Northwood RV Factory Tour Answers Our Burning Questions

Seeing how our RV is made was just one reason to take a Northwood RV factory tour. Another was to get answers to burning questions about our rig, right from the source. 

The Northwood RV Factory Tour Settles It: Twice!

Northwood RV factory tour answers questions
Score one for me, one for him. The questions are answered.

Jim and I were glad we waited to take the Northwood RV factory tour until this year. It took us twelve years on the road to accumulate a short list of nagging questions we could never get answered from other RV owners.

When we arrived at the plant, we knew our tour guide could probably settle a couple of big arguments discussions that we’ve had since becoming RVers. He did.

Our Burning RV Question #1: How much snow can sit on our Arctic Fox roof before it falls in?

maximum amount of RV roof snow?
How much snow is too much on RV rooftops? Was this too much?

As snowbirds who fly south for winter, we do our best to avoid the white stuff. But sometimes despite our best efforts, we don’t fly away fast enough. It happens more than we like, because we enjoy being in Colorado so much, at least during spring and summer.

During those unfortunate times of cold, snowy days, I fretted over the weight of the snow on our rig. We never knew what an acceptable snow load is for our rig (assuming that all rigs have different roof load capacities). This unknown factor made me fret so much that I would get on the roof and brush it off as more kept falling. At times it felt like a dangerously losing battle. 

The Northwood factory tour was our chance to find out once and for all: how much snow can sit on RV roofs? Here’s what we learned:

  • There is no real certain snow level to watch out for. What you do want to pay attention to is the type of snow that’s falling.
  • Any amount of fluffy powder snow is probably OK.
  • But the hard packed, slushy snow should be brushed off as best you can.
  • The R18 ceiling insulation Northwood uses is plenty thick for retaining heat inside the rig, but the RV will be warmer if you can get snow off your roof. 
  • The roof will not cave in on a Northwood rig. Stop worrying if you own one. If you don’t, well . . .

Burning RV Question #2: Should RV slide-outs be retracted when leveling the RV?

Northwood Arctic Fox RV before slide-outs
Northwood Arctic Fox fifth wheels under construction are a beautiful sight.

A long time ago I read somewhere that if you extend your slides before leveling your RV, you can tweak the frame when you the jacks come down. This has been a hot topic of debate whenever Jim and I set up camp. Who best to settle it than the Northwood rep himself? Here’s what he said:

  • Northwood’s aluminum frame superstructure can withstand a lot of tweaking, much more than wood frames used on less expensive rigs.
  • Having the slide out without levelers down is not a concern.
  • But he recommended leaving the slide in until levelers are down, should you choose to use them. And then, retracting the slide before putting the levelers back up.

One final interesting thing we learned at the Northwood factory tour also involved slide outs. We asked the rep:

Are slide outs with appliances a bad thing? How can plumbing and wiring withstand so much movement?

Northwood Arctic Fox RV with new slide-outs
New slide-outs get installed in Arctic Fox units.

For years Jim and I assumed that any slide out with appliances installed inside them would be cause for concern. What if a wire got kinked? Or a plumbing line bent? But according to the Northwood rep, there’s nothing to worry about. “Maybe in the old days,” he said, but now modern RV slide outs with appliances are designed with moving parts in mind. 

Like I said, it pays to visit your RV manufacturer’s plant. You’ll learn more about your rig and put incorrect assumptions at rest. It will make you a much smarter RVer by the time you leave, and you can stop bickering with your partner. It’s a win-win for everyone!

2 thoughts on “Northwood RV Factory Tour Answers Our Burning Questions”

  1. Thanks for this post Rene! I had the same burning question about slides v leveling first because the manual to our new to us 2006 AF says to level first before putting out slides. However, as usual, an internet search provides results all over the map on this subject because the answer seems to vary in part by manufacturer. It is good to know we have some leeway with the AF aluminum superstructure!


Leave a Comment