By Tony Barthel
There’s a form at the bottom of these articles where you can suggest RVs to review and today’s review comes from that form. What we’re looking at is a 2021 Northwood Desert Fox 27FS Toy Hauler, and we’re doing so thanks to RV Travel reader Scotty V, who asked what I think of this. He’s got one on order himself but is waiting as RV parts shortages are keeping him from his rig.
The underlying story of 2021 and the RV world, to be sure.
We’ve written about products from Northwood in the past including the Arctic Fox 27-5L fifth wheel, the Arctic Fox 25W travel trailer, and their Arctic Fox Camper 1150. But we haven’t looked at the company’s toy haulers yet, so here we are.
One of the things I am entertained by in the company’s videos is when the spokesperson says their products are “absolute Northwood.” But this is smart because I would imagine a lot of customers really don’t know what separates one RV from another. So what is “absolute Northwood?”
The company is unusual in that they make their own chassis in house. The reason they do this is for the off-road certification which their chassis have. Their suspension includes shocks on all wheels, which is what’s on every passenger car and every truck you can buy, but very, very few towable RVs except for the larger and heavier.
The company is really good about insulation and makes sure all their trailers are four-season certified, including really thick (1”) baggage doors and heated and enclosed underbellies.
They also use 10-gallon water heaters as opposed to the typical six-gallon models.
Basically, there are qualitative features, but the company is also smart about sharing what those are so a customer has information to use. I think this is really a smart decision.
What’s inside the Northwood Desert Fox 27FS Toy Hauler
I think a lot of people dislike toy haulers because of many of their interiors. A lot of them carry names on the outside that are things you want to avoid and the interiors seem to follow suit.
That’s not true here. While the layout of this trailer follows the norms of many toy haulers, the style and design seem to be a grade above what is typical.
What that translates into is that the first thing you see when you enter is the galley. The refrigerator is immediately to the right of the entry door. Then comes the countertop with a sink in a corner, and a three-burner stove and 22-inch oven.
Here’s something I’ve noticed and commented about in the past. Toy haulers like this can be outfitted to sleep as many as eight people, but so many of them use the smallest and cheapest oven available. This one just makes a lot more sense. It’s a little thing – but one of those little things that will make a difference in the long-term.
Choices for sitting in the Desert Fox 27FS cargo area
Northwood offers a few choices in how to sit in the cargo area. There are two recliners available on the camp side of the trailer and a couch on the road side. The road-side couch can fold up flat against the wall. If you prefer, you can get a couch on the camp side, as well, but the table between these is on poles. Personally, I’d prefer just a folding table – but that’s me.
The back of the toy hauler can have opposing folding couches that make into a large bed. There is a second bed available on a “HappiJac” lift mechanism. But what I thought was slick was the single rear couch that can be flipped over which would either face into the living area or out onto the rear deck.
Oh, and speaking of decks. This toy hauler follows the norm of having a holding mechanism available where you can use the ramp door as a patio deck and get yours with an optional “fence” around the patio. This is one of the things that intrigues me about toy haulers.
Another benefit of toy haulers that’s inherent in the taller design is the fact that the shower and entire bathroom has a ridiculous amount of headroom. This is owing to the higher ceiling in the whole trailer. For some of the taller RVers this could make the difference between a usable rig and one that’s not.
Lastly, there’s the bedroom with a queen-sized bed and a wardrobe on either side.
Toy hauler s’more
Unlike most travel trailers, many toy haulers come standard with a generator. In this case it’s an Onan 4.0 gasoline-powered generator. Since you’ll already need gasoline on board, there’s also a 40-gallon fuel tank on board which has a gas pump so you can fill your toys.
I like Northwood products quite a bit. In fact, I think the fact that the company’s decision-makers actually use their own products shows in the products themselves. I also like their marketing, which includes really thorough walk-through videos. There are a lot of lessons that the RV industry, in general, could learn from this small West Coast manufacturer of RVs.
In fact, I like the Northwood Arctic Fox 25W travel trailer so much that a friend bought one on my suggestion. You should know that many of these reviews are done from information I get from a variety of sources. But I don’t always get a chance to see and touch the RVs simply because they’re in such short supply and there’s some wacky pandemic going on.
I try to be accurate in my reviews
After spending a few days camping with my friends and looking over their rig, I was really pleased that the things I saw in my research were absolutely accurate. I’m never going to say I don’t make mistakes, but I do believe I have enough of an understanding of these rigs that I can see things even without touching them.
Of course, no RV is ever perfect and one of the things I didn’t like is that this only comes with a 13,500btu air conditioner. But I guess that makes sense in the Pacific Northwest, where you may never even turn the thing on.
Overall, I think that Northwood has done a great job with the Desert Fox 27FS and made an interior that is a cut above in the toy hauler world. Of course, in buying any toy hauler, it’s smart to see how big your toys are, if that’s what you’re going to use it for. However, you can also use this as an office, as a place to do hobbies or just spread out. And choice is one of the best reasons of all to buy this rig.
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.
Got an RV we need to look at? Contact us today and let us know in the form below – thank you!
Our first trailer was a 97 Nash 25S. Loved it, and beat it almost to death offroading. Finally sold it in 2012 and got a new Arctic Fox 25Y. Using it the same way, it’s holding up great. The higher ground clearance is a real +.
One of the things Northwood does is let employees take their new trailer designs out for test ‘camping’ and report back. We have reason to believe our trailer was one of those ‘prototypes’. Long story, and since I’m not one to be ‘long winded’ . . . Ahem. 😀
You can almost always tell the difference between RV companies where NObody does any actual RVing and those where they encourage their team to actually use the products.
Best thing about toy haulers is the cargo capacity. This trailer has a CC over 3800# with a GVWR of only 12000# (ie., towable with the average 3/4-ton and a few of the very rare max-tow/HD payload 1/2-ton trucks). Combined with the generator, 100-gal fresh, 47-gal gray, and 50-gal black tanks, a couple or family of 3-4 could do some serious boondocking in a trailer only 32′ long (but not so serious with 6-8 people!).
Yep, totally agree. I wish they offered the “east-west” bed in some of their smaller toy haulers, I’d be on the waiting list for one of those myself.
I owned an Arctic Fox TC. Northwood Mfg. is among the best built RV’s in the industry, whether it be a TC, TT or 5er. No doubt.
Like ALL rv’s there are some issues but Northwood has a very good product. We went from our 2008 silver fox 990 camper to our 2019 28 5C…with solar….really enjoy it……great….
I would like to see the dimensions of the garage area, plus weight limits.
There’s a link in the article to the company’s website where there are very detailed illustrations of the garage area with dimensions.
Also if you click (or tap if you’re on an iPad) the image of the floor plan it’ll open up larger and does give dimensions of the garage area.