Tuesday, March 21, 2023


RV Review: 2023 Cherokee Alpha Wolf 22SW-L

Today’s RV review is of the 2023 Cherokee Alpha Wolf 22SW-L. This floor plan is built by a lot of RV manufacturers, to some extent. It is a hot commodity as it combines relatively compact size with a genuinely usable interior. Further, Cherokee is one of those brands that I think really offers a lot of value with usable features at a relatively affordable price. 

Even further, the company has addressed some of the things I didn’t like in the previous models. That moved this up the ladder a number of rungs on my list of units to suggest in this category. 

Being up front

The floor plan is simply a bedroom in the front, living space with theater seats, and then a bathroom across the entire back of the camper. But the devil’s in the details, and the 2023 model is a hot commodity. 

First of all, though, the pachyderm in the trailer. For all their good features, this comes with a short queen mattress. That’s a deal breaker for some of you, but let’s look at this for a moment. 

A lot of RV buyers dump the factory mattress in short order. Even though the mattress on my own trailer was a heated mattress, I replaced mine with a Ghost Bed RV mattress. I have been so happy with it that I considered them for our mattress at home. 

There is plenty of space in here to put a proper queen mattress. So if you’re going to replace the stock mattress anyway, this is no biggie. Well, the replacement will be more biggie, but I think we understand the idea. 

I do like that the bedroom has a sliding door and can be shut off from the rest of the trailer. In my world, my wife and I are on very different sleep schedules and we make this work with a curtain. But a door would be even better. 

On the side of the bed are night stands and closets. But I’m seeing more and more RVs with cubbies behind the closets, so I have a bit of a cubby envy with this model. However, there is no windshield. Hooray!

Main living space

Inside the main living space, Cherokee has chosen theater seats and a portable table as your singular seating option. That, too, can be a deal breaker for some. In fact, again, in my own trailer we took out the theater seats altogether and turned this space into an office. 

Funny thing. We had the same table that Cherokee includes with this model and it was amazing how quickly we gave that away. I have been on a kick to encourage RV builders to create a table with enough height adjustment that it can be lifted to counter height and serve as additional kitchen prep space. Or, lowered to dining height. 

Nobody’s taken me up on this challenge. Yet. 

You could consider the kitchen storage decent, but then there’s a really large pantry. So that ups the storage game significantly. The pantry occupies the space behind the fireplace and mounting point for the TV. 

Electronical stuff

Speaking of the TV, let’s talk about the electronics in this trailer for a bit. 

For 2023 there is no radio in this trailer. That makes sense to how I live my life. I can’t tell you the last time I accidentally listened to terrestrial radio. 

Instead of the radio, there’s a Bluetooth connection. Whatever device you connect provides the audio content to the speakers in this trailer. 

That Bluetooth connection also gives you the option to control a lot of the functions in the trailer if you choose to, although you can also use traditional buttons. 

Further, the Bluetooth connectivity is how you access the camera that is included at the back of this trailer. Yep. Included. 

The strange thing is, as someone who has been using a Bluetooth speaker for years and years to listen to the podcasts that are the soundtrack of my own world, I’m not totally sure how I feel about this. 

The 12-volt TV that came with my trailer actually has an FM radio in it, which I tried. Once. Worked fine, but I just dislike all the ads on the radio when I can listen to podcasts or even music from my phone. That way I can listen to what I want instead of hoping “my song” comes on the radio. 

Okay, I almost never listen to music when there are good podcasts available. 

Oh, and there is no TV included here, as many people just want to choose their own. So you can. 

RV ladders

Another interesting direction Cherokee took with this model is in the ladder department. The standards for RV ladder mounts changed since so many people used them as mounts for portable waste tanks and bicycles and all manner of other things they were never ever designed to accommodate. 

In 2021 and 2022 you saw fewer and fewer RVs with ladders for a variety of reasons. One of those was the cost of meeting the newer standards. The other was the cost of spending time in court defending the RV company when, really, a ladder is not the place to mount things when the vehicle is in motion. 

So I, am seeing quite a few RVs now with a new ladder mount bracket which I first saw on Ember RVs. This Cherokee has that, too. It’s designed to support a portable folding ladder that Lippert sells. 

The advantage, from the RV company’s side of things, is that you can’t mount things on a ladder that is temporary and blame them for your own bad decision. However, you can still get on the roof if you buy the portable ladder that fits into the mount. 

