Wednesday, November 29, 2023


RV Review: Coachmen Northern Spirit 2557RB—great variation on a popular theme

Not everybody is looking for the most innovative, unusual or different RVs. Popular is popular for a reason. But then, if you do something that’s more common, how do you stand out from the crowd? If you’re Coachmen RV, they’ve done quite a bit with their Coachmen Northern Spirit 2557RB travel trailer.

Coachmen Northern Spirit

Designed to be a lightweight offering, Coachmen’s Spirit and Northern Spirit models are built with laminated construction using Azdel substrate and aluminum framing. In fact, you can see the framing for the bed in the pass-through baggage compartment. 

While this kind of construction isn’t unusual in side walls, it is in floors. The flooring on these is also a laminated aluminum-framed floor structure. I’ve talked to a few dealer friends about this and they all report that they haven’t had issues with this in Coachmen products. But I am very, very wary of laminated floors, having experienced a complete failure in one.

In fact, there are a few videos on YouTube of flooring issues with laminate flooring, but not all laminate flooring is the same. 

Features that set the Northern Spirit apart

There are a few features on this line that I think really set it apart. The first of those is the under-bed storage compartments. While most travel trailers with walk-around queen beds feature a big open space under the bed as storage, Coachmen has two cabinets there. 

On the camp side cabinet are six cubbies, which would be perfect for shoes. There is netting on the upper cabinets and a stile on the lower cabinets to keep things in place. It’s a brilliant use of space. 

A portion of the top of the camp-side under-bed cabinet features a square foam “Teddy Bear” cushion. I imagine that would be the perfect place to put on those shoes from those compartments. Next to that cushion is a well and, when the bed is down, this makes for a compartment which might work for some clothes. 

On the road side is a well that runs the entire length of the cabinet and then four drawers. Forward of those drawers is an open space. Coachmen includes a laundry basket that tucks in here nicely. 

Lastly, at the front of it all is another netted storage bag. I love this. 

More hidden storage

But there is another hidden storage compartment in this trailer that’s absolutely worth noting. 

In the main living space there is an “L”-shaped kitchen including a refrigerator and then, beyond that, a TV and some cabinets. But if you’re vigilant you’ll see a catch by the fridge. That allows you to swing this entire section open, revealing a very large storage area that could be used as a pantry. 

Heck, you could almost use this as a safe room—although it’s not that well hidden. I mean, you don’t have to move a painting a certain way and stand on one foot to find that latch. But it’s still nifty. 

And even more hidden storage in the Northern Spirit

Another cool hidden storage feature is in the front pass-through baggage compartment. There you’ll find a drop-down door that goes the full width of the compartment. 

Folks, this is not, I repeat, not for your stinky Slinky. This is there for something like fishing poles or lantern poles or ski poles or skinny barbershop poles. But it is cool that someone at Coachmen went fishing and thought, hey, I could make a really slick place to keep my fishing pole. 

And think of this. Your spouse, knowing that the fishing poles are in there, probably won’t go taking inventory of how many are there. You could very easily slip that fancy new pole in there and tell them that it’s been there from the beginning. 

One more hidden or useful thing. There is a slot above the kitchen sink where you can stow the covers for that sink. Usually these are in the way when they’re not covering the sink but here they get stowed and are out of the way. Slick. 

What’s not in the Northern Spirit

There are a few things I wasn’t overly fond of in this trailer. The smaller kitchen space is as good a place to start with as any. Yeah, yeah. There’s a flip-up counter. But this isn’t such a large kitchen and the little 17” oven exacerbates that. 

On the subject of cooking, there is a two-burner outside stove, but it’s on a drawer slide. When in use, the lid for the stove completely blocks access to the bar-sized fridge that’s out here. This could have been put on a swinging arm instead, which would have solved this issue. 

Boondocking and road access

You can forget going into the bedroom in this trailer if the slide room is in. The slide completely blocks the bedroom. Other than that, though, the rest of the trailer remains usable. So you could stock up the fridge or take care of the remnants of taco and tequila Tuesday.

Holding tank capacities are about average on this. It comes with a 100-watt solar panel, although that may be just enough to keep the battery from going dead when this is in storage. If you’re truly wanting to be off-grid, you’re going to have to step up the power or get a generator.

In summary

The number of hidden and useful storage compartments in this trailer really sets it apart from others with this floor plan. Further, the bathroom takes up the entire width of the back of the trailer and it’s absolutely huge. There is more than enough space in there and a large shower plus the higher-than-average ceiling. This whole trailer is rather spacious. Add to that the fact that the bed is a true queen-sized model and you’ve got a good choice for some taller travelers. 

There is also a pet tie-out outside. There’s one more little hidden gem—a drawer at the bottom of the dinette that has pet dishes in it. 

Great use of space and storage organization

I love the use of space and the organizing of the storage on this trailer. It’s really one of the better examples I’ve seen, and I’ve seen a lot of trailers! 

The kitchen isn’t the best, but some folks just don’t care about this. Overall, there’s a lot to like. I would certainly recommend looking at this offering if you’re looking for a trailer with this general floor plan. 

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 RVTravel having worked at an RV dealership and been a life long 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!



Under-bed storage
Creative storage throughout
Huge bathroom
Average kitchen


Coachmen's Northern Spirit 2557RB is a really interesting twist on a popular floor plan.
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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Rob Adams (@guest_188882)
1 year ago

This is a fantastic trailer. Has everything we want in an ultra light. We primarily cook over the fire so the smaller kitchen is not important. The large bathroom is a bonus even though we typically use the shower houses because I like to take long showers ha! Great bedroom with crazy storage underneath. Cozy living space with light colors and taller ceiling really make it feel larger than normal. Has a few minor cosmetic details to touch up but nothing this handy guy cant do. We travel a lot and coming from a Keystone Passport this is a major upgrade. Hats off to Coachmen for a wonderful addition to their stout lineup.

jillie (@guest_165936)
1 year ago

I love it. Wish it had a gvwr of around 3500 or 4000. I saw one that had a bed on one end and in the middle had the bathroom and across from it the kitchen and on the other end a sofa and table across from eachother. Can’t find it any where but if that gvwr had a tow rating under 4k I would be most interested in buying it. But sadly its like it disappeared from the radar. O well. This trailer is what I want but smaller. Thanks for the ideas.

TexasScout (@guest_165821)
1 year ago

believe it or not, I would forgo the closet to get back 2 feet of counter prep space in the kitchen area.

Tommy Molnar (@guest_165776)
1 year ago

As mentioned, not a lot of food prep space. If you’re already cooking on the stove you must now reach over the fire to get to that area to the right of the sink. The large door that opens to the pantry/closet behind the entertainment center would worry me. The weight of this door bouncing down the road would certainly test the integrity of the hinges. No shelves in the kitchen cabinets would require adding some yourself. I wonder if salespeople tell potential buyers that the outside fridge requires 120 ac. Blue LED’s outside at night are hard on the eyes. Red would be much better, but red lights have a rather negative connotation – ahem.

Leslie Schofield (@guest_165761)
1 year ago

i have never understood the pull out pet stations. People would be tripping over them if left out when pet isn’t eating and if put away after pet eats it has no access to water.

Snayte (@guest_165803)
1 year ago

Yeah I have thought the same thing and I do not even have a pet.

Coachmen's Northern Spirit 2557RB is a really interesting twist on a popular floor plan. RV Review: Coachmen Northern Spirit 2557RB—great variation on a popular theme

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