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.

 

Clingons eyelet clips for awnings, tarpaulins etc

Sometimes, there are occasions when tents or awnings flap around, or maybe you have a tarp that needs to be fastened down onto the ground. This is where Clingons eyelet clips come in.

Please note that these Clingosn eyelet clips were purchased for my own personal use following my own internet research. I have not been supplied with these clips free of charge, or for the purposes of providing a review.

We had a bizarre situation, whereby we went camping in our folding camper

awning clip
Clingons holding the awning down

with some caravanning relatives. On arrival, we discovered that we both had the same Sunncamp 220 awning. However, once the awnings were up it seems that although they were the same model of awning – they were definitely not the same awning……… wheras our relatives’ awning had clips all round the bottom to enable it to be firmly fastened down, ours only had clips in the corners. For a year or so we had been content with our slightly flappy awning (we always just put it down to the wind) but having seen how taut it could be we set about looking into ways of fixing it down without making holes in it.

clingon tent clip
Clingon Clip

So what are they?

A bit of web searching later and I had discovered Clingons. These fit over your tent/awning/tarp etc and clip into place, and also have a hole suitable for inserting a peg into, so you can attache them onto your awning etc and fix it down as you would normally.

The customer service was great after I placed my order, and the Clingons arrived quickly in the post.

And the verdict ?

Well, we ordered 8 ( 2 packs) and after a “disagreement” over how many we

tent clip
Clingons

needed, I think it is fair to say that we could have done with a few more. The 8 that we have fit nicely around the base of our awning, pull it taut and keep it from flapping around. Definitely, a good investment for keeping us cosy and snug in our awning, with minimal flapping and blowing.

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.

 

Home Farm THS, Blue Anchor, Somerset – Campsite Review

Our first holiday at a Trailer Tent & Folding Camper Group Temporary Holiday Site with our Conway Cardinal Clubman! We were looking forward to our trip down to Somerset for a week, and hoped to see lots of folding campers and meet like minded FC people.

The THS was on a rally field behind a farm with a camping field – as it was a rally

folding camper campsite somerset
Camping at Home Farm

(at reduced rate of £9 a night) we were not allowed to use toilets and showers on the site. We were a little wary of being self sufficient in that respect, but we had been assured that the site next door had a swimming pool which was open to the public and had showers we could use in there. It is worth noting that Home Farm is a CS and so it would be possible to camp there as an “ordinary” campsite but at an increased nightly rate.

On arrival, the stewards were extremely welcoming, not least because we had a folding camper. They told us how they used to have a Conway Cardinal (burgundy). We were asked to pitch at the edge of the field, opposite another folding camper. During the week there was only one more folding camper arrive, we had hoped there would be quite a few. I did notice that a couple camped on the farm’s main camping field, and there were also a few on the site next door.

folding camper somerset
Conway Cardinal at Home Farm

Within a few hours of our arrival, several people had wandered past and told us that they used to have a Conway Cardinal like ours. We also got asked to show some people round our camper as they were thinking of upgrading from a tent. All in all, the feel around the site was really friendly, with a lot of interest in our camper.

The stewards on this holiday meet were the friendlies we had ever come across, keen to help, keen to chat and totally still in love with folding campers and trailer tents (even if most of them now have motor homes and campers). While we were there, we had discussed joining the TT&FCG arm of the C&CC as it was only £6 a year – after we were brought an application form the decision was pretty much made. We’re still waiting for something to come through in the post to confirm our membership, but will update on the membership benefits once we have received it.

About the area

The area of Blue Anchor is lovely and peaceful. The site is a few minutes walk

folding camper somerset
Camping at Home Farm

from the seafront, and in Blue Anchor there are two pubs and a cafe, along with the neighbouring caravan site with a shop. There is also a station for the West Somerset Railway.

The site at Home Farm is right next to a pub,and there is a car boot twice a week in the summer season.

