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RV Review: Heartland Sundance 221RB travel trailer

Today’s RV review is of the 2022 Heartland Sundance 221RB. This is a definite couple’s camper but, more than that, it is also something you might consider towing with a half-ton truck. Since I beat the subject of half-ton towing to death in yesterday’s RV review, let’s move on. 

Two trailers – one trailer

First of all, every time I write the word Sundance, my confuser tries to correct it to Sunday. What the heck? So, what would Butch Cassidy think about this autocorrect nonsense? 

What you have here is an interesting take on this floor plan, and one that can be slightly different depending on where you buy it. 

Some RV companies that have found a strong market for certain models have established two manufacturing operations for those models. It’s actually pretty common to have popular models built both in Indiana and somewhere on the West Coast. This also makes sense with shipping costs and challenges dramatically affecting RV deliveries in places like California, where tons and tons of RVs are sold. 

In fact, there are some RVs where just the cost of shipping from Indiana alone can add several thousand dollars to the price tag. This is also why Lance is now planning to build trailers in Indiana—the cost of shipping from California is just as high. 

The point here is, if you buy this trailer built in Indiana you get a 12-volt fridge. West Coast models get a propane-electric fridge, owing to the fact that West Coast campers tell RV manufacturers that they do more boondocking. Incidentally, where the trailer is built is also dependent on where you buy it. You’re not likely buying a West Coast build in Florida. 

Highlights of the Sundance 221RB

There are a lot of things I liked about this floor plan, including the plentiful kitchen counter space and cabinets and drawers. 

Another thing I thought was a plus was the stainless steel sink, which is not an under-mounted model. My reason for this: Consider that an RV is a moving vehicle bouncing around on the roads that often bother me and break things like shelves and such. 

That sink glue is supposed to hold the sink to the bottom of whatever counter top they use in an RV as it experiences those bumps in the road. I’ve seen sinks literally fall out of cabinets. So while you might like your under-mount sink at home, I like this better for an RV. 

There’s also a lot of counter space here so you actually can use it to prep a meal. Of course, they use the typical 16” oven—which is a bummer. 

Also, the cabinets overhead do not have a counterbalance or support strut. So you’re going to have to use your head to keep the door open while you get whatever’s in there. I know a simple solution for this. Put the hinges at the side instead of at the top. You’re welcome, Heartland. 

Single choice on seating in the Sundance 221RB

I’m not sure if I’m as convinced about the seating in here, but I know it’ll work for some campers. You get a single choice on seating—a “U”-shaped dinette. Further, the table is held in place with two poles in a traditional RV fashion. 

Of course, the plus in this arrangement is that it can become a bed, unless you don’t like that. The minus is that the table is where the table is. I would much prefer it being a freestanding table. Here’s a thought, RV industry. 

What if we could get a freestanding table that also adjusted up to be counter height? Then you would dramatically increase kitchen prep space, make the dinette accommodate more sizes of campers by having a movable table, and also be able to take that table and use it outside if you wished? 

Think this is crazy? Consider that Lifetime makes plastic tables that do just this. Which is what I put into my own camper. 

No carpet in dinette, no ducts in floor

While in the dinette, you might look down and notice the lack of carpet in this model. The flooring in the slide room is a marine-grade material, instead, that’s easy to clean. I know why some RV companies use carpet here. But it’s silly, considering this is where campers will be eating. 

Another good thing while we’re looking at the floor is noticing that there are no ducts in the floor. They’re in the cabinet, instead. No smell of dog hair the first time you turn on the heater in the fall. 

Fit for a queen

The bed in this trailer is a proper queen-size mattress. There are, as you might expect, tall hanging closets on either side. There are also cabinets across the top, pretty typical. But they have them hinged at the side. See, Heartland, you’re already doing it here, so you might let your kitchen cabinet folks see the bedroom cabinets. 

Interestingly, while some RV companies put USB outlets by the bed along with 120-volt power outlets, Heartland puts the USB outlets in the overhead lights. I’m not as fond of this arrangement, as you have to then figure out where to put the phone you shouldn’t be looking at in the first place. 

Some companies have cubbies behind the cabinets to keep things—this one does not. But it does have an interesting underbed storage system where you can get to it without having to lift the bed. 

Boondocking and travel access in the Sundance 221RB

For the most part, this might be a situation where you can get to what you need for travel access. Even with the slide room in there are no issues getting to the bathroom or the entire kitchen and even the dinette. 

You won’t be able to get to the bed, but that’s not as big a deal, to me, as blocking the bathroom and fridge.

While Thor’s Keystone division is all over the solar world, the Heartland division hasn’t quite stepped up to the plate on this. That’s okay, though. Not all campers care about solar. Those that don’t won’t have to pay for it.

