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Old 03-06-2014, 03:06 PM   #1
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Clipper 17BH vs 16B

Hello everyone, this is my first post in this forum. My husband and I are looking at small travel trailers with the hopes of buying one this spring. We have been tent campers but with small children, a bathroom and a fast camp option is appealing (we used to enjoy puttering around and putting up/out all our gear - they don't have the same patience!!). We have looked at Jayco 16V, Jayco 197, Clipper 17BH and Clipper 16B. We like each one for different reasons.

My husband is worried about feeling cramped but I'm not (I keep reminding him that I am looking at this as a tent replacement - only with a bathroom and more comfortable beds!).

He likes the 17BH but I think what is holding him back on that one is the low CCC (cargo carrying capacity) - it's just 791 lbs. Once you fill the fresh water tank (we don't camp at full service sites...just hydro), we are worried that it doesn't leave much for everything else. I'm not so excited about moving all our gear from the truck to the trailer each time we set up camp. It would be nice to keep all the kitchen supplies, food, bedding etc. in there and just hook up and go!

Anyone have experience with different cargo capacities and how much is needed for a family of four (2 adults, 7 yo and 4 yo)?

Thanks in advance for your comments/suggestions!!
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Old 03-06-2014, 03:15 PM   #2
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You say that our sites have water available- does that mean that you would travel with or without water on the way to/from the campground? Once you're parked, the weight limits stop mattering. They're there as guidelines for traveling.

Any options that are ordered with the camper come off of that 781 pounds. Though, I just quickly checked 3 for sale on Google that had their yellow sticker advertised and most of them were 725 pounds of cargo carrying capacity and above.
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Old 03-06-2014, 03:20 PM   #3
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me and my wife just got a coachmen clipper 15rb with the front bed option so we have a fold out bed in back and front and the table lets down into a bed so we have more floor space I looked at the ones you all are lookin at liked them too the 15rb with the option of a front fold out bed just won out for us but we only have one child hes 5 my ccc is a little more I will check and post it
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Old 03-06-2014, 03:25 PM   #4
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me and my wife just got a coachmen clipper 15rb with the front bed option so we have a fold out bed in back and front and the table lets down into a bed so we have more floor space I looked at the ones you all are lookin at liked them too the 15rb with the option of a front fold out bed just won out for us but we only have one child hes 5 my ccc is a little more I will check and post it
Per the specs, your CCC is 900 lbs.:
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Old 03-06-2014, 03:45 PM   #5
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If I were you I'd be looking really hard at the Vibe 6504. Double the carrying capacity and a really neat floor plan, IMO. 60 gallon grey capacity is a HUGE plus also.

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Old 03-06-2014, 04:32 PM   #6
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Vibe is a great suggestion. I think is an upgrade from the ones you have listed certainly from a carrying capacity standpoint. Only reason we didn't get one was we thought it was tight on the inside and didn't care for the rear bed configuration. They are a bit pricy but better quality.
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Old 03-06-2014, 05:09 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by eltada View Post

Anyone have experience with different cargo capacities and how much is needed for a family of four (2 adults, 7 yo and 4 yo)?

Thanks in advance for your comments/suggestions!!
Most small trailers suffer in the cargo capacity department. Manufacturers are trying to make them towable by minivans and small SUV's.

The actual weight of the camper when it leaves the factory will be heavier than the brochure or website listing because of options (or as they like to list them mandatory options). The "yellow sticker" on the unit will tell you what it truly weighs. Then you have a battery, propane, any water you might have in the tanks, and the weight of your hitch itself. Even on small trailer, this might be 300lbs or more.

Then you get to your stuff - this varies greatly, but food, clothes, chairs, firewood, a toolbox, kids toys, bikes, a grill, pots & pans and the other household stuff can add up.

