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View Full Version : Compare Outback Ultra-Lite 221UMD vs Cougar 22MLS


RLundin
09-21-2021, 05:59 AM
Can someone who has seen these two travel trailers compare them in terms of build, quality, components, furniture/appliances, etc. Have not been able to physically get inside either one of them.

Both are ~27ft, 11ft height, open floor plan, dinette and Theater seats across from each other, rear corner baths with wrap around side/rear kitchens.

If you don't know these specific models, what is the difference between Cougar and Outback Ultra-Lite travel trailers?

One thing I can't tell is why the Cougar weighs more (5750 vs 4971)

JRTJH
09-21-2021, 06:31 AM
The biggest "significant difference" is that the Cougar is built on a conventional, welded I-beam frame and the Outback is built on a BAL "riveted Huck frame"...

Other differences are less significant, but may sway your decision, based on what you're looking for and how you'll use your trailer. Some of them are:

Outback has standard 12 VDC refrigerator with gas/electric as an option
Cougar has gas/electric standard wtih 12 VDC as an option.

Outback has a dinette with no optional table/chair arrangement
Cougar has dinette with optional table/chairs available.

Outback has a shower curtain
Cougar has a glass shower enclosure

Outback has a 17" Furrion stove/oven
Cougar has a 21" Furrion stove/oven

Outback has a 60x74 "RV queen" bed
Cougar has a 70x80 "RV king" bed

Outback does not have In-Command (verify this before you decide)
Cougar has In-Command standard.

Outback has tandem 3500 pound axles with 10" brakes
Cougar has tandem 4400 pound axles with 12" brakes (verify this before you decide)

Outback TV is mounted on the wall just forward of the entry door with pantry mounted in the slide (makes for shorter countertop space).
Cougar TV is mounted above the dinette in the cupboard with a pantry forward of that space.

There are other differences, many just cosmetic, that separate the two models.

Look carefully as they are not "the same trailer with a different brand name on them"... The most significant difference, IMO, is the frame type and the axles/brakes. That is what accounts for most of the difference in weight between the two trailers. Which is "better" ?? Welded, I beam frames have been used in the trailer industry for 60+ years. Huck/riveted frames for about 4 or 5 years.

sourdough
09-21-2021, 06:43 AM
The Outback Ultra Lite is classified as a mid level "premium" line of trailers and the Cougar 1/2 ton is in the top or "luxury" line of trailers.

I have not been in both of those but the Cougar (I've been in them) will be "nicer" inside compared to the Outback plus all the other things John listed. If the floorplan fits I would just get the Cougar - look closely at the videos of the 2 units to see some other differences. JMO/YMMV

RLundin
09-21-2021, 06:50 AM
Thanks for the detailed comparison. You can't tell most of these things by the brochures and looking online.

I hate it when they "hide" the actual bed size. I can't have a bed that is only 74in long. I was thinking that it was 60 by 80in.

I will need to look into the trailer frame. I'm sure this is where the weight difference comes from.

JRTJH
09-21-2021, 06:57 AM
Thanks for the detailed comparison. You can't tell most of these things by the brochures and looking online.

I hate it when they "hide" the actual bed size. I can't have a bed that is only 74in long. I was thinking that it was 60 by 80in.

I will need to look into the trailer frame. I'm sure this is where the weight difference comes from.

You need to spend some "quality time" on the Keystone website. EVERYTHING that I listed I got from just reading their website description of the two trailer models you asked about.

The bedsize is clearly listed in both floorplan diagrams and/or clearly annotated in the "bedroom features" description. Nobody is "trying to hide anything", you just need to spend some time analyzing what's clearly presented on the website.

https://www.keystonerv.com/product/outback-ultra-lite/luxury-travel-trailers/floorplans/221UMD

https://www.keystonerv.com/product/cougar-half-ton/luxury-travel-trailers/floorplans/22MLS

RLundin
09-21-2021, 07:07 AM
Thanks. I was just looking at the nice Outback brochure instead of the detailed list online.

travelin texans
09-21-2021, 07:08 AM
You'll need to understand that the manufacturer can/does make design & option changes without notice.
Also most all of the weights listed in the brochures will be on the extreme lightweight side as per real world weights.

