By Tony Barthel
What is your definition of the perfect RV? Big ol’ Class A diesel pusher or small, ultralight adventure trailer? For many, many, many of us it’s somewhere in between with a balance between being so small that there is not a lot of separation of intent from one space and the next and being so big you look at mountain roads and wonder if you can get around that corner. It is one of those mid-size, probably more mainstream trailers that caught my attention recently when a friend at Coachmen suggested I take a look at the Spirit 2557RB. This is an extremely popular trailer in the Spirit line.
Now, you might be asking yourself who is Spirit and how do they differ from Coachmen? Coachmen was an independent manufacturer of RVs until they became part of the Forest River family in 2008. Before that they started making RVs way back in 1964 and have built more than a quarter of a million of them.
Feeling the Spirit in the 2557RB
We all hang our hat on something and the Spirit line hangs theirs on the “Camping Simplified” statement. There are a few examples the company points out that reflect this, including the fact that there’s actually a compartment in the front pass-through storage for fishing poles. Seriously. I don’t know why this is the only RV brand where I’ve seen this when so, so many of the customers whom I sold RVs to specifically mentioned fishing as part of their travel plans.
Another thing that caught my eye is the axles being spaced farther apart. While we didn’t sell the Spirit line, we did have a competing brand (Bullet) that had the same configuration. The RV transport drivers really liked how they towed.
The Spirit 2557RB is pet friendly
The company also mentions being very pet friendly overall, and there are a number of examples of this. Included in those are two anchor points outside for whatever you want but they mention tying a pet lead onto these.
Inside there’s also a pet bed and a pet bowl under the dinette in a drawer-type mechanism.
Apparently the designers go camping with me because I noticed two bottle openers, one on the outside kitchen and one inside on the kitchen counter. These get my vote.
There are also storage shelves for the sink covers above the sink – which just makes incredible sense. I often wonder what the heck you do with these sink covers when you’re not using them. (Ours just sits on the floor against the cabinet.) This is such a little detail but one that will be appreciated by owners.
I have mentioned that I can almost spot which RV companies have their team actually use the product and which don’t. I’d betcha a six pack of fine ale that Coachmen is a company whose team is encouraged to use its own products.
Another really slick item is the storage under the bed. While most RVs have some form of storage under the bed, this one takes it up several notches. There are two benches under the bed where you can sit to put on shoes and whatnot. There are drawers on the road side and shoe cubbies on the camp side, plus a big space for a laundry basket.
When you flip the bed up there’s a motion sensor light that comes on, as well. A lot of little touches, as mentioned, that will really prove themselves useful in the long run.
I’ve saved the best party trick in the Spirit 2557RB for the last
But every good showman knows to save their best party trick for the end of the show. That would be the hidden pantry in this trailer.
Opposite the theater seats in the trailer is a large flat-screen TV with some cabinet storage below that. But unlatch two catches and that entire wall panel swings open to reveal a rather large pantry/storage area. There are shelves in here plus a large, tall space for brooms or jackets or whatever.
This reminds me of those hidden rooms in the old Three Stooges shorts. But this one doesn’t have a monster in it and it’s useful.
I like trailers with a full-width bathroom at the rear. This is one of those – so the bathroom is rather large and spacious. There is a sliding door in front of the bathroom and a sliding door to separate the bedroom. So this trailer is large enough to have comfortable, defined spaces yet small enough to fit into just about any campground.
Being the right size, plus that party trick pantry, and the space under the bed, along with the spot to keep your fishing gear are probably why they can’t make these fast enough for the customers willing to sign on the dotted line.
Sure, there are a few nits to pick. One would be the fact that they employ that lousy Dometic thermostat. But that’s so easy to swap out (and you’ll want to – trust me) that it’s something even I can do with my Leatherman tool.
I’m wondering who the first commenter will be about the RV brown interior. But in my article on the Keystone Arcadia, it was pointed out that RVs go to places with lots of dirt and having neutral interiors isn’t a bad thing. I don’t disagree with this.
I’d say this is a usable floor plan with a few very positive surprises that will make a worthwhile difference over time when you’re using them. It’s definitely one to put on your shopping list.
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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