When my friend Josh Winters actually calls me and recommends I look at a unit, I take notice. Josh’s very popular YouTube channel is one that is sort of the video version of what I do.
Josh also knows that my wife and I are in the market for a new trailer and the 2022 Keystone Cougar 22MLS absolutely fits the mold of what we’re looking for. Sometimes it’s great to have friends in the RV industry; sometimes it can be expensive. We shall see.
We have looked at the Keystone Cougar 22MLS in the past. I like this floor plan quite a bit. It’s a trailer that’s not overly huge but does sport a king-sized bed along with a dining space and theater seats, so lots of seating options. Keystone has been busy upgrading things, so it’s definitely worth a new look.
Surprising number of windows in the Keystone Cougar 22MLS
The kitchen on this model wraps around the back of the trailer from the road side to the back. There are a surprising number of windows in this unit. The way I see it: We go camping in pretty places – might as well be able to look at them.
The Keystone Cougar 22MLS is the smallest trailer in the Cougar family. But it isn’t tiny by any means, at almost 28 feet in length and nearly three tons. But it’s also a boondocking favorite of mine with 60 gallons of fresh water aboard. It’s also now outfitted with Keystone’s SolarFlex™ system, which I’ve detailed in the next section.
Noteworthy touches in the Keystone Cougar 22MLS
I’m seeing more RVs, including this one, where they actually accommodate shoes. Should you choose the dinette option, there is a shoe garage right as you enter the rig – which is a nice touch.
Speaking of that dinette, the 2022 model comes with what is referred to as a “dream dinette.” That means no knee-knocker pole under the table, plus the table unlocks and pushes down in one step. You can also have the choice of a free-standing table and chairs, as well.
The bed in the Keystone Cougar 22MLS is a king-sized model, which means it’s a bit tight to the walls. But there are still night stands on either side of the bed. There are also both 120-volt AC and 12-volt DC power outlets. The 120-volt outlets are wired to be connected to an inverter, should you choose that. Again, this is all part of the SolarFlex packaging.
I don’t like the cubbies under the night stands – I would prefer drawers. But c’est la vie.
Good placement of the InCommand control panel
I like that Keystone put the InCommand digital control panel behind a cabinet door rather than just “out there.” I prefer there to be traditional buttons and digital controls, as well, so there’s a choice for all styles. But you can control almost all functions of the trailer with your smartphone when your grandchildren are around to help hook this up. Or you can just reach out to me.
The Keystone Cougar 22MLS features a 22” oven. There are plenty of drawers in the kitchen, including one under the stove itself. As for refrigerators, you get a choice of either a gas-electric absorption fridge or a 12-volt DC compressor model at no additional charge.
One of the nice things about this trailer is that you can access the fridge and the bathroom and even the bed with the slide room in. So it is great for road-side potty breaks or snack stops. I wasn’t sure, but Josh’s video details this. He really does a great job with his videos.
Outside, I like that Keystone has a locking water station that also has the hot and cold shower, as well.
We’ve all been reading that campgrounds are at capacity and that the RV industry expects that boondocking is the way many of us are going to experience camping. In fact, I prefer being out in nature over sitting next to someone else even knowing about full hookups.
Keystone has created four different solar packages available on different RV models in their line. Starting with the SolarFlex 200 package, that includes 200 watts of solar on the roof and a charge controller. The impressive thing is that every Keystone RV is going to come with at least 200 watts of solar and a charge controller. That’s impressive to me.
In addition, this package comes with a 15-amp Victron SmartSolar MPPT controller. It is prepped to easily add an inverter with outlets prewired for this.
The name SolarFlex is intended to designate that the systems that come from Keystone are a starting point. But they can be configured by the dealer or owner to go further if need be.
All of these pieces in the Cougar work well together
One of the best things about this arrangement is that all the pieces have been configured to work well together and also be covered under the Keystone warranty. The company also claims that their larger buying power means the prices for these systems are very competitive. I have no real information to prove that claim, however.
The Keystone Cougar 22MLS is also available with the SolarFlex 400i package, which has a 2000-watt inverter and two 200-watt solar panels on the roof. There is also a connector up there to easily attach two more panels. They are available from Keystone dealers, or you can bring your own panels, of course.
The fact that this is configured and wired in as just standard equipment really makes the ability to go solar so much easier. And the fact that the components are set to work together and be available and warranted by Keystone is another big plus.
Keystone Innovation Lab
I have written before about the Keystone Innovation Lab and the things they’re doing there also speak to me. I had a chance to look at rigs in person that featured their new air conditioning ducting system. It is claimed to have better performance but higher quality ducting and joiners such that they don’t collapse over time.
They also have a product called HyperDeck™ flooring, which is a laminate made of waterproof materials. Having restored vintage trailers, I’m always happy when I see less wood.
Another thing the company is doing is wiring all their trailers the same way, with the same wiring colors. This sounds like a no-brainer, but often the way RVs are wired is that the assembly team member just pulls wiring as needed. This planned method just makes for a much better quality product that is also easy to service if there’s a problem.
Last time we looked at this trailer I already liked it. With the new SolarFlex system, I like it much more. What I would do if this were mine is order it with the SolarFlex 400i package and the free-standing dinette. That would become a desk by simply rotating the table 90 degrees. With all that solar plus 60 gallons of fresh water aboard, I could be parked in the middle of nowhere for a good week before I run out of water.
I could take my show on the road and see more of these RVs in person – which is my goal for the rest of the year as it is.
My thanks to Josh Winters of Haylett RV in Coldwater, Michigan, for use of the photos. You can also watch Josh’s video review of this unit here.
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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