camper van rental

Campervan Rentals Guide: How to Find a Great Van, Including Vintage Vans

Campervans have exploded in popularity but aren’t as easy to find for rent as traditional RVs, especially if you live on the East Coast or want to rent a vintage van.

But they are a great way to travel: easy to drive, park, and fuel efficient, campervans give you more options for camping – often at a lower price – than traditional RVs.

I’ll show you the easiest way to find your perfect campervan, review the best companies that rent campervans, and share tips for renting hard-to-come-by vintage campers.

How do I rent a camper van?

When searching for a camper van to rent, it’s helpful to know that vans can fall into different categories depending on how they were built and, for vintage vans, when they were built.

Deciding what type of van you’d like to rent will affect where to look for vans and how to search for them.

1. Choose the type of van you want to rent

There are three main classifications of campervans.

Types of vans

Class B vans are considered “motorhomes” because they were built with the same equipment/features you’d find in larger RVs, but they are smaller in size.

Class B vans may look like typical vans from the outside, but they rolled off the assembly line with all the bells and whistles you need for camping. Class B vans tend to be larger than conversion campervans.

Conversion vans are any kind of van that started out life as a van (not a camper) and was converted to a camper by a different company. For example, my 87 VW Westfalia Vanagon falls into this category. It was made by Volkswagen, and the Westfalia company added the camper parts, converting it to a camper.

A vintage camper van is a bit of a fuzzy designation, often combining age and the styling of a camper. Generally speaking, vintage indicates vans that are at least 25 years old and have a sought-after style, providing the motivation for owners to keep them running or bring them back to life through restoration.

Vintage Surf Wagons rental
Source: Vintage Surfari Wagons, Inc.

Most vintage campervans on the road today are VW Vanagons. Looking to rent a vintage van? Click here to jump to the vintage van rental section.

2. Check the leading RV rental company websites first

Start your search on the “big three” RV rental websites.

These companies have the most vans for rent and also offer the most insurance protection and roadside assistance with their rentals, although you have to pay extra for this mandatory coverage.

The “big three” are:

Outdoorsy

RVshare

RVezy

These companies offer “peer-to-peer” rentals, meaning you will actually be renting your van from an individual owner who lists it on the rental website, similar to how Airbnb rents homes.

Stock on these websites changes frequently, so check the inventory on all three. I like to pull up each website on its own tab so I can quickly jump between websites to compare all the vans.

3. Follow these steps to search for vans

To find vans for rent, you’ll need to filter out the RVs.

Below is the step-by-step process of how to search for vans on each rental website.

Outdoorsy

When van hunting, Outdoorsy is my first stop.

Outdoorsy generally has the most vans for rent and is the easiest site to find campervans.

Here is how to find vans on Outdoorsy’s website:

  1. Bypass the main search on the homepage and scoll down to the “Find Your Ride” section.
  2. Click on Campervans button.
Outdoorsy campervan rental
Source: Outdoorsy

Outdoorsy will take you directly to the rentable vans in your area (provided you have cookies enabled so your location can be detected).

If you’re looking for a vintage van, you’ll need to take a few extra steps:

  1. Perform the search above.
  2. Go to the filters at the top of the van search results and select More.
  3. At the bottom of the More box, type “vintage” into the Keyword Search field.

Outdoorsy keyword search
Source: Outdoorsy
Outdoorsy van rental pros
  • Easiest to search
  • Vans have their own category
  • Most vans to choose from
  • Good variety of styles and prices
Outdoorsy van rental cons
  • Distance search is by zoom, not miles
  • The default area for search results is too large for most renters

RVshare

RVshare doesn’t have a standalone category for van rentals and considers all types of vans – from vintage Vanagons to high-end Sprinters – to be Class B motorhomes.

So vans are mixed in with bigger rigs, and there are a few more steps to get to them.

Here’s how to find campervans for rent on RV Share:

1. Enter your location in the search on the homepage
2. Click the Drivables button
3. Hit Search

RVshare search
Source: Rvshare

This brings you to a page with vans and other types of drivable RVs.

4. If you’d like to see all Class Bs, (including smaller RVs that aren’t vans), click the Class B button under the Drivable RV button.

RVshare Class B van search
Source: RVshare

To just see vans, take these additional steps:

5 Select More Filters at the top of the page
6. In Keyword search, enter “van”.
7. Click the See Results button across from the search bar to see your results.

To find vintage vans on RVshare, type “vintage” in the keyword search.

RVshare van rental pros

  • Can easily sort by distance
  • Less expensive vans for rent

RVshare van rental cons

  • Search is cumbersome
  • Not as many vans for rent
  • Few vintage vans

RVezy

RVezy is a newcomer to the U.S. RV rental market, having gotten its start in Canada and launching its American operations in 2020 to capitalize on the pandemic-fueled RV travel craze.

Finding vans is easy on RVezy, so it’s definitely worth a look even though there aren’t as many available. I can imagine RVezy will only be adding more stock as its business grows stateside.

If you live in Canada, you’ll have better luck!

RVezy doesn’t allow owners to rent vans older than 20 years on its website without getting special clearance by RVezy’s insurance carrier, a spokesman told me. He added that RVezy is the only company of the three with an in-house insurance provider, which speeds up such decisions.

RVezy has separate categories for Campervans and Class B. For the best selection of vans, search both Class B and Campervans at the same time.

