I have two friends who have a Rockwood Mini Lite 2516S, which is a front kitchen model where the bathroom effectively bisects the trailer. So when Josh Winters sent the heads-up that Forest River’s Alpha Wolf, part of the Cherokee family, built its own version of this, I had to take a look.
Alpha Wolf is part of Forest River’s Cherokee family and is the top of that line. While many of the offerings in the Cherokee family are wood-framed and metal-skinned, the Alpha Wolf is not. Sort of. Instead, the wall construction on these is a 2”-thick laminated structure using aluminum framing. Now, the nose, roof and floor still incorporate wood and the laminate for the walls features a Luan substrate, as opposed to man-made Azdel.
Cherokee in general offers a lot of value in their products with features that you might expect to be upgrades or options at the price point its models occupy. There are also a lot of details in these that I like quite a bit. Those include larger ovens, high-performance vent fans, no heater vents in the floors and other details that I think offer actual benefit.
These also feature a heated and enclosed underbelly and relatively thick walls.
Cherokee is also known for their Zebra shades. They allow you to choose how much of the light is blocked and how much is let in. Friends who have these have reported that they do like them and they work as promised.
For 2022, Cherokee in general has upgraded its inside control panel to be a hybrid type model. This panel has a button for every function, as trailers have had for many years. But you can also link it to your smartphone and use Bluetooth to operate much of the functionality. This is the best of both worlds, to me.
Another change for 2022 is the fact that these trailers come with a 50-watt solar panel on the roof and a 12-volt DC compressor-based refrigerator.
Now kids, let’s think about this. Fifty watts of solar is not, by any stretch, going to operate that fridge. Period. The one thing it’s good for, and this is quite useful, is being a battery tender while this trailer is in storage.
However, with any solar you need a device called a charge controller. That essentially prevents the solar panel from overcharging the battery and blowing it up, which would be sad. The good thing about the way this solar system was set up is that the charge controller can accommodate up to 500 watts of solar panels.
So, if you’re a big-time boondocker, 50 watts of solar is almost a joke. But 500 watts of solar is plenty for almost anything but running the AC in this trailer. Thus, you only have to buy and connect the panels.
If you never go boondocking, you at least have enough solar to keep the battery from dying – and that’s a good thing too. If most, but not all, your camping is done in RV parks, you can fire up that fridge and then connect to your tow vehicle. That’ll keep it running until you go plug into the park. So 50 watts isn’t as silly as I had originally thought.
Further, if boondocking isn’t your thing, you’re not paying for solar you’re never going to be able to take advantage of.
Alpha Wolf 28FK
This floor plan features the kitchen across the front counter. That’s why my friends bought the competing Rockwood model. This actually is a slick kitchen, with a large counter, up there.
Alpha Wolf adds to the design with a bamboo cutting board that doubles as the stove’s backsplash and is held in place with magnets. I like this arrangement. There’s also a nicely sized sink and plenty of drawers and cabinet space.
One thing, though. I usually think windshields in travel trailers and fifth wheels are silly. But this is the one exception and, here, there isn’t a windshield. However, there are three electrical outlets with both 120vac and 12vdc, so you have plenty of places to plug things in.
Above the kitchen counter are cabinets along the roof which are useful. However, the doors flip up and there is no method to hold these open. I think a far better solution would be to have these swing from the sides or put in some form of strut or something. Heck, my 1970 Aristocrat even has a mechanism to keep top-hinged cabinets open – so this isn’t a new idea.
Add to this that there’s a big pantry right at the front door, and storage isn’t an issue here.
Alpha Wolf also is known for the looooooooong drawers underneath the dinette. The U-shaped dinette here features those. There’s also a couch in here facing the electric fireplace. In addition, there are provisions for attaching a TV – but the company doesn’t include one.
I think this is smart, too, as many people trade up their TV, so you just get what you want. Or get none, which would be me. Yep, I’m one of those weirdos that doesn’t have a TV.
One of the nifty things about this floor plan is that it can be fully used in road mode. There are two slides on the road side of this rig. When the front slide is in you can still get to the kitchen and pantry.
There is a bedroom slide as well and, with that in, you can still get to the bathroom in the middle. While you can’t get from the kitchen to the bathroom without opening the front slide, I give this a pass as you can use almost everything in here with the slide rooms closed.
The back bedroom in this features an RV queen in a slide room and, unfortunately, you literally can’t get a bigger bed in unless you never close the slide room. With everything buttoned up, the bed tucks under the wardrobe on the other side. But Josh had a terrific idea in his video on how to overcome that limitation.
Basically, get a cushion to fit between the mattress and the wall so you effectively extend the mattress. This would be under the pillows so you wouldn’t feel the split at all. Pretty good idea.
You can use the bed with the slide in as long as you don’t run in your sleep and kick the mirrored doors on the cabinet.
This is a good floor plan and friends who have them really like them. The one challenge is that there isn’t a lot of outside storage in this unit. But I know how Forest River can fix this. Put a baggage door behind the wall section of the U-shaped dinette. You can also add one that goes under the bed in the slide. This would open up that space to the outside, which would make it far more useful.
The lack of exterior space might turn off some prospects but it’s not a huge deal and there is a lot of space inside that you just can’t get to from the outside.
But this is a good and usable floor plan that might be a great couple’s camper. I’m curious if you think that the plethora of plugs on the front wall is better than having a windshield up there.
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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