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RV Review: Coachmen Northern Spirit 2659BH bunkhouse, plus something different

This RV review is for the Coachmen Northern Spirit 2659BH, a bunkhouse travel trailer with some really unusual features that could make a difference. In fact, this may be a good choice for those who want a larger bunk model and who want to bring along some adventure gear. 

Polarizing

RV companies seem to want to do things that appeal to the widest number of shoppers, and I can’t blame them. But sometimes this means building things that are so mainstream that, well, they’re boring. At least one feature of the Spirit is so unique I’ve actually never seen it before. 

That feature is a dining stand, of sorts. It’s a tall cabinet with a solid surface top that matches the sink surfaces in the kitchen and the bathroom in both material and in height. That whole thing is mounted on a short pedestal, which is carpeted. 

The front of this cabinet features a cabinet door. Inside that cabinet are two loooooooong drawers on heavy-duty drawer slides. Four bar-height stools are included in this, so this is your prime dining place. You could use this for stand-up dining and food prep. The height is actually really good for the latter as you can swing over to the dining stand and continue chopping or whatnot. 

Counter space in the Northern Spirit is limited

This is doubly good because the counter space in the Northern Spirit is rather limited. True, there is a flip-up countertop extension—and that’s a welcome piece. But I betcha that that dining stand is going to be popular with whomever is saddled with KP. 

However, this could also help in that you elicit the help of other travelers to do a portion of the prep, as well. 

Sit down on that bar stool, Sonny, and chop these onions. Never mind the tears, and make sure all your fingers are still there when you’re done. 

Storage

What this trailer lacks in counter space it more than makes up for in cabinets and drawers. There’s a pantry on the rear wall of the trailer. But the entertainment center features a number of drawers along with space behind the TV for stuff. And don’t forget those two loooooooong drawers in the dining stand, plus assorted cabinets and drawers in the kitchen, which backs up to the bedroom. 

Bedroom storage in the Northern Spirit

There are a few features on this line that I think really set it apart. In the bedroom is something I think Coachmen does better than anybody else, and that’s under-bed storage organization. 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.

Morage Storage

There’s more storage to know about and that’s in the front pass-through where the entire front edge is a separate storage compartment with a door. 

On the opposite end of the trailer is a half-door and the lower bunk flips up so you could conceivably put a couple of bicycles or other larger pieces of gear back there. Coachmen was smart in that the latch for this door is below the surface of the bunk so the wee ones can’t just flip the door open for midnight camping adventures. 

More details regarding the Northern Spirit

There were a few other unique things about this model including the fact that the stabilizer jacks are at a 45° angle to the frame of the trailer which, I’m told, makes for a more stable trailer. This is a large trailer, so everything helps. 

Also helping are the axles, which are farther apart than average. We used to have another brand of trailer that also featured “spread axles.” The delivery folks who brought in the trailers really thought this helped make them more stable. 

Along with all that storage, the ceiling height in this trailer also contributes to the interior volume. The walls alone are at 6’9” in height. The center of the ceiling, which is arched, is even taller. 

Boondocking and travel access

I was surprised when I saw that the Northern Spirit is absolutely fully accessible with the slide room in. Usually these larger bunk models lose travel access to the bathroom or kitchen or something, but not here.

Holding tanks are pretty average in size, with 49 gallons of fresh water and 66 gray water capacity.

There is a 100-watt solar panel on the roof along with a 10-amp solar controller. This may be sufficient to compensate for the 12-volt fridge that’s standard.

In summary

There’s a lot I like about this, although I’m not totally sold on the dining stand. But I wonder what you think? 

Also, there were a couple of things I saw in this which may not be continued. There is carpeting on the base of the dining stand. You know—within the target range of kids having their meals. There’s also carpeting on the edge of the slide room, but this may change in future builds. 

Of course, there’s the usual cheap vent fan and small oven that I just don’t get in a trailer meant for larger groups. But, hey. It’s not like Coachmen is the only one doing this. Though just because everybody’s doing something doesn’t make it right. That’s what my mom told me. 

Overall an interesting unit, and I’m eagerly anticipating your comments on the dining stand. 

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.com 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 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!

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REVIEW OVERVIEW

Under-bed storage
Storage overall
Oven size
Vent fan

SUMMARY

The Coachmen Northern Spirit 2659BH offers a lot of interior storage options along with a truly unusual dining space in a larger bunkhouse travel trailer.

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Steve
7 months ago

For those who question this plan, Coachman has a nearly identical BH model that is 3′ shorter, but has a more conventional dinette in place of the sofa. For those who want both the sofa and dinette, there is another similar BH model that is 3′ !onger that has both. Inexplicably, all three models have exactly the same GVWR. Hard to believe that a TT that is 6′ shorter and has smaller tanks than another floorplan of the same brand can both have the same GVWR. Hope the shorter one has a really big CCC!

Vanessa Simmons
7 months ago

I removed my dinette and put in a folding counter height table with stools. I never used the dinette except to store stuff on and in. And so far, haven’t used this table yet either except when I was painting and making curtains as a work space. My CCC was/is so low I don’t’ need most of the storage space so the under-bench storage isn’t missed. In fact, my pantry and step in pantry are mostly empty. This unit has a LOT of storage but it doesn’t give the CCC which you wrote about a few editions ago.

Tommy Molnar
7 months ago

First off, I’m not a fan of refrigerators being in the slide. Just me, I guess. Next – I would love it if MY trailer had stools that I could use with our counter, but like THIS trailer, there is no room for knees under the countertop. You can’t get close enough to the counter to eat! Plus, I’m no fan of that under bed storage using drawers. The drawers take up space themselves which could be put to better use with your own storage solutions. Also, I think too many mfgs think outside kitchens are a must. I don’t see the point, but like my fridge comment, it’s just my opinion.

Roger Spalding
7 months ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

Coachmen should be commended for trying new approaches to old problems. This doesn’t mean they will work, and the table-bar stool combo seems a little fuzzy. Generally, I believe Coachmen is making solid progress. But, Coachmen freshwater tanks are universally too small. Along with length of the rig, the first piece of kit I look at is freshwater tank capacity. I never cared for hauling 4 or 5 extra five gallon jugs so my family and I can extend our boondocking-dry camping stay a couple of days. Tank size might be irrelevant to RV resort/Park campers who never use more than a few gallons of freshwater tank capacity because they hook up to city water upon arrival. Park camping has become anathema to many of us RVers as parks where we have been regular customers over the years now turn us away so they can exploit the newbies with gouging prices with overflowing lots. Gotta make hay while the sun shines, I know. But now, I tow a 5thW with a 81 gallon freshwater capacity for this reason, and have not stayed in a park in two years.

Snayte
7 months ago

I really like the bar height dining table. I prefer to get bar height seating when we eat out.
This would be good in a couples trailer but where do the little ones that will be using those bunks eat?

Juls
7 months ago

I know this thing about putting the kitchen on an inside wall is meant to be space saving but this one has many flaws. Definitely it’s a great idea to have floor plans to fit different lifestyles.

But this has sleeping space for 8, dining for 4 and only seating for 2. And though a huge TV is mounted in the big room, it isn’t viewable to the table or bunks – not even the kitchen has much view with people sitting at the counter. I guess with kids they can have bean bags on the floor. Maybe that should be included because it just seems to be missing a lot.

RV Review: Coachmen Northern Spirit 2659BH bunkhouse, plus something differentThe Coachmen Northern Spirit 2659BH offers a lot of interior storage options along with a truly unusual dining space in a larger bunkhouse travel trailer.

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