Friday, September 17, 2021
Friday, September 17, 2021

RV Review: 2022 Keystone Cougar 22MLS Travel Trailer

Based on how many of you are looking at different articles it seems that couples’ campers are a big hit, especially in the world of travel trailers. So my friend Josh Winters from Haylett RV (whom I also thank for use of his photos) clued me in to this very popular Keystone Cougar 22MLS and suggested I share it with you. Sounds great, bud!

Cougar 22MLS

Keystone’s Cougar line offers a lot of features in a more premium line of trailers and fifth wheels. The company describes itself as a builder of “Luxury Travel Trailers and Fifth Wheels.” That basically translates into extra usability features. 

But there are also some qualitative features, as well. That includes the fact that Keystone was one of the first travel trailer manufacturers to color code all their wiring alike. This sounds like a minor deal. But having administered warranties on a number of brands, it actually works out to really be a huge benefit if there’s an electrical issue. 

There is also wiring in place not only for a backup camera, which is pretty typical nowadays, but also for side-view cameras. Smart. 

You either love the InCommand – or not

This trailer also uses the InCommand – which is either love it or not. Essentially it’s a touchscreen inside that lets you control lighting, slides and many other features with either the touchscreen or a smartphone. There is also a box in the pass-through storage bay where you can access the brains of this system for troubleshooting or diagnostics. 

This trailer is also wired for solar with capability for up to three 170-watt solar panels on the roof as well as free-standing solar panels on the side. There is also wiring for an inverter to operate three electrical outlets inside the trailer. 

Other things include the use of Keystone’s “HyperDeck” flooring – which is a man-made flooring system. There are also 12-volt tank heaters and a heated and enclosed underbelly, as well. 

What’s inside the Cougar 22MLS

One of the more interesting things about this trailer is that there’s a long road-side slide, but that slide isn’t very deep. However, it definitely adds a lot of open space to the floor plan.

Up front, Cougars all have king-sized beds, including this model, with the usual closets on either side. The company makes a big deal of its automotive windshield. This is a nice feature and opens up the space. A privacy curtain separates this space from the rest of the trailer. 

Among the options Cougar offers is a choice of either a booth dinette or a dining table with free-standing chairs. The model I saw had the table and chairs. I like how Cougar has mounted the table to the wall – so there are no knee-knocking poles to hold it up. This gives you full space to kick your spouse or your siblings at will. Not that we encourage either. But I’ve had a few bruised shins after bringing up politics at the dinner table. 

Between the dining choice and the bathroom is a small pantry space. 

Opposite the dining area is that big slide. It has dual reclining theater seats facing the television that’s hung over the dining area. 

The galley and dry bath in the Cougar 22MLS

Next to that is the refrigerator which is a choice of either 12-volt compressor-based fridge or a traditional RV gas-electric absorption model. Go with the 12-volt – you’ll thank me later. Why? Here’s a podcast I did with Josh about just this. 

From there you’ll find a three-burner stove with a 22” oven and some counter space with drawers beneath it. The placement of the stove and this counter space effectively creates an “L”-shaped kitchen. About two-thirds of the rear of this trailer is additional kitchen counter space with a sink and more cabinets. 

The dry bath occupies a corner on the camp side. It’s pretty roomy and features a shower, sink and porcelain toilet. 

Boondocking

Yesterday I had given a lot of props to the Nash 18FM for its large holding tanks. This trailer has ten more gallons of fresh water storage (60 gallons). While it does not have a provision for a generator, I could definitely make a case for lots of solar panels (up to 340 watts of capability on the roof plus additional portable panels). With a good bank of lithium batteries, you’ll be pretty set. 

You likely won’t be able to run the AC without a generator. However, I do so with a small generator and a SoftStartRV device. On the subject of AC, one of the many hallmarks of Keystone is its AC ducting. It includes plastic joiners that are designed to keep the ducts’ shape over time rather than letting them collapse. The company also has high-performing AC vents. They argue that their systems offer better cooling for the size of the unit, which is 15,000 BTU in this case. 

