We took the plunge and bought our first motorhome in May 2003. Didn’t search around as, if we didn’t ‘take the bull by the horns’ and buy, it might never have happened. Ours is a Hymer 544 Camp Swing, right hand drive, 5 berth, registered in 2000, 15000 miles and bought from Hymer UK in Preston. We have enjoyed excellent service from Hymer UK in helping us choose our van, inducting us into motorhoming and aftersales service. Base vehicle Fiat 2,8TDI – plenty of power and averaging 30mpg, which we feel, is excellent. The cab set-up makes driving a pleasure with generally good visibility, there are areas of the windscreen which the wipes do not catch, particularly on the passenger side but this does not affect driver vision. The gears are on the dash and are easy to use although did find it difficult getting used to the handbrake on the right. Seats are comfy and passenger seat swivels, which gives easier access to the van itself but it would make it even easier if both swivelled. Lounge/ Central Dining The dining area and long bench seat are in the centre of the van opposite each other. The seats either side the table are all able to carry passengers when travelling (three have seat belts and one a lap strap) so in total six can travel in the vehicle. The table is just big enough for four but if you wanted five you would need a stool at the end. The seating is comfortable but is beginning to show signs of the foam being compressed on the front edge so have put a strip of extra foam in to raise it. The long bench seat is good if you want a nap. Kitchen area Three hob burner but have fitted a microwave on the centre cupboard and have no difficulty in cooking meals even when no electric hook-up, although we do not really use the microwave (good for heating wheat bags to keep us warm in winter). The sink is quite small but adequate and the draining board is tiny so have bought a metal tray which we put on top of the hob when washing up and this works well, can move it t the table and dry in comfort. The fridge is three-way i.e. gas, electric and 12V with a very small freezer section but plenty big enough, as we tend to shop as we go. Storage space is adequate. Bathroom Combined sink, cassette toilet and shower which has proved plenty big enough for us to move around in. Must admit that we have not used the shower in 4 years but don’t foresee any problems if we need to. Storage space is more than enough with a wall cupboard and one under the sink, plus open shelving and drawers. The room is mainly white so very light but is easy to keep clean. Sleeping The overcab bed is king-size and fairly high in comparison to most overcabs we’ve seen so plently of head height, there is an art to getting in and out of bed, particularly from the nose end. We use the overcab as there is no nightly bedmaking ritual of arranging cushions etc. It’s also quite light as there is a reasonably sized side window. The table and seats convert to a single bed or can be pulled out to make a double. We use this bed when the weather is bad, when the overcab can be noisy in rain or move in the wind. We find it comfortable and big enough. The long bench seat converts to a single bed whichis quite comfortable. Can use all beds at once when the whole of the lounge area becomes a bed. Have slept with two in the overcab and two in the double, only slight problem is that once the double is pulled out the ladder cannot be used, intend to make a short ladder in the future. However, this would be an advantage if children slept in the overcab as you would know if they got up in the night. Storage There is a really large wardrobe and ample overhead cupboard space, also space under the seats, except for one, which holds the fresh water tank. There is also a TV cupboard with a slide out TV stand which makes the TV not easily visible. I’ve also made some storage bags, one hangs on the back of the seat behind the driver and the other is held with Velcro to the end of the bench seat behind the passenger seat, these hold knick-knacks and have proved to be very useful. Heating The water is heated by gas and works well but if we’ve got electric hook-up we use a kettle. There’s blown air heating which is very efficient but we use a thermostatically controlled fan heater when we have electric, this has proved to be one of our best buys. Lighting The lounge area is naturally very light, as it has a large windows either side and a Heiki roof vent, we also find that if we swivel the passenger seat so that the back is towards the side there is more light and a better view. All windows are fitted with flyscreens and roller blinds, the lounge areas also has voile curtains which give a light, homely feeling. The artificial light is excellent. Outside locker storage The gasholder is made to hold two 11kg bottles, as Hymer are German, but will hold one 13kg and one 7kg gas bottle. There are two good-sized storage lockers to hold all the other bits and pieces. Extras Our van came with: - 1. Cobra alarm, which gives us a little peace of mind. It can be set when leaving the vehicle but also has a setting for night when we’re in it. 2. Bike rack – good for bikes and drying towels, but sure we’ll find plenty more uses 3. Awning/canopy – which is in effect a sunshade, have not used this much as we like the sun General comments We really like our van as it has large windows with good views and plenty of natural light. I would suggest that it is suitable for a family of five, while the children are young; an awning would help here. We have used it for two couples for a weekends, which was fine. All in all we are really pleased with our choice, use it most weekends now and for longer holidays.