This year, Airstream introduced two new lines of single-axle travel trailers. With Bambi and Caravel, you now have the choice of four different trailer lengths in an easy-to-tow form: Lightweight, single-axle travel trailers that retain Airstream’s iconic style, low center of gravity, and aerodynamic shell.
While Bambi and Caravel have a myriad of similarities from a quick glance, there are several features that create a stark contrast between these two single-axle models. How do these two small but mighty travel trailers stack up against each other? We’ve prepared a side-by-side comparison to show the differences between the Bambi and Caravel to help future Airstreamers find the small lightweight single-axle travel trailer that fits their needs and desires.
Bambi and Caravel Similarities
First and foremost, the Bambi and Caravel models are available in all of the same 4 floor plan lengths which is important because they look fairly similar from the outside. From the 16RB, 19CB, 20FB, all the way to the 22FB, there is no difference between the floor plan options between these two models. That component is important because they're both equally optimized to be towed by an SUV or any truck.
As with all Airstream travel trailers, these two models include a low-center of gravity, a semi-monocoque shell construction, and the same durability, stability, and quality standards that Airstream has been known for since 1931. Additionally, both adventure-ready models have a heated underbelly, Nev-R-Adjust brakes, torsion suspension systems, and a temperature reducing one-piece white aluminum roof.
How are Bambi and Caravel Different?
Former Airstream Director of Sales C.H. Manchester put it best, “Bambi means speed. Bambi means stamina…and, most important of all, Bambi means full Airstream quality, engineered and proportioned and thoroughly travel-tested.” The 2020 model year Bambi was built with the same inspiration and intentional features to give campers and travelers the ability to easily get up and go anywhere but still have every comfort of their home along for the ride.
With Caravel, the Airstream experience is amplified, as numerous design touches elevate the single-axle experience. Like a sophisticated big-city loft, Caravel features the perfect blend of metal, woodgrain, and neutral white – a palette that gives the interior of distinctly modern feel. Named after Airstream founder Wally Byam’s love of sea-going vessels – and harkening back to the original Caravel line introduced in 1956 – this new iteration maintains the feel of a land-borne yacht. The Caravel answers the need to travel farther, stay longer, and have all the premium features that are ready to go on day one.
Difference #1 - Rear Bumper
With an upgraded rear polished bumper, Caravel has additional room to store equipment such as hoses, power cables, and other tools.
Difference #2: Front Protection
Bambi comes standard with a durable 3M protective film strip to protect the aluminum from scrapes and scratches. The Caravel includes two front stainless steel stone guards that will safeguard the aluminum from rock damage or other road debris that may come up while traveling. Both models feature a front window guard that not only protects the glass from road debris but also shades the interior and provides extra privacy.
Difference #3: Bearings
All Airstream travel trailers are equipped with premium Nev-R-Lube bearings with the exception of the Bambi. Benefits of Nev-R-Lube bearings include never having to repack bearings or replace the seals which decreases maintenance, they're pre-lubricated and resistant to contamination, and they have a 5-year or 100k miles warranty against defects.
Difference #4: Stabilizer Jacks
While both models do require a manual crank to lower and raise the 4 stabilizer jacks, the Caravel has upgraded heavy duty stabilizers to manage the slight weight differences between the floor plans.
Difference #5: Hitch Jack
Same functionality, different accessibility. With the Bambi manual hitch jack, you're required to crank the handle to lower and raise the front of the trailer during hitching and leveling. With the powered hitch jack that comes with the Caravel, it's as simple as the push of a button.
Difference #6: Entry Step
Difference #7: Awning Fabric
Bambi has a Weathermax awning and Caravel has a Sunbrella® awning which both feature a high-performance fabric that are water resistant and dry quickly. The performance Sunbrella® pinstripe patio awning on the Caravel adds a taste of designer style when the awnings are extended.
Difference #8: Torsion Suspension
There are numerous benefits to a torsion suspension system, but for the sake of the Bambi and Caravel comparison, we'll keep it to the fact that the Caravel includes shock absorbers for an even smoother towing experience. Torsion axle suspensions enhance trailer control, towing, and stability compared to traditional leaf springs. All Airstreams except the Bambi (and Basecamp) are equipped with shock absorbers. Shock absorbers add additional dampening and insure an exceptionally smooth ride.
Difference #9: The Taillights
Difference #10: Window Awnings
You'll find a single curb side awning on the Bambi which is perfect for catching some relief from the sun. Large side awnings are also useful for keeping the trailer cool because it reduces the amount of direct sunlight that is hitting the shell. There are optional street side and rear window awnings available in addition to the main awning on all four Caravel floor plans.
