Thursday, November 30, 2023


RV Review: 2022 Northwood Arctic Fox Grand Ronde 32-5M fifth wheel

Today’s review is of the Northwood Arctic Fox Grand Ronde 32-5M fifth wheel. While this isn’t a huge fifth wheel at 36’ 10”, it is built in typical Northwood fashion with a very solid, heavy construction. It stems from the company starting with frames they make in-house and continuing with that kind of thinking. 

Northwood Manufacturing

Located in Northeastern Oregon, Northwood Manufacturing is an independent maker of towable RVs that have a well-earned reputation of being solid and well-built. The company also has a reputation for building things that are well-suited to off-grid use, as well as use in colder camping conditions. 

Witness the fact that this fifth wheel comes with thermal pane frameless windows. Those are often an option, if available at all, with other brands. There is also a huge 16-gallon water heater. So taking a hot shower after spending time in the chilly outdoors can thoroughly warm you up. 

Further, the ceiling is padded to add insulation and sound deadening. 

The Norcold 10-cubic-foot propane-electric refrigerator comes with a “cold weather kit”—meaning it’ll operate in colder conditions. And, last but certainly not least, the company specifically states that the Northwood Arctic Fox Grand Ronde is a four-season coach. So that also means there is a heated and enclosed underbelly as well as heated holding tanks. 

Highlights of the Northwood Arctic Fox Grand Ronde

I have often written that it’s the little touches that can make the difference in an RV. The Northwood Arctic Fox Grand Ronde certainly exemplifies that. For example, all the vent fans in this are the high-capacity sort. There’s a trash can under the kitchen counter that you can access by lifting a small round opening in the countertop. 

While mattresses are such a personal purchase, at least the ones in Northwood’s products aren’t the kind you’d feel bad about seeing at the local torture chamber. Their Northwest “TruRest” mattresses aren’t bad at all, and many campers actually like them. No, seriously. 

Chassis is certified for off-road use

The chassis that the company builds is independently certified for off-road use. However, I’m not sure you’re going to be four-wheeling with an 11,000-pound fifth wheel in tow. But you could head up some of the forest service roads and enjoy some time off under the pines. 

No worries about the suspension handling that kind of silliness. It employs fittings that can be greased and the pin box is the MORryde RPB, which offers some cushioning on those bumpy roads. Further, there are shock absorbers on the suspension, too, just like whatever vehicle is towing this rig. 

Let’s get cooking

There are a few fifth wheels where the kitchens are really well-suited to those who like to cook and want a kitchen that facilitates marvelous meals. This is absolutely one of those. There’s that ten-cubic-foot fridge along with a three-burner stovetop that sports a center high-performance burner. The oven below that is actually similar in size to what you’d have in your house. The microwave above is of the convection variety. So now you’re able to do that whole Thanksgiving meal that seems to be the standard for kitchens everywhere. 

There’s plenty of storage with drawers and cabinets all over. That includes a rather clever example of a curved cabinet at the end of the kitchen island that opens up to reveal shelves. 

More details on the Northwood Arctic Fox Grand Ronde

The slide box on the camp side is a rather deep affair, so the dining table that is standard is a bit longer than in most fifth wheels. You could really seat four people there. 

Speaking of seating, I really like the recliners in the back, and all around are windows galore. Again, these are of the thermal pane variety, to boot. They feature a frameless design so require less maintenance than some RV window designs. 

There’s a magnetic dry erase board inside. I’ve written in many places that it’s a smart, smart idea to write the name of the campground you’re staying at including the address and office phone number in the event of an emergency. It’s ready for that. 

Special touches bring back special memories

Upstairs in the bathroom is something I remember from my aunt’s house when I was a kid—a mirror on an extending stand with lights. Seeing this took me right back to her bathroom—funny what things trigger memories. 

I also like that the closet in the nose of this is lined with cedar which, again, takes me right back to the same place. I wonder if my aunt would have loved this rig?

Huge storage

Outside, the barn doors for the storage are huge, as is the storage itself. There’s also a giant front compartment. However, should you opt for the Onan 5.5 generator, that’s where it’ll spend its time. 

Over on the road side there’s a really tall compartment that I would imagine would be good for fishing poles or bows and arrows or, heck, axes. This does come from the Pacific Northwest, after all. 

And, one more thing. There’s actually a little safe in the upstairs bedroom hidden under the mattress.

Boondocking and Travel Access

The strong suit of fifth wheels is not mid-journey access, but this one is better than some. Naturally, you can get to the bathroom. But you can also get to almost everything in the kitchen except the fridge with the slides in.

Meanwhile, upstairs you could use the bedroom. But whoever’s sleeping toward the nose of this rig is going to have to crawl over whoever’s sleeping toward the tail, but that’s not such a bad thing.