JRTJH
09-21-2021, 07:19 AM
You can bet your last dollar (and any good RV salesman knows how to stack the bets) that if you don't know what you're comparing, the salesman will take advantage of your lack of knowledge to maximize his profits. He'll "stack the deck" to his advantage (and your disadvantage) so you're paying the maximum that your finance company will loan you on the cheapest trailer he has on his lot. That's typically the one that nobody else will buy, if they have any knowledge of RV's....

DO YOUR HOMEWORK before you ever step foot in a salesman's office with that "eager look on your face and eyes filled with lust to buy a new trailer".....

They'll all (every one of them) take advantage of your lack of preparation.....

I got out of RVing for a few years and when I decided to buy another one, I bought it from a neighbor/close friend who worked at a trailer dealership. He sold me a 37' Holiday Rambler, knowing that I had a F150, 302/5L automatic 2WD long bed truck. We weren't close friends after I towed the trailer home and had to visit the Ford dealership for a new truck. I couldn't get it out of second gear or above 45MPH on the way home......

DON'T TRUST ANY SALESMAN, even one that you think is a "close friend"....

travelin texans
09-21-2021, 07:34 AM
You can bet your last dollar (and any good RV salesman knows how to stack the bets) that if you don't know what you're comparing, the salesman will take advantage of your lack of knowledge to maximize his profits. He'll "stack the deck" to his advantage (and your disadvantage) so you're paying the maximum that your finance company will loan you on the cheapest trailer he has on his lot. That's typically the one that nobody else will buy, if they have any knowledge of RV's....

DO YOUR HOMEWORK before you ever step foot in a salesman's office with that "eager look on your face and eyes filled with lust to buy a new trailer".....

They'll all (every one of them) take advantage of your lack of preparation.....

I got out of RVing for a few years and when I decided to buy another one, I bought it from a neighbor/close friend who worked at a trailer dealership. He sold me a 37' Holiday Rambler, knowing that I had a F150, 302/5L automatic 2WD long bed truck. We weren't close friends after I towed the trailer home and had to visit the Ford dealership for a new truck. I couldn't get it out of second gear or above 45MPH on the way home......

DON'T TRUST ANY SALESMAN, even one that you think is a "close friend"....

John has just described the experience that most likely 75%+ of the latest rv newcomers have experienced in the past year & half.
His advice to do your own homework will be very beneficial in the end! You may not like what you discover though!

JRTJH
09-21-2021, 07:42 AM
John has just described the experience that most likely 75%+ of the latest rv newcomers have experienced in the past year & half.
His advice to do your own homework will be very beneficial in the end! You may not like what you discover though!

Probably won't like what you discover... Right now the RV industry is "upside down" in price/quality... You're very likely to get CRAP for a premium price rather than a premium trailer for a good price....

The industry can't make them fast enough to meet demand, they're cutting corners to push them out the door and paying overtime to 'too tired workers" who can't keep up.... Doing even novice management evaluations, that's a recipe for disaster in any industry... This one is no different.

If you're "hell bent to buy a new trailer" try to find one that was made last year and is a "left-over".. There are a few, but not many. if you can't do that, I'd suggest waiting until next year. This camping season is almost over, you probably won't be using it very much before winter storage, so save the money that you'd be using to make payments and storage rental for a bigger down payment "in the spring".... That is, if the industry has their "stuff together by then".....

