This summer is set to be another big season for camping and road trips. In many places there is already a great shortage of campsites and rental cars. According to reports, travelers to Hawaii travel to U-Hauls to get around. Fortunately, more and more companies are renting out overland rigs and RVs to road users who want to get away with the burden of hard-to-obtain bookings.
These outfits also offer those keen to try out the nomadic life, the chance to test options before committing to ownership, and the dizzying range of equipment van makers are now facing. “The [overlanding] The equipment industry has grown so big that it’s easy to get overwhelmed, ”explains Alex Birukova, owner of Cypress Overland, who explains that many of their customers appreciate the opportunity to test the various features and systems of their rental equipment before buying.
Others rent Birukova’s vehicles while theirs are being built. The waiting lists at remodeling companies and RV manufacturers were only extended after COVID-19 normalized remote working and made an unconnected lifestyle more plausible for many. Four Wheel Campers, a company that makes pop-up RVs for truck beds for off-road travel, has seen a dramatic increase in sales (and waiting times) since reopening its factory last May. And Sprinter Adventure Van, a website dedicated to converting sprinters to campers, has seen site traffic increase by 50 percent since the pandemic began – and wait times for new vans from months (for a Ford Transit) to almost one Year (e.g. a 4×4 Mercedes).
We rounded up our favorite Rental companies in six cities, plus the best weekend getaways to test your rig.
San Francisco, California: Cypress Overland
(Photo: Courtesy Cypress Overland)
The vehicles: Choose between a Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro with a GoFast motorhome, a raised Jeep Wrangler Rubicon with a roof tent, or a Jeep Gladiator with a roof tent. All are equipped with a refrigerator, a luxurious Kanz Outdoors kitchen set, memory foam mattresses and camp tables with bamboo tops and chairs. From $ 195 per day
The trip: Rent Cypress Overland to create your own beach or mountain map with GPS coordinates for stunning, scattered campsites. Or, drive three hours north of the Bay Area to the Lost Coast of California and off Highway 1 for six miles of steep and winding dirt road to Usal Beach and its scattered oceanfront campsites. Watch the sun set in the Pacific, and then head north the next morning through Sinkyone Wilderness State Park to Shelter Cove, where you can spy on seals and sea lions or swim from black sand beaches walled by steep mountain slopes. Finally, head east on Highway 101 to return to San Francisco and stop in Petaluma to purchase Lagunitas’ freshly brewed beer.
Las Vegas, NV: Pacific Overlander
(Photo: Courtesy Francis Fraioli)
The vehicles: The location in Las Vegas (Pacific Overlander also operates from San Francisco) rents a Toyota Tacoma, which is equipped with an Alu-Cab Khaya motorhome that can accommodate up to four people in a heated interior with a fridge / freezer and a demand-controlled hot water shower System. Also available: a Tacoma with two roof tents (for four people), a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon (with one roof tent) and a Toyota 4Runner (with one roof tent). Upgrade to an Exped Megamat for ultimate sleeping comfort. From $ 195 a day
The trip: Travel 200 miles east to Tuweep, the least trafficked district of Grand Canyon National Park, and claim one of the nine campsites next to Toroweap Overlook, where sheer sandstone cliffs plunge 3,000 feet into the silver ribbon of the Colorado River. Hike the Tuckup Trail along the North Rim for unparalleled views of the Big Ditch. Then head east to the aptly named Point Sublime and claim one of the two little-known campsites next to the pine-strewn pink cliffs ($ 15 permit from the Backcountry Permit Office required).
Denver, CO: Titus Adventure Company
(Photo: Courtesy Titus Adventure Co.)
The vehicles: Lexus GX460, Jeep Wrangler Sport and three models of RVs. Rooftop tents can accommodate two to four people (on the Sequoia), and all vehicles come with a bat wing awning, full kitchen set, Yeti cooler, and even a Colorado State Park pass. From $ 220 per day
The trip: For US $ 30 a day, Travis Titus from Colorado designs individual travel routes with secret fishing spots, barbecue bars and little-known campsites. But the often-visited downtown Colorado area still has gems: turn off I-70 to google aspens in Sylvan Lake State Park, then head over Crooked Creek Pass for breathtaking views of the summit and not enjoy overcrowded climbing in Lime Park. Head southwest past the Ruedi Reservoir to catch trophy trout in the Fryingpan River before traveling through the towns of Basalt and Carbondale to Marble. From here, the 21 km long Lead King Loop offers panoramas of pointed peaks and meadows of wildflowers.
Jackson, WY: Teton backcountry rentals
(Photo: Courtesy Jacques Li)
The vehicles: The larger of the two options from TBR is a GMC Sierra outfitted with a brand new 4WD grandby pop-up RV. The smaller four-wheel drive Hawk camper sits on top of a Chevy Silverado. Both have padded bench seats, a queen-size bed, an indoor kitchen with propane heating, a refrigerator and two-burner stove, a 20-gallon water tank, and a 6-gallon water heater with an outdoor shower. From $ 229 per day
The trip: TBR offers five levels of trip planning advice to help renters find scattered campsites in the Wind River Range or plan hiking or packrafting epics in the Tetons. Or, just design your own adventure by heading north from Jackson to camp in the Gros Ventre Range east of Highway 191. The numbered scattered locations on Shadow Mountain in the Bridger-Teton National Forest offer unparalleled views of the Tetons. Then head west to camp between the lodgepoles at Colter Bay Campground (from $ 42) in Grand Teton National Park: a five-minute walk takes you to Jackson Lake and its expansive views of Mount Moran. The trailhead at Hermitage Point allows hikers to explore the lakefront a ten mile loop from camp.
New York, NY: Escape Campervans
(Photo: Courtesy Escape Campervans)
The vehicles: The Maverick is a Ford E-150 or Ford Transit with a queen-size bed that converts into a table and benches and an optional rooftop tent that extends the sleeping capacity to up to four people. The larger Big Sur offers more cargo space in a Ford 350. Both models have kitchen units and “insect socks” that cover the folded windows with a net for night ventilation. With rear-wheel drive, vans can tackle highways and slippery dirt roads (but not soft beaches or rocky roads). From $ 49 per day
The trip: With 13 rental locations in the US and Canada, Escape enables point-to-point rental for cross-country road trips. For a wild ride that returns to New York City, head north to Lake George Wild Forest and Shelving Rock Road, a gravel road that offers dispersed camping among pine and hardwoods. Then roll east into Vermont’s Green Mountain National Forest to claim one of the 15 primitive campsites on Silver Lake, where six trails hug the coast and climb the surrounding hills.
Orlando, FL: Ondevan
(Photo: Courtesy Luiz Cent / Jojo Lee)
The vehicles: Ford Transits and F-350 with bespoke beds and wardrobes accommodate up to two people on extra-long, full-size, seven-foot mattresses. Ceiling fans bring air in or out, an inner sink and 7-gallon water tank make dishes easier, and camping extras (like portable grills and hammocks) cater for connoisseurs and lounge lizards. From $ 89 per day
The trip: Drive five hours northwest to the wildest forests and emptyest beaches on the Gulf Coast. Campsites in St. George Island State Park provide access to nine miles of undeveloped beaches and dunes. Then head north to the Apalachicola National Forest near Crawfordville, where sandy, dirt roads lead to secluded campsites among saw palms and long-leaved pines where black bears still roam. Return to Orlando and stop at Wakulla Springs to swim or paddle with the manatees in the winter.
Main Photo: Courtesy Elliot Hawkley