Renting a camper and camping in an RV, whether it’s a motorhome, travel trailer or pop up camper, offers a completely different experience than other types of camping.
You get many of the luxuries of home, such as a bathroom, kitchen, soft beds and a roof over your head.
However, purchasing an RV camper may not be the right decision for many people for many different reasons. Maybe you’re not sure if you’ll love it yet, maybe you only go camping once or twice a year or maybe it just doesn’t work financially for you. That’s all ok!
It turns out that renting a camper is not only doable, but it is also easy, affordable, and can create a fun camping memory that will last a lifetime.
RV Rental Index:
- Why Renting A Camper Is a Great Idea
- Where Can You Rent an RV?
- How Do RV Rentals Work
- How Much Do RV Rentals Cost?
- Renting Out Your Camper for Extra Income
- Different Types of RVs You Can Rent
- Money Saving Tips for Your RV Camping Trip
- Your RV Rental Checklist
- Interested In Buying An RV? Here’s Our Advice
- Other Resources For Your RV Camping Adventures
Why Renting A Camper Is a Great Idea For a Family Camping Trip
There are many different forms of camping and each one is unique and amazing in its own way. Backpacking, canoe camping, ultralight camping, car camping, and bike camping all offer unique experiences that can’t be found elsewhere.
Similarly, RV camping offers its own unique experience that is perfect for many families to enjoy.
Renting a camper or RV allows you to get into the outdoors and enjoy the trees, lakes, hiking, fresh air, and stress-free environment while still enjoying many of the comforts of home. Many campers, motorhomes, and pop ups have kitchens, bathrooms, TVs, electric hookups, water hookups (and water tanks), soft beds and many more comforts depending on what type and size of RV you are renting.
If you’re not used to or have no interest in roughing it, then renting a camper is perfect for you. Campers offer more of a glamping experience in the great outdoors.
If you have children, renting a camper can be perfect for you too. With its extra storage, you can more easily pack games, toys, snacks, baby supplies and even some electronics in case the weather doesn’t cooperate and you need some extra entertainment.
Some other benefits would be that you can save money by cooking most of your meals in your camper rather than eating out on your trip. You’ll have a soft bed and comfortable chair after a long day of hiking, exploring and sightseeing that will have you refreshed for a new day of adventures.
The reasons for renting a camper for your family camping trip are many and if you’re here, then I’m sure you’ve already come up with your own!
Where Can You Rent an RV?
Most people don’t realize it, but there are a lot of options when it comes to camper rentals. You can rent a camper through a traditional RV dealer (if they offer it), but odds are that they are going to have 1-10 campers at most.
For a bigger inventory of rental options, one of the most popular, easiest and cheapest ways to rent a pop up, travel trailer or motorhome is through peer to peer rental companies such as Outdoorsy and RV Share.
Peer to peer camper rentals is where an owner can place their RV up for rent on either Outdoorsy’s or RV Share’s website. Once there, visitors to these sites can view all the different campers available for rent in their area, the nightly prices, when they are available and can book them directly through the site. It is actually run just like Airbnb only with campers!
Renting A Camper Through Outdoorsy
Founded in 2015, Outdoorsy quickly became one of the biggest RV and camper rental portals on the internet.
In 2014 co-founders Jeff Cavens and Jennifer Young traveled across America talking to RV owners to learn everything they about these people and what they were looking for in an outdoor adventure.
Today, they have a team of over 50 people and have completed hundreds of thousands of successful RV rentals.
Outdoorsy is known especially for its ease of use for renters and owners alike. Their booking system makes contacting and booking an RV incredibly easy and efficient.
Other benefits Outdoorsy offers RV renters is that they offer $1,000,000 in liability insurance, $250,000 in collision coverage and RV rental roadside assistance for all renters. You can even purchase travel insurance through Outdoorsy that will cover your expenses if you get sick or a multitude of other issues.
Check out Outdoorsy’s RV and Camper Rentals here.
Renting A Camper Through RV Share
RV Share was started by a husband and wife in 2013 after they bought their camper in 2012 and realized that it sat around for much of the year unused.
They went about trying to find a good way to rent out their RV but found that traditional methods like Craigslist were far from perfect, so they formed RV Share.
RV Share is the first and largest peer to peer camper rental website around today. They offer thousands of RVs for rent through their website and enjoy a perfect 5-star rating from both renters and owners alike.
RV Share does require you to provide your own insurance but does offer their renters 24-hour roadside assistance.
Check out RV Share’s camper and RV rentals here.
How Do Camper Rentals Work?
First, you’ll want to head on over to Outdoorsy or RV Share. Next, you can search or browse the sites by different criteria. You can look at everything available in your location, you can see what is available based on the dates you’re looking to travel or you can browse based on what type of recreational vehicle you want to go camping in, such as a pop up camper, travel trailer or motorhome.
