Top 9 Takeaways from Renting a Camper Van with Outdoorsy

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Are you considering van life? Or perhaps you are looking to invest in a different camping rig for more weekend getaways? Regardless, you will want to start with Outdoorsy rentals. Renting a camper van with Outdoorsy gives you the chance to test out van life before you commit to buying a rig of your own and moving in. 

There is a lot to be learned before deciding if van life or RV living is right for you. Renting with Outdoorsy is a great way to explore this lifestyle. Here are my top 10 takeaways from renting a camper van with Outdoorsy: 

1. Simplicity

In my experience renting a camper van with Outdoorsy, the owners basically just hand you the keys and send you on your way. Of course, they review the basics and some safety measures before sending you out on an adventure but, for the most part, they have always been very trusting and laid back. Getting behind the wheel and embarking on a new adventure is a simple and seamless process.

2. Transparency

You get to know EVERYTHING before you pay, including mileage limits, refundable insurance charges, the size of the water tanks, and every other important and minor detail. You can even chat with the owners of the vehicle before reserving it to ask all your specific questions. For me, having access to all this information before booking a rental was imperative so I could plan a sensible road trip that would stay within the mileage limits and include stops for grey water dumps and fresh water fill-ups.  

3. Something for Everyone

Outdoorsy offers a wide variety of camping vehicles for rent. Whether you are on a tight budget for a solo adventure or splurging on an experience for the whole family, you can find the rig that’s right for you. Prices range from about $30 per night to $4,000 per night and vary based on the type of vehicle, how many people it sleeps, and how recent or well-loved the build is. 

While planning a week-long road trip down the east coast, my fiancé and I began crunching numbers and quickly learned the trip wasn’t in our budget. Instead of giving up on a road trip altogether, we were able to pivot our plans for a short weekend adventure and find an affordable camper van in our area! If you are itching for a getaway like we always are, Outdoorsy has a way to make it work. 

4. Every Van Has its Quirks

Our first time renting a camper van with Outdoorsy, we were driving a bright green Ram ProMaster from Philadelphia to the Jersey Shore. It was a short-distance trip for our first time testing out van life. Barely an hour into the trip, the side door opened while we were driving! It slid with such force that it popped off the track and was hanging on by one hinge!

In the moment, it was absolutely frightening but looking back, it was a hilarious learning experience. Turns out, the sliding door had an unknown quirk about needing to be closed from the outside and locked from the inside that we didn’t know about when we pulled off the lot. 

5. Discovering Pros and Cons

In each rental van, there have been things we love and things we hate. We keep a list of these things to better understand what we want to incorporate and what we want to leave out when it is time to build our own van. For example, we once rented a low-roof van and within 24 hours we knew we had made a mistake and would never settle for a low-roof van long term.  

6. A True Feel for the Lifestyle

When I rent camper vans with Outdoorsy, I plan trips that will give me a true idea of what it will be like living full-time in a van of my own. That means not always paying for campsites with electric hook-ups and shower houses. We rent vans that have features we are unsure about, like small heaters, to put them to the test and see how well they truly work. 

7. The Need for Airflow

One of the camper vans we rented with Outdoorsy had only one fan in the back of the van, and the only windows that could open were in the cab.

While the vent fan worked great and kept us cool at night because it was placed above the bed, the van wasn’t exactly optimized for great airflow. The cab windows were often blocked off by the privacy curtain, so there wasn’t exactly circulation blowing through the rig. When the sliding door was open and the vent fan was set to exhaust, circulation was a bit better however, there was no screen for the sliding door area so when the sun went down and the mosquitos came out, we had to close the door.

Luckily, the night air was enough to keep us cool blowing through the fan, but you could feel an obvious difference in temperature from when you were in bed under the fan to when you were not. 

8. Gas vs. Diesel

I have driven both gas and diesel camper vans and I can confidently say, gas is the way to go. The most obvious reason is that gas is more affordable than diesel. But, in my opinion, there are many other reasons to shy away from diesel: it is louder, smells, and is worse for the environment. If you are looking to have an eco-conscious (and money-conscious) camping trip, rent a rig that runs on gas.

9. Wheelbase Matters

I’ll be honest, I never believed this to be true until I drove a couple of camper vans and felt the difference for myself.

Every van drives differently based on its wheelbase. Generally speaking, a shorter wheelbase will drive more like a car whereas a longer wheelbase drives more like a bus.

My first time driving a camping van, it was a 136” wheelbase and I was super nervous because it was the largest vehicle I had ever driven. To my pleasant surprise, it drove just like my Honda Civic, for the most part. Turning into parking spots and backing into campsites was easy as pie.

Fast forward to the time we rented a van with a 170” wheelbase. I was feeling confident…for about five minutes and then I drove over a curb on my way out of the parking lot.

The turning radius was drastically different and is definitely a factor to keep in mind when choosing your camper van or RV rental. 

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I am so thankful to have learned all of this about life on the road through Outdoorsy rentals as opposed to purchasing a low-roof, diesel van and learning how much I dislike it a little too late.

Outdoorsy rentals are a great way to explore van life before committing to your tiny home-on-wheels. Even if owning a camping vehicle isn’t in your future, renting a camper van or RV is a great opportunity to make lifelong memories with the people you love. 10/10 would recommend it!

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