Cool stuff in the Alpha Wolf 22SW-L

Another big change for this rig is the inclusion of a tankless water heater. That’s a big surprise to see in a more price-focused brand. But Cherokee has included it with this model. Oh, and they’ve used high-performance vent fans for years on these offerings. So, see? It can be done. 

The bathroom at the back of the Alpha Wolf 22SW-L spans the entire width of the space and really is a nice place to take care of bathroom stuff. I already mentioned the high-performance vent fan. The space around the toilet is sufficient for you to practically do your morning exercises while doing your morning business. 

And I think you might even be able to continue to see what your favorite sports team is doing if you, uh, forget to close the bathroom door but still have to pay the rent on those super spicy nachos you knew you shouldn’t have eaten anyway. Home run! Or touch down! (Depending.)

Boondocking and travel access

Last year when Cherokee went with 12-volt fridges, they also included something the company called a Juice Pack. It was a 50-watt solar panel on the roof. This is more of a battery tender than anything, quite frankly. A 12-volt fridge can chew through a lot more power than that tiny panel can deliver.

So, Cherokee doubled it for 2023. It’s better than nothing—but more would still be better. Fortunately, for those who do like boondocking, the charge system is rated to handle up to 500 watts. However, I’d double-check the wiring before I went that big.

Travel access to the bathroom and kitchen is just fine in the Alpha Wolf 22SW-L, but the slide does block the bedroom.

My conclusion

For the money, there’s a lot of value in the Cherokee Alpha Wolf 22SW-L. But this is also a really usable floor plan with some highlights, including the bedroom with a door and that large bathroom. 

Cherokee also doesn’t have floor furnace ducts—another bonus. 

While I try not to comment on style and decor much, I have been doing so much more recently just because I see a trend to really universally appealing interiors that are also quite stylish. Someone at Cherokee had chosen black cabinets with gold handles in the past and, well, I just didn’t like that one bit. Now they’ve gone much more warm and neutral, and I think it’s quite nice. 

The ice machine that comes with this trailer literally sold some Cherokees when I was selling trailers and it’s still here—smart. 

For all their pluses and surprising value features, this does use the lousy 16” oven, so that’s a bummer. There’s also carpet in the slide—which some of you like and others don’t. Lastly, there are two sewer tank connections. That, I definitely do not like. 

The Cherokee Alpha Wolf 22SW-L is a very appealing trailer and much more so when you look at the price. Incidentally, I saw these already being heavily discounted. Remember that I share the MSRP, not the price these typically sell for. The discounting that has always been part of the RV sales process but which disappeared during the COVID RV rush is absolutely back in force. 

So, a nice trailer with good features at a price that makes sense. 

More from Tony

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.

If you’re RV shopping here are some tips on RV shopping from a former RV salesperson—me!

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. He also works closely with a number of RV manufacturers to get an inside look at how things are done and is a brand ambassador for Rockwood Mini Lite with his wife, Peggy.

You can also check out his RV podcast with Peggy. 

These RV reviews are written based on information provided by the manufacturers along with our writer’s own research. They are based on information from a single unit and may not reflect your actual experience. Shop your RV and dealership carefully before making a buying decision. 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!



0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe to comments
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Steve H
6 months ago

Several good features, but the poor ones would make it a “no sale” for me. First, no access to the bed with the slide in means no overnight dry camping in a narrow Flying J RV parking space. Second, adding an 80″ mattress to the bed means I couldn’t get to the bathroom at 2:00 am without crawling across the foot of the bed. Might as well have an E-W queen since I would have to crawl over my wife anyway. I am 6’2″ and have been sleeping on the “camp side” of the bed for 54 years, so no 74″ queen or blocked access to that side of the bed would work at all!

Warren G
6 months ago

Really enjoy your reviews, Tony. As a CO resident we often stay at higher elevations where the temps can drop below freezing even in the summer. It would be great if you could include how colder weather ready units are in your reviews. Not worried about single digits, but we’ve encountered temps in the low 20’s, even in AZ in the winter.

Bob M
6 months ago

I like the ladder on back of the RV’s. Don’t need to lug a portable ladder, especially if it’s raining and I have to clean off the top of the slide. I was surprised Cherokee had the big fans in their Travel trailer. Looked at the CHEROKEE GREY WOLF 20RDSE, since it had the rear dinette. If wife would have liked it I might have went with the Black Label version. It had the on demand hot water heater. Wife didn’t like it because it didn’t have much storage space. At the RV show a salesman told me they have adequate solar. I informed them they don’t.

Sign up for the

RVtravel Newsletter

Sign up and receive 3 FREE RV Checklists: Set-Up, Take-Down and Packing List.