Saturday, June 10, 2023


RV Review: 2022 Coachmen Apex Nano 186BH travel trailer—a good value

Today’s RV review is of the Coachmen Apex Nano 186BH, a small, single-axle bunk model travel trailer that has some interesting features brought about by specific configurations. 

First of all, if you look at the floor plan, you’ll see this sports a Murphy bed. That bed is a camp queen. If you’ve already stopped reading, raise your hand. Oh, wait. Let me encourage you to continue as there are some interesting ways to utilize this. 

Murphy’s bed in the Apex Nano 186BH

There are a lot of ways RV companies are implementing Murphy beds. In fact, the way they do it has an effect on a lot of the functionality of the RV as well as the usefulness of the bed itself. A Murphy bed in a smaller trailer really makes a tremendous amount of sense—you get the bed by night and, typically, seating by day. 

Many of these beds incorporate some sort of folding mattress, as is the case here. With this trailer being a somewhat narrow body at 90” (most RVs are between 96″-101” in width), this also forces another compromise. The bed here is not only a Murphy bed, but is also an “east-west” bed, meaning that you sleep perpendicular to the side of the trailer. 

In this case, the mattress folds in the middle. There’s an area at the front where someone is definitely going to have to do some crawling to get in. But since the mattress folds in the middle, at least nobody will be sleeping on the crack or fold. 

An opportunity in the Apex Nano 186BH

However, that also leaves us with an opportunity. 

You can just keep the mattress open all the time since there’s no slide room in this trailer. So that takes away some of the Murphy-ness, if that works for you. That does mean that you’ll lose the couch when the bed is deployed, though, but there’s also a dinette. 

Depending on how many people are camping in this rig, that could work. 

Or, if only one person is sleeping in the front bed, that bed can remain folded in half. That would result in a really thick mattress. But, again, this would eliminate having to fold the bed each night. 

Further, the fact that the bed is available in the daytime, at least for one person, means it’s there for naps, as well. 

As for the making of the bed, I’ve shared with you about the RV Super Bag. This would be another circumstance where that device would be worth having. Yes, it’s expensive. Yes, it’s well-made. And yes, it’s worth the money. 


I have also written about RV windshields in the past and how I think they’re mostly ridiculous. There’s one here, too, as well as the Murphy bed. 

But since the bed is always at least flat it doesn’t block the windshield. That’s a good thing in the daytime when you may want the additional light. Then, of course, in the early morning you may be cursing the sun for a while. 

Highlights of the Apex Nano 186BH

As more and more campers creep into the $40,000 MSRP range, it’s good to see a fully equipped model at $33,000 and change. Remember, I share MSRP of these rigs, so many dealers are still discounting. It also seems that some are reverting to pre-pandemic pricing in a few cases. 

There’s a lot to like about this camper. But the first thing I noticed was that the fit and materials were pretty darned good at this price point. Little details on the cabinetry and finish items really showed an attention to detail that I see missing in a lot of rigs in the more affordable price spectrum. 

Another thing I noticed was that the tabletop and countertop were all a sealed-edge pressed membrane material. That tends to last much longer than those traditional laminated countertops and tables. 


On the subject of kitchen and countertops, a trailer of this size has a very, very small amount of counter space in the kitchen. It seems like a big miss that there’s not a countertop extension. 

The kitchen has good prep area when you have the glass stove top closed and the included cover on the sink. But if you’re using the sink and stove as you would when cooking, you now have almost no counter space. 

If the dining table were freestanding and used adjustable legs that let it also reach counter height, that would be a huge plus. But it’s your typical RV dining table on pole mounts. 

Yes, there are days where I wish I were an RV designer. So many things would be different. 

Bunks in the Apex Nano 186BH

The Apex Nano 186BH is a bunk model and with double-over-double bunks. So, in theory, there’s sleeping for four back here. But I would imagine that would be four smaller campers. You won’t see four of me back here. 

Nor is the world really ready for four of me, for that matter. 

Further, each bunk is rated for 300 pounds, so four of me would cause structural issues. 

The bottom bunk does flip up, so you have space to bring along some cargo when in transit. I’ve also looked at these spaces in the past as good places for pets, if they are crate trained. 

Boondocking and travel access

Since this rig has no slide room, it’s perfectly accessible all the time. You still have to fight those dumb stable steps to get in. But, other than that, it’s ready when you are. 

This RV only comes with a traditional propane-electric absorption fridge. So that means it’s not draining your battery when you’re boondocking. This is one of the advantages of this traditional style of RV refrigerator. The disadvantage (insert age-old argument here) is that you really shouldn’t be running the fridge when going down the road. But they do maintain food-safe temperatures for up to eight hours, depending on ambient temperature and such. 

That means that the included 100-watt solar panel can serve as a battery tender and compensate for light use and such if you’re off the grid. 

Further, the size of the fresh water tank in this smaller single-axle trailer is impressive at 50 gallons. I’m not sure you’ll want to haul that much weight around on longer distances. But a tank of this size means you can get to a boondocking spot, fill the fresh tank, and go for a long period of time. Unless you have teenagers—then all bets are off. 

In summary

There are a ton of trailers with this floor plan but this one stands out in a lot of ways. The lower overall height and somewhat narrow body mean it’ll tax whatever’s towing it a bit less just because there’s less wind resistance.

I was pretty happy with the overall fit and finish and the materials use, including Azdel in both sides of the lamination process, including the rear wall. 

While this does have a Murphy bed, the way it’s implemented gives a lot of flexibility—which is another plus. 

Some things I would change in the Apex Nano 186BH

A few things I would change in this trailer are the aforementioned changes to the table, but also the 120vac outlets in the bunk area. You know whoever can fit in that space will also have at least one device that requires charging. It would be neat if Coachmen used those 120-volt power outlets that also incorporate USB chargers in them. But this is literally a five-minute repair, even for me. However, it pains me to throw away new and functioning things just because something should have been a little better in the first place. 

I also like the attention the couch at the front received with netted storage underneath and some storage along the side. There’s also a little cubby on the road side that is just the right size for the little stuff that you might want to store there such as your own smartphones and such. 

Overall, this is a well-thought-through little camper that might serve a lot of small families quite well. 

One thing I wonder. Ember introduced the 191MSL, where the bunks  and outdoor kitchen were removed and, instead, storage and a flexible bunk platform were added. But did companies like Coachmen, who have a floor plan like this, just do that V8 head thunk and are their designers burning the midnight oil to create something like that? That, and a counter extension, would really make this an even better floor plan. 

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. 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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Tony Barthel
Tony Barthel
Tony Barthel has been a life-long RV enthusiast and travels part-time with his wife where they also produce a podcast, write about RVs and love the RV lifestyle.


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Steve H
11 months ago

Just omit the outside kitchen, but leave the door. Then you could load the under-bunk storage area with bikes, inflatable kayaks, and other dirty outdoor gear from outside. And replace those solid steps with the old-fashioned kind. You would have truly versatile camper with those changes.

11 months ago

Your mention early on in the preamble to the review, about underbelly drag, causes me to comment. Seems to me these tail waggers, I call them that for their seemingly inate ability to do so as they are pulled down the highway, could use a wind tunnel test. It also seems these TWs could use an air dam beneath their tongue. No wider than the immovable portion of the front jack in V shape fashion. Maybe it would help them wag less, adhere to the road more, and possibly even save on fuel.

Bob p
11 months ago

If they made one without the bunkhouse but with some other use of the space they sell more. We don’t have any use for a bunkhouse as all our children and grandchildren are grown. The concept of small light weight could appeal to older people looking for something to get away for the weekend.

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