Conway Cardinal Clubman – sofa recovering

Instead of venturing out this Easter, we decided to give it a miss this year. This was in part due to a very cold and wet Easter last year, and partly because we wanted to make some changes to our camper. As well as new floor coverings and cupboard handles, we wanted to recover the upholstery and replace all the curtains. We had also dyed the bed pods using Dylon Machine Dye Powder in Pewter Grey – using one pack per pod.
The cupboard handles were from B&Q and the lino was fitted by a local company.

Recovering the upholstery was a major job for us to tackle – I had previously recovered a few small stools and we had carried out repairs on the old upholstery, both using a staple gun. As I have limited sewing skills (and a very small craft machine) we decided to follow one of the numerous tutorials for the parcel style recovering. We didn’t remove the previous upholstery or the buttons – we simply covered the buttons with a little upholstery wadding so that they didn’t show through the new material. The material we selected was from ebay and was a grey chenille upholstery fabric.

folding camper cushionWe started off with the backs of the sofas as they already had board inside them (for the staples to go against/into). We basically followed a process of wrapping the cushions like a present :

  1. Fold the fabric around the cushion along the length
  2. Secure along the length using the staple gun

 

3. Fold each end into a point and neatly bring across the cushion

4.Secure in place using the staple gun

Always ensure that the fabric is pulled taut, to ensure a smooth finish. Try to turn the cushion over before securing, to check there are no creases.

 

 

 

For the bases, we were aware that there was just cushion and there was nothing to staple the fabric onto. We purchased 2mm MDF to use as a firm base to staple against – our local joinery establishment cuts this to size too.

 

On top of the cushion we used upholstery wadding to ensure that all the buttons were covered and the seat would be nice and smooth. Then we used the same method to cover the bases – easy!
Well, apart from the corner sofa – such an ace addition to a Clubman but an absolute nightmare to cover. This caused us a headache and a bit of strategic folding, but we got there in the end.

When we went to repack our cushions into the camper, they did take up a little more space than previously (the additional board and fabric) so my husband has to rethink his packing up process.

 

Once everything is completed, we will be having a ‘big reveal’ – I am so excited to see how a few updates may be able to transform our slightly tired camper.

Have you recovered the sofa cushions in your folding camper?

I’m always looking for ideas and inspiration from other folding camper owners, so please do share.

 

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.

Popaloo Toilet Tent product review

Most of the larger modern folding campers do now usually come with a toilet included inside the camper – but what to do when you have an older model?

We have a 1992 Conway Cardinal Clubman, with a lovely big wardrobe and wonderful roomy corner sofa – but no toilet cubicle. (More recent  folding campers shrunk the sofa and moved the wardrobe to allow for a toilet cubicle, I believe). We do like to visit rallies so sometimes there aren’t facilities available all day every day.

A few years ago, when we started out with our folding camper, we were given a hideous large toilet tent. It was like a big black beacon, obvious and also not very sturdy. Nothing beats trying to use the loo, whilst the tent is being blown flat over you !!!!

Anyway, I think it had ripped and was a  bit past it’s best. So, on a trip to the Motorhome and Caravan Show at Birmingham NEC 3 years ago, we were intrigued by the Popaloo stand. We didn’t need the actual toilet (we already have a decent porta loo), but  we did need a new tent to put it in.

folding camper
Camping in Darley Dale

We purchased a medium tent – there is a large available. At 5’4” I am OK to get in and “sit” , my husband is a similar height but he can’t stand up, he also has to sit down to use the loo. So anyone any taller than us, will definitely need the larger version. Saying that, once it is positioned next to the bedroom of our folding camper, it is hardly noticeable, especially as it is so low and green.

The tent comes with four guy ropes and fixings, a removable groundsheet, support hooks and straps and a rear vent window.

Popaloo
Popaloo

The great thing about the Popaloo is that it is so easy to erect – it literally pops up. Getting it folded up is sometimes a bit of a job, it’s one of those that you have to bend and fold up just right – I think there is just a knack to it.

For us, the Popaloo tent has meant quicker pitching and a more aesthetically pleasing and less obvious toilet tent.

 

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……

Folding Camper Storage Box Seals repair

Storage Box Repairs

Do you have problems with water getting into your front storage box  on your folding camper? Could the seals be leaking? We experienced dampness in the bottom of our storage box, and decided to try and get to the bottom of the problem.

The problem

When we purchased our Conway Cardinal Clubman folding camper, the previous owner showed us a minor repair he had made within the storage box. The box was water tight to start with, but 2 years down the line we started to suffer from excessive water gathering in the bottom of the storage box. We had presumed that the problem was either the previous repair, or blocked overflows.

folding camper storage box seals
Old seals

After clearing the overflows we thought that we had solved the problem. But still the contents of the storage box were getting wet. It got so bad that we were having to put everything in black bags and stuffed the bottom with rags – but then it started to smell fusty too.

In the end, we decided to have a go at replacing the seals around the storage box, which seemed worn and also didn’t quite meet – there was a 1cm gap and they were perishing in places. We weren’t exactly sure what we needed, and had not been able to identify anything suitable at any caravan shops (maybe they just happened to be particularly unhelpful ones).