Make sure to pay attention to each camper and owners ratings. Are they easy to work with? Also, make sure the camper has the amenities that you are looking for.
When picking out your desired camper, make sure to check out the camper rules, mileage, and extra fees also.
Each owner is able to set their own rules regarding their camper. Do they allow pets? Do they allow you to take their camper to a festival? Do they allow smoking? Make sure that the rules and how you want to use the camper match up.
Each RV has an approved amount of mileage included with each rental. This is aimed more at motorhomes than travel trailers or pop up campers. Typically, 100 – 150 miles per day are included in the base rental rate. Any additional miles over this limit are typically charged at $0.30 – $0.65 per mile. Make sure you know how much mileage is allowed and what the overage rate is for your rental.
Extra fees are really whatever the owner feels like charging, though they have to make them clear in their listing so there are no surprises. This might be a clean sheets fee, an interior cleaning fee if you bring it back dirty, an exterior cleaning fee, a delivery fee, a pickup fee or a waste disposal fee. Most owners are reasonable and only charge for extra work when it is agreed upon by both parties (such as delivering the camper to your campsite).
Just make sure to check the taxes and fees on your rental and budget appropriately.
Booking Your Camper Rental
Once you’ve picked out the camper you want to rent and have made sure it is available for your desired dates, it’s time to book the camper.
Camper booking is handled a couple of different ways. Many campers and RVs offer Instant Booking which allows you to pick your dates, enter in your info and credit card information and book the RV for your camping trip.
Other campers require you to Request A Booking. This means that you will message the owner to make sure it is available and line up your rental directly with the owner.
Both ways work just fine.
After You’ve Booked Your Rental
Once your rental is booked, it is a good idea to communicate with the owner right before your desired travel time to communicate about picking up the camper or if the owner is planning to drop off the camper for you. You’ll want to make sure you’re both planning on the correct times and location to make sure everything goes smoothly.
With peer to peer rental companies such as Outdoorsy and RV Share, they handle all payments and processing. There should never be any exchange of money between owners and renters. This keeps this safe, fair and allows for any disputes to be handled properly.
How Much Do Camper Rentals Cost
The simple answer to how much do RV and Camper rentals cost is typically $100 – $300 a night, but there is more to this question, so let’s dig a bit deeper.
On both Outdoorsy and RV Share, you’ll find a handful of RV rentals under $100 a night. The vast majority of rentals will fall in the range of $100 – $200 a night while the newer and bigger motorhomes will be in the $200 – $300 range. A few very new, big and really nice motorhomes will run over that $300 a night mark.
But there are other expenses you need to pay attention to when renting a camper or RV as well.
The first is, what is the minimum number of nights the owner will rent the camper for? Most will not rent a camper for only 1 night. I’ve seen a typical number of nights is 2-3 with some requiring a minimum of 4 or more.
There are also taxes to consider. This is added on to every rental and will show you the exact amount on the rental page.
Additional fees beyond the rental cost and taxes would be things like the owner stocking the camper with different gear (at your request). Many will include basic gear for free, but make sure to check beforehand. Also, pets typically will incur you and additional cost. Not cleaning the camper or emptying the waste tanks will get you an extra charge as well. Drop off or pick up of the camper will typically cost you an additional $50. Lastly, don’t forget extra mileage charges and gas. If you plan on doing a lot of driving, you may go over the included mileage and end up having to pay $0.30 – $0.60 extra per mile (plus the gas you’ll have to purchase).
Let’s say you’re renting an average size camper for $150 a night for two nights and you’re driving 75 miles to your campsite. You should incur no additional mileage fees, so that’s a not a factor. You should expect roughly $75 in additional fees and taxes. So your camper rental should cost you $375. Make sure to budget properly for camping food, fun activities and your campsite fees while you’re out there as well! If you’re interested in camping for free, check out our guide to Free Camping in the US.
Renting Out Your Camper For Extra Income
Not only is renting a camper for a family trip a great idea but on the flip side, you can rent your camper out to others for extra income while it’s not in use.
In brief, an average rental can bring in income of $500 – $1,000. If you rent out your camper through Outdoorsy, they insure the owner up to one million dollars, run a DMV check on all drivers when they rent out your camper.
You are always in complete control as well. Don’t want to rent out your RV during certain months of the year? Then block those dates off your schedule.
There are even ways to make extra money while reting your RV, you offere delivery & pick up for a fee, you offer stocking options, grill rental, bikes or other amenities that could up the potential revenue of your rental.
