Wednesday, May 31, 2023


RV Review: Is the 2022 Ember RV 191MSL the most game-changing trailer ever?

Today’s RV review is of the Ember RV 191MSL, a sneak peek at what’s about to show up at an Ember RV dealer near you. Now, this isn’t a totally new RV and we’ve looked at the foundation upon which this model was built in the Ember 191MDB, a relatively traditional bunkhouse floor plan built with the typical things that set Ember’s RVs apart. 

But the changes that make this unique have created one of the most game-changing floor plans I have seen in any RV, period. 

Often I have written about how you can use a bunk model for more than just a bunk house. They can be used for hobbies or things other than just sleeping space where the bunks were. But I also know of some campers who have simply removed one or two of the bunks. 

The problem with making material changes to an RV is that you can affect it’s value. Unfortunately, that’s usually not in an upwardly direction. 

It’s more difficult to do if there’s an outside kitchen, as there is in the 191MDB. Unless you’re starting from scratch. 

There are lots of options in the Ember RV 191MSL

What Ember RV has done is, effectively, taken the entire bunk room and outdoor kitchen out altogether. Then they installed six E-Track rails vertically, giving the owner a lot of options. 

The trailer, as I’ve seen it, comes with two platforms that can be placed into this vertical railing and then there are two bunk pads. So you still could have all the functionality of a bunk house, if that’s what you need.

But then you could take those platforms out or simply place them up at the highest position. Now you have a large open space. Ember stated that the second-highest position on the click track is placed just so that you can place the two platforms along with their respective pads up there and have a large open space. 

Getting to this space can be done through two large doors: one on the camp side where the kitchen used to be, and one at the rear. The large side camp-side door also has a screen that can be locked into place with hook and loop fasteners (Velcro), so you could leave it open without bugs coming in. 

One of the examples of using this space was shown by Ember RV co-founder Christopher Barth, whom I interviewed on this podcast episode. He showed a hammock hung in the E-Track. I’ve also seen photos with a kayak in this spot, or bicycles. 

Flexibility of the space

Probably the biggest deal about this is the flexibility of the space, but also that you can make these changes without actually materially affecting the RV whatsoever. So, if you need a bunk model this weekend but then want to bring a couple of e-bikes next weekend, that’s no problem. Or bring those e-bikes and have the bunks up against the ceiling. 

At night move the bunks down to where they can be used for sleeping and you’re set. You’ve lost no functionality but gained a lot. 

Another example I saw was one of the platforms put into a position where it can be used as a desk. Now you can have a space for the youngsters to sleep and then move the bunk platform a bit and now there’s a space for them to get their homework done. Or for you to write RV reviews. 

This is absolutely game-changing

I cannot overstate how much I think this is absolutely game-changing. There are literally zero downsides to this kind of implementation and tons and tons of upsides. 

The rest of the Ember RV 191MSL follows what is in place from the host 191MDB, including the fact that you can either have a dinette or a couch in the slide room. 

If you choose the couch, Ember has done another smart thing—placing some vertical storage behind the couch. As mentioned with the review of another Ember RV product, the 170MBH, there are mounts on the front of both the couches for a table. This also has the same Murphy bed system as that trailer, so you can read my details on that in the previous review. 

Another nice thing is that the base model of the Emer RV 191MSL includes 190 watts of solar on the roof and a 1,000-watt inverter that is tied to all the plugs. If you choose the optional Max Solar package, you get three of those 190-watt panels for a total of 570 watts of solar, along with two 100-amp-hour lithium batteries. You can opt-in a third and even a fourth battery. 

Ember RV

If you’re new to these reviews, then let’s introduce you to Ember RV, a company started by RV industry veterans including Ashley Bontrager Lehman, whose grandparents founded Jayco. Lehman partnered with a few others to found the company and create something different—and they certainly have. 

Ember RV’s products cater to the adventurous who might take their RVs far off the beaten path. Starting at the bottom, these single-axle offerings all feature a really advanced CURT independent coil spring suspension with dual shock absorbers. Wheels are Goodyear 16″ truck tires. 

There’s also an innovative wheel chock built right into the system that can be locked, making it more difficult to steal these trailers. 

Ember RVs have a Stargazer window above the bed

Further, all the trailers thus far have included a Stargazer window above the bed. This is so, so much better than a windshield. That’s because it’s above the bed with a built-in shade. But there’s also a screen and you can open the window for airflow. I really like this. And it’s a double-glazed Lexan window, so it’s less likely to shatter than glass. 

That window is mounted to a roof that’s made of the same laminated panels as are used in the walls. They feature Azdel substrates on the inside and out, and a fiberglass outer layer. So that means no rubber on the roof. 

All the joints between wall seams on the outside are covered in an Eternabond tape. That is the stickiest permanent thing I’ve ever messed with (I’m rebuilding a vintage trailer and using this stuff). Then a section of the aluminum exoskeleton is placed on top of that. 

Ember RVs are certified for heat and cold

Recently the company used Truma’s climate chamber to certify that Ember RVs are able to withstand use between 0° F to 100° F. So, they’re ready to camp in the cold and ready to camp in the heat. While some RVs claim to be capable of this, Ember RV has certified that theirs is through actual testing. 

