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In May 2018, I finally purchased a Class B camper van – after 7 months of really thinking I could downsize more – I published my video camper van tour of the new Hymer Aktiv and received an amazing response from viewers.

I even surpassed my top video views and hit over 61,000 views on the video so far! So thank you all so very much!!!!

Since the camper van tour video was published there are many questions that came from viewers that want to know more information about:

  • Why I decided to downsize again.
  • Why I decided to go with the Hymer Aktiv camper van over other Class B vans.
  • Questions about specific areas of the Hymer and its systems.
  • How to live in such a small space.
  • Organization of my things.
  • How I make money remotely.
  • ….and more.

So I decided to put together a video answering these camper van tour questions.

You have several options for learning more:

  • Read below and skip to the clip for that question
  • Read below the summary of the video
  • Watch the full video here

Question #1: Why Did I Downsize from a 26 foot Winnebago to a 20 foot Hymer Camper Van?

 

Questions from Viewers

Joans Question

 

Summary Answer

  • Either downsize or get a tow car on the Winnebago and I didn't want to tow.
  • Easier for me to get into tight spaces.
  • Explore more areas that are length or height restricted on East Coast.
  • Better gas mileage
  • I didn't need as much space as I had on the Winnebago, like the couch or the bench on the other side of the dinette.
  • More kitchen space. Surprisingly my camper van has more usable space than the Winnebago did.
  • Ease of getting around like some of the highways, roads, bridges with height restrictions.
  • Hymer Aktiv has Voltstart which isn’t a reason for downsizing as much as it was a perk to downsizing.
  • Freedom to travel all road in my quest travel with the National Geographic 300 Scenic Highways & Byways book.

Detailed Video answer at 0:45

Question #2: Why Did you Downsize to a Hymer 1.0 Camper Van Instead of 2.0 Camper Van?

 

Questions from Viewer

jbowderdel Question

 

Summary Answer

  • I chose the 1.0 just for the ease of parking in a regular parking spot and I honestly didn't feel like I needed the extra foot of space.
  • Love how nimble she is, which I know the 2.0 is as well, but considering I was downsizing to be able to go more places, I just wanted the smallest space I felt like I could still be comfortable in.

Detailed Video answer at 3:27

Question #3: How Easy is it to Find a Hymer Dealer Since I've Never Heard of Hymer Before?

 

Questions from Viewer

Gloria Question

 

Summary Answer

  • So far my experience has been somewhat favorable. I've had 2 experiences where I needed warranty work and was able to get right in. (View the video for more details on this)
  • Hymer is only 2 years old in North America which is most likely why people haven't seen it very much. However it's very popular in Europe.
  • As of the time of this video Hymer's USA website shows 104 dealer locations in North America
    Hymer Locations North America

Detailed Video answer at 4:22

Question #4: Did you Test Drive or Look at Other Vans Before Purchasing the Hymer Camper Van?

 

Questions from Viewer

Penny Kemp Question

 

Summary Answer

  •  I originally looked at B+ vans like the Leisure Travel Unity camper vans before I started traveling a year ago and while I really liked these I opted instead for the 26 foot Class C thinking I needed more space at the time.
  • Before purchasing Hymer I had looked at the Roadtreks, the Winnebago Travato, Sprinter van custom buildouts.
  • Chose Hymer for big selling factors:
    • Already built out and had everything I wanted.
    • Voltstart system to charge the batteries
    • Refrigerator runs on electric rather than propane
    • Bed can stay down the whole time
    • Work station area for eating and working
    • Swivel chairs to make more seating
    • Counter top is bigger than my 26 foot and with stove and sink glass lids it opens up the space for more counter room
    • I didn't have the time nor means by which to custom build a van and this one had clean lines and I like the lighter colors inside for the walls, wood, and seating

Detailed Video answer at 7:03

Question #5: What is Your MPG and How Much Was the Hymer Camper Van Purchase Price?

 

Questions from Viewers

Garitt Bondsteel Question

Jamie Smith Question

 

Summary Answer

  • Retail price is over $100k; however dealers always will come down off of those prices signficantly and you can negotiate a reduction of 20-35% most of the time.
  • If you have the flexibility to look all over the US for an RV, whether it's a Hymer or something else, than you have a better chance of finding a deal that's suitable for you.
  • So far I'm getting about 16-17 mpg fully loaded and sometimes more if I'm coasting down mountain passes and not doing too much up hill climbing.
  • Surprisingly though she does very well with the gas mileage through the mountains. I baby her going uphill and rarely go over 3,000 rpms uphill to 1) baby the transmission, 2) save gas, 3) enjoy the journey.

