Sunday, December 4, 2022


RV Review: The Ember RV 221MSL isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty close


We’ve looked at a number of the offerings from newcomer Ember RV in the past, and the company is clearly listening to what owners and shoppers have to say. As such, the latest Ember model is a preview of things to come in the 2023 Ember RV 221MSL. 

This is another RV that’s so new it’s not even on the company’s website yet. But we’re all looking at things to come—and they’re looking good. 

Ember RV is listening

One of the things that is absolutely apparent about the Ember RV 221MSL is that Ember is clearly listening to the feedback and comments from buyers and prospects. There are a number of very specific things I can point to that were potential pain points in the past. They’ve addressed those while also making some improvements in the design. 

This is why I can tell you there’s an absolute and clear difference between an RV company with personnel that actually go RVing and those that sit behind a desk. So, what are those changes?

Perhaps one of the biggest ones is the slide room mechanism. There were some issues with some seals on a few of the previous models, so they just totally reconfigured the entire mechanism to be more robust. They’re now using a different mechanism entirely after customer feedback. 

Those aren’t the typical kinds of changes RV companies make, especially after just one year. 

More improvements in the Ember RV 221MSL

Some of the other improvements are to the braking system on the Ember RV 221MSL. Ember RV is the only U.S. company that I know of that actually has a parking brake of sorts on their trailers. This is sort of a mechanical wedge that braces against the tire to stop the trailer once you’re parked. 

This mechanism got a new handle that offers more leverage, plus a new foot that goes against the tire. All minor things—but things that will make a difference. 

On the 191MSL, which I absolutely love, there is the same versatile bunk system as on the 221MSL. However, Ember has reconfigured the screen on the large camp-side opening and this one now is fitted on a retractable shade-type mechanism. This is much easier to implement and stow. 

But the biggest change to the Ember RV 221MSL is up on the roof. Ember is now using a Truma Aventa air conditioner which is, bar none, my favorite RV air conditioner. It’s much more efficient than any other RV air conditioner, to my knowledge. Plus, it’s very, very quiet and even features a dehumidifier function. 

Depending on conditions, you can use the dehumidifier function in lieu of the air conditioner and consume far less energy. But, since this is actually a modern, efficient air conditioner, you can also run that and consume less energy, as well. 

This absolutely comes into play if you’re boondocking and want to use the battery system to operate the air conditioner. It’s just a superior system. I literally got asked to leave a workshop with another AC manufacturer when I asked if they were working on anything as good as the Truma unit. 

It’s not my fault that that manufacturer makes antiquated systems. 

Improved stabilizer jacks

Lastly, we were teased with Lippert Quick Drop® stabilizer jacks when Ember was first showing their prototypes. However, they weren’t ready for prime time last year. Now you can get your Ember with these. 

They are a big improvement over the flimsy scissor jacks in most travel trailers. Further, they are certified to be able to work with a power drill/driver, whereas just about every other manual stabilizer jack specifically asks you not to use a power drill. I know we all still do, anyway. 

Some of the other things that the company has worked on is shoring up the supply chain issues with the dual-pane European-style windows. They are now in sufficient supply, although you can get the glass frameless windows, if you prefer. 

Great features on the Ember RV 221MSL

What make the Ember RV 221MSL such a terrific unit are some of the built-in features. 

This is a Murphy bed model but, fear not. It’s a fully 60” X 80” residential queen-sized bed. Further, you can just leave the bed down all the time, if that’s your thing, as the slide clears it by a few inches. So, if you’d rather not have a Murphy bed but like all the other features of this trailer, no worries. 

Also, that window above the bed just makes me happy. It can open for air flow, and there are both a screen and a shade that are built into the frame so you can adjust as desired. 

You’ll still have the sofa in the slide room. It has a table that mounts on the front. This can also fold down into a bed, and there are spiffy vertical cabinets behind it. 

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 there’s a section of the aluminum exoskeleton on top of that. 

Recently, the company used Truma’s climate chamber to certify that Ember RVs are able to withstand use between 0° F – 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 has certified through actual testing that theirs can. 

Cargo flexibility

Often I have written about how you can use a bunk model for more than just a bunk house, citing hobbies and using the space where the bunks are as something other than just sleeping space. 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, and usually not in an upwardly direction. 

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

What Ember has done is, effectively, taken the entire bunk room and outdoor kitchen out altogether. Then they installed six E-Track rails vertically, which gives 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. Then there are two bunk pads so you still could have all the functionality of a bunk house, if that’s what you need.

More bunk area functionality

But then you could take those platforms out or simply place them up at the highest position—and 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.

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

Boondocking and travel access in the Ember RV 221MSL

Everything in this rig is accessible with the slide room in. In fact, you can even leave the Murphy bed deployed for sleeping with the slide in—which gives you options. You could just leave it down permanently, and even swap the factory mattress for one of your choice. 

Last year’s solar was good—this year’s is better. The standard system incorporates a 200-watt solar panel along with a 1,000-watt inverter that operates all the outlets. 

You can get even more solar and storage with an available 600-watt system that incorporates a 3,000-watt inverter and at least 270 amp-hours of lithium battery. This is the system that will run that Truma air conditioner off the grid. 


When I got to visit the Ember plant earlier this year, it was clear how enthusiastic the team was. Further, they all had their own Ember trailers and used them, sharing stories of how they went RVing. That’s truly unusual in this industry, where there is even an RV manufacturer who prohibits their team from having evaluation models.

I can usually find things I don’t like about an RV and, often, those are pretty obvious. There’s really nothing I don’t like about this model. I am not saying it’s perfect, but I am saying they really are offering something that’s quite special. 

More from Tony

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.

If you’re RV shopping here are some tips on RV shopping from a former RV salesperson—me!

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. He also works closely with a number of RV manufacturers to get an inside look at how things are done and is a brand ambassador for Rockwood Mini Lite with his wife, Peggy.

You can also check out his RV podcast with Peggy. 

These RV reviews are written based on information provided by the manufacturers along with our writer’s own research. They are based on information from a single unit and may not reflect your actual experience. Shop your RV and dealership carefully before making a buying decision. 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!


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1 month ago

The skylight would be a deal breaker for me. Even if it never leaks, which it will, the condensation dripping on your forehead on a frosty morning will give your day a brisk start. Good news is you can save water boondocking by not taking any showers as the dripping skylight should be enough to stay reasonably clean!

Camped next to a couple with an Ember back in July. They travel around every weekend running various marathons, so utilize their rig a LOT. They mentioned having lots of slideout issues, as well as numerous other problems. Gave me a different impression of Ember. Hopefully the slide issues are now worked out.

And finally….CONGRATULATIONS for being asked the leave an AC mfg workshop! Wear that badge with honor! 🙂

Last edited 1 month ago by Spike
Roger Spalding
1 month ago

Is the msrp perfect also? The two burner cook top looks ridiculous, unless the camper is solo I imagine. There isn’t an oven of any shape or size; Mr. or Ms. Solo won’t be able to bake a good sized frozen pizza. I didn’t hear anything about a convection microwave which also will need to be large enough to handle said pizza. I didn’t see a control panel of any kind in the photos or in Uncle Josh’s video. Since the Ember has a very high tech solar system with a big time inverter, I would guess that the control panel would be an MB Pro, InCommand or Firefly type multiplex. However, I have the sneaking feeling that a Chairman Mao or Josef Stalin approved pushbutton panel will be included.

Shelly gordon
2 months ago

When will we get a heat pump option?

Bob p
2 months ago

You have piqued my curiosity!

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