of the rig.

The door hook holds the door open. It’s great when you just want to have the screen door but are worried a breeze might slam the door. The trick with a hook is to remember you have it hooked. Already I’ve gone to pull the door shut a few times only to remember it was still attached. During my orientation they warned me as well. A good yank could cause some damage.

The Panels

There are four sets of panels in my rig. Which panels you get will depend on what, if any, add-ons you select. Just inside the door is the lighting panel. For such a smallish rig (23.5 feet), there really are a lot of lights. And the many combinations can create quite a variety of ambiance settings.

Because I added on the backup camera, I have the small panel (on the left) to turn it on. Turning it on tells the camera to talk to the monitor in my van.

This panel is over the bed next to the kitchen. Many of the lights are repeats of the ones at the main panel. Quite convenient if in bed and you forgot to turn one off. Just reach up and flip a switch. The top dial controls the tankless water heater. I find it best to leave it off then switch on when needed. Two minutes to hot water is better than using up propane not to have to wait. Plus, you won’t have to hear it kick on continuously. I like as much quiet as possible when I’m in nature. The panel below is to turn the water pump on. You only turn that on when using the fresh water tank (the water tank on the rig); you never turn that on when connected to city water. (See I have retained one or two things from orientation.)

 

This panel is above the other bed, the one that is street side. The top one monitors the solar panels and batteries. It gives information such as the voltage the panels are pulling in and what level the batteries are at. The bottom unit is the entertainment center—it picks up local radio, television and it has a CD player that can also take a DVD. There are four speakers around the rig. A USB port is included if you have music or movies on your phone.

The top panel is to engage the inverter. The inverter’s job is to take the juice the battery retains and turn it into the kind of power for computers. I don’t get the voltages and watts and letters (AC, DC) yet. But what I know now is that to make coffee or use the computer when I am boondocking, I turn on the inverter. I also know to never turn on the inverter when plugged into shore power.

However, even with the interter, the solar package doesn’t have enough juice to run the microwave or air conditioner. For those items, I’ll need a generator. As yet, i haven’t bought one.

Then the bottom panel is all the information I need about the status of tanks. It tells me in percentages how full they are.

These add-ons I hope will help me keep connected. I opted to have a cell phone booster and a wi-fi amplifier added to the rig. The actual box for both are mounted inside the cabinet above the dining table.

Bathroom

The bathroom is hard to photograph because the space is so tight. Oliver Trailers, like all molded fiberglass trailers (except Bigfoot) have wet baths. A wet bath means that when you shower everything gets wet. The shower, sink and toilet share the same space. The door to the bathroom is a full length mirror.

Just outside the bathroom door is a hook. This is one of two items I wondered about the Oliver logic. Looking at the bathroom door, the hook is on the left. On the right side of the door is the handle to open it. In other words, if you were showering and wanted to put your towel just outside the door so it didn’t’ get wet, the hook is on the wrong side. I can only guess they assumed the hook was for some other purpose.

I had a hook added to the other side, between the closet and the bathroom door. It will be easy to open the door and grab my towel after a shower. Right now, it is working great to hold one of those bag holders that I fill with dog walking bags (which is a nice way of saying poop bags).

From outside the bathroom, you look straight in and see the sink. The sprayer removes from the sink and hooks in above on the wall to create the shower. There is also a small mirror and a hook. I haven’t used the shower yet.

This is interesting, Oliver offered the composting toilet as an upgrade for the first time in 2017 and 40% of buyers requested one. There are two good reasons for getting a composting toilet. First, to use less water which can increasing boondocking time. A composting toilet, unlike a marine toilet, uses no water at all. Second, not dealing with having to empty the dreaded black tank.

You might wonder—I know I certainly did—how a composting toilet which must continuously run a fan in order to do the job of composting, work in a wet bath. See the hose off to the right? That hose vents the toilet fan. Others have reported no problems.

However, as an extra level of safety, I opted to have Oliver add a shower curtain rod over my bathroom door. My idea was to kind of drape it over the toilet when I was showering to help keep it dry. Again, we’ll have to see if my idea works. Everything works in my mind. Sometimes reality can be different.

The black lever on the wall toward the floor opens and closes the drain. When moving the rig, you want to close the drain (push in the lever) so gray tank water doesn’t swish up through the drain in the floor. When stationary the lever should be pulled out.

Above the toilet are a small window and a small cabinet. To the left is a towel rack. I didn’t photograph it, but directly overhead is a fan. It’s the kind where it pushes air out. So during or after a shower, you can open it, push the button to help release the steam.

Inside every cabinet are these round twist-open access panels. I won’t likely ever use them but Oliver builds them in to make it easier to service the rigs. Obviously, you wouldn’t want them cutting the fiberglass hull to get to wiring, say. They are also used should, later on, a customer decides to have an additional feature added on that she didn’t select during the building process.