We were planning to buy a new fifth wheel this year. AIN'T NO WAY IN HELL THAT'S HAPPENING !!!!!

travelin texans
09-21-2021, 10:31 AM
I'm guessing in a few short months there's going to be a flood of used 1-2 model year old RVs on the market that someone else has absorbed the depreciation & hopefully had most of the issues taken care of under warranty, you may want to wait.

boatguy
09-26-2021, 05:37 AM
Also give a look at the Keystone Passport 229RK . We looked at all 3 of these (Passport 229RK, Outback 221UMD and Cougar 22MLS) , and found the 229RK had all the best details in this very similar layout between all 3 . The Passport 229RK has actual bedroom doors instead of a curtain, which is nice .
Being a Passport , it is in the "comfort" line up (and least expensive), so it wont have the really high end features of the Cougar or possibly the Outback , but it is still laminated side walls, Aluminum framed, Hyperdeck , power jack and stabilizers , walkable roof, huge storage bay , etc . Has all the right stuff without the "fluff" . It does have a Queen bed instead of a king though , but it is a 60" x 80" .
After looking at all 3 , we chose the Passport , and are very happy with it . We searched for a long time for the perfect layout for our traveling style , and it is a perfect match for us . Very easy to overnight in on the road with the slide closed . 100% of the trailer is useable with the slide closed .
We have just about gotten it suited for our needs after about 4 months of ownership , and so far about 2500 miles . Installed 350w of Renogy Solar on the roof, with a Victron MPPT controller, 6v x2 235ah batts , and was very easy due to the OTG prep. May install a 200w Inverter next since its pre wired for it, .......but will see , but we dont really need it. Also replaced the tires as soon as we got it with Goodyear Endurance tires since we travel with it a lot.

Might be worth a look if you are looking at the other 2 Keystones .

Good luck with your search !

pdaniel
10-03-2021, 08:18 AM
You can bet your last dollar (and any good RV salesman knows how to stack the bets) that if you don't know what you're comparing, the salesman will take advantage of your lack of knowledge to maximize his profits. He'll "stack the deck" to his advantage (and your disadvantage) so you're paying the maximum that your finance company will loan you on the cheapest trailer he has on his lot. That's typically the one that nobody else will buy, if they have any knowledge of RV's....

DO YOUR HOMEWORK before you ever step foot in a salesman's office with that "eager look on your face and eyes filled with lust to buy a new trailer".....

They'll all (every one of them) take advantage of your lack of preparation.....

I got out of RVing for a few years and when I decided to buy another one, I bought it from a neighbor/close friend who worked at a trailer dealership. He sold me a 37' Holiday Rambler, knowing that I had a F150, 302/5L automatic 2WD long bed truck. We weren't close friends after I towed the trailer home and had to visit the Ford dealership for a new truck. I couldn't get it out of second gear or above 45MPH on the way home......

DON'T TRUST ANY SALESMAN, even one that you think is a "close friend"....
Yup. I have heard many sales pitches from RV sales critters. Yes, that F250/2500 (name the manufacturer) or mid-size SUV will adequately handle the RV (tongue or fifthwheel).
Not a problem they promise then when the buyer realizes they have been played the sales critter develops amnesia.

Do homework. Lots of homework

JRTJH
10-03-2021, 09:04 AM
Also give a look at the Keystone Passport 229RK . We looked at all 3 of these (Passport 229RK, Outback 221UMD and Cougar 22MLS) , and found the 229RK had all the best details in this very similar layout between all 3 . The Passport 229RK has actual bedroom doors instead of a curtain, which is nice .
Being a Passport , it is in the "comfort" line up (and least expensive), so it wont have the really high end features of the Cougar or possibly the Outback , but it is still laminated side walls, Aluminum framed, Hyperdeck , power jack and stabilizers , walkable roof, huge storage bay , etc . Has all the right stuff without the "fluff" . It does have a Queen bed instead of a king though , but it is a 60" x 80" .
After looking at all 3 , we chose the Passport , and are very happy with it . We searched for a long time for the perfect layout for our traveling style , and it is a perfect match for us . Very easy to overnight in on the road with the slide closed . 100% of the trailer is useable with the slide closed .
We have just about gotten it suited for our needs after about 4 months of ownership , and so far about 2500 miles . Installed 350w of Renogy Solar on the roof, with a Victron MPPT controller, 6v x2 235ah batts , and was very easy due to the OTG prep. May install a 200w Inverter next since its pre wired for it, .......but will see , but we dont really need it. Also replaced the tires as soon as we got it with Goodyear Endurance tires since we travel with it a lot.

