By Tony Barthel
Have you heard of the term rabbit hole? It is the absolute definition of me on the Internet and the Outdoors RV Creek Side 21RD MS (Mountain Series) is what led me down the rabbit hole in this case. Well, it was the suggestion from Matt Day who pointed me in the direction of Outdoors RV, more specifically. Thanks, buddy!
Outdoors RV is a small manufacturer of RVs in La Grande, Oregon. It’s similar to Northwood, whose Arctic Fox 27-5L fifth wheel I wrote about recently. The company specifically targets those who want to spend a lot of time off the grid and away from it all. You can see this in how the company builds and specs their RVs.
That rabbit hole that I referred to was hours and hours of videos and informational portals about Outdoors RV and how they do things. I found video plant tours and interviews with principals at the company. Now I feel I know as much about their production and build philosophy as they do. Well, maybe that’s an exaggeration… But I was impressed watching the thought process that goes into components and methods to achieve an off-road-capable, boondocking-friendly rig.
Lots of options at Outdoors RV
If you decided you like what you see, and I can fully respect that, you are going to have to make a further decision in which “class” of trailer you choose. There are four classes: Creek Side, Timber Ridge, Black Stone and Glacier Peak, the latter of which are just fifth wheels. Whew.
The various designations indicate which features and capabilities a model has, and various floor plans are available in various classes. It’s a bit confusing. No, it’s a medium amount of confusing bordering on a lot.
Outdoors RV makes its own steel chassis in-house and part of this build includes employing the MORryde suspension system, which incorporates heavy-duty axles that are suspended with leaf springs to which are added shock absorbers. Seeing shock absorbers on a travel trailer is really, really unusual – this is the kind of stuff you usually see on high-end fifth wheels. The company also employs Goodyear Endurance ten-ply tires.
What impressed me with the factory tours that I saw online (right now there are no factory tours in person) was the care and attention the company pays to how things are done. Furthermore, there are a number of tests performed along the way that ensure that the trailers conform to the company standards.
Going outdoors in the Outdoors RV Creek Side
As mentioned, the company really promotes the use of their trailers in all climates and in places you might not normally take an everyday travel trailer. I looked at their Creek Side 21RD MS, which is the longest of the Mountain Series and does not feature a slide room – all the other models in the series do. The Mountain Series specifically mentions also being towable by many half-ton pickups and is the smallest of the company’s trailers.
The company states that, by building their own frames, not only do they get a better frame but they can also better utilize the space for holding tanks. No matter what the reason, the fact that this relatively short travel trailer has a 78-gallon fresh water capacity just makes me grin from ear to ear. I do like boondocking and camping away from services, and my present trailer’s 37-gallon tank limits how long I can spend off the grid.
That tank and the 40-gallon black and gray tanks are all enclosed in a heated underbelly that employs thermofoil and an enclosing membrane to keep the tanks toasty. There’s also a 12-volt heating pad for the fresh water tank.
Watching the aforementioned videos answered the question of why they don’t put the heating pad on all the tanks. You can dump RV-safe antifreeze in the black and gray tanks. The whole underbelly is heated when you’re in the trailer with the furnace going, but the fresh tank heating pads are there while you’re towing the trailer to wherever you’re going and don’t have the furnace running. That makes sense to me.
This trailer has an option that very specifically appeals to me. That is being able to replace the booth dinette, which is pretty sizable, with two recliners. Oh, baby!
The Creek Side tour
As you walk through the door, which is located at the rear of the trailer, there’s a dinette to your left – unless, like me, you’ve chosen the two recliners. Whatever you’re sitting on you’re surrounded by quite large dual-pane windows. The company is very proud of their surroundings in Oregon and want you to be able to see them.
The refrigerator is directly opposite the entry door. That means you could easily pop in and out to refresh your drink if you’re under the awning outside.
On the back wall of the refrigerator cabinet is the TV, which is on an articulating arm and can be seen by the recliners. But if you chose the booth, the people on the road side would have a tough time seeing this. Still, this is a 12-volt TV, so you can use it even off the grid.
The kitchen, located on the camp side, features a huge stainless steel sink. It has a two-piece cover made from the same solid surface countertop material as the rest of the counter. There’s also a swing-up countertop extension that partially blocks the entry door but adds to the prep space.
Down the line a bit is a three-burner stove with a 17” oven. There’s a standard microwave above that.
There is a large pantry closet in the Creek Side with two drawers next to the stove and a large cabinet above the sink. There are also three drawers below the sink and another cabinet. All these are made of solid wood with plywood boxes for the drawers. No pictures of wood on cheap particle board. The company is very emphatic about sourcing wood and other materials locally.
The bathroom and bedroom in the Creek Side
Across the hall on the road side is the bathroom. It features a porcelain toilet and a proper shower with a tub. There’s a good amount of counter space for an RV bathroom as well.
Back in the bedroom is a queen-size bed with hanging cabinets on either side and pass-through storage above that. There’s an optional high-performance fan above the bed with a remote. Each side has both 120vac and USB power outlets.
The Outdoors RV company is thinking ahead with options. For example, the Creek Side trailer can be outfitted with two 190-watt solar panels from the factory with provision for additional ground-level portable solar input. There is also space for four batteries on the tongue.
There’s also a 2” receiver on the back of the trailer. That means you could bring along bikes, a generator or whatnot up to 200 pounds.
There is a lot to like about this trailer. It actually comes close to fitting what my wife and I have been looking for. In particular, being able to bring 78 gallons of fresh water with us is a huge bonus. Also, being able to forego the dinette and replace it with recliners is another thing I really like.
Even if you don’t ever do anything more than camping in parks where there are few or no services, having a solid frame and good suspension riding on quality tires has no downside.
The Creek Side is not lightweight
The one thing to be careful of is that all that build quality and insulation and structure have to follow the laws of nature. This means these are not lightweight given their size. Add 78 gallons of water, which weighs in at 624 pounds.
So while it’s true many half-ton trucks could tow the weight of this trailer, you should be cognizant of the tongue weight of the trailer. But that’s true no matter what you’re towing.
I like this trailer enough that I’m going to seek one out to check it out in person. Who knows? According to my own data I could definitely pull it with my half-ton truck.
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.
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