The Arctic Fox 22H Trailer
Tom Kaiser, Managing Editor
January 8, 2013
Filed under Trailer Reviews
It’s easy to get carried away by the glitz and flash of high-end models with their dream-house-like features and multiple slideouts. But that’s not in everybody’s budget, nor is it on everyone’s wish list. For some, traveling in a right-size rig with the features you want, without compromising on interior comfort, strikes a balance between space, ease of towing, perceived quality and price. The 24-foot Artic Fox 22H perfectly fits that bill.
Built by Northwood Manufacturing, the 22H is designed for four-season travel and has the advantage of an 8-foot, 6-inch-wide body. The trailer is built on a proprietary chassis with a heavy-duty suspension earmarked for occasional off-pavement fun. The exterior is clad in fiberglass with an attractive fiberglass front cap.
A functional floorplan places the 54-by-80-inch master bed up front, followed by a convertible jackknife sofa that faces the galley and four-person curbside dinette. A spacious bathroom occupies the rear of the trailer, with a fair-sized, rectangular shower, plastic commode and large storage cabinet that was useful for storing a three-day supply of clothing and accessories.
Other niceties included a spacious Norcold fridge and freezer, three-burner stove with oven, ducted heat and roof-mounted air conditioning, power awning, tinted windows with nightshades, lots of accent lighting and an entertainment center with zoned interior and exterior speakers.
Best of all, perceived quality throughout the trailer is high, while the design and material selection is tasteful— very appreciated in a smaller trailer like the 24-foot Arctic Fox.
Beyond what meets the eye, our test 22H was equipped with Northwood’s Arctic Package making it four-season ready. The holding tanks on these models are fully insulated, with warm air circulation to ward off freezing, and several different types of insulation are employed to hold in the warmth or fend it off, depending on conditions.
Other quality features include a bonded roof that improves load distribution, solid wood cabinetry that’s structurally integrated to the walls and ceiling via 1/8-inch-thick aluminum tubing.
Setting Up Shop
Our destination was a popular Midwestern state park filled to the brim with a holiday crowd. A packed parking lot across from our site gave us minimal room to maneuver; yet it was easy to back this compact dual-axle trailer into the site. Once we were plugged in and the propane was flowing, we set about turning this trailer into a home.
The interior layout is a typical compact-trailer design, with the entry leading directly into the galley, which draws in sunlight through an overhead skylight with a retracting shade. The streetside galley is compact, with no room for a dedicated pantry, trash cabinet or spice rack, yet the under-sink drawers provided enough space for utensils and cooking supplies, and the overhead cabinets were adequate for all of our dry foods, games, clothes and various other knickknacks. All told, we almost completely filled the available storage, with a smidgen of space to spare.
Wood-framed cabinets with solid-wood cabinet doors feature a rich finish providing a posh air to the galley, and shiny black appliances and a satin-finish faucet accented the warm-looking cabinetry. The simulated stovetop backsplash was just a sticker, so it may not withstand the traumas of heat, oil-soaked splatter and cooking moisture.
A fold-up counter extension to the right of the dual-basin sink added valuable counter space for food prep, which otherwise might be in short supply for some cooks. We prepared meals next to the sink and on the collapsible, granite-looking dining room table. Rolling up corncobs and cutting up steaks for shish kabobs proved it wasn’t the perfect chef’s surface for us, as the table didn’t lock solidly and wiggled in its tracks while cutting. This was one minor quibble in an otherwise pleasant galley.
Abundant overhead and under-cabinet lighting, along with the sizable windows, kept the kitchen well lit during the daylight hours and well ventilated. We also appreciated the full-size microwave, lighted and ventilated range hood, the stovetop-oven combination and large refrigerator that gave us the flexibility to cook whatever we wanted, and cold storage space so we weren’t running to the grocery store to re-stock throughout the trip.
A Jensen TV/DVD/stereo combination with iPod connectivity provided interior entertainment linked to dual-zone overhead speakers, ideal when the busy chef listened to music or watched TV while guests caught up on their magazines.
When nature calls, the Arctic Fox 22H has an airy rear bath for guests with more room than most similarly sized trailers. Front and center is a plastic, single-basin sink with storage below. Above the small wallpaper backsplash, a mirrored medicine cabinet is large enough to store most toiletries a group of two or three adults would require. If that’s not enough, the floor-to-ceiling curbside cabinet functions as an armoire, and held towels, spare clothes and beach wear.
The elongated, 24-by-46-inch (62 inches tall) shower had gritty flooring for traction, a tasteful pattern of full-wall simulated-tile pattern embossed into the ABS shower/tub, and a small square skylight above that provided bonus headroom for the tallest occupant. Although not a huge spread, overall the shower and bathroom were surprisingly inviting, functional and reasonably spacious. A ceiling vent would’ve helped expel odors and post-shower humidity, although the small window by the plastic commode did allow breezes to pass through.
Once the lights were out, the 54-by-80-inch master bed provided a comfortable sleeping area flanked by accenting spotlights, front storage cabinets – there were two against the ceiling and a skinny wardrobe at the foot of the bed — as well as opposing windows and an overhead Fan-Tastic vent that was powerful enough to move fresh air throughout the trailer. The mattress was comfortable, and space at the foot of the bed allowed sleepers to make late-night fridge runs and bathroom breaks without disturbing the other.
The fold-down couch provides an auxiliary sleeping area, and an exterior storage bin beneath. Set up as a bed, it was shorter than desired to provide an ideal night’s rest for an adult, but it would be adequate as an occasional spare bed for two young children.
Several exterior features enhanced the fun while hanging out in the campsite and beside the fire. Three ample storage bays (including two full pass-through spaces) provided far more space than needed for dirty or cumbersome items like tools, firewood, lawn chairs, beach towels and water toys.
Additional exterior goodies included stylish alloy wheels, front floodlights, a power awning, automatic propane cylinder switchover and sharp-looking LED taillights.
Throughout our weekend stay in the Arctic Fox, it became clear to us just how successful Northwood has become in building a comfortable, functional and high-quality compact travel trailer. At this size range, combining four-season capability, some unexpected features and a little room to spare with pleasing materials and finishes makes the 22H a high-value travel trailer at a reasonable cost that should place it on any couple’s new trailer shopping list.
Exterior Length: 23′ 10″
Exterior Width: 8′ 6″
Exterior Height: 10′ 2″
Interior Width: 8′
Construction: Proprietary Chassis, laminated aluminum superstructure wall containing block foam insulation, 5/8-inch tongue and groove plywood floor, 3/8-inch plywood roof decking, wood truss roof construction
Freshwater Cap: 46 gal.
Gray-Water Cap: 41 gal.
Black-Water Cap: 35 gal.
LP-Gas Cap: 15 gal.
Water Heater Cap: 6 gal.
Refrigerator: 8 cu ft
Furnace: 25,000 Btu
Air Conditioner: 13,500 Btu
Converter: 45 amps
Battery Dual: 12-volt (optional)
Suspension: Shock absorber
Weight: (freshwater, water heater, LP-gas full; no cargo): 5,620 lb.
Hitch Weight: 595 lb.
Axle Weight: 4,455 lb.
GVWR: 7,500 lb.
GAWR: 4,455 lb.
Cargo Carrying Capacity: 2,450 lb.
Base MSRP: $28,724
As-Tested MSRP: $31,766
Basic Warranty: 1 year limited