Might be worth a look if you are looking at the other 2 Keystones .

Good luck with your search !


This may be "ancient history" by now. The above comments were posted on 9-26. That makes them "old news" in today's "immediate world"...

That said, pay particular attention to the running gear on Passports. Many of them use 14" tires that are difficult to upgrade to more reserve capacity. Those 14" wheels use 10" brakes and many (maybe even most) Passports use "monoleaf springs" and "wide spaced axles". While those components aren't, in themselves a problem", it does become an issue when you break a monoleaf spring and can't find a replacement. It does become a problem when you can't upgrade your tires after that series of blowouts and there are no "heavy duty tires with increased load capacity" that will fit on 14" wheels. That means an upgrade of wheels before you can upgrade tires...(that is, if the larger wheel/tire combination will even fit in the wheelwell)... Then, there's those 10" brakes. Yes, they'll stop the trailer (in ideal test conditions) and meet the safety performance requirements to be installed on that weight trailer.... But, tow it in the mountains and the first downhill run behind your "barely large enough half ton or SUV" and you'll understand why 12" brakes are always found on larger or heavier trailers...

Part of getting the "Ultra-Lite" or "Feather-Lite" designation is cutting the total weight of a trailer. That means, not only lighter furniture and thinner mattresses, it also means thinner aluminum studs, styrofoam floors and walls, smaller tires, smaller brakes, smaller axles and fewer leaves in the springs to go along with those 20 pound propane bottles and only enough room for one battery in the tongue as well as deleting the rear bumper and reducing the number of "heavy windows" as well as a smaller awning, and no doors on the bedroom entry as well as a cheap vinyl shower curtain to replace the glass enclosure and a plastic toilet that you can't scrub to replace the porcelain toilet bowl.....

Look carefully at what you're buying, next year, after you use it for a few trips, you'll be thankful that you didn't buy the cheapest model that gives you the extra 500 pounds of leeway before you reach your tow vehicle's maximum towing capacity.....

Do your own homework, don't rely on a salesman to verify anything other than that the trailer is on the lot for you to inspect. And even then, make note of the model number decal pasted next to the entry door..... If his lips are moving.......:(

boatguy
10-04-2021, 05:22 AM
The Cougar 22MLS is the superior unit , there is no question . Also has a superior price tag as well ......you get what you pay for comes to mind here.
Also has LESS carrying capacity than the other two . No bedroom door (has a curtain) . Has most windows out of the 3 (due to the front "windshield") .

The Outback 221 UMD , and Passport 229RK and remarkably similar in most respects . Same frame, running gear, brakes , tire size , etc.
(Yes they are leaf springs NOT Mono springs )

Outback has molded fiberglass front cap , Passport does not .
Outback has 5 windows vs Passports 8 .
Outback has a short queen vs Passports 80" queen
Outback has a curtain for the bedroom vs Passports sliding doors .
Outback had 60 gallon water tank vs Passport 43
Passport has the most carrying capacity .
Passport has a smaller fridge
Passport has a better TV viewing location .
Plus some other differences as well . (but they are both fairly similiar ) .

We just came out of an Outback 260FL , and really wanted to like the Outback 221UMD better than the Passport229RK .......we just didn't . The Outback 221 UMD "felt" cheaper , like a scaled down version of the Passport 229RK . Just our opinion .
We do not have a shower "curtain" , not a glass door but the Nautilus retractable .
We have 2 batteries , and a 19' power awning. We prefer 20lb propane bottles .
Not sure of Keystones decision to NOT put a bumper on the Passport SL line ??? Really an odd decision . Prob weight savings, and to get the units slightly shorter on paper?

For us, the Passport 229rk had a far superior interior .Most everything else between the two was the same .