Just for a reference point, we transfered everything out of our popup into our new 23ft trailer. When I actually emptied that popup in the yard, I couldn't believe how much stuff came out of there. And with the new trailer we did add a few things and the kitchen is bigger, so more food & other stuff. We weighed the new camper and had about 900 lbs beyond the yellow sticker weight.

With the popup we played the game of keeping the outdoor gear, beverages, and bikes in the tow vehicle to keep the trailer weight down.

One of the big convienience factors with a trailer is you pack everything ahead of time, and it stays there ready to go. Having at least 400 to 500 lbs of ccc available after you get the basics (propane, battery, a few gallons of fresh water to flush the toilet while on the road) seems like a place to start. If you have more than that, you probably won't have any trouble using it up.

You didn't mention what your tow vehicle is. How much you can tow is going to be a big factor in the decision. But your initial thought to question the ccc is right on the money - its a major consideration with smaller trailers (and some bigger ones too).

Good luck in the search
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Old 03-06-2014, 05:20 PM   #8
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Thanks for the fast responses! The price is certainly something that might hold us back - the Clippers are between $6K-8K cheaper. I am also seeing conflicting reports on the cargo capacity - 511lbs was mentioned in more than one spot online...though I guess the manufacturer's website would certainly be right? right? The layout is quite interesting though and it would accomodate Nana if she chose to coming camping with us once a year.

In regards to the tanks, we won't be camping at full service sites (hydro, water, sewage)...our parks in Ontario either are electric or non-electric. No direct hook up to water so we will always be taking a full tank of water. Would the only benefit of such a large grey water tank be if you had direct water hook up? If your fresh tank can only hold 33 gallons of water, the max grey water you would need to hold would be the same right? maybe I am missing something?
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Old 03-06-2014, 05:26 PM   #9
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Most small trailers suffer in the cargo capacity department. Manufacturers are trying to make them towable by minivans and small SUV's.

...

You didn't mention what your tow vehicle is. How much you can tow is going to be a big factor in the decision. But your initial thought to question the ccc is right on the money - its a major consideration with smaller trailers (and some bigger ones too).

Good luck in the search
I think you were posting as I was replying...
Yes, we are noticing quite a range of cargo capacity - some surprise us and then others don't. Having a dual axle is nice because you get more CCC but a lot of the smaller trailers are single axle. We are looking for as small as we can get away with so we can fit into traditional campsites in our provincial parks and also in the driveway!

We actually just found out that the 16V and the 197 were discontinued so our options are narrowing by the minute! Was also just chatting with DH and he was also mentioning that the single propane tank was worrying him too (for furnace operation in the shoulder seasons).

So many things to consider - our heads are swimming!

Thank you so much for all the replies so far! I am really appreciating the suggestions!

Forgot to add, we are going to be getting a pick up truck in the spring that will far exceed what will be needed for towing. Currently we have a GMC Envoy with the towing package (think it's rated at 5 or 6K lbs?) but it's not entirely reliable these days and would hate to be stuck on the side of a Northern Ontario highway with two kids and a trailer! This is another reason why price is a factor as we will have that added expense after a few years of no car payments! ACK! lol!
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Old 03-06-2014, 05:28 PM   #10
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I am also seeing conflicting reports on the cargo capacity - 511lbs was mentioned in more than one spot online...though I guess the manufacturer's website would certainly be right? right?
They are possibly quoting the yellow sticker cargo carrying capacity which is specific to that unit on the lot. This is the best number to go by because it tells you what that one really has available to it.

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Originally Posted by eltada View Post
In regards to the tanks, we won't be camping at full service sites (hydro, water, sewage)...our parks in Ontario either are electric or non-electric. No direct hook up to water so we will always be taking a full tank of water. Would the only benefit of such a large grey water tank be if you had direct water hook up? If your fresh tank can only hold 33 gallons of water, the max grey water you would need to hold would be the same right? maybe I am missing something?
Re: the fresh water - do the Ontario parks have fresh water that you can fill up on your way in? Or are you traveling from home with it? If you're coming from home, 33 gallons is 265 pounds.