Boondocking is a strong suit of all Northwood products. That starts with nice holding tank sizes—with 88 gallons of fresh water and holding tank capacities of 67 gallons for gray water and 65 for black. Considering that my wife and I can go 8-10 days on a 30-gallon black tank, you could say that’s quite a load of boondocking capability.

There is a battery tending solar panel on the roof of just 45 watts’ capacity. Northwood offers larger solar options.


About the only thing I found rather surprising on this rig was that there were no hold-backs on any of the outside compartment doors whatsoever. Considering how premium so much of this trailer is, this seems like a silly omission.

Another thing I noticed: There is actually a lot of carpeting on the main floor, including under the dining table. Meh.

In summary

One of the things I like about Northwood products is that they actually give you information to help make your decision. That includes plenty of photographs along with their own videos on each model. I just don’t understand how some companies can sell really high-end rigs and keep everything secret—like they’re working for the KGB or something like that.

The Northwood Arctic Fox Grand Ronde is very solidly built

Overall, this is no lightweight rig. It’s very solidly built and has a lot of little details that show that the folks at Northwood actually use their products and are proud of them. When friends listen to me and actually buy one of these or a Lance or Rockwood/Flagstaff rig, it’s always nice to hear back how much they like the way they’re put together.

And that’s saying a lot in the world of RVs.

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 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 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.

Got an RV we need to look at? Contact us today and let us know in the form below – thank you!


Tony Barthel has been a life-long RV enthusiast and travels part-time with his wife where they also produce a podcast, write about RVs and love the RV lifestyle.



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Conrad (@guest_207235)
1 year ago

We bought our gently used 2015 32 5M Arctic Fox in 2020 and have come to absolutely LOVE it. We have just completed a coast to coast to coast trip starting at the Arctic ocean, then to the Pacific and finally to the Atlantic. The rig didn’t miss a beat during the 4 month trip across Canada…. This is hands down one of the best built RV’s you can find on the market, and I’m certain much of this is because the base of the rig is not mass produced, and there is excellent quality control with the smaller company. Yes, heavy, but Id rather have a little heavy than light weight. At least for our purposes and use….

No real issues with reaching the fridge during the roadside lunches. I simply slide over the counter and voila, it’s all you can eat!

I do agree about the hold backs on the cargo doors.

conrad Baetz (@guest_207847)
1 year ago
Reply to  Conrad

Correction…. The AF we have is a 2015. I see in the newer ones, there is an island that when the slides are closed, you indeed would not be able to open the fridge. So I can understand some of the frustration with the newer years of the 32 5M’s


Bob Palin (@guest_176609)
1 year ago

But you can also get to almost everything in the kitchen except the fridge with the slides in.”

That’s a pity, I often unload my groceries straight into the fridge at a traveling stop.

Nevertheless I really wish I could afford one of these units.

Roger Spalding (@guest_176546)
1 year ago

The RV industry’s very existence will soon be threatened in suicidal, green utopias like California. Northwood would do well to update a few of its methods and products to help stave off premature involuntary extinction.

Steve (@guest_176514)
1 year ago

We looked long and enviously at Northwood and Lance travel trailers before we bought our first RV. But the weight and cost were too much for both our truck and budget. We had to settle for Rockwood, which we don’t regret as evidenced by also buying a Rockwood fifth wheel.. However, we are still a little jealous of those who did buy a Northwood or Lance product. If either company built a motorhome, we would have had to seriously consider one of theirs instead of a Winnebago. But again, they don’t, so we are happy with the Winnebago!

Jay (@guest_176528)
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony

Plus a hyperlinked Northwood site full of useful info-wow!

Steve (@guest_177492)
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony

Thanks, Tony. But, as a retired engineer and old car enthusiast, construction methods, suspensions, insulation, thermopane windows, and heated tanks are much more important to me than being able to use my cell to turn off a light switch!

Don (@guest_176506)
1 year ago

You ever try to make a sandwich for lunch without opening the fridge? Sorry – that’s a deal killer for this kid.

Leonard Rempel (@guest_176496)
1 year ago

No access to the fridge when traveling and less than 3,000 lbs cargo capacity? I think I will keep my Montana which also has double pane frameless windows, full fridge access and nearly 4,000 lbs cargo capacity. Looks like the Arctic Fox is lots of sizzle and not enough steak.

Tommy Molnar (@guest_176483)
1 year ago

We have a 2012 Arctic Fox 25Y (bought new!) and absolutely love it, While it did have some ‘issues’ when we first got it, all is well now. We kept our old Nash trailer for 16 years, This one is headed for more than that . . .

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