Today’s RV review is of the 2022 Coachmen Freelander 26DS, the smallest in the 2022 Freelander series. It’s a Class C based on the Ford E-450 chassis. An RV like this really can make a lot of sense because it’ll fit in the parking space alongside a house in many cases, whereas a larger unit might be a tighter fit.
Further, this length is absolutely going to fit into just about any campsite in any circumstance.
In fact, when my wife was in middle and high school, her family’s car was a motorhome not much different in size from this. Yep, they didn’t have a regular car. She and her four siblings were shuttled around in a small motorhome. And that actually makes a lot of sense.
Since kids can never, ever, ever plan their bathroom breaks the way adults seem to be able to (we have to stop frequently, kids have to stop only when it’s inconvenient), a rig like this solves those travel issues. Further, this has a 12-volt compressor fridge. So it’s keeping the juice boxes cold while you’re rolling down the road without your having to run an inverter or running a propane/electric absorption fridge.
Go ahead and write in that you’ve been doing this for years without an issue. I’ll point to my friends who are firefighters who have shown up to plenty of burned out RVs caused by the propane fridge running while they were in transit. Remember—Lots of folks smoked for a long time and it didn’t kill them. Until it did.
Since there are seatbelts for up to seven people in here, it’s conceivable that you could use this as a family hauler. However, it is very important to note that in some states, occupants under a certain age or weight cannot ride sideways. So, know the rules before you sign the paperwork.
Highlights of the Coachmen Freelander 26DS
I think one of the best features of the Coachmen Freelander is the seating. You get a couch on the road side of the rig in the slide room, and then a J-shaped lounge on the camp side. That lounge has a tether for a child safety seat in the forward-facing position. Neat.
But what’s also neat is that at night, when you fold the lounge flat for sleeping, there are hook and loop fasteners to keep the cushions from ending up on the floor. This is such a little touch but one that will make such a big difference in actual use.
The kitchen isn’t huge, but the whole rig isn’t huge—so it works out. Still, there is a surprising amount of interior cabinet and drawer space in here. Plus, Coachmen saw fit to put magnet closures on the doors so they don’t rattle you to death or have the drawers launch while in transit.
Sliding table top in the bathroom
Another thing I saw that I thought was brilliant was a sliding table top in the bathroom of the Freelander. Essentially, there’s a table that slides from the bathroom counter to the wall to dramatically extend the surface area.
You can’t use the toilet easily with the table in place. But I think the idea is that this could be a baby changing spot or just a place to spread out lots of things while they’re being used. For example, if you happen to be a circus clown and are traveling with the circus, you could use these to lay out all the different shades of makeup so you can get in character.
Good storage in the Freelander
Class C motorhomes tend to have somewhat limited storage. But Coachmen used the space under the bed in the back to offer a relatively large L-shaped storage area. Further, they have a floor that compartmentalizes these things so all your stored stuff isn’t sliding all over the place.
Another plus in the build of the Coachmen Freelander 26DS is the use of Azdel composite substrates in the wall construction. Also, there’s an 800-pound bunk over the cab to help reduce the chance of that area becoming an issue. Lots of these rigs have weaker over-cab structures which cause failure points. But this seems much better thought through.
Interestingly, there are a number of unusual air conditioner choices. A single 13,500 BTU air conditioner is standard, which can be upgraded to a 15,000 BTU unit. You can also opt for two 11,500 BTU units instead: one in the main living space and one in the bedroom. No matter what, this rig runs on a 30-amp service.
As regular readers know, I don’t like the smaller RV ovens. But at least this RV has a convection microwave—so it’s not as big a deal here.
I also like that Coachmen put two high-performance vent fans in the Freelander: one over the bunk in the front and one over the bedroom. Further, they put covers over these so you can leave them open even in the rain or while driving.
However, I think it would have been better to put one of these two fans over the kitchen instead of over the bunk. Certainly not a big deal, just an odd observation.
Lastly, the bathroom is a bit tight, as you only have so much space—but it’s still usable.
Boondocking and travel access
Motorhomes often feature generators as standard equipment. Thus, they are really well-suited to off-the-grid camping since they bring their own power.
Coachmen also provides a solar connector on the ceiling, should you choose to go with sunshine power.
You can get to the bathroom with all the slides in but the bed becomes unusable as it has to be bent for the slide to come in.
Further, in the main living space, the slide blocks the stove (probably not good to be boiling water at 65 miles per hour anyway). But the fridge is still readily accessible, as are all the seating positions.
I like the balance of the exterior size with the interior function of this quite a bit. Further, this is far cheaper than many Class B RVs (vans) while offering significantly more functionality. Coachmen has also included the Sumo spring front suspension upgrade as well as additional stabilizers in the back. So you get a much improved ride and handling over some competitors.
Overall, it’s a good size with usable features that really make sense.
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.
Tony comes to RVtravel.com 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 here and at StressLessCamping where he also has an 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. 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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