Sunncamp Swift 220 awning review

sunncamp porch awning
Darley Dale THS

I don’t know about you, but I am always interested in looking at how folding camper owners have set up camp for their holidays. As we have a Conway Cardinal, our awning options are quite varied.

As we have a hard top folding camper with an awning channel, we purchased a Sunncamp Swift 220 Deluxe Awning so that we could still have the awning space without putting up the full Conway awning . To be honest, the full awning is heavy, takes up a load of room in the car/camper and isn’t the quickest awning to erect. We would probably use the Conway awning for 1 week holidays, but for anything less we use the porch awning.

sunncamp porch awning
Darley Dale Derbyshire

The porch awning slides into the awning channel on the roof of our Conway Cardinal (hard top) and we try to remember to slide it on before we lift the roof – it is much easier that way.

The Sunncamp Swift 220 Deluxe Awning is a porch awning, and has enough room for the dog’s cage and three chairs, plus other bits and bobs. We find it useful for putting coats, shoes and wellies in when the weather is bad too.

sunncamp porch awning
Heacham, Norfolk

The awning measures 220×225 cm and has one large front window/door and two side doors. We have also bought a awning carpet, which fits both our porch awning and most of our larger awning . A review of this will follow later in the season.

We usually take the porch awning with us for long weekends away or short midweek breaks.

This post contains affiliate links for which I may receive a small payment. Please note that the awning was purchased for my own personal use.

Happy New Year – Looking forward to 2017

As the last of the Christmas decorations are packed away into the loft, many of us are looking forward to upcoming camping trips. I’m also looking upwards, into the loft. As the decorations go up there, my attention will be drawn to many of the ‘innards’ of our Conway Cardinal Clubman, that are being stored up there over winter. All patiently waiting to be given a new lease of life in the spring.

The curtains have been removed with a plan to make new ones, although that will be a steep learning curve for me. The bed pods are up there, already dyed a much darker ‘pewter’ grey than the originals. The tired looking seat cushions are to be recovered to give them a new lease of life.

So why wait until Easter?

We have made a decision not to make Easter our first camping trip of the year, for two reasons:

  • To give us more time to carry out the renovations
  • Last year Easter was a muddy washout, a year out might allow us to forget

So, if the new flooring, curtains and seat covers aren’t finished for Easter, we can at least spend some time on them over Easter.

I will be posting updates as we make changes to our folding camper over the coming months, so make sure you are signed up for updates. Apologies for being quiet of late – I was made redundant at the end of October and have spent the last few months starting my own business, so I have had a few other things on my mind.

Why not check out some of the folding camper updates that have already been featured, such as Jenny’s  and Elizabeth’s.

Take a look at our camper as we packed it away for winter ready for renovations here.

Winter storage and plans

Now the weather has turned colder, many of us are returning from trips away in our folding campers and are thinking of packing them away for winter storage.

While it is common practice to take soft furnishings out over the winter period, we have stripped the insides out ready for a major makeover over the winter period.

Bed end without curtain, pelmet or pod
Bed end

Gone are the light grey  bed pods – now dyed pewter, a dark grey to keep out the light – and are in storage inside the house until spring. The curtains and pelmet from in front of the pods have also been removed and will be replaced.

 

Removing the pelmets
Removing the pelmets

The pelmets are gone – never to be replaced, sorry but they  seem dated and fussy, so they have gone.

The curtains have been removed, and will eventually be replaced.

 

Renovations
Renovations

The cupboard door handles have been removed and will be replaced with something a little more up-to-date.

Blank canvas
Blank canvas

The carpet (and lino that we found underneath) have been taken out and will be replaced by something a lot easier to take care of.

Make sure you are signed up for my blog post updates as the makeover continues over the winter and early spring to see the changes we have made.

I am also always keen to see any renovations, alterations and makeovers made to other folding campers, so please feel free to get in touch via my feedback page.

Olpro Safire Roaster Review

Please note that this product was purchased by myself for my own personal use after research on the internet, and I have not been paid to review or promote this product. However following the links and making a purchase may result in me receiving a small payment as an affiliate of Olpro.

Do you sometimes struggle cooking in your folding camper?

We have got two gas burners and a grill but sometimes it just isn’t enough.
This does also restrict us on what we can cook – often we can be found scrutinising packets in a supermarket to see if we can grill or steam something, rather than bake.
After some research on the internet, I read a lot of good reviews about both Cobb20160811_184622 Barbeque and the Safire Roaster. The Olpro Safire Roaster came out slightly cheaper, so that was the one we decided on.
We’ve used it away on a couple of holidays and have really been impressed with the variety of things we can cook on it.
The roaster can use standard charcoal (30 mins to light) or the Cobb BBQ Cobbles  (3 minutes to light). While we are away, the Cobb cobbles are easiest due to the short time before we can get cooking. They burn for about 2 hours at a constant temperature.

Sausages
Sausages

The cobbles are quite expensive at  around £15 for 6 so we always try and cook a few things at once – meat, some potatoes, bread, vegetables. We once even baked some scones (I mixed dry ingredients before we went away and then added wet ingredients just before baking).
Ultimately, the roaster has a grill like base (grooved or straight) and we also purchased a roasting rack, as well as an extension (for cooking a whole chicken for eg). We also purchased a carry bag – as well as being handy to keep all the parts in, this also has a cool bag inserted within, so is handy to carry food to a picnic or the beach.
We did also purchase an accelerator combo which enables a whistle kettle to go on it and also can be used as an outside heater – we’ve had variable results from this – yes, it will eventually boil a kettle, but we didn’t really notice much heat from it when we sat outside and used the last remnants of the cobble as a heater.

