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.
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.
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