If you grew up camping, you know from experience how a simple weekend trip to the great outdoors can be one of the best family vacations you’ll ever take. But if you’re looking for a slight upgrade now that you’re the one calling the shots, consider a camp trailer rental. Small but mighty, camping trailers tow behind your truck or SUV giving you an upgrade from your usual tent and making any camping trip a bit more special.
Camp trailers come in all shapes and sizes, so whether you’re looking for a model that sleeps four and has its own bathroom or searching for something smaller for a solo camping trip, it’s easy to find the perfect camper for your needs. Read on to learn more about where to rent a camping trailer, what to look for, and how to get a great deal.
Where To Rent a Camping Trailer
There are a couple of main options when it comes to finding camp trailer rentals for your upcoming trip. First, you can search for RV dealerships in your area (or in the area you’ll be traveling to) and see what they have available. Since you presumably already have a vehicle capable of towing a trailer, it’s best to figure out how much weight you can safely haul before you make your reservation. A rental agent should be able to point you toward trailers that you’re capable of towing.
When booking with a dealership, be sure to ask about any extra fees associated with the rental. Most RV dealerships charge a mileage fee in addition to the nightly or weekly rate, so don’t forget to calculate these in your overall rental budget.
The second option is to look for peer-to-peer rental sites, which allow you to rent a trailer camper from its actual owner. Much like Airbnb, peer-to-peer sites like RVShare are fun because they give you a wide range of options in virtually any U.S. city. Since you’ll be renting directly from the owner, you can often get a better deal on a rental, and you’ll get great tips and tricks from someone who’s actually camped in that exact trailer. RV owners are a wealth of knowledge not only on their campers but also on lesser known routes and attactions, so don’t be afraid to pick their brain before you hit the road!
Finding the Best Camper Trailer
The right camp trailer for your trip depends first and foremost on how much room and privacy you need and expect. In RV lingo, the number of beds is known as the berth, so if you’ll be traveling with a family of four, you’ll want to ask about four-berth campers. Beyond just the berth, though, there’s a surprising number of types of campers, each with their own pluses and minuses.
- Teardrop trailer: In addition to being downright adorable, teardrop trailers are also great on gas mileage since they’re generally pretty small. Given their diminuitive size, they tend to be best enjoyed by no more than two people. While they’re perfect for minimalist campers who don’t need a ton of bells and whistles, not all of them have bathrooms, so it’s something to think about when you’re looking for a recreational trailer rental (especially if you’re used to staying in hotel rooms when you travel).
- Pop-up campers: Pop-up campers are lightweight trailers that expand to size when you get to your campsite. The sides are usually made of a tent-like material fitted with mesh windows to let the breeze in at night when you sleep. Similar to the teardrop trailers, pop-up campers tend to be on the smaller side so most of the features do double duty (think a kitchen dinette that becomes a bed, or a tabletop that swings out of the cabinets). Some premium models contain a bathroom, but it’s by no means standard, so be sure to ask the rental agent before booking your reservation.
- Large travel trailers: For families of more than two, you’ll be more comfortable if you rent a camp trailer large enough for the whole gang. Tow-behind trailers can be as long as 40 feet and many times come with amenities like TVs and full bathrooms. Since they’re much bigger, you’ll need a heavy-duty truck or SUV to pull one, so it may not be an option for those traveling with a smaller vehicle.
How to Save on a Camp Trailer Rental
No matter which type of trailer RV rental you’re interested in, you’ll always save money if your trip can wait until the off-season. In most places, summer is the hottest time of the year to rent (in both senses of the word), so by waiting until spring or fall, you can usually rent the exact same trailer for significantly less.
RV and trailer rentals typically charge by the mile, so consider renting one at your destination instead of renting one close to home and driving it from point A to point B. Since it’s a tow-behind vehicle, you’ll have to ride in your truck or SUV anyway, so there’s really no point in traveling farther than you have to with the trailer.
As mentioned earlier, you can generally save a decent amount of cash by making a reservation through a peer-to-peer rental site. Since RV owners are just regular people without any overhead or payroll, they can usually cut you a better deal than a large rental company can. If you do opt for the more traditional route and rent through an RV dealership, see if you can take a look at older campers, which tend to be cheaper to rent than the newest model on the lot. After all, you’re renting, not owning, so a willingness to be flexible on fancy amenities can help you save big.
Most importantly, do your research and try your hardest to make a reservation a few months (or at least a few weeks) before your trip. Many RV rental companies get overwhelmed during high-volume events like music festivals but large-scale events can impact availability even if you’re going somewhere else on the same weekend. By booking in advance, you give yourself the best shot at saving money and getting the exact type of camper you want.