Detailed Video answer at 11:00

Question #6: Do You Think the Hymer Aktiv 1.0 Camper Van is Suitable for 2 People Comfortably?

 

Questions from Viewers

Cocominga Question

 

Summary Answer

  • I absolutely think 2 people could occupy the Hymer comfortably. We're the Russos have done so quite well even when their larger husky, Leo living in the Hymer.
  • There's more living space with the 2 front chairs turned around and then of course there's the outdoor living.

Detailed Video answer at 13:25

Question #7: Where Do You Empty the Cassette Toilet (Black Tank) Waste?

 

Questions from Viewers

Guiseep Nero Question

 

Summary Answer

  • Rest stops in pit toilets or dump site, day use parks
  • Any where there are the typical dump sites like:
    • State parks
    • BLM
    • Wastewater treatment plants
    • RV parks

Detailed Video answer at 15:03

Question #8: The Hymer Mattress is Very Firm – Have You Made Any Modifications Like a Mattress Topper?

 

Questions from Viewers

Allyson Olson Question

 

Summary Answer

Mattress is very firm for me as well and I had several nights of tossing and turning.

My old mattress was a Tempurpedic 4 inch topper that was quite comfortable but I didn't want to put it over the firm Hymer mattress, because I didn't want to deal with how heavy it is to move around when I wanted to access underneath storage where you have to lift up the end of the bed.

I decided to live with the mattress for 2 months and then reevalute, but after just a couple of weeks I've grown really accusotomed to it and actually like it now. It's probably also gotten a little less firm with the use.

Detailed Video answer at 17:00

Question #9: Do You Leave the Queen Mattress Down All the Time?

 

Questions from Viewers

RHS Tools Question

 

Summary Answer

I got the Hymer 1.0 and I leave the queen bed down all the time.

If I need to access storage underneath I lift up the one folding mattress at the end of the bed or crawl under into the garage storage.

Detailed Video answer at 18:51

Question #10: How Do You Level the Camper Van When There are Hills and Slopes?

 

Questions from Viewers

Tom Question

 

Summary Answer

  • I just try to park on as level spots as I can.
  • Don't want to store leveling blocks.
  • I sleep with head on drivers side so that if I'm off level I make sure the van is pointed with passenger side facing downward. If you're parked on the street usually that will happen automatically for the rain water runoff.
  • I have slept once on an 8% slope so I had to change my position to be from corner to corner so I wouldn't roll towards the kitchen at night.

Detailed Video answer at 20:27

Question #11: How Does the Voltstart System Work Especially with Keeping Pets Cool?

 

Questions from Viewers

Jay G Question

 

Summary Answer

Voltstart is a proprietary system with Hymer as a different way to recharge your batteries, so for example if I want to leave the RV with the AC running then I can engage Voltstart.

You can charge batteries in the Hymer these 5 ways:

  • Shore power
  • Solar panels
  • Driving and using underwood generator
  • Turn vehicle on which uses underhood generator as well
  • Turn on Voltstart which utilizes underwood generator by turning on the camper van

To engage Voltstart you must:

  • Turn on your batteries, in my case I have 2 lithium batteries (also referrred to as the Ecotrek system).
  • Make sure Inverter is on which will now give you AC power to all the outlets in the camper van.
  • Toggle Voltstart button to the on position.
  • Turn on AC to desired temperature (if you want to use the A/C)
  • Exit vehicle and much sure all doors are closed.
  • It will cycle through this recharge 5 times before you must restart the system.

Also make sure you have plenty of fuel in the van.

Disclaimer about pets: Have a backup system like a temperature monitoring system, etc. Review the video for a more in-depth analysis on using a backup system. I use the Canary Home Security System to monitor Lily visually and the temperature to make sure while I'm away from the camper van that she is safe and the Voltstart system is functioning properly.

Detailed Video answer at 22:37

Question #12: How Do You Make Money Remotely and are You a Trust Fund Baby?

 

Questions from Viewers

AGloriousLife Camper Van Tour Question

Terry Question

 

Summary Answer

I seem to get this question a lot lately about how I work remotely and how I make my money, especially since purchasing the Hymer. So let me tell you a little about myself.

  • My background is mostly in property management and real estate accounting.
  • I started working in accounting at 17 years old.
  • Bachelors Degree in Accounting with a concentration in forensic accounting
  • I've been working as a Director of Accounting for a private equity firm that acquires and develops multi-family housing for the past 8 years.
  • I have a business where I provide business consulting and holistic life coaching as well as this new adventure of travel vlogging.

