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Where to Rent a Campervan for Your Next Road Trip

Not ready to buy a campervan but still want to experience #vanlife? We’ve got you covered.

(Fred Amico)
2014

Not ready to buy a campervan but still want to experience #vanlife? We’ve got you covered.

The open road. A hand-drawn map to someplace awesome. A co-pilot with a killer playlist and bottomless snacks. Welcome to van life. Camping and road tripping via campervan is seeing a resurgence in popularity, as more people skip clunky, gas-guzzling RVs but still want to sleep somewhere more comfortable than a tent. The best part? You don’t have to buy one for a taste of the lifestyle, thanks to a proliferation of quality campervan outfitters across the country. 

Vintage Surfari Wagons, Costa Mesa, California

Vintage Surfari Wagons
Click to enlarge. (Vintage Surfari Wagons)

Rent a restored vintage Volkswagen camper van from Vintage Surfari Wagons and you’ll be road tripping in style. Pick up your van at their Orange County headquarters and take a tour of the Pacific coast. The vans, with names like Van Morrison and Mad Maxx, are available from $129 a day and come loaded with a coffee press and cooking supplies. 


Roadtrek Rental, Western U.S.

Road Trek Rentals
Click to enlarge. (Road Trek Rentals)

Perhaps you’re looking for a more upscale van experience. Check out Roadtrek Rentals, which rents Mercedes Roadtrek Sprinter Vans for $3,450 per week with pickup spots in over a dozen locations, from San Francisco to Salt Lake City to Portland, Oregon. Vans come with solar panels to power appliances without being plugged in, plus a hot shower, king bed, flat-screen TV, and optional concierge service to plan your road-trip itinerary and make you feel like you’re in a nice hotel—wherever you want that hotel to be. 


Lost Campers, California and Utah

Considerably less expensive than other campervan rentals, Lost Campers prides itself on affordable, discrete (read: no loud paint jobs on the car’s exterior) camper vans with pick-up locations in San Francisco, Los Angeles, or Salt Lake City. Their stock of customized Dodge Grand Caravan, Ford E350, or Chrysler Town & Country vans, starting at around $50 a day, come stocked with a full-size bed, camp table and chairs, outdoor kitchen setup (including propane stove, ice chest, and cooking supplies), and 24-hour roadside assistance.


Westfalia Rentals, Canada and Washington

Westfalia Rentals has over 35 vans in their rental fleet, including Eurovans, 1980s-era Vanagons, and even VWs with Subaru engines for more power uphill. You can pick up your van starting as low as $109 a day in Victoria or Vancouver, BC, Calgary, Alberta, or Seattle, Washington, and head to points unknown.


Adventure Travel Sports Rentals, Golden, Colorado

Want a beefier rig for more off-road travel? Rent a Sportsmobile ($350 a day), a Tiger Bengal ($350 a day), or a 4Runner Trail Edition ($200 a day) from Adventure Travel Sports Rentals, a Colorado-based off-road van rental company. The vans come with pop-top beds, full kitchens, and plenty of clearance for rugged mountain or desert roads.


Dragonfly Vans, Missoula, Montana

Dragonfly Vans
Click to enlarge. (Dragonfly Vans)

Dragonfly Vans has 10 refurbished Westfalia camper vans available from $215 a day for road trips starting in Missoula, Montana. Owned by a professional VW mechanic, Dragonfly’s vans come equipped with all the camping and sleeping gear you’ll need. Opt for an upgrade for a standalone grill, a propane campfire in a can, or a bike rack. 

Filed To: Lodging / Travel / Car Camping
Nicolas Henderson/Creative Commons )

San Marcos, Texas

Billed as the world’s toughest canoe race, the Texas Water Safari, held each June, is a four-day, 260-mile jaunt from the headwaters of the San Marcos River northeast of San Antonio to the small shrimping town of Seadrift on the Gulf Coast. There’s no prize money—just bragging rights for the winner. Any boat without a motor is allowed, and you’ll have to carry your own equipment and overnight gear. Food and water are provided at aid stations along the way. Entry fees start at $175 and increase as race day approaches.

The Ring

the-ring-race.jpg
(Courtesy Quatro Hubbard)

Strasburg, Virginia

The Ring is a 71-mile trail running race in early September along the entire length of Virginia’s rough and rocky Massanutten Trail loop. To qualify, you need to have run a 50- or 100-mile race before the event and win a spot through the lottery system. Entry is free. Complete the run and you’ll become part of the tight-knit Fellowship of the Ring and be eligible for the Reverse Ring, which entails running the trail backwards in the middle of winter.

Plaza2Peak

plaza-to-peak_h.jpg
(David Silver)

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Each spring, competitors gather in Santa Fe’s historic plaza with a simple goal: be the first to reach 12,308-foot Deception Peak, 17 miles and 5,000 feet of elevation gain away. Competitors run or bike the first 15 miles to the local ski area before transitioning to their waiting ski-touring setups for the final push to the top. Time stops only when they’ve skied back down to the tailgate in the resort’s parking lot, which is funded by the modest entry fee of around $25. To add to the sufferfest, some participants sign up for the Expedition category, in which they strap their skis, skins, boots, and poles to their bikes for the long ride up. Start dates vary depending on snow conditions, but look for the event page to be posted on Facebook in late March or early April.