The Different Types of RVs You Can Rent
There are six main types of recreational vehicles that you can rent out on Outdoorsy and RV Share. Each type has its own pros and cons. Here are the basics of what you need to know to make the right decision for your camping trip.
Motorhomes are in their simplest form, a living space built on top of a truck or van chassis (btw – a chassis is the frame of a vehicle). This allows the living space and vehicle to be driven around as one unit.
Motorhomes are a great rental option for people who don’t own a vehicle capable of towing a travel trailer or a large pop up. They are also typically easier to set up at a campsite and in theory, allow passengers to move about the living space while on the road (though this is dangerous and should be avoided in my opinion).
The motorhome category of RVs is broken down further into three different classes of motorhomes.
Class A RV Rentals
Class A motorhomes are the largest motorhomes you can rent and they are typically the most expensive as well.
Many class A RVs offer large slide outs to increase living space, a master bedroom, couch, and large kitchens. Other features commonly included in class A RVs are full-size bathrooms, washers and dryers, dishwashers, large screen TVs and more.
Since Class A RVs are the largest RVs you can rent, they are also the hardest to drive and maneuver. A special license is not required to drive one, though a bit of practice is.
Finally, Class A RVs are typically the most expensive to rent. If you’re looking at a newer one, you can expect to pay between $200 – $400 per night depending on size, year, and extra luxuries.
Class B RV Rentals
Class B RVs, also known to many as camper vans, are the smallest of motorhomes and are typically built on a standard van chassis.
Class B RVs (camper vans) have many benefits for the right renter. First, they are smaller which means they are easier to drive and maneuver. They also consume less gas than a class a or class c motorhome.
Because these RVs are smaller and easier to drive, they make driving around to different activities during your camping trip much easier. Planning on going climbing during the day? It is much easier to drive your camper van to your destination from the campground than it is to load up and drive a class a or c motorhome.
Class B RVs are typically quite a bit cheaper to rent than a Class A or Class C RV. Class B camper vans will typically run you $150 – $300 a night for a nice newer van.
Some drawbacks of a class b camper van would be that they are not exactly family friendly. They are ideal for either a solo trip or a couples trip. They still include a nice bed, kitchen sink, cabinets, and typically a tv. Bathrooms and extra seating may or may not be included in these rentals.
Class C RV Rentals
Class C RVs tend to be the most family-friendly RV rental options for motorhomes. They are considered a mid-sized motorhome and are typically 20-33 feet long.
Class C RVs are built on a van or truck chassis and typically have a bunk built in over the cab. They offer all of the amenities of a Class A RV while offering drastically more size than a Class B.
Because Class C RVs are typically cheaper than Class As and considered the “family” motorhome, they typically have more sleeping space as tables and couches fold down into beds, a bed is included above the cab and the rear of the motorhome typically has a master bedroom.
Class B RVs will often have large sized kitchens, bathrooms and dining tables to accommodate families as well.
A Class C RV rental will typically cost you in the $200 – $300 range for a nice motorhome.
Travel Trailer Rentals
Travel trailers are a towable RV that can offer many benefits over a motorhome rental.
Travel trailers are RVs that have the living space of a motorhome, but no cab or engine, they must be towed to your destination.
This can be perfect for many people for a lot of different reasons. First, if you plan on doing a lot of different activities during your trip that require you to drive around to different locations all while camping at the same campground at night, it is convenient to detach your vehicle and be able to drive around freely rather than driving a large motorhome wherever you go.
If you don’t own a large SUV or truck capable of towing a travel trailer, many owners offer a drop-off and pick up service for their renters for a small fee (usually $50). This is also nice because then the owner can show you how to set up the camper and you can just enjoy it without having to tow it, set it up or take it down.
Travel trailers can have any amenity you’re looking for such as a large kitchen, big slide outs, lots of beds (even bunk beds), TVs, and even full-size bathrooms.
Travel trailers are typically cheaper to rent than motorhomes as well due to the fact that you won’t be putting miles on an engine. Most travel trailers will cost you $100 – $250 per night.
Fifth Wheel Rentals
Fifth wheel campers are very similar to travel trailers in many ways but do have one major difference.
Fifth wheel trailers actually offer the most living space of any RV. They often have large master bedrooms, huge kitchens, lots of slide outs, full bathrooms, multiple bathrooms and extra sleeping quarters.
The major drawback for most renters is that they require a truck specifically designed to tow them. Fifth wheel RVs have a gooseneck hitch that attaches to a truck in the middle of the truck bed. This makes towing drastically better than a standard hitch and allows the truck to tow a larger and heavier trailer.
For most renters, a fifth wheel RV rental is only realistic if the owner is willing to deliver the camper to the campsite and pick it up since most renters will not have the proper vehicle to tows these campers.