In summary

From both the standpoint of the layout of the Cougar 22MLS trailer and some qualitative features of the Keystone brand in general, plus some design features, I really like this model quite a bit. 

One of the things I like about it is that it’s almost completely functional with the slide in or out, as it’s not a very deep slide room. This makes it ideal for stealthdocking at places like Cracker Barrel or Wally World (please ask for permission from the manager first). It’s also convenient for getting something to drink along the route – or paying your rent on those drinks a short while later. 

A couple of things I don’t like about this floor plan

The only thing I don’t like about the floor plan of the Cougar 22MLS is that I’d rather see both traditional buttons and the InCommand system as they have in the Rockwood/Flagstaff and Cherokee lines. This makes it convenient for all preferences. I’m also not a fan of floor vents for the furnace with the understanding that this means generally better vents and facilitates ducting heat into the floor. But I also can smell that smell in my mind’s nose of the stuff burning off that’s fallen into those vents all summer when you first light your furnace. 

But those are minor nits to pick and, overall, this floor plan offers a lot of usability in a relatively maneuverable size with some nice touches. Also kudos to Keystone for having so much information on their website including pricing. The company is really making strides in the product itself but also in how they tell the story of their RVs. It’s a good example to follow. 

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!

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REVIEW OVERVIEW

Keystone features/advantages
Usable with slide in
Size/space balance
Floor heater vents
InCommand panel only

SUMMARY

Keystone's Cougar 22MLS is a nicely equipped and spacious couples' camper that has a lot of really usable bonus features in a size that's not terribly large and features a shallow but wide slide that enables you to use the trailer mid-journey without having to open the slide.

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Dave S.
2 months ago

I would not recommend a Keystone RV to anyone as I have a 2021 Keystone setting useless in my driveway. On the first use, the converter went out. Called the dealer, no help, called Keystone customer service totally useless, said it was my fault. On Monday, called the CEO’s office and was advised by his secretary that he did not have anything to do with the business.

Merlin B.
2 months ago

This trailer gets a “0” in my review. #1. King sized bed – total waste of floor space. #2. Front windshield – just another place for water to leak. #3. In-command – nothing but problems. #4. Solid-steps – I will never own a trailer with this type of steps. Just another way to dump dirt and debris inside of your door. Sorry, JMHP. YMMV.

Snayte
2 months ago
Reply to  Merlin B.

I can agree with all of your points.

Seann Fox
2 months ago

In 2004 I bought a new keystone Zeppelin 28 ft what a pathetic piece of junk the build quality was absolutely horrible. I will never again ever buy a keystone

Roger Spalding
2 months ago

With each succeeding model year, Keystone improves its product line. A slideless Airstream, at more than twice the price and one-half the tank capacity, can no longer claim it builds a vastly superior RV to Keystone. As Tony suggests, with solar panels and a few lifepo4 batteries with an adequately sized inverter combined with an Easy Start, you’re set to Summer boondock for two weeks or more. Competition is good for the consumer. Jayco and Grand Design are fighting for the same buyers of the 22 mls. In the end, the buyer benefits.

Tommy Molnar
2 months ago

I just don’t think there’s enough storage in this unit. Where do you put your clothes? Those two smallish ‘shirt hanging’ thingies next to the bed on either side don’t cut it. Lots of good stuff in this trailer, but storage is not one of them.

I like the 12v compressor fridge. I’m thinking of having our 2012 fridge converted. I met someone who had this done – and swears by it.

Warren G
2 months ago

Overall looks like a good floor plan, but I don’t think I’d ever go for a rear kitchen. I haven’t had a rear kitchen, but from our experience with a wardrobe/pantry in the rear and the way things bounce in it, I’ve got concerns.

Snayte
2 months ago
Reply to  Tony Barthel

I have had a rear kitchen for over 10 years in our current camper and it has not been an issue.

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