In summary

There are a few more things about the Sundance 221RB that I like, including the use of Azdel composite in the exterior of the side wall lamination. Azdel is a water-resistant man-made material that is a substitute for the Luan that has traditionally been used. 

But there are also things that make me wonder if folks at Heartland have tried their products out in the real world. For example, those USB connectors on the reading lights above the bed would mean cables dangling down while the device charged. There’s also a plastic toilet and, for anyone who has upgraded their plastic toilet, the small price difference is worth it. Well worth it. 

While there are really good things about this model like the storage and rear cabinet, there are also things that seem chosen by accountants rather than campers, like the small oven and cheap vent fan over the bed. 

I can see the Sundance 221RB being a popular unit in the showroom as it does show beautifully. But then, soon after the first couple of camping trips, you’re going to be making changes to get things done better. While this is by no means unusual in the RV world, it is frustrating. 

A little time spent by decision-makers at these RV companies would get things off some checklist somewhere. Things could be done just a little differently, potentially at a small cost savings and certainly not at a big cost difference. 

So, I will remain in favor of the Keystone Cougar 22MLS with this similar floor plan. There are just a lot of things that they seem to have done a better job with. 

*****

More from Tony

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Tony comes to RVtravel.com 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 hereat StressLessCamping and in several other places.

You can also check out his 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. 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.

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Anita Lewis
1 month ago

I wouldn’t buy Heartland anything. We bought a Heartland at Lazy Days, and while we were on a planned 6 month excursion to national parks around America, the shower began to leak. Water ran through shower wall and into walls of camper even into kitchen and out onto sofa floor. After every shower, insulation would pour through walls that looked like wet dryer lint, We immediately mopped up after each shower. When we finally got back to a lazy days dealer where it was still under warranty, they claimed they fixed it by caulking around shower head, but it took 3 months because “they were backlogged”. When we picked it up, the fridge was full of black mold. They refused to take the walls down where water poured from. If you must buy a Heartland, don’t dare get it from Lazy Days. They showed us so many Heartlands, that they confused us on which we were getting. We picked one and when we came for pick up, they had switched it to completely scaled down version!!!! Crooked!

Last edited 1 month ago by Anita Lewis
Bob M
1 month ago

When I see how the price of RV’s has jumped so high in two years. It makes me not want to buy another travel trailer. They should be installing the large ovens and fans, especially for what they are charging.

RallyAce
1 month ago

When will the designers realize you need room to store clothing other than hanging items. I, for one, do not wear the same underwear for days on end.

Don
1 month ago

Hmmm… Another case where the photos and floor plan don’t match, Tony. Is the fridge in the slide, or isn’t it? I wonder which is wrong?

John Irvine
1 month ago

It has two 3500# axles but a GVWR of 7380. How does this work, anyone know?

Don
1 month ago
Reply to  John Irvine

Sure – it’s probably got 10% of it’s weight on the hitch.

John Irvine
1 month ago
Reply to  Don

OK so take 700# off when fully loaded and you have maybe 400 to spare, if everything is balanced. I’m surprised many of these have such small fresh tanks, 44 here, my smaller 20fq Outdoors RV has 70. Any boondocking out West and you’ll want lots of fresh.

Jewel
1 month ago

Those uncomfortable dinettes should be er be used as the only seating. Of course, when camping, you spend (assumably) more time outside in your lounger or camp chair. Still, on bad weather days, you want something to sit on comfortably, not just lay on the bed.

We all know why plastic toilets are used in these – weight (and cost). But at $50,000, at least include a real toilet.

Who decides this stuff? People who don’t actually own an RV? Maybe it should be a prerequisite to building or selling them….go camping in a few before you do anything related to design or sales.

david
1 month ago
Reply to  Jewel

Bingo!

Tommy Molnar
1 month ago

Another great couples camper, but with not one, but two cheesy fans. I like the queen bed with room for stuff next to the head on each side. And you can MAKE the bed too, without too much ado. Nice kitchen with room to prepare lavish meals. However, I prefer dual sinks in the kitchen. I’m the ‘dishwasher’. Not much room for wifey to spread out her stuff in the bathroom to put on her face in the morning though. Me? I don’t need no stinking room . . . 🙂 Again, no outside pics of this unit. I did a search and found one picture that showed what I was looking for. Namely, how the sewer hookup is situated. It looks a bit precarious back near the rear of the trailer where it could be whacked going into a steep shopping center parking lot, or a nasty boondocking road. Just sayin’.

Admin
RV Staff(@rvstaff)
1 month ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

Hi, Tommy. I went into their website and finally found a couple of exterior photos, but no indication of which model Heartland Sundance they are. But I guess these are better than nothing. Take care. 😀 –Diane

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