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.
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?
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.
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.
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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 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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