Northwood’s smallest Arctic Fox fifth-wheel is four-season-friendly and loaded with some surprising features
With a reference to one of the coldest regions on earth in its name, the 2016 Northwood Arctic Fox Silver Fox Edition 27-5L was destined to be a four-season-capable fifth-wheel. In fact, Northwood is one of the industry’s leading manufacturers of RVs for camping in northern climates. Weather plays a big role at the company’s manufacturing location in La Grande, Oregon, where average high temperatures top out in the 30s in December and January, and employees know how to keep out the cold.
Northwood prides itself on the integrity of the foundation of its trailers, starting with a proprietary chassis certified by Pacific West Associates and more than capable of supporting the solid aluminum frame, which utilizes .060 to .125-inch-thick wall aluminum tubing. Beneath the stout chassis are Goodyear tires mounted on 16-inch aluminum rims, and there’s a shock absorber at each wheel. Mounted to the frame using maximum-strength components are the spare-tire carrier, entry step and electric stabilizing jacks, along with 12-volt DC landing jacks and a standard MORryde rubber pin box.
Blending into the pin box is an aerodynamic fiberglass front cap with flush LED lights and radius corners. Below the cap, a diamond-plate rock guard runs the full width of the front storage compartment, which is conveniently prewired and prepped for a generator install. The rest of the body is assembled with the stringent standards used throughout the build process. High-density walls and roof with one-piece skins are constructed with top-tier lamination procedures, and the roof is capped with a heavy-gauge membrane over bowed trusses, which promotes moisture runoff and allows for an arched cathedral ceiling.
Integrated into the side-wall construction are exterior speakers, deep-tint windows, a convenience center, a Carefree Travel’r electric awning with an LED light strip, and a number of sizable storage compartments. Compartment doors are 1-inch thick and secured by slam latches.
Inside, the 27-5L has the feel of a small luxury apartment with a wide-open layout and ample floor space, despite the fifth-wheel’s less-than-30-foot length. The living and dining area is well executed and aesthetically pleasing, with a substantial slideout that is packed with an extremely comfy hide-a-bed couch and a pedestal table with four padded dining chairs.
Across from the couch and next to the entry door is the entertainment center with a 32-inch LED smart TV and an AM/FM/DVD/CD stereo system supporting Bluetooth, plus storage compartments and command switches for items like the awning and lights. Clearly, more than a little thought went into this all-in-one cabinet than simply providing a place to hang a TV. A small coat closet tucked behind the entertainment center is ideal for leaving keys and jackets on a user-friendly sliding rack.
An interesting feature that changes the look and feel of the living area is the freestanding swivel rocker in front of the couch. The jury is still out on this option. Although the rocker offers another comfortable place to sit, it occupies valuable real estate.
The rear kitchen extends from the entertainment center to the back of the fifth-wheel. Well-placed corner cabinets add extensive storage that’s easy to access. An 8-cubic-foot refrigerator with raised-panel doors stands next to the 1.5-cubic-foot convection microwave, the high-output three-burner range and a 22-inch oven with three racks rather than the usual two. Between the two appliances is a practical and appealing custom backsplash.
A pair of dual-pane-glass windows and a skylight in the kitchen let in a generous amount of natural light, warding off any closed-in feeling because of the limited space. A deep stainless-steel double sink with a pullout faucet and solid-surface counters stretch out below the window, and a full-height pantry with extensive shelving handles generous portions of foodstuffs. Three very deep drawers are ideal for big pots and pans or hefty quantities of large utensils. The ceiling fan is a welcome touch and is not commonly found in fifth-wheels of this size.
Up front, two doors at the top of the stairs include one with a frosted-glass inlay that leads to the master bedroom. Opening the door reveals a fully loaded suite with a wardrobe/linen closet slideout and a set of matching nightstands and LED lamps flanking the queen-size TruRest pillow-top mattress. At the foot of the bed are all the usual connections for a TV.
The second door leads to a spacious pass-through bathroom with some really nice amenities and master-bedroom access through yet another door. For a homelike feel, the bathroom has a porcelain toilet and a tub/shower combo with a frosted-glass enclosure — no dealing with a small tub or oversize curtains. Adding to the amenities are LED fixtures and the typical roof vent with a fan. The bathroom contains a mirror above the corner sink plus a lighted, telescoping magnification mirror.
Everything about this fifth-wheel suggests quality, down to the smallest details, like coiled slideout wires to prevent damage and promote longevity. In keeping with Northwood’s commitment to provide robust self-containment features, the 27-5L comes with an 82-gallon freshwater tank, a 65-gallon black-water tank, 67- and 35-gallon gray-water tanks, and twin 10-gallon LP-gas cylinders (instead of the usual 7 gallons), plus a quick-coupler propane bib for connecting LP-gas accessories.
It’s this attention to detail that proves Northwood’s commitment to its “Absolute” quality construction and why you can expect the unexpected, even from the company’s smallest fifth-wheel.
Northwood Manufacturing | 800-766-6274 | www.northwoodmfg.com