So no, I'm not a trust fund baby. I didn't receive any inheritance, no alimony, no anonymous donations (unless you'd like to send one to me then email me and I'd be more than happy to accept your donation), no legal settlements.

I just work and save. I know, pretty hard to believe huh?

Well it's true. I also teach people how to achieve their goals and dreams just like I've done and experience.

Detailed Video answer at 29:08

Let me know if you have any other questions about living in the van, how things work, etc, by leaving a comment below!

Video/Audio/Gear Used

Panasonic Lumix G85 Camera – For most still images and vlogging

Joby Gorillapod – Used for holding the cameras as a tripod or mounting to just about anything to capture a shot.

Manfrotto Travel Light Compact Tripod – For steady, long shots, steady panning, and wind conditions. Super compact, folds up into a case for minimal foot print.

Sony Digital Voice Recorder – Recording external audio for those times where the camera is further away or there is a need for boosted audio.

Lavalier External Microphone – Coupled with the the Sony Digital Voice Recorder to capture external audio and clip onto shirt.

Verizon Data Plan – Best nationwide coverage as of this post while traveling.

SaveSave

8 Comments

  1. Reiki Nurse

    Cool! Can a semi-Luddite learn to v-log comfortably? Am looking forward to starting my adventure. Thanks for sharing yours!

    Reply
    • Amber

      Well, honestly I guess that's up to you about whether you can but my philosophy is that if one decides this is what they want then I can absolutely help them get there or if you're learning on your own, sure. Glad you enjoyed the video/post too!

      Reply
  2. Leisa Gilleland

    Hi Amber, Thanks so much for sharing with us! I go back and forth one day I'm so ready then the next day I get cold feet. I know I can do it, however, I will have to sell my home, my car and everything to purchase my RV. I will be 62 in October so I will be able to take early retirement.
    I've been divorced for 30 years raising 3 kids on my own working 2 & 3 jobs, so I'm done! If I'm going to see Yellowstone National Park, the Giant Redwoods or Niagra Falls,it will have to be like this!anks, Leisa
    So, one day I'm so excited, the next day, kind
    of sick to my stomach. It's a huge step! Is this how it was with you?
    Thanks! Leisa

    Reply
    • Amber

      Leisa – You aren't alone in how you are feeling at all. I was always excited, but also stressed about the process and unsure of how this lifestyle would be on a daily basis. There's a learning curve, but you get through it and you get through it fast! I had a bit of a meltdown in the beginning where stress from buying the RV and putting my house up for sale in one day, selling the house 4 days later and having a 30 day lose, and then had to sell everything I owned. BUT…the feeling I had when I pulled away from the driveway and my sold home was incredible. I was free! Just know that it's a process. I was really stressed about selling everything so I sold all my big stuff, had a garage sale for everything else, and what didn't sell was a free for all for my neighbors and the rest went to Goodwill. I let go of the outcome and realized I was buying my freedom by letting all that stuff go no matter if it sold or it was given away. Good luck and I hope you can enjoy the ride as you move closer to the day.

      Reply
      • Daisy

        Amber, please proof your writing be publishing. Many English teachers reading your attached during their school breaks. Xoxo

        Reply
  3. Angela Borgen

    You use the Verizon data plan right? Also I thought you said you use a hot spot but can’t find info. Thank you

    Reply
    • Amber

      Angela – I do use Verizon and AT&T. The hotspot is dependent on which carrier you use. There's a few options out there, but I'm still testing a few and haven't listed it yet.

      Reply
  4. Bryan E. Winter

    Amber; I loved your review of your Hymer Aktiv 1.0 Camper Van. My wife and I may be considering one in the near future.
    On another note: I may be able to offer you,Hymer Corporation (Roadtrek) and other Hymer Aktiv owners a solution to the propane filling valve angle problem that you and others are encountering with respect to way Hymer and Roadtrek mount the propane tank to make filling difficult. I would replace the straight filling valve in the tank with an angled fill valve so it will compensate and give you a straighter more horizontal filling angle. Sherwood; maker of LP tank valves makes a 30 degree angled fill valve which should replace the current fill valve in the tank. It is Sherwood part number AFV6-30. If it is screwed into the tank in replace of the current valve with the proper orientation should bring it out at a more pleasing horizontal angle making it much easier for it to be filled. I am sure you would want to have it replaced by an LP gas supplier and would not recommend doing it yourself. You may want to pass this information on to Hymer and Roadtrek since both the Roadtrek Zion's (Simplicity as well) have the very same problem.

    Reply

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