Actually, we REALLY gave some thought to the Cougar 22MLS, but we had no dealer close that had any in stock to sell . Closest was about halfway across the country . Plus it was heavier, with less carrying capacity .
The only thing (so far) , I do not love about the Passport is the lack of a molded fiberglass front cap . Wish it had one. Plus an extra 20 gallons of fresh would come in handy ......maybe.

The cougar is in a different category as JRTJH has said. Same "style" interior as the other two, but superior running gear, heavier welded frame , appointments , quality (prob) .

The comparison should be between the Passport 229RK, and Outback 221UMD.
Out of these two we preferred the Passport (even though we really wanted another outback ).

Just my 2c .

machz
10-04-2021, 09:33 AM
I looked at both the Passport 229rk and the 22MLS but in the end it was the 22MLS for me. Both were great but king bed, 12V fridge and fiberglass were big factors for us. Our 22 MLS has curtains instead of the door and to be honest it makes it feel bigger to me and we would never use the door anyway. Also the roof being bowed make the RV feel much larger. There isn't a ton of storage on either so I wasn't worried about the CC.


Both were great units so you just have to decide what is most important to you.

boatguy
10-04-2021, 11:41 AM
I looked at both the Passport 229rk and the 22MLS but in the end it was the 22MLS for me. Both were great but king bed, 12V fridge and fiberglass were big factors for us. Our 22 MLS has curtains instead of the door and to be honest it makes it feel bigger to me and we would never use the door anyway. Also the roof being bowed make the RV feel much larger. There isn't a ton of storage on either so I wasn't worried about the CC.


Both were great units so you just have to decide what is most important to you.

Nice choice going with the 22MLS . That was my preferred choice , but couldn't find one to purchase close enough . Also was a little more concerned about the extra weight , and if my 2500 8.1 Suburban would be as comfortable towing it like the lighter 229RK . Also, (and I would have bit the bullet , if I could have found one) the 22mls was approx 8k more $$$ from the quotes I was getting.than the 229RK . You get what you pay for , and I am sure it was worth the extra $$$.
Haylett RV in Michigan had one coming in (2 month wait), and I could have claimed it with a non-refundable 15% deposit ........no thank you . Refundable , if I didnt like it or it came with the wrong colors/option and I may have went with it .

The Outback 221UMD was the lowest on our list out of the 3 (other than the molded fiberglass front cap) , the Passport 229RK had everything else going for it.

Anyway , we are more than happy with the Passport .

Oh ......the bedroom doors vs a curtain that the wife "had to have" .........have not been closed 1 time since we owned it :facepalm: :whistling::lol:.

wiredgeorge
10-04-2021, 02:38 PM
Roger, The OP posted his query and has never signed back onto the forum; he may be reading the thread in ghost fashion but more likely has gone off and is in the wind.

gregrc75
10-04-2021, 03:19 PM
Roger, The OP posted his query and has never signed back onto the forum; he may be reading the thread in ghost fashion but more likely has gone off and is in the wind.

True, but I appreciate reading the comparison since I was deciding between a Premier and Cougar myself. Actually, I will be picking up the Cougar Wednesday so I appreciate learning the difference in construction. Everyone’s knowledge has been very helpful!

sourdough
10-04-2021, 03:21 PM
True, but I appreciate reading the comparison since I was deciding between a Premier and Cougar myself. Actually, I will be picking up the Cougar Wednesday so I appreciate learning the difference in construction. Everyone’s knowledge has been very helpful!


Greg you almost have that new one in hand! Congrats on the new rig and be sure to post back with your thoughts.

boatguy
10-04-2021, 03:31 PM
Yea, I figured this information would be useful to others besides the OP (even though he may have flown the coup by now ) . I know when I was looking/shopping, there was not much info available for these models . They were all new floor plans as of 2021 .

gregrc75
10-04-2021, 03:42 PM
Greg you almost have that new one in hand! Congrats on the new rig and be sure to post back with your thoughts.

I will! Sold our 21 Premier 30RI because we wanted something shorter. Picking up a 22 Cougar 25RDS.
No complaints on the Premier, just time for something shorter! It was our second Premier 30RI.