The seaside resort of Minehead is a short drive away, as is the harbour of Watchet and Dunster Castle and medieval vilage. We really loved the area, it was so peaceful and easy going. We had a really great week in Somerset, and really enjoyed the company of the Trailer Tent and Folding Camper Group.

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.

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.

Ilkley RUFC THS, W Yorks – Campsite Review

You may well be aware that I am a big fan of using the Camping and Caravanning Club Temporary Holiday Sites with my folding camper. Why ? – see my previous blog post describing why I love this cost effective and flexible camping option.

We recently decided to spend a week in the Yorkshire Dales; I wasn’t 100% sure of the location for a holiday with a teenager but the Yorkshire DA THS at Ilkley RUFC sounded a perfect location; close to town and by a river sounded very appealing.

We headed off on Sunday and on arrival the steward seemed a bit stressed, to say the least. The THS was really busy and there were just 3 pitches available. It isn’t often that THS are completely full, and usually if we ring before arrival we are told “Yeah, there’s plenty of room”, but on this occasion a quick call would have made the steward’s life a bit easier.

After we had put up the camper and the awning (full awning, not just the porch awning), we went into town for fish & chips (it’s a tradition). The town really is just a 5 minute walk away, up a slight hill.

Ilkley2

Add to this a quiet riverside location, and this THS is really well placed for a holiday. There are activities for children on the parks alongside the river, as well as many restaurants within the town itself for adult campers.

Between 7am and around 10pm campers had access to the toilet and shower facilities at the Rugby Club. One unisex toilet, one disabled toilet, communal female showers, communal male showers, plus a private, lockable referee toilet/shower for both males and females.

Whilst there was occasionally a wait for a loo, I never had to wait for a shower. On the one occasion I used the communal showers, I was alone the whole time.

The pitches themselves were set around the edges of the two rugby pitches. The pitches were well set out, with a marker for each pitch, and were well spaced. Whilst we were there a few rugby training sessions took place, but were on the pitch away from caravans.

Camping at Ilkey
Camping at Ilkey

Each day at around 6pm the ice-cream van arrived, which proved to be popular.

And as for being a suitable holiday location, well we were kept reasonable busy. We visited Haworth (Bronte country), the nearby town of Skipton, Malham Cove and as we are keen walkers there were numerus walks in the nearby Dales to keep us busy.

All in all, we had a great week in Ilkley and would definitely return. This particular meet has now ended, but the steward assures me that they come every year. One thing though – she has requested that we call ahead, just to make sure that she doesn’t have too many headaches with full pitches !

Monk’s Dyke Tennyson College THS, Mablethorpe – Campsite Review

We’ve just returned from a long weekend away with our folding camper at a Temporary Holiday Site in Mablethorpe. If you are interested in why we choose this particular cost-effective way of camping, then please read this blog post.

This was our second stay at the THS at the school, we came here for a few days two years ago. The reason we returned was the location – 5 minutes from the seafront and beach, 5 minutes from Queen’s Park and 10 minutes from the town centre, with shops, eating options and entertainment.

The THS was hosted by South Lincs District Association, who celebrated their 50th anniversary this year.

South Lincs pennant
South Lincs pennant

The THS is based on the field at the rear of the school, and the school itself is in a residential area. There are toilets and showers available during daylight hours, so you will need your own loo for the night. There wasn’t always loo roll available in the toilets, but there was a clear “Bring Your Own” sign. There are water taps and an Elsan disposal point available for use.

The field itself is flat, and there was plenty of room. I rang ahead but there was no need – the field was far from full, even though there were a lot of units there. We asked if we could be in the spot where we were two years ago, kind of in a corner. This meant that we were able to put up the folding camper, porch awning, toilet tent and event shelter. This made us a good sized area to sit out and eat outside, as the weather was lovely.

My only criticism was the rooster, that cockadoodled from dawn intermittently! I presume he lives in one of the houses, he’s an early riser though!

Unfortunately, the school closed in July, and will not be reopening in September. This means that this will probably be the last THS held at this site. This particular meet runs until the 30th August.