Say hello to our new home on wheels! Our first camper van, the Hymer Aktiv on the Ram ProMaster chassis. Once we’ve had a chance to break it in, we’ll share a full write up. Stay tuned! In the meantime, here’s a recap of our journey to camper van life and how we ended up with the Aktiv.
Our New Camper Van
Journey to Camper Van Life
It all started five months into our full time RV life. We were at the Florida RV SuperShow and spotted a shiny European style camper van with orange decals. (If I had my choice, our next vehicle would be orange.) The display had Hymer banners flying around it and we quickly learned that the company is one of the largest RV manufacturers in Europe.
Hymer was at the RV show to introduce their first RV in North America. The camper van on display was the Grand Canyon, now known as the Aktiv. Check out the two minute video walk-through below.
After the walk-through, we couldn’t stop thinking about the camper van. It got us wondering if we could live in a small travel trailer or a camper van full time. After we left the RV show, we thought the Florida heat had gotten to us. There was no way we could downsize to a camper van for full time travel…was there?
Camper Van Shopping
Fast forward a few months and we’re shopping for a camper van on Big Time RV. Although we didn’t end up with the RV from the show, the shopping experience reinforced our desires to downsize. As much as we loved our first RV, a 29’ Class A gas motorhome, it was too much space for us. The more we shopped for camper vans, the more we found ourselves comparing each one to the Hymer Aktiv.
The following months are spent doing extensive research on camper vans. We even created a list of camper van manufacturers in the U.S. and Canada to help us keep track. Many nights were spent reading through threads about cassette toilets and wet baths. The main requirements for us were: storage, cargo carrying capacity, tow capacity, boondocking capability and comfort for us and our dog, Leo.
Revisiting the Hymer Aktiv
“Everything happens for a reason.” An unexpected cross country trek from Ohio to California led us to the Pomona RV Show. At the show, we spent three days checking out the Hymer Aktiv. We laid on the bed, relaxed in the chairs, sat on the toilet, pretended to work, cook, sleep, watch TV.
We even got to meet Jim Hammill, the President and CEO of Erwin Hymer Group North America. He explained the EcoTrek system to us, which sold us on the Aktiv. The ability to run the AC off of the coach batteries is a game changer. It means we can run into the store for an errand or grab a bite to eat while Leo hangs out in the camper van. Jim Hammill explains the EcoTrek system in this video.
Being able to see the Aktiv again along side other camper vans helped us narrow down our top picks. Want to see a full list of Class B RVs we considered? Check out this post on downsizing to a camper van for full time RVing.
Partnership with Hymer
Our enthusiasm for the Aktiv created a partnership opportunity with Hymer. What does that mean? Well, it means for the next year, we will be working together to inspire others to get outside and explore. It also means we get to continue to travel and live our dream. More than anything, we’re excited that Hymer wanted to partner with us. It’s pretty awesome that they have provided us with a camper van for a year so we can continue to live our dream and share our journey.
What happens after a year? Guess we’ll find out when the time comes. In the meantime, we are ready to hit the road in our new camper van. There is much to explore and see in North America and we’ve barely scratched the surface.
Are we getting paid by Hymer to write articles and make videos? No. We’ll continue to make videos and write posts at our pace and in our style. All of the opinions will continue be our own, 100%. That’s the best kind of partnership if you ask us.
Now, get outside and explore this great big world! And be sure to say hello if you see us on the road.