The Solution

After a short search, I came across a company online, Seals Direct. They had a brochure, so we ordered a copy. By sitting at home with the brochure (with lifesize pictures) and by slicing off a piece of the seal, we were able to make a match.

folding camper storage box

After ordering 4 metres of ET57 Titanfast clip on edge trim, we set about

folding camper storage box
New seals

removing the old, brittle and perished seal, and replaced it with a lovely piece of  new flexible seal.  We were able to get a snug fit as we ordered plenty.  I can report that even with some of the very heavy storms we have had over the last few weeks of summer, there has been no leakage. All the contents of the storage box are now bone – dry.

storage box folding camper
Newly sealed storage box

Seals Direct were found through the normal search methods, and I am not receiving any reward for recommending their products. There may be other companies or retailers who are also able to provide similar seals. This post is merely a recount of my own personal experience.

 

Handiworld – HandiRacks and Handiholdall – Part 2

Part 2 – Handiholdall

(Please note that the HandiRacks and HandiHoldall were purchased by me for my own personal use whilst camping, and that I am not being paid to endorse this product. However, please be aware that this post contains affiliate links for which I may be paid a small commission should you make a purchase.)

Following on from my review of the HandiRacks, today I am reviewing the holdall . You can read my review of the HandiRacks here.

The holdall states that it has a capacity of 320 litres, but I guess that this is hard to imagine. But it really is HUGE.

folding camper roof rack
Handiholdall in action

We purchased two additional orange duffels which each can contain 135 litres, and these two fit side by side into to HandiHoldall once it is on the roofracks (never pack up the holdall before you secure it onto the roofrack).

To give you some idea of what we fitted in each duffel : there are three of us (two adults and a 13 year old)

  • Duffel one contained all of our clothes for one week away, we took more than we needed
  • Duffel two contained all our shoes, toiletries, books, and also towels (hand, bath, tea)

Basically – everything we needed to take with us. The boot of our car literally roof rackcontained a very large awning for a Conway Cardinal (including poles and annexe) , a freezer bag and two bags of other foodstuffs. (You shouldn’t put food in the HandiHoldall).

So, the two duffels went up into the roofbag and although there was enough space for more gear, we didn’t really have anything to put up there.

The bag fixes on to the roof rack using straps and are securely fastened (obviously the holdall comes with full instructions).

 

The duffel bags have triple fold zips , to keep water out and are made from very thick plastic. There are several straps over the whole of the bag, to assist with lifting them onto the car (bear in mind the maximum weight your car can carry, and how strong you are to lift them up there)

In addition, the HandiHoldall also has covers over the zipper to keep all the contents dry.

roof rack and roof bars
Handiracks and Handiholdall

Once we were all packed up, we could see that there would have been space for even more up there in the holdall, but we really did not have anything else to put up there!

One thing to note is that the Holdall does not have to be fitted onto the HandiRacks – if you have conventional roof bars for your car already, the Holdall can be purchased alone and comes with the necessary straps to fit it to roof bars.

The HandiHoldall and the duffels are available at various online retailers and retail at around £100. Given their flexibility and capacity, and how easy they are to fit onto the car, I would definitely recommend the Holdall over a conventional roofbox.

 

HandiHoldall and HandiRacks Review – Part 1

Part 1 – HandiRacks

Or “How to pack more stuff for the holidays”

Do you find that no matter how well you pack, there just isn’t enough room to take everything you want on holiday in your folding camper?

Read on, as we have found a great solution to this. As I will be reviewing both the racks and the bags, I have separated the review into two parts. First up – the racks.

(Please note that the HandiRacks and HandiHoldall were purchased by me for my own personal use whilst camping, and that I am not being paid to endorse this product. However, please be aware that this post contains affiliate links for which I may be paid a small commission should you make a purchase.)

Handiholdall roof bag
Handiholdall

So, despite having a car with a massive boot, we had begun to find that we had less and less space for our essentials when we were away in our folding camper for a week or more. Last year, we had our old Ford Focus when we went to Cornwall for a week with our Conway Cardinal, and the old Focus roof-bars were in the garage, along with a tatty roof box from a well-known car shop. Faced with the prospect of buying yet another set of roof bars for our new Mondeo, I started my online search feeling slightly downhearted. We were also aware that our roof box was difficult to fix onto the bars, difficult to open and close and didn’t really hold that much – particularly as it was rigid and an awkward shape. My online search led me to a company that had a roof bag, which seemed easier to use/fill than a roof box, and pretty cost effective. They also made a product that alleviated the need for a new set of bars with each new car purchase – an inflatable roof rack.

What are Handi Racks ?

Handi racks are inflatable roof bars, and can be fitted on almost any car. Because they are universal, there is no need to buy a new set of roof bars each time you get a new car. They are relatively easy to fit onto your car in just a few minutes, and come pretty much ready to go out the box (including a pump!).

roof rack and roof bars
Handiracks and Handiholdall

 

Basically, they go over your car and through each door to fasten within the car. I can confirm that while we were driving the straps within the car were completely unnoticeable and did not affect the inside of our car at all. I have read online reviews that suggest heavy rain soaks the straps and that this can soak down the strap into the car, but we didn’t have rain on our journey and so cannot comment on this.

Once they are inflated, they can support up to 80kg on the roof of your car – this could be camping stuff within a HandiHoldall, or could be flat packed furniture, surfboards etc. The racks have 5 D-RING anchor points on them, enabling you to fix various items on to the racks.roof rack

There are also optional anti slip pads (to pop between your car roof and the racks) and a rain kit (to soak up any water that might soak into the straps).

roof rackThe racks retail at around £65, from various different online sites and we felt that this cost was reasonable given that the racks will be used on either of our cars (Mondeo and Fiesta) and can be transferred for future vehicle purchases, or lent to family & friends.

We also purchased a HandiHoldall and some duffels, which I will be reviewing in Part 2 of this Handiworld review.