The Inside

This photo is from the showroom at Oliver. The flooring samples are on the ground. The cushion samples are on the shelving and the fiber granite tops are on the shelf behind my rig. Farther over but hidden by my rig are the cabinet samples. They also have a dining room setup to the left.

This is one of the best of the full inside of the trailer with good light. I took it while the trailer was still at the Oliver showroom. It gives me a chance to talk about the interior choices I made. On their website, you can see all of the options. Most people go to either end of the spectrum—all light or all dark. I love the light tan color scheme but decided with two pets the darker was a better choice.

The fiber granite over the horizontal surfaces, including the bathroom sink, is an upgrade. The base price leaves the white fiberglass uncovered. I chose the black fleck, called Dakota.

There are four different cabinet colors to choose from—black, white, frosted or mirrored. Mirrored seems to be popular though the folks at Oliver told me frosted is the most popular. On the 2017 model, the mirrored was considered an upgrade. But on the 2018, frosted is the standard and the other three are upgrades.

The cushion fabric has several choices. I debated between the Black Marble and the Heather Gray. I loved the Black Marble but when I built the rig in my mind, it seemed like it would be too dark with the black cabinet and fiber granite. It wouldn’t have been the case, I know now. But, I chose Heather Gray.

The flooring I initially chose was a dark gray. And wouldn’t you know it? Not long before I selected it, it was discontinued. So I ended up with Seagrass. It was one of the upgraded flooring options. I didn’t want to spend extra on flooring but this brown flooring has streaks of black in it so felt it was the best match.

That said, I love (LOVE) the rock pattern floor and now wish I would’ve selected it. It looks like a gray stone walkway and I think it would’ve added to the overall color scheme.

The two-person dining area with storage cabinets above. Below each seat is an outlet for plugging in computers, etc. Note the silver band on the right of the photo is the edge of the bathroom door. You can also see the standard hook I talked about above.  This area converts to a bed, probably best for a kid because it will be shorter than a standard bed.

The add-on in this photo is the two reading lights over each seat. The add-on is actually a package of four reading lights. The other two are over the beds. I don’t have a good photo of those so will say here, the placement of the other two reading lights is the other “what?” I had with Oliver’s logic. Every photo I’ve seen with the beds made show the head or the pillow at the back of the rig. So I cannot figure out why the reading lights are basically where your feet go. It’s a head scratcher to be sure.

Under each dining area seat cushion is a door to access the workings underneath. One of the doors is screwed shut with a warning label not to use as storage. The picture above is of the other one.

The pantry separates the dining area from the bed area. It’s a decent sized pantry. I put a Lysol wipes container in so you could get a sense of the size.

There is no contest that the single hardest decision I had when it came to my Oliver was whether to go with the twin bed option or the King bed option. I flip-flopped up to the end. I’m still not 100% sure the decision I made was the best one for me. Time will tell. However, I can take comfort in knowing that 85% of Oliver purchasers choose the twin bed option.

The standard twin option comes with a fabric-covered cushion. There are several mattress upgrades. The mattresses have to be custom-made because of the size and shape (one corner is rounded rather than square) so the mattresses are not cheap. For this reason, I decided to not have both sleeping areas upgraded with the mattress. If you are wondering, I paid nearly as much for this bunk-size mattress (even though they call it a twin, it’s actually nine inches narrower than a twin bed) as I did for my King-size, pillow-top mattress in my sticks-and-bricks.

My salesperson, who knew I was a solo traveler, suggested the bed/couch option. The back cushions could be removed for a bed but the couch would make a nice sitting area for watching television, reading, etc. I’m really happy I took her advice. Beginning in 2018, this is an upgrade option on the Oliver, though in 2017 I didn’t pay extra for it.

Oliver didn’t have any photos of the bed/couch option so the week prior to my delivery date, my rig was staged and professionally photographed for their website. That is the feature image of this post.

All of the windows, except the one in the bathroom, come with day and night shades. In the photo, the window in the middle has the night shade down (where no light comes in and no one can see in). The window on the right has the day shade pulled up (where light comes in but gives a little privacy plus helps keep heat out).

You can see all the storage cabinets in the sleeping area. The one in the center above the nightstand is slightly higher and bigger than the rest. Yep, that’s the “attic.”

The television in the 2017 and earlier Olivers comes mounted in the corner. I feared, since it would be right above my head when I slept, that it would feel claustrophobic. Or more claustrophobic than I expected to feel  with my head already basically surrounded. Plus I didn’t want to sit up in the dark and bonk myself.