Fifth wheel campers are typically designed as a luxury camper for 2 people. They will have large kitchens, fancy counters, fireplaces, large screen TVs and more. They are not typically built with families in mind, so you will not find a lot of sleeping accommodations in fifth wheel RVs.
Fifth Wheel RV rentals will typically range from $100 – $300 a night plus
Pop Up Camper Rentals
Pop up campers are the smallest, cheapest and easiest to tow camping trailer.
Pop up campers are perfect for adventurers on a budget or who don’t plan on spending much time in the camper but really just want it for a place to sleep and eat.
Besides being cheap, pop up campers are towable by most mid-sized SUVs, trucks, vans and even some cars (for smaller pop ups).
If you have lots of activities planned for your camping trip such as canoeing, hiking, or other adventures, then a pop up could be perfect. Check out our huge list of 99 fun camping activities to help you have a great time.
Most pop ups include two queen sized beds, many have a table and/or couch that can turn into a bed and some even have a slide out side bed. All these beds can make camping in a pop up quite comfortable for a family of 3-5.
Make sure to check out our post Everything You Need To Know About Pop Ups if you are thinking about renting (or buying) a pop up!
Typically, pop up camper rentals will cost you in the range of $50 – $150 a night.
A New Category of RVs – The Micro Camper or Small RVs
The Micro Camper is a new category of small RVs that is becoming incredibly popular in the last few years.
These micro campers are unique in that they can be towed by nearly any vehicle and the interior isn’t much bigger than a bed.
A micro camper will often have an interior couch that folds down into a bed, an AC unit, electric hookups, maybe a small TV, and a few cabinets to store your gear.
Some of the newer small RVs will have a kitchen, refrigerator and shower all located on the exterior of the camper.
These small campers are perfect for the adventurous single or couple that will be doing lots of traveling and using the camper for sleep and storage.
These micro campers will typically cost you $40 – $100 per night.
Just to show how cool these are, check out the new Jayco Hummingbird at Hilltop Camper (pictured below).
A Few Money Saving Tips for Your RV Camping Trip
Rent as Far Ahead As possible
Make sure to plan your camper rental as far ahead of time as possible. Many of the campers on Outdoorsy and RV Share get booked out for the summer. By planning ahead you will have a larger selection of campers and pricing options.
Plan Meals Ahead of Time & Eat At The Campsite
If you’re spending money on an RV rental, then a simple area to save money is to plan out your meals in the camper. When my family eats out we easily spend $40 – $80 while cooking in I typically spend $20 or less. Over a 3 day weekend, I could easily save $200-$300 just by cooking all our own food and use those savings on the camper or other fun activities. Here are a few of our favorite recipe posts here on Beyond the Tent: 15 Easy Camping Breakfasts, 20 Easy Camping Meals, 95 Vegan Camping Recipes.
Find & Stay at Free Campground
Another way to save money is to find free campgrounds to stay at. We’ve put together a huge guide on free camping, so check it out!
Rent Your Camping Gear
Did you know that you can actually rent camping gear? Yep, sites like Outdoors Geek will rent you almost any camping gear that you may need.
If you are planning a one time trip or camping is a once a year event for you, then maybe renting out any extra gear you need could be an option for you.
Rather than paying $200 for a sleeping bag, rent one for $20.
Interested In Buying An RV? Here’s Our Advice
We’re currently working with Hilltop Campers and RV in order to put together an amazing guide on purchasing an RV. This guide will have everything from what took look for, what features provide the most value, how to get the best deal and even how to finance your RV camper. Make sure to check back soon for this!
Until our guide to buying an RV is finished, my biggest piece of advice is to try out renting a few different types of RVs such as a travel trailer one weekend and a pop up camper another weekend. This will give you real-world experience before you make a big purchase.
BTW – If you live in Minnesota, Hilltop Campers is a 3rd generation RV dealer that has been in business for over 50 years! We love going to them for advice on everything with our camper and couldn’t recommend them more!
Other Resources For Your RV Camping Adventures
Here are a few additional resources right here on Beyond The Tent to help you plan out the perfect RV camping vacation.
- The Complete Campers Guide To Olympic National Park
- The Complete Guide To Camping in North Cascades National Park
- The Complete Guide To Camping In Yellowstone
- The Best RV Rentals in Chicago
- The Best RV Rentals in Seattle
- The Family Camping Checklist
- The Best Places To Go Camping In Florida
- The Best Places To Go Camping in Texas
- The Best Places To Go Camping in Arizona
- The Best Places To Go Camping In California
- The Best Places To Go Camping in Colorado
Hopefully, I’ve convinced you that renting a camper for your next outdoor adventure can be a great option for your family. Remember, if you’re new to the outdoors, an RV can be a great way to get your toes wet without diving in head first!