Sausages and mushrooms
Sausages and mushrooms

All in all, this roaster isn’t particularly cheap, and using the cobbles can be expensive, if not convenient. However, it has added such variety to our meals on holiday it has really been worth it. We’ve had roast beef dinner, warm ready to bake rolls, home made scones, roast vegetables, barbequed sausages and burgers, chicken breast (BBQ, baked in foil and also roasted)… the list is endless……

Camping & Caravanning Club membership

People who are new to camping and to folding campers, often ask whether membership of the Camping & Caravanning Club is worthwhile. Membership costs from £37 a year.

THS at Lawns rally Site in Spalding
THS at Lawns rally Site in Spalding

For the past few years we have been members of the C&CC. Do we think it is worthwhile?

There is one major advantage for us – being able to use Temporary Holiday Sites. THS are great, so much so that I wrote an entire blog post about it here.

Benefits

At Easter, we usually use one of their Club sites with EHU, that way we are

Camping with a view of the sea at Barry, wales
Camping with a view of the sea at Barry, wales

guaranteed a hot shower and some warmth (by way of a heater)  if the weather isn’t great. Site prices would be in excess of £20 per night.

Over the summer, we make use of Temporary Holiday Sites and rarely pay more than £10-12 a night. We have a toilet tent and camping loo, but in early or late season we try and ensure that any stays over 4 nights include toilets and showers.

NewquayFor weekends away we don’t usually worry about full facilities (although if they have them, it is a bonus).

For us, the beauty of Camping & Caravanning Club THS is that usually we don’t have to book, we can just decide where we want to go and just turn up. (Although in reality, I have usually decided where I want to go in advance). I would also suggest that a quick call to the advertised number might be an idea, particularly at busy times. Some THS do also require a booking, some require a deposit in advance.

 

Your folding camper tyres

When you get a new folding camper, it’s usually so exciting – planning for the first trip away, buying stuff for the camper, looking at campsites……..One thing that never occurred to us when we brought our folding camper, was the fact that it has tyres which would need inflating, checking and possibly changing.

tyres folding camper
Let’s talk tyres

To be honest, because the tyres looked in good condition, we presumed that everything was alright with them. After all, we only tow the camper a few times a year, don’t we? Further investigation on the internet led me to two articles that definitely opened my eyes.

There is an excellent resource for checking for information on folding camper tyre sizes and tyre pressures from Blue Sky Holdings here.

For factual information on tyres and when to change them, I won’t pretend to know lots about tyres,  but I would recommend Blue Sky again and their article here.

folding camper tyres
Check your tyres

Earlier in the year we had our folding camper serviced and the mobile caravan servicing company (AMCS in Derby) that did the service pointed out that our tyres were not dated  with a 4 digit code (they did not have a date on them). Although the tyres were visually in good condition, this lack of dating means that they were probably pre-2000.

I had always presumed that we would have to tow our folding camper to a garage to get the tyres changed, but our local, independent tyre fitter has a mobile service. They came to fit on our front garden for a £25 call-out fee. The costs for three tyres (we had a new spare) was £135 including the call-out charge. We didn’t have to move the camper, they came and did it all with the folding camper in situ on our front garden.

Just as a further note, we will be jacking the camper up and removing the tyres for indoor storage when we pack away the camper over winter.

Temporary Holiday Sites and Club Meets – Camping & Caravanning Club

As members of the Camping & Caravanning Club, we find that one of the main benefits of this membership is the use of these sites during the year for cheap holidays in our folding camper.

The Club Magazine lists hundreds of these such meets all over the country throughout the year.

The Club Meets usually run from Friday to Sunday, whereas the THS can run for up to a month, maybe more.

THS at Lawns rally Site in Spalding
THS at Lawns rally Site in Spalding

For us the main benefit is that we can holiday at relatively short notice in our folding camper, wherever the fancy takes us. Although, in reality, I normally plan where I want to go at the beginning of the year and usually we stick to the plan.

Temporary Holiday Sites can be a field with just a tap and an Elsan point, or they can be a full facility holiday site. Prices vary dependent on facilities but can be as low as £8 a night for a basic field, up to about £15 for a full facility site. We have stayed on both types, as well as school/college fields and rugby or cricket pitches. Some put on social activities, others are peaceful and quiet.

One of the things we love about the THS is that you aren’t restricted by times like on a campsite. You can turn up at 9am if you want, and leave at 8pm if you want. They are usually quite laid back, and normally you wouldn’t have to book in advance (the listing in the magazine would say if you had to book).  Some have toilets and showers, some don’t. It’s usually outlined in the magazine, or there is a telephone number if you need to check.

Sometime, the easy-goingness can be a disadvantage – we once turned up at a THS in Whitby to find them almost full…..thankfully as our folding camper is easier to manoeuvre than a caravan we were able to get into a tricky corner. But other than that, there isn’t really anything to not like about them

So far, we’ve stopped in THS in Whitby, Bridlington, Mablethorpe, Spalding, Newquay, Barry Island and Scarborough.

BBq fun at Olivers Mount in Scarborough
BBq fun at Olivers Mount in Scarborough

Last month we stopped at Olivers Mount in Scarborough, which we found to be an ideal location. There were toilets and showers available 7am until 10pm and the field was massive and not at all busy. We had a great week away, even though the weather was not kind to us.

This weekend we are staying local, at Darley Dale in Derbyshire. The THS has no facilities at all, be we are planning a quiet weekend away with a bit of walking in Derbyshire. I will hopefully be blogging about some of the THS we visit, so we can share some of these great locations.

*UPDATE – read my review of our stay here.*

Have you used the C&CC THS or Club meets ? Comment below if you have, I would love to hear of any you recommend.