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RV Review: 2023 Keystone Cougar 22MLS—a better favorite

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Today’s RV review looks at one of my favorite couple’s campers out there—the Keystone Cougar 22MLS. We’ve looked at this rig in the past and I looked very seriously at it when we were shopping for our own RV. In fact, there was a time I thought this is the direction we would go, but we stuck with Rockwood for a number of reasons. 

New and improved for 2023

To be quite honest, there are not a huge number of changes to this floor plan. But the changes they did make are substantial in an RVer’s experience. 

The first of those changes is something I’m really happy to see in the Cougar line—the fact that Goodyear Endurance tires are now standard across the board. 

I had the opportunity to go through one of the big tire suppliers to the RV industry and the volume of tires in there was incredible. But there is no convincing me that the typical tires mounted to travel trailers are all that good. The fact that there are plenty of people who post pictures of their spare literally exploding or failing without ever seeing the first mile is enough for me. 

So, as of this writing, I would primarily use Goodyear Endurance tires on anything towable. Period. Glad to see Cougar has joined me in this sentiment. 

The next thing that is a big change is in the department of stupid things husbands say. You know, the things that get us into hot water.

Cougar now offers tankless water heaters standard

To that end Cougar now offers a tankless water heater as standard equipment. These things are nifty for a number of reasons. Those include the fact that you get continuous hot water so long as you have cold water, propane and a wee bit of electricity. The electricity is there to operate the circuit board, essentially. The propane provides the hot, and the water, well, is there to provide the water. 

But these are also a safety item to my way of thinking. RV water heaters generally heat the water to 140° F, with the thinking that you’re going to only have six gallons of hot water but mix in a lot of cold water. This does make sense. 

But if you get a junior camper or someone not familiar with RVs, they can actually scald themselves if they only open a hot tap. With the Furrion tankless water heater, you can set the temperature such that you only need to turn on the hot tap if that’s your preference. A digital control panel lets you choose whatever temp your hot water is. 

Keystone Cougar 22MLS is the same as it ever was

The rest of the trailer remains intact—but that’s not a bad thing at all. Cougar certifies their trailers for 0° F – 100° F camping. So, they’re well insulated and designed for those temperature extremes. Many campers are concerned about being able to camp all four seasons and, depending on where you camp, this would work. 

Speaking of seasons, Cougar’s warranty also covers full-time use. You might wonder how many campers would live full time in a trailer of this size. But I lived in my own trailer with my wife for almost five months while we house shopped and traveled all over the place. 

On the subject of size, the Keystone Cougar 22MLS is one of the few Cougar offerings that isn’t available with an automatic leveling system. But, frankly, I wouldn’t want one anyway. Using wedge levelers, a travel trailer is so easy to level. I handled too many warranties on automatic leveling systems to have any interest in them. It does have power stabilizer jacks, though. 

Allergy season

On the subject of seasons, one of the seasons many RV companies don’t talk about is allergy season. Any of us who suffer from pollen allergies can attest to this being a legitimate season. To that end, another Keystone advantage is their Blade Pure™ air conditioning system. 

The company has developed their own air handling vents and air intake for the air conditioning. It incorporates a residential air filter to help alleviate those airborne annoyances. I also like that Keystone utilized a standard-size air filter so you can just replace this at any hardware store. 

There are a lot of features like this incorporated into the Cougar line. This is definitely a brand whose products I like quite a bit. Another feature that has proven itself over a few years is Keystone’s HyperDeck™ flooring. This is a laminated flooring product exclusive to Keystone that is not damaged by water. 

Anyone who’s restored a vintage trailer can likely attest to the fact that the plywood decking that makes up the floor is something you’re most likely going to have to replace. I like this idea. 

Boondocking and travel access in the Keystone Cougar 22MLS

I was surprised to see that the 2023 Keystone Cougar 22MLS is fully accessible with the slide in. You can get to the bathroom, which is all the way at the back of the trailer, and the kitchen. There’s a place to dine over on the camp side of this trailer that’s not in the slide, so you have a place for a roadside meal on the way to your destination. 

As for boondocking, Keystone has a lot of leadership there, too. The standard solar on this is 200 watts. That may be enough to compensate for the consumption of the 12-volt fridge. Maybe. But there are also 400- and 600-watt configurations available straight from the factory. These upgraded systems, part of Keystone’s SolarFlex™ package, also come with inverters. Still, the base package does have outlets wired for an inverter, if you plan to use one, and features high-quality components. 

Lastly, there is 54 gallons of fresh water storage on this trailer, which is a good number. 

Conclusions

One of the things I am bugged by in the RV industry is the shrinking number of camp-side windows. I know windows are pricey as can be but, doggone it, give me windows or give me darkness. 

Wait. Never mind. 

The point is, the 2023 Keystone Cougar 22MLS does have camp-side windows, including one in the door with a shade included. That’s how it’s supposed to be. 

There’s also a larger oven in here. Again, if you’re going to include an oven, put one in that actually is usable—as is done here. 

Of course, no RV is perfect. But you can spot when an RV company isn’t just building to a checklist, but is listening to the owners. There aren’t really huge changes to this model, but the changes that exist are worthwhile improvements to a floor plan I already liked quite a bit. 

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!

##RVDT1957

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Tommy Molnar
2 months ago

Do you know if when they are listing fresh water capacity, they include the water heater? Our trailer lists our fresh capacity as 50 gallons. We have a 10 gallon water heater so does that mean we have 60 gallons of fresh? I’m not a fan of slides with stoves and reefers in them. It just seems like a lot of weight to slide out there. And also not a fan of those fold-up stairs.

But I DO like all the solar options that Keystone has available. Saves having to go to Quartzsite for professional installation.

Pat
2 months ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

Tankless water heater included in this trailer as reviewed, so fresh water capacity is EXACTLY as listed in the specs in the review.

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