The company says these are “generational” trailers. That means they’re meant to last for a very long time and, seeing how they’re made, I don’t doubt that at all. 

Another keynote build feature is the flooring. It is the same Transcore structural composite flooring as used in an Airstream but with a key difference—it’s twice as thick on an Ember.

In summary

I cannot express how much I feel this is a game-changing improvement to a relatively common floor plan. If you don’t see this change finding its way into every brand of RV in the next year, I would be shocked. I think Ember is going to have a monster hit on their hands with this. 

I didn’t prepare a chart for the Ember RV 191MSL since it’s so similar structurally to the 191MDB.

I’m curious what you think about this kind of feature. Personally, I will state that the next time I’m in the RV market, I would only consider a floor plan with this kind of flexibility. It’s literally a change that makes more sense than almost anything I’ve seen in a very long time. 

What’s your take on this game-changer?

What’s your take, and do you feel the same as I do? 

I would love to read your comments and suggestions over on our new forums, where you can weigh in and start or join a discussion about all things RV. Here’s a link to my RV Reviews Forum.

Tony comes to having worked at an RV dealership and been a lifelong RV enthusiast. He also has written the syndicated Curbside column about cars. You can find his writing here and at StressLessCamping where he also has an RV podcast with his wife, Peggy. 

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.

Got an RV we need to look at? Contact us today and let us know in the form below – thank you!


Tony Barthel
Tony Barthel
Tony Barthel has been a life-long RV enthusiast and travels part-time with his wife where they also produce a podcast, write about RVs and love the RV lifestyle.


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Roger Spalding
1 year ago

Ember won’t get anywhere near my bank account as long as it keeps pushing single axle shopping carts. Slapping a few solar panels, a lithium battery or two and a larger inverter on this glorified baby carriage doesn’t float my boat. Wintertime wanderlust in one of these cells sure looks like cabin fever to me regardless of its insulation. Nevertheless, I give Ember credit for trying something new despite its diminutive size. Maybe when it graduates to TTs or 5thWs I’ll take another look. I’ll stick to Jayco’s proven rigs until then.

1 year ago

Need to change the awning to a Carefree awning.

Steve Browning
1 year ago

Looks to me that it will be very easy to overload the unit with cargo. Would be much better with a two axle rating of about 7000lbs. That might help the “heavy” hitch weight?

1 year ago

Lots of good ideas here! I really like that desk! BUT – I need storage for things like food, clothing, tools, and camping accessories. As built, if you add propane and water to the dry weight, then your remaining cargo capacity is just over 500# for all that optional equipment plus food, clothing, tools, and toys. How much does that solar panel & Li battery package weigh? And that outside griddle you find so useful?

These things are going to be traveling down the highways overloaded. They need to have heavier frames and suspensions. Then they might be ideal units for many purposes, but for the very high price.

1 year ago

Deal killer for me is the total lack of counter space in the kitchen area. And, I cannot comprehend why they are installing small round sinks!

1 year ago
Reply to  Lynn

Totally agree with both points!

Tommy Molnar
1 year ago

And don’t you enjoy seeing the term “mandatory options”? Is this the definition of an “oxymoron”?

This trailer is actually loaded with good stuff but I still think NO trailer needs “Nitro-filled 16″ Goodyear Wrangler Off-Road Tires” because it needs no traction. It’s being pulled. It’s heavy though, so this should not be advertised as a half-ton trailer even though it’s small. If I were a single guy looking for the perfect prospecting base trailer, this just might be it – exept for the massively high price.

1 year ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

The GVWR of this trailer is the same as the 191MDB = 5,550#. That is well within the towing capacity of most 1/2-tons with a factory tow package. A new F-150 with just a conventional 5.0L V-8 has a towing capacity of up to 13,000# with the max tow package.

However, I completely agree about the “nitrogen-filled tires”. That’s strictly a sales gimmick for those who have no idea that the air they breathe is 78% nitrogen!

Bob p
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve

Remember just because it can pull the trailer doesnt mean it can handle the trailer. Truck manufacturers are good at bragging how much their truck can pull, pulling is a small part of towing. Being capable of controlling and stopping the trailer in an emergency situation is the determining factor. Don’t think those trailer brakes are meant to stop it in an emergency, they are there to assist the tow vehicle’s brakes.

Roger Eide
1 year ago

I have been wanting a floor plan like this forever. We just need a small couples camper but storage is always a problem. I love the flexibility of this rv!

Bob p
1 year ago

The person sitting at the “desk” in picture 10 looks very uncomfortable. Lo

1 year ago

The 191MSL has much more flexibility than the Ember 170MBH that you reviewed two days ago, Tony. The flex space is more comparable to some of the shorter toy haulers that you have liked because you could repurpose the open area for so many uses besides “toys”. But I would still like to see a theater/recliner seat option for the jackknife sofa location, along with better placement of the TV (over the door?).

Ember is really thinking outside the “Indiana box” in utilizing exactly the same platform/floorplan in ways that broaden their appeal at little extra design and development cost. Smart business people! Be very interesting to see what they come up with next.

John Irvine
1 year ago

Over $60k and less than 1000# carrying capacity?

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