The larger gray tank means you could refill your fresh water while camping without having to go the dump station, fill a blue tote or get pumped out (depending on your options). The assumption is, it's easier to add more fresh water than it is to offload gray/black waters.
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Old 03-06-2014, 05:42 PM   #11
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They are possibly quoting the yellow sticker cargo carrying capacity which is specific to that unit on the lot. This is the best number to go by because it tells you what that one really has available to it.



Re: the fresh water - do the Ontario parks have fresh water that you can fill up on your way in? Or are you traveling from home with it? If you're coming from home, 33 gallons is 265 pounds.

The larger gray tank means you could refill your fresh water while camping without having to go the dump station, fill a blue tote or get pumped out (depending on your options). The assumption is, it's easier to add more fresh water than it is to offload gray/black waters.
Actually, I'm not sure about availability on the way into the park. Never had to know that since we have always tented. I would have to look into that. But not sure how feasible that would be. If we loaded the trailer, then filled the tank at the park, I would be leary of going over the CCC even for the short distance to our site. And it wouldn't make sense to go to the site, unload stuff, then go get water then go back and park it and load up again. Thank you for the info on the weight of the water...it certainly takes away a big chunk of the cargo capacity.
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Old 03-06-2014, 06:10 PM   #12
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as was said, most trailers with a GVWR around 3500lbs., will have very poor CCC numbers.

and as was also previously said, the best thing to start with, is the yellow sticker weight of a trailer. this will be its weight when it left the factory, including so-called "options" that nearly all trailers have.(oven, microwave, awning, spare tire, a/c and so on)

then it's easy to add the weights of battery, propane and water, to subtract from the CCC, to get what you'll have left over for actual cargo.
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Old 03-06-2014, 10:02 PM   #13
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as was said, most trailers with a GVWR around 3500lbs., will have very poor CCC numbers.

and as was also previously said, the best thing to start with, is the yellow sticker weight of a trailer. this will be its weight when it left the factory, including so-called "options" that nearly all trailers have.(oven, microwave, awning, spare tire, a/c and so on)

then it's easy to add the weights of battery, propane and water, to subtract from the CCC, to get what you'll have left over for actual cargo.
I guess what I was really asking in my first post is how reasonable is only 700 lb cargo capacity? Other trailers around the same GVWR (3500lbs give or take) have 1000-1200lb capacity and this seems signficantly less. Was wondering if anyone had specific experiences in being creative with a low CCC (similar to KMP44's answer). I know it's hard to say...all families camp with different amounts of stuff.

DH and I are hoping to pop out to the dealer this weekend so hopefully we can look at some yellow stickers.

Thanks everyone!
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Old 03-07-2014, 08:56 AM   #14
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No way I could get by with that amount. For sure couldn't if propane, batteries and options still had to come out of that figure. Bedding, clothes, dishes, food, games, toys, power cords, water hoses, etc. add up. Keep in mind that you will probably have ZERO cushion on tire rating when fully loaded. The cheap Chinese tires on these rigs are problematic, to say the least. No way I'd load right up to their max rating.
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Old 03-07-2014, 09:11 AM   #15
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Actually, I'm not sure about availability on the way into the park. Never had to know that since we have always tented. I would have to look into that. But not sure how feasible that would be. If we loaded the trailer, then filled the tank at the park, I would be leary of going over the CCC even for the short distance to our site. And it wouldn't make sense to go to the site, unload stuff, then go get water then go back and park it and load up again. Thank you for the info on the weight of the water...it certainly takes away a big chunk of the cargo capacity.

