Less than a month ago we took a look at the new Ember brand of RVs, a company with a long pedigree in the RV space but also a surprisingly fresh outlook. So, why am I looking at essentially the same trailer today? I’ve now seen the production models, including the Ember RV Overland 191MDB.
How do they live up to the promise the company made? Well, read on!
I mentioned that the company had quite the pedigree having been founded by Ashley Bonrager Lehman, whose grandparents founded Jayco. In addition to Lehman, who serves as the company president and CEO, the founding partnership includes Vice President and COO Chris Barth as well as Operations Directors Ernie Miller and Steve Delagrange.
What impresses me the most is that, despite the fact that the decision-makers have a lot of experience in the RV space, this rig clearly shows a radical departure from anything virtually any mainstream RV manufacturer is putting out.
Outside the Ember RV Overland 191MDB
Starting at the exterior of the build, the trailer has a powder coated aluminum frame around the outside of the body including a brush guard up on the roof with the company name laser etched into it. This also serves to bond the walls. The company is using Eternabond to adhere things together.
If you’ve ever worked with Eternabond, suffice it to say it’s got the kind of stick that could be a generational hold. I’ve used it in vintage trailer restorations and it’s a strong product.
The walls and ceiling are all laminated with outer fiberglass layers. But then there are Azdel substrate and welded aluminum and insulation cores. I can’t speak to how the company will do things on a long-term basis. But the production version that I was able to see had some of the highest quality welds I’ve seen on an RV skeleton.
Interestingly, the roof is made of the same material so there is no rubber membrane up there. That alone is a reason to send a thank you card to Lehman with maybe a gift card to her favorite coffee place.
To keep water from puddling, the roof is just slightly canted toward the rear of the trailer.
The whole trailer has a high-quality feel
Underneath it all is a fully boxed and welded tubular steel frame. I mentioned the suspension last time and that hasn’t changed in the production model. But this whole trailer has the kind of high-quality feel that very few travel trailers do.
Another thing I found out is that the flooring in this is a woodless composite. It is the same flooring material as in modern Airstream trailers. According to the flooring manufacturer, the screw retention in this product is superior to wood.
Interestingly, another difference is the fact that the baggage doors on this model swing down but have tethers that are attached to those doors via carabiners. You can unlatch them and have the door drop all the way down, or use the door itself as a table.
This is the first time I’ve been really excited about cargo doors. It reflects the little details all over this rig that are really smart ideas. Nothing extraordinarily earth shattering, but a collection of really good ideas that will make a difference.
Not a whole lot has changed between this production sample and the preproduction model I saw before. However, it’s clear that they’ve got things dialed in just for how tidy and straight all the pieces seemed.
I may have mentioned that the front bed in this model is a Murphy-style, and the platform lays down over the folding couch. In speaking with Josh Winters, he mentioned that it might be possible to just leave that bed down all the time if you don’t need the couch – so you could put whatever mattress suited you.
That’s not really a bad idea, and I still think the best way to arrange for sheets and such is with an RV Superbag. I love those things.
Windows in the Ember RV Overland 191MDB
I am still enamored with the dual-pane Lexan windows which I’ve seen elsewhere. But you don’t usually see one at an angle above the bed like you do here. And, as with all the windows, this one flips up and incorporates both a shade and a screen.
I believe last time I looked at these trailers I remarked how ridiculous I thought windshields were in travel trailers, particularly those with Murphy beds. But this skylight window is fantastic in both implementation and function.
There are more little details in here that have come out, including the fact that you can lock the bathroom door. This seems like it should be in every RV, but it’s not.
What’s not to like about the Ember Rv Overland 191MDB
So are these things perfect? Of course not – nothing is. Plus, what floats my boat might not float yours. But I like seeing the attention to detail.
One thing I thought was odd was the placement of the TV on the camp side wall above the bed. This won’t work for the couch that’s under there at all. I know there will be more than a few folks who “encounter” that TV unexpectedly in the night.
Also, this is a smaller trailer by design, but cooking is done courtesy of a two-burner cook top inside or a microwave. There’s no oven.
However, you can get a flat-top griddle outside, and there’s a small bar-sized fridge. I use my flat-top more than the stove inside my trailer, as it is.
Just a thought
I had a crazy idea – and it seems I’m not the only one.
This is a bunk model where the lower bunk flips up and makes enough space for a bike or a kayak or something. But what if the upper bunk were on a lift mechanism or just were able to be taken out altogether? Then you can eliminate the outdoor kitchen and put a desk space back here.
Then, when this is in transit mode, the desk could flip up and you could use it for two bikes. Furthermore, you could put a TV on a swivel arm on the camp-side wall. Then, when you’re using it as a desk, that TV could become the monitor for whatever confuser you bring along.
I will state for the record that if Ember RV were to make this model, I would likely be the first guy in line to buy it.
Oh, and I’d have to write a lot of reviews to be able to do so, as the MSRP on this trailer is $63,679. Some of you might be quite surprised by that price. But for the build materials and build quality of this trailer, I don’t think it’s out of line at all.
Now, if Ember RV could get their hands on those fancy Truma Aventa air conditioners that I wrote about as being in the Winnebago Micro Minnie FLX, that would just make this even better. Those things are reportedly super-efficient and quiet. You could get your Ember RV Overland with the optional three solar panel package and be able to run that sucker on battery power alone.
This product is going to shake up the industry
Sure, these aren’t perfect. But there is so much to like about this new Ember RV product that I truly think it’s going to shake up the industry. Already you see Lance countering with their new Enduro, and I am pretty sure they won’t be the last to do so.
My thanks to Josh Winters of Haylett RV in Coldwater, Michigan, for use of these photos.
Tony comes to RVTravel having worked at an RV dealership and been a life long 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 a podcast about the RV life with his wife.
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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