I'm almost ready to buy a 1990s Designer so please tell me the bad stuff so I can make a final decision. The alternative is to buy a Sunncamp 400S. We'll be towing with a Hyundai i10. There'll be 4 of us in there: me, my husband, a 4yo and a 1yo. We're after comfortable camping with not too much hassle! Finally, is there anyone in the Kent / South east / London that has a dandy we can look at in the flesh?
It all depends on what you want and what suits your plan for camping your stated alternative being the Sunncamp 400S (or SE?)
Cue the Sunncamp videos.
So what Sunncamp advantages can I see: The Sunncamp may well be quicker to erect. It will doubtlessly be lighter to erect.
It's a folding camper not a trailer tent no pegging out. If it's just the base unit the legs can be raised and the erected Dandy moved. The Sunncamp might be great for time in France or the odd year of good weather in this country. The Dandy will be secure even when you wonder what the hell you are doing on a campsite. Bar one that blew over a dry stone wall at Shell Island I've never heard of one failing in use.
I don't know what year you are looking at but how old is the Sunncamp and do you think that there might be something in the fact that Dandys are the only 30+ year old folding campers that you see for sale?
What is wrong with them?
I have shot stomach and back muscles and find things a bit much on my own. Two up no great problem but they are heavier. All that extra strength is reflected in the weight. Hence why you see some fitting gas struts.
Does the Sunncamp have the fitted kitchen or not? Yes even if you already have all the kit a fitted kitchen is much easier.
Is the Designer one with the floor heater and are the walls insulated? If you will spend all your time on an EHU site then the heater isn't necessary but it gives you freedom. The insulated walls don't necessarily add to much to the warmth but they prevent the appearance of visible condensation when it's cold.
You might not be thinking of it but you can camp in winter in a Dandy. I spent Christmas 2011 in a Dandy with a 2Kw convector heater turned to a lower thermostat setting. I was sat down in T-shirt, jeans and socks. Warmer than I would have been at home.
I have said a Dandy is heavier but don't believe the erection time sales videos. How long you take to put up your folding camper isn't an issue. Even Dandy awnings which we all say are a bit heavy (Zip off sections can be made) don't really affect the put up set down time. If something takes 15 minutes or 30 minutes it's errelevent. It is the time picking up and sorting out all the flotsam and jetsam of your camping weekend that really takes up the time. It's like competing petrol stove manufacturers bragging that their stove is 5 seconds faster to boil a pint of water. Where if you have used petrol stoves what is really useful is one that simmers and doesn't burn the bottom of your stew.
Dandys are a bit plain and functional inside and don't look as cute as inner tents unless you make your own canopies and soft furnishings.
The underside of the beds can get damp. A little insulation underneath or turning the mattress helps.
Thats it. It is not a big conspiracy by "The Stinkys" (they don't) to get you to join the dark side they are that good.
Weights are similar so the towing experience should be similar. Are the Sunncamps braked? No big issue with modern vehicles but it does help a bit. I can confirm that the Designers are fantastically stable though you can feel a bit more weight from one than with a Dart.
Not exactly close to you but I shall be at Goodwood Revival (Chichester) Wed till Monday. Car park E if you want to look I'd suggest Wed or Thurs evening you won't be able to get within miles after then. I'll PM you a phone no.
Rhubarb wrote: I'm almost ready to buy a 1990s Designer so please tell me the bad stuff so I can make a final decision. The alternative is to buy a Sunncamp 400S. We'll be towing with a Hyundai i10. There'll be 4 of us in there: me, my husband, a 4yo and a 1yo. We're after comfortable camping with not too much hassle! Finally, is there anyone in the Kent / South east / London that has a dandy we can look at in the flesh?
Firstly, welcome to the forum! Always a good idea to get yourself informed before diving in.
I'm a little inexperienced when it comes to trying to convince people to buy a Dandy, but I'm in Hertfordshire (Broxbourne to be precise) and own a Dandy 6 (a little bigger than a Designer). If you're keen to come out far-ish to see one, I'd be more than happy to show you mine.
The bad bit is lifting the beds over but with two able bodied people it's fine, the awning can be heavy and a bit confusing .... it will always be heavy but you can get the sides zipped to make it lighter and putting it up gets easier the more used to it you get. Windy conditions can be a bit of a problem and you do need two sets of hands in those conditions.
4yr old will want to swing off the roofbars but you'll get that with any camper ...... the more space you have the better your experience will be and the designer is a good option as you can remove the table for more floor space. We have camped with our granddaughter in our designer plus a dog and been very comfortable ...... even without making the table and chairs into a single bed.
