How to Rent a Camper Van?

What’s better than buying a camper van and going full-time into the #vanlife? Spending a fraction of the money, renting one, and only dealing with an RV when it’s time to go camping. Sure, having a camper van of your own is great, but the upkeep and storage can get pricey and annoying very quickly. Renting a camper is much simpler. So, how do you rent a camper van? 

A camper van sits in a desert style area with a red chair sitting next to a campfire that recently went out.
Camper van | Getty Images

Can you rent a camper van? 

The whole 2020 thing drove millions out into the woods as campers for the first time. Unfortunately, a pandemic had to force folks outside, but the fact that they made it has generated untold wealth for the camper van, RV, and damn near any other industry pertaining to the outdoors. 

This has been great for many camper and RV makers, but the demand makes it hard for buyers to get some gear of their own. Not to mention the exorbitant prices of most camper vans and RVs

Take the super badass Storyteller Overland campers. They are extremely cool, but all that cool will run you a cool $150,000. All these factors considered camper vans and RVs are just plain hard to buy. 

So, where do you go to rent a camper van or RV? 

Camper van cruising down the road
Storyteller 4×4 Ford Transit camper van | Storyteller

If you want to vacation in a camper van but not buy one, there are two main ways to go about it. According to Gear Patrol, start by checking out national companies, which offer coverage in a wide variety of vehicles in markets all around the country. Oftentimes, however, these are peer-to-peer sharing rentals – think AirBnB, not Hertz — which some people might be less comfortable with.

This route may be a bit riskier because there is no standardized way of vetting the vehicles’ roadworthiness. But this is probably the most common and easily accessible way to rent a camper or RV.

The second and more controlled way might be to only look to rent a camper in the area you want to spend your time in. This is helpful for two reasons. 

One is that certain areas are more known for this sort of outdoor activity, and the chances of finding what you need are likely higher in these areas. 

The second reason is that you will likely find more camper vans to rent that are appropriate for what you might be doing with it since its owners are likely doing similar things near where they live. 

Here are a few camper van rental sites that may come in handy

A camper van RV parked near mountains as a couple relaxes outside
A camper van RV parked near mountains | Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

Gear Patrol recommends Escape Campervans for its wide-reaching, colorful rides out of over a dozen locations across the United States and Canada, making it easy to plan a trip out of practically any major metro area.

Another good place to look is Outdoorsy. This site uses the popular peer-to-peer rental style to offer a wide range of camper van styles to help customers find exactly what they need for every kind of adventure. 

Outwander is another similar site that offers more than just vans. Outwander is also peer-to-peer but offers camper trailers and other types of RV as well. The variety is what makes this marketplace so nice to work with.

All that’s left to do is plan a trip

Once the camper van rental is settled, it’s time to nail down the plans. Whether you rent one in the location, plan to camp, or choose to road trip to the campsite, planning is crucial. All good camping trips start with a clear plan and backup plan. Once you’ve made a plan, make sure to share it with someone who isn’t camping with you so that someone is waiting for your return. This is key in case anything goes wrong; you have someone knowing to look for you. 

The van life can be buckets of fun, but the startup price and logistics can prohibit many would-be campers. Renting a camper van can save a pile of money and headaches.

RELATED: Where Can You Legally Park a Camper Van for Free?