Saturday, September 30, 2023


RV Review: Coachmen Northern Spirit 2252MD

Today’s review is of the Coachmen Northern Spirit 2252MD, a floor plan we’ve seen before in the Grand Design Imagine XLS 22MLE and the Keystone Cougar 22MLS. In fact, the Cougar was one of the RVs high on our list as we navigated through the sea of rigs available while we shopped for our next rig. 

I wonder if things would have been different had I seen the Northern Spirit earlier? 


One of the jokes in the RV industry centers around R&D. You might think of this as research and development but, for RVs, it’s more like Ripoff and Duplicate. I don’t mean this in a negative term, but you’ll see when one RV company comes out with a floor plan and it sells well, it doesn’t take long for others to have the same idea. 

This is funny, to me, because Thor and Forest River are both big companies but both also encourage their divisions to innovate and compete and challenge one another. I know Forest River, for example, has internal quality challenges and awards brands that perform best within their categories. 

So when Grand Design and then Cougar came out with this and sold them like there was no tomorrow, it was only a matter of time before others did so, too. 

But I will say, categorically, that this Northern Spirit 2252MD is now my favorite in this floor plan. Why? 

Coachmen Northern Spirit 2252MD

First of all, I’ve seen Coachmen do some nifty things under the bed with storage and cubbies. This one features six shoe garages on the camp side along with a reinforced seat where you can put on those shoes. 

Under the bed on the road side are four drawers and an open area. Inside that open area Coachmen includes a laundry basket. But you could use this space for a pet bed, as well. There are also motion lights under the bed and at the foot of the bed. That is something my wife and I have put into our camper after market, but it’s nice that they’re built-in here. 

Further, the bedroom has individual puck reading lights over the bed and no windshield. Let’s all take a moment to do a happy dance. There is also a switch here to turn some of the main lights on and off. Little details like this will just make a big difference over time. 


Seating options on the camp side are either a jackknife sofa or theater seats. But the jackknife sofa also sports flip-up foot rests, sort of like a recliner, without the whole reclining business. To me the choice of theater seats or a couch is usually pretty obvious. But here I’d want to try them both.

I also really like the kitchen in here with an “L”-shaped counter that provides a lot of surface area.

Coachmen puts the stove, which has the unfortunate 16” oven, in the slide, leaving lots of counter space at the back. On top of this there are drawers and cabinets galore. So you have plenty of storage for food and the things you’ll need to prepare it.

I also like the bathroom in this, which has a rather large shower. The toilet is a bit cramped, but not so much so that all the government paperwork can’t be accomplished even by folks my size.

Storage in the Northern Spirit 2252MD

Not only is there plenty of storage inside this camper, but there is no outdoor kitchen to take away from storage either. Further, the front pass-through has a brilliant full-width cabinet that would be great for things like fishing poles or to hold your lanterns and such.

Super size me

Another thing that’s nice in here is that larger campers can enjoy this rig. The sidewalls are 6’9” tall and the ceiling is vaulted so it’s even taller in the middle. Further, the mattress is a proper queen-sized affair.

More details on the Northern Spirit 2252MD

Coachmen includes a digital level with this that also has a bubble level on it. But you can use your phone to check the level of the trailer. Nice touch!

This is also built with Azdel substrates on both inner and outer walls—also a plus. And the axles are spread a bit further apart to make towing a better experience.

Boondocking and travel access

As if the attention to detail on this rig weren’t enough, another big plus is that it’s fully accessible in travel mode. You can easily get to everything in here with the slide in.

In summary

If you haven’t gathered by now, know that I really like this floor plan. It offers a lot of storage and great usability in a space that’s not too large. 

But, even better, the little things that demonstrate attention to detail are what really make me smile. 

The only two things I didn’t like were the obvious 16” oven, and there is but one low-performance fan and that’s in the bathroom. I would like to see another vent over the bed. But I like there to be a breeze on me while I sleep, and those high-performance fans really do well. In this case there isn’t a vent over the bed. Oh, well. 

Still, with so many positive details and such attention to detail, this might be one of my favorite rigs in this category. 

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 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 hereat StressLessCamping and in several other places.

You can also check out his RV podcast with his wife, 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!


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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Steve H
1 year ago

Tony, does that length include the A-frame and bumper? Seems to have an awful lot of “stuff” in it to total only 27′ from ball to bumper.

I agree that the REAL queen bed, theater-seat option, and no windshield or outdoor kitchen are great selling points. And, if it had a table and chairs option instead of a booth dinette, you could easily convert the eating space to an office space. It looks like a terrific couples trailer for those who can work remotely, but we would need more separation between the bedroom and living room for our RVing lifestyle.

1 year ago

I watched “Josh the RV Nerd’s” review of this towable. I like it a LOT. For a “couples” trailer, this one ticks all my boxes.

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