There was a center-mount flip-down television option. How it worked in 2017 was I ordered the mount from Amazon and had it shipped to Oliver. Of course, I paid for the mount but didn’t pay extra for Oliver to install or relocate it. Beginning in 2018, if I understand their website, the flip-down television is now standard; what isn’t clear is the placement.

You cannot see it in the photos, but one of the add-ons I had in the bedroom was to have outlets put on either side of the nightstand. I have already made great use of them and am really pleased with that upgrade. There was another option for two more outlets in another area (honestly, I forgot where) but I didn’t elect to have those.

Like the dining area seats, under the cushion / mattress is an access door to the area below. On the couch side it is allowable to use some of the extra space below as storage.

I added a little access door below the bed so I wouldn’t have to move the mattress each time I needed in that area. From the Oliver forum, it seemed like people were down there with some regularity.

A popular access door add-on is below the nightstand. It allows access to the basement storage. I can see how that would be useful, especially if a small item gets moved to that back end. Since the only outside access is street-side, an arm’s length just won’t reach to items that shift to that back end.

The kitchen includes a deep sink with a pullout sprayer, five drawers, a sponge drawer (cannot be a full drawer because of the large sink), two more overhead storage bins, a two-burner propane stove, a 3-way refrigerator and a microwave.

The two-burner propane stove can be positioned either way. One of the options I didn’t select was a half-wall between the bedroom and kitchen. I thought it would dissect the flow and feel of the space. But an advantage to getting it is to keep any cooking spatters from making their way to the bed. I asked to have my stove sideways so the lid would serve as a bit of a splash guard.

A 3-way refrigerator means that it can operate from three different power sources: shore power (when the rig is plugged in), from the batteries (powered by solar) or from propane. There is an automatic setting where the refrigerator figures out which one to use. Or I can manually tell it which to use.

When moving the rig, I will operate the refrigerator from the solar. I’ve been told that some people turn off the propane every time they move while others don’t. That said, my orientation guy told me that different states have different laws regarding whether or not the propane must be off during transport. So to be safe I plan on turning it off on travel days.

In the photo with the sink and stove, you can see the placement of the reading light above the bed. The black thing near the reading light is a USB and cigarette lighter plugin (standard).

Oliver trailers do not have ovens.  Many RV rigs are transitioning to convection ovens. It was a question I’d asked Oliver during my factory tour in January. Convection ovens need quite a lot of venting so it isn’t possible simply to replace the microwave with a convection oven I was told. It will take a redesign of the fiberglass mold. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if that comes down the pike in the coming years as more people request them. After all, that’s why Oliver started offering composting toilets.

Some people also forgo the microwave and opt for that additional storage space.

That brings us back around to the entryway. You can see the screen door from the inside. And then the closet. The closet is deep, has two shelves and a hanging rack.

I’ve been thinking that hanging clothes isn’t very efficient for space. I may look for a little shelving unit or a cubbyhole unit (like the kind we had in kindergarten) that could make full use of the space. The space is tall enough for things like a broom or mop and cooking gadgets that are too large for the pantry like the Instant Pot  and food processor.

Binder, Manuals and Warranties

I was presented with a nice, well-organized binder that was specific to my rig. No doubt many pages are the same for every buyer, but not every buyer, for example, would need the manual for a composting toilet. I really appreciated this attention to detail.

Additionally, Oliver printed out a list of all my parts with serial numbers and manufacture information. They laminated the sheet to make sure it stands the test of time. Hopefully I won’t be pulling it out too often but it sure is a handy little tool.

Final Thoughts

I know I have a few followers who are also future Oliver owners. I want to take one moment for a message to them (although the advice applies to anyone who is purchasing or has purchased a rig). In putting this post together, I pulled out my invoice to make sure I had “extras” identified properly and separately from standard features so you’d know what I paid for above the base price.

In reviewing the list, I realized Oliver forgot to do three items I’d paid for. The shower rod in the bathroom I identified at the time of delivery and that was rectified. But there were two additional items. We are still figuring out a solution but, as I’m not dead set on those particular extras, I will likely get a refund as I’m getting ready to leave the area.

So despite two different departments doing a double-check on my rig, three items (totaling almost $500) were missed. Make sure you get what you paid for.

Finally, I know this is a super long post. Some of the photos aren’t as good as I wanted but I was crunched for time and the lighting conditions weren’t optimal. Plus there were technical errors (or should I say operator idiocy). For example, I wanted to get a photo of the battery bank pulled out on the tray then couldn’t figure out how to get the tray to open. I’m going back to Oliver for one last tutorial. And of course there is terminology that just isn’t in my vernacular yet, especially with electrical stuff.

I tell you this to let you know I plan on either writing the post again or updating this one with more accurate language and better photos. In the meantime, if there is anything I failed to answer please don’t hesitate to ask. I’ll do my best to answer.

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