I haven't been to a park yet that didn't have fresh water fill, but the problem is that most of them have it at the dump station, which is on the way out of the park. So you need to check into the park, turn around to leave, hit the dump station, fill the tanks, then turn around and come back into the park.
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Old 03-07-2014, 09:15 AM   #16
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Wow. We've got it good down South with water hookups at every RV site I've ever been to. That would suck having to fill your tank for water. We'd have to refill our tank every 2 days. That would get OLD on a 2 week trip.
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Old 03-07-2014, 09:18 AM   #17
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Clipper 17BH vs 16B

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Wow. We've got it good down South with water hookups at every RV site I've ever been to. That would suck having to fill your tank for water. We'd have to refill our tank every 2 days. That would get OLD on a 2 week trip.

Oh, we've got plenty of sites with water hookups, but we're talking about the provincial parks. I've been to plenty of state parks in Michigan with the same arrangement. Though, the ones in Michigan usually do a better job of accessing the dump station to fill your tanks without having to turn around.
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Old 03-07-2014, 09:47 AM   #18
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Oh, we've got plenty of sites with water hookups, but we're talking about the provincial parks. I've been to plenty of state parks in Michigan with the same arrangement. Though, the ones in Michigan usually do a better job of accessing the dump station to fill your tanks without having to turn around.
When I say down South, I mean like Texas down South!!!
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Old 03-07-2014, 10:00 AM   #19
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I think you were posting as I was replying...
Yes, we are noticing quite a range of cargo capacity - some surprise us and then others don't. Having a dual axle is nice because you get more CCC but a lot of the smaller trailers are single axle. We are looking for as small as we can get away with so we can fit into traditional campsites in our provincial parks and also in the driveway!

We actually just found out that the 16V and the 197 were discontinued so our options are narrowing by the minute! Was also just chatting with DH and he was also mentioning that the single propane tank was worrying him too (for furnace operation in the shoulder seasons).

So many things to consider - our heads are swimming!

Thank you so much for all the replies so far! I am really appreciating the suggestions!

Forgot to add, we are going to be getting a pick up truck in the spring that will far exceed what will be needed for towing. Currently we have a GMC Envoy with the towing package (think it's rated at 5 or 6K lbs?) but it's not entirely reliable these days and would hate to be stuck on the side of a Northern Ontario highway with two kids and a trailer! This is another reason why price is a factor as we will have that added expense after a few years of no car payments! ACK! lol!
A few thoughts - just my opnion - but I wouldn't worry too much about one propane tank for a week or less. Sure, 2 is better, but unless its 40 degrees (F) you won't use that much per day. And I would never travel with full water tanks. Fill up at the CG. Rolling through a campground at 5 mph with a full water tank should be fine.

We towed with a V6 Explorer - similar to your Envoy. Was fine with a popup, but I wouldn't have wanted to pull a full height trailer with it. So, we bought a used truck and the difference in price vs new was almost as much the cost of the new camper.

If you plan to get a truck, it might be worth waiting a year on the camper. As bikendan has said "buy your second camper first." It doesn't take long for the "we just want to get out the tent" to turn into "boy this kitchen is small and the living area is tight and the kids want their own space..." We also tried to keep our trailer fairly small to fit the places we like to go, but its still big enough for what we need.

With that extra towing capacity of a pickup, it opens up some options. We were at the RV show last week and a couple dealers had some basic models priced very reasonble. Prowler, Aspen Trail, Coleman were a couple that stood out but FR has similar models. These are metal siding, probably wood framed - so a little heavier but nice trailers under $15K new.

Lots to consider. The trick is getting something that you are happy with for several years. We have friends that bought a 17' Jayco last year. Turned out to be too much for their Nissan to pull comfortably, so now they are looking at a bigger vehicle. They are going to be able tow more and kicking themselves because they would take a huge loss on trading the camper they bought for the one they originally wanted but couldn't tow

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Old 03-07-2014, 10:18 AM   #20
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I agree on the propane. We've camped for a week plus in pretty cold weather (Low in the 20's, highs in the 30's and 40's) and used less than a single 30lb tank. This was heating a 30' with super slide and using the oven and range at times. Also running propane only on water heater- 2 adults and 3 kids bathing daily. Granted, we did use space heaters to supplement heat.
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