Airstream Sport

Airstream and Jayco are two powerhouses when it comes to RVs. This article aims to put two of America’s oldest RV manufacturers against each other to find out which one is better. Let us begin.

A brief history of Airstream

400;”>Airstream as the older company was created when Wally Byam began creating trailers in his back yard. Airstream trailers are renowned for their quality and finish.

His design caught the eye of other campers and neighbors and he began building trailers for them. It was at this point that he figured this would be a good business to get into.

Its designs have been able to stand the test of time, considering that over 40% of all Airstreams on the road at any given time are more than 30 years old.

A brief history of Jayco

Jayco RVs are renowned for their extremely high quality, affordability, and layout choices. The brand is one that prioritizes quality craftsmanship and focuses on providing an excellent customer experience.

Jayco was started in 1968 by husband and wife Lloyd & Bertha Bontrager in Indiana. They first began with a prototype camping trailer. The folding trailer came with a unique lifting system which enabled them to find success in the market.

In 1985, Lloyd Bontrager unfortunately passed in an air accident, however, the firm continued to blossom focussing on affordability, technology, and connectivity. This proved successful as Jayco was crowned the world’s biggest RV manufacturer held in private hands.

Top features of Airstream

Airstreams have been created with some of the most durable materials out there such as industrial grade aluminum. The quality is so apparent that a few of the most durable travel trailers out there belong to Airstream. The brand is known for creating long-lasting quality and about 65% of Airstreams ever created are still being used today. 

Given that most brands tend to tap out at 15 years, an Airstream would have only used one-third of its lifespan in that amount of time. Airstreams are generally known to hold their value compared to other brands, however, this depends on a host of factors.


There are quite a several reasons why Airstream travel trailers are popular. For one they are affordability. A decently used Airstream travel trailer can be purchased for about $20,000 while older ones can be gotten for under $10,000. These old trailers will still have numerous years of little maintenance use

Aerodynamics and low center of gravity

These travel trailers are known for having a low center of gravity ensuring that they remain stable while driving, particularly if you need to quickly change lanes.

Its aerodynamic qualities are in full view as its design was one of the first to be aerodynamic long before the environment and fuel efficiency were concerns. This means that it has better aerodynamics than box styled trailers, offering owners at least 15% in fuel savings

Quality manufacturing

To show just how much quality these travel trailers have been created with, you simply need o view an Excella that was created in 1994 with beautifully finished and sturdy wood cabinets rather than the synthetic wood and pressboard that we see in RVs today.

Cushions and mattresses created more than 15 years ago are only just beginning to show signs of wear and tear. the moving parts such as door and drawers all function like the day they left the factory.


The way Airstreams are created is reminiscent of airplanes with panels made of aluminum riveted on top of each other to result in a streamlined and durable structure.

Weight distribution

This brand ensures that its travel trailers are constructed with the large share of weight distributed across the axles to ensure that the trailer is balanced and provides increased control when it is being towed.

style=”font-weight: 400;”>With Airstream, you simply have to pack and go, no need to work out the right weight distribution for your things.

Autonomous Torsion Axles

these axles come with their very own shock absorbers to ensure that you have increased control over the trailer while towing it.

Top Features of Jayco

Climate Shield

The climate shield inbuilt into every Jayco RV ensures that your RV is protected from any weather extremes, be it hot or cold. This enables you to have all-season weather protection regardless of if the weather is freezing or boiling.

Every Jayco RV is temperature tested ensuring that Jayco Climate Shield can keep the interior cabin cool at a temperature of 71° while the temperature outside registered 100°. Every RV is also cold tested, ensuring that no pipes or attached plumbing systems are affected when the temperature is 0°.

During this time, the temperature inside the cabin was maintained at 68°. Jayco’s Climate Shield also includes a heated and completely enclosed underbelly, PEX plumbing, tinted windows, and two-sided flex foil insulation.


If there is one brand that claims to provide its customers with the very best RV warranty, it is Jayco. It does so by proudly displaying the full details on its website. This way prospective customers understand what Jayco will restore, repair, and protect before they purchase an RV.

As stated earlier Jayco has two warranties with the first one being a 2-year limited warranty that covers your RV for 24,000 miles or 2 years. This was then supplemented by the 3-year structural warranty which included structural essential like floors, walls and the roof. 

Jayco Roof System

The roof system used by Jayco is the Magnum Truss roof which has been created to handle about 4,500 pounds of weight.

This is 50% over what other RVs are able to handle. Jayco states that the roof is in part stronger because it is held together with the decking using screws instead of staples that other RV manufacturers use.

It uses larger than necessary nail plate joint fasteners to help keep the roof trusses stable on both sides. This design ensures that it is a much tighter fit producing increased strength and less movement.

The roof utilizes 2 by 2 vertical studs to enable additional room for wires. Jayco uses wooden studs rather than one-inch aluminum pieces typically used by other RV manufacturers. This is done to help lower the chance of electrical shorts.


Each Jayco RV is constructed using a customized frame. A customized frame is selected instead of a stack frame as it ensures that the frame is not manipulated or stretched to accommodate the RV’s size.

There are two frame types utilized by Jayco, the Norco NextGen frame and the I class structural I beam. This I beam frame single molded design piece, which eliminates the need for seams that are susceptible to warping and bending over time.

Jayco utilizes its Norco NextGen frame in its ultra-light RV models due to its impressive strength to weight ratio. the frames are created using low allow steel which has a high tensile strength rating.

The alloy steel has also been coated to help prevent rust. Every Jayco RV and trailer is created on a custom made laser sheared one-piece frame ensuring that it has the most efficient weight distribution when the RV’s body is placed on it.

This type of construction helps lower the occurrence of sagging or vibrational damage which can cause the RV to age prematurely.

Known issues of Airstream

While Airstreams are wonderful travel trailers, they tend to have a few issues. The majority of people picture Airstreams in a romantic and perhaps unrealistic way, however, they are not perfect.

They do tend to require additional work compared to the majority of travel trailers and RVs out there.

Airstreams can suffer from issues such as rivets, corrosion, leaks, scratches, dents, a hard to replace exterior, difficulty locating replacement parts, terrible battery performance, floor rot, combined wastewater tanks, terrible off-road abilities, faulty window latches, high maintenance, sharp metal edges, to name a few.

Known issues of Jayco

There are quite a lot of different opinions shared concerning Jayco RVs. While certain RVers are extremely satisfied with the purchase, there seem to be quite a few other Jayco RV owners that have complained about their RVs.

As stated earlier, there are quite a number of features and facilities built into the Jayco RVs making them extremely attractive when you see them.

Nevertheless, these things reportedly fail after a while and cause massive maintenance costs.  Some of the most common problems include incorrectly installed ventilation, water leakage, and missing fixtures.

Airstream vs Jayco: Conclusion

Airstream and Jayco are two-storied RV brands with a history that goes back a long time. Airstream being the older of the two has been able to carve out a niche and a reputation for quality and durability thanks to its unique teardrop design.

Jayco is not left out of the conversation when quality is being talked about as it over the years it has become the go-to RV brand for generations of families. These two are wonderful brands that offer in the quality of their own way at a unique price point.