By Tony Barthel
Anyone who says that all RVs are the same hasn’t really looked closely at them. In fact, before I started writing these articles, I didn’t realize how many unique and different RVs were available out there.
Take, for example, the new 2021 Coachmen Clipper 12.0 TD MAX. This trailer is similar to the pop-ups and teardrops you’re most likely familiar with; however, it has some unique features worth looking at. What it shares with pop-ups or teardrops is that it’s very light and low in profile, which makes it ideal for towing. In addition, though, it offers almost all the features you might want in a more traditional travel trailer.
Coachmen Clipper 12.0 TD MAX
So what are you looking for in a travel trailer? A couch? Bluetooth stereo? Heat and air conditioning? A full galley? Those features are all here. There’s also a full-sized (54” X 74”) bed, all in a package that weighs less than 2,300 pounds. Plus, the lower height makes it significantly better to tow than a taller travel trailer and it’ll likely fit into your garage. This could mean it would last longer – not being exposed to the elements when it’s not being used.
Okay, so what about this trailer is so unusual? For starters, it’s sort of a hybrid where the lower front has the bed and some space beside it along with a storage area. This portion of the trailer is 7’ 5” tall all the time.
At the back is a big “flap” of sorts that tilts up when you’re parked at camp. It has a tent side, which gives you standing space inside the trailer. It’s not a typical design but it seems to work well.
The doors on the Coachmen Clipper 12.0 TD MAX
There are two doors to this trailer, the one on the camp side is shorter and in the portion of the trailer where the roof stays in place. The company describes this as a “bike door” and you could put bicycles in here – so that makes sense. It would also give you access to any other cargo in that section of the trailer. However, it’s not really well suited for getting in and out, although I guess you could use it for that.
The main entrance is at the rear, where there’s a “half” door. This works well when the top is closed down. This is where you’d get in to lift the top and open up the trailer.
There’s also a door that fits into this space when the top is up. And it’s a full door if you don’t like the half-door idea. This door reminds me of what you’d find in other pop-up campers.
Inside the Coachmen Clipper 12.0 TD MAX there’s a sofa on the road side next to a storage area. This is where you’ll also find the air conditioner. This is a window-style unit and can be run with a smaller generator. Of course, the sofa turns into a sleeping surface, and there’s storage underneath.
Next to that is the bed in a corner of the trailer. Like many other RVs, this is one where you’ll want different bedding than your typical sheets and blankets. Next to the bed is a closet. Around the corner from that is an open area that would be great for storing things while hustling to your camping getaway.
On the camp side is a microwave, a two-burner stovetop and a small sink. Under the stovetop is a three-way refrigerator. This is nifty in that you can run it on 12-volt power on your way to adventure and not worry about having propane flowing in the trailer just to keep your beer cold.
There are two big options that really make the Coachmen Clipper 12.0 TD MAX super functional. The first of these is a rack that fits above the non-folding section of the trailer that is designed to hold adventure gear like bicycles or kayaks or that sort of thing. Take note, if you get this rack it does add height to the trailer if that’s a concern. That rack is also standard in the “TD MAX” version.
The other cool thing is a big outdoor tent that significantly increases the “indoor” space on the trailer. If you’re concerned about the amount of floor space in the trailer, this can alleviate that concern.
Lastly, there’s an off-road package which includes more aggressive tires and such. But a travel trailer doesn’t necessarily need “grip” when going off road and this, too, adds height to the trailer.
Storage is decent with space under the bed and the sofa, and in several cabinets inside the trailer.
What it doesn’t have
What’s not in the Coachmen Clipper 12.0 TD MAX is a gray tank. There’s just a fitting on the outside of the trailer so you could just dump into a sewer connection if there’s one at your campsite. Or you could dump it into some sort of container – which then essentially becomes your gray tank.
There is also no toilet built in, but a porta potty is available.
Also, the water heater is propane only so it doesn’t use electricity at all. There is also no shower inside the trailer. However, there is an outdoor shower. So you might consider getting one of those camp shower tents unless you want the police to come knocking.
I like the idea of the Coachmen Clipper 12.0 TD MAX especially for those who don’t choose to go buy a big pickup truck. While you should always know your real-world towing capability, especially taking tongue weight into account, this would seem ideal for some RVers who want a trailer that will work for occasional trips that may include kayaking or bicycling or that sort of thing.
One thing that should be known is that most convertible/pop-up campers are usually forbidden in bear country. This hasn’t escaped the people at Coachmen, who shared that some campers have used this model in bear country and simply don’t pop the top on the back. They are able to gain access through the “bicycle door” and just enjoy the camper that way. With that in mind, I like this rig even more as it really does make sense for a large number of campers that need something this flexible.
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.
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