If you haven’t been to the RVTravel.com forums yet, know that they’re starting to serve RV Travel readers with a different and more more friendly way of exchanging information than many social media outlets. My point in this is to say that Evert recently asked if I’d take a look at the 2022 Forest River Cherokee Wolf Pup 16FQBL—and we did just that.
There are a number of people who make trailers in this category, as you would imagine, including big names like Jayco, Springdale and Coleman. So what might set Forest River’s Cherokee division apart? Actually, quite a few things.
How to build a trailer
Forest River’s Cherokee division produces primarily wood-framed, aluminum-skinned travel trailers which are referred to as “stick and tin” by many in the industry. Since this type of build requires less specialized tooling, it’s generally the most affordable type of travel trailer available. This type of construction dates back to the origin of travel trailers.
The advantage of this type of build is that it’s easy to repair if there’s some sort of impact. Anybody who knows their way around a set of tools can fix it, almost.
But the disadvantage is that the corrugated skin leaves much larger voids around openings like windows and doors. Many new buyers have no idea that the seals on an RV in general, and this style of travel trailer in particular, need regular inspection and sometimes repair. Not keeping these seals in good order is the downfall of many, many of these trailers as water intrudes and the wood rots.
So, as you see, the biggest downfall isn’t the construction, it’s the maintenance thereof.
Cherokee Wolf Pup Black Label Edition
The Wolf Pup is available in something called Black Label Edition (BL). It is a much fancier version of itself with fiberglass walls and frameless windows, all much less maintenance intensive. But the way these are built is by laminating the fiberglass to luan and then still using the wood frame and all the other construction techniques. So they’re heavier than laminated trailers featuring aluminum framing and truly laminated construction.
But you get a nicer looking trailer (depending on your tastes, of course) and one that does have a lower likelihood of water intrusion. This is due to the frameless windows being virtually maintenance free. In addition to the upgraded exterior, you also get upgraded features and components inside. These include solid-surface countertops and some other very usable features.
Wolf Pup features
I have written before that I am always surprised at the standard features and build methodology in the whole Cherokee line.
For example, many trailers in this price range feature only a gas-fired water heater. That’s because it is just less expensive than a gas-electric water heater. Few buyers realize this until they trade up to their next trailer. But the Wolf Pup has a gas-electric water heater.
It also includes stabilizer jacks at all four corners—where many only feature two at the rear. There’s a high-performance vent fan. Most trailers in general, and these more entry-level models, almost universally feature a fan that’s best at only making noise and not much else.
If you don’t get the Black Label version, one of my favorite things about these is that Cherokee uses painted aluminum skin sections. There are no stickers being used to style the exterior. Last time I checked, painted exteriors tend to stay good-looking, whereas stickers tend to fade over time.
Another thing I really liked is the valve stem covers on the tires of these. The valve stem covers actually incorporate a pressure monitoring system that changes the color of the valve stem covers if the pressure is outside the range needed by the tire. While this isn’t a fancy remote monitoring system, it’s better than nothing. It’s easy to walk by the tires and see if the valve stem cover is green or red.
Floor plan in the Cherokee Wolf Pup
The particular floor plan in this model is almost the same as in my own trailer. It’s served me very well for almost six years in extensive travels around this beautiful land. Where this one offers more than my own trailer is absolutely in counter space. There is a relatively usable countertop featuring a round-bowl sink, and a stovetop with two burners in a linear arrangement. That’s definitely a space saver and has probably all the firepower most RV cooks will need.
Of course, there is a microwave above this arrangement and cabinets on both sides of the trailer.
The front of the trailer features a folding couch which lays flat and then the mattress for nighttime snoring is folded up behind that. So you flip down the couch and unfold the mattress at night. I’m not the biggest fan of this arrangement, but it works okay.
This model includes a rather decent-sized fridge and, as is the trend, this one is only offered with a 12-volt model. There is a wimpy 50-watt solar panel on the roof. I would guess that this does nothing but maintain the battery between tows. If you’re going boondocking, you’re absolutely going to want to up the battery and solar system.
Another thing I like about this floor plan is that the bathroom takes the entire width of the back of the trailer. So even if you displace a decent amount of water in the pool, there’s still enough space in there to accomplish everything you’re there to accomplish. You can even change clothes in the space. That is a good thing, as many very small trailers have extremely small bathrooms. They’re so small, in fact, that might have to leave just to change your mind, let alone your wardrobe.
I would say that Cherokee’s Wolf Pup line is my favorite in this price category at this time by a significant margin. The lack of stickers plus the number of features that will actually make a difference in the long run are a winning combination.
Now, like all corrugated trailers, maintaining the seals is the secret to longevity. But, overall, this is a good floor plan that offers a lot of value in a usable small travel trailer.
I would love to read your comments and suggestions over on our new forums, where you can weigh in and start or join a discussion about all things RV. Here’s a link to my RV Reviews Forum.
Tony comes to RVtravel.com having worked at an RV dealership and been a lifelong RV enthusiast. He also has written the syndicated Curbside column about cars. You can find his writing here and at StressLessCamping, where he also has a podcast about the RV life with his wife.
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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