You’ve got your mind’s eye on hiking a series of iconic trails, and you want to do it in style – from a base camp on wheels with the comforts of home close to the trailhead. To create that epic road trip to hiking heaven, you can’t beat an RV’s mobile convenience. The good news is that renting a home on wheels is easy. Here’s how.
The RV rental industry provides several options for people wanting to experience a road trip in a mobile home. Both traditional and private RV rental hubs with online booking facilities make it easy for customers to select the ideal vehicle for their vacation, including Class A, B, and C RVs.
The recent boom in RV travel has created a new market where private RV owners offer their mobile homes to the public for rental. While traditional RV rental companies generally provide a limited selection of RVs, peer-to-peer RV ‘sharing’/rental hubs include a broad spectrum of RVs for hire. The challenge is to select an RV that meets your road trip needs from a supplier that offers you genuine value.
Selecting The Best RV For Your Road Trip
Before you reserve an RV for a road trip, several criteria need to be considered and satisfied, including:
- The number of people sleeping in the RV
- Onboard amenities
- Destination topography
- Power, water, and sewerage
- The driver’s skill level
- Your budget
- Hidden costs
- Remote assistance
RVs come in all shapes and sizes, each with a specific number of beds, which should be your primary selection criterion – how many people the RV can sleep.
A family of six to ten people will need a Class A motorhome, while four people will be comfortable in a Class C motorhome, and a Class B campervan will suit a happy couple.
- Remember – No passengers are allowed in any towed RV while moving on the road, be it a travel trailer, fifth wheel, or pop-up camper.
When you rent an RV for a road trip, it is essential to consider its interior comfort levels and ergonomics. An RV may have all the onboard mod cons, but your road trip will be compromised if your passengers feel cramped while driving or camping (especially sleeping).
Decide how many amenities you’ll need to make your road trip a happy one. Will you need a full bathroom, a wet bath, or will a portable cassette toilet suffice? Do you want to rent an RV with a microwave and a TV? How much refrigeration space will you need?
The roads leading to your destination and the campsite/s where you park your RV will influence your RV selection process. Dirt roads leading to remote campsites may only be navigable in a nimble 4×4 campervan and are not suited to long RVs with low ground clearance.
Campsites in forested and mountainous areas may be accessible only in a smaller vehicle with a tight turning circle, precluding larger RVs.
Whether you plan to camp at a site with utility hook-ups or boondock, having a definite plan for power, water, and waste disposal is crucial to a successful road trip and a comfortable RV camping experience.
Driving an RV will require a distinct set of skills, most notably, the ability to pilot a long rig or tow a heavy trailer. Small campervans and Class C motorhomes are an easy prospect for any competent car driver. On the other hand, Class A RVs, large travel trailers, and fifth wheels demand driving skills akin to those of a professional bus or semi-truck driver.
Having a good idea of how much you’re able to spend on your road trip will assist in your choice of RV. Bear in mind that the RV rental cost is just one component of your overall road trip budget.
- Compared to a modest mountain bungalow on Airbnb, RV rentals are not cheap, ranging in price from around $100 to as much as $500 per night.
Once you’ve budgeted for the RV rental per night fees, also budget for additional charges, including a deposit (refundable), fuel, generator fees, insurance, and extra charges for linen and cookware.
- Don’t forget to include campsite fees in your road trip budget.
For novice RVers, having guaranteed roadside assistance in emergencies is essential, be it from the AAA or a private auto recovery company.
RVs have all manner of technologies unfamiliar to most urbanites, from propane cylinders to room slide-outs to generators and sewerage hoses (to name just a few!). Telephonic support from the RV renter (24/7) to help you iron out any RV snags should also be a prerequisite to your selection process.
Who Rents RVs?
You can check rental RV availability via respective RV rental websites. The most popular North American RV rental and RV sharing services include:
- Cruise America
- El Monte
Online RV sharing hubs offer the broadest range of standard and customized RVs.
Traditional RV rental shops like Cruise America and El Monte specialize in small Class A and Class C motorhomes. Each unit has standard fittings and features, including a toilet and shower, a propane/electric fridge, a propane stove and oven, air conditioning, and a furnace.
- Linen and kitchenware are generally not included in your basic rental fee and are billed as optional extras.
Peer-to-peer RV sharing sites like RVshare.com, Outdoorsy.com, and RVezy.com give you a much broader selection of RVs.
- Privately owned RVs for rent often come fitted with extras you love, like a coffee maker, outdoor grill, and solar power. Some even allow pets.
- Dealing directly with the RV owner allows you to tailor your RV accessories to suit your needs more cost-effectively than with a traditional RV rental house.
Types of RVs
An RV’s size and design determine its classification. Class A RVs measure between 20 – 40 feet in length, while a Class C motorhome has a camper body on a truck chassis-cab with a cab-over bunk. Class B RVs include camper vans with standard van bodies, aftermarket fittings, and custom trim.
One could argue that the quintessential RV road trip has to happen in a motorhome or camper van. A travel trailer requires your fellow trippers to travel in the towing vehicle, which defeats the object of an RV road trip.
Browse these respective RV examples to get an idea of RV A, B, and Cs.
- Here’s a six-sleeper Class A motorhome for $475 per night.
- Take a look at this Class B 4×4 camper van with solar power for $325 per night.
- A popular four-sleeper standard Class C Thor motorhome rented out for $215 per night.
RV Renting Tips
Before renting an RV, it’s essential to research what’s available by visiting popular RV rental websites and watching RV videos on YouTube. Familiarize yourself with RV basics, including RV safety, RV utility hook-ups, and how to operate all the interior amenities.
Get the most out of your RV road trip by following these pointers:
- To limit fuel expenses, rent from a supplier close to your destination.
- Video the RV walkthrough (given by the owner/dealer) with your cellphone to reference how various RV amenities work and the condition of the RV.
- Focus on matching your RV with your destination’s topographical and climatic conditions. Think vehicle agility, power supply, water storage, and climate control.
- Ask the renter for discounts on extended rental.
- Reserve your RV at least six months in advance.
YouTube channels worth viewing for RV rental insights include:
Once you’ve identified the ideal RV for your road trip, contact the renter to answer any questions regarding the RV’s features, fittings, and costs before you make the reservation.
With your hiking trail itinerary plotted and your campsites reserved, you will have a set of parameters to work with that will allow you to rent an RV confidently. Follow the guidelines in this post, and your RV road trip to great hiking trails will be epic!