To find camper vans on RVezy:

  1. Enter you location
  2. Click the Motorized dropdown
  3. Check boxes for both Class B and Campervan
RVezy campervan search
Source: RVezy

To find vintage vans on RVezy:

  1. Click on More Filters
  2. Under Amenities, check Vintage
RVezy vintage camper search
Source: RVezy

RVezy van rental pros

  • Van-specific filters, including for vintage vans
  • Easy to search

RVezy van rental cons

  • Low selection of campervans
  • Vintage campervans need special clearance

4. Check regional van rental companies

For the most part, smaller, regional van rental companies are based in the West, so you will have more choices if you live in that part of the country.

If you live on the East Coast and are planning a trip out West, consider flying there and picking up a campervan after you arrive. You will have many more options, and it will be cheaper than driving a van from the East Coast.

West Coast campervan rental companies

The wide-open spaces of the West make van travel a great choice. There are companies that specialize in high-end, luxury vans, conversion vans, vintage vans, and some that rent a variety of types of campervans.

Woman in a campervan
Photo credit: Alex Azabache
West Coast conversion van rental companies

Boho Campervans rents conversion vans that look like the ones van lifers build. Their Dodge Ram Promasters have cozy, cabin-like wood interiors. This company also sells campervans.

Campervan North America has a lineup of conversion vans to choose from and offers one-way rental between their locations.

West Coast Class B/luxury campervan rentals

Monterra Camper Vans rents solar-equipped Mercedes vans that are diesel-powered and designed to maneuver through challenging terrain.

Mercedes Sprinter RV Rentals also rents solar luxury vans. Its 20 locations are conveniently located near Western airports, making it a solid option for East Coasters who want to plan a vacation in the West.

VanCraft rents Sprinters out of San Diego. I love the bright interiors of their vans, which come in different lengths.

West Coast companies that rent both vintage and other campervans

Peace Vans based in Seattle has both vintage VW vans and modern Mercedes vans for rent.

Rocky Mountain Campervans has offices in Denver and Las Vegas and offers a great selection of vans, from vintage Vanagons to Eurovans, as well as newer pop-tops including Winnebago Solis and a Promaster conversion van.

East Coast campervan rental companies

There are few options beyond the large RV rental companies on the East Coast:

Ondevan rents conversion campervans out of Miami and Orlando, Florida.

Maine Campers (see below in Vintage campers) rents Vanagons in Eliot, Maine, near the New Hampshire border.

Wander VW is another Maine-based Vanagon rental business headquartered in Portland.

Hawaii campervan rentals

Campervan Hawaii has something for every kind of campervan seeker – Vanagon, conversion vans, Class B and even a Jeep with a pop top!

Hawaii Surf Campers (see below in Vintage) has a lovely line-up of Vanagons.

Nationwide campervan rentals

While most of its 11 U.S. locations are out West, Escape Campervans rents vans out of New York, Chicago and Orlando.

Escape Campervans isn’t my first choice because Escape vans aren’t true campervans: they are vans that have been outfitted with camping gear. They have a backseat that folds down into a bed, and drawers with cooking equipment that are accessible from the rear hatch of the van.

You can’t stand up in Escape Campervans or cook inside them – two of the most beneficial features of true campervans.

On the plus side, you can rent a van from Escape in one location and drop it off in another – something you can’t do with vans from the big RV rental companies.

Renting a vintage camper van

Here again, your odds of finding a vintage campervan for rent are better if you live out West. If you struck out on the “big three” websites, there are a few other places to check.

List of companies that rent vintage campervans

Vintage Surfari Wagons in Costa Mesa, Calif., has a whole fleet of incredibly cool Volkswagens for rent, including this groovy 1979 model that’s a hard-to-find automatic!

Source: Vintage Surfari Wagons

Peace Vans based in Seattle has vintage VW vans.

Rocky Mountain Campervans has offices in Denver and Las Vegas and offers both vintage Vanagons and Eurovans.

Hawaii Surf Campers has gorgeous Westies. If you’re a Vanagon lover, you may want to check out this website even if you’re not going to be traveling in Hawaii. Who knows? You may even be tempted to change your plans after seeing these beauties!

Hawaii  Surf Campers Vanagon
Source: Hawaii Surf Campers

Maine Campers is one of the only companies I could find renting vintage VW vans in the East. I hope Maine Campers doesn’t mind me borrowing this picture’s-worth-a-thousand-words photo from its website.

I had to laugh!

Maine Campers picture
Source: Maine Campers

Wander VW, also in Maine, rents Vanagons and offers special Vanagon tours.

Tips for renting vintage campervans

Tip #1

If you happen to know someone with a Vanagon, rather than asking them to borrow it, ask if you can rent it.

Many Vanagon owners are understandably hesitant to lend their vans to their friends… vintage vans aren’t just prized possessions, they are more prone to breakdowns!

Listing a van on Outdoorsy, RVshare or RVezy is a way to remove the worry. Owners listing on these websites have the ability to choose who rents their vehicle.

If your friend is willing to list a Vanagon, you can rent it through the website. Your friend makes some extra cash, and both of you will have peace of mind knowing the van is covered.

Tip #2

When searching the RV rental websites for vans, expand your search radius. If you have your heart set on renting a vintage van, it might be worth it to go the extra mile for the experience.

Tip #3

Check Glamping Hub for vintage vans and Vanagons.

I found this little cutie in Pinellas Park, Fla., among the listings of vintage Airstreams and cute “canned ham” trailers.

green 70s Vanagon


Advertising Disclosure: recommendations in this article contain links that may pay me a small commission, at no cost to you, when clicked. As always, thank you for your support.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top