Hope you make the right choice for you and your family ...... a 6 is also a good option for families
A 4 year old has a realistic chance of swinging on the bars of a Dandy without everything breaking. Wouldn't trust many other campers. Helen is right about the space in a 6 if you have a growing family. As for a 6 it depends on you. At 750Kg it is closer to your maximum tow weight (above if you have the automatic) and I haven't towed one so don't know how well they behave. Kids don't get any smaller and if you don't tire of it the Dandy will be around for a long time. Though you would be blown over by the luxury of a Designer if you have come straight from camping.
Hello rhubarb, welcome. Bad bits, I've been thinking and I can't add anything else to the list. They don't need waterproofing, they are wind proof and our new dog had hes own single bed on hes first trip away in one ;-)
A colleague of mine bought Sunncamp from GoOutdoors. The time he used it, the bed collapsed in the middle of the night and he and his wife fell through onto the ground underneath. It gave them a bit of a shock.
They took it back to the shop the following day and got a full refund.
Dandy's are fantastic but no matter what you get ...... we all have to remember that your camping with a baby and 4 year old so if baby wants changing or feeding when you arrive or either child needs your attention in any other way then only one adult will be putting this up ..... either that or waiting until you can both help out.
Did no-one mention you can put Dandys away wet. Canvas tent material has to be dried out as soon as you can to stop it going mouldy. Dandy PVC can be left wet till you next use it. Dandys stand up well to high winds. The settee in a Dandy is fantastically comfy with a nice high back. I find the camper and caravan seats with low backs very uncomfortable. The dandy trailer is braked and that will be a big advantage with a small car. The dandy can suffer from condensation on the inside of the roof at night, but a small amount of heat stops it. Dandies are warm in winter and cool in summer. Much cooler than modern caravans. Dandies have solid walls and door with a lock. The beds can be heavy to lift over but gas stuts make it easy even for one person to erect. With two little ones you will need an awning with a designer, but the awnings are also PVC and stand up in high winds. The inside of the awnings is well sealed so should be warm and dry.
Even the one year old will soon figure out how to open the door .... this can be solved by fitting a bolt higher up than the little ones can reach. As navver says the lifting of the beds can be solved too by fitting struts (if it hasn't got them already) and putting the awning up will be made so much easier if you have zip out sides - if not then it's well worth doing. Setting up anything when you have little ones is never going to be a simple task but you can make life easier and you do only need 15 minutes to get the Dandy erected the awnings take longer but so would the sunncamp awning ....... plus you could get away with only using the actual Dandy unit for short weekend trips with a storage tent to make life even easier because the cooker/sink is inside a Dandy.
Our granddaughter has grown up with our Dandy Designer and loves it and we have a 1 yr old grandson too who will soon be joining us on our adventures x a designer is perfect for us because of how we use it, it's great for the two of us and dog but will also accommodate the children occasionally. If I permanently had the little ones and wanted to camp often and for lots of weekends then I'd most likely go for a 6 just for the extra space inside the actual Dandy. It depends on you, how much storage you have for a dandy. how often you go away and for how long, if you intend to put an awning on because you stay for longer periods then the Designer is great and if you only have limited storage space the designer is better.
I'm sold! Thanks for all the advice (and more is welcome!). I've been watching Dandy's on eBay etc all summer and have fallen in love with them, but dad persuaded me to take a look at trailer tents too. I think I got a bit scared by the age of Dandy's but then realised that tt have quite a limited life and would need probably more upkeep than a nice Dandy. That's it. Next time you see me I'll be asking how to make new curtains and a liner! Does anyone have any patterns btw..
Good for you, a Dandy will far outlive a trailer tent and no need to put it up to dry it off when you get home Looking forward to hearing how you get on with it and seeing what you do to it ..... ppsstt sticky finger marks don't come off canvas as easily as they wipe of pvc
You can use the curtains that the Dandy comes with as a pattern, that's what I did Duvet covers are a good way to change the look of the seating and can be taken off and washed easily ...... we use throws when Evie's with us.
For what it is worth we have a Dandy 6 and camped with our 5 & 4 year old children for 2 weeks this summer in Devon. We looked at all the Dandy models before plumping for a 6. The advantage of a 6 so far as we were concerned was the extra space and 2 beds at opposite ends to keep the children apart to encourage them to sleep!
We also have an awning- in our case an enormous Navigator Kombi, which we find quick to put up and gives us a lot of extra space- invaluable if it is wet
Can't really comment on towing it with a car, we tow with a vw camper and I do not even notice it is there most of the time.
We're going for the Designer / to start with as we only have a small car and 750kg is a bit too close to our max tow weight for comfort. The plan is to use this one until we change to a bigger car as the boys get bigger and get a 6 berth then! This is long term Dandy love that's been kindled! And thanks to everyone who has offered to show me their Dandy, but I'm afraid they're all too far away.
Now is a great time to buy ...... prices drop towards the end of the season and also the markets been flooded with Dandy's so most people who wanted one have already bought earlier on in the year there are and have been some real bargains about ..... Hope it's the Dandy with your name on it