Jayco Jay Series 1206

May 19, 2006
Filed under RV & Trailer Reviews, Trailer Reviews

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In real estate, the mantra is location, location, location. In a camping trailer, it’s floorplan, floorplan, floorplan. The right combination of components, arrangements, interior volume and accessibility makes or breaks a trailer. One of the features guaranteed to make a camping trailer much more desirable is a slide-out. A slide-out in a pop-up seems to nearly double the in-camp volume and floor space of one of these diminutive trailers.

Jayco Jay Series 1206 Overview

The Jay Series 1206 begins to make its big sales pitch with a floorplan featuring a 71×48-inch deep slide-out room that maximizes the pop-up’s interior space and houses a bench-style dinette you can convert into a large sleeping quarter. It expands the living space inside the 1206 enormously and makes it comfortable to enjoy time inside the trailer, too.

The 1206 scores big points its ability to accommodate a minimum of seven adults with two king-sized bunk-end beds (one at each end of the unit), the large bed the dinette converts into, and the 72-inch sofa/gaucho that runs aft from the main entry door to the rear king bunk-end bed. A large family can sleep comfortably in the interior sleeping quarters provided by the 1206.

A sturdy and versatile folding dinette table can be removed and taken outside for use. The same versatility can be seen in the LPG cook top that’s connected to the LPG supply line through quick-disconnects inside and out. The grill can be taken outside and installed on the mounting bracket located on the side of the unit. The trailer also features a 2-cubic-foot, three-way (LPG, AC and DC) refrigerator.

The 6-gallon LPG water heater provides not only for the galley sink, but for the stand-up shower that Jayco has ingeniously integrated into this floorplan. The handheld showerhead also features a fixed mount for hands-free showering. Included is a marine-style toilet that features an exterior-accessed, cartridge-style black tank that can be cleanly removed from outside of the unit and carried to a dump station, or dumped from its side storage compartment at a dump station without removing it. There is also an outside shower (standard) that delivers hot and cold water-perfect after a day at the beach, a day of fishing or when things get muddy.

Jayco Jay Series 1206 Structure

There are several things about Jayco’s design and construction approach that merit mention. Its corrosion-resistant trailer frame is E-coated and comes with a lifetime warranty. The independent torsion axle-style suspension permits each wheel to independently roll through holes and over road irregularities, yielding the kind of damped ride that helps protect equipment and gear. The lower solid walls are a laminated-type construction that sandwiches together an exterior aluminum panel, wood backer and the interior wall panel into a unitized solid structure. The front of the unit is clad with rugged diamond-plate, protecting the front of the unit from road debris kicked up by the tow vehicle.

Jayco fashions a single-piece floor from a durable wood-laminate product called Structurwood. Then, the bottom is dressed with an undercoating and edge seal that makes the belly of the unit impervious to moisture and dust. The floor also comes with a lifetime warranty. Thirteen-inch, C-range radial tires are standard equipment.

A hook-and-loop fastener, tent-to-bunk attachment system is used for the Camper-Tex (a one-piece water-repellent vinyl material ) tent featured on the 1206. And a sturdy, new mesh screen material called Phiferglass is used for the window panels.

The main entry door is hung from the interior of the unit’s solid roof when the unit is configured for travel. It’s guided by two tracks and cables that hold the door and swing it down into place when the unit is set up for camp. This solid-surface door also includes a slide panel that can be lowered to various positions, permitting air to flow through the mesh screen in the door.

Jayco Jay Series 1206 Capacity

A massive, unit-wide front storage compartment straddles the 1206. The interior volume stretches 80x24x18.5 inches and can be accessed from three different places. Its exterior lid measures 85×24 inches and is hinged at the back, making it easy to load. However, when the front king bed is in the “out” position, this access point is not available. Then, you can use the exterior side door if you are outside, or reach the cargo area through an interior door below the edge of the front king bed.

The gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the Jay Series 1206 is 3450 pounds. We took the rig to a public scale and grabbed a weight of 2460 pounds. Its holding tanks were empty, but had we elected to fill the 23-gallon freshwater tank (the additional weight of the fresh water would have added less then 200 pounds to the total actual weight), there would still have been a respectable 800 pounds of cargo-carrying capacity to take advantage of.

Jayco Jay Series 1206 Set Up

We’re not going to try and sell you on the idea that once in our campground we were able to move in and set up housekeeping in 10 minutes. After getting the hang of it, we were setting up camp comfortably in 20 to 25 minutes (it would be faster with more than two people). Breaking camp for travel took considerably less time.

The system for raising and lowering the roof features a manual hand crank mechanism that’s accessed through a small panel in the rear wall of the body. Jayco’s patented roof-lifter system is fully enclosed above the floor, which keeps the system out of harm’s way from road debris. It also prevents uninvited guests (bugs and small critters) from entering the unit from underneath. It is easy to operate and runs as smooth as silk. Flexible steel push rods guide the roof; there’s no cables or pulleys to tangle up.

We did a have a small problem with the interior tubular aluminum bed braces, though. These fold out and provide the framing to hold the tent-ends over the king-sized platform beds when the unit is set up. They really need to have some kind of smooth insert installed in the ends of the tubes. We found that had we not been careful, the fabric could have been damaged during set up and take down. During our test, we simply covered the sharp edge of the tubing with duct tape.

All we needed to do was have Richardson’s RV of Riverside, California, install a Husky electronic brake controller on our 2006 Dodge Dakota (approximately 15 minutes to complete) and we were ready to go. The 1206’s actual tongue weight came in at 360 pounds, so we deemed load leveling or weight-distribution devices unnecessary, and our on-road experience backed up that hunch.

Across all the spectrum of driving conditions we encountered while towing the 1206, the trailer was nearly transparent to those of us inside the Dakota. It tracked well, and even at freeway speed (55 mph), the Jay Series 1206 remained true behind the tow vehicle. Also a plus was the trailer’s low profile (travel height is 56 inches); the view of traffic behind us was not obscured in any way. This unit felt comfortable and behaved well out on the road.

In camp or on the road, the Jayco Jay Series 1206 is a camping trailer that would make any family of outdoor enthusiasts happy. It has an attractive, versatile and roomy floorplan; it’s loaded with creature comforts and amenities that will make your time in the trailer as much fun as your time outside; and it offers easy-to-tow road performance.

Jayco Jay Series 1206 Specs

Model: Jayco Jay Series 1206

Base MSRP: $ 9,486

Price as Tested: $11,815

Travel Length: 18’ 8”’

Campsite Length: 22’ 10”

Overall Width: travel; 85”/campsite;108”

Travel Height: 56”

Dry Weight (public scale): 2460 lbs.

Tongue Weight (public scale): 360 lbs.

GVWR: 3450 lbs.

Freshwater: 23 gals. (incl. water heater)

LPG: 20-lb. bottle

Sleeping Capacity: 5 to 7 persons

Major Standard Features: Quilted bunk cushions; AC prep; aluminum ceiling; domed fiberglass roof with no center seam; wood drawers with nylon guides; 6-gallon water heater; white acrylic sink; 20-pound LPG tank; 30-amp power cord; 110-volt GFCI protected exterior receptacle; Camper-Tex vinyl tent; E-Z Lube axles; outside shower; front trunk storage compartment; 20-amp converter; 17-gallon freshwater tank with on-demand pump.

Major Optional Features: three-way, 2-cubic-foot refrigerator; battery gauge; bunk-end fan lights; polished aluminum wheels; solar power prep; self-storing awning; water-purification system; power attic fan; bath/shower; 16,000-BTU furnace; outside grill.


Jayco, Inc.

903 South Main St.

P.O. Box 460

Middlebury, IN 46540



Thanks to Richardson’s R.V. Center of Riverside, California (951/354-2288; richardsonsrv.com) for its assistance in the trailer test./

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