Humberto is a 2008 Hymer B544.
We chose the B544 because of the large lounge area. I’d say it has the largest lounge of any (European style) motorhome, of any size. That’s quite a statement considering it’s only a 6.5m long van I know. Let me explain. The B544 does not have a fixed bed or garage. It has a drop-down double bed above the cab and a few options of how to utilise the two Sofas for sleeping. The lack of Garage/Fixed-bed frees up 75% of the inside for seating. The driver and passenger seats swivel round to form part of the lounge and means you could (if you actually wanted to) seat 8 people around the table. (Hint. There’s video down below if you want a tour)
We have seen some very large (8m plus) vans that, because of their fixed bed and (extremely useful) garage beneath, are left with a rather small, and formal, 4 or 5 seats around a small table. That just doesn’t appeal to me at all, I like to stretch out on a sofa and the B544 provides that on each side, ideal for 2 people to properly relax in the evening…without actually going to bed.
The drop-down bed has pillows and duvet on it at all times. It takes about 30 seconds to fold the front seats and drop the bed into place so it’s really no hassle. It also leaves the 2 sofas free if people want to stay up late.
Since ALL motorhome layouts are a compromise we decided that this was the best compromise for us. If you want EVERYTHING then you suddenly find yourself driving a 13m, 8 tonne RV. which in itself a compromise.
The engine is a 3.0L 160BHP 6 speed manual. We don’t get embarrassed by cars at traffic lights, it has plenty of “Go”. So far we have achieved around 25-26mpg, about what we expected. The chassis is rated to 3850Kg (uprated 350Kg from basic 3500Kg so we should have no problems with payload).
You can never have enough storage (and I’ll always wish Humberto had a big garage) but, for a 6.5m van it really does offer a lot of options. It has a double floor with “skirt-lockers” between the floors. If you look at the photos you can see the doors along either side of the skirts. They are about 24cm tall, which isn’t exactly a garage, but go right across the width of the vehicle. That means we have huge amounts of storage for things no deeper than 23cm. We need to think how best to utilise it but it’s enough.
Internal storage is also very generous and well thought out. The sofas are on top of flip-lid storage “bins”, there are plenty of wall cupboards, kitchen drawers and Washroom cupboards.
See video below for a tour.
In summary, we must have viewed hundreds of Motorhomes over the last 10 years and none of them gave us so much of what we wanted with so few compromises as this Hymer B544.
The only motorhome I have seen that would tempt me away from Humberto… is a 2016 B544 (only because I love the swing-wall shower room) but that is £85,000 !!!!! I’d be afraid to leave it out of my sight.
Click image for full-size.
As part of an upgrade, for a life “Off-Grid” we paid for a GAS-IT LPG install. This replaced our Calor Gas bottles (2 x 7Kg) with 2, permanently installed, 11kg Bottles and an LPG filler point on the outside of Humberto. See bottles and filler-point below.
There are several advantages to using GAS-IT (other such systems are available from GASLOW and AUTOGAS).
- LPG is cheaper from a garage pump. (Half the price is what I heard)
- You can top-up the LPG bottles when you fill Motorhome with Diesel. That means you are always full and not running Calor Gas bottles down to empty.
- LPG is widely available on the continent whereas Calor Gas dealers are not
- 2 x 11Kg bottles is a LOT of gas and should allow us to remain “off-grid” with (gas powered) heating for much longer.
Maybe we’ll get our money back (£400) over the years, maybe we won’t. It’s more of a convenience upgrade to be honest.
Here’s my first ever attempt at a refill..
We also had a couple more “upgrades”.
Solar Panel – We had a 150W solar panel installed via a (Hymer compatible) Schaudt controller. That gives us some 12v top-up for any off-grid living. I’m not sure yet just how much they will help out but I’m hoping it’s enough, in Autumn, Winter & Spring, to offset the drain from the 12v Blown-Air heating fan. (Heating is by Gas but blown by 12v fan). If the solar panel can offset the heating fan then we are OK to remain off-grid as long as the Gas and water lasts.
Update (after several English winter trips) – If it’s a VERY sunny winter day then the Solar panel MAY just about replenish the battery after a night running the 12v heating fans. However, we’ve found that on overcast (typical) winter days, and nights close to freezing, then the batteries drain faster than the Solar panel can replenish. Our Max capacity is 144A/Hr which typically drops to around 125A/Hr during a cold/freezing night. A sunny day could push that back to 135A/Hr but in overcast weather, especially if you add tree cover, then you may be lucky to get back to 130A/Hr.
Of course this is only an issue in Winter where I think we may be OK for 5-7 days before charging the batteries by driving or via an Electrical hook-up.
External Gas Point – We love our Weber BBQ. It’s the best gas BBQ I’ve used. We decided that it MUST accompany us on our travels and so, to make things easier, we had a TRUMA external Gas point fitted. Now the Weber BBQ simply clicks into the Gas bayonet fitting and draws on the LPG supply.
USB Power – We also fitted some USB points inside. It’s patently clear now that the biggest change in electrical needs, since Humberto was built in 2008, is the change from 240v and 12v to 5v USB. Almost everything we take with us is USB powered/charged now.
We had 240v plugs with USB ports for when we were hooked-up to 240v and we had 12v “Cigar lighter” sockets with adaptors but none were exactly optimal given the number of phones, WiFi routers, Tablets ..etc we have with us. Now we have an extra 6 USB ports, under wall cupboards and in the seating boxes, with a new 12v point should we need that to drive 12v adaptors.
That gives us potential for 8 USB points (not counting our other options we had previously). Humberto is fairly well “future-proofed” as far as device charging goes now.