Difference #11: Windows
Both the Caravel16RB and Bambi 16RB floor plans have a rear window, but they do differ in size. The rear window on the Caravel reaches around the sides to give a panoramic view of your surroundings. Bambi has Hehr windows whereas Caravel comes standard with our hand-crafted, custom Airstream windows and are riveted right into the frame of the travel trailer. These windows are designed to give you a bigger opening radius so more breeze can flow throughout the cabin. All windows on the Caravel and the front panoramic window on the Bambi are crafted in Jackson Center, Ohio.
Difference #12: Battery Location
Both models come equipped with 2 deep cycle group 24 batteries with a multi-stage converter, but they're in slightly different locations on the front of the trailer. A plastic molded battery container holds the batteries above the frame and directly behind the LP tank cover on the Bambi models while the Caravel has a concealed steel box secured under the trailer A-frame with a hinged door for quick access and minimal appearance.
Interior & Décor
Difference #13: Air Conditioning and Heating
Bambi comes with a non-ducted 13,500 BTU air conditioner with a heat strip and manual controls. What's a heat strip? Heat strips are an electrical element that will heat up and allow the A/C fan to disperse warm air throughout the cabin without firing up your furnace. The upgraded Caravel also includes a 13,500 BTU air conditioner but has a heat pump, climate control center, and features our ducted Quietstream air ventilation system. What is a heat pump? A heat pump is A/C working in reverse and takes ambient air from the cabin to provide warmer air when the temperature is above approximately 40 degrees fahrenheit. Quietstream circulates air evenly with multiple vents across the trailer ceiling and has return vents making the system very quiet.
Difference #14: Seating/Upholstery
The seating fabric in the Bambi is a fade resistant, durable Performatex material that can easily be spot cleaned with water and mild detergent. Inside the Caravel, you'll find premium Ultraleather seating. Ultraleather is designed for maximum longevity and luxurious comfort and breathability.
Difference #15: Light Switches
The primary interior lighting in the Bambi models are LED ceiling dome lights that are controlled with a switch on each individual light. The Caravel has surface mounted puck LED lights that are controlled with a multi-function touch dimmer switch.
Difference #16: Overhead Storage
Despite being one of the smaller travel trailers Airstream offers, both Bambi and Caravel offer ample interior storage. The overhead storage in the Bambi features tambour doors to make it quick and simple to stash away food and other items. Bring even more plates, cups, and containers to stow away in the larger Caravel overhead sliding door storage compartments.
Difference #17: Toilet
Bambi comes with a molded plastic toilet whereas Caravel includes a porcelain toilet.
Appliances and Entertainment
Difference #18: Power Inverter
The Caravel offers a 1,000 watt pure sine wave power inverter on all floor plans. What's an inverter? An inverter is a device that takes your 12V battery power and inverts to 110V so that you can power GFCI specific outlets in the trailer and the devices plugged into them (Blu-Ray player, T.V., etc.).
Difference #19: Microwaves
Did you know you could have roasted your Thanksgiving turkey in a convection microwave oven? That’s just one of the available Caravel (not an option on the 16RB) kitchen features that’ll inspire a more exciting camp meal. A standard microwave is included with each Bambi, however, the convection microwave option is not available.
Difference #20: Blinds
Same function, different feature. Block out light and keep your privacy, but get a slightly different look and functionality. Both feature a sleek, aluminum style that matches the rest of the silver interior.
Difference #21: Cooktops
What type of cooking experience are you looking to have inside your Airstream? In all of the Bambi floor plans, there are 2 LP (liquid propane) burner cooktops which will accommodate just about any type of meal you want to prepare. If you're looking to take it to the next level, Caravel features a chef-inspired 3 burner cooktop in the 20FB and 22FB foot floor plans. As with the Bambi, the Caravel 16RB and 19CB both have a 2 burner cooktop.*
Difference #22: Stereos and TV's
For the Bambi, you can enjoy a 12v/110V LED HD TV with a DVD player or switch to over-the-air channels with the omnidirectional antenna. When plugged into shore power the TV will utilize the 110V power, but when running on battery and because the Bambi doesn't have an inverter, the TV will be powered with the 12v outlet so you can enjoy your shows when disconnected from 110V power. There's also a JVC Stereo with Bluetooth for streaming your favorite music. Step inside Caravel and get an even more premium experience with an LG LED HD TV (with antenna) and Blu-Ray player. The Caravel's JL Stereo with Bluetooth® and surround sound speaker system with a subwoofer creates a premium audio experience.
Difference #23: Bathroom Shower Door
In the 19CB, 20FB, and 22FB floor plans, you'll find a difference in shower doors between the two models. There is a sliding retractable door in the Bambi and a glass door throughout the Caravel series, giving it an upscale feeling in the bathroom.
Difference #24: Interior Décor Options
Bambi is available in two interior décor options: Dune and Ocean. Caravel is available in two completely different interior décor options: Tungsten and Pewter.
For an even more detailed look at the Bambi and Caravel features and photos, download the product brochure.