RV rentals are a smart way to explore different parts of the country during one vacation.
They’re also a great option if you just want to discover if RVing in general is right for you.
But Why Not Start Small?
If you want to explore the back country or free yourself from the burden of carting around a large motorhome, rent a truck camper or towable trailer instead.
These two smaller RV types are easy to drive and offer the ability to go where motorhomes can’t.
Plus – you’ll spend less on fuel.
If this sounds appealing, here are some tips to help you find your ideal truck camper or trailer rental for your next vacation.
Truck Camper Rental Advantages and Disadvantages
A truck camper’s small size has big advantages over large RV rentals:
- You can travel into rugged areas that larger RVs can’t touch
- Public campgrounds have more campsite options for small RVs
- Truck campers are generally easier to drive in tricky situations
- Maneuverability and parking in congested urban areas is easier
- Operational costs are lower
But despite these advantages, a truck camper’s smaller size makes for a few challenges:
- Couples and small families may feel too cramped in truck campers
- Everything from the refrigerator to holding tank space is on a much smaller scale than other RVs.
- You will replenish supplies and dump waste matter more often
- A camper’s entry steps might be too difficult for physically challenged people
If you’re still up to the challenge of booking a truck camper rental, remember that the trick to being comfortable in one is to pack conservatively.
In addition, you’ll need to maintain a sense of humor if you get stuck inside your tiny home during a rainy afternoon. 🙂
Travel Trailer Rental Advantages and Disadvantages
For a slight increase in size and costs, a trailer rental is an affordable way to enjoy more living and storage space.
You’ll also get the added convenience of having your own truck for quick transportation.
TIP: Because they have more living space than truck campers, trailer rentals are better for travelers with kids and vacationers on longer journeys.
As long as the RV rental company believes that your vehicle has adequate towing capacity you’ll be able to enjoy benefits such as
- More selections and location availability than truck camper rentals.
- Comfort and familiarity with vehicle controls and handling
- More options for exploring with your own vehicle
- Greater fuel savings over typical motorhome rentals
The biggest disadvantage to renting a towable RV trailer is learning how to feel comfortable behind the wheel.
Driving, maneuvering and backing up all take practice.
In addition, solo travelers may find trailers too difficult to operate because it’s much easier to back into campsites when you have a partner who can guide you into the spot from outside the vehicle.
Where to Rent Truck Campers and Trailers
Despite all of the advantages of renting small RVs, truck camper and trailer rentals aren’t as widely available as motorhomes – especially in the US.
Whether it’s due to liability issues, insurance complications, operational challenges or overall reliability statistics, the largest RV rental companies in the lower 48 states don’t offer either type for rent.
But don’t let that discourage you.
With a little bit of research you should be able to work with one of the few RV rental companies who do rent truck campers and trailers.
Truck Camper Rentals
Perhaps because so much of Canada and Alaska is inaccessible to larger vehicles, truck camper rentals are widely available to anyone who wants to explore the northern frontier’s rugged dirt roads.
If this is your type of vacation, consider starting your rental search with one of the following companies:
- West Coast Mountain Campers (Calgary and Vancouver Canada)
- ABC Motorhome and Car Rentals (Anchorage AK) Here’s a story about a couple who won a week-long camper rental from ABC Motorhomes.
- Explore Tours (Anchorage, Fairbanks, Whitehorse AK or Seattle WA)
- Go North (Fairbanks, AK)
- Fraserway RV (throughout Canada and AK) Here’s another article about a couple who won a week-long camper rental trip in British Columbia from Fraserway RV.
If your vacation will be in the lower 48 states, finding a truck camper rental will be difficult though.
You can attempt to locate a rental through private party listings on Craig’s List. But due to insurance complications and liability issues you probably won’t have much luck.
Some smaller dealerships might offer truck camper rentals at a modest cost. Your best bet is to call local dealerships and ask if they’ll rent to you.
You might also try a dealership that rents RVs through the RV Dealers Association website.
Travel Trailer Rentals
Trailer rentals are easier to locate than truck camper rentals and are available from a few companies throughout the United States.
Whether you choose a RV rental company or work with a private party, renting a trailer is far easier than finding a truck camper to rent.
Begin your search with companies like:
- Adventure in Camping (Mammoth, CA)
- Arizona RV Rentals (AZ)
- Colorado Camper Rental (CO)
- El Monte RV (Nationwide)
- GoRVing.com (Nationwide)
- RV Northwest (Portland, OR)
- United States RV Rentals (Nationwide)
- RV Dealers Association (Nationwide)
General RV Rental Cost Considerations
Here’s some things you might want to consider before you make your RV rental decision.
Overall Trip Costs
Despite what many RV rental companies imply, the final costs of vacationing by RV are usually comparable to flying and staying in hotels, so don’t expect to save a ton of money by renting.
However, the advantage to choosing this vacation method is you’ll get more freedom to create your own adventure instead of sticking to flight schedules and hotel reservations. This alone is a HUGE benefit.
Like car rentals, most RVs come with a mileage allotment and you will be charged fees for going over your share.
Be sure to find out how many miles per day or per rental period you’re allowed to use as part of your contract, and how much it will cost per mile if you exceed your allowance.
Pets and Smokers
Smokers will find it almost impossible to find RV rental companies who will let you light up inside the vehicle.
Vacationers who want to bring pets will find it challenging but not impossible to locate companies who allow them to come along.
Private party rentals may offer more options for smokers and pets.
Age and Insurance Requirements
Although you don’t need a special license to drive a truck camper or haul a trailer, at the very minimum most RV rental company require all drivers to be over the age of 25 and carry full vehicle liability insurance coverage.
Vacationers renting travel trailers will likely have extra insurance obligations when towing.
Be sure to uncover all necessary insurance requirements and factor in the costs of additional liability coverage to your vacation budget.
Miscellaneous RV Vacation Fees
Like any vacation, your daily living fees will include fuel, meals and lodging (campground site rental costs).
In addition, RV renters must factor in costs such as:
- Generator fuel
- Sanitary dump station fees
- Misc. extras for bike racks, dishes & linens, etc.
- Post-rental cleaning fees
Overall, seeing the country in a truck camper or trailer rental is a perfect choice if you’re an adventurous soul who wants more freedom to decide how and where you travel.
Choosing to live lightly and travel in a small RV isn’t for everyone.
But if you decide to rent a truck camper or travel trailer, you’ll be rewarded with better scenery, more privacy and a closer relationship to nature than campers who venture out only in larger RVs.